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4th November 2017

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Published by membersonly, 2018-04-12 11:00:28


4th November 2017

Issue Number 1292 (Items 2189 - 2274 &IsMsuRe 2N0u6m-bMerR1221668) (E-BLN 54 PAGES) 4 Nov 2017


Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society - founded 1955


Membership Enquiries, Alan Welsh [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677

British Isles news from member7s2; 8a6n7i7nternational section is available.
Opinions herein are not necessaarivlyaitlahbolsee. of the Compilers or the Society.

………………..BLN 1293 is dated Sat 18 NoSvo;ciCeotyn. tSroicbiuettyio. ns must be received by 8 Nov

Date Event and details BLN Lead Status
1289 JE OPEN
Fri 17/11/17 09.00 West Lancs Light & 14.00 Windmill Farm Railways

Sat 18/11/17 08.30 Southport Lakeside Miniature Railway 1289 JE OPEN

Sat 18/11/17 13.00 Liverpool; Special & 2017 Annual General Meetings 1289 TW OPEN

Sat 18/11/17 17.00-19.30 (approx) Railway films presentation/buffet 1289 JE OPEN

Sun 19/11/17 09.24-18.47 Hooton, Whitechapel Wayfarer UPDATE BELOW 1289 JE OPEN

Sat 2/12/17 07.30 The Christmas Brush with Reading set down at 16.40 1290 KA OPEN

Sun 17/12/17 Save the date… railtour in the north of England TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 6/1/2018 09.30 - dark: Railtour of Scunthorpe Steel Works 1291 JE ENQUIRE

End Apr 18? Proposed 4 day tour of threatened freight lines in Finland 1290 IS NOTIFY

3 to 6/5/18 Island of Ireland four day 'long weekend' (not yet open) TBA TBA Claimed

Sat 12 May With '565 Railtours', West Coast traction & Colas Class 37s TBA TBA Claimed

IS-Iain Scotchman, JE-Jill Everitt, KA-Kev Adlam, TW-Tim Wallis, = Can be booked on

2189] Last Call for our AGM Weekend: Fri 17 Nov, West Lancashire Light Railway, 09.00-13.00:
(BLN 1289 1902-5) all available lines private running with steam traction at this delightful 2ft gauge
line now in its 50th year; £20 members £25 non-members (which includes a hot drink); Windmill Farm
Railway, 14.00 -16.30: A 750yd (public run) 15" gauge line with rare track at both stations and to the
sheds etc beyond. Private running, the farm is closed, all available lines; £5 per head. Sat 18 Nov,
Lakeside Miniature Railway, Southport 08.30: A 750yd (public run) historic 15" gauge typical seaside
line by the Marine Lake that started operating in 1911. Private running, all available track, £5 per head,
with time to reach the AGM by train. SGM & AGM: 13.00 bookings to Tim Wallis by Mon 13 Nov (even
if you have booked on any fixtures or the talk &buffet) to qualify for hot drinks and a cake. Post-AGM:
Film Presentation by Chris Totty & Buffet: (Programme BLN 1290.1997) £12.50 each. A rare BLS
indoor meeting/social 17.00-19.30 (appx). Fixture bookings, incl talk & buffet: Jill Everitt (back page).

2190] Whitechapel Wayfarer, Sun 19 Nov: Places remain on our AGM charity railtour. All proceeds will
be donated to Merseyrail's nominated charity for the year, The Whitechapel Centre, the leading
homeless and housing charity in Liverpool. They work with people sleeping rough, living in hostels or
struggling to manage their accommodation. The Centre helps people find and maintain a home and
learn life skills essential for independent living. UPDATE: The charter operation has been changed

because of engineering work, with the Northern Line rare track now covered before the Wirral lines.
The morning now includes a rather rare non-stop run around the loop line (where the concrete slab
track and that of the Mersey Rail Tunnel was relaid earlier this year), then reversing at James Street to
reach Liverpool Central via the Stock Interchange Line to access the Northern line.

At Baker level there is also Birkenhead North and Kirkdale Depots plus Southport Carriage Sidings; on
the day surprises are possible. Also includes Chester P7a (to the third rail limit), Hooton X/Os,
Birkenhead trailing X/O and stabling road (Road No1), Rock Ferry bay P4, Bidston Stabling Siding
(on the former curve from Bidston to Seacombe Jn, towards New Brighton, that closed in 1980s),
Liverpool Central reversing siding, Southport Birkdale Siding, Sandhills Reversing Siding not forgetting
Hall Road, Marsh Lane, Town Green and Maghull crossovers. Sales stand in coach 'B' (see below).
Thanks to Merseyrail there is catering in each set and toilet breaks throughout the day. £65 adult
member bookings to Jill Everitt by post. A booking form was with BLN 1289, or see our new website.

2191] BLS Sales News: Platform 5, TRACKAtlas of Mainland Britain NEW 3rd Edition - Nov 2017,
hardback £22. This is a large heavy book so is ONLY available to collect at the AGM or on a railtour.
It cannot be posted out. Platform 5, 2018 Individual pocket books £5 each. These are all ordered on
request (preferably one big order!). If you would like any of these or have other specific requests for
collection at the AGM or on our Whitechapel Wayfarer Merseyrail tour, please contact Sales Officer
Mark Gomm (per back page) by midnight Sun 12 Nov. Please order in advance to ensure availability.

1292 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
2192] Llandudno Jn - Blaenau Ffestiniog and 9 intermediate stations: TCP 18 Oct 2017 after 19.00,
initially due to storm damage to DMUs then 'major' storm damage to the 2m 333yd long Ffestiniog
Tunnel north of Blaenau Ffestiniog which requires repairs. (ROP is expected on or after Mon 13 Nov.)

BELOW: A Norton Bridge rail replacement bus service (although this runs to
Stone the first journey from Norton Bridge isn't until 08.57 so passengers an hour earlier are routed
via Stafford - see below). The driver - rather bemused by his bus being photographed - was unaware
that rail tickets to/from Norton Bridge (two are issued per week on average) were valid; fortunately a
London Midland timetable poster was available to convince him. Don Kennedy 7 Oct 2017.

X.162] Norton Bridge station: (BLN 1286.1669) Formal CP 26 Oct 2017 - date of closure ratification
(the notice is with e-BLN) - the original closure notice proposed 15 Oct 2017. The final train called on
Sat 22 May 2004. The DfT proposes to end its subsidy (£40k per year) of the replacement bus services
by the end of Mar 2019 to allow Staffordshire County Council to review the bus service levels in line
with other local services. Interestingly, as at 2 Nov it was still possible to buy train tickets to/from
Norton Bridge on National Rail, for example to Barlaston (which of course has no trains too) routed via
Stafford then the train to Stoke-on-Trent (BELOW). This is quite a bargain at £3 single or £2 with a

railcard for over two hours entertainment considering the Stafford to Stoke single fare alone is £5.40!
Two bus journeys and some walking exercise are thrown in too…. It would seem that nothing has
changed, so far. [Have there been other past examples of train tickets being available to buy for
timetabled services from/to stations after they have officially closed like this?]

2193] Sleaford North Jn - South Jn, (Sleaford Avoiding Line): Used by diverted ECML trains both ways
SSuO all day 28/29 Oct to 2/3 Dec (incl) except: 29 Oct, 26 Nov & 3 Dec (mornings), 2 Dec (afternoon).

2194] Allerton East Jn - Garston Jn: (BLN 1275.394 with map and details) From 29 Oct 2017 the Down
Allerton Goods and Up & Down Allerton Goods lines, forming this (effectively) disused electrified
double track curve were to be formally taken OOU with associated signalling and track changes.
It is to be recommissioned in Dec 2018 as part of the Weaver to Wavertree re-signalling scheme.

2195] Barking P1 - Barking Station Jn and Woodgrange Park Jn - Gospel Oak P3/Gospel Oak Jn & 10
stations (incl Woodgrange Park): (BLN 1291.2130) TCP/TCA 18.30 18 Nov 2017; electrification works,
ROP expected 15 Jan 2018. Barking, Tilbury Line Jn West - Woodgrange Park Jn retains c2c services
(SSuBHO) (Liverpool Street - Shoeburyness not calling at Woodgrange Park station). Tottenham South
Jn - South Tottenham East Jn & South Tottenham West Jn - Seven Sisters Jn: remains TCP; last ran on
30 Apr 2016, and has since been temporarily de-wired in the South Tottenham area (BLN 1276.518).

2196] Carlton Rd Jn - Junction Rd Jn; Harringay Park Jn - Harringay Jn and Tottenham S Jn - South
Tottenham E Jn & S Tottenham W Jn-Seven Sisters Jn: TCA 18 Nov 2017-14 Jan 2018 (previous entry).

2197] Newcastle (excl) - King Edward Bridge North Jn - King Edward Bridge East Jn/King Edward
Bridge South Jn: TCP/A 8 until14 Jan 2018 (incl) all trains are running via the High Level Bridge instead.

2198] King Edward Bridge South Jn - Norwood Jn - Metrocentre (excl) and Dunston station: TCP 8-14
Jan 2018 due to reduced capacity to/from Newcastle (previous item). At Metrocentre trains depart
west in service from P1 (Swalwell Jn trailing X/O). SSuX the 06.35, 16.30 & 18.00 are booked from P2.

1292 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]

2199] BLN Diary: For some years our member Lee Nash has kindly produced his 'Diary' of railtours,
Heritage Railway Galas, events, etc and is now working on 2018. 'Diary' is now available to logged in
members on our website. If you know of any new event (particularly on the smaller railways) or spot
an error, please email [email protected] or write to the BLN Editor. To find it: log in to the
Home Page, then click 'More Options' far right of the headings then 'Latest Diary' and magnify it.

2200] BLN Pictorial: With our website now up and running, you may have noticed that BLN Pictorial is
back after an absence of over four months. Previously BLN Pictorial was presented as a PDF document
attached to BLN and was last issued as such on 3 June (Cornwall China Clay lines). New issues will be
available for members to view as a web page by clicking on 'BLN Pictorials', fifth from the left on the
blue navigation bar at the top of each page. To start, BLN 1291 Pictorial features Ian Mortimer's
fascinating collection of photos of what the Manchester rail system was like some 40 years ago.
Contributions for BLN Pictorials are eagerly sought - whether from 40 (or more!) years ago or from
more recent times. Anyone who would like to contribute please contact Ian Delgado, our Website
Officer after reading the guidelines for submission which appear on the BLN Pictorials web page.

2201] Points and Slips: ●BLN 1289.1936] Leigham Spur was used both ways on 7 Sep 2002 by West
Croydon and Victoria to London Bridge, and Victoria (instead of London Bridge) to Beckenham Junction
services. ●BLN 1291.X159] The IET standard class driving vehicle (at the opposite end to first class so
normally at country end) in a 5 car IET is a quiet coach. However this is only evident in the leaflet small
print and also on the poster at the end of each coach (they are obviously keeping quiet about it…).

[BLN 1292]
●2168] A member who is a
signalling aficionado advises
that the IOM Douglas to
Castletown staff is actually
four separate trains staffs
fixed together, allowing a
longer through journey
without staff exchanges at
the intermediate points
(when 'unstaffed'‽). What is
generally known as a 'multi-
part train staff' is used in a
type of train staff and ticket working, where a divisible train staff is used instead of tickets. This allows
several trains to travel in the same direction, each taking a portion of the divisible staff with them
having seen the main part. The final train takes the main staff and any remaining divisible portions.
In the IOM example the separate portions are not used in this way, each one only allows one
movement through the respective sections.●MR197] A member thinks that the flooding that closed
the Conwy Valley Railway Museum 15" gauge overhead electric tramway was on Boxing Day 2015.

●MR250] has some pictures of Edinburgh SME's temporary 160ft long mixed

5/7¼" gauge track at Rothesay on the Isle of Bute which ran 26/27 August. Keep an eye on their

website for 2018 operations. The Society hope to have a 7¼" track running at their new Almondell site around Mar/Apr next year. ●E-BLN extra] LMS 1930s map No3: did you spot the

(cock-up)?.... Three Cocks Junction actually faced towards Brecon and not Hereford as was shown!
ABOVE: 1952 OS One Inch 7th Series (with some fantastic lines on!); the Hereford via Hay-on-Wye line

went off top right; to Brecon via Talyllyn Junction was middle bottom and the line to Moat Lane

(where it joined the Cambrian line to Aberystwyth) via Builth Road (Low Level) was off top left.

2202] Report to 2017 AGM on Our New Website: (Updating BLN 1291.X.157) After well over 30,000
lines of code had been written and tested, our new website went live on Friday 20 October.
The new website address is or type '' in a browser. Hopefully, an
update on use by our members and non-members will be available at the AGM itself.

The main driver behind the new site was to be able to offer online booking of fixtures, online

membership and renewal, but it is hoped you will see that much more is available over and above our

previous website. You need have no concerns about security, as we will be taking online payments

through which is a very secure way of processing online transactions. Although not a

household name, Worldpay is a global leader in payments processing technology and solutions, and on

a typical day processes over 31 million mobile, online and in-store transactions. They are the leader in

payments in the UK, where they process about 42% of all transactions.

The site has been given a more modern look with the emphasis on showcasing what we do and what
we are about, with the specific aim of attracting more members. [Indeed, pleasingly 13 have joined us
online in the first 10 days since the new website being live - Ed!] In particular a lot of emphasis has
been put on displaying images of our past fixtures and on ensuring that our upcoming fixtures are
more prominently advertised and easier to book. Much time and effort has been put into ensuring our
reports on past events/fixtures are kept up to date. As an indication, the new website currently
features over 200 fully illustrated recent fixture reports whereas the old site had less than 30 which
were sparsely illustrated at best. Going forward, there is the opportunity - with your help - to expand
this valuable and interesting archive back to the early days of the Society, so any contributions in
terms of early fixture reports and photographic images will be keenly accepted.

Not wanting to run before we have learnt to walk, online bookings started with just one fixture
(the 6 Jan 2018 Scunthorpe Steel Works railtour - nearly full) so that we can 'iron' out any wrinkles
that might appear. Once that has been shown to be problem-free (not that we are expecting any
problems!) then nearly all new fixtures will be available for online booking. Members' have
appreciated the clear, easy-to-use booking facility, some taking just 40 seconds to book Scunthorpe.

Some features of the new website will only be available to members, not least the much requested

online access to our document archive. This will enable you to view and download past copies of BLN,

BLN International (BLNI) and BLN Pictorial. When we went live, BLNs back to BLN 1184 (11 May 2013),
and from Oct 1955 (No1 of first series) to 1971 were loaded (since extended to 1972 and 1973), with

our document archivist and website officer continuing to bridge the gap.

Another innovation is BLN, BLNI, BLN Pictorial (and other selected documents) available in 'flipbook'
format. This is an alternative to downloading a PDF file and then having to open it with Adobe Reader;
those who have 'Railway Herald' will be familiar with this delivery method.

Other new features include a news forum (or 'blog'), to which members can contribute, access to

Richard Maund's excellent PSUL (including previous versions, back to 1963, in easily-downloadable

PDF format), and also - for members only - access to Unusual Track. (Ian Delgado 30 Oct 2017)

REMINDER .Please use our new email addresses to allow message forwarding

1292 EAST MIDLANDS (John Cameron) [email protected]

2203] Sinfin Sinbin: (BLN 1292.2126) Central Trains doubled the service at Peartree from one train SuX
each way to two as part of the Sinfin branch passenger closure. Peartree has now reached the dizzy
heights of 3 trains from, and 2 to, Derby SSuX and two each way SO. is an
amplified version of the Sinfin chronology, with thanks to Richard Maund. Note that regular scheduled
passenger services were withdrawn with effect from Mon 17 May 1993 and did not run on that day.

2204] Scunthorpe: The footbridge is to be replaced with a new one including lifts on both platforms.
Funding is from the DfT 'Access for All' fund. Subject to approval, the work will start next summer.
The Cleethorpes end trailing crossover may subsequently be available during engineering work.

2205] Driver for more than a Fiver… EMT received over 2,000 applications for trainee depot train
driver posts based at Derby and Nottingham required for service enhancements. 10% of applicants
were female. The driver's pay was advertised as starting at £26,391 during training rising to £35,188 on
completion, for a 37 hour week including shift work with free train travel on the EMT network.

2206] Derby: A local member reports that (probably from 21/22 Oct) the signal on the gantry at the
north end of P6 is now OOU, replaced with a new signal just by the north end of the portable buildings.

2207] Market Rasen: There have been many complaints on social media and the local press about the
use of a single Class 153 DMU on the 16.46 Newark Northgate to Grimsby, with severe overcrowding
between Lincoln (17.22) and Grimsby (18.18). As previously, EMT say that the number of carriages
available to them was agreed with the DfT at the start of the franchise and they are using each one in
their fleet. There is therefore no prospect of any additional carriages being provided on this service.

2208] NET: (BLN 1291.2125) When the Phoenix Park branch was closed (21-23 Oct) for engineering
work with trams diverted to Bulwell, there were also problems with the northbound overhead wires
north of Highbury Vale on 21 October. Two trams provided a Highbury Vale to Hucknall shuttle on the
southbound line via Bulwell crossover (driver operated). Trams from the south terminated at Highbury
Vale then returned via the crossover south of that stop. This second move required a pointsperson.

2209] Ollerton: (BLN 1298.1927) Nottingham County Council has written to the government asking for
further funding to secure a return of passenger services to Shirebrook. The Council invested £200k in a
feasibility study and believes the work to complete this would cost £1M. Reopening Edwinstowe and
Warsop stations with a new one at Ollerton would cost £20M with annual running costs of £1M.

2210] Coalville Jn: From 28 Oct the facing crossover at 112m 13ch/112m 07ch was formally removed
and recovered. This latterly formed the Up direction access to the long closed Coalfields Farm Open
Cast Disposal Point branch (ROG 14 Jun 1976; CG date unknown). Associated signals were recovered.

2211] Community Rail Awards: The Association of Community Rail Partnerships held this annual event
at Derby Roundhouse on 5 Oct. A special train naming took place on 6 Oct at Derby station in honour
of the Community Rail Awards, with an EMT Class 158 DMU named 'The Station Volunteer'…

2212] (1): Long Eaton: Achieved third place in the 'Most Enhanced Station Building and Surroundings'
award. Sawley Parish Council, the station adopters, with CrossCountry Trains, Derbyshire County
Council, EMT and NR have transformed Long Eaton from a neglected eyesore at street level to a much-
praised collection of planting beds. The extensive improvements, all completed by hand, include
recycling 90 sleepers (ideal for planting beds?) and using free woodchip to create impressive new
raised planting areas. It was also awarded joint second place in the 'Best Street, Community Area or
Friends Group' category. (2): Cromford: The station group won silver in the It's Your Station award for
improvements. Harnessing a range of local interest, the Cromford Community has transformed the
station into a welcoming and well-cared for station with significantly increased passenger use (42,630
in 2015/16). (3): Ancaster: The Station Garden Adoption Project picked up the bronze award in the
It's Your Station category for the scheme set up by Sustrans in Jan 2017, offering a group of primary
school children the opportunity to adopt the station's gardens. The pupils worked hard to create an
eye catching and environmentally friendly display complete with natural habitats.

1292 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]
2213] City Road - Hot News: The last part of the City & South London Railway station (CP 9 Aug 1922)
building between Old Street and Angel, has been demolished. A new building on its site will capture
heat from the Northern Line tunnels, part of an Islington Council project. ('London Railway Record')

BELOW: The 'First & Final 501' tour approaches Bromley North 11 May 1985.
These were known as 'Jail Vans' due to the four bars (seen) across the windows for the Broad Street to
Richmond line clearances. It ran from Broad Street to Broad Street via Croxley Green and one or two
other places. NEXT PAGE TOP: A bit faded after 32 years, the tour at Bromley North (Rod Meibs)

[BLN 1292]
2214] Bromley North: Since 10 Dec 2012 this 1m 47ch branch has been served (SuX) by a 20 minute
frequency shuttle from Grove Park P1 - currently between 05.24 (05.20 SO) and 00.55 (01.00 SuO) -
the journey time is five minutes each way. Ironically this more frequent service created variable
Grove Park connections compared with the previous half-hourly service, so Bromley North to/from
Charing Cross can take between 31 and 57 minutes. At times the National Rail website advises
passengers to walk to Bromley South for a train! Bromley North has 65 daily departures (SuO there are
three, just after midnight - part of the Saturday service, and 62 MO - as there is no Sunday daytime
service). The last arrival is ECS to Grove Park Carriage Sidings at 01.07 (MX - as no Sunday service) and
the first train of the day runs ECS from the Carriage Sidings to start at Grove Park P1. Passenger use
was 536,000 in 2015/16 with 243,000 at Sundridge Park (Grove Park exceeds 2.5M with interchanges).

In 1976 the through London off-peak services were withdrawn with the London Bridge resignalling to
avoid flat crossing conflicts, pathing difficulties, and allow extra services from further out (notably
much later from Hastings with electrification in 1990) by not running short trains for short distances.

BLN 582 of 17 Mar 1988 noted that the 07.34 (SSuX) from Charing Cross was booked to run non-stop
to Bromley North, and did! Sundridge Park, the intermediate branch station, is only 35ch north of the
terminus and an annual season ticket holder recalls regularly walking to Bromley North each day for
the 07.27 to Charing Cross to get a seat! However, all through branch services were withdrawn in 1990
and the direct country end connections between Grove Park P1 and the Up and Down Fast lines were
plain lined in Nov 1990 (after a derailment) then removed. By Apr 1992 the crossover for operation of
through Down trains from the Down Main to the Bromley North branch had been removed. Then with
access to the branch only from P1, it was thought that through trains on the branch had gone forever.

However a connection must have been reinstated by Sat 3 May 2003 (per TRACKmaps Vol 5 p3B - Nov
2008) when a through Blackfriars to Bromley North service ran during engineering work. The branch
connection is still used occasionally by passenger trains during engineering work (all day 19 Aug 2017
for example) and by railtours (such as the Pathfinder Tours Buffer Puffer 14.0 of 28 July this year).

At lunchtime on Fri 13 Oct a two car Driver Only Operated (DOO) Class 466 'Networker' was operating
the passenger service with a good number of passengers in evidence. The branch becomes double
track from 9m 7ch on leaving Grove Park and unusually still has jointed track and wooden sleepers
throughout - spot re-sleepering has been taking place recently. All trains are booked Bromley North
P1, except SSuX the 23.15 from Grove Park, which is booked to use P2 as is its return at 23.25.
Examination of RTT after the event shows that recently all trains have generally used P2 except around
lunchtime from approx the 11.20 arrival to the 13.45 departure (inclusive) which use P1 - is there any
reason for this? On arrival at Bromley North passengers have to walk 8-car lengths along the island
platform to exit (as the DOO screens are at the London-end of the platform), but both platform tracks
were shiny to the buffers. The Grade II listed station building ticket was completely unstaffed at 14.00.

Trains do not normally pass on the branch but on Sun 21 Oct an engineers' train from Tonbridge
arrived Bromley North P1 at 01.05 (64 mins early) as the passenger ECS was awaiting departure from
P2. This delightful branch is well worth a visit and is within Travelcard Zone 4.

2215] Romford ROC: A member has supplied notes from a recent visit. The first floor houses a joint
control room for NR and Greater Anglia; London Overground has recently joined them from New Cross
Gate. There will be a separate Crossrail control room on the second floor to manage the central
section and a NR training suite. Parts of the c2c control, currently in Upminster IECC, may arrive next
year. Downstairs houses the relays for the Liverpool Street Great Eastern side signalling; the signallers
will move to Romford too, probably in CP6 (Apr 2019-2024). The building will also house the electrical
control room, currently a few hundred yards nearer London which controls Anglia except for the North
London Line. It has the best multiple electric supply systems of any ROC and these are regularly tested.
There are diesel generators, two gas-powered generators and the National Grid!

BELOW: A rather misty day at West Ealing looking west towards Reading. The Down Relief (Crossrail)
P3 country end extension (left) is nearly complete. The signal route indicator ('feathers') is for the now
single lead West Ealing Jn to the Greenford line only used by the first and last services of the day.
The P2 extension (middle) is now open and right is P3, the Greenford bay. (Stuart Hicks 26 Oct 2017)

2216] Crossrail: (BLN 1290.2031) 1) GEML: From 12 Nov a new connection (clipped OOU) will be
installed in the Down Electric Line at Pudding Mill Lane, which will eventually connect with the line
from the Crossrail tunnel. Various weekend closures during the rest of the year and a shutdown over
the Christmas and New Year period will enable the replacement of 10km of OHL, connection of the
Electric Lines to the Crossrail track in the tunnel at Pudding Mill Lane and on-going refurbishment and
lift installation at seven stations. 2) GWML: Westinghouse Siding and the headshunt at the west end of
Southall yard were taken OOU from 27 Oct until 09.00 on 6 Jan to enable new crossovers to be
constructed. By mid-Oct the platform extensions at Acton Main Line, Ealing Broadway, West Ealing
and Southall were nearly complete. 3) Abbey Wood: The new station building and concourse opened
on 23 Oct, with management of the station transferring from Southeastern to TfL.

2217] East London Line (ELL): TfL has been awarded development funding of £6M from the
government's Digital Railway initiative to increase train frequencies from 16tph to 20tph. The line
already experiences overcrowding during the peaks and demand is forecast to grow by 50% over the
next 15 years. A decision on final funding of the scheme is not expected until next spring. However TfL
is to order eight additional units as part of its existing order for Class 710 EMUs, as the option had to
be exercised by 26 Oct to take advantage of the current purchase price and existing leasing terms.

These units will be used elsewhere on the network to allow Class 378 units to be cascaded to the ELL.
Stabling will be in new sidings east of the line south of Norwood Junction station. A separate bid for
ELL infrastructure works, which are not included in the Digital Railway fund bid, has been made to the
Department of Communities and Local Government Housing and Infrastructure fund as part of a wider
package of improvements. A decision on this funding bid is not expected until summer 2018.
A month's trial is being undertaken at Shoreditch High Street to indicate the level of loading in each

car on approaching trains (similar to the
internal displays on Thameslink Class 700
units). ('City AM')

2218] LUL Inter-Line Connections: (BLN
1288.1852) The connection between the
Northern/Piccadilly lines at King's Cross has
had some use for ECS passenger stock (and
sorry, it was empty!), as a train of Northern
Line 1995 Stock was seen in Northfields
Depot on 25 October. It was probably there
for testing on the Eastbound Local Line
between Northfields and Acton Town
which doubles as a test track.

2219] Holborn: TfL is
consulting until 17 Nov on proposals for a
substantial expansion of the station. A new
entrance would be built on Procter Street,
with a basement-level ticket hall leading to
new banks of escalators accessing both the
Central and Piccadilly Line platforms. Three
new lifts would be installed in the existing
Kingsway entrance to give access to all
platforms and one of the disused Aldwych
branch platforms would be used to form a
new Piccadilly Line concourse. (LEFT: David

[BLN 1292]
2220] LUL Sub Surface Lines Resignalling: (BLN 1239.1548) On 13 Oct it was announced that a
successful test of the new Thales signalling and train control system had taken place using three trains
between Hammersmith and Latimer Road. The date of the tests was not given, but was presumably
during the possession of that section of 30 Sep/1 Oct. The new system will start to go live next year.
2221] Old Oak Common: (BLN 1248.55) TfL is consulting until 17 Nov on its
preferred options for new stations as outlined in Option 'C' in BLN 1218.1454. These would be on the
West London Line in Hythe Road and on the North London Line at Old Oak Common Lane. There are
plans (including that BELOW) and artists' impressions of the new stations with an online survey.

2222] Thameslink: (BLN 1291.2135) From 30 Oct a new facing point (clipped OOU) was installed in the
Up Cannon Street Line between Spa Road Jn and Southwark Park Road Jn at 3m 07ch and the OOU
crossover between the Up and Down Cannon Street Lines was removed. It seems that Surrey Canal Jn
will now continue to be so named and not renamed Engine House Bridge Jn as previously suggested.
2223] Twickenham (BLN 1259.1201): Following a lengthy hiatus, work on station redevelopment has
resumed. The 1954 entrance and booking hall closed on 25 Aug and a temporary entrance came into
use on the north side of P3, with a temporary footbridge accessing P4/5. The 1954 footbridge was then
demolished, to be followed by the street level building (the latter was still there on 15 Oct). A podium
is to be built over the lines between the London Road overbridge and the west end of the platforms;
on it will be built a new residential block with the station entrance. A second residential block will be
constructed on the site of the present forecourt area. ('London Railway Record')
2224] …..And Finally, Don't be Alarmed (again)! (BLN 1291.2138) Each Tuesday at Paddington station
at 11.00 there is a 20 to 30 minute testing of the fire alarm, evacuation announcements etc.

1292 NORTH EAST (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]

2225] Darlington: The 'A1 Steam Trust' has announced plans to move from its existing base at the
former Stockton & Darlington Railway (S&DR) carriage works on Hopetown Lane, which it has occupied
for the past 20 years, to the four-track Whessoe Road engine shed. This is east of the Bishop Auckland
line, near the former Hopetown Jn, where the line to Barnard Castle, Kirkby Stephen (East) and
Penrith once diverged. The 1861 S&DR built shed was one of their last developments before the
company was absorbed by the NER in 1863. The shed went on to serve as a wagon repair and paint
shop, before falling into disuse in the late 20th Century. Thought to be one of the oldest surviving
engine sheds in the world, it will require major roof repairs and other remedial works before it can
once again house live steam locos. (ABOVE: Area plan with thanks to Martyn Brailsford & Geoff Blyth.)

The Trust plan to build a three-road workshop, with overhead cranes and educational facilities, where
it can maintain its loco and carriage fleet, as well as build additional locos, such as the planned third
new steam locomotive, Gresley Class V4 No3403. Other planned features of the new 'Darlington
Locomotive Works' include a 70ft diameter turntable and a carriage shed to house the Trust's
proposed BR Mk 3 carriage-based charter train.

ABOVE: Whessoe Road Engine Shed in Jan 2017. (A1 Steam Trust, Press release.)

The site can be easily connected to the head shunt at the north end of the North Road Goods Loop,
providing about a ⅓ mile long running line, which could be used for limited steam-hauled passenger
rides as well as a test-track for new and overhauled locos.

The intention is to open the site soon after completion of Gresley Class P2 No2007 'Prince of Wales',
scheduled for 2021/22. If fundraising is successful, the site would be operational for the S&DR 2025
bicentenary. The Trust is working with local stakeholders to explore funding, including Darlington
Borough Council, which wishes to run steam hauled trains between Darlington and Bishop Auckland.

2226] AV Dawson, Middlesbrough: (BLN 1287.1802) The climate controlled automotive steel
warehouse, opened in 2015 (and visited by our multiple very successful internal railtours of 25 Jun),
is nearing its capacity of 102,000ft2. Steel coil is brought in by rail from Tata Port Talbot and forwarded
by road to the Sunderland Nissan car plant and other customers in the automotive supply chain in the
North East. Nissan is gradually increasing production and Tata is making more coil. This requires
Dawsons to hold greater volumes in stock, therefore the company is upgrading other buildings on the
site to increase their climate controlled capacity. The Port Talbot train runs three times a week at
present. There are hopes of increasing this to five times a week although this required other additional
traffic to be viable. Tar traffic in container tanks has been won from road since our visit in June.

2227] South Gare Breakwater: A member who is walking on his tod round the entire coast of Britain
recently visited South Gare breakwater, which protects the eastern side of the River Tees mouth, on
his way north from Redcar. Before the breakwater was built Tod Point was where permanent dry land
finished, roughly where Redcar steelworks was. Beyond that there was only Coatham Sands and the
mudflats of Bran Sands. Its construction enabled the river mouth to be dredged to take larger ships.

Firstly, 22 miles of walling was built along the River Tees, starting in 1859, although it is not known if
any of this was in the Tod Point area. Blocks of solid blast furnace slag were cast and moved into
position along the banks and then back filled using material dredged from the river bed. This canalised
the river, allowing it to be kept clear by the action of the river flow and tide. Land was also reclaimed.

Construction of the 2½ mile breakwater from Jan 1861 until 1884 required 5M tons of slag and 18,000
tons of cement. The slag was supplied free by the Ironmasters, who paid for its removal. The north end
of the breakwater is made of concrete blocks 40 to 300 tons to support the lighthouse. The Right Hon
WH Smith (of bookshop fame!), First Lord of the Treasury, formally opened it on 25 Oct 1888.

ABOVE: The end of South Gare breakwater in October 2017 still has some rails in situ. (Paul Griffin)

A railway was built to carry both men and materials to the work site. Colonel Cobb's 'Historical Atlas'
shows a 'Tod Point' station (NZ 5703 2429) then on the coast (BLN 1259.1217) as being open from
'1850s?' (sic) until 1873. This was surely provided for use by workmen on this project, as there was
nothing whatsoever nearby in the 1850s and there is no sign of a station on the 1853 6" OS map (at which time the Middlesbrough to Saltburn line ran along the coast here!).
So the station possibly opened in 1859 or 1861. The 1873 closure date coincides with the foundation
of the village of Warrenby, west of Redcar. Although this was intended to provide housing for workers
at the new Coatham ironworks (and also the nearby contemporaneous Redcar ironworks), it was
presumably no longer needed as the South Gare men probably also lodged in Warrenby.

When construction was complete the line was used, wind
permitting, by a sail powered wagon to move visitors,
servicemen, lifeboatmen, gricers and lighthouse crew out
to the lighthouse and gun batteries near the end of the
breakwater. The Regional Editor knows of one other sail
powered railway; [hopefully he won't spurn the chance to
write about it one day - Ed?] members may be able to
identify others unknown to him.
has 'sails on rails' pictures/details but were there ticket
'sales on rails'? In one picture there are people of some
importance, possibly connected with the formal opening;
why else would men wear posh clothes in such an exposed
location? (LEFT: Industrial Heritage Magazine, 1995.)

(RIGHT: Courtesy 'Langbaurgh' of the Tees Museum
Service, and certainly adds new meaning to the term
'Sail Rail'.)

An extensive gun battery was built in 1891 covering
the whole site as part of the Palmerston defence
programme, but very little remains visible on the
surface now. Additional anti-aircraft batteries, mortar
emplacements and pillboxes were built in WWII but
have been partially demolished. Your Regional Editor
drove out here about 40 years ago and remembers
rails embedded in the concrete. They have since
deteriorated further, as evidenced by the recent
picture (previous page) taken by our member. The
half mile North Gare breakwater was built between
1882 and 1891 with no known railway involvement.

1292 NORTH WEST (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]

2228] Lime Street: (BLN 1290.2055) A member visited on Mon 23 Oct, when the station was fully
reopen after the engineering closure. Road 'A' has been removed (as reported) and the temporary P2
to P1 crossover* was still in place as were the associated temporary signals* (covered over). No work
seems to have been done to, or between, P3/4 and P5/6. The departure roads for P5/6 had been
relaid and now combine into a single departure road. Road 'E' has gone and P7 has been relaid and
resurfaced. P8 remains closed (with some platform edgings removed). [*NB: For use again July 2018.]

The new platforms between existing P7/8 are still behind hoardings and OOU but a new connection
through the arch has been laid in and connected to the P7 departure road. P8/9 have been relaid at
the outer end into the throat and connected beyond the starter signals. Little further work seems to
have been done after there until the new Crown Street Jn (near the tunnel of the same name), a series
of single leads (towards Lime Street) from the Down Fast to Up Slow. Edge Hill West Jn remains in situ.

2229] Blackpool lines: Also on 23 Oct, at Kirkham & Wesham preparatory work was proceeding for a
new third platform to the north. Kirkham North Jn has been relaid with the new second road now laid
towards Lytham. The crossover from Lytham to the Up & Down Slow is now much nearer the station.

At Blackpool North P7 & 8 have been erased completely. As already reported, only P3 to 6 are now in
use. P1&2 are being completely rebuilt, straight, and to take Pendolinos. Much work seemed to be
going on in the carriage sidings although it was difficult to distinguish precisely what is being done!

ABOVE: There is no mistaking Blackpool North, but P1 & 2 have temporarily been removed (left) and
P7 & 8 have permanently gone (right). The new platforms will be straight. (Stuart Hicks 7 Sep 2017)

2230] Blackpool Tramway: (BLN 1255.807) The local council has awarded John Sisk a £10M contract to
re-extend the town's tramway to Blackpool North station. The 550m double-track leaves the east side
of the existing line at a triangular junction (already installed between North Pier northbound and
southbound stops) running along Talbot Rd with an intermediate stop at Talbot Square. The contract
includes rails, tram stops, rebuilding Talbot Square and other road junctions, and the overhead line.
Construction is expected to begin in early 2018 with trams carrying passengers from Apr 2019.
The previous Blackpool North tram line closed in 1936 (so most readers will probably need it!).

2231] Electrification: Manchester to Preston electrification began in 2015 and was initially due for
completion by the end of 2016. This was later put back to the end of Dec 2017. However, poor ground
conditions, from old mine workings (known and unknown) affecting numerous locations on the route,
(which opened in 1838), have further delayed progress. Based on Sep 2017 information from NR:
Phase 3: Preston - Blackpool North completion is now for May 2018. Phase 4: Ordsall Lane Jn -
Euxton Jn is 'not later than May 2018'. Phase 5: Manchester Victoria - Stalybridge; Ashburys West Jn
- Philips Park West Jn / Baguley Fold Jn 'by 20 May 2018'. Guide Bridge - Stalybridge is given as
Dec 2022 (part of TransPennine electrification if it happens). Wigan NW - Lostock Jn in CP6 (2019 - 24).

This all suggests that Manchester to Blackpool may all go live at the same time. Is Ashburys - Philips
Park just for ECS moves? Regarding Ordsall Chord electrification (BLN 1290.2005), the Up chord, at
least, was not energised on 26 Sep as there were no overhead wires at the Ordsall Lane end in
mid-October! The Orange Army were noted installing OHL on Sat 21 Oct during a weekend possession.

2232] Ordsall lane Jn: The buildings in the former Duncan Transrail (later Otis Transrail Sidings, then
Ordsall Lane Creative Logistics) sidings have been rebuilt or reclad, and provision for a siding seems to
have been maintained. The long OOU connection was removed from 5 Sep 2016 (BLN 1264.1702).

2233] Mersey Gateway: The £1.86bn new 1km Runcorn - Widnes bridge over the River Mersey and
new roads opened on 14 Oct. So what has this to do with us? If you are driving to the AGM, the old
A533 Silver Jubilee Bridge (by Runcorn Railway Bridge) is now closed for 12 months for maintenance
and redesign. When reopened it will be available for pedestrians, cyclists, blue badge holders and
public transport to use toll free. 'Merseylink' (Public-Private Partnership consortium) claim to have
reduced the cost by about £250M, partly by reducing the scope with a proposed deck for light rail or
rapid transit cancelled. The tolls are a bit complicated but an 'unregistered' vehicle is £2 (monthly
tickets and other variations are available) and will apply on the original bridge when it reopens.

2234] Victoria Metrolink: Test trams ran though the centre road ('M2/M3') on Sun 29 Oct when there
were no service trams. Buses ran Piccadilly to Bury/ Central Park and Deansgate-Castlefield to Airport.

1292 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA) (Julian James) [email protected]
X.163] Anyone for Foxhall Jn?
(LEFT) Passenger information on
the 21.45 Reading - Birmingham
New Street CrossCountry PSUL
service on Mon 30 Oct. Correctly it
shows Foxhall Jn (where the train
stops to reverse) as the 'Next Stop';
then it takes the curve to Didcot
North Jn and Oxford, but try asking
for a ticket. (Stuart Hicks)

2235] Oxford, Rewley Road -
pushing the boat out: (BLN
1291.2149) The Oxford Canal (Isis
Lock) link to the Thames is under
supervision of the former Thames
Conservancy (the Thames Water
Authority since 1974) but a
member feels that Rewley Road
swing bridge is not really a moving bridge 'across the Thames'! Our member came across two
references to the swing bridge in 'cruising guides'... British Waterways Board's 1964 version said
(of this link cut): '...before a vessel [from the canal] can reach the main [Thames] stream a swing bridge
under the railway must be opened by the staff of the nearby railway station. Opening the bridge is a
laborious and time-consuming task; it is better to use the Duke's Cut [further north at Wolvercote]
if reaching the Thames is a matter of urgency.'

A 1973 guide said (of vessels leaving the Thames for the canal): '...enter the Sheepwash Channel.
Two railway bridges pass overhead; the second has virtually no headroom and must be swung aside to
allow boats to pass. As rail traffic is now light on the line, the bridge is normally kept in the open
position, except between 2.30pm and 4.30pm, Mondays - Fridays. If you should arrive to find it closed,
contact the adjacent signalman who will arrange for a gang to unbolt the track and wind it open.'
This was obviously based on the timing of the daily shunt prior to Rewley Road's closure to coal traffic.

Regarding the closure date for the coal traffic, Tony Cooke's 'Track Layout Diagrams' Section 27 gives
Thu 5 Apr 1984, also used by and the latter derived
from Middleton Press's book. BLN does not record a date. Gareth David's gives Fri
11 May 1984 as the closure date of the coalyard, but does not say that trains
ran until then. Mon 14 May that year was the start of a new timetable. (Any information appreciated!)

2236] Ely (1): (BLN 1279.878) The Fenland Citizen reported on 18 Oct that local MP Steve Barclay says
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has finally committed to a multi million pound Ely North Jn
upgrade. It will, the MP says, be the key to unlock reopening to Wisbech, additional train services for
March, Manea and Whittlesea, and a late night service, from Cambridge to the Fenland stations.
The project will also help boost the economy, allowing Fenland to cash in on Cambridge's prosperity
and he believes it could help solve other issues such as recruiting more teachers and GPs to the area.

The Conservative MP is confident the scheme, which is included in the next round of government
spending for 2019 to 2024, will go-ahead sooner rather than later. Mr Grayling's commitment was
announced following a meeting with the area's MPs and rail campaigners. The upgrade is critical in
enabling a half-hourly service between King's Lynn and King's Cross (allowing Cambridge North to be
served by fast London trains). Earlier this year, the region's two local enterprise partnerships joined
forces with the rail industry to commit almost £9M to fund a feasibility study into the project.

2237] Ely (2): (BLN 1287.1722) Ely West Jn to Ely
North Jn via Ely West Curve remains unavailable in
this direction since the facing crossover at Ely West Jn
was damaged in the 14 Aug derailment and plain
lined. Freight from the March direction to King's Lynn
or Norwich continues to reverse at Ely. The crossover
is due to be replaced in December when the line is
closed every Sunday except 17th. LEFT: Another view
of the interesting former three way splitting distant
signal at Ely North Jn, (see BLN 1290.2012) taken with
permitted lineside access. (Andy Overton)

2238] Great Yarmouth: (BLN 1290.2058) The
decommissioning of P1 track and all associated
signalling was scheduled for 30 Oct, possibly not a
change of date as the previous item referred to P1
itself being taken OOU from 21/22 Oct. The two
crossovers between the Acle Single line and P1 line
were to be removed. Additionally a new buffer stop
was to be provided on the existing connecting line
between the Carriage Sidings and P1 line at 18m 04ch;
this portion of line then became a headshunt.
The remainder of the connecting line, the semaphore
shunting (disc) signal applying to the connecting line
to P1 line and associated trap points were to be
removed. The OOU Up Siding, Up Spur and crossover
between the Reedham Single line and the Up
Siding/Up Spur were also to be removed. The disc signal applying in the Up direction along the Acle
Single line or Acle Single line/Carriage Sidings was to be abolished. Disc signals applying in the Up
direction from P2, 3 & 4 were to be temporarily removed however.

2239] Somerleyton: From 30 Oct the ground frame (18m 07ch) was to be abolished with removal and
plain lining of the associated trailing crossover. This also part of rationalisation for the resignalling.

2240] Ingatestone: The Down Passenger Loop on the station approach from Shenfield was OOU
temporarily from 09.10 on 11 or 12 Oct, with the plain lining of 2343 points due to rail headwear.
Delayed passenger trains, particularly if calling at Ingatestone, occasionally recess as well as freights.

2241] Bubbles Floating Away: On Fri 13 Oct the two Chiltern DMU bubble cars approved for mainline
running (121020 & 121034, also known as W55020 & W55034) left Aylesbury for the last time under
their own 'steam' as an 08.08 special ECS working (strangely timed for 74mph rather than 75mph!).
Princes Risborough Area Civil Engineer Sidings were (very politely) visited from 08.37 to 08.47 as well
as Bicester North Turnback Siding (09.18 to 09.57). The railtour train reversed at Birmingham Moor
Street twice (once to recess in the stabling siding from 11.38 to 13.35, the second timed to exit said
siding). The destination, Tyseley Steam Trust, was reached at 13.54 - six minutes early. 121020 then
went by road to the Bodmin & Wenford Railway arriving on Fri 20 Oct. 121034 was purchased by
'*Locomotive Services Ltd' to use as a mainline route learning special in the Northwest and North
Wales for its new Train Operating Company and arrived at Crewe Diesel Depot also on Fri 20 Oct.
[*The TOC has 13 steam locos, some approved for mainline running, some on heritage lines or OOU.]

ABOVE: Another bubble car on 10 Mar 1979, the Oxford University Railway Society 'Wandering Don'
railtour - it is not known if Mr Kennedy was actually on board though. A photo stop (remember them?)
at the former Long Marston station (CP 3 Jan 1966) looking south towards Honeybourne. The MoD
Depot north entrance is left just beyond the signals. The bridge in the distance is the south entrance
where the now branch from Honeybourne terminates. (Ian Mortimer) [PS: Fairford CP 18 Jun 1962!]

1292 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]

2242] Open Sandwich: There are plans to 'spread' improvements to Sandwich station as new
documents warn that Kent would otherwise lose out on hosting the Open. Royal St George's at
Sandwich - the county's only championship golf course - faces losing its rights to host any future
Opens, unless Kent councils agree to pay almost £1.4M towards improvement works to Sandwich
station in time for the 2020 tournament. In a document discussed by the South East Local Economic
Partnership on 22 Sep, it was reported that Open Championship organisers the Royal and An cient
Golf Club (R&A) had confirmed that, 'without the transport improvements ... Kent will not be
invited to host the Open at all, and the area will lose the resultant economic impact '.

The works, estimated to cost £4.29M, include an extension of the platforms to cope with the longer
trains put on during Open week 2020, and the construction of a second passenger footbridge to
accommodate the volume of spectators using the trains. Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Thanet and
Shepway councils have already agreed to make a joint contribution of £100,000 towards the cost.
Kent County Council will contribute £1.375M, of which £1.025M will come from projected grant
underspends for railway improvement works at Ashford. The DfT has indicated it will pay £1.504M
towards the works. And the R&A said it will pay £1.418M.

The report estimates the 2020 Open will attract at least 200,000 spectators and 'the economic
impact is forecast to be in excess of £85M, with at least £26.8M being direct additional spend.'

But former Thanet Cllr Ian Driver denounced the deal. He said: 'Suggestions that the station
improvements will benefit the local economy are utter nonsense. The works are aimed specifically
at the mass transportation of day visitors to and from the Open. They will not be staying in local
hotels, will not be eating or drinking in local bars, cafés and restaurants. But they will be filling the
pockets of the R&A and Royal St George Golf Clubs with tens of millions in ticket money. ' However
Sandwich Town Council is fully behind the investment describing it as 'a good example of public/
private partnership, investing for the long term to benefit the local economy and wider community. '
It says it will result in a three-event deal benefitting the local economy by around £300M as well as
complement the Vision for Sandwich project to harness the town's tourism potential and increase
capacity to meet growing demand for high speed train services. ('Kent on line')

1292 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon) [email protected]

2243] Stoke Gifford Sidings: The sidings on the Down side at Bristol Parkway station were OOU
beyond 8720A points from 18 Oct until 4 Nov in connection with laying track for the new P1 and
providing its separate exits towards Bristol and Cardiff, following embankment strengthening works.

2244] Wareham: (BLN 1287.1764) 13,020 passengers used the new Wareham to Swanage rail link this
year on the 60 days it ran, exceeding the target of 12,000, with many coming by train. It is hoped to
run services on 90 days between May and late Sep 2018; the target is 18,000 passengers. The Purbeck
Community Rail Partnership (PCRP) took the top award at the annual Association of Community Rail
Partnerships community rail awards gala dinner on 5 Oct. PCRP includes the Swanage Railway, South
West Trains, NR, BP Perenco, the Borough of Poole, Dorset County Council & Purbeck District Council.

BELOW: An Ashchurch to Upton-on-Severn train crosses the M50 overbridge on 25 Mar 1961 (despite
appearances the M50 beneath was open then!). After the bridge was dismantled over 23-26 Mar 2012
it went to the Bluebell Railway and is eventually intended to replace Sherriff Mill Viaduct (removed
1969) on the Horsted Keynes to Ardingly line. In summer 1955 Upton-on-Severn had passenger
departures at 07.45 (SO), 08.00 (SSuX), 13.30 (SO) & 17.45 (SuX), with arrivals at only 11.37 (SO) and
17.30 (SuX). There were a few extra services between Ashchurch and Tewkesbury. (Ben Brooksbank)

ABOVE: A train calls at Four Oaks Halt in 1958 (OP 16 Oct 1937) looking north. (Ben Brooksbank)

2245] Four Oaks Halt: (BLN 1156.287) The former rail bridge at Ripple that carried the Ashchurch to
Tewkesbury, Upton-on-Severn and Great Malvern line over the M50 was dismantled 23-26 Mar 2012
(having been used by relatively few trains since it was built). Further west on the M50, a member
highlights another bridge built to accommodate the Gloucester to Ledbury line (the 'Daffodil Line').

The M50 was opened between 1960 (Jn 1-4) and 1962 (M5 to Jn 1). Although the line CP 13 Jul 1959,
freight traffic continued between Gloucester and Dymock until 1 Jun 1964 and a bridge was provided
just north of Four Oaks Halt. The trackbed north of the halt has been reclaimed to agriculture and the
cuttings infilled but the fields in the proximity of the underbridge still slope down to the original height
of the formation to access the bridge. A particularly interesting feature that is still retained is an
independent footpath through the rectangular arches that separated walkers from the running line.
The question is does anyone have a ticket from Four Oaks Halt to Four Oaks or vice versa?

ABOVE: 1960 One Inch 7th Series OS map with the M50 shown as 'under construction' as it was then.
LEFT: Four Oaks Halt is shown as CP; Dymock (then the limit of operations (freight) from Gloucester)
and Ledbury were to the north, with the line to Newent and Gloucester to the south. The 'Old Tunnel'
was part of the 34 mile long Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal (BLNs 1238.1478 & 1265.1861).
RIGHT: Despite being shown as double track the new 1959-built bridge over the M50 was constructed
for one track. The line had been singled by then from Tewkesbury to the terminus at Upton-on-Severn
with the very sparse passenger service withdrawn from 14 Aug 1961 (CG/CA 1 Jul 1963)! Malvern to
Upton-on-Severn, once double track too had CA 1 Dec 1952. A good view of the railway bridge could
be obtained from the adjacent minor road. The station shown as open on the map is Ripple.

2246] Short HST: It has been suggested that one of the 'new' 2+4 HSTs with plug in doors will be tested
in passenger service on the following diagram from early next year: Taunton 05.52, Cardiff Central
08.29 (via Down Pilning Loop)/09.00, Penzance 15.47/16.44 Exeter St David's 19.47 (then stables).

1292 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]

2247] Aston: On 29 Oct trailing points on the Down Vauxhall line (1m 47ch), the former connection
from the OOU Down Vauxhall Goods, were to be recovered as were the switch diamond points on the
Down Vauxhall (1m 46ch), once connecting to the OOU Up Vauxhall Goods. Timber sleepers were to
be chained over the rails at the Aston end of the Up and Down Vauxhall Goods lines. The OOU Up
Vauxhall Goods and Down Vauxhall Goods lines were to be recovered from 5 Nov with signalling and
equipment and the facing points on the Up Vauxhall line (1m 46ch) part of the former connection to
the Down Vauxhall. In the 1970s Lichfield line DMUs occasionally used the Goods Lines in service.

2248] Nuneaton: The Old Hinckley Rd (A47) rail overbridge (SP 3690 9232) on the former avoiding line
between Nuneaton Abbey Jn and Nuneaton Midland Jn (CA 15 Feb 1992) has for many years been a
problem for drivers who do not realise that their HGVs are taller than the prominently signed 14' 3"
clearance. Following another recent incident where severe disruption was caused by a lorry wedged
underneath, the DfT has confirmed that funding will now be provided for the demolition of the bridge.

1292 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]

X.164] BELOW: Botanic station which does not attract much attention from enthusiasts despite being
in central Belfast. Irish Rail DMU 29001 is passing on the 16.05 Belfast Central to Dublin Connolly
having replaced a failed loco hauled set in Dublin. (Martin Baumann 19 Oct 2017)

2249] Moira: During the 28/29 Oct weekend closure when all trains south of Lisburn were replaced by
buses, Moira (98m 12ch) emergency trailing crossover was replaced by a new one 80m nearer to
Belfast. Use is extremely rare; our Northern Ireland based Regional Editor did it on 19 Apr 1996 with
single line working between Lisburn and Moira. He is not aware of any subsequent passenger use.

2250] Limerick: P1 & 2 are temporarily closed from 09.00 on 11 Oct until 12.00 on 18 Nov. They will be
extended towards Limerick Junction by 23m over the site of the signal cabin which is being
demolished. This closed at 23.00 on 4 Jun this year with re-signalling. P1 & 2 will have new buffers
shortening the line by about 20m from the original end of line. No part of the station will then be at
the original zero milepost (on the Limerick to Rosslare Strand line).

PREVIOUS PAGE TOP: Limerick cabin (and end of P1 & P2) Sep 1986 when freight traffic was still handled.
LOWER: By 20 Sep 2008 the container terminal was used as carriage sidings. (Both Angus McDougall)

2252] Rare Track by Service Trains: On three recent trips in two months, (most SSuX), a member did:

●Londonderry P2: 11.00 Dundalk - Dublin Pearse (P1) ●Malahide north facing X/O:

07.38 Londonderry - GVS* 18.00 Drogheda - Pearse (P1) 11.00 Dundalk - Dublin Pearse

20.10 GVS - Londonderry ●Dublin Pearse Down Loop: ●Malahide south trailing X/O:

●Coleraine P2 north facing X/O: 15.30 Malahide - Greystones 11.00 Dundalk - Dublin Pearse

06.05 Belfast GVS - Londonderry 16.02 Connolly - Dun Laoghaire 12.32 Malahide - Greystones
●Killagan Loop: ●Lisburn P3 (X/O on arrival) ●Clongriffin Loop:
06.05 Belfast GVS - Londonderry Belfast terminators/starters 11.10 Dublin Pearse - Dundalk
16.46 & 17.46 Central - Coleraine ●Ballybrophy Loop:
●Portadown P3 south X/O:

●Larne Harbour P2: 06.00 (SX) Portadown - Newry 15.25 Dublin - Limerick
07.32 Larne Harbour - Belfast GVS 07.00 Portadown - Newry 16.25 Dublin - Limerick (?)
17.06 Belfast GVS - Larne Harbour ●Limerick Junction Down Main:
●Portadown south X/O to P1:

●Magheramorne Loop: 06.35 Newry - Bangor 15.00 Dublin - Cork
06.45 Belfast GVS - Larne Town 23.30 Newry - Portadown 17.05 Dublin - Tralee

15.55, 17.02/17.35 Larne Hbr - GVS ●Newry north facing X/O: ●Limerick Junction Up Main:

●Carrickfergus P3 south arrival Newry terminators from north: 06.15 Cork - Dublin
Belfast terminators/starters 06.00 & 07.00 (SX) ex-Portadown ●Charleville Down Loop (P4):

●Titanic Quarter trailing x/o: (SX) 16.37, 17.37 / 21.37 ex-Bangor 17.05 Dublin - Tralee
Belfast Central P1/2 to Bangor line (SO) 17.30 ex-Great Victoria Street 21.00 Dublin - Cork
● Dublin Connolly - Newcomen Jn: ●Mallow P3 north end:
08.00 (SX) Dublin Connolly - Sligo ●Dundalk bay P3: 20.20 Cork - Dublin (for all of P3)
●Tara Street south crossovers: 05.35 Rosslare Europort - Dundalk
06.20 Maynooth - Pearse (P1) 11.00 Dundalk - Dublin Pearse ●Killarney P2:
07.09 Pearse (P2) - Drogheda 06.20 Cork - Tralee
●Balbriggan south trailing X/O:
17.55 (SX) Balbriggan - Pearse *GVS = Great Victoria Street

X.165] PREVIOUS PAGE: Marino, Bangor branch, looking towards Belfast. (Martin Baumann 18 Oct 2017)

2251] Single Line Working: (BLN 1290.277) This was avaialble on the Down Line between Ballybrophy
(Up trains via the facing crossover south of the station) and Laois Traincare Depot (Up trains via the
trailing crossover north of the station) on Sat 28 Oct, then Sat 4 Nov, on the Up Line in the Down
direction (the opposite pairs of crossovers in use) - the last day of planned single line working this year

2253] Strikes: Assuming they go ahead, no Irish Rail trains run on the following dates; most Belfast
services should start/finish at Newry with extra use of its north Up to Down facing crossover: Wed 1,
Tue 7, Tue 14 & Thu 23 Nov and Fri 8 Dec 2017. Irish Rail's finances are precarious (BLN 1288.1882).

2254] Waterford - Rosslare: Another inspection car ran on 25 Oct then to Greystones via Wexford.

1292 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley)
[email protected]

2255] Manx Electric Railway & Graeme's
Car 'assalted': 'Hurricane' Ophelia had an
unexpected outcome on the IOM. As may
be imagined the island is used to
'Hurricanes' and regularly has gales or
severe gales - so trees coming down are
not a newsworthy event and are usually
cleared very quickly. However, in this
instance, the delay in resumption of
electric trams on the low route to Ramsey
was more surprising. When the power was
switched back on the following day several
(metal) poles near Eskdale (Pole 147) burst
into flames. The power was tripped out
and investigations then took place. It was
found that the insulators had become
covered in salt and were shorting out.

This had never been seen before and is
believed to relate to the particular
insulators fitted in this area some four or
so years ago. Your North Western Regional
Editor can confirm that his car (like most of
the islander's cars) was covered in a mist of
salt which needed cleaning off quickly as it
was difficult to see out of the windows.
He was duty stationmaster at Castletown
that day and was able to give a sigh of
relief [was he relief stationmaster then?]
when the final train of the day (16.00 from
Port Erin) reached Douglas just 10 minutes
or so late, despite having to stop twice to
remove obstacles off the line. LEFT: Our
Graeme in his uniform at Laxey, Manx
Electric Railway; do keep an eye out for
him if you visit the island. What a lovely
place to live and work. (Penny Jolley - and
Graeme thought she had lost this picture!)

1292 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe) [email protected]

X.166] ABOVE: Grantown-on-Spey East again; D8031 (20031) arrives from Craigellachie for Aviemore
on the pick up goods on 30 Jun 1966. By then this 38¼ mile line was freight only with typically one
train each way daily but still fully signalled (and staffed signal boxes) and token worked! (Thanks to J M
Boyes, Armstrong Railway Photographic Trust and our member Nick Jones.)

2256] Forres - the sequel: (BLN 1291.2171 & 3) The new station and realigned railway opened slightly
late on Tue 17 Oct, the first trains to call were the 12.46 Inverness to Aberdeen at 13.17 and the 12.00
Aberdeen to Inverness at 13.43. The new Forres '0' milepost (= 119m 29ch from Perth via Dava) is
seen in the BLN 1291 pictorial supplement about the station (permanently on the members' section of
our new website) with thanks to Greg Beecroft. This picture also shows a reverse curve towards the
former Forres East Jn suggesting that the new extended 'dynamic loop' might not be exactly on the
original single track 'avoiding line' alignment with the 1858-63 first station. Greg asks if there has been
a longer lapse than 154 years between withdrawal and reinstatement of a passenger service on a line?

2257] Boat replacement train: A family of six staying in a remote bothy was stranded near Lochailort
on the Fort William to Mallaig line. Their canoe was washed away in a flood. Access was only by
water, a long trek over very rough boggy land or walking along the railway so they phoned the police
for advice. The family was told to walk to the railway, where the police arranged for the next train to
stop. To their surprise it was the 'Jacobite' and took them to Lochailort station, a great adventure for
the kids! (NEXT PAGE TOP: 'I said we should have stayed at Boat of Garten instead' - Press release)

2258] Deer tracks: A young female deer (LEFT:
press release) was rescued after standing dazed for
three hours without moving at Gogarburn [a bad
day on Edinburgh trams perhaps?]. The animal was
transported 'buckshee' in an out of service tram
(hopefully a dearly required one and via a rare
crossover or two) for a check-up by a local vet.
The deer, suffering from shock (it was £8.50 a dear
return to the Airport), made a full recovery.

2259] Holytown: The Up and Down Shotts lines is
due to be electrified from Holytown Jn to 1m 55ch
from Mon 13 Nov; with electrification of Holytown
Jn trailing crossover scheduled from Mon 20 Nov.

2260] Highland Resignalling: (BLN 1291.2171)
Subject to funding, the 'Highland Work Station' at
Inverness Signalling Centre will eventually control
the Aberdeen line from Inverness to Kittybrewster.
The next section to be taken over will be Inverurie
to Kittybrewster, with closure of Inverurie and
Dyce signal boxes, when this line is re-doubled, probably in 2019. (Note that double track at one time
extended over 53 miles from Keith to Aberdeen of which five miles remains between Kennethmont
and Insch.) Elgin to Inverurie resignalling (currently unfunded) should follow. The 'Highland Work
Station' will also control the Highland Main Line; the first stage is scheduled for Mar 2019 with closure
of Aviemore box. shows the work station and its capacity for future expansion.

2261] Eastfield: Four new dead end sidings totalling 2,400ft (40 x 60ft sections) were added here in
just two day over 30 and 31 Aug in connection with the EGIP project. They will be electrified.

1292 WALES (Paul Jeffries) [email protected]
2262] Glanrhyd Bridge: 19 Oct marked the 30th anniversary of the 1987 collapse of Glanrhyd Bridge,
between Llandeilo and Llangadog. The single track skew bridge over the River Towy had been
renewed in 1958, with five spans of welded plate main girders, and steel decking. The driver of a light
engine had stopped on the bridge at 21.15 the previous evening and reported to the signaller that the
river level was around three feet below the girders. Due to concerns, local managers joined the first
train of Monday morning to inspect the line; the 05.27 Swansea to Shrewsbury, a 2-car Class 108
DMU, with car 52037 leading 51910. The Driver was authorised to proceed, with fatal consequences.

A local farmer, some 400yd away, reported to the Inquiry that he was able to see that the bridge had
partially collapsed, and witnessed the leading car plunge into the river. He testified that it floated for
around 20 minutes, but sank before the Police arrived. The rear coach was tipped at an angle, but still
dry, and those in the front car were initially able to scramble through the distorted corridor
connection, but sadly not all were to make it; three passengers and the Driver died. The inquest
returned a verdict of Unlawful Killing, although no prosecutions followed. The accident inquiry
confirmed that exceptional flood conditions had caused scouring of the support piers, leading to
collapse of all but the first span, and that the angle of approach would have made this invisible to the
train Driver. The Central Wales Line was TCA between Llandovery and Llandeilo until 31 Oct 1988,
over a year, while a new bridge was built. The incident resulted in procedures for checking railway
bridges being tightened generally and there has been no rail passenger fatality in Wales since.

1292 MINOR RAILWAYS (Peter Scott) [email protected]

MR206] Churnet Valley Railway, Staffordshire (MR p8): The railway formally completed the purchase
of Cheddleton station buildings, the platform and the goods yard on Monday 11 September 2017.
An extension to Leek is again being planned, this time promoted by the railway, as opposed to
Moorland & City Railways, which, with its associated housing development, fell foul of planning
permission. Moorland & City Railways have stated that funds from the sale of the Cauldon Low(e)
branch (to the Churnet Valley Railway) will help reopen the Leekbrook Junction to Stoke line.

MR207] MINOR RAILWAYS – 29th EDITION – 2017 M R14 6]………….
SUPPLEMENT No.3 © Peter Scott October 2017

NEW ENTRIES (See BLN 1282.MR 89 for Supplement No 1 and BLN 1287.MR147 for No2)


Llanelli & Mynydd Mawr Railway, Cynheidre, Carmarthenshire

5"/7¼" 0.07 LMMR SN493072 01554 759255

(New line opened 03/09/17)


Mail Rail, Phoenix Place, Clerkenwell

2'/7¼" B 1,000yds TQ310822 0300 0300 700

(New line opened 04/09/17)

15 Exmouth Express Delete entry (Line & Fun Park closed 31/08/17)
18 Hayling Seaside Railway Amend  to: 07775 696912
18 Mid Hants Miniature Railway Amend length to: 370yds (Extension opened 20/10/17)
19 Richmond Farm Railway Amend layout to: C. Amend length to: 730yds (Extension opened 19/08/17)
21 Pentney Light Railway Delete entry (Line closed and lifted by 16/09/17)
25 Electric Railway Museum Miniature Railway Delete entry (Museum closed 08/10/17)
25 Rainsbrook Valley Railway Amend length to: 1,680yds (Extension opened 23/04/17)
27 Ballymote Miniature Railway Delete entry (Line out of use and only children under 12 were carried)
32 Conwy Valley Tramway Delete entry (Line out of use, thought to be from 26/12/2015)
S1 Honeybrook Farm Railway Amend layout to: D and length to: 400yds (Extensions opened 07/08/17)

ABOVE: Isle of Wight Steam Railway - Class 05 D2554 at the Haven Street temporary platform, with
brake van DB993853 on the Train Story Discovery Centre trips. (Peter Scott 30 September 2017)

PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: View from a Train Story Discovery Centre branch brakevan trip. (Simon
Mortimer, who reports that the whole event was most entertaining and someone even flew in
especially from Brussels just to sample the Class 33 haulage on the Isle of Wight!)

MR208] Isle of Wight Steam Railway, Isle of Wight (MR p6): The railway held their second Diesel Gala
between Friday 29 September and Sunday 1 October (the first was on similar dates last year).
This year's Gala saw the unprecedented visit of an ex-BR mainline diesel locomotive in the shape of
33202 from Mangapps Farm in Essex. As this locomotive was overlength for the short headshunt at
Wootton, apart from one working, it operated between Smallbrook Junction and Havenstreet with
four bogie coaches. A visit on the Saturday found the section between Havenstreet and Wootton
being operated by Class 03 D2059 with a set of four-wheel coaches. Brake van rides were also on offer
at Havenstreet, using Class 05 D2554 and shark brake van DB993853. These ran from outside the C&W
workshop (on the road furthest from the station), where boarding was via a temporary platform.

D2554 then hauled the brake van to the buffer stops on the headshunt for the Train Story Discovery
Centre (using the road nearest the Centre) and propelled back. No additional fare was charged for this
ride, but donations were welcomed. All the trains observed were well-filled, especially 33202's sole
working to Wootton. The normal day rover fare of £13 applied - good value considering the cost of
moving the Class 33 across the Solent! However, it was ambitious to expect everyone to purchase a
ticket at Smallbrook Junction in the four minutes between the arrival at 10.58 of the Island Line train
and the 11.02 departure of the Class 33. The train waited for everyone and left about 20 minutes late.

MR209] Great Central Railway, Leicestershire (MR p7): Following the installation of the first sections
of the bridge over the Midland mainline at the start of September, the Railway is now preparing to
renovate the bridge over the Grand Union Canal in Loughborough, just north of the Locomotive Shed
and Workshop. Undertaking this work does not require planning permission and access to the site is
relatively easy from both the rear of the existing engine shed and from the canal towpath beneath.

A full survey was carried out on the bridge in 2014, which allowed contractors to establish what work
is needed to repair it. The Railway has obtained three quotes for the work and expects it to cost in the
region of £400,000. It is believed that funds for the work can be raised over the next 12 months.
To avoid disruption to canal traffic, which is at its busiest in the summer months, the Railway is looking
to carry out the work in autumn 2018. The Railway's supporting organisation, Friends of Great Central
Main Line is committed to maintaining the present momentum from building the bridge over the
Midland main line. They are, therefore, aiming to kick start the Canal Bridge project with an initial
grant of £10,000. A strategy is to be developed by the Railway with Friends, and other major
stakeholders, to agree the way forward for further successful fundraising.

MR210] Wensleydale Railway, North Yorkshire (MR p9): A member has kindly provided some updates
and corrections to two previous items. BLN 1288.MR163: Work has already started on the Leyburn
station improvements. The east loop points were installed at the end of June. The contractor has been
clearing the site of spoil revealing several unrecorded pipes and a large stone slab covered culvert
running parallel to the tracks under the site of the Up platform, which must have been there since the
line was built. Amending BLN 1289.MR172: After the Yafforth AOCL (Automatic Open Crossing, Locally
monitored) accident in August 2016 the ORR decreed that the filament lamps in the road light crossing
heads on the three AOCLs on the railway had to be updated to LEDs. (1): Aiskew (between Leeming
Bar and Bedale) - by the end of 2017. This has been funded and work begins shortly. (2): Ham Hall
(between Leeming Bar and Scruton) - by the end of 2018. This is a 1960s(?) BR prototype crossing,
now life expired needing complete renewal. Low cost solutions are being sought. (3): Yafforth
(between Ainderby and Northallerton West) - also by the end of 2018. Some initial work has been
authorised. Once Ham Hall and Yafforth are upgraded Leeming Bar to Castle Hills will again be
available for passenger traffic. This requirement to update to LEDs also applies to several other minor
railways that have filament lamps in their AOCL crossings.

X.167] ABOVE: Compare this with the Pickering Paxman report (BLN 1291.2183). Pickering in the very
early days (no overall roof and the public wandering around all over the place!). NER P3 Class 0-6-0
(LNER & BR class J27) No2392 is double-heading with Lambton Hetton & Joicey Colliery Railway 0-6-2T
No29 carrying the Royal headcode of all four headlamps. This was the official re-opening train on the
North Yorkshire Moors Railway (mostly reopened in one go) carrying HRH the Duchess of Kent who
had performed the opening ceremonies at Grosmont on Tue 1 May 1973. The official party made their
way to the Black Swan Inn for the final formalities of the day. From 27 Apr 1973 until 29 Mar 1975
public services were only allowed to run as far south as Pickering High Mill, (¼ mile north) a temporary
wooden platform, as the council wanted to demolish Pickering station for a car park! (Geoff Plumb).

MR211] Ballymote Miniature Railway, County Sligo (MR p27) (BLN 1048.MR138): Our Fixtures
Secretary has been informed this 7¼" gauge railway, in Town Park, Ballymote, has been out of use for
around 12 months. Both the locomotive and the track are in need of attention. The railway is owned
and operated by the voluntary Community Enterprise group and, when in operation, runs at weekends
in July and August only. In addition only children under the age of 12 are normally carried.

MR212] Welsh Highland Railway, Gwynedd (MR p30) (BLN 1288.MR166): By the end of September
the steel frame of the new station building at Caernarfon had been completed by contractor MPH
Construction of Mold. This follows a three month delay due to the discovery of an uncharted gas main.
The steel frame was built off-site, brought to site and was therefore erected in just over three weeks.
At the moment the station is on schedule to be completed by the end of the summer 2018. The café
will be named De Winton's after the engineers in Caernarfon and the fit-out will reflect that heritage.

MR213] All-In-One Miniature Railway, Allostock, Cheshire (BLN1264.MR166): This 7¼" gauge railway
closed, with the Garden Centre in which it ran, on 31 July 2016. It was said at the time the railway
might run on 'special occasions' in the future. A member passing the Garden Centre during the
weekend of 9/10 September 2017 noticed that it was still closed, and up for sale. The appearance of
the site suggested there has been no activity for a long time - it was well overgrown. Our reporter
could not find any evidence to suggest that there were ever any 'special occasions'.

Honeybrook Railway: ABOVE: 'Elizabeth' working a train on the railway and (BELOW) standing in the
new station. The former alignment and station is in the foreground. (Both Andy Main 13 August 2017).

[BLN 1292]
MR214] Honeybrook Railway, Dorset (Supp 2) (BLN 1283.MR110): A visit was made to this 10¼" gauge
railway on Sunday 13 August - a sunny day when 'Elizabeth' was hauling full trains on demand. Since
initial opening on 8 April the line has been extended either end. The surveyor started marking out the
two extensions on 13 July with ground works excavations starting soon after. Track laying started on
24 July and was completed on 6 August. The extended route opened to the public on Monday 7
August. The track has been re-aligned at the main station 'Honeybrook' as a loop has been
constructed, which the train traverses anti-clockwise before joining the existing alignment.
At 'Springhill', no longer a terminus, the second extension turns to the right and immediately crosses a
track used by the tractor ride and then crosses over a cattle grid, before climbing beside the field fence
then turning right and traversing the second loop anti-clockwise before heading back to 'Honeybrook'.

The two extensions add an extra 150 yards and a ride lasts approx 7 minutes. The farm admission
prices include a ticket for one ride on the railway and for a ride in a trailer hauled by a tractor.
Our reporter declined the offer of the tractor ride - but it may be of interest to those that require road
based tractor haulage. Chris Bullen the operator and who ran the Poole Park Railway from 2005 until
the end of 2016 has written a book - 'Poole Park 68 years 1949-2017'. There are many photographs in
the 100 pages featuring the petrol, steam and diesel locomotives.

MR215] Strathspey Steam Railway, Highland (MR p10) (BLN 1291.2177): Caledonian Railway 828 was
working the regular passenger service on 30 September. Built in 1898 and still going strong, the
locomotive returned to traffic this year and has been in use throughout the season. In connection with
the previously reported Scottish Railway Preservation Society excursion from Ayr to Aviemore and
Inverness, a diesel special also operated. This comprised three 'plum and custard' Mark 1s topped and
tailed by D5394 and D5862. Both these locomotives are in BR green livery and excellently presented.
One carriage was of special interest, being an SO (4477) with 1+2 second class seating. These were
used mainly for dining, as 4477 still is. There was firstly a return trip from Aviemore to Boat of Garten.

BELOW: Strathspey Steam Railway Class 31 D5862 at Boat of Garten. (Greg Beecroft 30 September 2017).

ABOVE: D3605 (084890) after propelling the train (with participants on board) in to the
Roy Hamilton Carriage Shed at Aviemore (Greg Beecroft 30 September 2017)

Then the train ran all the way to Dulnain Bridge, where D5394 and most of the leading carriage stood
on the bridge itself. [The Strathspey Railway has advised that their DMU service has not run beyond
Broomhill to Dulnain Bridge since 2015 (BLN 1286.1590)]. Back at Aviemore both the locos came off
and passengers could then travel into the Roy Hamilton Carriage Shed, the train being propelled by
D3605. The eastern track was used, but it was not possible to reach the end, because three carriages
were already stabled there. A guided tour of the depot followed. 46512 was in light steam, but Black
Five 5025 is undergoing a major rebuild, with many components away for specialist attention.

MR216] Haigh Railway, Greater Manchester (MR p17) (BLN 1254.MR61): Operator Derek Moss has
been given a two-year extension to his contract to operate this 15" gauge railway, which runs in Haigh
Country Park, near Wigan. The former Network Rail S&T Engineer, from Appley Bridge, is now looking
ahead to overhauling the current rolling stock and track. Derek said: 'We are really looking forward to
working with Wigan Council to improve the railway. We are looking at replacing one of our coaches
and scrapping one of our locos because it has reached the end of its serviceable life. We are also in
negotiations to bring steam back to the railway so this investment by the Council is really welcome'.

[BLN 1292]
Derek first became involved with the Haigh Railway four years ago. Back then it had been closed for
around two years and was in need of restoration, which remains one of his ongoing goals. Penny
McGinty, Assistant Director for corporate contracts and assets at Wigan Council said: 'We see the train
as a valuable asset to the park and will continue to support the operator to make improvements to this
facility as it will enhance the Haigh Woodland Park experience for our visitors'. Councillor Carl
Sweeney, the portfolio holder for resources and reform, has approved a raft of proposals concerning
the railway, subject to them being 'called-in' by fellow councillors. He has committed the Council to
replacing or exchanging some of the existing rolling stock, including locomotives, as well as giving
Derek permission to carry out his own renovations, as well as the two-year extension agreement.

ABOVE: Our Southeastern Metrolander railtour at
Charing Cross P6 before departure Sat 23 Sep 2017.
(All pictures are by Geoff Plumb unless specified; has more of Geoff's picture of
the tour and fuller captions.)
BELOW: Jon, our driver from Charing Cross, was
relieved when he reached Victoria (!); here on P2.

..1 2Z20 London Charing Cross Grove Park CS* 2263] SOCIETY FIXTURES REPORTS:

..2 2Z21 Grove Park CS Grove Park Up Sdg HS† Southeastern Metrolander, Sat 23 Sep:

..3 2Z22 Grove Park Up Sdg HS New Cross By Terry Cotter. Being quite local to me
and having many pieces of sought after
..4 2Z23 New Cross Sevenoaks Down Sdg track, I was very much looking forward
to this mainline EMU tour with a new
..5 2Z24 Sevenoaks Down Sdg Orpington No4 CS TOC, Southeastern Trains, the first
organised by Darren Garnon. If it was as
..6 2Z25 Orpington No4 CS New Beckenham Sdg good as his heritage railway tours for
our 3-day 2016 AGM, it would be very
..7 2Z26 New Beckenham Sdg Bellingham thorough and it certainly was!

..8 2Z30 Bellingham London Victoria

..9 2Z32 London Victoria Victoria Grosvenor CS

10 2Z34 Victoria Grosvenor CS London Victoria

11 2Z36 London Victoria Plumstead CS

12 2Z37 Plumstead CS Charlton And for the organiser that was an issue.

13 2Z38 Charlton Crayford Organising a tour on the 'real railway'
seemed a big leap from the relative
14 2Z39 Crayford Slade Green East HS safety of preservation, but organising
one that would 'pass muster' and hold
15 2Z41 Slade Green East HS Barnehurst its own in our pleasingly extensive
fixture list was going to be tough.
16 2Z43 Barnehurst Dartford Down Sdg For three days your organiser sat
opposite to an unknown gentleman in a
17 2Z44 Dartford Down Sdg Dartford Up CS compartment on a foreign rail tour.
Only in the last two hours of the tour did
18 2Z45 Dartford Up CS Sidcup CS

19 2Z46 Sidcup CS Swanley

20 2Z48 Swanley London Charing Cross

*CS = Carriage Siding/s; †HS = Holding Sidings.

we speak meaningfully, and amazingly in that time the 'Southeastern Metrolander' was conceived.

[BLN 1292]
There were many tour regulars waiting on P6 at Charing Cross, indicating the rarity of the track on
offer and, as a nice touch, the indicator even displayed the tour name (hopefully the 'Empty to Depot'
part wouldn't be true though!). 465009 duly arrived and was prepared for 2Z20 the 07.30 departure,
there being adequate seating room for all aboard as opposed to its normal weekday commuter runs.

Some participants were quickly scratching in new track as we crossed from the Down Fast to Down
Slow before reaching Waterloo East. A few also appreciated the new alignment then from Ewer Street
Jn and London Bridge P7 as it had been a few years since they had visited the area. Continuing ahead,
the tour then used the Down Kent Fast line on the recent new route via Bermondsey diveunder to
Parks Bridge Jn where we crossed to the Down Slow. After Hither Green we headed left on to the
Down Goods / Arrival line there (the Up Goods was used by service trains in March 2013) and then
No4 Washer Road (the quick scramble to shut all windows proving unnecessary as it wasn't operating).

Our tour was the first passenger train on Grove Park Carriage Service Shed Road No12 (to the stop
blocks, as at most places on this day), the furthest from the running lines. One participant asked why
this tour was regularly accessing lines furthest from the running lines. He was told that this was
deliberate and requested as part of the very detailed route negotiations!

BELOW: Approaching Grove Park Carriage Siding No12. (Kev Adlam)

(ABOVE: 'Baker' track…. Grove Park Carriage Siding No12, taken via a suitably qualified agent.)

The train then moved to the other side, crossing the fast and slow lines before entering the Up Sidings
Headshunt to reverse before running into Road No28, again furthest from the running lines but this
time only the second passenger train (a Southern Electric Group tour visited in 1993). We returned to
the mainline by means of No5 Carriage Washer Line (the instruction to close all windows was certainly
needed this time as the unit received a quick wash and brush up en route!). In a now very rare move it
then crossed to the Up Slow before Hither Green to run back to New Cross reversing in Platform 'B'.

Now running as '2Z23', the tour returned to Hither Green, crossing to the Down Fast at Courthill Loop
Jn South. The sidings visited earlier were noted, before we passed through Grove Park, then crossing
back to the Down Slow just after the station. The tour paused briefly in Orpington P4 to pick up a
handful of extra passengers before carrying on to another major track target, where the degree of
coverage we were to do was still unknown to most. As we passed through Sevenoaks P4, the
announcement that there would be more Gusset available was warmly received, before this unusually
named line was traversed in full then reversing at the very end of the vacant Down Siding (22m 46ch).

For your organiser this was the 'riskiest' and yet most rewarding moment of the tour. An 8-car unit was
booked to be in the Down Siding, which in theory still allowed room (a matter of feet) for our train to
clear the points back out onto the Down Main via the intermediate crossover. Failure to clear the points
would mean a long deviation via Otford to Chislehurst, for a reversal to Orpington - all at the signaller's
whim. We talked many times about omitting the Gusset to eliminate the risk - but your organiser lived
for many years in Sevenoaks and this was a hugely sought after piece of track. It was not going to be
omitted and in the event the line was clear to the blocks (thank you, Southeastern, Network Rail etc!).

NEXT PAGE TOP: In case you ever wondered what a gusset looks like close up… The view south just
past Sevenoaks P4 on the Tonbridge line; left is 'The Gusset' with the Ground Position Signal /
'Cat's Eyes' / 'Dolly' (delete as preferred) set for The Down Siding (which holds 12 cars) beyond the
trailing crossover that was taken after reaching the buffer stops round the corner and reversing.
Next across is the Down Main (from P3), then the Up Loop (to P2) with the Up Main (to P1) far right.

PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: 'We have come a long way for this…' Ellie, our train manager, stops to talk to
two participants who had travelled especially from the Czech Republic for the tour to sample the
delights of Grove Park Carriage Sidings, Slade Green Depot etc. The train is passing Hither Green.

London Charing Cross P6 Grove Park Carriage Siding Road 12 8m 53ch

Grove Park Carriage Siding Road 12 Grove Park Up Sidings Head Shunt 0m 74ch

Grove Park Up Sidings Head Shunt Grove Park Up Siding Road 28 0m 35ch

Grove Park Up Siding Road 28 New Cross Platform 'B' 3m 25ch

New Cross Platform 'B' Sevenoaks Carriage Holding Siding 17m 52ch..

Sevenoaks Carriage Holding Siding Orpington Carriage Sidings Road No4… 9m 07ch

Orpington Carrriage Sidings Road No4 . Orpington P7 0m 27ch

Orpington P7 New Beckenham P1 6m 63ch

New Beckenham P1 New Beckenham Networker Siding 0m 38ch

NB Networker Siding Cambria Jn, Up Cambria Spur 8m 04ch

Cambria Jn, Up Cambria Spur Bellingham, Down Catford Loop 5m 37ch

Bellingham, Down Catford Loop London Victoria P2 9m 14ch

London Victoria P2 Grosvenor Carriage Shed Points 0m 32ch..

Grosvenor Carriage Shed Points Grosvenor Carriage Shed Road 7 0m 15ch

Grosvenor Carriage Shed Road 7 London Victoria P5 0m 48ch

London Victoria P5 Plumstead Carriage Sidings Road 2 13m 33ch

Plumstead Carriage Sidings Road 2 Charlton P1 2m 51ch

Charlton P1 Crayford P1 10m 08ch

Crayford P1 Slade Green Washer Road 1m 76ch

Slade Green Depot Road Lift Shed Line, Road 7-8 Points 0m 07ch

Lift Shed Line, Road 7-8 Points Depot West Head Shunt 0m 29ch

Depot West Head Shunt Depot East Head Shunt via Road 5 0m 45ch

Depot East Head Shunt Depot Berthing Shed, Road 13 0m 22ch

Depot Berthing Shed, Road 13 Depot East Head Shunt 0m 28ch

Depot East Head Shunt Barnehurst P1 1m 63ch

Barnehurst P1 Dartford Down Siding 3m 38ch

Dartford Down Siding Dartford P2 0m 25ch

Dartford P2 Dartford Up Sidings Road 4 0m 20ch

Dartford Up Sidings Road 4 Sidcup P1 5m 40ch

Sidcup P1 Sidcup Reversing Siding 0m 22ch

Sidcup Reversing Siding Swanley, Down Maidstone Line 14m 23ch

Swanley, Down Maidstone Line London Charing Cross P1 16m 67ch

(Miles & ticket are thanks to Jim Sellens) TOTAL 144m 01ch

Our EMU now returned through Sevenoaks P3 back to Orpington where the little used crossover
giving access to P5 was taken (normal passenger use being confined to the 17.06 Sevenoaks to Charing
Cross SSuX) before a short break in P7 (accessed via No4 Carriage Siding to the temporary buffer stop).
On departure, our tour crossed to the Up Fast taking the Up Fast Tonbridge Loop to join the
Up Chatham Fast. At Beckenham Junction, the tour headed right to reverse in P2 at New Beckenham
before a visit to the Networker Siding here (the Down line when Beckenham Curve was double track)
and much longer than expected. The Southeastern Metrolander continued through Lewisham and
Denmark Hill before stopping on the Up Cambria Spur. Reversal here allowed rare passenger use of
the Cambria Jn trailing crossover to gain the Down Catford Loop, which was taken as far as Bellingham
for another reversal (plenty of them on the tour but no setbacks) alongside the fully occupied carriage
sidings with another rare trailing crossover bagged. The trip now gained its eighth headcode of the day

(but '2Z30' rather than '2Z27') for the run to Victoria, which was via the Up Atlantic crossing to the
Chatham Reversible and arriving at P2. 'Royal Scot' was just leaving it with the Belmond British
Pullman on a circular tour via Shelford. This was the third of three steam tours from Victoria this day.
BELOW TOP: Seen as we reach Grosvenor Bridge over the River Thames on the approach to Victoria.
BELOW LOWER: Grosvenor Bridge, Battersea Power Station is left and 'Royal Scot' was making more
smoke than the power station had for many years. 67012 piloted her into Victoria and banked her out.

ABOVE: Jim, the Ticket Man, Sellens (also our Society milometer) and Ellie demonstrate a small section
of one of several raffle prizes - long laminated plans of the new Thameslink layout. One member was
delighted to win two (different) plans. Other raffle prizes, thanks to Southeastern, included HS1 cab
rides on a Javelin, driving simulator experiences and behind the scenes tours of London Bridge station.

After a short lunch break, the tour headed off slowly to Grosvenor Carriage shed; possibly a little too
slowly as the EMU became gapped entering the sidings and was unable to move. The situation was
quickly and efficiently resolved by using unit 465907 stabled in No7 Road to couple up and then allow
us to run along this line rather than the expected No9 Road, the furthest from the mainline [next time,
Darren!]. This was still winning track for most, if not all; return to Victoria P5 was just 10 minutes late.

Your organiser used to work close to the Embankment, the busy main London arterial route that the
Grosvenor carriage sidings run up to. He never thought we could run up to the Embankment on a train,
and we still have not (quite) as 465907 prevented our unit reaching the blocks. If there ever is a second
iteration of this tour, then there will be a strong push to give us another crack at that one.

Our tour EMU then set off towards Plumstead for further rare track, starting with a run via the Down
Stewarts Lane and then the Down Atlantic lines to Crofton Road Jn. At Plumstead, reversal was in
Yard Road No2 before returning to Charlton to re-reverse and then proceeded to Crayford for yet
another reversal. This took the unit to its home depot of Slade Green. The visit here took the train to
just short of the carriage washer before taking the line towards the lifting shed (it doesn't, they use
jacks!) and then back through the (dry!) washer to the West Headshunt before changing direction to
run via No5 Road to the East Headshunt. As these movements were completed in good time, further
bonus track was gained by a visit to No13 shed road (lucky for most on the train) and back again.

Departure saw the tour head off to Barnehurst to take the trailing crossover there for a further
direction change and then it was through Dartford P4 before covering the Down Siding. A further
reversal and again in P2 allowed Up Siding No4 (we hope you are keeping up with all this) to be taken.
Returning through P1, it was off to visit Sidcup Reversing Siding for its intended purpose. Next was the
little used Lee Spur and then through Grove Park sidings No38 road, the furthest out electrified line.

[BLN 1292] ABOVE: Changing ends at Dartford.

Departing on time, our train now headed south via the Reversible Chatham Loop and St Mary Cray
crossovers to access the Down Chatham Fast running through Swanley to reverse on the Down
Maidstone using the rare trailing crossover by the siding. It had originally been thought that the tour
would return to Victoria but, due to engineering work, a run back to Charing Cross was possible. The
Up Chatham Loop was traversed towards Chislehurst then the Up Kent Fast and London Bridge P9
before now '2Z48' terminated in P1 at the starting terminus.

All in all a very successful and enjoyable tour and a big thank you to Southeastern, drivers John & Gary,
Emily & Ellie, Stuart Clarke for the excellent route planning, the East Kent Railway for the catering
facilities and of course Darren and the BLS team for another top class fixture. It had been a very long
time since so many participants did so many sections of new track on one railtour of any kind, and a
new record is suspected for the most headcodes on a one day tour too (20 - table at start of report)!

The organiser's thanks to everyone mentioned above but especially Stuart Clarke, his silent companion
on the foreign railtour. Stuart's understanding of our particular requirements made the tour the great
success for participants that it was. Stuart spent many days visiting each depot manager so that every
detail of our itinerary was covered. The final word is to acknowledge all who supports the organisation
of our fixtures. With the many fixtures the Society is organising, the preparation of brochures, decals,
tickets, raffles, publicity, stock lists and maps etc is a substantial and generally anonymous task.
Southeastern Coastlander is the target for 2018…via Grosvenor Carriage Shed Road 9 end of line!

BELOW: Back at Charing Cross at 19.53 in the evening, Ellie (the train manager), Gary (our driver after
Victoria) and Emily also from Southeastern Trains after our highly successful and enjoyable day out.

BELOW: 'Plymouth' No7 'Tiny' leaving Statfold Junction station with fully working signalling
on the second Statfold Railway mainline tour of the day, Sat 14 Oct 2017. (Ian Mortimer)

2264] Statfold Barn Railway, Sat 14 Oct: (MR p24) By
Howard Everitt. 62 members made their way to rural
Staffordshire, north of Tamworth, to travel on our
suitably named 'Barn Stormer' railtour. Following
registration, ticket distribution, safety briefing etc our
party was divided into two groups, 'Plymouth' and
'Simplex', as two train running plus the tram would be
the order for the day. (The 'miles' table and ticket are
thanks to Jim Sellens. On our website with e-BLN is a
marked up map of the latest layout - with the new
tramway - thanks to Martyn 'Map Man' Brailsford.)

Reflecting the diesel hauled theme, the 'Plymouth' party set off to Statfold Junction P1 to board the
two mainline coaches with brake van to cover the mainlines behind green Plymouth diesel No7 'Tiny'.
The 'Simplex' party boarded the two coach set stabled on the (very) multi-gauge turntable to traverse
the Garden Railway, engine shed area and associated yard, bits and pieces behind Simplex MR9976
'WD Charlie' resplendent with specially made acrylic BLS headboard and a bowler hatted driver.

During the morning session 'Plymouth' comprehensively covered all available main line components
through a multitude of shunts, run rounds and directionality moves. Cogan Halt headshunt and both
separate entrances into the Museum building as far as stabled stock or as safety permitted were two
highlights. (The two Museum lines cross each other by a right angled flat crossing - 'perpendicular
overlap'?). The shed road entry onto the turntable road was very tight past the coaling container.

BELOW: The return loop past Cogan Halt, note the sleeper width from mixed 2' and 2' 6"gauge days.
The 2' 6" gauge single rail was removed and reused for the new tram track. (Ian Mortimer)

Balloon Loop
Statfold Junction P1 PLYMOUTH 7 Cogan Halt Siding Balloon Loop 67...
Clear of Crossover Points TOTAL 5m 64ch 2…
Cogan Halt Siding Statfold P3 (high level) then run round Shed Middle Road 79…
Statfold Turntable 1…
Clear of Crossover Points Oak Tree Halt Middle Line Garden Loop 34…
Exhibition Shed Halfway Crossing Garden Loop 3½
Statfold P3 (high level) Platform Exhibition Shed North End Points 89½
Exhibition Shed Turntable TOTAL 1m 38ch 5…
Statfold Turntable Statfold Junction P2 (then run round) TOTAL 0m 56½ch 31…
Statfold Turntable TOTAL 1m 62ch 2…
Oak Tree Halt Middle Line Statfold Junction P1 (then run round)
Exhibition Shed Halfway Crossing Statfold Turntable (end of line)
Statfold Junction P1 2…
Exhibition Shed North End Points Shed Middle Road Points 2…
Shed South Road 5…
Exhibition Shed Turntable Paint Shop Doors 3½
Shed South Road 1½
Statfold Junction P2 Shed North Road Points 1…
Shed North Road 4…
Statfold Turntable via Balloon Loop Clear Small Yard Points 3½
Small Yard Turntable 6½
Statfold Junction P1 SIMPLEX Limit of Shunt, ballasted line 4½
Loco Shed Line next to Statfold Box 7…
Statfold Turntable (end of line) Garden Railway Access Headshunt 4½
Garden Railway Exit Points 4½
Statfold Turntable (end of line) Garden Railway Shed 3½
Clear Shed Points 16…
Shed Middle Road Points Garden Railway Access Headshunt 1…
Carriage Shed Right Hand Line 20…
Shed South Road Carriage Shed Line Points 4½
Carriage Shed Left Hand Line 2…
Paint Shop Doors Clear Carriage Shed Line Points 2…
Loco Shed Line next to Statfold Box 4…
Shed South Road Future Branch Gates [for Tram ride] 3…
Statfold Junction P2 6…
Shed North Road Points 10½
Oak Tree Halt Tram Stop
Shed North Road Tram Shed West Line 28…
Clear Small Yard Points Balloon Loop to Statfold Junction P2
Small Yard Turntable

Limit of Shunt, ballasted line

Loco Shed Line next to Statfold Box

Garden Railway Access Headshunt

Garden Railway Exit Points

Garden Railway Shed

Clear Shed Points

Garden Railway Access Headshunt

Carriage Shed Right Hand Line

Carriage Shed Line Points

Carriage Shed Left Hand Line

Clear Carriage Shed Line Points

Loco Shed Line next to Statfold Box

Future Branch Gates

Tram Yard East Line TRAM

Oak Tree Halt Tram Stop

Statfold Junction P1 PLYMOUTH 8

Despite the museum building (at Oak Tree Halt) being under refurbishment, to meet formal Museum
designation standards requiring lift installation for example, it was possible to view and photograph
the impressive collection of locos and enormous collection of railway signs etc. After a brief visit it was
back to Statfold Junction for a lunch break and to compare notes with the 'Simplex' group.

BELOW FIRST PAGE: On the section covered with the Simplex - seems like good advice though the 2' 6"
gauge has largely gone now. The approach to the yard in front of the loco shed with a tiny fraction of
the extensive collection of lineside items in the background. The very high, consistently smart standard
to which the railway, garden, grounds and farm are all maintained is evident. (Ian Mortimer)

BELOW SECOND PAGE TOP: The 'Simplex' used on the tours of Statfold Junction and the unashamedly
'Garden Railway', with special headboard, but it's a good job it was a dry sunny day…! (Howard Everitt)

The two groups then swapped over. Afternoon coverage was also comprehensive with Loco Shed
roads, Paint Shop siding to the shed door, turntable spur and both Carriage Shed sidings to the shed
doors all ticked off. Good use of the mainline headshunt was made to shunt stock from and back into
the turntable spur using maroon 'Plymouth' loco No8 'Tim'. From reversal on the mainline headshunt,
(quite a steep downward gradient) the Garden Railway was accessed - this connection along with
much other track we did cannot be done on running days due to the sheer number of locos (18-20) in
operation. Two clockwise circuits (the rare direction!) were made with a diversion into the brick built
carriage shed (our loco and one coach made it inside).

Returning back onto the main lines, the Future Branch spur (a ¾ mile long line with a rack incline
section planned round a field to Cogan Halt creating a large circuit) was taken across the flat crossing
on the new mixed standard/3ft gauge Tramway (perpendicular overlap achieved!) to the railway
boundary gate for the short walk to the tram shed.

Then a highlight of the day for most participants. Outside the shed, immaculate in maroon and cream,
was 'wireless' Burton & Ashby Light Railways Tram No14 ready on the non platform siding. (What else
would you expect on a BLS visit?) The morning party had helped the Statfold volunteers unlock the
points to access this siding, possibly its first ever use. The tram silently glided down to Oak Tree
terminus where we passed the unused 18" gauge spur line cleverly incorporated into the tramway
trackwork. The 'Plymouth' train also passed by. An odd tramway experience perhaps with no wires or
sound but the climb back up to the shed end was more like it as the battery powered motors whirred
nicely while we rattled along. At the tram shed platform the top deck participants then had to move
downstairs to avoid decapitation and complete safe running inside the shed for final disembarkation.

BELOW TOP: The tram shed and tram. Running left to right along the bottom is the link to the future
incline and field branch crossing the tramway on the level (off picture bottom right). (Howard Everitt)

PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves; the tight clearance of the shed
doors behind can be appreciated. A maximum of 16 people are permitted upstairs. (Ian Mortimer)

ABOVE: The superbly restored tram at the other end of line, Oak Tree Halt tram stop. Does 'Railways'

suggest possible further future expansion? Anything is possible at Statfold Barn!! (Ian Mortimer)

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