Number 1308 (Items 1360 - 1495 & MR 127 - MR 132) (E-BLN 75 PAGES) 21 July 2018
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Respice in praeteritum, praesens et futurum
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.
…..B BLN 1309 is dated Sat 4 AugSuosctie; tpyl.eSaosceietsye.nd contributions by Wed 25 July.
Date Event and details BLN Lead Status
Fri 20 Jul Barrow Hill Engine Shed Tours 18.00 & 18.30 (New Track) Below JE *OPEN*
Sat 21 Jul The Dawson Cobra, Middlesbrough Goods, track & traction 1306 JE OPEN
Thur 2 Aug 12.45 Spa Valley Railway IMPORTANT UPDATE - BLN 1306 1306 JE OPEN
Fri 3 Aug 10.00 Penmaenmawr for Bangor area signal box visits Below BC *OPEN*
Sat 4 Aug 14.00-16.00 Wester Pickston Railway, Methven, Perth 1305 JE OPEN
Sun 5 Aug Invergarry & Fort Augustus Railway FULL/FULL WAITING LIST 1301 JE FULL
Sat 18 Aug 09.30 Summer Scunthorpe Steeler tour No16 limited space Below JE OPEN
1300 JE OPEN
Sat 25 Aug 09.30-10.30 Blenheim Park Railway (15" gauge) railtour
Sat 25 Aug 12.00-16.00 Beeches Light Railway ONE PLACE AVAILABLE‡ 1299 JE *OPEN*
Mon 27 Aug The Marching Crompton track/traction Bank Holiday tour Below JE OPEN
Mon 27 Aug Llanelli & Mynydd Mawr Railway, riding visit & extra track Below JE OPEN
Sat 8 Sep 10.30 Minor Railways in Hertfordshire & Essex Day 1 Below JE *OPEN*
Sun 9 Sep 10.30 Minor Railways in Essex & Hertfordshire Day 2 Below JE *OPEN*
Sat 29 Sep 13.00 Coate Water Railway, North Wilts MES, Swindon 1307 JE OPEN
Sun 30 Sep 10.00. 11.00, 12.00 & 13.00: Ribblesdale Cement Works Below JE *OPEN*
Sun 21 Oct 12.00 Andover Model Engineers all line style visit 1307 JE OPEN
26-28 Oct Yorkshire weekend AGM, various fixtures & film show/buffet TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 17 Nov East-West Midlands Railtour with an extremely unusual first TBA TBA Claimed
Sun 24 Feb *NEW* Save the date for a railtour in the north of England TBA TBA Claimed
16-19 May Island of Ireland IV (2019) - reserve the dates TBA TBA Claimed
‡Bookings close 30 July, BC=Barney Clark, JE=Jill Everitt, TBA=To Be Announced = book online at branchline.uk
1360] BLS Electronic Messages: (BLN 1307.1267) Please send any urgent and/or time sensitive
suitable information/details of events that might interest members, that missed BLN or cannot wait
for the next BLN, to distr[email protected] (Nick Garnham). Any Members who do not yet
receive our occasional electronic messages can easily sign up at https://goo.gl/JqT61k choosing
which they would like to receive. There is no requirement to look at e-BLN and all you need is an
email address. Non-Members are also welcome to sign up at https://goo.gl/uCErpL from any email
address (as was the case with Branch Line). If you know of any who might be interested, please tell
them; we were all non-members once and the hope is that they might later want to join the Society.
Short term information is also available on our website 'Forum' - some to logged in members only.
X.96] ABOVE: An RCTS visit to the excellent Coate Water Railway in Oct 2010. The highlight of the day
was a run behind two Standard 2-10-0 9Fs which coped very well with the heavy train. (Paul Udey).
Our visit to comprehensively cover the interesting layout is on Sat 29 Sep (details in BLN 1307).
1361] .The East Midlands Wheelbarrow. Fri 20 Jul 18.30: Barrow Hill Roundhouse, Campbell Drive,
Chesterfield, S43 2PR (SK 413 755) (MR p8). A track & traction event with PLEG the day before our AV
Dawson event. 08879 top & tail with 02003; both brickyard sidings then the first passenger train over
the two new, fully relaid EMT sidings (by the Coal Stage) for stabling and servicing EMT stock during
the Derby blockade from Sat 21 Jul! BLS/PLEG members only £20 (U18s £10, must be accompanied).
Website booking only due to the timescale, but can be made by another person. Earlier at 18.00 are
three trips over the normal 'public run' for haulage only (see website). Although at very short notice in
paper BLN, and less so in e-BLN, details went out on our new electronic email system on Wed 11 Jul.
1362] .Bangor Signal Box Visits. Fri 3 Aug, 10.00 Penmaenmawr station: (07.50 ex-Manchester Piccadilly/
05.08 ex-Cardiff Central etc). Thanks to Barney Clark, visits to Penmaenmawr & Bangor signal boxes, Aber
Emergency GF and Llanfair PG crossing box. Also some of the Britannia (rail) Bridge vehicle access points.
BLS members only, limited number; an on the day cash charity donation applies. It is a condition of booking
that this is payable by anyone who fails to turn up or cancels late and can't be replaced. Hi-Viz orange vest
required. Bookings/queries barnaby[email protected] (note underscore) or 1 Onslow Road, Richmond,
TW10 6QH (with SAE). Please advise if you are arriving by car (and how many lifts you can give) or by train.
1363] .Scunthorpe Steeler No16. Sat 18 Aug 09.30-18.30: (report/pictures BLN 1297.197) If you only ever
visit one industrial railway this should be it! An operating integrated steel works and 24-hour railway; over
100 miles of track, many unusual and interesting lines. Connects with 09.06 arrival from Manchester at
Scunthorpe and 19.08 return. An extensive detailed full day summer tour including a lunch break, with
food and drink. A few places remain. MEMBERS ONLY £45 (only £5 an hour!); Under 18s £22.50 must be
accompanied by an adult. Our tours support the AFRPS volunteers. Please book online or by post via Jill
Everitt (supplying membership number and email address or SAE). Route requests/queries to Paul Stewart.
1364] .The Marching Crompton. Bank Hol Mon 27 Aug: Two Class 33s and a trip to the heritage
Llanelli & Mynydd Mawr Railway by vintage bus or spend time in Cardiff or Llanelli. Timings/route
validated by WCR and bid: Crewe P12 (PU 06.30) - Shrewsbury P4 (PU 07.30) - Church Stretton (PU
07.45) - Craven Arms DGL - Craven Arms (PU 08.12) - Leominster (PU 08.27) - Hereford Platform
Loop P1 (rare southern exit) - Panteg DGL - Newport Down Relief - Gaer Jn XO - Down Main - Ebbw
Jn XO - Down Relief - Cardiff P3 (PU/SD 09.45) - Leckwith Loop Jn South - North - Dn Miskin Loop -
Tremains DPL - Stormy DPL - Port Talbot Dn Relief - Briton Ferry - Morlais Jn - Llandeilo Jn DGL -
Llanelli (11.30 - 14.30) - Llandeilo Jn UGL - Up Main - Swansea Avoiding Line - Briton Ferry Up
Through Siding - Port Talbot Up Relief - Up Ogmore Vale Extension - Stormy UPL - Pencoed UPL - Up
Miskin Loop - Line 'A' - Cardiff P0 (SD/PU 16.25) - Line 'B' - Long Dyke Jn XOs - Up Relief - Rumney
River Bridge Jn - Up Main - Ebbw Jn West XO - Up Relief - Newport Up Relief - Panteg UGL -
Abergavenny UGL - Pontrilas UGL - Hereford Up Relief - Leominster (SD 17.45) - Woofferton UGL -
Craven Arms (SD 18.00) - Church Stretton (SD 18.10) - Sutton Bridge UGL - Shrewsbury Dn Main
(centre) - Gresty Bridge Dn Sdgs Arrival (Dn Reception) - Crewe P12 (SD 19.30). Standard Class:
£84.00. First Class Plus with refreshments: £139.00. First Class Plus guaranteed table for two with
refreshments: £149.00. Under 18s, must be accompanied by an adult: £42.00 reduction on all
fares. Non-BLS members (all ages): £12.00 surcharge. IMPORTANT FOR ALL BOOKINGS - PLEASE
STATE WHERE YOU INTEND TO JOIN AND ALIGHT (can be changed later by notification). Please book
on our website, or ask someone to do this for you (they need your full name and membership
number if applicable) to save your volunteer team a great deal of work. All queries to the Bookings
Officer per back page by email or post with SAE. For postal bookings, please quote membership No.
1365] Llanelli & Mynydd Mawr Railway. Bank Hol Mon 27 Aug: (BLN 1289.MR184 & 185) 'More & Mawr'
(MR p9) www.llanellirailway.co.uk Cynheidre Colliery site, SA15 5YF, a private riding visit with vintage bus
transport from Llanelli station/return. Can be joined at either, even if not on main tour (please advise if
doing this in 'comments' box). The site opened to the public in Sep 2017; there will be short trips in a Mk 2
RFO hauled by Rolls Royce Sentinel 10222 and ex-Dutch Railways English Electric 0-6-0DE NS625 over the
normal run and south of the platform to the main shed point - its first passenger train in preservation,
possibly the only occasion it will be used! A cab ride is a prize in the tour raffle. £15 includes bus transfers,
a track plan, souvenir ticket & stocklist. Please book online or post to Jill Everitt per previous item.
1366] .A Royal Garden Party. Sat 8 Sep 10.30: With thanks to our local member Bill Davis, all available
track tours of the 7¼" gauge, 580yd .East Herts Miniature Railway. (MR p18) Van Hage Garden Centre,
Great Amwell, near Ware, Herts, SG12 9RP, (TL 365 124); 1¼ mile walk from Ware station. To follow:
.Hatfield House Miniature Railway. a 570yd 10¼" gauge line, (MR p18) Hatfield Park Farm, Hatfield
Park, Hatfield, AL9 5HX, (TL 235 080). .Vanstone Woodland Railway. Vanstone Park Garden Centre,
Hitchin Road, Codicote, SG4 8TH, (TL 215 201) 560yd long, 10¼" gauge; (MR P19). See next item.
1367] .Animal Tracker II. Sun 9 Sep 09.00: 'Rex Express' Paradise Wildlife Park, White Stubbs Lane,
Broxbourne (station 2¾ miles), EN10 7QA, (TL 338 068) 10¼" gauge, 300yd all available track (was
'Paradise Woodland Railway' MR p19). Then Royal Gunpowder Mills, Beaulieu Drive, Waltham Abbey,
EN8 1JY, (TL376011) for the 320yd, 7¼" gauge .Bangs Galore & Gunpowder Creek Railway. (MR p16)
which was known as 'Uncle John's Railway' until the start of the 2015 season. Also the newly opened
2' 6" gauge line and a Road Train site tour, inspecting the remains of the 18" gauge line. Refreshments
are included at both sites. Total cost per head, no part fares but either day can be booked separately:
Saturday £10; Under 18 £5 (non-members £15; U18 £10). Sunday £30; Under 18 £15 (non-members
£40; Under 18 £25) - superb value considering the admission charges at some locations. Please advise
if you can assist with lifts on the days/number or if you would like one. Website booking saves much
work (or please ask someone to do this for you) or by post as per Scunthorpe item 1363 above.
1368] .Ribblesdale Cement Works. Sun 30 Sep: West Bradford Rd, Clitheroe, BB7 4QF (SD 748 433),
(a mile to walk from Clitheroe station). Thanks to Hanson Cement Ribblesdale (part of Heidelberg
Cement), identical 'all available lines' tours of the branch railway at 10.00, 11.00, 12.00 & 13.00,
each limited to 50 participants, in our Society mess van 'Molly' and lasting about 45 minutes. Using
a temporary platform, these cover the entire railway system, to the NR boundary near the
Blackburn to Hellifield line, both siding roads and the loco shed road. Operated by volunteers and
Hanson staff, the onsite locos (GECT 0-6-0DH 5396 and 5401 of 1975) 'top & tail'. £45 all Adults;
Under 18s £22.50; - note all Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult. Includes souvenir ticket,
stocklist and map. All profits will be distributed to Hanson's nominated charities. This railtour is
expected to fill rapidly. Booking online is preferred and saves work, or by post as per previous item.
1308 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
1369] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) Reopens Location (exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]
1306.1149 7 Jul 18 23 Jul 18 Aynho Jn/(Hanborough†)/(Oxford Parkway) - Oxford - (Didcot)/
(NB: Oxford - Didcot open 16-20 Jul) Didcot East Jn/Foxhall Jn. †(Moreton-in-Marsh) at weekends.
1305.1026 2 Jun 18 30 Jul 18 (Liverpool South Parkway P1-4) - Edge Hill East Jn
1305.1026 2 Jun 18 30 Jul 18 Hunts Cross West Jn - (Liverpool South Parkway P5 & P6)
1305.1025 14 Jul 18 30 Jul 18 *Liverpool Lime Street - (Huyton)
1300.441 16 Jul 18 6 Aug 18 *(Theale) - Westbury North Jn/Fairwood Jn (and 3 later periods)
1305.1022 23 Jun 18 9 Aug 18 Sheffield Supertram: (Birley Lane) - Halfway
1306.1154 28 Jul 18 9 Aug 18 Manchester Metrolink (Cornbrook) - MediaCityUK/Eccles
1305.1022 10 Aug 18 20 Aug 18 Sheffield Supertram: (Gleadless Townend) - Herdings Park
1298.214 12 May 18 20 Aug 18 (Aberdeen) - (Dyce)
1305.1022 25 Aug 18 3 Sep 18 Supertram: (Gleadless Townend)-Halfway/Gleadless-Herdings Pk.
1305.1022 10 Sep 18 15 Sep 18 Sheffield Supertram: Donetsk Way - Halfway
1286.1612 22 Jul 18 0 8 Oct 18 *(Derby) station/associated lines - see Head Line Entries below
1297.123 20 Oct 18 29 Oct 18 (Three Bridges) - (Brighton)/(Lewes) (also 16 to 24 Feb 2019)
1302.702 27 Oct 18 19 Nov 18 Bristol East Jn - Stoke Gifford No1 Jn; Filton Jn - Patchway Jn;
Feeder Bridge Jn - Dr Day's Jn & Narroways Hill Jn - (Clifton Down)
1299.377 10 Dec 18 Greenford West Jn - Greenford East Jn - Park Royal - Old Oak Common West
1370] North Pole Jn - North Pole Hitachi IEP Depot: (BLN 1250.247) Reopened Tue 8 May 2018.
The first train to use the reinstated bidirectional connection (the former 'Arrivals Line') from the Down
West London Line (5m 48ch) was believed to be the GBRf worked 03.06 ex-Dollands Moor, arriving
05.38, delivering a IET that arrived via the Channel Tunnel. A few such trains have run, including on
29 Jun. The former Departure Line (grade separated passing under the West London Line) was severed
at the depot gate several years ago; the section outside the gate became an ECS reversing siding.
1371] Milford Jn - Gascoigne Wood Jn: (BLN 1258.1062) CP from Sun 20 May 2018 [Was this legal?]
previously used by 19.26 (SSuX) TPE Manchester Piccadilly to Hull and 20.18 (SuO) TPE Leeds to Hull
PSUL services for route knowledge retention. Such use of this curve had only restarted 16 May 2016.
1372] Newhaven Harbour Jn - Newhaven Marine ('Wharf Road platform' in the Sectional Appendix,
also known as Newhaven Harbour P3!): (BLN 1258.1125) CA from Mon 21 May 2018; Fri 18 May was
last use. The previous 20.15 SSuX Newhaven Marine to Lewes has been withdrawn. The platform had
been 'temporarily' barred for passenger use since Thu 17 Aug 2006 due to the alleged unsafe state of
the platform roof (since demolished). At least initially, a taxi was provided on request for those with
tickets which later became impossible to obtain. Despite continuing to appear in working timetables as
a passenger train (unadvertised), it was re-designated (under timetable variations) as 'ECS' to Brighton,
or cancelled. Were passenger closure procedures followed?
Although ECS workings are still shown in the current timetable they appear (afterwards) not to
traverse the line - can anyone local confirm?
ABOVE: Newhaven Marine on 31 Aug 2013. The third track across (hidden in the weeds by the fence),
is the out of use No4 Siding that used to lead to Newhaven Civil Engineer's Tip. (Angus McDougall)
1373] Newcastle, King Edward Bridge North Jn - King Edward Bridge East Jn - (Greensfield Jn) - Park
Lane Jn: CP from 26 May 2018, A Saturday only PSUL; last ran 19 May, used by 18.33 Middlesbrough to
Newcastle and 19.26 Nunthorpe to Newcastle. [Was this passenger closure legal?]
1374] Annbank Jn (43m 52ch) - Mauchline (50m 16ch): TCG/A on 6 Jun 2018 in this (Down) direction
due to damage to the trailing crossover points on the Main Lines at Mauchline, repairs are pending.
There is little traffic over this line now. The weekly nuclear flask train from Carlisle to Hunterston Low
Level (hopefully also referring to the radiation levels) and returning to Sellafield has alternative paths
via Dumfries, Annbank, Byrehill Jn and Dubbs Jn or Carstairs, Glasgow Shields Jn and Paisley Gilmour
Street (an hour longer) each way. Since 6 Jun it has been running to Hunterston via Carstairs and
returning via Mauchline. Killoch has been sending open cast coal to Drax recently via Newton-on-Ayr.
1375] Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway, Princes Risborough: (BLN 1307.1262) The reception line
and south sidings TCA 23 Jun 2018. On Thurs 16, 23 & 30 Aug trains will be running from Chinnor to
Thame Jn not P4 (public services begin Wed 15 Aug). Work has started digging out the rodding runs to
connect the new P4 run round facility points to the levers (thought to be No32 - 39) in the box frame.
NEXT PAGE: The Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway Orange Army at Princes Risborough P4
and all looking very pleased with their achievement! (Phil Marsh 1 Jun 2018)
1376] Aberystwyth, Vale of Rheidol Railway (11m 70ch): TCP from 11.30 Thur 28 Jun until Tue 10 Jul
2018 (incl). A serious extensive lineside grassfire in the hot dry weather damaged 1½ miles of track
needing repair. The railway ran special staff 'fire fighting' trains (with wagons) to assist the fire brigade.
1377] Gospel Oak, Covered Way west end (0m 20ch) - Gospel Oak Jn (0m 00ch): (BLN 1307.1279)
CP [was it legal?] from Mon 2 Jul, the last train ran on Fri 29 Jun 2018. The single unidirectional service,
08.11 (SSuX) Barking to Willesden Junction Low Level PSUL train ceased to run due to lack of a DMU.
1378] Glasgow, Cowlairs North Jn - Cowlairs West Jn: (BLN 1306.1144) ROA Fri 6 Jul 2018 (mid-
afternoon) - two days earlier than anticipated - the first train, the 10.10 Mallaig/12.11 Oban- Glasgow
Queen Street; was 16 minutes early on the revised schedule as a result. TCP/A In this 'Down' direction
only from Wed 13 Jun due to the Cowlairs West Jn diamond crossover failing. Anniesland - Ashfield
DMU shuttles were extended back to/from Glasgow Queen Street (HL) from start of service Sun 8 Jul.
1379] Rutherglen West Jn - Rutherglen North Jn: TCA Sat 7 until Sun 29 Jul 2018 (incl) in connection
with the Polmadie and Rutherglen resignalling and renewals project. This Rutherglen West Curve is
normally just used by EMU ECS workings in the north to west direction only, three SSuX and one SO
1380] Spondon: (BLN 1305.1038) On Sun 8 Jul 2018 the final train, 09.31 to Toton with 66150, cleared
the remaining wagons from the sidings. They are being disconnected in the forthcoming Derby works.
1381] Dumfries (excl) - Kilmarnock (excl) and four intermediate stations: TCP/A Sat 14 to Sun 22 Jul
2018 (incl) for structures work. Most Carlisle services turnback in Dumfries P1 doing the trailing
crossover (92m 06ch) on departure. Note (SO) 17.59 to Newcastle, 18.41 & 21.00 to Carlisle, (SSuX)
11.02, 16.02, 18.41 & 21.00 to Carlisle and 17.59 to Newcastle are booked to depart from normal P2.
1382] Bank Jn - Greenburn Open Cast & Annbank Jn - Mauchline Jn: TCA Sat 14 - Sun 22 Jul (above).
1383] Rutherglen (excl) - Ruthergeln Central Jn; Rutherglen East Jn - Langloan Jn (and five stations);
Newton West Jn - Newton Kirkhill Jn and Newton East Jn - Newton Hamilton Jn: TCP/A Sat 14 until
Sun 29 Jul 2018 (incl) for resignalling and trackwork. Langloan Jn - Coatbridge Jn: TCG/A as a result.
Trains via Glasgow Central (LL) terminate/start at Rutherglen (trailing crossover at Rutherglen North
Jn on departure) or are diverted via Queen St (LL) to/from Springburn (with currently rare bays P3/4 in
regular use until 29 Jul - one day they will be in regular use again long term). Trains to/from Newton
via Kirkhill are extended to Hamilton and alternately Larkhall or Motherwell, providing an hourly
service at each. Peak trains to/from Carstairs are diverted to Glasgow Central (HL). An hourly service
runs Motherwell to/from Cumbernauld. Other services to/from Glasgow Central (HL) run as normal.
The following 9 items are due to the Derby remodelling/resignalling (22 Jul - 7 Oct) 78 days (not 79!):
1384] Stenson Jn - Sheet Junction - Stenson Jn: TROP diversionary use Tue 17 Jul until Sun 2 Sep 2018
(incl) by a few EMT services until in the small hours until 21 July, then all CrossCountry trains between
Burton-on-Trent and Chesterfield or Nottingham (each reduced from two trains an hour to hourly).
1385] Lichfield Trent Valley High Level (excl) - Wichnor Jn: PSUL TCP Sun 22 Jul until Sun 7 Oct 2018.
1386] Derby (excl) - Stenson Jn & Peartree station: TCP 22 Jul to 2 Sep 2018 for Derby remodelling/
resignalling. The limited Birmingham - Nottingham CrossCountry Willington services have connections
by bus to/from Derby, the rest and long distance trains have bus connections at Burton-on-Trent.
1387] Tutbury & Hatton (T&H) (excl) - North Stafford Jn: TCP Sun 22 Jul to Sun 2 Sep 2018 (incl). EMT
Crewe services; the T&H turnback is booked to be an ECS shunt over Egginton Jn trailing crossover.
A replacement bus service runs Uttoxeter to/from Derby calling at T&H and occasionally Peartree.
1388] Melbourne Jn - Sinfin Rolls Royce Oil Terminal: TCG/A 22 Sun Jul to Sun 2 Sep 2018 as above -
extra trains of aviation fuel were brought in from Grangemouth to cover the closure. The alterations
from 15 Jun (BLN 1306.1161) were removal of redundant pointwork each end of Sinfin Run Round
Loop (130m 69ch - 130m 56ch) on the branch (see 'before' & 'after' Derby track plans with this BLN).
1389] Derby (new) Pilot Line and new 'P7': From 30 Jul until 13 Aug (incl) the hourly London service is
due to temporarily use this line and the east side (new 'P7') of the new island under construction.
1390] Derby (excl) - Ambergate Jn - Clay Cross North Jn - Down Main/Up Main - Chesterfield South
Jn: TCP/A Mon 30 Jul to Sun 7 Oct. Hourly London St Pancras - Sheffield trains runs via Toton and the
Erewash Valley. After 3 Sep CrossCountry long distance services reverse at Derby and run via Toton.
Birmingham - Nottingham services revert to running via Derby and increase to two trains per hour.
1391] Derby (excl) - Sheet Stores Jn - Trent South Jn and Spondon & Long Eaton stations: TCP/A Mon
13 to Sun 19 Aug 2018 (incl) - the only train services at Derby then are to/from Matlock and it is the
only significant period when an hourly London St Pancras service is not provided.
1392] Ambergate Jn - Matlock (incl) and 4 branch stations with Belper & Duffield: TCP Sat 25 Aug to
Sun 7 Oct 2018. Unfortunately, NR is unable to upgrade Ambergate Jn then as hoped (BLN 1300.455).
1393] Euxton Jn - Chorley -/Crow Nest Jn - Westhoughton -/Blackburn Bolton Jn - Darwen -/Bolton -
Windsor Bridge North Jn & 16 stations: (BLN 1307.1287) TCP expected Sat 25 Aug to Sun 2 Sep 2018
(incl); extended 9 day Aug Bank Holiday closure for electrification work, with no trains at Bolton at all.
1394] Bristol Parkway (inc) - Wooton Bassett Jn/Yate (excl) & - Stoke Gifford West Jn - Filton No1 Jn
/Patchway Jn: TCP/A Sat 15 Sep to Sun 7 Oct 2018 (incl). Stoke Gifford No2 Jn - Filton West Jn: TCG/A
as a consequence. A three week complete passenger closure of Bristol Parkway for electrification.
The CrossCountry Birmingham to Bristol service is reduced to hourly and diverted via Chepstow and
the Severn Tunnel calling at Patchway instead of Bristol Parkway. Local GWR services between
Gloucester and Bristol TM (and beyond both stations) do not run between Yate and Filton Abbey
Wood. Most trains between Bristol TM and Parkway will not run, and most between Weston-Super-
Mare and Parkway run to/from Bristol TM only. Paddington to South Wales services are reduced to
hourly, run via Bath Spa and 'Rhubarb Curve' and call at Patchway in lieu of Bristol Parkway. When
BLN went to press these changes were not yet in online planners which showed a normal service.
1308 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
1395] Derby Day: Thanks again to Martyn Brailsford this BLN has a double sided A4 track plan showing
the previous and new layouts, including line directionality with new names after full commissioning
and resignalling. https://goo.gl/wbp1Zy is a link to a PDF version that can easily be printed.
1396] Website 'BLN': For logged in members E-BLN is available, as usual with many often unique
photos, maps, extra items and updates to paper BLN. E-BLNI is also illustrated; both can be viewed
and/or printed in booklet format or A4. There are A5 (booklet) and A4 BLN or BLNI options, to view
electronically or print - these are identical to the paper printed versions which we post out (well over
12,700 a year.) Thanks to Bill Lynch and Martyn Brailsford there is a fully updated July 2018 London
Underground Microgricing Guide. Courtesy of Mark Jones of the Railway Ramblers North West
Group, there is an amazing 16 page group newsletter with an incredible series of railway walks for the
rest of the year (including Aberdeenshire, of course!) and interesting reports of their recent walks.
Mark has asked that it be passed on to anyone interested. Non-members of Railway Ramblers are
welcome to try a walk but national membership is only £10 a year and includes four high quality, well
illustrated, A5 magazines on glossy paper by post. https://goo.gl/FRJXvb has more information and a
sample 64 page magazine (many of the photos in the printed versions are actually in full colour).
Finally, Railway Ramblers' current illustrated detailed prospectus (two pages) is available with e-BLN.
1397] Publications Officer Report: (BLN 1307.1272) Martyn would like to express his thanks to all
members (especially one from SW London) who responded to his request for old BLNs to complete the
Society's official archive. He is pleased to report that we now have original copies for all editions of
both Series 1 and 2 BLNs plus other items such as all five editions of the short lived Branch Line
Review, various BLN Indexes and Annual Reports. The project on the searchable electronic version
continues, but very slowly, with all e-BLNs from its inception (BLN 1184 - 11 May 2013) to date in full
and redacted previous paper BLNs from 1955 to 1974 available on the website to logged in members.
From the Home page go across to 'Archive' and in 'Category' top left select 'BLN', 'BLNI' etc.
1398] The Editor is Appealing‽ Following on from the previous item, to assist with producing BLN and
queries your Editor is keen to acquire BLS Annual reports before 1966/67. Any offers, please?
1399] Steaming Hot: Reports have been received, particularly about the Llangollen Railway and some
narrow gauge railways in Wales (including the Snowdon Mountain Railway) of significantly altered or
suspended services due to many lineside fires and the risk. This has also affected main line running and
other UK heritage railways; although the situation has improved, it is worth checking before travelling.
1400] Points & Slips: ●Wrong Railway Rights of Way! In the table at the end of BLN 1307, the email to
notify Dave Cromarty of any new or altered Railway Rights of Way should be [email protected]
(double 'r' at the beginning). ●BLN 1305.1119] Our 3 May Calder Valley box visits were arranged by
Nick Jones rather than Barney Clark. ●BLN 1306.1244] A member reports that on Fri 20 Apr (a 'pink'
Ffestiniog timetable day), the 11.35 from Blaenau Ffestiniog and 13.35 return used the Welsh
Highland platform, as the FR platform was occupied by a wedding special departing 14.06. The link is
also used by passenger trains quite a bit during galas and other special events. ●BLN 1307.1262] In
paper BLN on the Waterford & Suir Valley Railway, Mount Congreve Gardens Platform is actually
1m 59ch from Kilmeadan station and 4m 38ch from Bilberry at the Waterford end; e-BLN was correct.
●1273] South of Derby station, St Andrews Siding joined the former 'Through Siding' which used to
join the main lines at the now OOU L&NW Jn just north of Peartree station on the Up (to Derby) side.
●1291] 'Haywood' should read 'Heywood'. ●X.88] Dingwall has featured quite a bit in BLN recently, in
fact once too often it should have been 'Dingle' on this occasion, although the Tralee & Dingwall
railway would have been pretty spectacular! ●1354] The Swiss Brienz Rothorn Bahn loco visiting the
Snowdon Mountain Railway (SMR) is only able to run 41ch to Waterfall Halt because further on the
SMR rack is enclosed by guard rails, which the BRB loco cannot negotiate. These were installed very
early in the SMR's life because of a serious derailment of a descending engine on the opening day.
Interestingly where the track has been relaid recently with the new 'Y' sleepers there is no guard rail.
One member has discovered via a very apologetic Swiss Tourist Service that he has already had this
very loco for haulage on a family visit to Switzerland in 1990 saving a pilgrimage to Llanberis in Sep!
Swiss Brienz Rothorn Bahn steam rack loco No4. BELOW: The railway! (Both Angus McDougall)
1401] Foot in the door exercise? Design a fully accessible footbridge that can be used on the national
network and you could win up to £20,000. Instead of complaining about those monumental megalithic
ramps and colossal structures come up with something better! NR owns around 2,400 footbridges (has
anyone done them all?), 200 have been installed since 2006 under the DfT 'Access for All' programme.
The brief is to be innovative, challenge presumptions and raise expectations (does this mean they have
to be even taller than now?) for the quality of future designs. Entrants are encouraged to consider how
their accessible footbridge designs might be adapted for use in other settings such as level crossings.
https://goo.gl/hgKn48 has details and eligibility (you may need to engage an architect on your team to
qualify). Submission is anonymous with one appraisal. The competition closes 14.00 on 18 Sep 2018.
1308 EAST MIDLANDS .(NEW REGIONAL EDITOR: Graeme Jolley). [email protected]
New Postal address: Dolbryn, Penegoes, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 8NN
1402] Derby: (BLN 1207.1273) CrossCountry has produced a booklet with the temporary timetable
during the Derby remodelling and resignalling work from Sun 22 Jul until Sun 7 Oct. With 108 pages it
is the usual one third A4 format, stapled, with orange headed cover. Almost every train appears twice
(occasionally more) in adjacent columns, for the periods 'D1' (to 2 Sep) and 'D2' after. It would
probably have been clearer as two separate timetable sections, then most trains would not need a
headnote (a few summer trains are split between the first/other Saturdays in 'D2' as 'D3' & 'D4'!).
1403] Kettering (BLN 1307.1276): The 16.27 SSuX Derby - Kettering runs from Kettering North Jn on
the Up slow, terminating P1 as depicted in the photo. The Dagenham to Hope Sidings freight runs as
stated through P2 which is the Down Slow. It is on the former original Midland Railway Bristol, now
Yate South Jn, to Derby line that 'Up' is towards Derby (and MP '0') rather than towards London.
1404] Boston: (BLN 1301.554) On Tue 13 Mar a new GBRf stone flow began from Bardon Hill (02.58)
to Boston Docks (09.00) - Sleaford Sidings Total Aggregates. The train was booked to run TThO with
the empties arriving at Bardon Hill the previous night from Sevington, Kent. It ran in mid-March for a
few days but then disappeared from the system until 10 Apr when 66751 was seen with stone.
Reportedly the train carries Grade 1 hardstone for road projects with short term 'bursts' of operation
(typically three trains for a week, two the following and then a gap for a while). It is understood that
the contractor has taken a 15-year lease on the land at Sleaford Sidings (104m 45ch) at the head of the
Dock branch where the trains are unloaded. The working operated again on the 10, 11 and 12 July.
1308 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]
1405] CBTC: (BLN 1307.1277) https://goo.gl/6Hh3ow briefly explains Computer Based Train Control.
1406] Lea Valley: (BLN 1303.830, TRACKmaps Vol 2 p10B Oct 2016) On 4 Jul the new bidirectional third
line east of the current running lines was substantially complete at the south end, with track largely
laid from just north of Lea Bridge towards Tottenham Hale, but not fully ballasted and with a couple of
gaps. The OHLE was mostly in place. At Tottenham Hale the third platform on the other side of the Up
platform to create an island is substantially complete but there was a gap in the track. North was a
short stretch of unballasted track, then the formation has been laid out to Northumberland Park
station, which has a new footbridge. Further north at the new Meridian Waters station site, the two
new platforms were already in situ with construction of the footbridge structure etc largely complete.
1407] North Wembley Jn: To relay the junction and to carry out work at Euston itself, services will be
suspended in and out of Euston on 18/19, 25-27 Aug & 1/2 Sep. •London Overground: Suspended
Euston to Watford Junction, also Bakerloo Line services north of Stonebridge Park (except 27 Aug),
because of the close proximity of the DC Lines to the main lines at North Wembley Jn. •Virgin Trains:
Trains south to Milton Keynes Central, no onwards replacement services. •London Northwestern:
Trains south to Hemel Hempstead (Milton Keynes Central on 1/2 Sep), replacement buses all stations
to Watford Junction and then Stanmore. •Caledonian Sleeper: Run to/from King's Cross.
1408] Barking - Gospel Oak: (BLN 1307.1279) The whole route, including bay P1 at Barking plus the
two curves at South Tottenham, was made available for EMUs to operate from 30 Jun, permitting
train testing, driver training and route knowledge updating. From 00.01 on Sat 14 Jul it was made fully
available to electric traction. The 05.30 SO Liverpool Street to Enfield Town ran via Stoke Newington
on 14 Jul and this seems to continue to at least until 11 Aug (except when cancelled due to engineering
work). This results in it sometimes having a six minute scheduled wait at Seven Sisters.
However 'Freightmaster interactive' reported that the DBC-operated Mossend to Dagenham empty
car carriers was electrically hauled by a Class 90 over this route for the first time on 4 Jul. RTT shows
the return loaded train as also going this way. These trains have regularly been Class 90 hauled via the
North London Line since Feb. A different Class 710 EMU was towed to Willesden depot on 10 Jul. The
Harringay curve remains blocked to electric traction as the work is not yet completed. There is no
mention of Junction Road Jn - Carlton Road Jn; is it electrified? The original (Sep 2015) schedule was:
●Gospel Oak Jn - South Tottenham West Jn. ●Harringay Park Jn - Harringay Jn.
●Gospel Oak P3 (bay platform). ●South Tottenham East Jn - Woodgrange Park Jn.
●Carlton Road Jn - Junction Road Jn. ●Barking Station Jn - Barking P1 buffer stops.
●Upper Holloway Reception Line. ●Crossovers: Gospel Oak Jn/Carlton Road Jn - Barking Station Jn.
1409] Deep Tube Upgrade Programme: (BLN 1307.1281) The minutes of TfL's Programme and
Investments 16 May Committee meeting mention that track remodelling will be needed at Chiswick
Park to enable Piccadilly Line trains to call there en route to Ealing Broadway. When the contract for
resignalling is let, it will have to incorporate arrangements to allow District Line trains to run to and
from Ealing Common depot. The Waterloo & City Line is proposed to have a fleet of ten trains, twice
as many as now. This would suggest that substantial infrastructure work will be needed at Waterloo.
1410] King's Cross: The 1912 Metropolitan Railway station building on the west side of King's Cross
Bridge was demolished in 2016/17. ('London Railway Record')
1411] Loughborough Junction: Since 11 Jun non-EMU traffic has been banned over Coldharbour Lane
bridge. In practice the only such trains operating over this route would be test or engineers' trains.
1412] LUL Station Maps: https://goo.gl/w6UEd5 has 3D plans of most below ground stations.
1413] Thameslink: (BLN 1307.1280) On 15 Jul an interim Thameslink and Great Northern timetable
was introduced. It aims to reduce short-notice cancellations and alterations, which had continued at a
high level, and focuses on withdrawal of off-peak services to provide as many peak trains as possible.
Special Stop Orders will not be issued except during disruption or if there is a large gap in the service.
1414] West Hampstead (North London Line): (BLN 1227.348) Construction has begun on a new station
building to the south of the existing one. A new footbridge has been built midway along the platforms
and eventually there will be lifts to both platforms, more ticket gates and a larger concourse.
1308 NORTH EAST (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
1415] Middlesbrough station: The Tees Valley Combined Authority and NR are to invest £4.5M in a
scheme to reopen the main entrance on the south side, a new glass fronted concourse on the now
very tatty north side, improved access for buses etc, new shops and commercial units. This is as well as
NR's existing £2.7M refurbishment of the roof and stonework. BDP, the architectural group which
worked on the redevelopments of Manchester Victoria and Piccadilly, is responsible for the designs.
It is claimed that this investment is necessary to prepare the station for the planned reintroduction of
direct services to London in 2020 and the new 'Northern Connect' express service to Carlisle via
Durham (and more Whitby trains). The Northern Connect service is supposed to start in 2019 but, as
the timetable path study has been delayed until October (BLN 1304.956), your Regional Editor has his
doubts. Perhaps more critical for the increased services are improvements to the present inflexible
layout - at a minimum a facing crossover at the west end to enable trains to turn back in P1.
ABOVE: Middlesbrough station bridge north side, looking south; the station entrance is far right.
(Angus McDougall 26 Jul 2017)
Manchester Airport trains have to terminate in P2 and then shunt across the Up Main to the West
Dock before reversing into P1 for departure back westwards. Mention is made of an additional
platform in the longer term, but with no target date or funding. There was an east end bay P3 but this
was taken out in the 1960s after the Guisborough line CP 2 Mar 1964. Middlesbrough East Signal Box
controlled this, and also access to the shed before that closed in June 1958 (replaced by Thornaby
depot), the box itself probably closed 9 Nov 1969. A new P3 could be created by moving the Goods
lines one track to the north but the resulting platform might be too narrow to conform to current
standards as the Down side buildings abut on to the Up Goods. Extra width could be achieved by
singling the Goods lines, which would be entirely adequate for current levels of traffic, or even
abolishing them altogether. If a new P3 became the Down Main and P2 a reversible centre platform,
there should be sufficient paths for freight. However, resignalling and transfer of-control to York ROC
is not planned until July 2021 so any improvements will have presumably to wait until then.
1416] Middlesbrough: AV Dawson: A new traffic flow of imported gypsum from mainland Europe is
due to start in Sep. It will be unloaded at Dawson's riverside wharf (site of the original 1830 Stockton &
Darlington Railway 'Port Darlington') and taken by rail to a British Gypsum (BG) East Midlands plant.
BG does not wish it to be named but members will no doubt be able to deduce its location on the
former Great Central Railway and from the paths already in Realtime Trains! This traffic is due to the
dramatic decline of coal fired power generation in this country. The power station emissions contain
sulphur dioxide which is removed using limestone, resulting in Flue Gas Desulphurisation Gypsum.
It is interesting that closer ports such as Hull, Immingham, Boston or even King's Lynn did not win the
traffic. There was apparently tough competition for the contract but environmental impact and
operational efficiency were key factors. Loading under a purpose built rail canopy means that BG can
use less energy to dry the gypsum. Dawson's site can handle longer trains than other contenders and
they can be loaded and arrive back empty within 24 hours, so only one train set is required not two.
1308 NORTH WEST .(NEW REGIONAL EDITOR: John Cameron). [email protected]
Please send any postal items for forwarding to Paul Stewart, BLN Editor, per back page
X.97]: ABOVE: Liverpool Lime Street, progress on 6 Jul. 'Old' P1 is left. On the right is the 'old' P2
extension (='new ' P1), showing why old P1 is being taken out of the final layout. This is also why there
is a total station closure from 14 to 30 Jul; the temporary crossover shown will go. (Neil White).
1417] Blackpool North: (BLN 1307.1288) ❶A member advises that non-tilting trains are limited to
110mph on the WCML rather than the 90mph stated. This will also apply to TPE's Class 397 Nova 2
trains between north-west England and Scotland, designed for a maximum speed of 125mph.
However, although the new Mark 5A Nova 3 rolling stock also has a 125 mph maximum, the Class 68s
that will push and pull them are only 100mph, despite operating on the 125mph ECML!
❷The platform signs have acquired proper metal fastenings in place of the cable ties. Building work
on the concourse has taken the toilets OOU [Don't be concerned we are not going to start recording
the dates in Head Lines]. There is a sign 'to temporary toilets' pointing towards the barriers. However,
at the time of the correspondent's visit, both the barriers and the temporary toilets were also OOU.
There were also 'signs' of further preparatory work for the forthcoming Talbot Road tram extension.
1418] Middlewich: (CP from 4 Jan 1960.) The Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership is
commissioning a study into re-opening the Sandbach to Northwich line to passengers. However the
DfT has asked the LEP to lead and produce a strategic outline reopening business case (rather than the
options for reopening) - so more delaying tactics studies can be expected. The line could have stations
at Middlewich (population 13,700) and Gadbrook Park Business Park, near Northwich. Realtime Trains
shows that traffic varies from (more often) no trains to two in 24 hours - aggregate or empty wagons.
1419]: Frodsham Jn - Halton Jn: (BLN 1206.1269) The infrequent Chester - Runcorn local service
(which did then run both ways!) was withdrawn from 5 May 1975 - your BLN Editor remembers doing
it in 1974 on an All Line Rover and being the only passenger on the 2-car DMU. During the second
week of Feb 1991 the line became unidirectional, in that direction, when it was singled with removal of
the fixed diamonds and trailing crossovers each end. Since 1975 various summer Sat dated services
have been considered sufficient to obviate the need for formal passenger closure proposals. In 1994
there was an 18.20 (dated SO) Llandudno to Liverpool Lime Street, noted on 6 Aug 1994 to be a Class
31 hauling five 'lightly loaded' Mk I & II coaches. In 1995 the line was also used by a SSuX freight train
for a while. Latterly the summer Saturday passenger train ran in the evening from Chester to Runcorn
(more recently in the morning) and some years had no connections one or both ends of the journey.
It was not always shown in the national timetable! The line was considered for closure in 2004 but
Merseytravel could see long term potential and persuaded the Strategic Rail Authority at the time not
to proceed with this. Pressure for a proper train service has grown, particularly since 2001. Continuing
a nominal service, promoted by a local support group helped with publicity, kept the idea in local
politicians' and stakeholders' minds, retaining driver route knowledge and preserving 'running rights'.
This all facilitated the new hourly Chester to Lime Street service scheduled from Dec with promised
future extension. However, this may now be held back to May 2019, as some timetable changes from
Dec 2018 are being stopped by the DfT after the problems with the May 2018 changes especially at
GTR, Northern and Thameslink. To crown it all HM the Queen needs to amend her royal gricing
records; it has emerged that 'One' did the line in the 'common(er)' direction (to Runcorn) after all….
1420] Crewe: At 20.44 on 5 Jul BT Police reported that a vehicle had struck the boundary wall within
the BT Police compound. This wing wall for overbridge 80 on Nantwich Road, bordering Pedley Street,
had been badly damaged, was cracked and had moved 3-4 inches. It was in danger of falling on to the
Up and Down Liverpool Independent lines. A block to traffic was imposed as well as on the Up and
Down Manchester Independent lines. A structures examiner deemed the wall unsafe for the passage
of trains until repair work had been carried out; meantime trains were routed through Crewe station.
Next day contractors made the wall safe; remarkably and creditably the lines reopened that evening.
1421] Morecambe: (BLN 1307.1295) A mixture of buses and trains has been provided SuX and
Northern has produced a weekly timetable. The first service is a train then buses until the 07.23
ex-Lancaster; then trains run until the 09.50. Buses take over again until the 14.51 from Lancaster,
except for the 12.14 (forming the 12.32 Morecambe to Leeds service). Trains resume until the 19.39
which forms the 20.10 Morecambe to Leeds service, with buses finishing off the day! The boat train at
12.50 from Lancaster/13.20 return has been a bus. This clearly reflects the daily train-set diagramming
for the branch. On Sundays it's trains all day! Apparently there is some confusion amongst passengers.
1422] Stalybridge: (BLN 1304.961) The service has been one northbound train a week since 11 May
1992, most recently 09.22 FO from Stockport until the May timetable change when it became SO
08.46 Stalybridge to Stockport and 09.45 return. The once regular service was reduced to five trains a
day each way from May 1989 (with a long gap from 07.14 until 12.55) when the fast transpennine
(generic name) Leeds services ran to Manchester Piccadilly instead of Victoria for better connections.
Passengers to/from the south no longer had to change at both Stockport and Stalybridge; use of the
residual services declined as did intermediate traffic (the latter estimated at 12 passengers per day on
average in 1992). Of note a rather dear £5.00 Off-Peak day return is now available from Denton to
Reddish South, only 1m 69ch each way taking 3-5 minutes, with 56 minutes there before having to
return on the last (and first) train of the week! The online season ticket calculator is obviously just that
as it quotes £20.90 for a weekly season ticket with other options up to the 12 month season at £836!!
X.98] NEXT PAGE (LANDSCAPE) BELOW: The wonderful repaired and reglazed roof at Carlisle has
made a dramatic transformation to the station. An Anglo-Scottish TPE four-car Class 350 EMU is in P3
with Colas 60076 on Up & Down Goods Line 'B'. (Richard Putley 18 Jul 2018)
……….………………………….1423] Stockport: The 06.51 (SuX) Chester to Man
…………………………………..booked to use the crossover from the Up Liverpool
…………………………………..P3. All other Up mid-Cheshire line trains are book
…………………………………..NEXT PAGE UPPER: The 06.51 from Chester at Stock
………………………………….1424] Fairfield: (34,000 passengers 2016/17.) NR is
………………………………….NEXT PAGE LOWER: Field work in progress - but there
nchester Piccadilly via Northwich is the only train……………………………………
l to the Down Fast at Edgeley Jn No2 to Stockport…………… ………….………….
ked into Stockport P4 so just use the Down Slow...………….………………………
kport P3 recently. (John Cameron)
s installing new waiting shelters on both platforms……………….…………………
e is still a fair amount to do. (John Cameron)
1425] Heald Green: During the recent very hot weather many Manchester to Crewe via Styal stopping
trains did not call at the Airport. This is due to '2203' points at Heald Green West Jn (taking trains from
the Airport to the Up Chord) tending to fail in the hottest part of the day. It has applied to XX.33/34
Manchester Piccadilly to Crewe services from 13.33 to 18.34 inclusive - but only in that direction.
They waited time - often 10 minutes or even more - at Styal. Announcements at Piccadilly informed
passengers that trains would not call at the Airport due to 'a speed restriction'. Freight was routed via
Stockport rather than the usual Styal route. These junctions have had various problems over the years.
1426] Cumbrian Coast: Sections of the sea defences, between Parton and Harrington, a troublesome
location over the years, are being renewed and replaced to protect the line. 20,000 tonnes of rock
armour (quarried stone and boulders) is being placed between the track and the beach to lessen the
force of the waves as they hit the shoreline. At Flimby, 'sand breakers' have been installed to prevent a
build-up of sand under a railway bridge blocking access to the beach. The breakers have been designed
and installed with tidal and wind patterns in mind, to allow access to the shore all year round.
1308 SOUTH EAST - NORTH & EAST ANGLIA (Julian James) [email protected]
1427] Didcot Power Station: Most of the rails and sleepers had been removed from the reception
sidings by the third week in June - work had progressed over the previous couple of months. The final
oil train from Lindsey arrived 18 Mar 2013 and the last coal from Avonmouth Bulk Handling Terminal
at 18.40 next day; the empty wagons left at 20.48. The 'A' Station then ceased generating on 22 Mar at
13.59, having supplied the National Grid since Sep 1970. The final train was flyash to Calvert with
56091 on 13 Jun 2013. Pathfinder Tours ran the last railtour, the 'Abercot Generator', on 14 Jan 2012.
1428] Didcot - Swindon: (BLN 1301.610) Consultation on the reduction of speed at Steventon
overbridge was to end on 3 Aug (although NR withdrew the proposal on 13 Jul and will issue a revised
proposal). There are two separate issues associated with the low height of the bridge which limits the
speed of traction and rolling stock with raised pantographs. The first is the sub-standard wire gradient
between Stocks Lane level crossing and the bridge and the second is the limited clearance between
pantographs and the bridge. As part of the works for the electrification programme, NR completed a
track slew at Steventon bridge in late Dec 2017 to maximise pantograph gauge clearance.
The sub-standard wire gradient is due to the difference between the low height of the OHLE passing
under the bridge and the need for a minimum wire height of 5.8m where the OHLE passes over Stocks
Lane level crossing. The distance between these means that the required overhead wire gradient of
1:625 required to enable a line speed of 125mph is not achievable. Instead the best wire gradient that
can be achieved is 1:295 which necessitates speed restriction to 60mph applying to all traction and
rolling stock with raised pantographs; DMU traffic is not affected of course. NR will install Eurobalises
to facilitate the automatic power change over for Class 8XX IET. They are also developing a bridge
reconstruction scheme which would remove the need for lower linespeed for electric traction.
However, this is subject to Listed Building Consent and the timescales are currently unknown. The now
withdrawn interim proposal was for the permissible speed on the Up and Down Main Lines to be
decreased from the current 125mph to 60mph from 56m 30ch to 57m 00ch for electric traction only.
1429] Wickford: (BLN 1307.1298) On 27 Jun two members were on the 22.24 Down arrival from
London, terminating in Up P3 with buses to Southend. It was very busy and the 200 or so passengers
alighting did not find having to use the narrow footbridge for home or buses the best experience.
1430] Oxford (1): (BLN 1306.1149-1153) To facilitate passenger trains arriving and departing P4 from
the south from 16 to 20 Jul, during Oxford Phase 1 engineering, a temporary buffer stop fitted with a
red light was installed at the top of the ramp at the Banbury end of the platform. Drivers of trains
entering P4 in the Down direction were to use existing car stop markers. Single Line Pilotman Working
on the Down Main from 16 to 20 Jul was between Oxford P4 and Hinksey South Jn (61m 53ch) using
the trailing crossover there in passenger service towards Didcot and London to join the Up Main.
ABOVE: The indications at Oxford Panel Box on 10 Jul 2018 from Open Train Times. Oxford Parkway is,
of course, controlled by London Marylebone Integrated Electronic Control Centre. (John Beale)
1431] Oxford (2): (BLN 1307.1268) Although not shown as such in the new track diagram with BLN
1307, the Up Oxford Relief is bidirectionally signalled from Oxford station to the (new) Down Bletchley
line at Oxford North Jn (as well as the Up Bletchley line as shown and as before). The Up Oxford Relief
should have bidirectional arrows from 64m 35ch to 64m 51ch (miles from Paddington via Didcot
station); but is an Up line only past Oxford North Jn. Chiltern trains leaving Oxford for Oxford Parkway
and Marylebone can thus run via the Down Bletchley line (or from P1-3 only via the Up Bletchley line).
1432] Chalkwell: From 9 Jul NR carried out repair and strengthening work to the station footbridge.
The existing temporary scaffolding was to be taken down and work done to strengthen the deck fitting
protective panels to prevent further wear. Passengers for P1 were diverted via the footbridge which is
used for pedestrian access the beach. The work, scheduled to finish by Friday 27 July, cost £500k.
1433] Reading (BLN 1307.1302): If, as reported, work on improving Cow Lane is to stop (for financial
reasons), it is a volte-face by Reading Borough Council. It was the council that kept the Reading
remodelling alive during the dark days of Railtrack partly to eliminate the traffic light controlled single
lane low bridge. Although there are no buses now using it, single-deckers could go through it as the
'825' route does under Meadow Lane bridge in Little Haywood, Staffordshire (the same height but
narrower). Cow Lane should have been at least the minimum 16' 6" at which point a low bridge ceases
to be one! When NR proposed a main line diveunder rather than the flyover we have, it was the
council that persuaded it to change its mind as that would have meant complete closure of the road.
1434] Reading West: (BLN 1305.1060) On a 9 Jul visit the station looked rather different without its
footbridge. A recent poster hints that a replacement footbridge will be installed in due course.
Meanwhile access to the Down platform from the Oxford Road is by a flight of scaffolding steps.
Much tree felling and cutting has also taken place behind the platforms. In addition electrification
masts, spans and droppers (but no wires yet) have been erected through the station and as far as can
be seen southwards. On a journey to Basingstoke on 7 Jul masts continued a way, five our member
thinks, almost to the 'Up home' signal on the northbound track and presumably on the Down line too.
Our local MR Editor reports, from nearby MR HQ, that, as at 10 Jul, everything was ready for the OHLE.
NEXT PAGE TOP: Reading West looking north (roughly) after Network Rail 'took steps' to remove the
footbridge. Actually the steps on Down P1 (right) then still remained. Despite the very poor facilities at
the station 435,000 passengers were recorded using it in 2016-17. (Stuart Hicks 9 Jul 2018)
1308 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]
1435] Tonbridge: (BLN 1307.1313) A Blue Plaque honouring Lt-Colonel Holman Fred Stephens was
unveiled at the station on 10 July. David Wornham, Passenger Services Director, Southeastern Railway,
Ian Legg, Chairman, Kent & East Sussex Railway and Les Darbyshire, former chairman of the Colonel
Stephens Society gave short speeches outlining why Stephens should be honoured in Tonbridge.
He established his HQ there, near the station which he made great use of in promoting, constructing
and operating his light railways in many parts of the country. The unveiling took place in the presence
of Pat Walsh, Tonbridge station manager and representatives of the Colonel Stephens Society,
Tonbridge & Malling Council, and other
interested parties. The plaque represents the
culmination of a long-running campaign by the
Col Stephens Society, supported by the
Tonbridge & Malling Council the Tonbridge
Civic Society and, latterly, Southeastern
Railway to honour Col Stephens in Tonbridge.
RIGHT: Press Release.
1436] Canterbury East: Following increasing
restrictions in recent times, all trains other
than EMU traffic on the Up & Down Chatham
Lines have now been prohibited over
Wincheap Street Bridge at 61m 54ch, the main
road underbridge immediately west of the
station. Loco hauled trains of RA8 or below
will need to be assessed on a train by train
1440] Longmoor Military Railway (LMR): On a visit on 29 Jun to Liss it was seen that a little over a mile
of the course of the LMR has been turned into a footpath, and that there are various relics of the
railway, including the platform and building at Liss. A length of track and buffer stops can also still be
seen - ABOVE (AND BELOW): Stuart Hicks 29 Jun 2018. New wooden superstructures and fences have
been put in across two rivers on the original bridges; the path https://goo.gl/4qGnsR ends at Forest
Road. The railway opened in 1903 and last ran 31 Oct 1969.
1437] Sevenoaks: The rail bridge over the A25 at Riverhead, about ¾ mile north of Sevenoaks, now has
a 40/20mph speed restriction on both lines. It is a much-bashed 14' 9" bridge and, although there are
sacrificial beams each side, it is believed that the restriction is due to the treatment it has received
from errant drivers over the years. Our correspondent does not know the long term plans for it.
1438] Surbiton - Guildford: (BLN 1306.1203) The works described at stations on this line had been
carried out well before the Waterloo blockade as certain trains were 10 cars before their general
introduction on it. Our correspondent had not however travelled that way for some time.
1439] SWR Class 442 EMUs: In the proposed vehicle change notice for SWR to lengthen more
Waterloo - Portsmouth services to 10-car* Class 442s, their use is sought on additional lines.
These are Woking to Weymouth, Farlington Jn/Portcreek Jn to Eastleigh/St Denys & Hampton Court
Jn to Guildford. Many diversionary routes are also sought. Planned work will result in a total of 366
seats per 5-car unit with relocation of the first class area to one of the driving trailers and provision of
a universal toilet. Cab modifications to comply with current operating procedures include removal of
DOO buttons. Maximum operating speed will be 100mph. Introduction to passenger service is planned
from September with 16 out of 18 units in service in December. [*Some 12-car Class 450s already run.]
1308 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon) [email protected]
1441] Filton requadrupling: (BLN 1305.1069) The new (east) bridge deck has been moved into place
over Stapleton Road itself, presumed over the 7/8 July weekend closure to rail, providing a continuous
trackbed once the base has been made up and ballasted. It is very noticeable around Ashley Hill how
much the embankment has been widened and strengthened on the Bristol-bound side. North towards
Filton the new Cardiff-bound track is shiny after recent use by engineering vehicles to access the area
north of Bonnington Walk which is now being ballasted ready for tracklaying towards Abbey Wood.
BELOW: Torquay Signal Box - see next page. (Stuart Hicks Jul 2018)
1442] Torquay: A well travelled member has provided a recent photograph of the disused signalbox
south of the station. Saxby & Farmer were contracted to provide most of the signalling on the South
Devon Railway, and two boxes were provided at Torquay around 1873 to signal this important station
on the line to Paignton. This design of box replaced S&F's first type after 1868 by the addition of small
windows above the main ones, although these were often subsequently boarded over. The type was
common around the country, but most examples were constructed entirely in timber or brick.
The layout was originally controlled from a 16 lever frame, but this was renewed around 1902 with
18 levers. When first opened, the line south of Torquay was single, doubling not coming until 1910.
On the same date, North box was reduced to ground frame status and the name of the south box was
truncated to 'Torquay'. Further alterations were carried out in 1925 when the station was enlarged, a
new 27 lever frame was provided to control the revised layout. Following trackwork rationalisation
(reduced to just a double track) the box closed in Nov 1984, but it had only been open on busy days
since Oct 1968. It has survived as an office and was Grade II listed in Jan 1986. The nearby former
Torre signal box is also Grade II listed. From 5 May 1987 Exeter resignalling Stage 6 saw control of the
line from Newton Abbot East to Paignton North (both exclusive) transfer to Exeter Signalling Centre.
BELOW Torre Signal Box on 9 Aug 2000. (Angus McDougall)
X.99] ABOVE: (E-BLN 1206.X76) Not 'the straight and narrow' (gauge)….
The 2ft Bude Summerleaze Beach Sand Tramway again, 23 Jul 2009 (R~P~M).
1443] Goonbarrow Junction: Participants in the recent excellent BLS 'Cornwall STP' event learnt that
the passing loop is only bi-directional on the Down Main as far as the junction for Imerys Rock Dries
freight sidings (outward China Clay traffic). It is left hand running so both sides are covered on any
passenger train to Newquay and back. This explains the loop designation of 'Up Main' and 'Down
Main'. NR wanted to remove the loop in 2010 and abolish the signal box but both were reprieved.
Passenger crossing moves only regularly happen on summer Saturdays and Sundays. On summer
Saturdays Newquay branch intermediate stations only have one train (during the evening) each way as
the other six are HSTs or CrossCountry Voyagers; after 16 Sep they have seven each way on Saturdays!
1444] Bath Spa: (BLN 1306.1197) Bath West Ground Frame (107m 55ch) being temporarily OOU with
the access points to Westmoreland Sidings 1 & 2 plain lined until further notice first appeared in the
Weekly operating notice dated 28 Apr 2018. This was probably the effective date. Although it
appeared in the list of signalling and permanent way alterations dated as 3 Jun 2018 this may well
have been an administrative catch up. The sidings have actually been OOU for a good while, of course.
1445] BLS Cornwall STP tracker: By popular request the planned itinerary, with thanks to Mark Haggas
for his considerable time and effort on this. The aim is to cover all the stations and passenger track in
Cornwall and every platform (some are request stops of course) with a variety of trains such as the
mini-HST and, naturally, unusual features (eg HST at St Germans). The report will detail what actually
happened! This plan applies Mondays to Fridays in the peak summer timetable, 2 Jul to 31 Aug 2018:
① Arr St Erth P1 07.43; the 23.45 Paddington - Penzance sleeper, (two seated coaches behind loco).
② 07.59 St Erth P3 bay (which is to be moved) - St Ives 08.12, all stations including Lelant.
③ 08.15 St Ives - Penzance P3 08.38, via link to St Erth P2 and the trailing Penzance end crossover.
④ 08.44 Penzance P3 - St Erth P2 08.52.
⑤ 09.02 St Erth - Penzance P1 09.12. (After 09.00 the Ride Cornwall day ranger is now valid all day.)
⑥ 09.35 Penzance P4 - Hayle P2 09.46. It is uncommon for a Voyager to stop at Hayle.
⑦ 10.08 Hayle P1 - St Erth P1. It is uncommon for a HST to stop at Hayle with its short platform.
⑧ 10.18 St Erth P3 - St Ives 10.29. One hour break in beautiful St Ives or one/two extra branch trips.
⑨ 11.33 St Ives - St Erth P3 11.45.
⑩ 11.50 St Erth P2 - Liskeard P2 13.08. (Backup 12.14 St Erth to Liskeard.)
⑪ 13.19 Liskeard P3 bay - Looe 13 48. Time off in Looe or an extra return trip to Liskeard.
⑫ 14.58 Looe - Liskeard P3 bay 15.29 via Coombe Junction Halt (reverse) - four trains daily (SuX).
⑬ 15.36 Liskeard P1 - Par P1 15.59.
⑭ 16.10 Par P3 - Newquay 17.01 via all stations.
⑮ 17.22 Newquay - Par P3 18.11.
⑯ 18.23 Par P1 - St Austell P1 18.29. (Just to reduce the long wait at Par.)
⑰ 18.44 St Austell P2 - Plymouth P6 19.40. (Alight at Liskeard if the next train is over 10 mins late.)
⑱ 19.49 Plymouth P4 - Liskeard P1 20.11. (Aberdeen - Penzance the longest UK direct train journey.)
At Liskeard the final train from Looe terminates in P3 then makes the ECS move to P2.
⑲ 21.04 Liskeard P2 - Plymouth P8 21.38. With Menheniot and St Budeaux Ferry Road Up platforms.
Day 1 Optional extras/alternatives:
ꚚReplacing 4-11: Penzance 09.00 to Bodmin Parkway, return (Adult Day Rover £13.50; Senior £12.50)
…to Boscarne Junction, back to Bodmin Parkway to join the planned train to Liskeard (13.08).
Ꚛ11: Optional break at Liskeard, Looe or Coombe Junction Halt or walk Liskeard to/from Coombe Jn.
Ꚛ19: Alight at St Budeaux Ferry Road (21.27), walk 140yd to Victoria Road (21.41) for an extra trip to
…Gunnislake (22.17/22.21) - Ride Cornwall Day Ranger is valid - arriving Plymouth P5 23.06.
① 08.40 Plymouth P8 - Gunnislake 09.26. (An easement allows use of the Ride Cornwall Ranger.)
② 09.29 Gunnislake - Plymouth P3 bay 10.14.
③ 10.46 Plymouth P4 - Liskeard P1 11.16.
④ 11.30 Liskeard P2 - Plymouth P7 11.55.
⑤ 12.29 Plymouth P4 - Par P3 13.27. The London Paddington to Newquay HST via the Plymouth end
………….… facing crossover at Par calling at the short platforms at Saltash, St Germans and Lostwithiel.
⑥ 13.38 Par P3 - St Austell P1 13.45. Via Par P3 Penzance end and the trailing crossover to Up Main.
⑦ 13.52 St Austell P2 - Plymouth P7 14.53. (Break in Plymouth.)
⑧ 15.57 Plymouth P5 - Liskeard P1 16.33. All Down platforms, then shunts ECS P1 to P2 at Liskeard.
⑨ 16.54 Liskeard P1 -Truro P1 17.44.
⑩ 17.59 Truro P1 bay - Falmouth Docks 18.23.
⑪ 18.31 Falmouth Docks - Penryn P2 18.42.
⑫ 18.45 Penryn P1 - Falmouth Docks 18.55.
⑬ 19.02 Falmouth Docks - Truro P3 19.30. Via trailing crossover at Penzance end of Truro station.
⑭ 20.00 Truro P1 - Penzance P2. Penzance platforms are wrong online and don't change afterwards.
⑮ 21.45 Penzance P1 Night Riviera; 2 seated coaches are behind loco to reduce noise for 'sleepers'.
Day 2 Optional extras/alternatives: (Requires the appropriate additional Anytime Day returns.)
Ꚛ07.02 Plymouth P5 to Liskeard 07.34, HST calls at Devonport. Return 07.53 Liskeard to Plymouth P6
(08.20) then 08.40 to Gunnislake etc. Or alight St Germans 07.22 return 07.40 to Plymouth P7 08.03.
Ticket requirements: From the sleeper boarding station through to St Ives (not St Erth). Whether a
single or return ticket offers the best value depends on station and arrangements for returning home.
For best sleeper deals book 12 weeks ahead. Advance single tickets are also available in the seats from
GWR website (only it would appear) eg Plymouth to St Ives £10.50 (Railcard, where valid, £7.95).
Anytime day return from St Ives to Penzance £7 (Senior Railcard £3.60). However, a return ticket to
St Ives from Truro or further east is valid as a routing easement to/from St Ives via Penzance.
Ride Cornwall Day Ranger, one for each day £13 (Senior Railcard £10.75) - these are valid on the
evening sleeper Penzance to Plymouth. Valid all day Sat, Sun and Bank holidays, after 09.00 otherwise.
Easements: 08.14 (HST) Plymouth - Penzance; 08.40 Plymouth - Gunnislake; 08.33 Liskeard - Looe.
1446] Exeter St David's: To accommodate the extension to the DMU maintenance depot, sidings 1, 2
and 3 (located nearest to the Up Passenger Loop) have been removed from the network.
1447] Wareham: (BLN 1305.1128) Our well travelled member sampled the South Western Railway
new summer Saturday service (at 14.40) to Corfe Castle on Sat 30 Jun. It is reported that between
Weymouth and Corfe Castle they are charters by the Swanage Railway from SWR and the Swanage
Railway is keen to repeat them next year. The delay in advertising the first day (26 May) was due to
awaiting clearance from ORR and DfT for the paths. On arrival our member had a quick wander (to the
top of the castle to photograph the Swanage Railway Class 33 hauled train - ABOVE: Stuart Hicks) and
then returned to Waterloo with four reversals. These are at Wareham, Weymouth, Yeovil Pen Mill
and Yeovil Junction, the train unusually serves both Dorchester South and West stations. DMU
159011 was in SWR livery and our member was pleased that it arrived early in the Up platform (Down
was initially advertised) at Wareham due to the late running of the 14.33 Down train to Weymouth,
thus enabling pictures. (NEXT PAGE TOP: Both Stuart Hicks)
Departure was on time right behind the Weymouth train with a slow trundle to Corfe Castle.
The driver had worked the service the previous four weeks as well, (around half a dozen have been
trained). Tickets were checked by the Swanage Railway Commercial Manager who mentioned that
they were happy with the loadings; about 140 had travelled on the first service that day with many
fewer on subsequent trains. The return at 15.45 to Salisbury via Weymouth and Yeovil was much
busier with most seats taken leaving Corfe Castle and again later after Weymouth, where two car
158887 (also in SWR livery) attached. The train ran slightly late but caught up a little at Yeovil Junction
and terminated at Salisbury almost on time, where the 18.47 to Waterloo was waiting across the
island platform. Most weeks, so far, it has run through to Waterloo as advertised. These SO trains
continue to Sat 8 Sep with specific cheap fares available from many stations, or buy from the SWR
website (put the destination as 'Corfe Castle') - see BLN 1305.1128 for details and times.
1448] Masbury: The Somerset and Dorset Heritage Trust (who operate the museum and heritage
railway at Midsomer Norton station) has reported that the owners of the former Masbury station
811ft above sea level (near the summit of the Bath Green Park to Evercreech Junction section of the
railway) are returning the station to its pre-closure appearance. Recent works include removing the
adjacent trees, opening up the view of the station. The former headshunt behind the Down platform is
also being excavated. This once accessed the stone crushing plant then led into two sidings of the
WWII Masbury Camp with its rail served fuel dump. The stone base of the reinstated signal box has
also been progressing well.
1308 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]
1449] Bromsgrove: (BLN 1305.1076) The EMU schedules from 22 Jul have been removed at least until
30th. Instead there are more ECS route learning DMU shuttles to/from Barnt Green which have run.
1450] Chase Line: OHLE has now been erected just south of Rugeley Town, with catenary wire a little
further south and the earth return almost to Essington Wood. The wording of the EMU new track
access application seems to suggest little confidence it will be ready for the Dec timetable change.
1451] Kenilworth: (BLN 1306.1320) Our original correspondent is in the doghouse. The new station
has a ticket machine; right by the entrance from the car park which he thought, from its appearance,
was just for car parking tickets. Also on the Kenilworth line a member reports that two of the carriage
sidings (4 & 5) appeared to be available during week ended 6 Jul, as shown on Aug 2013 TRACKmaps.
New Midland area stations tend to be confusing. A member travelled from Birmingham International
to Bermuda Park shortly after the latter opened, but had to explain to the ticket clerk where it was,
and how to spell it. Your BLN Editor caused confusion at Kidderminster by asking for tickets to
Hednesford on Mon 10 Apr 1989, the day it ROP as an interim terminus of the 'Chase Line' north of
Walsall - all trains arriving via the facing crossover to turn back in the single Up platform in those days.
After much scratching of head and keyboard work, he was asked 'How are you spelling that please?'
1452] Midlands Rail Hub: Midlands Connect recently published a strategy document outlining
principal areas of focus. These are: ●The Bordesley chords (allowing new Camp Hill line passenger
services to access Moor Street). ●Platform restorations (specifically Snow Hill P4) and lengthening,
with two extra platforms at Moor Street and stabling facilities, also remodelling at Water Orton and
Kings Norton. ●Signalling and junction improvements. ●Some minor electrification.
1453] West Midlands (ex-Midland) Metro: (BLN 1307.1323) On Wed 11 Jul around noon at St Chads
tram stop the customer information displays showed no destination for Wolverhampton direction
services. Instead there was a mysterious scrolling message of a service to 'JQ', shuttle to 'HAN' and a
service forward to Wolverhampton. What was tram, what was bus, what crossovers (if any) were in
public use? The quickest way to find out, with no staff on hand to ask was to board the next tram.
This terminated at Jewellery Quarter ('JQ' explained !) where passengers for Wolverhampton were
directed to travel, with their Metro tickets, to The Hawthorns on West Midlands Railways (WMR)
services then change back to the Metro. Passengers for stops to Handsworth Booth Street ('HAN')
were directed to the Birmingham bound Metro platform to join a service shuttling up and down the
Birmingham-bound line with single line working. Catching WMR to The Hawthorns offered a Metro
service as normal to Wolverhampton or a shuttle service to/from Handsworth Booth Street.
The latter was chosen and, on arrival, the tram ran forward ECS just beyond the platform, stopped, the
driver changed ends and it reversed back into the same platform it had left minutes before. Passengers
could now join (or for BLS members rejoin!) and enjoy the trailing Wolverhampton end crossover in
service. This freed up the other platform at HAN for the shuttle tram to enter and depart back to JQ,
serving intermediate stops and providing directionality. Back at JQ, the service to Grand Central left
from the Wolverhampton-bound platform, providing a second crossover for the day. The Conductor
indicated this had been operating for 2 or 3 days but should finish soon and, on checking the Metro
website shortly after, indications were that services were already back to normal. Too late for a BLS
electronic message! Metro tickets could be used on trains, including latterly Virgin Trains New Street
to Wolverhampton after suitable payment had been arranged by Metro, and West Midlands buses.
The excellent 'British Trams Online' reports this OHLE problem as having been solved the previous day
but it either recurred or there was a similar occurrence on 11 Jul. The fault is understood to have been
on a gas tensioner - the same problem as the previous week but in a different location - just to the
north of Winson Green Outer Circle stop. They are filled with a type of Nitrogen Oxide (no laughing
matter) and have two seals but in this case each failed, leading to both the main wire and tension
wires breaking. There was also a similar problem at the same location on the opposite track in
2017.Meanwhile the first track (36m long) was laid on the Wolverhampton station extension on 5 Jul.
1454] Tyseley: On 30 Jun/1 Jul for the Locomotive Works Open Days, Chiltern unusually stopped four
London to Birmingham trains each way. The station is not normally served by Chiltern and has no
booked through London services. It was so unusual that on 30 Jun the 10.40 Marylebone to Snow Hill,
3-car DMU 168214, driver forgot and after an emergency brake application overran the station by 11½
coach lengths, returning to the station with permission. Fortunately only a six minute delay resulted.
THIS PAGE: Two recent pictures of the Wolverhampton station tram extension from Phil Dooley.
X.100] Now & Then, an occasional feature: ABOVE: Great Malvern; IET (800011) from Paddington at
09.37 on 18 Jan 2018 - these trains always seem to be immaculate both inside and out. BELOW: 7919
'Runter Hall' (withdrawn 31 Dec 1965) on 18 Jun 1965; an afternoon train for Hereford. (Ralph Ward)
1455] Ironbridge: Development Company Harworth Group has bought the Power Station site for an
undisclosed sum. They plan to build several hundred homes on the 350-acres and some parts will be
for commercial and leisure uses. A local councillor has (inevitably) called for the line from Madeley Jn
to be re-opened for passenger use with a park & ride facility to alleviate pressure on Ironbridge Gorge.
Ironbridge 'B' was the first coal fired power station in the world to be converted to burn biomass and
ceased generating at 14.33 on 20 Nov 2015 after 46 years. The last tour was 6 Mar 2015, Pathfinder's
'Sabrina's Tea Train'. The last inward biomass ran on 18 Nov 2015 with the final revenue earning train
operating 30 Nov 2015 to clear empty wagons. The last train of all was a 16 May 2016 inspection train.
1456] Telford: (BLN 1307.1319) The massive new station footbridge was lifted into position over the
track during the 30 Jun/1 Jul weekend. It will eventually link to a new footbridge to the town centre
currently under construction at the site and planned to be lifted into position during September.
1308 YORKSHIRE & NORTH HUMBERSIDE (Graeme Jolley; Geoff Blyth for North & East Yorks)
1457] Bradford: At 17.00 on 30 June the Mill Lane signaller reported that Mill Lane Bridge had been
struck by a double decker bus with debris falling off the structure. All lines were blocked, BT Police
were advised and a bridge examiner was summoned. On arrival, the Mobile Operations Manager
(MOM) confirmed that the bus, fortunately 'ECS', had lost its top deck and was not to be moved.
At 17.30, following further examination by the MOM, it became apparent that the metalwork of the
Down Line side of the bridge, and the protection beam, were both damaged. The engineer arrived at
18.15 and within 10 minutes had authorised normal working following the removal of the bus -
impressively quick work! However, the bus will not be working normally anytime soon. There are on
average 6 to 10 bridge strikes every single day on NR of varying severity.
X.101] BELOW: You never know when you are going to bump in to something of interest. This was at
the M62 Hartshead Moor services this morning, Thur 19 Jul 2018. 12801 with (separately) three
coaches and a trailer were all present overnight making up a new TPE 5-car set. (Alan Sheppard)
1458] Huddersfield: The first phase of the 'Gateway to Huddersfield' project will add new entrances to
the east of the station and create a taxi hub in St George's Square. Work is scheduled to begin in
summer 2019 with completion in Mar 2021. Just under half of the £10.55M budget has been allocated.
Subsequent phases will encompass: A multi-storey and surface car park on land occupied by the
former goods shed (now St George's Warehouse) and station goods yard. An additional platform.
Layout alterations (no details given). Extending the existing subway, with a new western entrance
linking the station to the warehouse site Stairs/lift connecting the parking area to the town centre.
1459] York - Harrogate: The company planning a major housing development on the disused Flaxby
Golf Course has put[t] forward proposals for Goldsborough station (CP 15 Sep 1958; CA 3 May 1965)
to be reopened, a fair way east of Knaresborough, as a new 'Flaxby Parkway' Park & Ride station [for
drivers?]. It would also serve the new Flaxby Green Park Business and Science Park, which has planning
consent, and provide interchange with enhanced bus services from Harrogate and Knaresborough.
Network Rail (NR) confirms that there are 'no significant technical obstacles to the provision of a new
station'. NR is working with the developers on timetabling to allow for two-way traffic; Flaxby Park
commuters to York, Harrogate and Leeds and workers to Flaxby Green Park in the opposite direction.
Goldsborough station was used regularly by Royalty as nearby Goldsborough Hall was the home of
Princess Mary, a daughter of George V. In 1941 a Ministry of Food cold store was built for emergency
meat supplies with private sidings. Government use ceased in 1961 and the building was rented out.
It was demolished in 2012 and replaced by a
road distribution depot. An 'Air Raid Precautions'
type signal box, (this meant strengthened walls
to the locking room, the signaller upstairs having
to run!), built in 1941 to control the more
extensive layout, closed in Feb 1971 when the
A59 level crossing was replaced by an
overbridge. The station house is now a private
house which incorporates the signal box and
uses the ground floor (which presumably once
housed the signalling interlocking) as the garage!
LEFT: Angus McDougall (21 Mar 1998).
1460] Leeds: In 2016, Leeds City Council started their biggest-ever transport consultation. Over 8,000
people said what was important to them. In response the city, with the West Yorkshire Combined
Authority and other partners, produced https://goo.gl/a9dfMR the Leeds Transport Strategy.
Leeds has increased rail services with new stations opened at Kirkstall Forge (in Jun 2016 with 94,536
journeys in 2016/17) and Apperley Bridge (Dec 2015 with 350,312 journeys). Three locations are
highlighted for potential new stations. Initial plans for White Rose and Thorpe Park have been
published, both for consultation until 27 Jul; Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway is to follow later in 2018.
Thorpe Park on the Leeds - York/Selby line, about ¾ mile east of Cross Gates, would have extensive
Park & Ride (P&R) facilities. It is hoped to attract longer distance commuters who now drive through
East Leeds. However, as pointed out in BLN 1303.874, there are already eight trains per hour each way
(6 fast and 2 slow) to Micklefield, with no opportunity for overtaking. A new station, which would
need a reasonably frequent service to attract P&R passengers, could create pathing problems here.
Only 3½ miles, Marsh Lane to Cross Gates (once the Wetherby line junction), was ever quadruple
track. However, there is relatively open country from Cross Gates to the outskirts of Garforth, so local
folk might feel that NR should have ambitions similar to plans for Shepreth Branch Jn to Cambridge!
White Rose is on the Leeds - Huddersfield line. Engineering, environmental and operational factors
mean its location is fixed - 820yd south of Cottingley station and next to the White Rose Office Park.
It has not yet been decided if White Rose would be in addition to Cottingley or a replacement for it.
1461] Elland: (BLN 1253.600) Funding has now been identified for a new station with improvements to
walking and cycling access. Three locations were considered. ❶East of Lowfields Way, off the Elland
Riorges Link, was rejected because of the need to acquire third party land and limited availability of
land for parking. ❷North of Exley Lane - the site of the former station closed in 1962 was rejected
due to the need to purchase third party land and less desirable access. ❸Off Lowfields Way, in
between the other locations and on the existing embankment above ground level. This is preferred for
engineering, environmental as well as operational reasons and the availability of land.
1308 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]
1462] Ups & Downs: SLW was introduced over the Down Line between Ballybrophy (Cork end) facing
crossover and Laois Traincare Depot (Dublin end) trailing crossover (points 865) on Sat 14 Jul.
1463] A visit to Ireland, 9 May: Our member arrived at Dublin Busáras bus station on the overnight
bus from London/Birmingham and took a tram to Heuston for the 07.35 to Galway, changing for
Westport at Athlone Great Southern & Western Railway (G&SWR) station. He liked the announcement
that passengers should retain tickets for the automatic gates which Westport does not have. After
photographing a timber train for Waterford with loco 084 he went to the tourist office. They booked
him into the Mulranny Park Hotel, built by the Midland Great Western Railway, later a Great Southern
Railways hotel. (Railway and ex-railway hotels would be this member's Mastermind specialist subject!)
It was his 67th overnight stay in a former railway owned hotel in the British Isles; some complimentary.
Closed from 1990 to 2003, this hotel is in the middle of a 42-acre estate overlooking Clew Bay.
Mulranny station last saw a passenger train on 30 Sep 1937 with a final train clearing wagons two days
later. It is virtually complete, with the main Down side platform building, platform canopy, both
platforms and brick based large water tower on the Up side, all very well cared for. Only the Up
waiting shelter has gone. The entire 26m 65ch branch from Westport to Achill has been converted
into the Great Western Greenway. Travel to/from Mulranny was by the 12.15 bus from Westport.
Returning on the 09.40 next day (10 May), he then took the 12.15 bus again to Newport walking the
branch trackbed to Westport in about four hours. Bradshaw gives this as 8 miles or about 9 miles with
official diversions. [Regional Ed note: Newport to Westport is 7m 61ch per Signalling Record Society.]
Newport station is now a Roman Catholic Oratory and the goods shed appears to be part of this
conversion. The footpath/cycle path continues over the 7-arch stone viaduct above the Black Oak River
but diverts round the small hill that was penetrated by the now sealed off Newport Tunnel. From here
the footpath is mostly roadside or near the parallel main road all the way to the outskirts of Westport
where the diversions start but the alignment can be closely followed. Most of the overbridges are at
the Westport end and the line crosses a lofty stone viaduct just before the end of the path.
11 May: Westport to Sutton by train with a stop at Castlerea. Our member had never photographed
Castlerea; his previous visit was in 1983 with a footplate pass [The Good Old Days!] on the overnight
Ballina - Dublin liner (container train). At Claremorris this was combined with a train from Westport.
He opted to ride the light engine, 160, that would follow the Dublin freight and asked the driver if it
would be possible to go up the remaining stub of the Ballinrobe branch!! The driver asked the signaller
if the inspector had gone home (fortunately he had). Points were set and the engine trundled across
the yard and ran for about ¾ mile until brushing branches suggested it was far enough. This light
engine then ran to Castlerea and later to Athlone. Our member then went to Dublin via Portarlington
and a freight hauled by 027, alighting at Islandbridge Jn, as you did, then walked to Heuston.
12 May (2018): Our diligent reporter travelled to Tara Street then walked to Trinity to visit all the
newer LUAS extensions that he required including alighting to photograph every stop. Laughanstown
stop was next noting that Brennanstown, between there and Carrickmines, and Racecourse, between
Carrickmines and Ballyogan Wood, have never opened due to lack of development in the area so far.
He photographed the Green Line stops that he still needed pictures of before moving to the Red Line
to do the same. Return to Sutton was via a break to photograph Clontarf Road DART station.
13 May: Sydney Parade, Sandymount and Lansdowne Road were visited. After this a boat trip was
taken on the River Liffey through Dublin to photo the ex-G&SWR Goods Depot at The Point. Back on
rail transport he was able to complete his collection of Red Line and DART station photos. [Well done!]
14 May: It was off north to photograph the only required Northern Ireland Railways (NIR) station, the
reopened Bellarena. He also did University on the Portrush Branch and Larne Town. At Yorkgate he
noticed the last ex-Midland Railway-Northern Counties Committee railway hotel has been demolished.
15 May: Our member took part in the RPSI railtour with steam Loco 131 from Whitehead excursion
platform to Lisburn then Antrim and back. '131' was plinthed for many years at Dundalk before being
restored to use by the RPSI. Its passenger debut was on RPSI yard rides (25 Jul 2015) but only returned
to mainline work on 2 Apr 2018. After the tour returned, there was an organised visit to the RPSI's new
Whitehead museum. They have achieved a great deal. Bessbrook & Newry Tramway trailer car '6' built
in 1921 has surfaced, until recently a summerhouse at a convent. Our traveller concluded by taking
pictures of Jordanstown and Greenisland before returning to his accommodation at Carrickfergus.
16 May: All required stations were photographed between Balmoral and Portadown. Moira is the
gem here, the oldest operational one on NIR. The main buildings date from the opening of the Ulster
Railway section from Lisburn to Lurgan (18 Nov 1841). The Great Northern Railway (Ireland) signalbox,
no longer in use, has been relocated behind the Dublin bound platform wall and fully restored. Travel
home was then by train to Dublin, overnight bus to Birmingham and then the 05.37 train home to
Casnewydd (Newport). His totals for the trip: 10 Irish Rail stations, 42 LUAS stops and 15 NIR stations
were used and photographed. He still needs to use/photo 17 Irish Rail stations. (To be continued...)
X.102] BELOW: The much rarer Londonderry platform 2 remains in use for now (BLN 1307.1330).
This is the 07.38 to Belfast Great Victoria Street. (Martin Baumann Thur 10 May 2018)
1464] Bray - Greystones: The line was closed on Thur 12 Jul at 10.00 due to a significant lineside fire at
Bray Head damaging signalling and telecoms cables. Bus transfers operated and, after repairs, normal
service resumed on Sat 14 Jul. The fire was started by nearby campers when their tent caught fire.
1308 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe) Email [email protected]
1465] Ayr: NR proposes to remove the trailing points (39m 70ch) at the site of Hawkhill Jn which once
gave access to the former Ayr Traction Maintenance Depot. A palisade fence blocks the track, beyond
which it has been lifted in the depot area. NR thinks there is no further use for them! (Perhaps the
points could be used as part of a bigger scheme to shorten the journey between Northern Ireland and
England for those of us who did not do Hawkhill Jn - Blackhouse Jn before it CA 5 May 1975 with the
diversion of the remaining train , the Stranraer - Euston sleeper, via Barassie and Kilmarnock.)
1466] Dundee: (BLN 1241.1789) The new new five storey £38M station has been opened by public
health minister, Joe FitzPatrick. It has taken two and a half years to complete and includes a 120-room
hotel and retail units and is situated beside the city's Victoria & Albert Museum of Design.
1467] Rutherglen East Jn: From 2 Jul a new facing crossover was installed between the Up and Down
Slow Lines and a new set of facing points was installed on the Up Slow Line to access Rutherglen Civil
Engineer's Depot. These points were secured OOU for commissioning which was due 16 Jul 2018.
1468] Kildonan: The station, the first out of Helmsdale on the Far North Line to Wick and Thurso, had
been earmarked for closure by the Highland and Islands Transport Partnership (Hitrans), arguing that,
although a request stop, this could save four minutes per journey. In June Hitrans bid for cash from
Transport Scotland's Local Rail Development Fund to investigate the case for closure of the Sutherland
station, but it has now withdrawn its application. Official figures show that in 2016-17 only 76
passengers used the station. A local councillor said: I do not believe that four minutes of saving on a
journey of 3hrs and 56minutes will result in widespread jubilation in Caithness or any other area.
BELOW: Train to Inverness leaving Kildonan on 17 Aug 2018. Trains have to stop at the station anyway
and sound their horn before they can proceed as the level crossing has no barriers. (© Copyright Peter
Moore and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence .)
X.103] Dumfries: ABOVE: During the Dumfries break in our Inverclyde First Aider railtour on 28 Apr
(BLN 1307.1345) our beloved Booking Officer and Fixtures Secretary try out the new rolling stock
brought in to help alleviate the current shortage of passenger trains in Scotland. (Jon King 28 Apr 2018)
1469] Dyce - Aberdeen: (BLN 1298.214) The single track line between 6m 200yd (the east end of Dyce
station) and 2m 0yds (Hayton Road) was removed from 12 May with sleepers chained to the track
each end creating a 'High Street environment'. This still allowed access to the Aberdeen Waterloo
branch from the Aberdeen end. It continues during redoubling work until the revised date of 29 Jul.
The whole line is TCP until Mon 30 Aug when local schools return after their summer holiday.
1470] Auchincruive: The Ground Frame (41m 41ch) for the former oil sidings - now all cleared - on the
south side of the Newton-on-Ayr to Mauchline line has been OOU for many years and was identified
as a candidate for abandonment at the 2013 'Network Optimisation Workshops'. It could not then be
removed due to its Strategic Freight Site status. The location has now been removed from that list so
NR propose to take it OOU permanently. However it will not be removed from the rail network.
1471] Blackford: (BLN 1255.1287 with plan) Regarding the planned Highland Spring (bottled water)
freight facility, the scheme is going ahead and NR now propose to install a facing crossover south of
the yard with a southern access. Trains would not have to reverse over Blackford Level Crossing via the
existing trailing crossover to access the sidings from the north. This crossover and associated signalling
would be abolished. All traffic will be dispatched south. The facility should be in full use by April 2020.
1472] Edinburgh Trams: For a line which had a very traumatic gestation and start in life, Edinburgh
Trams seems to be on the up and up with ever increasing passenger numbers, good reliability figures
and now higher than expected financial returns. The latest set of accounts shows a £1.6M pre-tax
operating profit - against the business model prediction of £333K. In 2017 revenue grew by 24% to
£13M with an increase in passenger journeys of 19% to 6.6M. This was helped by introduction of a
new timetable at the start of the year increasing services by 23%, a new contactless payment system
and running additional trams when the city hosts major events. This passenger focussed approach has
seen Edinburgh Trams named as 'Operator of the Year' at the prestigious Global Light Rail Awards and
the operator receive numerous accolades for excellence in customer service. End to end journey time
has been reduced from 42 to 36 minutes and additional services are planned for the evening peak.
9 Jun 2017 was the busiest day yet; over 42,000 journeys for a Robbie Williams concert at Murrayfield.
All night trams will continue during Hogmanay and on Saturdays during the Edinburgh International
Festival (3-28 Aug), when trams run half hourly with normal fare day tickets valid until 05.30 next day.
1473] Queen Street: Visible from George Square, the Glasgow Millennium Hotel 1970's extension -
that previously hid the station - has been removed and the eight-story Consort House tower and
connecting annex significantly cut back. Removal of these buildings provides the space needed to
extend all platforms to take eight car trains and create room for a new concourse almost double the
size of the existing area. With 75 percent of all demolition work now complete, the project team will
soon start work to strengthen the foundations to support the new and improved station structure.
1474] East Lothian branches: On 1 Jul 1960 a retired Dundee driver, who posts details of his work over
the years on Facebook, was learning to drive a DMU on the branches to Gullane (CP 12 Sep 1932;
CA 15 Jun 1964) and Haddington (CP 5 Dec 1949; CA 30 Mar 1968) - a bit like when learners were not
allowed on motorways? They really should have allowed BLS volunteers to simulate passengers.
1475] Flannan Light Railway: This is not just the light railway on Flannan, but the railway serving
Flannan Light (NA 7263 4687) on the Outer Hebridean Flannan Isles, northwest of the Isle of Lewis and
slightly west of the line at St Davids Lifeboat station (BLN 1293.MR225). This makes it the most
westerly railway in Great Britain and, being west of Londonderry, the most westerly in the UK. This line
was curved as it made its way up the rocky island to the lighthouse unlike the straight railway at
St Davids. A set of points connected routes from both the island's landing places. Your correspondent
passed by on 29 May but the ship was not close enough for confirmation of what remains today.
The 75ft lighthouse was designed by David Alan Stevenson for the Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB).
Construction, between 1895 and 1899, was undertaken by George Lawson of Rutherglen at a cost of
£6,914 inclusive of the building of the landing places, stairs, railway tracks etc. All the materials had to
be hauled up 148ft cliffs directly from supply boats, no trivial task in the ever-churning Atlantic.
Another £3,526 was spent on the Isle of Lewis shore station at Breasclete. It was first lit on 7 Dec 1899.
The railway transported provisions for the keepers and fuel for the light (paraffin - the lighthouse
needed 20 barrels a year) up the steep gradients from the landing places by the cable-hauled railway.
It was powered by a small steam engine in a shed adjoining the lighthouse. The track descended from
the lighthouse in a west and then curved round to the south. In the approximate centre of the island it
forked by means of a set of hand-operated points humorously dubbed 'Clapham Junction'.
One branch continued in its curvature to head eastwards to the east landing place, on the south-east
corner of the island, forming a half-circle. The other slightly shorter branch curved back to the west to
serve the west landing place, situated in a small inlet on the island's south coast. The final approaches
to the landing stages were extremely steep. The cable was guided round curves by pulleys set between
the rails, and a line of posts set outside the inner rail prevented it from going too far astray should it
jump off the pulleys. The cargo was carried in a small four-wheeled bogie.
In 1925, the lighthouse was one of the first in Scotland to receive communications from the shore by
wireless telegraphy. In the 1960s, the island's transport system was modernised. The railway was
removed, leaving the concrete bed on which it had been laid as a roadway for a 'Gnat' - a three
wheeled, cross country vehicle with rubber tyres powered by a 400cc four-stroke engine, built by
Aimers McLean of Galashiels. This had a shorter working life than the railway as when the lighthouse
was automated on 28 Sep 1971, a reinforced concrete helipad was built to allow maintenance visits in
bad weather. The light is now produced by burning acetylene gas and has a range of 20 miles.
It is monitored from the Butt of Lewis and the shore station has been converted into flats.
1476] Niddrie West Jn - South Jn: (BLN 1302.1102) The Up line (TCA 10 Apr due to an old mine shaft
opening up) ROA 9 Jul after stabilisation work, initially with a 5mph temporary speed restriction (TSR).
A 5mph TSR had applied on the Down line until 3 Jul when the normal 40mph line speed was restored.
1477] Stock News: A special vehicle for bikes and outdoor equipment is expected to be coupled to
ScotRail trains to ease overcrowding between Glasgow, Oban, Fort William and Mallaig from summer
2019. A similar experiment may be tried on lines between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh and Wick.
Transport Scotland agency is finalising work with ScotRail to secure five single-carriage Class 153 units.
These will be reconfigured to accommodate cyclists and their bikes, and other outdoor sports fans and
equipment. Wot no dogs? Will it be special vehicles for comedians next perhaps? - laughing stock…
1308 WALES .(NEW REGIONAL EDITOR: Chris Parker). [email protected]
1478] Rhyl - Abergele & Pensarn: (BLN 1307.1340) The mystery of when the Down Main was moved
from its separate alignment on the Foryd Viaduct south bridge crossing the River Clwyd (209m 69ch -
210m 08ch) to 'join', or rather be laid adjacent to the Up Main on the north bridge is still unsolved.
However, thanks to a diligent member the Weekly Operating Notice has revealed that further west,
past the bridges, the Down Main between MP 210 and MP 211¾, was slewed south about 10ft further
away from the Up Main from Sun 10 Mar 1965. Furthermore, a week later, the reason for this became
clear when the Up Main was slewed south into the former Down Main between MP 210 and MP 211¾.
1479]: Little Mill Jn - Glascoed Royal Ordnance Factory: (BLN 1307.1336) After public timetabled
services ended from 13 Jun 1955 (last train 28 May 1955), the branch was used for unadvertised
workers' services until withdrawn from 24 April 1961. Rhymney and Ystrad Mynach services ceased
from 30 Jan 1961; Blaenavon and Newport from 6 Mar 1961 and Brynmawr from 24 Apr 1961.
1480] New Franchise: (BLN 1306.1238) The 'modernisation' of all stations on the network apparently
includes not only mundane work such as deep cleaning but also provision of free Wi-Fi. In remote
locations such as Llanbister Road (Central Wales Line), where there is not even a mobile phone signal,
this could greatly increase station footfall by local residents (yes, there are a few - 860 passengers
recorded for 2016/17!); whether their feet will then fall on to the trains is another matter, of course!
1481] Carmarthen - Aberystwyth (1306.1240) As a result of the campaign by Traws Link Cymru to
reopen this line, a £300k feasibility study began in Sep 2017. This has been undertaken by engineering
consultants Mott Macdonald who were similarly engaged with the Borders Railway. The 'Cambrian
News' understands that a draft report is soon to be considered by the Welsh Government. A Dec 2015
scoping study concluded that over 97% of the trackbed is free of development and considered that
there were no major obstacles to reinstatement. The project is supported by local members of both
Welsh and Westminster Parliaments but some opponents argue that it would be unrealistic due to
projected costs, while others believe money could be better spent on improving trunk roads.
The redeveloped 3% includes the approach to Aberystwyth, requiring a new route including a tunnel.
1308 MINOR RAILWAYS (Peter Scott) [email protected]
PLEASE NOTE: Peter's personal 'Tesco' email address is ending; please use above address.
NEXT PAGE: Moors Valley Railway - A train hauled by 'Pioneer', departs from Kingsmere station.
(Peter Scott 2 June 2018)
MR127] Moors Valley Railway, Dorset (MR p15) (BLN 1124.MR226): This extensive 7¼" gauge railway
operates in Moors Valley Country Park at Ashley Heath, near Ringwood. All passenger trains are
normally steam operated and it is fully signalled. Kingsmere, the main station, is an impressive four-
platform structure with an over all roof. Adjacent are extensive locomotive & carriage sheds and a
workshop. A visit was made on a warm and sunny Saturday 2 June 2018. A three train service was
operating with locomotives 2-6-2 No11 'Zeus', 4-6-2 No12 'Pioneer' and 2-4-0 'Guinevere', all hauling
lengthy rakes of coaches. At work on the Driver Experience train was 0-4-2T No3 'Talos'. An adult
return ticket was £3.95. The owner, Jim Haylock, noticed the two visiting BLS members inspecting the
locos by the turntable, visible from the rear of the station. He then kindly allowed them to look around
the loco shed and workshop. He explained about the operation of the railway and then described the
locomotives and rolling stock - the amount of which would put a small National TOC to shame! Jim also
arranged a visit to Kingsmere East signal box. He was warmly thanked.
The railway operates a shop and refreshment kiosk at Kingsmere station, while a much larger café is
available by the car park in the Country Park. Car parking is relatively expensive, though admission is
free and it is possible to park elsewhere and walk into the park. A visit to the railway is very much
recommended - it may only be a miniature railway - but this is a large railway operation running a
frequent steam hauled service with long trains over a line which is over a mile in length.
ABOVE & LEFT: The Hull Water Chute, its building
might appeal to our signal box aficionados.
25 Feb 2008 Photo © Peter Church (cc-by-sa/2.0)
MR128] Hull East Park Water Chute, East Yorkshire: This steel 'wheels' (actually four flanged rollers -
see later) on steel rails mode of short distance rail travel, one of only three now in Britain, has had a
chequered history recently despite considerable renovation work a decade ago funded by the Heritage
Lottery Fund. A new gear box was fitted in spring 2016, but days and times of operation were less than
scheduled in that summer and ended prematurely on 4 September. A special opening on 22 October
2016 for a visiting party of enthusiasts of such attractions seemed to have been a last riding
opportunity. School holidays only operation in 2017 did not happen due to the attraction needing
structural repair. Assessment and costing, complicated by potential outsourcing of the Park's
management by the City Council, resulted in no operating at all that year. However, the Park Manager
has now confirmed that all repairs have been carried out, and the facility will be in operation for public
rides May - September, from 10.00 to 17.00 every weekend and bank holiday and all days in school
holidays (although, as in the past, it may not actually continue running in really adverse weather).
A licensee has now been appointed to manage the Chute. It is sited (TA 121 314) at the side of an arm
of the large artificial lake (opened in 1913 and extended in 1924), which occupies the centre of the
Park, Hull's largest and easily accessible by bus or car off Holderness Road. It involves a brick tower,
railed incline, and wooden barrier enclosed water area. A curved-fronted car in which passengers ride
on three bench seats is hauled by cable up the incline for boarding, and then released for gravity to
provide a dramatic descent on rails extending on and under the water. The popular name 'Splash Boat'
requires no explanation. With often-dampened passengers, the car is hauled back up to the top of the
tower for alighting - so only return journeys. The Heritage Lottery work in the Hull example did create
(not tried elsewhere) a wooden platform just above water level, intended for boarding by passengers
with disabilities unable to climb the tower stairs, but it has never been used for boarding or alighting
because the 'boat' rocks too much in the water. The brick tower has flights of 29 steps on either side,
up for entering passengers on the west side after they have paid, and down on the east side.
The operating mechanism is essentially a lever to release the car and motor to haul it back up, and is in
a small covered cabin on the top of the tower, with just room for passengers to board on one side and
alight on the other, plus two operators, one for machinery control and the other for passenger
management. (The example in Scarborough has only one operator on duty and reportedly uses the
original mechanism.) The four wheels of the car are flanged rollers but they run on flat-bottomed steel
rails, and the October 2016 party carefully measured the gauge as 2 foot 4⅝ inches.
The journey length is nearly 100 feet, and slope of the steel framework supported gradient about
30 degrees. 2018 ride prices are £1 for adults and 50p children (with a minimum height restriction of
1.1m). The Hull Corporation Parks & Burial Committee meeting in January 1929 agreed that a Splash
Boat ride should be erected, and so the equipment was purchased from Chas Wicksteed & Co at a cost
of £1,400. The City Engineers Department built the tower for £474 2s 4d. Initial admission price of 1d
bought the 22ft climb up the tower, and probably, as latterly, two rides to end of the Splash track.
There are two other extant Splash Boat rides in Britain firstly at Wicksteed Park, (BLN 1281.MR86)
Kettering, designed and manufactured by Charles Wicksteed in 1926 (not 1932), the oldest in the
country and now Grade II listed since 29 November 2016. The other is at North Bay, Scarborough
(BLN 1282.MR98, and above) which is accessed by wooden steps in two stages. The October 2016 Hull
visit included a talk by a retired Park Ranger on the history of the site and the Splash Boat in particular,
and this included some material on earlier examples of railed splash incline rides in the British Isles,
a seemingly not well recorded subject. Amongst material he had found in Park records were pictures
of one, 'the new Giant Chute' at a Hungarian Exhibition at Earls Court, and another in 1907, at an Irish
International Exhibition. [MR Ed: Amusement Park Rides by Martin Easton (Shire Publications 2012)
records there were once similar Water Chutes at New Brighton, Great Yarmouth, Southend, Southport,
Blackpool, Weston-super-Mare and Rhyl - the latter closing recently as 2007 and since demolished.]
https://goo.gl/1S3L1S is a video (3¾ minutes) of the Hull East Park water chute in action from 2009.
MR129] Oakwood Main Line Train, Pembrokeshire (MR p30) (BLN 1190.MR152): This 15" gauge
railway operates in Oakwood Theme Park at Cross Hands, near Narberth in West Wales. The railway,
a circuit of 1,100 yards, acts as a transport system in the Park - taking arriving visitors from 'Oakwood'
station, to 'Whistlestop' station. The intermediate Neverland Halt is only now used during peak times.
When leaving the Park, visitors travel from 'Whistlestop' to 'Oakwood'. Consequently, the railway only
operates for a limited time: 10.00-12.00 from Oakwood station to Whistlestop and then at 15.30-16.30
from Whistlestop to Oakwood. However, it is possible to walk instead. A dedicated member made a
visit on Monday 4 June 2018 and arrangements with the park had been made in advance for a shed
visit and unlimited access to photograph. Despite the operating times stated, a request for a full circuit
in the morning was granted. The intermediate Neverland Halt was not in use on this day due to very
small numbers visiting the Park. On display in Oakwood station sidings were Severn Lamb Rio Grande
steam outline locomotives 0-8-0DH 'Lindy-Lou' (SL7218/1972) in blue livery and 0-8-0PH (SL R9/1976)
in red livery, minus their power tenders, which were both in the loco shed. The loco shed also held the
out of use 4-4wDHR Goold diesel railcar of 1989.
The working train was formed of the 4-4wDHR Severn Lamb Lister rebuild 7322 of 1973, painted blue
and advertising Coastal Cottages with two enclosed coaches in matching livery (the only serviceable
loco and stock). All the open coaches and the other enclosed ones are either off track in the depot
area or derelict in the sidings. A new addition is another 'railway' (ride) called the Circus Express
located in Circus Land. This is 60cm gauge and has a loco and two coaches - fully automated and
operated on demand. The former 60cm gauge Nutty Jakes Gold Mine Ride, which was rebranded
Brer Rabbit's Burrow, using two Severn Lamb electric trainsets from 1990, closed at the end of the
2016 season due to parts being unavailable to repair the trainsets. The burrow has been sealed at one
end and both train sets are stored inside - the station facings have been removed and the burrow has
partly collapsed, so future use seems unlikely. A very enjoyable day with very helpful staff; nothing was
too much trouble for them to make the visit a success. On the day gate entrance fee is £29 adult (over
60 or student £20; Junior £19), online advance booking saves 10-30% according to the offer available.
PREVIOUS PAGE: Oakwood Main Line Train; the train in Whistlestop station. (Rod Bryant 4 June 2018).
MR130] Coleham Pumping Station, Shrewsbury, Shropshire: A correspondent visited this location in
early May 2018. There is a 2ft gauge railway, built in 2016 using track from Shelton Water Works,
which was giving rides over the current length of about 40 yards. The locomotive and coach are
scratch built. The line is to be extended further towards the road and will be used to transport wood
from the front yard for the beam engine boiler. The Pumping Station, an industrial museum, has eight
open days a year - admission was £3 Adult; Child £1; Family £7. Our correspondent duly had a ride and
a drive! Running inside the 2ft gauge rails was a temporary 7¼" gauge line - on which our reporter also
had a ride. [MR Ed: This is a constricted site, adjacent to the River Severn, and a look at Google reveals
the railway could not be ever more than 75 yards in length at the most.] Remaining 2018 open dates,
10.00 to 16.00, are 15 & 16 September (free admission for National Heritage Weekend) and Sunday 21
October. It is a 10 minute walk from Shrewsbury station, there is much of interest here (SJ 4965 1213).
MR131] Poole Park Railway, Dorset (MR p15) (BLN 1307.MR107): Poole Council announced on Friday
15 June 2018 that it had terminated its contract with the Friends of Poole Park, which had been
running the 10¼" gauge railway. No trains have run since 18 May after derailments and a walkout of
volunteer staff. Cllr John Rampton, the Council's cabinet member for Environment and Open Spaces
said I would say from the information we have so far that it's not that likely we'll be able to get it up
and running this season. We'll wait until we see the final technical details. He said reports were being
carried out into the state of the railway. We understand there are significant issues with the
infrastructure, particularly the track and sleepers underneath. There is a lot that needs doing. It is
unfortunate it's happened but we really do intend to get this railway up and running sustainably and
safely. There has also been a suggestion that the Council might take the operation 'in-house'.
X.104] PREVIOUS PAGE TOP: Slaggyford, South Tynedale Railway, looking north towards Alston; the
buffet car (right) is on an isolated section of track in the 'bay' platform. (Richard Putley, 17 Jul 2018)
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Warcop, on the 2m 24ch Eden Valley Railway. (Richard Putley, 18 Jul 2018)
MR132] Derbyshire Dales Narrow Gauge Railway, Derbyshire (BLN 1249.MR15): Henry Frampton-
Jones, the owner of this (currently out of use) 2ft gauge railway at Rowsley South (on Peak Rail), died
on 1 June 2018 at the age of 86 after a short illness. He had been involved with many narrow gauge
railway projects over the years, dating back to the beginning of the preservation era. He leaves a
widow, Mary, who was also actively involved alongside him. They had been planning a new 2ft gauge
railway at Strathpeffer and Mary intends to continue with this. Among Henry's earlier railways were
2ft gauge lines at Carron Farm Museum in Hampshire and the Vobster Light Railway in Somerset.
MR133] Oswestry & District Narrow Gauge Railway Group, Shropshire (BLN 1273.MR14): The
intended 2ft gauge operational railway at Brymbo, associated with the Brymbo Heritage project to
preserve the oldest part of the Ironworks there (the rest is all closed, cleared and being developed) at
(SK 295 535) is being pursued, but very slowly. A cleared level area at the top of the wooded valley
above the retained parts of the works has been fenced, with containers used for storage, but the only
work on the ground to date is laying some 100 yards of hardcore base for the start of a running line,
visible from the junction of Blast Road and Brake Road. The eventual layout planned would be a zig-zag
down into the Heritage Project area.
1308 FIXTURES REPORTS (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
1482] Island of Ireland III - Day 4; The Fairview Fáilte (Welcome), Sunday 6 May: (BLN 1307.1346) by
Angus McDougall. This was the first BLS tour of main lines
in the Republic of Ireland in our 63 year history and
pleasingly raised £5,500 for Railway Children. Our train, a
three car Iarnród Éireann unit, number 22255, started from
through (suburban) platform 6 at Dublin Connolly and first
went south on the City of Dublin Junction line through
Dublin Pearse, where a weave was taken on the right hand
(Up) track before reaching the now centre terminal bay
(until recently through platform 2) at Grand Canal Dock,
which station opened 23 January 2001.
After reversal here we did the opposite weave at Pearse (via the Down line) and passed through
Connolly again to take the curve from platform 7 to Newcomen Jn, an 'unusual' route and one much
desired by many participants. Then it was the Midland Great Western Railway main line through
Clonsilla to Maynooth, passing the new LUAS depot and Green Line terminus at Broombridge on the
left. Reversal took us back to Clonsilla, and from there onto the branch to M3 Parkway, reopened in
September 2010 and wanted by many (including your reporter). We reversed in the normal platform
(2) at the terminus and ran back into the bay platform 3 provided for the branch trains at Clonsilla. A
further run up the branch followed, but this time into the unusual platform 1 and beyond to the buffer
stops of the lengthy headshunt (on the course of the former line to Navan). The Iarnród Éireann staff
advised that it was the first passenger carrying train beyond M3 Parkway since the line had reopened.
The next target was Docklands. Here we ran into platform 2, less used by service trains. Then it was
out again for a quick reversal to take us into platform 1. We noted here the course of the line towards
Church Road was now lifted, and the fact that Docklands station was completely closed (no train
services run at weekends), there apparently being no possible way off railway premises.
Our schedule took us back to Glasnevin Jn for another reversal, but in fact we only went to Newcomen
Jn, there taking the curve we had used previously back to Connolly. Here there was a brief pause to
reload the refreshment trolley which had been much in demand. Onwards via Pearse Down Loop, was
to the terminal platform (3) at Dun Laoghaire, outside the main part of the station.
●07.30 Connolly P6 - Grand Canal Dock turnback via Pearse P1. [Route thanks to Neil Dinnen of Iarnród Éireann]
●07.50 Grand Canal Dock turnback - Maynooth via Pearse P2, Newcomen Jn - Broombridge (pick up).
●08.36 Maynooth - Clonsilla. ●08.58 Clonsilla - M3 Parkway P2. ●09.18 M3 Parkway P2 - Clonsilla Bay P3.
●09.38 Clonsilla Bay P3 - M3 Parkway P2 via M3 Parkway P1 & M3 Parkway Headshunt.
●10.05 M3 Parkway - Docklands P2. ●10.41 Docklands P2 - Docklands P1 via Signal DS108 at Newcomen Jn.
●11.03 Docklands P1 - Dun-Laoghaire P3 via Newcomen Curve, Connolly P7 and Pearse Down Loop.
●12.08 Dun-Laoghaire P3 - Bray P3 via Signal DL32, Bray Middle Road & Bray Loop.
●13.05 Bray P3 - Fairview New Carriage Sidings via Bray Loop, Signal BR48* Bray P2. & Connolly P5.
●14.01 Fairview New Carriage Sidings No3‡ - Connolly P2 via Wash Road. Connolly P2 as P1 occupied.
●14.26 Connolly P2 - Heuston P4 via Heuston P10, Signal HN256 & Heuston (first) Carriage Siding.
●15.11 Heuston P4 - Ballybrophy P4† via Relief Line to Inchicore, Down Slow (four track section), Sallins Loop,
●Kildare Up Platform Loop, Portarlington Down Loop, Laois Train Care Loop.
●16.45 Ballybrophy P4 - Heuston P1 via Laois Depot Loop (extra move to make up for not doing Ballybrophy P3)
●Portlaoise Station Loop, Portarlington Up Loop, Up Fast (4 track section) & Down Main Inchicore - Islandbridge Jn.
*Bray - Greystones section extra move agreed with Central Train Control (CTC). ‡1-4 numbered from main line side.
† Ballybrophy P4 toP3 (Nenagh Bay) cancelled; no driver available to conduct Heuston Driver, despite much effort!
A double reversal took us south via platform 2. There seemed to be nothing to be seen of the Carlisle
Pier branch closed in 1980. At Bray we took the centre road to reverse south of the station and into
the south facing bay once used by Bray/Greystones shuttles before extension of DART electrification.
Our unit then went south of the station once more and then via platform 2 back all the way to
Connolly, crossing beyond there to the Great Northern Railway (Ireland) - on which bus substitution
was in operation to the north - to enter Fairview New Carriage Siding 3 on the right, where we
stopped at the end of the line. They are numbered 1 to 4 from the main line east. Return was via the
Wash Road (but no washing) after East Wall Jn then into the terminal side of Connolly (platform 2).
We left via Drumcondra and Glasnevin Jn through Cabra (a line reopened again for regular passenger
traffic in 2016) to pass through Dublin Heuston platform 10, provided during a period of rebuilding the
main station (which is some distance away) and join the Great Southern & Western Railway main line
at Islandbridge Jn, there reversing to go via the first Carriage Siding into Heuston platform 5.
A main line run followed along the relief line and then past the IÉ works at Inchicore (and the amazing
former signal cabin built in a sort of castellated style). We took the Down slow to Hazelhatch, and then
on to the Sallins & Naas Loop, Kildare Up platform 2 Loop and Portarlington Down Loop to Portlaoise.
There we passed the extensive permanent way depot and into the Traincare Depot Loop. Arriving at
Ballybrophy, we experienced our first (and only) disappointment. The intention was to shunt across to
the terminal platform (3) used by the Nenagh line trains from Limerick, but unfortunately the Limerick
driver required to act as conductor was ill, so we could only reverse in platform 4 and return via the
other Portlaoise Traincare Loop and the Portlaoise Station Loop. Then came the Portarlington Up loop
and the Up fast on the section quadrupled in 2016 to Dublin Heuston, where the tour ended. We are
most grateful to all those from Irish Rail, and our BLS organiser and helpers for an enjoyable good day.
1483] Conwy Valley Signal Box Visits, Fri 22 Jun 2018: By Ian Smith. Ten hardy souls met at Llandudno
Junction station for 10.00 and were joined by Mark Owen, a local NR Mobile Operations Manager.
●Llandudno signal box is the former No2, accessed via the station car park, and is an 1891 built LNWR
Type 4 design still with its original frame. (No1 was closer to the Llandudno Junction end of the Down
sidings). Once 86 levers long, it is now reduced to 34 levers with two gaps, nine white (spare) levers
and one (No2) no longer in use. This released the ground frame for the out of use (OOU) crossover
between P1 & 2 but has yet to be repainted white. In the locking room, the numbers no longer in use
are painted beneath the operating floor. Of the remaining 22 operational levers, only two have a cut
down handle to indicate power operation and one, No12 the Up Siding release, is no longer used.
The other cut down lever, No28, operates the clamp lock points that form the double line to single line
junction (2m 68ch), even though the points are near the box. The shift pattern here is early and late.
ABOVE: Llandudno box looking towards Llandudno Junction (the track plan in TRACKmaps Vol 4,
p36C, (Aug 2013) is out of date - the crossover between P1 and P2 once used for running round has
gone too). (All pictures Nick Jones 22 Jun 2018 - captions only provided where needed in this report.)
Due to the shortened frame length, the operating floor has been partitioned into two distinct areas;
the one closest to the station has the frame etc, while the other area is empty. There are three highly
polished brass plungers at the high numbered end of the frame for proving the route into the station;
the relevant platform plunger is held down while the Inner Home signal lever is pulled. The route
indicator at the Home then displays the platform number set to the approaching train. This is done
whether the main arm or 'calling-on' arm is cleared. All three Llandudno platforms are permissive for
train Classes 1, 2, & 5 (express, local and ECS). Despite the station throat points all being mechanically
operated, the actual detection of the points is electrical. Above the out of use No2 lever there is a
single stroke bell, not attached to a block instrument. The Signaller told us that this was formerly for
communication with station staff who operated the former frame for the crossover between P1 & P2.
The pull order of signals for trains arriving into Llandudno, when the main arms are to be operated, is
Inner Home (No32) then Outer Home (No33). This ensures a train can't approach the Inner Home until
the relevant route into the station is set and proved. When entering an occupied platform, the shorter
'calling-on' signal arms are used, Outer Home (No34) is cleared first, then the Inner Home (No31).
Lever 29 operates a pair of stacked ground discs on the Up line (reading back towards the station as a
wrong direction move on the Up line or into the now OOU Up Sidings). The relevant disc would clear
once the required route had been set. This saved having an additional lever in the original frame when
space used to be at a premium.