Issue Number 1300 (Items 429 - 534 &IsMsuRe4N0u-mMbRer4182)68 (E-BLN 52 PAGES) 10 Mar 2018
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society - founded 1955
WEBSITE ADDRESS: branchline.uk
Membership Enquiries, Alan Welsh [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from member7s2; 8a6n7i7nternational section is available.
Opinions herein are not necessaarivlyaitlahbolsee. of the Compilers or the Society.
……………… BLN 1301 is dated Sat 24 MaSor;ciceotyn.tSroibciuettiyo. ns must be received by Wed 14 Mar
Date Event and details BLN Lead Status
1295 JE OPEN
24-25/3/18 The Sussex Salopian SUNDAY 25 MAR OPTION - BELOW
24/3/18 PM PM Bognor Regis, Hotham Park 12¼" gauge railway tour 1296 JE OPEN
25/3/18 AM 08.00-10.00: Crewe Heritage Centre tour (see e-BLN 1296) e1296 JE Enquire
Sat 7/4/18 Late morning visit to 4 Kingdoms Adventure Park Railway 1299 TV OPEN
Sun 15/4/18 09.45 (confirmed)-13.30: Crich VERY Comprehensive tour Below JE OPEN
Sun 15/4/18 NEW: 15.00 Goodluck Lead Mine Tramway (11" gauge) Below JE *OPEN*
20-24/4/18 5 day tour: Finnish freight lines that might be finishing 1290 IS OPEN
Sat 28/4/18 The Inverclyde First Aider, WCR Class 37 Crewe - Scotland 1299 JE OPEN
Thur 7/3/18 NEW: 10.00 Bradford, Calder Valley line signal box visits Below NJ *OPEN*
3 to 5/5/18 Island of Ireland Thur - Sat: FULL WITH A FULL WAITING LIST 1295 KA CLOSED
Sun 6/5/18 07.30 (Connolly) - 17.45 (Heuston) Dublin Irish Rail railtour 1299 KA OPEN
Sat 12/5/18 The 565 Special - Take 2 with WCR & Colas Class 37s: Now 1298 JE OPEN
.UPDATED calls at PETERBOROUGH pick up appx 10.58/set down 17.59
Sat 2/6/18 PM: The Arlington Explorer Eastleigh Works track/traction 1297 JE Enquire
Sat 9/6/18 NEW: Track & traction event 2ft gauge line in Sussex TBA TBA Claimed
Sun 10/6/18 NEW: Save the date, mini-excursion with Chiltern Railways TBA TBA Claimed
Thu 14/6/18 The Nosey Peaker, Stafford 08.30/Crewe 17.00 WAITING LIST 1298 JE FULL
Sun 1/7/18 Ketton Cement Works, Rutland, all day track & traction event TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 21/7/18 Middlesbrough Goods, AV Dawson, (new) track & traction 1297 JE OPEN
Sun 5/8/18 Standard gauge Scottish minor railway, save date TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 25/8/18 *NEW* 09.30-10.30 Blenheim Park Railway railtour Below JE *OPEN*
Sat 25/8/18 12.00-16.00 Beeches Light Railway Oxfordshire 1299 JE OPEN
Mon 27Aug Summer Scunthorpe Steeler tour No16 (Bank Holiday Mon) TBA TBA Claimed
26-28/10/18 PROVISIONAL Yorkshire weekend AGM, fixtures & film show TBA TBA Claimed
IS-Iain Scotchman, JE-Jill Everitt, KA-Kev Adlam, NJ-Nick Jones, TV-Terry Velvick, = book online at branchline.uk
429] Situation Vacant: We have an immediate BLN Regional Editor vacancy (item 509), either to cover
Wales or if preferred another area with a possible reshuffle. This is an interesting and rewarding
position requiring just a few hours time twice a month and an ability to send/receive information by
emails. Cover can be arranged for holidays etc. Please email the Editor to discuss in the first instance.
………………………………….………………………………430] ANOTHER FANTASTIC SILENT CHARITY AUCTION:
………………………………………………………………….We are delighted that the East Midlands Trains HST
………………………………………………………………….. cab ride auction raised a superb £2,961.25p for Railway
………………………………………………………………….. Children. Now another exclusive offer for BLS members.
offer. ……………………………………………………… With thanks to Virgin Trains, a two-hour session on
………………………………………………………………….Virgin Trains' Class .390 'Pendolino' full-cab simulator
at Crewe plus two return First Class Virgin Trains tickets and a cab ride of your choice to/from
Crewe. All the money raised will be shared between Rethink Mental Illness and Railway Children.
Virgin Trains are offering the chance for a lucky bidder to experience the immersive environment of
their full-cab Class 390 simulator, used for the competence management of Virgin Trains team of
drivers. It gives you the unique chance to take the controls of a train in exchange for a charitable
donation to the Railway Children and Rethink Mental Illness. The minimum reserve is £700.
The winning bidder and a companion will be facilitated on the simulator by a member of the Driver
Training team, all of whom are experienced high speed train drivers. You will have a two hour
session which will consist of a chance to enjoy a 'normal' drive within the Wolverhampton to
Coventry simulated environment, as well as being put through your paces in 'out of course'
scenarios that regular mainline drivers are required to get to grips with. It's your experience so you
can choose what to do! Included is a cab ride accompanied by a Driver Manager in a real-life Virgin
Train between Crewe and an origin or destination of your choosing on the Virgin Trains network for
you and your companion. You may undertake this either before or after the simulator, whichever
suits you best. Additionally a return First Class ticket will be provided for you and your companion
valid for the day of the experience for travel on the Virgin Trains network to and from Crewe.
A mutually agreeable date (Monday to Friday) will be formalised with the winning bidder. Email bids
to [email protected] stating 'BLS Simulator Bid' in the header. The email needs to
state the amount, your name, email & phone number. Participants must be over 18 and have funds
to pay into a 'Virgin Money Giving' site at the close of the auction prior to arrangements for the day
being made. Full details will be explained; the highest bid at midday Tue 10 April will win. Contact
will be made with the winner. The itinerary of the day will also be shared in a future issue of BLN.
431] The Sunday Salopian, Sun 25 Mar: Those who have booked on the Sat 24 Mar 'Sussex Salopian'
(places available) can travel at no extra charge. A 'Track & Traction' loco-hauled mini railtour with the
WCR and '84G Railtours'. Our 9-coach charter will be hauled by a WCR Class 37. Fare between any two
points: £25 members, £37 non-members. Timings (provisional) and route as validated by WCR and bid:
Crewe PU 12.05 - Acton Grange Jn- Walton Old Jn - Warrington BQ P4 - Earlestown P4 - Bamfurlong
Down Goods Line - Wigan NW P5 - Preston SD P7 13.30 - Barton & Broughton Down Pass Loop -
Oubeck Down Goods Loop - Lancaster SD P5 (Up Passenger Loop 2) - Carnforth Up & Down Goods
Loop - Carnforth SD 15.05. Important for all bookings: please advise where you intend to join and
alight (this is for coach stewarding purposes and can be changed subsequently by notification). Book
via website (preferred) or ask someone to do this for you, they will need your full name/membership
number or to Jill Everitt per back page. Please supply an email address or SAE if paying by cheque.
432] Paying for Fixtures: If you wish to claim the member discount please book on the website
logged in, or for the very few still paying by cheque, please write your membership number on the
back (including all Stewards!). Cheques are all now banked on receipt which gives parity with those
booking online (where payment is also immediate) and ensures they clear well before the fixture.
ABOVE & PREVIOUS PAGE: Cab layout of a Class 390 Virgin Pendolino. (Nick Westcott)
433] The Crich Tramway Traverser, Sun 15 Apr, 09.45-13.30 (approx): Crich Tramway Village, near
Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 5DP, (SK 345 549), (MR p32) with time after to ride on the service trams,
look round the museum etc. Thanks to John Cameron, a much requested repeat of our successful (very
comprehensive) Oct 2016 visit to the National Tramway Village/Museum. See https://goo.gl/0v0pjP
For a well illustrated full report go to our website 'Home' page and across to 'Fixtures Reports'; in the
top left box select '2016' and in the top right box 'Crich' or see BLN 1268.2130 dated 5 Nov 2016.
Our extensive tram tour covers up to 11 depot roads, the depot crossover both ways, POSSIBLY the
depot centre siding and lengthy 26ft gauge traverser https://goo.gl/DUiGTM (video by Jenny
Williamson) as before and to the ends of lines. The Café and pub will be selling refreshments. Another
repeat is most unlikely. BLS members £21; under 18s - must be accompanied £17; non-members £26.
Book online or cheques/CPA to Jill Everitt. Queries: [email protected] or 075811 78759.
434] Goodluck Mine Tramway, Sun 15 Apr, 15.00: Thanks to John Cameron https://goo.gl/DHJfwM
'Via Gellia' Rd (A5012) east of its junction with the B5023 north of Middleton and west of Cromford,
DE4 4NA. (SK 269 565). The spoil heap is obvious! To follow our Crich tour an unusual visit to this
fascinating former 19th century lead mine with an 11" gauge tramway. Truck rides (people power)
on track outside and inside the mine tunnels with a guided mine tour. Strong footwear and old
clothes essential. There is a steep path to climb. Limited numbers; members only £11. Parking very
limited, car sharing needed. Book online or via Jill Everitt, please indicate if you can provide/require
a lift from Crich. A well illustrated report of the last visit is in BLN 1269.3011 (19 Nov 2016) with a
track plan, or on our website select 'Fixtures', then '2016' in left box and put 'Goodluck' in right box.
435] Calder Valley Signal Box Visits, Thu 3 May, 10.00: Britannia St, Bradford, BD5, (SE 166 325), on
the west side of Bradford Interchange station. Thanks to Nick Jones, Mill Lane Jn, Halifax, Milner Royd
Jn and Hebden Bridge. High viz vest and suitable footwear required, please advise if you can provide
(and how many) or require lifts. The leader reserves the right to reduce the number of cars. A cash
charity donation applies. Members only; limited numbers, notify [email protected]
436] Blenheim Park Railway, Sat 25 Aug 09.30-10.30: (MR p22) Woodstock, OX20 1PP, (SP 443 162)
A private comprehensive railtour of this 15" gauge 1,000yd railway in the magnificent Blenheim Palace
grounds before public running. It complements our 12.00 Beeches Light Railway visit (BLN 1299.307).
£15 members only, limited to 20 places. Please book through our website or as usual via Jill Everitt.
1300 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
437] Benton South Jn (former Benton Quarry Jn*) - Benton Station Jn - Bank Foot Jn: (BLN 1299.311)
T&W Metro advise that this section was transferred from the British Railways (BR) Board to Tyne &
Wear Passenger Transport Executive (PTE) on Fri 27 Sep 1985. This fits with Benton S-W curve shown
as PTE track on 'Branch Line Society Tyne & Wear Metro Diagrammatic Track Plan (by B W Ratheram
11/85)' for our 10 Nov 1985 railtour and the track beyond Bank Foot being shown as 'BR to Callerton'.
[*Renamed on/before Mon 6 Mar 1989; the other part of the former Benton Quarry Jn (for the south
to east curve to the Blyth & Tyne), slightly north, also became the still operational now Benton North
Jn.] Rowntrees Fawdon (Coxlodge) factory CG 28 Jul 1988 before the demise of Speedlink in 1991.
438] Tyne & Wear Metro, Gosforth West Jn - Gosforth Depot bidirectional Avoiding Line (1.245km
long) - Gosforth East Jn: (BLN 1299.312) (north of the depot) now NRU. UPDATE: The last diversionary
use for normal passenger services is now thought to have been on Sundays 14, 21 & 28 Feb and finally
7 Mar all in 2010. Of note on Thu 16 Apr 1998 the 16.35 Gateshead to Tynemouth train accidently
turned left at South Gosforth South Jn and, with passengers on board, reversed in Regent Centre to
take the Gosforth West Jn to Gosforth East Jn line north of the depot to regain its booked route.
439] Alton branch, Holybourne Oil Sidings (47m 28ch): (BLN 1299.327 UPDATE) On Tue 13 Feb 2018
67013 arrived from Eastleigh 11.30, returning 16.06 but the stored oil tanks remain at Holybourne. It is
thought that the tanks were moved within Holybourne sidings to prevent the bearings from seizing up.
BELOW: Thameslink cupcakes on the first Canal Tunnels passenger train. (Stuart Hicks 26 Feb 2018)
440] East Coast Main Line; Belle Isle Jn - Canal Tunnel Jn (Moorgate Lines): (BLN 1268.2107) OP Mon
26 Feb. The first timetabled passenger train was 09.46 Peterborough to Horsham with 12-car 700128
via the Up Canal Tunnel (on a steep descending gradient). Thameslink staff handed out leaflets and
cupcakes on the train, the Society was well represented. The first Down Canal Tunnel train was 10.00
Horsham to Peterborough. Both lines are bidirectional and there is a trailing crossover at the ECML
end; the initial service is three trains each way SSuX. The minimum journey to do the new 53ch lines is
from Finsbury Park (at 10.59 & 14.29 both from Peterborough to Horsham and at 15.11 ex-Cambridge
to Brighton) to London St Pancras International, low level platforms, returning (at 11.45, 13.06 &
15.21). The first and last trains are Horsham to Peterborough and the middle is Brighton to Cambridge.
This restores a passenger link between the Great Northern and Metropolitan Railways. The previous
link, the Up (via the former York Road station) and Down (via 'Hotel curve') tunnels, straddled the
present King's Cross station, and CP Sat 6 Nov 1976 when its last passenger services ran, followed by
an RCTS railtour later that day, hauled by 31183 and 31249. From Mon 8 Nov 1976 all passenger traffic
between the GNR and Moorgate was via Great Northern & City 'main line' tube from Finsbury Park.
441] Theale (excl) - Heywood Road Jn - Westbury (excl)/Fairwood Jn & 9 stations: (BLN 1297.1220)
TCP/TCA in part at least (updated full list of dates) Mons-Thurs: 12-15 Mar, 23-26 Apr, 14-17 May,
4-7 Jun, 9-12 Jul, 8-11 Oct, 19-22 Nov as well as a bumper 21 day closure from Mon 16 Jul until Sun 5
Aug and also Tue 28 Aug until Thur 30 Aug, all 2018. Meetings at Newbury Racecourse tend to be on
Fridays and weekends but there will be no passenger trains for meetings there on 20, 21 or 26 July.
Trains from Reading will turn round in Theale 'temporary' P3 (although it has been there quite a few
years now!) on the Down/Up Goods. This platform, reached via the London end facing crossover, is
shown on TRACKmaps Vol 3 p11A Aug 2010. Passenger trains are authorised to use the loop to
terminate in/start back from P3 from Mon 12 Mar until Thur 22 Nov 2018, which fits with the dates.
Passenger trains are replaced by buses, including at Pewsey. Long distance train services run via
Melksham where, because of the single line, some local trains are retimed and others replaced by
buses. Holders of season tickets valid for one month or longer from Pewsey, Bedwyn, Hungerford,
Kintbury or Newbury may use South Western Railway services from Salisbury, Grateley, Andover,
Whitchurch, Basingstoke or Overton for travel towards Reading and London Paddington or Waterloo.
At least 'Newbury' will reap the 'fruits' of electrification eventually; interestingly the OHLE plans show
that it is stopping dead at the west end of each through platform; the country end trailing crossover
will not be wired or any 'run off' past the station, although bay P3 is included in the scheme.
442] Truro (excl) - Penzance (incl) & St Erth - St Ives (both incl) with 7 other stations: (BLN 1298.268)
TCP/TCA in part at least Mon 19 to Thur 22 Mar 2018; signalling enhancement works as described in
the back reference. The Night Riviera runs to/from Plymouth and the Falmouth branch is unaffected.
443] Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway, Buckland (6m 16ch) - Broadway (4m 73ch) and
Broadway station: (BLNs 1288.1836 & 1296.16) ROP, special event, Wed 21 & Thu 22 Mar 2018 -
trains for invited working volunteers, major shareholders and donors only. The Railway has advised
that these days will be busy and there is no public access to the railway or station platforms. ROP Good
Friday 30 Mar 2018, (public timetabled services). First train 09.40 from Broadway, first arrival at 10.46
(09.40 from Cheltenham Racecourse). This extends the line to almost 14 miles. Passes and vouchers
are not valid until 4 Apr. https://goo.gl/rxnLyN is the enhanced Easter timetable - passengers are
advised to book in advance online as ticket offices will be busy. There is no car park at Broadway but
there are two pay-and-display car parks in the village. The short stay behind the Broadway Hotel is no
more expensive for the likely duration than the long stay (further east). From Good Friday to Easter
Monday, a London Routemaster bus runs between the station and the village centre every 20 minutes.
444] Birmingham, Soho North Jn - Soho East Jn: CP after the 06.38 SO Wolverhampton to Walsall
PSUL service last runs that way on Sat 24 Mar 2018 (diverted from the direct route since 14 Oct 2017).
445] Darlaston Jn - Walsall Pleck Jn: (BLN 1291.2113) ROP now expected Sat 6 Apr 2017 (Walsall is
closed for engineering work Sat 31 Mar) after TCP 14 Oct 2017 as this line was blocked to electric
traction for work on Pleck Jn OHLE interface. Used by the weekly 06.38 SO Wolverhampton to Walsall.
446] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) End (incl) Location (exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]
1297.122 12 Mar 18 15 Mar 18 *(Theale)-Westbury North Jn/Fairwood Jn (and many later dates)
1286.1609 18 Sep 17 16 Mar 18 Seaton Tramway, Riverside Loop south end - Seaton
1275.366 11 Nov 17 25 Mar 18 (Kirkham North Jn) - Blackpool North
1291.2113 14 Oct 17 30 Mar 18 Darlaston Jn - Walsall Pleck Jn (SO weekly PSUL EMU)
1299.332 30 Mar 18 03 Apr 18 *Bristol TM - (Bath)/(Weston)/(Parkway)/Severn Beach/Patchway
1299.330 29 Mar 18† 09 Apr 18 *Holytown Jn - Midcalder Jn (†after 20.30)
1299.329 17 Mar 18 15 Apr 18 *Stirling P6, 9 & 10 - Alloa
1298.208 27 Jan 18 Unknown (Limerick) (0m 56ch) - Sixmilebridge - (Ennis)
1298.214 12 May 18 19 Aug 18 *(Aberdeen) - (Dyce) [CONFIRMED] last day now Sun 19 Aug
1286.1612 22 Jul 18 07 Oct 18 Derby station/associated lines - a series of partial closures
1297.123 20 Oct 18 28 Oct 18 (Three Bridges) - (Brighton)/(Lewes) (also 16 to 24 Feb 2019)
1299.337 10 Dec 18 *Greenford West Jn - Greenford East Jn - Park Royal - Old Oak Common West
1300 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
447] Welcome to BLN 1300 (=1400)! Did you notice from the top of BLN 1299 front page that this is
'BLN 1400'? BLN was born in Oct 1955 and produced monthly until No100 in Jan 1964 when it went
twice monthly (three that month for good measure). Thus there are an extra 100 ancestral BLNs.
448] Master Cutler: East Midlands Trains produced a limited edition 2.5cm square enamel badge to
mark the 70th anniversary of this famous train. They were only available to staff and are almost sold
out, but thanks to EMT and Kev Adlam a few more (which were carried on the 17 Aug 2017 Master
Cutler) are available for our members. First come first served £25 each; all proceeds to the Mistress
Cutler https://goo.gl/JRK5UZ charity. Cheques payee 'Branch Line Society' to Kev per back page.
449] Long stationless passenger lines: (BLN 1297.168) The 21m 12ch 'record' between passenger
stations set by the York to Malton intermediate station closures on 22 Sep 1930 was broken on
9 Jun 1958. A mass cull of most intermediate stations between Shrewsbury and Llantarnam Jn left
Hereford to Abergavenny (Monmouth Road) via the normal Rotherwas Jn route (26m 23ch) bereft.
It is thought that this in turn stood until 4 Jan 1965, when the remaining intermediate stations
between Beattock and Carstairs closed. Then Beattock to Carnwath (about 1½ miles northeast of
Carstairs on the Edinburgh line) assumed the mantle at 35m 1ch. No trains served both stations;
a change at Carstairs was required. When all the stations between Carstairs and Midcalder CP 18 Apr
1966 the record increased to Beattock to Midcalder (50m 68ch). Finally Beattock itself CP 3 Jan 1972
leaving Lockerbie to Kirknewton (formerly Midcalder) as the current 'record holder' of 64m 61ch.
There are local campaigns to reopen Beattock and Pontrilas as railheads in two of these long sections.
Some 'silver medallists' worthy of mention include York to Thirsk (22m 16ch) following Tollerton's
lingering demise (one early morning northbound train a day) on 1 Nov 1965. West of Castle Cary is an
obvious candidate but turns out to be quite complex. The intermediate stations on the GWR cutoff
CP 10 Sept 1962, leaving Castle Cary to Athelney (19m 50ch). Athelney CP 15 Jun 1964 on withdrawal
of the Yeovil to Taunton service, leaving Castle Cary to Creech St Michael Halt (24m 56ch via the main
line cutoff to Cogload Jn, not by the old line via Durston). There were actually no services connecting
Castle Cary and Athelney or Creech St Michael. Indeed none stopped as Castle Cary and Taunton after
1962 until more recent years, when West of England trains started calling at Castle Cary. Finally Creech
St Michael Halt and Durston both CP 5 Oct 1964, leaving Castle Cary to Taunton (27m 45ch).
Our thanks to the Railway Performance Society (RPS) 'Distance Charts Editor' for some of the distance
calculations. Apparently the mileposting from Carlisle to Glasgow/Edinburgh was unreliable. [Yes, and
the rest - Ed!] When the lines were electrified, kilometre posts were erected and still remain. These
confirmed what had always been suspected, that some mile post placing was suspicious. The quoted
miles and chains above were kindly converted by the RPS editor from the more accurate km posts.
450] Thank You! The Society has received a nice letter from our member Jason Tetley, Chief Executive
of the Railway Benefit Fund, thanking us for our £500 donation. This is in lieu of Richard Maund's
royalties for his 2018 PSUL which involves significant, time consuming, work to compile. Thank you
also to all who have donated prizes for our charity raffles, particularly Robert Green our former
Chairman from Minehead who, with Mark Hill (WSR), provided 10 West Somerset Railway day rovers.
451] Transport for the North (TfN): (BML 1298.221) On 15 Jan 2018, following consent from all
56 local authorities in the North and approval from the House of Lords on 18 Dec 2017, the House of
Commons approved legislation, coming in to force 1 Apr 2018 to establish TfN as the first sub-national
transport body in England. [An 'official' statement; your Editor wonders what makes it different from
Transport for London or Transport for Greater Manchester for example?] TfN's powers will include:
●Producing a statutory transport strategy, which the Government must formally consider in the
decision making process. ●Being consulted on all rail franchises that provide services in the North.
●Funding organisations to deliver transport projects. ●Promoting smart ticketing on public transport.
●Working with local transport authorities to fund, promote and deliver road schemes. However, unlike
Transport for London, it does not have the ability to generate its own income.
452] Points & Slips: ●BLN 1298.MR23] In paper BLN, the BR Bluebell Line Sulky Service returned from
East Grinstead (rather than Lewes) at 10.29 am, 12.28, 2.28 and 4.28pm. Our low numbered member
John Dew noted in BLN 31 (first series), Apr 1958, that passenger traffic on the Lewes - East Grinstead
branch on 9 Mar 1958 was quite brisk in that Sunday afternoon. Most of the passengers seemed to be
either railway enthusiasts [in 1958 you could 'spot' them a mile off] or locals making a final trip before
closure on 17 Mar 1958. Motive power for the one-coach train was Standard 2-6-4T No80033. John is
still a BLS member, a pupil of our founder John Ling who taught in Stourbridge and is also a member.
1300 EAST MIDLANDS (John Cameron) [email protected]
453] Castle Donington: ①There have been regular route learning DMUs and light engines for EMT
and CrossCountry for diversions during the Derby works. ②(BLN 1273.145) A member walked round
Lockington and Hemington to see construction works for the new East Midlands Gateway Logistics
Park, which has a rail freight terminal linked to the Castle Donington line by a new 1.8 mile branch.
Work carried out has been to level the main site and on the road connection to the A453. All that has
been constructed of the new branch so far is the bridge to carry the line over the road north from
Lockington to the A6/A50. The road east from the village is now permanently closed to through traffic.
In the fields between the new bridge and the existing railway, there is no sign of work so far, but the
route is visible as a 'crop mark' - the farmer has planted a new crop up to the future railway boundary.
NEXT PAGE UPPER: The new railway underbridge north of Lockington village in late February.
(Both pictures thanks to Ian Mitchell)
NEXT PAGE LOWER: The Castle Donington line is right looking west, the uncultivated are is where
the new branch to East Midlands Gateway will come off curving round to the left of the camera.
FOLLOWING PAGE BELOW: The new 1.8 mile branch (highlighted with pink spots). Castle Donington
itself is to the left with Kegworth bottom right; M1 Junction 24 is the road access to the terminal.
454] Leicester to Burton-on-Trent: On Sun 11 Feb a member explored various sites along the line...
Swains Park (121m 11ch): On the former Rawdon Colliery area, the relatively new former Open Cast
Disposal sidings remain in situ in good condition but extremely rusty. The main line connection is plain-
lined. At the access gate (SK 2989 1678) the path is blocked to vehicles but open to pedestrians; a sign
says 'No motor vehicles beyond this point'. The area is well-used by dog-walkers, rail enthusiasts etc.
Moira West (120m 67ch): No signs of life on the Sunday morning but the 1896 Midland Railway
signal box with an NX 'Entrance Exit' panel installed in 1986 was staffed later in the day for three
trains. These Engineers' trains from Sharnbrook Jn to Stapleford & Sandiacre Chief Civil Engineer's
Siding were 60mph restricted so went the 'scenic route' passing Moira West at 14.55, 15.22 & 17.08.
Lounge (116m 60ch): Another former Coal
Disposal point; long out of use sidings remain.
Snibston Discovery Museum: (BLN 1287.1728)
This is demolished (a planning notice proposes 144
dwellings) and the colliery railway lifted west from
Chiswell Drive Level Crossing (SK 4166 1450); it is
intact but disused to the east. The Grade II listed
restored colliery buildings and former headstocks
are extant. LEFT: Snibston Colliery branch in the
1970s, with an NCB loco crossing Belvoir Road
Level Crossing (middle of train), the main shopping
street in Coalville, with coal from the pit (in the
background) to the BR exchange sidings. Sadly in
the 1984-85 miners' strike local railwaymen
'blacked' coal - the NCB switched to road haulage
here and rail traffic never resumed. (Gill Stewart)
Mantle Lane (113m 62ch): All the sidings look
very disused. At signal ML18 (section signal
towards Moira) there was an object in the four-
foot which our reporter did not recognise, but
which he has since been reliably informed is an AVI
(Automatic Vehicle Identification) Transponder,
(RIGHT), presumably out of use. It identified
individual wagons that were fitted with AVI
equipment as they passed over it.
Bardon Hill (111m 14ch): Up to three stone
trains are dispatched on Sundays but in the
very early hours. The track layout is 'historic' in
that there are trailing connections into both
the Up and Down running lines but no facing
connection (the Down connection crossing the
Up by a diamond). This type of layout was very
common in the 19th century when facing points
were avoided unless essential. Our reporter
thinks this is now rare and wonders if there are
there any other examples on the network?
At the loading point (very end of Quarry
branch) there are two tracks under the loading
hopper with a third not shown on 2013
TRACKmaps. It is wondered if this is an extra
new track, or simply omitted?
Bagworth Jn (110m 00ch) - Stud Farm Quarry (1m 24ch): Observed from the road bridge over the
quarry rail approach (visited by our 29 Oct 2011 railtour), but heavy snow curtailed the expedition.
ABOVE & NEXT PAGE UPPER: Moira West signal box looking towards Coalville and Leicester. There
used to be sidings here and at Moira West Jn the line went off to the right for Nuneaton via
Shakerstone, latterly to Donisthorpe and Measham Collieries as a branch (but once a triangular
junction). All Nick Jones Sun 11 Feb. This section of the Coalville line has been 'mothballed' in the past.
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: The site of the former Lounge bunker and sidings (with close access to the
A42/M42 this is considered to be a prime potential site for a future rail served freight facility).
BELOW: Location of the transponder (see earlier) on the main running line towards Burton-on-Trent.
PREVIOUS PAGE TOP: Part of Snibston Colliery headstocks with the relocated former Coalville Level
Crossing signal box. Note that the Mk 1 coach formerly used to give public rides at Snibston Discovery
Centre is still on site (lower right). PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: The current end of line at Chiswell Drive
Level Crossing where Nick is standing; beyond is lifted round the curved to former 'Rexco' plant site.
BELOW UPPER: One of the three ballast trains that Sunday from Sharnbook Jn to Stapleford &
Sandiacre Chief Civil Engineer's Siding passing Bardon Hill Box; the quarry exchange sidings are right.
BELOW LOWER: 59003 'Yeoman Highlander' was stabled in Bardon Hill Quarry exchange sidings.
455] Ambergate (former South) Jn: The junction is to be renewed in 2018/19 due to life expired
sleepers, ballast and track components when NR plans remodelling. The changes will reduce journey
times by 30 seconds on both the Derby to Matlock and (with work in Toadmoor Tunnel) the Sheffield
lines and make maintenance easier. To minimise disruption most of the work (Phase 1) will be carried
out during the Derby Remodelling from 13-19 Sep and 22-26 Sep with preparation from 4th-13th.
This makes it cost effective which it would not be in isolation; like for like renewal is about £5M, or
£7.9M with the enhancements. In Phase 2 signal DY556 will be fitted with a Flashing Yellow Aspect for
Matlock trains to enable them to clear the main line quicker. The new layout, higher speed points and
signalling allows passenger trains to travel on/off the branch at 50mph compared with 15mph now.
The 'Down Passenger Loop' will be renamed 'Down Broadholme Loop' in the plan with the standage
reduced from 1,504m to 1,023m, measured from clearance point to exit signal. Permissible entry
speed will remain 30mph but loop exit permissible speed will increase from 20mph to 25mph.
The 'Up Passenger Loop' will be renamed 'Up Broadholme Loop' with standage reduced from 1,346m
to 1,010m, measured from clearance point to exit signal. The loop and entrance points permissible
speed will be increased from 20mph to 25mph. The loop exit permissible speed will remain 25mph.
Both loops (permissive for freight trains) would be shortened at the north end so that Ambergate Jn
can be moved south from 137m 61ch (on a curve) to 137m 41ch (straight track) and be 'stretched' to a
better alignment which also allows easier and more economical maintenance. The Matlock single line
will be extended ¼ mile south partly on a new alignment then using some of the track bed released by
shortening the Down Loop. The branch trailing crossover will still access the Up loop hence the need to
shorten that at the north end. We will all need to do both revised loops and the branch connections!
1300 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]
X.30 BELOW: The Mon-Fri Chiltern Railways route refreshing PSUL working. A very smart 165025
leaving P14 on the 11.36 non-stop to High Wycombe Fri 16 Jan 2018 with four passengers on board.
This train (and the 10.57 from South Ruislip) run via Park Royal but are due to use the Greenford Loop
from 10 Dec this year due to HS2 construction. Park Royal is closing as a through route. (Stuart Hicks)
X.31] ABOVE: An unusual view of Grosvenor Carriage Shed from the Thames Path, the main lines out
of London Victoria are far left on the higher level viaduct. (Kev Adlam 19 Feb 2018)
456] Barking Riverside: (BLN 1291.2218) The contract award date for construction of the new branch
has been delayed by ramifications from the collapse of Carillion. It appears that this will result in a
delay to the start of construction work and could potentially add to the cost of the scheme.
457] Crossrail: (BLN 1299.354) On 19 Feb a Class 345 EMU was moved from Old Dalby to Hayes &
Harlington Loop and worked into Paddington under its own power that evening. It is being tested
between there and Reading. Also on 19th, engineers were working on the newly-installed OHLE on the
tunnel exit ramp at Westbourne Park. During the night of 25/26 Feb the first move on the new build
tunnel sections of a Class 345 unit operating under its own power took place, with a unit running
between Abbey Wood and the Connaught tunnel (OHLE energised on 1 Feb).
458] Why it is called the West 'Coast' Main Line: (BLN 1299.355) Many years ago (1970s?) an instance
was reported of an electric loco-hauled train losing traction power at Bourne End, north of Hemel
Hempstead, and coasting for 25 miles until stopped by signals on Camden bank. When the signal
cleared the driver, undaunted, released the brakes and the train gently rolled 'Up' into Euston!
459] Croydon Tramlink: (BLN 1295.2502) The new timetable was introduced on 25 Feb. Apart from the
changes already detailed, there are additional trams in the early morning and late evening.
460] East Croydon: NR has launched the 'Croydon Area Remodelling Scheme'. If fully approved this
would add two platforms and new concourse areas at East Croydon and additional grade-separated
junctions north of the station. The DfT has agreed funding to work up detailed designs, produce an
outline business case and carry out a public consultation. According to Southern this section of railway
has more train movements over it than anywhere else in Britain.
461] Gunnersbury: (BLN 1284.1374) The crossover here has seen more use recently because of track
circuit failures at Richmond. On 17 Feb both LO and District Line trains were reversing at Gunnersbury
between 14.00 - 19.00. After this LO ran 2tph to Richmond until close of traffic, but District Line trains
remained suspended, with 3tph reversing at Gunnersbury. The same track circuit failed again on 18th;
with LO services reversing at South Acton and then Gunnersbury from 10.45 to 11.35. The District Line
was suspended between Gunnersbury and Richmond until about 15.50 when the failure was cleared.
462] Northern Line Extension: (BLN 1297.137) From 26 May until mid-Sep Northern Line Bank branch
trains will not call at Kennington while four new passageways are built to improve interchange
between platforms. At present most trains to and from Morden operate via the Bank branch outside
the peaks. To enable access between the Charing Cross branch and the line to Morden, a temporary
timetable will be introduced with through trains via Charing Cross to Morden about every ten minutes.
However this will result in a slightly reduced service on the Bank branch.
463] Thameslink: (BLN 1299.358) If the Down (southbound) starting signal on Blackfriars P1 displays
'S', the train is routed via the Down Snow Hill Spur towards London Bridge; 'D' means the route is set
for the rarer Down Snow Hill Line (middle track). 'H' is the Down Holborn Slow to Elephant & Castle.
1300 NORTH EAST (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
Change of email: .Geoff's Talktalk email address is ending, - please use the address above instead.
464] T&W Metro: (A): New Train Fleet: (BLN1299.361) It is reported that 'future-proofing' of the new
fleet may include the potential for operation at 25kV ac as well as 1500V dc, dependent on the cost of
this. This does not mean that the fleet would ever work over the ECML but that the Sunderland line
could be converted to 25 kV ac, probably in conjunction with electrification of the Durham Coast line.
(B): Jesmond old station: (CP 23 Jan 1978) 'The Carriage' pub was the original Blyth & Tyne station
building. The adjacent converted railway carriage is an award winning Indian restaurant 'The Valley
Junction' (a large group of members who ate there on 24 Feb can confirm that the food is excellent).
It did so well that an extension was needed and the 'signal box' was added. This is a mock-up and looks
like one but the large size gives it away. At Corbridge station is 'The Valley', said to be 'The Best Indian
Restaurant in the North', and in Hexham town 'The Valley Connection', both part of the same group.
BELOW LEFT: Jesmond station Aug 1979 after closure to passengers and before electrification.
BELOW RIGHT: Aug 1998, electrification, the new 'signal box' and railway carriage. (Alan Young)
(C) Chillingham Road: (BLN 1299.362 / T&W Metro 25 Feb Tour itinerary) Informed sources advise that
the temporary depot, to stable 10 units while South Gosforth Depot is being rebuilt, will be on land
owned by Nexus on the south side of the Metro line, and not on the Heaton Depot side.
465] Horden: (BLN 1267.2052) Durham County Council (DCC) has increased its contribution to the new
station (NZ 447 412) between Hartlepool and Seaham (12¾ miles) by £750k to £3M, after approval of
its budget. With contributions from the Local Enterprise Partnership and New Stations Fund round 2,
it is hoped it will open in 2020. Details https://goo.gl/QRCmuW of outline designs, train services,
access and facilities are being consulted on - comments to [email protected] by 26 Mar.
466] Stillington line: Northern's franchise includes only one 'Northern Connect' (fast services linking
major northern cities) commitment in the North East: a Middlesbrough - Newcastle - Carlisle service.
This is intended to run via Stockton, Ferryhill and Durham, reopening Norton-on-Tees South Signal
Box (note not Jn!) to Ferryhill South Jn (10m 72ch) to regular passenger traffic after a gap of 66 years!
However there seems to be a problem with paths (on the ECML presumably?) for what is intended to
be an hourly service. As far as is known, it is unresolved. Northern has stated that this service will be
operated by Class 158 DMUs, whereas Connect services elsewhere will be operated by new trains.
1300 NORTH WEST (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
.Graeme's.manx.net address is ending;. new postal address: Dolbryn, Penegoes, Machynlleth, SY20 8NN.
467] More on Mayfield: (BLN 1299.368) This was a 100% London & North Western Railway owned
station as was London Road; the Great Central just had a permanent tenancy of one side. Piccadilly's
present P13 & 14 were a separate Manchester, South Junction & Altrincham Railway station. Parcels,
post office, mail order and newspaper traffic continued after Mayfield CP 12 Sep 1960, the winter
1963/64 working timetable showed departures at:
●12.10 MX Stockport ●18.30 SO Crewe ●22.27 SX Euston
●06.25 Wilmslow ●19.00 SX Birmingham ●23.32 SO Durham**
●06.45 Buxton ●21.00 SX Crewe ●23.57 SO Stockport
●11.27 Stafford* ●21.59 SX Stafford
●14.00 SX Crewe ●22.10 SX Sheffield *DPU - Diesel Parcels Unit
It is not clear how long this continued for, there are reports of the station being disconnected and later
reconnected to the main line for ROG 6 Jul 1970 as the station and undercroft was converted into a
secure Royal Mail / BR Parcels Concentration Depot. This included a new fully covered ramp down the
south (P4) side of the station for electric vehicles hauling parcels trolleys and a simpler mainline
connection. A mechanical sorting device (a carousel) was installed and a covered overhead conveyer
bridge over all the tracks to link with the Royal Mail sorting office on the opposite side of Piccadilly.
Various pictures have confirmed that it was AC electrified (but when?) to the end of the platform
canopies - where the masts had 'Electric Trains Stop Here' or 'No Access to Electric Trains' signs.
A former employee there advises that inward electrically-hauled parcels trains ran in to Piccadilly and
the vehicles were shunted over to Mayfield by the Class 08 stabled there. Some departures were AC
loco hauled directly out from the London end - locos didn't reach the buffer stops but a DPU might.
Your BLN Editor remembers Class 82s there; the mandatory 1976 working timetable departures:
●00.53 MX Redhill E ●18.40 SO Crewe E ●23.08 SX Doncaster D
●02.04 MX Wavertree PCD DPU ●20.26 SX Bricklayers Arms E ●21.49 SX Curzon Street E
●04.00 MX Crewe† E ●20.34 SX Crewe E ●22.47 SX Euston E
●04.25 MX Bolton DPU ●21.06 SX Bradford D ●23.23 SX Luton FSX and
●06.00 Buxton DMU ●21.24 SX Nottingham D
●09.23 Buxton DMU ●21.11 SX Chester DPU ……………. Cricklewood FO
†03.50 ex-Manchester Piccadilly
E = Electric hauled; PCD - Parcels Concentration Depot; DPU = Diesel parcels Unit/s; D = Diesel hauled.
Fewer arrivals were shown than this as most ran to Piccadilly and were shunted across to Mayfield.
In the 1999 ITV futuristic drama 'The Last Train' (on 'YouTube') a St Pancras to Sheffield express enters
(Bradway?) Tunnel as an Asteroid hits Earth and is entombed by the resulting earthquake. [Think of
the Delay Repay!] If that wasn't bad enough a canister of Cryogenetic Gas - insert your own joke here -
punctures and 50 years later the survivors awake at a derelict 'Sheffield' Station. This part was filmed
at Mayfield with platforms, stairs and roof in place, a few modern signs were added for authenticity.
468] Blackpool: (BLN1298.1980) Blackpool North No2 signal box was demolished 15-17 Nov; Carleton
Crossing 21-23 Nov, Kirkham North Junction 12-14 Dec with Salwick No2 12-14 Dec, all in 2017 and
bulldozer jobs. Poulton No3 signal box went 21-22 Feb, the roof was removed with the signal frame
and certain components 'put in to store' at Crewe. Poulton Civic Society had tried to save the box.
469] Kirkham & Wesham: (BLN 1299.365) BELOW: With thanks to Martyn Brailsford a before/after
plan explaining the recent remodelling - it might be worth rereading the previous BLN item with it!
470] Manchester Airport: Unstaffed ticket gates have been installed between Metrolink P4 & 5 and
heavy rail P1-3. This means that anyone with a TfGM concessionary pass or any ticket or pass that will
not work the gates has to present it to a scanner on the gate or to staff via a remote video link.
471] Metrolink: The Rochdale line (not surprisingly) suffered the most in the recent bad weather,
on Thu 1 Mar at least trams terminated at Victoria, then Shaw & Crompton on Fri morning. By that
evening they were running to Newbold (ECS shunt on the single line beyond), an unusual destination.
472] Weaver - Wavertree: Phase 1, Weaver Jn - Runcorn, is due to be commissioned Wed 9 May after
a four day Bank Holiday line closure (Tuesday is a normal working day!). Control transfers to the new
Weaver-Wavertree Workstation at Manchester ROC but re-control of Ditton signal box area has been
deferred. On 20 Feb it was confirmed that Edge Hill Signal Box is to remain open when Lime Street
closes with the Jul 2018 blockade. There is no revised date for transfer of control to Manchester ROC
so it will eventually be an 'island' of separate control on the Lime Street to Huyton/Weaver Jn lines.
1300 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA) (Julian James) [email protected]
473] Peterborough, Werrington Jn: Grade separation is an enhancement considered essential for the
future service levels required of VTEC which will not be completed when needed. In the Jul 2012 CP5
High Level Output Statement, this scheme was particularly cited by government as required of
'the industry' (NR) to provide suitable efficient capacity at Peterborough for the crossing flows of
passenger and freight traffic. (March 'Modern Railways' has a detailed analysis of all ECML flows,
not just at Peterborough, and how the works have been delayed such that VTEC cannot meet its
commitments.) NR describes their proposal now as the building of a new two-track railway line, just
over 3km in length, under the ECML at Werrington Jn for high-speed trains to pass over the
Great Northern Great Eastern (GNGE) Line. North of the Cock Lane footbridge the Stamford Lines
would be widened to the west from two to four tracks (making seven main running lines north of
Peterborough). The new pair of tracks would dive into a new underpass, below the ECML, and rise to
meet the GNGE line approximately 600m after Lincoln Rd. This design follows two consultation rounds.
The first took place in summer 2014 on two options for the scheme - either a 'dive-under' or 'fly-over'
solution. The feedback received indicated overall support with a preference for a dive-under.
The second consultation round, autumn 2016, was on more detailed proposals for the preferred dive-
under option. Following this, NR submitted a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) application for
the powers to build and operate the scheme to the Secretary of State for Transport on 22 Dec 2016.
The formal objection period to the TWAO submission ended on 9 Feb 2017. Due to the inevitable
objections and representations received, the TWAO Unit called for a Public Inquiry into the Werrington
Grade Separation Project. This started on 21 Nov and closed on 15 Dec 2017. The Inquiry Inspector will
now write the report following the inquiry and make a recommendation on the proposals. This will go
forward to be considered by the Secretary of State for final decision on whether to approve the work.
There are no definitive timescales for this, but NR is hopeful of a decision before autumn 2018.
The consultation information is still on NR's Werrington Grade Separation consultation website.
474] Watton-at-Stone: (BLN 1299.374) Hertford North - Stevenage is hourly, seven days a week, with
two trains per hour each way in the weekday peaks. Details are awaited, but from the May timetable it
is expected to be reduced to hourly all day due to the Thameslink timetable. As indicated, buses are
expected from Dec, although planning of the extra track and fifth Stevenage platform is to be 'speeded
up' and may be completed as soon as 2021! It remains to be seen if trains will be curtailed meanwhile
at Hertford or Watton and if PSULs run to maintain route knowledge and avoid closure procedures.
475] Cambridge Carriages, Fen Drayton: (BLN 1299.427) The signal box here among the nurseries is a
GWR wooden box of the 1896 'second standard design' with the later four pitched roof in a green and
cream livery to match the wood station building. Does anyone know if it is a 'new build' in GWR style
or an original box - and if so where from please? The other longer established Carriages Tea Room is at
the former station at Bellingham, Woodburn Rd, Northumberland, NE28 2DG (open daily 10.00-16.30).
The Fen Drayton version with 1920/30s décor has taken five years and £500k for businessman and
railway enthusiast Michaele Attle to develop. He runs a natural stone and hard landscaping business
and was sent some stone which he found out was from a former station. He began by rebuilding the
platform in his back garden. The facility is described as a tea room and restaurant (see BLN 1299).
NEXT PAGE UPPER: Two of the carriages and part of the 'station'. (Press Release)
476] Burnham (Bucks): East of the station the road is being resurfaced beneath the low clearance
bridge under the railway. It already has steel defensive bars to protect it from vehicle strike. The car
park at track level (up the steps outside the station) has passed to TfL and been re-signed. The lift is
only superficially complete and the roof in that area is not quite finished. However, the worksite on
the west end of the platform has gone. Entrance signage is still new GWR style though.
1300 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]
477] Earlswood (Surrey): The three crossovers south of Earlswood are being renewed on a largely 'like
for like' basis between 4 Feb and 12 Mar. These span all four tracks and are facing between the two
Fast tracks and between the two Slow tracks. Permissible diverging speeds will remain 40mph.
The points in the Up Fast (on a slight curve) have presented alignment problems throughout their life,
and that of their predecessors in the 1980s, with through trains experiencing noticeable lateral kicks
each time. This work is thought to have been the main cause for all four tracks closing on 24 & 25 Feb
with buses between Victoria and Gatwick Airport and at other times. Newspapers reported police
being called due to gross overcrowding at Redhill station because of a significant shortage of buses.
478] Redhill: (See track plan with BLN 1298.260 to follow this item.) Your Regional Editor visited
Redhill off peak on 16 Feb. The crossover permitting Down moves from P0 to Earlswood makes the
south end of that platform unusable and accounts for P0 extending north beyond the parallel P1.
P1 takes 8 cars and the rest 12 cars. GWR Reading services generally use P1A, the north (buffer stop)
end, requiring a long walk to a 3-car train. GWR services to Gatwick Airport use P1B. The facing
crossover closest to Merstham is a long way north of the convergence of the Up Loop into the Up
Redhill. On a Southern service to Reigate he was able to traverse the three diamonds south of Redhill
and returning the length of the Up Loop with a journey to East Croydon. This too includes the trailing
crossover at Reigate as Southern services generally use only P2 there, on the Down Reading.
X.32] Petworth, Midhurst & Petersfield line: https://goo.gl/XKiJRu is a 20 minute long free black and
white amateur film which shows the line very well, including footplate shots. Midhurst CP 5 Feb 1955.
1300 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon) [email protected]
479] Holesmouth Jn: This is where the 'Main' line from Severn Beach to Avonmouth, Narroways Hill
Jn then Bristol TM is joined by a facing crossover from the bidirectional 'Up Avonmouth Dock' line
(shown as 'Up Branch' - its previous name - in Aug 2010 TRACKmaps Vol 3 p17A) one of the two tracks
to/from Henbury and Stoke Gifford. Holesmouth Jn is also the single lead to Avonmouth Docks.
Although comprehensive point and crossing work exists at the junction some potential physical moves
do not have signalled routes. Historical restrictive controls also prevent movement of the junction
once a train has entered the Severn Beach single line. Trains of compacted household waste from
London, Brentford Town terminal to SITA Severnside 'energy recovery centre' (OK, incinerator) now
operate up to seven days a week. At present they run via Clifton Down but due to the passenger
service frequency on the single lines are booked to arrive at Severnside in the early hours, returning
before the first passenger train. During line blockages between Narroways Hill Jn and Avonmouth
there is currently no access to the SITA depot. [Come back Pilning Jn to Severn Beach, all is forgiven!]
NR's solution is to divert these trains via Wootton Bassett Jn, the Badminton line, Bristol Parkway to
Henbury and Holesmouth Jn into the former Port of Bristol (Avonmouth) BP Oil sidings to reverse.
A new bidirectionally signalled route between these oil sidings and the Severn Beach line would be
created. Of note the new signalling will allow this even when there is a passenger train at Severn
Beach, so that line capacity won't be 'wasted' and trains to SITA could run at any time of the day.
BELOW: OS 7th Series 1"Inch map 1959. The walk from Bath (access point ST 735 648) to Midford is top
left to bottom middle; the two tunnels are highlighted in purple. The Bath to Westbury line runs down
the right side. NEXT PAGE UPPER: The Bath end of the 1m 4ch Combe Down Tunnel in the beautiful,
tranquil Lyncombe Vale. The Somerset & Dorset was always single track north of Midford although
planned for double and some structures were built wide enough for this (but not the two tunnels).
BELOW: The Bath end entrance to Devonshire Tunnel. (Both Stuart Hicks 20 Feb 2018)
480] S&D: A very active member recently stopped over in Bath Spa and then walked up the hill to the
National Trust Prior Park Landscape gardens (recommended) which has one of four Palladian bridges
in the world (the others are at Stowe, Wilton House and in Catherine Park, St Petersburg). Leaving the
gardens, he walked along Lyncombe Vale (which becomes Lyncombe Vale Road) to climb (between
the tunnels) to the 'Two Tunnels' railway path, on the ex-Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway (S&D) main
line, that Sustrans has created between Bath and Midford. He first walked south, through the 84ch
Combe Down Tunnel (a sign says the walk takes 25 minutes but our member took 17 - must have been
the 'rush hour') towards Midford, with views towards the impressive Tucking Mill Viaduct from above
and below. The walk/cycle can be extended to 12½ miles from Bath (East Twerton) (ST 735 648) close
to Oldfield Park, via Wellow, Shoscombe, West Radstock to Midsomer Norton (ST 665 538) most is on
the very heavily engineered attractive railway formation, in lovely countryside - highly recommended.
On return, our member met a few walkers and more cyclists. Combe Down Tunnel has gentle curves
at both ends but a substantial straight section in the middle. It has a sound (including classical music)
and light artwork near the centre called 'Passage', which slightly relieved his boredom of walking
through the surfaced and dimly lit tunnel. At the north end he continued onwards along the track bed
towards the shorter (¼ mile long) Devonshire Tunnel which is on a continuous curve. The tunnels were
closed with the railway on 7 Mar 1966; when reopened for walkers/cyclists 47 years (6 Apr 2013) later
they were found to be in perfect condition. If you have not done the walk yet you should, if possible!
481] Chippenham: A roving member reports that four new gate lines have been installed and became
operational late last year (to meet a DfT deadline). One is at the top of the steps and lift to the new
country end footbridge (the area around has been glassed in), one on the Up side by the car park exit
from the old footbridge (with a large glassed area similar to Didcot P1 but larger) and two in the
station entrance (by the booking office and another on the disused platform for exiting the station).
482] Portishead: (BLN 1293.2336) In Dec 2017, the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership and
the promoting authorities (South Gloucestershire, Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol City, North
Somerset, and the West of England Combined Authority) submitted a bid for MetroWest Phase 1 to
the DfT's Large Local Major Schemes programme (which it is has certainly become). The outline
business case details the scheme's preferred option with a defined scope, detailed costs, appraisal and
a firm construction plan. The DfT will decide which bids receive funding as part of a competitive
process. In the submission was the detailed project scheme (895 line items). An opening date is not
given, but testing of signalling and stations is intended to be complete by the first quarter of 2021.
483] Bristol Parkway: (BLN 1293.2336) Interestingly parallel arrivals from Bristol TM and Swansea are
still not yet possible in the new layout here. Although there is a facing crossover just north of Filton
Abbey Wood from the Up Filton to the Down Filton (and the latter is not bidirectional thereafter).
This may change with more commissioning associated with re-quadrupling from north of Dr Day's Jn.
1300 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]
484] Baddesley Colliery: The pit closed 17 Feb 1989 after 139 years and coal from it was dispatched by
rail until 28 Jan 1989. However, BLN 608.76 of 20 Apr 1989 reported that coal from Coventry Colliery
was to be washed there and sent out by rail until the new Coventry preparation plant was complete -
did this actually happen? Joe Brown's Railway Atlas gives CG as Oct 1989 which would fit with this.
It is now the Jaguar Land Rover National Distribution Centre with 60 acres of vehicle storage.
The branch track bed survives as a footpath from the former BR/NCB limit, where there used to be a
Midland Railway zero milepost (SP 278 975) and for about a mile to the impressive viaduct over the
Penmire or Sugar Brook (SP 264 985), which was fenced off in the past due to rotten timbers and
broken handrails. Beyond here towards Hall End Jn is overgrown and the going difficult. Hall End Jn
was that for the short Birch Coppice Colliery branch (mining ceased 27 Mar 1987), part of which is
Birmingham Intermodal Freight Depot (OG 9 Sep 2002 - Joe Brown; but BLN 933.243 of 19 Oct 2002
reports a train on 26 Sep 2002 - possibly a 'trial'?).
The rest of the line to Kingsbury Branch Jn is, of course, then in use. The only railtour said to have
traversed the whole Branch was on 12 Dec 1964 (unless anyone knows otherwise!). A second branch
line serving the colliery was the private (latterly NCB) short branch down to the Coventry Canal at
Baddesley Wharf and, from Jul 1871, to sidings on the LNWR Trent Valley Line. The steeply graded
branch, famous for its use of a Beyer-Garrett loco survives as 'The Paddy Line' a footpath from the A5
Watling Street Crossing. Many other footpaths around Baddesley are routes of old wagon ways,
particularly 'The Black Pad' which bisects the village.
485] Bromsgrove: By 5 Mar the overhead line structures appeared complete when seen from an HST
descending the Lickey Incline. Other than a short stretch on both lines through Barnt Green station
with only the upper support wire, the new catenary looked complete down the hill to a little north of
Bromsgrove station. After that there is only the upper support wires on the Down line and the through
the two centre platforms in the station itself. What may be some transformers etc just south of the
station still need to be erected on the multiple masts just west of, and alongside, the line there.
486] Dudley more: (BLN 1299.395) Some Birmingham Snow Hill trains used the LNWR side of the
station (and some northbound also) but not all of them. Others starting from Dudley for Snow Hill and
through trains from Stourbridge left from the GWR side of the station. Your Birmingham born BLN
Editor well remembers early childhood trips from Snow Hill to Dudley (for the Zoo), returning by
initially setting off to the south of the station then reversing (BLN 1298.273) back, much to his surprise.
Two abiding memories are the hand painted message on the wall of Dudley Port (Low Level) station
'ZOO NEXT STOP' (it's still there - just about) and the station staff shouting this out to anyone alighting.
On a summer Saturday the then new green (Western Region) 3-car first generation DMUs were used
to handle the crowds of passengers. The other memory was being propelled back from the end of the
15" gauge Dudley Zoo Miniature Railway with the guard ringing a warning bell at the front (being the
first one he encountered that was not a circuit and did not have a run-round loop at the far terminus).
487] Soho North Jn: (BLN 1295.2539) On 28 Jan a member was the only passenger on the 06.38 SO
weekly Wolverhampton to Walsall PSUL service. From the new Soho Curve North Jn (2m 62ch) it took
the Up Soho Curve, the former Up Through siding. The train was briefly held at Signal BW4204.
The final day of this current routing is Sat 24 Mar, as there are no trains at Walsall over Easter due to
engineering work. From Sat 7 Mar the train reverts to the direct route via Portobello Jn and Pleck Jn.
488] Wellington: On 27 Feb the 14.33 ATW from Shrewsbury (= 11.27 from Holyhead) to Birmingham
International limped into P1 on time at 14.45 with a brake problem, eventually departing 66 mins late
and terminating at Wolverhampton. The following 14.47 Shrewsbury to Birmingham West Midlands
Railway service was held for over 30 minutes before the station before finally taking the Up Wellington
(middle through line) without stopping. Our 24 Mar tour is booked to use both middle through lines.
489] Wolverhampton Steel Terminal: This is being extended for the Boston steel traffic (handled now
at Washwood Heath but affected by HS2). On 28 Feb a new siding was under construction next to the
main building but not yet connected. Work was also underway to lift sidings 9 & 10 presumably to be
re-instated parallel to the new siding. There are reports of possible intermodal traffic too.
X.33] Malvern - Hereford: NEXT PAGE TOP: Daylight is fading as a DRS worked snow plough special
with two Class 66s from Crewe heads through Malvern Link on the evening of Sun 4 Mar to clear the
Malvern to Hereford line which had snow drifts. According to a local railwayman the snow was
'impacted' but, as he was not referring to wisdom teeth that had become stuck, we think he meant
'compacted'. Normal service was able to resume next morning after three days with no trains running
beyond Malvern Wells. (Rob Pritchard)
NEXT PAGE LOWER: Between Malvern Link and Great Malvern in the fading light. (Dr David Guy)
ABOVE: Earlier then same afternoon another
member spotted that the locos (66303 & 66428)
were waiting with Snow Ploughs 965580/1 to set
off from the normally little used Crewe bay P8.
(Stuart Hicks, Sun 4 Mar 2018)
490] Worcestershire Parkway: (BLN 1285.15.21)
The area for a 500-space car park is now cleared
and groundworks complete. The foundations are
being laid for the main station building. The steel
frame will begin to take shape in coming months
and also the footbridge over the railway from
LEFT: Big icicles in Rainbow Hill Tunnel (210yd)
north of Worcester stations on 2 Mar - clearly
'cutting edge technology' is called for to deal with
the problem. (NR Press Release)
1300 YORKSHIRE (Graeme Jolley; Geoff Blyth for North & East Yorks) email addresses elsewhere.
491] Ravensthorpe: On Sun 25 Feb two Class 67s 'top & tailed' four4 Mk3 coaches from Crewe (20.36/
06.31*) to Huddersfield (22.09/05.06*) returning *next morning. Our member suggests it was to test a
bridge at Ravensthorpe; it ran as a DRS operated NR Engineers' train with a Class 5 ECS headcode!
492] Selby/Goole - Hull: (BLN 1299.400) The 3 Apr resignalling has been postponed, possibly until
Christmas 2018 or Easter next year. The Easter 2018/May line possessions will be used for testing etc.
1300 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]
493] There'Sno(w) trains: Due to the severe weather on Fri 2 Mar no trains or Luas trams ran in the
Republic, although north of the border the weather was far less severe with NIR running a full service
('Enterprise' services ran Belfast to/from Newry only). Irish Rail was able to run very limited services,
with speed restrictions, on some lines from mid to late afternoon on 3 Mar on some routes (including
Belfast). Dublin Luas reopened only between The Point and Red Cow (Red Line) then the Green Line
Sandyford to Parnell at 11.00 Sun 4 Mar. The M3 Parkway branch and Connolly - Rosslare Europort,
reopened Mon 5 Mar with Limerick Junction - Waterford and Limerick - Nenagh - Ballybrophy on 6th.
494] Rosslare Strand - Waterford: On 27 Feb another inspection train ran on this very well inspected line.
1300 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
495] Douglas Bay Horse Tramway: (BLN 1298.291) The Promenade proposals have received planning
consent, with a few mainly cosmetic requirements not affecting the proposed tramway realignment.
1300 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe) [email protected]
496] Cumbernauld - Greenhill Lower Jn: This section of line is due to be energised from 12 March, but
will then be blocked to electric traction until 15 April.
497] The Beast from the East: Deteriorating weather conditions across Scotland from Mon 26 Feb,
giving increasing snowfall, finally led to a very unusual Red Snow Warning in parts during 28th, by
which time there had already been extensive cancellations. All ScotRail services were cancelled from
18.00 until 10.00 Thur at least. Mid-afternoon, a strangely darkened Glasgow Central (its 48,000 roof
panes of glass generously covered with snow, which was also blowing about the concourse!), had an
increasing crowd of people unable to depart by train. A reduced service was advertised to operate
from mid-morning Thur; in Ayrshire precious little ran. [The recent weather also demonstrated that
the new roofs at London Paddington and over Manchester Victoria P1-3 are not snow proof.]
498] Edinburgh Trams: Due to the deep snow a reduced service operated on Wed 28 Feb and also on
Thu 1 Mar with trams every 15-20 minutes between York Place and Edinburgh Airport. In addition a
special FREE all night service ran for one night every 30 minutes between midnight and 05.00 on 1 Mar
to help residents and visitors to Edinburgh to get around. Certainly one way of keeping warm…
499] Midcalder Jn Holytown Jn: (BLN 1299.330) By 21 Feb most stretches had some evidence of
electrification, including new footbridges at Shotts and West Calder. At the latter much work was
being carried out on the Up (eastbound) platform. Our correspondent inadvertently overlooked Breich
(like most trains his did not stop), but a video on Facebook, with a Down Blyth to Fort William alumina
(traditionally referred to by Railway Staff in Scotland as 'the Bulks') passing, showed nothing obvious
has happened there yet. Extensive work is to be carried out at Livingston South during the line closure,
from 29 Mar until 9 Apr. Platforms are to be widened and extended, lifts and new staircases provided,
with existing ramps realigned and other passenger-related enhancements. Up P1 is to be extended
28m at the west end; P2 at both ends (by a total of 28m). Both will then be about 147m long.
The station had 342,770 passengers in 2016-17, a healthy increase of 19,080, about 6%, in 12 months.
Further electrification work will be also carried out; the aim is to run an EMU service by Mar 2019.
500] West Highland is Top of the Pops? A press release from Ross Greer, a Green MSP for the West of
Scotland, indicating local support for the idea, proposes 'pop-up' station/s for Rhu (sometimes spelt
Row) and Shandon, between Helensburgh Upper and Garelochhead. The original stations closed to
passengers with withdrawal of the Craigendoran to Arrochar & Tarbet service from 15 Jun 1964.
The Green Party, supporting the budget proposed by the minority SNP government, negotiated a £2M
deal to look into public interest for stations at up to 20 potential Scottish sites. Once the favoured sites
are chosen, there will either be a trial of temporary 'pop-up' facilities or a feasibility study for each.
501] A Golden Opportunity: (BLN 1149.1198) Scotgold Resources Limited has received planning
approval for Scotland's first commercial gold and silver mine after some years (and at least 180 BLNs)
of trying. Their application to develop Cononish Goldmine was approved by the Loch Lomond and the
Trossachs National Park Authority, subject to concluding legal agreements. The mine, near Tyndrum,
already had permission for trial operations on previously extracted rock which yielded 3kg of gold.
The mine has a 2ft gauge railway, (a great nugget of information) with battery electric locos, as plans
include reopening an old mine shaft and removing up to 170,000 tonnes of rock and over 500,000
tonnes of mineral ore. Operations could last 17 years; presumably plenty of work for the traction fleet
and hopefully the 'odd' BLS tour in 'prospect'. (Does anyone have line length details etc please?)
502] Aberdeen - Dyce: During the extended closure from 12 May to 19 Aug for redoubling, National
Rail Enquiries journey planner is currently (at 5 Mar) routing Aberdeen to Dyce (6¼ miles) passengers
via Perth and Inverness, taking about 7 hours! The good news is that well priced advance fares are
available from only £18.90 or £12.50 with a railcard - fantastic entertainment value at less than £2 an
hour and an interesting 312 mile journey. The normal single Aberdeen to Dyce Anytime single fare is
£2.60 or £1.70 with a railcard. Walking at a reasonable speed it would take a couple of hours!
The situation may change when someone puts the replacement buses into the system. Interestingly
the closure is for so long that it is part of the new May timetable rather than an amendment to it.
503] Aberdeen Waterloo: Once with very little/no traffic, NR proposes to upgrade the branch to RA10
standard, renewing 2,316yd of track between Kittybrewster Jn and Waterloo Multi-Modal Terminal
(Aberdeen Harbour Board). This is the concrete apron area (reached by the 15 Feb 2015 Pathfinder
railtour) which is understood not to have had any revenue earning freight trains so far. Initially heavier
calcium carbonate trains will be able to run. The works are scheduled for between Oct and Dec 2018.
504] Whifflet: The new Whifflet work station is due to be commissioned in two stages: 30 Aug/21 Sep
with signalling control transferred to the West of Scotland Signalling Centre (at Sighthill West Jn).
505] Glasgow Queen St: Work has begun on the floor by floor demolition of Consort House, to allow
the extension of P1 to take four car trains. The P2 staff accommodation has already been removed.
506] Unadvertised Passenger Trains: (E-BLN 1299.X24) This designation is given in online systems to
the new short formed reliveried ScotRail HST sets (but members of the general public are not carried).
A BLS member believes it is ScotRail practice for test trips, training trips etc to have Class 2 headcodes
which advises the signaller to keep it on passenger lines. It depends on the degree of safety training of
the staff conveyed and, therefore, the procedure to be followed if the train has to be evacuated while
not at a passenger platform. He is unsure of the exact criteria; it may be if staff have Personal Track
Safety training. On train ticket selling/inspection staff do seem to travel on ECS (Class 5) workings but it
is not known what their safety qualifications are. It is thought catering staff do not travel on ECS. There
may be a further complication depending on if the train is working within the former Strathclyde area,
where a qualified guard is not required. Perhaps a member might have more information about this?
507] Hunterston: (BLN 1299.315) The Largs and Millport Weekly News reports that Peel Ports is
decommissioning the ship coal-handling equipment, so there is no prospect of further coal traffic
except removing the remaining stockpile on site. (The last coal train left for Drax on Thur 6 Apr 2017.)
508] Green'loan'ing - on borrowed time: At 129m 17ch between Dunblane and Gleneagles the Up
and Down Greenloaning Goods Loops have been out of use for years, as well as the points and trailing
crossover, indeed partly dismantled. They are all now proposed for abandonment. The freight industry
agrees they are not long enough for current or future traffic requirements. Abandonment was agreed
with the industry on 1 Mar 2016 at the Route Investment Review Group. Due to an objection which
requested further development on looping capacity on Central Belt to Aberdeen and Inverness lines,
in Sep 2016 a Short Term Network Change was issued for two years.
NR has since begun development of the Dunblane-Perth Corridor Enhancement Programme to assess
the capacity required to provide one freight path per hour between Greenhill to Perth in 2043. If this
identifies Greenloaning as an optimal looping location, then the present infrastructure would need
replacing and enhancing.
NR has the chance to abandon the existing infrastructure in 2019/20 with other maintenance work.
This does not include signal box closure (it is rarely open other than for staff training), but signalling
would be rationalised. It has a now very rare co-acting semaphore signal (Helsby has one and possibly
Cantley.) Further on towards Perth at Blackford (133m 28ch) although 'hope springs eternal', nothing
has sprung up yet at Highland Spring's new rail facility site, approved in Mar 2016 (BLN 1255.787).
BELOW: Grenloaning box on a nice sunny day, Fri 23 Feb 2018. (All: Nick Jones)
NEXT PAGE: Looking south towards Dunblane and Stirling; on the left (Up Main) is the famous
co-acting signal. The box is switched out and trains are not actually expected in both directions.
The small subsidiary Down loop signal (on the right) will never be cleared again here….
NEXT PAGE: In the opposite direction looking north towards Blackford and Perth. Access to the signal
box is across the tracks; this shows what that 'circle on a track' symbol in TRACKMmaps for 'Line in situ
but out of use, partly dismantled, buried or overgrown' can actually means on the ground. Updating
TRACKmaps Vol 1 p15B Nov 2017 it also includes the trailing crossover. The six point noses (referred to
as 'frogs' by some and Hornby models) have been removed to reduce potential rail vehicle wheel
damage/maintenance. As can be seen the loops are very short, the layout is just 22ch end to end.
1300 WALES .NB: (Paul Stewart). [email protected]
509] Paul Jeffries: Unfortunately Paul has had to step down from his post of Wales Regional Editor
with immediate effect due to health issues. He said that it had been a privilege to serve the Society.
Your Editor wishes to convey his heartfelt thanks to Paul on behalf of our Committee and members
for diligently, regularly and consistently providing high quality and interesting material for 185 BLN
editions since BLN 1114 (June 2010) when the Regional Editor system first began. We all wish him a
speedy and full recovery. Please email all future submissions to the address above (redirected).
Until a successor is found please send any postal information to the Editor at the back page address.
510] South Wales coal: (BLN 1297.182) There have been weekly Onllwyn to Immingham briquette
factory trains (eg 27 Feb 12.26) and movements to Swansea Burrows (09.05 & 12.45 on 23 Feb). There
is also Onllwyn traffic to East Usk Yard (13.30 22 Feb) and Scunthorpe Coal Plant (26 Feb 14.10).
In the same eight days Cwmbargoed had trains to Margam 15.45 22 & 28 Feb; 15.43 to Earles Sidings
on 26th & Port Talbot Grange Siding 10.39 22, 23 & 28 Feb, 1 Mar but slightly later at 15.45 on 27 Feb.
Generally there is now a weekly coal train from each location to both Immingham and Scunthorpe.
511] Live Electrification Plans: NR is now consulting with the rail industry over details of the 25kV
OHLE for the England/Wales Border to Newport Station and Cardiff Intersection Bridge for agreement
by 14 Mar. Unsurprisingly it is classed as a 'Complex Project'. Associated plans show all running lines,
including Bishton Flyover and loops such as Pilning Up and Down, are to be electrified plus East Usk
Yard Reception Loop and Pengam Sidings (all 3 roads). [How much of this will see electric traction?]
Bridge reconstruction and track lowering is now underway with foundation and mast construction.
Implementation is envisaged to take three years to provide 25kV OHLE with the power system from
Patchway (112m 68ch) to the Cardiff Intersection Bridge (170m 14ch), east of Cardiff Central (which is
addressed separately). Other works will prepare the signalling infrastructure, including replacement of
non-AC immune equipment and modification to signal structures to comply with the OHLE gauge.
The OHLE will be primarily of NR Series 1 design, a new contact system based on a proven Swiss design
for speeds up to 140mph (225km/h). It will be primarily cantilevers over single or double tracks and
portals over four tracks. Headspans over four tracks have a record of any dewirement affecting more
than one track. Tensioning will be by a spring type arrangement to remove the unreliability of previous
balance weight systems. The power supply will be from a new 400kV National Grid bulk supply point at
Imperial Park, transformed to 25kV via new transformers at St Brides. The electrification for Dec 2018
completion, will be controlled from the Western Rail Operations Centre at Didcot. Design parameters
allow trains to operate normally in mean wind speeds up to 47 mph, with gusts of up to 70 mph.
512] Valleys Railways: The reopening of Ebbw Vale to passenger services has been highly successful,
improving access to new jobs according to the final evaluation report of the Valleys Rail Strengthening
project (2008-11) which cost £22.6M. Improvements to the Valleys peak services generally have
increased capacity by 19% with an 88% increase (2001-11) in passengers using rail to reach work.
513] For reformed DMU buffs only! ATW unit 175009 is running (or not - next item) as 175004 (both
ends!) although properly with the two carriages (79759/70759) that form 175009… 175004 and
175005 previously consisted of one coach from each, initially with a serviceable carriage from each
and the other from the other two after repairs. This reflects the difficulties of combining carriages as a
workable set - once formed, it is more work to break up and reform. Perhaps '009' is due maintenance,
whereas '004' is not and this is a cunning plan to keep a unit in traffic as an overall reformation occurs?
514] Planned South/Mid Wales Works: ❶Llanwern West S&C renewals: Possession requirements
are 22.00 Fri to 05.50 Tue, closing the Relief Lines but releasing the Main lines where possible. This will
be followed by two 27 hour possessions on the Relief Lines (all lines Saturday night) and a 16 hour
possession on the Reliefs (all lines Saturday night) about six weeks later. This would be a Bank Holiday
weekend; May avoids the Easter Filton/Temple Meads block and the Aug Gloucester S&C work.
❷Newport S&C: Expected Xmas 2019, closing all lines for five days, then two days with P1 and the
Down Relief available and a 24 hour all line closure when P1 might be available as a west end bay.
❸Cardiff Gateway: (BLN 1286.1699) This is a new four platform station east of Wentloog Intermodal
Terminal on the South Wales Main Line where all four tracks are being electrified. An 'ARUP' report
shows it to be funded by the owner of the nearby St Mellons Business Park with each platform taking
2x5-car IETs. Construction is scheduled from spring 2019 to summer 2020. An island platform requires
the Relief Lines to be slewed and curved.
The report's author is a bit of a 'WAG' as, recognising the need to schedule works separate from major
sporting events at Millennium Stadium, notes 'Boxing can be a real headache' [Bet he shops at Spar!].
The longest access required is a nine day possession of the Relief Lines to remove electrification
gantries (before use even!) and connect the newly slewed track. Freightliner cannot divert their
Wentloog trains via Pengam, requiring them to be top & tailed. If this work is carried out around
Christmas 2019, it would be synchronised with the Newport work (above).
❹Swansea IET shore supplies: Probably two 27 hour possessions, ideally between Sun 17 Nov & Fri 7
Dec 2018 when Swansea to Llandeilo Jn is due to be blocked. One would be P1/2, the other P3/4
(P4 can only take 4 coach trains and is being extended but Carillion was the main contractor until its
demise). It is also not clear if work on two platform lines would actually allow access to the other two.
❺Fishguard level crossing: The upgrade must be completed by the end of 2018 but can occupy the
end of line while ATW run to/from Fishguard & Goodwick. This suggests a future for 'Harbour' station.
❻Aberystwyth line: Disruptive (unforeseen) access is required for the new Bow Street station.
515] Is this a record? ATW's 17.20 SSuX Crewe to Cardiff (arr 23.37) could serve 50 stations if all the
request stops were made, taking 6 hours 17 minutes via the Central Wales/Heart of Wales Line (delete
as preferred) for just over 200 miles, with intermediate Crewe to Shrewsbury and Swansea to Bridgend
stations. That's a stop just over every 7½ minutes at an average of about 32 mph … Is 50 stations on
one train (2V12 throughout) a record and what did Llanharan, Llantrisant and Pontyclun do wrong?
Mileage Location GBTT 100 75 Llanwrtyd 20.32½
M Ch Dep 103 57 Sugar Loaf 20.39
Crewe 107 47 Cynghordy 20.46
00 00 Nantwich 17.20 112 22 Llandovery 20.58
04 34 Wrenbury 17.28½ 116 06 Llanwrda 21.04
08 68 Whitchurch 17.35½ 117 67 Llangadog 21.08
13 64 Prees 17.43½ 123 39 Llandeilo 21.19½
18 56 Wem 17.50 124 27 Ffairfach 21.22
21 77 Yorton 17.56 128 41 Llandybie 21.29½
25 34 Shrewsbury 18.01½ 130 25 Ammanford 21.34
32 60 Church Stretton 18.24 131 38 Pantyffynnon 21.37
45 43 Craven Arms 18.42½ 136 20 Pontarddulais 21.44
52 57 Broome 18.54 138 45 Llangennech 21.48½
55 38 Hopton Heath 19.00 140 39 Bynea 21.52
58 01 Bucknell 19.04 143 17 Llanelli 22.01
60 76 Knighton 19.09 148 72 Gowerton 22.08½
65 15 Knucklas 19.18 154 40 Swansea 22.32
67 61 Llangynllo 19.23½ 158 39 Llansamlet 22.39
71 49 Llanbister Road 19.31½ 160 21 Skewen 22.43
74 47 Dolau 1936½ 162 27 Neath 22.47½
78 18 Pen-y-Bont 19.42½ 164 07 Briton Ferry 22.51
81 13 Llandrindod 19.47 165 69 Baglan 22.54½
84 65 Builth Road 19.58½ 167 68 Port Talbot Parkway 22.58½
90 32 Cilmeri 20.08 174 07 Pyle 23.07
92 31 Garth (Powys) 20.11½ 180 02 Bridgend 23.15
95 61 Llangammarch 20.17 200 21 Cardiff Central 23.40
97 39 20.21
516] Happy Sesquicentennial Birthday! Marketed as the Heart of Wales Line, but known for longer as
the Central Wales Line, (pedants look away now please) 'Swansea to Shrewsbury' (sic) celebrates its
150th birthday this year. The Heart of Wales Line Development Company is coordinating a wide range
of events including a special train, walks and various arts activities with ATW sponsorship. Beginning
on Fri 23 Mar the 10.09 Shrewsbury to Swansea is to act as a mobile reception for local councils and
community groups, with refreshments, entertainment and the launch of a commemorative booklet.
On Sun 22 Apr there is a guided walk over Cynghordy Viaduct, watch https://goo.gl/HWGomZ for
details, number limited. A shuttle bus from Llandovery station will avoid cars using very narrow lanes.
A big theme is arts, possibly leading to permanent displays and a line-long (121½ miles!) art gallery, at
stations, local galleries and links to other arts activities. Fri 1-Mon 4 Jun Bucknell, Knighton & Knucklas
area artists have open studios, film shows and walks linking the railway with studios. Bishops Castle
Open Studios and Shropshire Hills Art Weekend at the Bank House is 8-11 Jun. It is a long time since
Bishops Castle had a railway but there is great railway enthusiasm; direct buses run from Shrewsbury.
At Craven Arms, Art Café Artists hold their annual exhibition at the Shropshire Hill Discovery Centre
15-18 Jun. Llandovery station's big day is Sun 1 Jul including an art exhibition. Llangammarch and
Garth hold events the same weekend, with an exhibition at Llangammarch Wells Institute. Events are
planned at Llandrindod, Llandeilo, Llangadog and Llanelli, also supporting events at Church Stretton,
Ammanford, Pontarddulais and Builth Road if locals take the lead. On-train events planned include
music, poetry and story-telling. In July there may be something a bit special coming down the line.
517]: Serious Service Suspensions: On Wed 28 Feb all 27 ATW Class 175s were stopped for safety
checks after a chip was found in a wheel. Those that had 'set' out on early services were immediately
terminated and returned to depot ECS. 26 of the fleet of 27 Class 175 DMUs and 5 of the 19 Class 158s
were withdrawn with damaged rear wheel set flanges, severely disrupting ATW services. There were
no trains at places like Leominster for example. Route proving trains with Permanent Way teams ran
both ways between Newport and Shrewsbury for special inspections of crossings and road rail access
points. This was completed by 16.00 with nothing found amiss but then similar defects were found on
ATW loco hauled trains resulting in a line inspection between Shrewsbury and Chester via Wrexham.
Again nothing was found amiss and a route proving train, formed of a Class 175 unit with painted
wheelsets to improve the visibility of any strike marks, was despatched from Chester to Cardiff Canton
Depot via Wrexham at 20.35. The unit had damage to the wheelsets on arrival back at Canton and the
cause was 'tracked' down to a problem at Maindee West Jn. The offending track has been repaired
and from Mon 5 Mar an impressively normal service was run mainly with Class 158 DMUs in place of
the 175s leaving other trains short formed (but at least not cancelled) as 2-cars instead of 4-cars.
Poor old Llandudno Jn - Blaenau Ffestiniog, bottom of the ATW rolling stock food chain again, was
replaced by buses as a result, for once not due to weather related issues. The weather did help with
the crisis; heavy snow on 1 Mar (the first day of meteorological spring) provided a cold comfort
blanket for ATW. They issued a warning that final services on most routes all would start from 14.30
and customer should complete all travel immediately! To be fair, South Wales was on a first ever snow
'Red Alert'. It seems a very large number of wheel sets may need replacing before all trains run again.
518] Bridgend: The line to Swansea was closed for the first stage of the Port Talbot west resignalling
work over the weekend of 3 & 4 Mar. Due to the layout, trains from Paddington/Cardiff arrived in P1
and shunted ECS to return from P2. Just before Bridgend station Tremains Down Passenger loop
(BLN 1285.1556) from 188m 75m to 189m 61ch is out of use; a point blade is missing at the east end.
519] Tondu - Margam: (BLN 1296.9 &11) This line, the 'Ogmore Vale Extension', has been OOU since
13 Jul 2017 under a 'T3' possession due to excessive vegetation which was also obscuring signals.
It was last used Sun 8 Jan 2017 for freight diversions. As at 1 Mar there had been recent tree clearance
but signalling repairs were not complete. A replacement crank wheel shattered on 28 Feb and NR were
seeking to borrow one from the Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway! [They should have plenty of cranks.]
The Llynfi loop has had no attention so is OOU, therefore signalling route adjustments are required at
Tondu Jn. There have been no train crew refreshers, so Fountain Level Crossing has not been tested
and the T3 possession had not (at 1 Mar) been lifted. However, road rail vehicles were out that day
clearing the track and cutting trees. Due to the Bridgend to Swansea possession (previous item) a
significant number of freight trains were booked between Margam and Bridgend via Tondu (reverse)
on 3 & 4 Mar but none took this route. They were all cancelled on Sat 3rd Mar due to the deep snow
and those that ran on the Sunday used the main line (as the possession finished early). It seems freight
trains will use it in future, as will the Sat 10 Mar UKRT 'Valley of the Witch' railtour.
520] Wifi: With £1.5M of Welsh Government funding, ATW has fitted free wifi to all trains, including
Pacers, Class 15Xs and Mk 3 carriages. The signal is particularly good on the Blaenau Ffestiniog branch!
521] Devolution revolution: The transfer of rail services to the Welsh Government (WG) took a
significant step forward on 28 Feb as the draft Welsh Ministers (Transfer of Functions) (Railways)
Order 2018 was laid in the Westminster Parliament. Subject to approval from MPs, Lords and the Privy
Council, this will devolve the procurement and management of Wales & Borders franchise train
services within Wales. It follows detailed discussions between the DfT and WG on how powers will be
devolved to Welsh ministers. The agreement recognises that many of the franchise services operate on
both sides of the border between England and Wales and includes safeguards to protect all passengers
using these routes. As well as continuing with present franchise funding arrangements, the UK
Government will provide an extra £125M for upgrading the Valley Lines, (WG's South Wales metro).
1300 MINOR RAILWAYS (Peter Scott) [email protected]
BELOW: Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway; 6284 waits in a very damp Lakeside station.
(All pictures in this item by Robert Sharpe, 10 February 2018.)
MR40] Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway, Lincolnshire (MR p20) (BLN 1295.MR239): A member visited
this 15" gauge railway on the first day of their 2018 season - Saturday 10 February 2018 - a cold and
dreary day. The weather was terrible, which was a shame as their social media team there had done
their very best in order to get lots of people excited and 'keyed up' for the weekend - so it was a pity to
have, at least at one point, sub-zero temperatures, howling wind and endless amounts of pouring rain!
That being said, our reporter arrived at Lakeside station for the first train of the 2018 season well
ahead of time and purchased the first ticket of the year - perhaps a BLS record! He expected 0-4-0WT
'Effie' (Great Northern Steam Co Ltd/1999) to haul the service given that the first day might not have a
lot of people, but the railway put on a rake of 5 coaches and a miniature LNER '04' Class 2-8-0 No6284
(T Turner, R Crome & R Loxley/2009). After talking to the driver and guard and catching up with all the
new things they had done during the closed period, the pair of them vanished and returned minutes
later with boxes and cartons of items, which they stowed in the rear two compartments of the leading
coach. After a joke about how they didn't need to cater to him quite like this, they explained that
Kingsway station was empty and so the first train was going to take the snacks, drinks and other items
down there. This has to be a bit of a rarity, a miniature railway mixed freight and passenger run!
At Kingsway, pictures were taken while the crew unloaded for another member of staff to sort out and
stock up before setting off for the first full line run to Humberston station. Over the course of the next
few hours, the train carried just our reporter and the guard before a family from the south joined for a
full line return at Humberston and back. Despite the fact the driver was putting in more coal and was
steaming happily, the mother of the group asked what the engine was running on! [On the Severn
Valley Railway last month your BLN Editor felt obliged to interject when a lady pointed to the DMU
parking brake and told her impressionable young grandson that it was the 'steering wheel'!]
PREVIOUS PAGE: - A goods train on a miniature railway! ABOVE: 6284 arrives at Kingsway station.
Afterwards the train remained more or less his for the rest of the day until the end of service. Apart
from the terrible weather, some great runs were achieved with a spot of wheel spin first thing in the
morning, sparks coming out of the loco's chimney in the afternoon and good humour from driver and
guard who were impressed he managed to complete the entire day's operations despite conditions
that would have challenged the most hardened of Arctic explorers! The extension to the caravan park
may be built this year, perhaps in time for the end of season. There is a 20% increase in the price for
All Day tickets from £10 to £12 though it is still excellent value for money. Annual Passes are available:
£60 Adult; Child £40 and Family (2+1 £150; 2+2 £175 and 2+3 £195), allowing unlimited rides, early
access for special events and 10% off food and drink at the café. A rather good day our reporter notes.
MR41] Alexandra Park Miniature Railway, Hastings, East Sussex (MR p16) (BLN 1254.MR60): This 7¼"
gauge railway is located at the northern end of the park, involving a long - if pleasant walk - through
the park from the town or railway station. Since February 2016 it has been operated by the owners of
the seafront Hastings Miniature Railway. A visit on a beautiful sunny Saturday 17 February 2018 found
steam outline 'Bridget' at work with a train of two open sit-in coaches. Triang Golden Arrow
locomotive 'Harold' was spare on the turntable. Fares were £2 for all, for which a coloured paper roll
ticket was issued - titled 'HMR Alexandra Park'. The line is a double circuit that crosses over itself,
around which trains run clockwise. There are also two bridges over a stream and a tunnel/shed that
has a siding inside. A small 4-road ground level shed is off the turntable by the single platform station.
NEXT PAGE UPPER: Alexandra Park Miniature Railway - 'Harold' is spare on the turntable,
while 'Bridget' is waiting for passengers. (Peter Scott 17 February 2018.)
PREVIOUS PAGE: Hastings Miniature Railway - 47834 'Jerry Lee' stands in Rock-a-Nore
station under a cloudless sky. (Peter Scott 17 February 2018.)
MR42] Hastings Miniature Railway, East Sussex (MR p16) (BLN 1285.MR132): This 10¼" gauge line,
first opened in 1948, runs near the seafront from near Old Town to near the East Hill Cliff Railway.
On arrival at the west end of the line (Marine Parade station) on a sunny Saturday 17 February 2018 a
part-loaded train was waiting in the station, but no locomotive was present. The young guard stated
they were waiting for the 'Train' to arrive! After a short time steam outline 2-8-0 No1993 'Emmett'
(apparently a Severn Lamb product) arrived and hauled the train to Rock-a-Nore station, passing
another train at The Stade loop. On arrival at Rock-a-Nore 'Emmett' was removed from service and
replaced (after a little shunting) by 47834 'Jerry Lee'. This train was formed of four covered coaches.
The other train was formed of five open and closed coaches, hauled by steam outline 0-6-2DH No6
'Cornish Pixie' (RVM/2016). Steam loco 'Edmund Hannay' was by the turntable at Rock-a-Nore, while in
the tunnel/shed (through which the train runs) were 'Speedy Fizzle' and D801 'Vanguard' - the latter
ex-Paignton Zoo. Fares (for all) were £3 return and £2 single for which a titled paper roll ticket was
issued. A 50p deduction is given on production of a ticket from the Alexandra Park Miniature Railway.
MR43] Apedale Valley Light Railway, Staffordshire (MR p23) (BLN 1296.MR8): The Moseley Railway
Trust is able to confirm the details of the first guest locomotive for the 'Tracks to the Trenches' 2018
event, which will take place Friday 13 to Sunday 15 July - the third in a series of events held to mark
the WWI centenary, and highlight how narrow gauge railways supported the fighting men of all
nations. With thanks to the North Gloucestershire Narrow Gauge Railway, their Henschel 'Brigadelok'
loco will make a very welcome return to Apedale. It was built in 1918 by Henschel at their Kassel
works, Germany (works No15968). Nearly 2,500 of this type of locomotive were built, by a variety of
German builders, and they worked on light railways serving the German armed forces in many
countries. The Brigadeloks also proved to be popular with industrial users after WWI, over 100 survive,
scattered through 20 countries on four continents. Henschel 15968 worked on a railway serving a
sugar factory in Poland until being brought to the UK in 1985. It was then restored to its current
immaculate condition, and can frequently be seen hauling trains at Toddington, Gloucestershire. Note
that previous such events at Apedale have not included passenger rides on the trench railway.
MR44] Steeple Grange Light Railway, Derbyshire (MR p14) (BLN 1296.MR4): A licence to run trains
over the Steeplehouse Quarry branch was granted in time for Santa Trains to operate over the branch
into the Quarry on Saturday 9 December 2017. Santa Trains were also to run on Sunday 10 December,
but were cancelled due to heavy snow. The branch will see passenger trains during the 2018 season.
MR45] Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway, Devon (MR p34) (BLN 1233.MR68): When the railway was
first constructed, the car bodies were designed to be removable to allow goods to be transported. On
Monday 29 January this was put to the test as classic cars were ferried up and down on the 3' 9" gauge
railway. It was part of a photoshoot by 'Practical Classics' magazine, inspired by an old photograph of a
1905 car on the railway belonging to railway financier George Newnes. Cars involved included a Morris
Minor, Triumph Vitesse, Triumph Herald, MGB GT and MG Midget among others. The picture shoot
was followed by a drive into the Valley of Rocks and along Woody Bay coast road for more pictures.
MR46] Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway, Torfaen (MR p9): A start was made in January on the
construction of a new carriage storage shed at Blaenavon. The shed is being constructed over what
used to be the exchange sidings for Big Pit and the Washery. It will be 13.5m wide and 91.5m long,
taking the equivalent of 4 x Mk1 coaches on each of the three lines when complete.
MR47] Swanage Railway, Dorset (BLN 1299.MR31): A member notes that while West Coast Railways
initially provided the coaches used for the trains between Wareham and Swanage last summer,
London Transport Museum's 4TC unit was (very appropriately) used from early July.
MR48] Lincolnshire Wolds Railway, Lincolnshire (MR p8): By mid February the Railway had begun
work on its five mile southern extension, which will eventually see it return to the outskirts of Louth.
Work has started on clearing undergrowth and scraping the trackbed south from Ludborough station
(146m 24ch) to Pear Tree Lane Crossing (145m 49ch). The Railway owns just over five miles of former
Great Northern Railway trackbed south to Fairfield Industrial Estate north of Louth. Extending the line
to Pear Tree Lane is Phase 1 of a much bigger long-term project, to eventually see trains running into a
new station outside Louth. The estimated cost of ballast, rail and sleepers etc is £200k just for Phase 1
and the Railway has launched an appeal for funds to ensure that work can continue apace.
522] FIXTURES REPORT; Don't be Vague…The Haigh Hall-ier, Sun 21 Jan 2018: (MR P17) By our Nick
(re)-Porter. The attractive grounds of Haigh Hall lie a few miles north of Wigan. On a pleasant summer
day various events bring visitors to the Haigh Hall Miniature Railway. Today was certainly not a lovely
summer day and I am sure that the 18 members had kept a close eye on the weather forecast
(a 19th very local member came out on foot to keep an eye on us!). The weather was almost as bad as
anticipated but our members and most miniature railway operators are made of hard stuff.
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Haigh Hall station (the locals pronounce 'Haigh as 'Hay') - Kev Adlam.
ABOVE: Isn't it strange how many minor railways run though woods? (Howard Harrison)
The substantial 15'' gauge woodland railway runs
around gardens on the site for just under a mile.
It is a simple layout with just one circular track and in
places heavily engineered. Haigh Hall is the main
station, which once had a loop with station Haigh
Hall North, just an area of hard standing. The latter is
actually used during special events in the adjacent
field. Regular diesel loco 'Helen' and three semi
enclosed (every little helps) coaches, well at least
they had useful roofs if no sides, were waiting at the
main station. In true BLS style we first reversed in to
the lengthy three road shed. The middle road had been cleared especially, so we, of course, propelled
to the end - exactly what members had travelled 100s of miles for. In the other two roads interesting
looking vehicles could just be made out in the gloom and there roads were traversed to the shed
doors. After shunting the stock back into the shed, our special proceeded in an anti-clockwise direction
around the whole railway. We thought this was the normal direction, but we were told that a hotel has
recently opened in the grounds and public running is now clockwise to give the driver a better view of
road traffic. Arriving back at Haigh Hall, we were pleased to see 'Rachel', a more veteran diesel
warming up. 'Rachel' was attached to the rear and we did a full circuit in the now usual direction.
A final double headed run was now undertaken also clockwise. [Tickets by our ticket guru Jim Sellens.]
ABOVE: 'Helen' - the snow definitely added something to this visit! (Howard Harrison)
By now it was snowing quite heavily, which I suppose was easier to rub off than rain! Our little engines
performed very well but due to the challenging conditions the nearby model engineers with their
elevated line could not run. This was understandable, but hopefully a future visit can be arranged.
Having thanked the railway's hard working volunteers we all ran back to our cars to defrost and dry
out. The highest temperature all day was no more than 2oC but actually the snow enhanced the event.
Many thanks to Tim Wallis for arranging this excellent visit to complement…
523] Burnley & Pendle Model Railway Society: (MR p19) Then it was off to Burnley. The first few miles
on the road were quite lively, indeed with heavy snow, but on
reaching lower ground it soon cleared and was almost dry by Burnley.
Set in an attractive park not far from the town centre a couple more
members joined in for the 12.00 visit. The railway's website has an
interesting article about various proposed sites before they settled on
Thompson Park. It was only a year since our last visit but some major
changes had taken place which were our targets. Four trains were
waiting for us in the new platform at the only station Bank Hall
Meadows, now with an impressive three platforms (three tracks with
five platform faces - work that one out*). We followed each other in a
safe procession over inner and outer loops with all the interesting
multiple connections between. In fact every little bit of main line was
covered including the short return from station to depot not normally
used and, importantly, the connections to the new platform and the
new loop and permutations by the depot installed since our last visit.
It was then back to the warm welcoming clubhouse for much needed
unlimited hot drinks and biscuits.
ABOVE: The keen; group photo at Thompson Park, Burnley & Pendle Model Railway Society. What's
the betting that some of those on the right thought they were not in the picture? (Joe Taylor)
As the weather was deteriorating, heavy rain now, those who don't do depot tracks and sidings wisely
left with the hardiest 11 continuing! Again, the railway had a very well worked out plan for us to cover
the depot area. Diesel loco 'Titan' and open coach 'Isabelle' took four at a time while the rest dried
out. First we visited the newly installed three track fiddle yard past the sheds and covered them to the
ends of lines. A fourth line was planned but there was insufficient clearance and, indeed, the track
nearest the running line is a bit close so will be removed in time but the two other lines are due to be
extended further. There are seven shed roads in three buildings. As moveable stock was cleared in
rotation we were able to cover a good selection including, pleasingly, some not visited last year and
lines 1 and 7 to their extremity. Finally, 'Titan' took us up on to the turntable, for hand propulsion to
eight of the run offs, all except that nearest the loading bay and the loading bay itself which were
occupied. A great visit, especially considering the weather, thanks to the railway and Kev Adlam. Let's
hope they can expand further as another visit would be welcome. Some then took advantage of
engineering work in the area to do things like Hunts Cross facing crossover and some particularly
interesting moves at Stalybridge. [*Three lines now run through the station and two are 'two faced'.]
Details must be checked 1300 CONNECTIONS (Paul Stewart) [email protected] Please mention BLN
524] 900 FREE TICKETS, Nene Valley Railway 17 & 18 Mar: For the 900th anniversary of Peterborough
Cathedral (well worth a visit - work began in 1118). The railway website shows a 'behind the scenes'
event with one free Wansford - Yarwell shuttle trip, shed and signalbox tours. Also free admission to
Overton station yard, Garden Railway rides, pump trolley and TPO. Normal fares for steam trains.
525] 'The Wagons', Enthorpe Station: https://goo.gl/agyFTo an interesting and entertaining website.
Near Middleton on the Wolds, Driffield, East Yorkshire, YO25 9DG, (SE 915 460). Reasonably priced but
luxurious holiday accommodation; 1940s vintage converted railway wagons. A very remote station in
lovely countryside on the former Market Weighton - Driffield line (CP 20 Sep 1954; CA 14 Jun 1965).
Two, four and six berth accommodation from £179 for 3 nights. 01377 217342 07946 077317.
526] Dunston Staiths: (E-BLN 1296.X4) Staiths Rd, NE11 9DR - free car park. Open (except during high
winds) 30 Mar-30 Sep 2018, Weds 10.00-19.00; Weekends 10.00-17.00, some Bank Holidays & special
events such as sunset openings, guided walks and talks. OG 1893 by the North Eastern Railway on the
River Tyne, the impressive staiths, the largest wooden structure in Europe, were built for coal from the
Durham Coalfields arriving by rail to be loaded directly onto waiting colliers (coal ships) for London and
abroad. Up to 5.5M tons was handled each year. CG 25 Apr 1980 the staiths fell into serious disrepair
but were renovated for the 1990 Gateshead National Garden Festival. A fire in 2003 caused serious
damage which is being repaired. They are a Grade II listed Scheduled Monument owned by the
Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust. The nearby Staiths Café opens Mon-Fri 08.00-22.00;
Sat 09.00-22.00 & Sun 10.00-17.00. ABOVE: 1951 OS 1:25,000 map (please don't tell our NE Editor that
the OS have put an 'e' in 'Staiths'!); the Redheugh branch is south of the Tyne along the river bank and
the East Coast Main Line is right. https://goo.gl/1P6PKd has amazing modern pictures - use the arrow.
BELOW: Light engine at the very end of line (wagons would normally occupy this section of line).
A light engine trip along Dunston Staiths on the resident Class 03 (the heaviest loco allowed on the
structure) in Apr 1980 just before closure, there was no traffic then. BELOW: The end of the line:
ABOVE: Middle right is Dunston Power Station, the cooling towers to its right were at Stella South PS
with the two chimneys at Stella North PS (on the north side of the Tyne) far right - all three generating.
ABOVE: On a different Class 03 Loco five month later in Sep 1980 heading east along the Redheugh
Branch close to the south bank of the River Tyne (left). This passes under the Dunston Staiths line
(ahead) which had CG 15 May 1980. The loco would reverse in a headshunt then run south west from
the river to reach the Redheugh Iron & Steel Co. The local railwaymen in the Blyth, Tyne and Wear
areas were generally very friendly and there were still a good number of interesting freight lines and
locations operating here then often with their own stabled shunter. (All thanks to Ian Mortimer.)
527] Southfield House Light Railway (7¼" gauge): Thought to be the largest garden railway in the UK.
https://goo.gl/9SMLBB is a 9½ minute video which starts with a plan of this amazing PRIVATE railway
over a mile long, the basic run takes half an hour and includes a significant viaduct! Southfield House,
Kenwick Rd, Louth, LN11 8NL, (TF 337 859). Steaming days 2018: Suns 11 Mar, 8 Apr, 6 May, 10 Jun,
1 Jul, 16 Sep, 7 Oct & 4 Nov; 11.00 to 15.30. The Station Buffet will be available. To assist with planning
please contact Bridget at [email protected] or text/phone 07906 166858 to
confirm attendance and the number coming. Children must be supervised by an adult at all times.
528] Colne Valley Railway, Diesel Gala, Sat 24 Mar 10.30 - 17.00: Yeldham Rd, Castle Hedingham,
CO9 3DZ, (TL 773 362) (MR p8) D2041, D2184, 14901 & DMU W55033. Adult £8; Senior £6; Child £4;
Family £22 (2A & 2C); Dog £2. Peak service six trains per hour; double headed Class 03s as a finale
and morning rare track tour: 10.45 to about 11.10: Hedingham P2 - Nunnery Jn Loop - Nunnery Jn
Headshunt - Nunnery Jn Main line - Hedingham P2 - Drawell Loop - Riverside Sidings or Diesel
Sidings (according to space) - Drawell Loop - Hedingham P2. This will be the only gala train to
Nunnery Headshunt and Drawell Loop. NB: the miniature railway is currently closed for rebuilding.
529] Blackpool Tramway, 'Friends of 40' Tour, Sat 21 Apr: Standard tram 147, subject to completion of
work, is planned rather than the usual Box Car 40. Rigby Road Depot 11.00 via trailing crossover south of
Central Pier to Pleasure Beach loop (photo stop; possibly also at North Pier and Cleveleys) and Fleetwood.