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Published by membersonly, 2018-05-12 01:29:32

1238

8th August 2015

Issue Number 1238 (Items 1408 - 1518 and MR 120 - MR 125) (e-BLN 38 PAGES) 8 August 2015

BRANCH LINE NEWS

Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)
Website: www.branchline.org.uk

Membership Enquiries: [email protected]

22 Treemount Court, Grove Ave., Epsom, Surrey, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677

British Isles news from members, an international section is also available.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or of the Society.
BLN 1239 is due on 22 August and all contributions must be received by 12 August.

Date Event Visit Type BLN Lead Notes
Sat 8/08/15
Thur 13/08/15 25 mile French branch Whole Sud des Ardennes branch 1234 GB1 Enquire
15-16/08/15
Sun 16/08/15 South Wales Valleys Conducted service train tour 1232 KA FULL
Sun 16/08/15
Fri 4/09/15 SVR signalling weekend Two day practical signals course 1224 NJ FULL
Sat 5/09/15
Sun 6/09/15 Rainsbrook Valley Rly. 11.00 Comprehensive railtour 1234 PS Enquire
Mon 7/09/15
Fri 18/09/15 Conducted walk 12.30 Rugby area trackbed walk 1234 PS Open
**NEW**
Sat 19/09/15 Strathspey Railway 12.30 Track and traction tour 1236 KA FULL
Thur 1/10/15
Sun 11/10/15 Caledonian Railway 10.30 Track and traction tour 1236 KA FULL
Sun 11/10/15
Sun 11/10/15 Royal Deeside Railway 10.00 Track and traction tour 1236 KA Open
Sat 17/10/15
Sat 24/10/15 Rail/Sail & guided walk 09.56 Wemyss Bay/Isle of Bute 1236 GB2 NOTIFY

Cleethorpes Coast Light 10.30 Comprehensive railtour 1238 KA NOW

Railway (15" gauge) lunchtime food and hot drink OPEN

Scunthorpe Steelworks 10.30 All day railtour with food 1236 PS OPEN

LU signal cabins 10.00 Metropolitan line boxes 1237 PS FULL

East Kent Railway NOW POSTPONED TO 2016 TBA DG Claimed

Kent & East Sussex Rly. *NEW* DMU railtour TBA DG Claimed

Romney H. & D. Railway Comprehensive railtour TBA DG Claimed

*NEW* Signal box visits No bookings or queries please TBA NJ Claimed

Ribble Steam Railway All line railbus railtour (below) 1238 JW OPEN

Sat 7/11/15 An extensive all day Visiting three Depots and much TBA KA *NEW*
**NEW** mainline tracker tour
other rare track (see BLN 1239) Claimed

Fri 13-15/11/15 60th AGM weekend York NRM and events in area TBA TBA Claimed

Sun 15/11/15 60th AGM Tracker Mainline railtour from York TBA KA Claimed

DG-Darren Garnon, GB1-Geoff Blyth, GB2-Greg Beecroft, JW-John Williamson, KA-Kev Adlam, NJ-Nick Jones, PS-Paul Stewart.

1408] Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway, Fri 18 Sept: 10.30 to 14.30 Lakeside station, Kings Road,
Cleethorpes, DN35 0AG (TA315078) a four mile return trip along the Humber coast, one of Britain's
oldest seaside railways (a 15" gauge line) http://goo.gl/gTK9IT 20 minutes easy walk from the town's
station. (The Road Train runs from the pier, just south of the NR station to the railway at 10.00 and
half-hourly to 16.00, £1 each way.) A 'comprehensive' charter including the 2007 extension, featuring

[BLN 1238.1408 - cont.]
diesel haulage, the very impressive but now rarely used original terminus and plenty of 'unusual track'
as available. Early booking is advised; STRICT limit of 30. An ideal complement to our Scunthorpe
Steelworks tour (see below) next day or stay to enjoy their Rail, Ale and Jazz Festival starting Friday
evening http://goo.gl/Zxd8If through the weekend. Free entry, real ales, live jazz bands and steam
trains. A souvenir ticket, detailed stock list and updated track diagram will be provided as usual. CPA /
Cheque (to 'Branch Line Society') and enquiries, to Kev Adlam (back page). Please notify the names of
all participants. £21 members; £23 non-members includes lunch with a drink. Sorry, no child discounts.

1409] BLS Scunthorpe Steeltracker Railtour, Sat 19 Sept: Details remain as BLN 1236 (item 1211) with
a 10.30 start. A few places remain; queries and further bookings to Paul Stewart per back page.

1410] Ribble Steam Railway, Sat 24 Oct: 11.00 Riverside station, Chain Caul Road, Preston PR2 2XL (SD
504294) http://goo.gl/WHXAcO A rare track diesel railbus charter with W&M E79960; booked to cover
all available track. Morning: provisionally, explore the exchange sidings and towards Strand Road Level
Crossing. After lunch (included in the cost), the layout at Riverside station will be focused on. Early
booking is advised; STRICT limit of 50. A souvenir ticket, detailed stock list and updated map will be
provided. Cheque/CPAs (Branch Line Society) and enquiries to John Williamson (back page). Please
notify the names of all participants. £32 members; £35 non-members. Sorry, no child discounts.

1411] Unusual Track: Anticipated but should be re-checked (if undated they are booked long term).
 Slough, 7 Aug, 4 Sep & 30 Oct: 23.30 Windsor & Eton Central - Slough P2 via branch connection.
 Beckenham Curve, 8 & 9 Aug: Beckenham Junction P4 - Charing Cross (SO) / Cannon St. (SuO).
 Strood, 8 & 9 Aug: Shuttle P2 to Gillingham via Rochester Bridge Jn Up to Down trailing X/O.
 Gravesend, 8 & 9 Aug: St. Pancras International services terminate P1 (facing X/O 23m 55ch).
 Hackney Wick, 9 (& probably 8) Aug: trains from Homerton terminate P1 (facing X/O 2m 40ch).
 Ilford Up Passenger Avoiding Line, 8, 9, 15, 16, 23 & 29 Aug; 5, 6, 13 & 26 Sept: in regular use.
 Severn Kings, 8 & 9 Aug: Down trains cross from the Down Electric to the Down Main via P3.
 Camden Road, 9 Aug: trains from Hackney Wick to 10.48 into P2 via facing X/O at 4m 72ch.
 Tonbridge Hastings Chord, (BLN 1237.1311) 9 Aug: 08.38-18.38 hourly Hastings-London Bridge.
 Stenson Jn, 9 Aug: 08.31 ex-Derby & 09.00 ex-Sheffield reverse and use trailing X/O 4m 58ch.
 Philips Park West Jn to Ashburys West Jn, 9 Aug: 10.03 Liverpool Lime Street to Newcastle.
 Doncaster, 9 Aug: Departures to King's Cross from P4 or P8 via the Western Slow Lines, the
Lincoln Flyover and the Up Loversall spur to the Up East Slow at 08.18, 08.33, 09.11 & 09.37.
 Witham, 9 Aug: 09.00, 10.00, 22.35 & 23.37 to Norwich from P2; 07.24 ex-Colchester (P2 there)
07.36 & 08.36 ex-Clacton and 08.09 & 09.09 ex-Ipswich terminate in P4; all via Kelvedon X/Os.
 Nuneaton Ashby Jn (97m 72ch) - Rugby Hillmorton Jn (81m 48ch): Up trains are booked to use
the reversible Down Fast on the mornings of 9 August, 13 September and 4 October.
 Arbour Lane X/O: 10-12, 17-19 & 24-26 Aug, 21.05 Clacton/22.00 Colchester Town-Chelmsford.
 Brick House trailing X/O (33m 24ch): 10-12, 17-19 & 24-26 Aug, 23.55 Chelmsford - Colchester.
 Down Tremains Loop: 19 Sept, 20.42 Ebbw Vale Town - Bridgend (22.05/12), for an HST to pass.
 Derby, Up to Down Main to P1 to Down Main west (Derby departure times, all XC) SSuX 06.48,
08.28, 17.53 & 22.02. SuO 11.29, 12.29, 14.29, 15.26, 15.53, 16.27, 17.26, 18.26, 19.27 & 20.27
 Wrexham General P3: Via Wrexham Exchange Jn: 06.31 (SuX) & 08.38 (SuO) to Bidston; 22.56
(SSuX), 23.54 (SO) & 22.56 (SuO) from Bidston. Arrivals ex-Shrewsbury 06.49* & 07.40 (SSuX);
dep via south X/O to Shrewsbury 07.47 & 20.49* (SSuX). (*connects to/from VT Euston trains.)
 Luton North Jn: Up Slow - Up Fast P4 (SSuX) 11.54 & 18.54 (more reliable) Bedford to Brighton.
 Luton Up Slow - P3 - Up Fast: (SSuX) 06.22 Bedford to Sutton (depends on general punctuality).
 Foxfield Railway, Caverswall Road: When there are two train sets in service (e.g. galas), as
there is no passing loop on the line, departures are from the rare platform (no run-round loop)
extending into the exhibition shed. The normal platform is used for arrivals and running round.

[BLN 1238]
1412] FIXTURES REPORTS: Sunday
10 May, Alderney: 68/60 The party
split into three groups to make their
way from Guernsey on the Sunday
morning. Some flew whilst two
charter boats took 24 participants
on a very pleasant 90-minute sea
crossing. The latter groups were
able to ride on both 'Bumblebee'
(Pictured right, leaving Guernsey
first thing in the morning) and
'Access Challenger' as they swapped
for the return journey. Shortly after
arrival, the 2-mile (standard gauge)
Alderney Railway ECS arrived at
Braye Road formed from ex-London
Underground tube stock and two locomotives. http://goo.gl/EPj1eR RH425481 4wDM (1958) 'Molly 2'
and VF D100 0-4-0DM (1949) 'Elizabeth' worked our private charter to Mannez Quarry where we
alighted to view rolling stock and enjoy light refreshments. A photo stop at the intermediate Eclipse
Halt was part of a sequence to ensure that everyone had a cab ride. Wickham trolley trips covered
depot roads 2 and 3, but short of the points onto the main. A full line trip was then made to Braye Road
with just one loco at the helm; the return covering the connection off the main into the depot and then
reversing before running up to the shed doors on road 1 for completeness! The opportunity was taken
to study the former Alderney miniature railway near the inland quarry terminus where track was found
in situ but heavily overgrown. The locomotive and riding truck were discovered in a locked shed.

[BLN 1238.1412 - cont.]
Our party finally returned to Braye Road. One member managed to participate in an Irish railtour on
the Friday, Charity Railtours' Four Triangles tour on the Saturday then fly (from Southampton) to
Alderney for this trip on the Sunday - very impressive indeed, Ian! Many of the group walked up to the
town to see another Wickham trolley, resting safely in the garage at the NatWest Bank branch.
Afterwards, the disused and blocked railway to (and along) the harbour breakwater was visited on
foot. The original purpose of the line (OG 1847) was to bring stone down from the quarry to build and
maintain it and the Victorian forts. Only one previous BLS visit is known to have traversed the
breakwater line. (Picture above by Ian Mortimer on a Society visit of 3 July 1984, which trip traversed
to the start of the breakwater. It was a day trip by boat from Torquay organised by John and Jenny
Williamson. A man in a cage can just be seen hanging down from the crane to carry out some of the
maintenance on the breakwater but, more importantly, did he do the very rare track?) To complete
the Channel Islands long weekend, our two charter boats exhilaratingly raced each other back to
Guernsey, much to everyone's enjoyment – the FS's boat won! The Fixtures Secretary wants to take
this opportunity to thank our Jersey member Chris Totty for all his considerable help in delivering an
excellent and very enjoyable three-day programme of multi-island offshore events in our very special
year, with a great social element. Many members enjoyed extra days there before and/or afterwards.

1413] North British Nibbler 1, Whitrope Heritage Centre: 87/60 On Friday 10 July 52 members, to
their credit, met up for an 09.00 start at this rather obscure but lovely middle of nowhere location.
'We have very little passing trade' and there is no mobile phone signal, mains water or electricity! This
was our second fixture in Scotland this anniversary year and a treat for our 'local' Anthorn and
Brampton members who normally have to travel many miles to Society visits. In rather misty damp
conditions with challenging wet slippery rails on the steep gradient to Whitrope Summit (1,006ft), trips
were made in the 35 seat experimental single coach 4-wheeled 1984 built LEV BR Engineering/Leyland
railbus RB004. This arrived in May 2012 and had never carried so many people in one go there! We
were the first passengers on the newly relaid section to Whitrope Tunnel mouth (63m 27ch*) (sadly a
roof fall requires £1.4M of work to reopen it) on this section of the former Waverley Route (CP January
1969) between Carlisle and Edinburgh via Hawick, pictured below by Simon Mortimer.

[BLN 1238.1413 - cont.]
The public runs stop before Whitrope Heritage Centre car park access road level crossing, just north of
the modern platform (63m 44ch). In BR days there was a siding at Whitrope and, until 24 February
1964, alighting or joining of passenger trains was uniquely timetabled using a ladder to the guard's
compartment (BLN 1164.744)! At the south end, the second overbridge (No 200) was reached (63m
62ch). Paper work awaited from the Forestry Commission is holding up a further extension over this
into the cutting to 63m 65ch and beyond (Carlisle 34 miles to go!). Then it was back but over the
crossover into the formative run round loop (another first) to reach stabled stock. The static buffet car
(now on its own track rather than the main line as formerly) provided welcome hot drinks, homemade
soup and food included in the cost. A very interesting exhibition included local railway artefacts.
Participants could then travel in the 'Permaquip' enclosed PW-trolley that had only arrived on 22 June
and seated 7 with excellent visibility; this ran from the loop headshunt overlapping with the LEV trip.
Below it is seen in the headshunt about to make another trip along the loop line. (Simon Mortimer)

Clouds of Scottish Midges (Nats?) had put in an appearance and it was time to make for Saughtree,
only 2¾ miles away as the crow flies but much further by road. (This passed the equally isolated
former Steele Road station railhead; might it one day see ScotRail or Heritage trains?) Particular
thanks to the very friendly, enthusiastic and hardy Waverley Route Heritage Association volunteers
https://goo.gl/Erjo2F for turning out speciallyin a Friday so early (none was local). Public running and
buffet opening https://goo.gl/Zx2i58 is SuO to 18 Oct 10.00 to 16.00 and SO 29 Aug, 5 Sept and 17 Oct
(various galas). They will be delighted to see you! *Mileage from Edinburgh Waverley via Portobello Jn.
1414] North British Nibbler 2, Saughtree station: 88/60 (BLN 1230.614) TD9 0SP (NY 565 981). Sixty
BLS Border revivers (including six volunteers from Whitrope Heritage Centre) continued southwards
through the so-called 'Debatable Lands' of not that many centuries ago, dismounting a short distance
on the Scottish side of the now more peaceful line of demarcation. What is not debatable is the quality
of the visit to Saughtree (a blink and you will miss it hamlet), the only Scottish intermediate station on

[BLN 1238.1414 - cont.]
the Border Counties Railway between Riccarton Jn and Hexham, CP October 1956, and CG in 1958. Set
in superb, remote and sparsely populated Roxburghshire countryside, part of the station building was
leased by Newcastle University archaeology department for a time; this ended in the mid-1980s, and
the building and two acres of land was sold in 1987. From over 200 bids, the successful purchasers
were our member Geoff Mann and his wife Meg. The new B&B operation here is now in the hands of
one of their four daughters, Rachel Dumbarton and her husband Rob. Try the excellent B&B on offer
(heartily endorsed by Mr and Mrs Scottish Sub-Editor) and you can read the whole story from 1862!
The guest accommodation has its own private entrance from the platform to the waiting room, with
TV and tea-making facilities. Breakfast is served there each morning. Access from the waiting room to
two adjoining single bedrooms (formerly the ticket office and the ladies waiting room) leads onto an
en suite shower room. http://goo.gl/rJkosh 013873 76213.

The track and rolling stock was all obtained by Geoff and his contacts locally and from around the
country, they also restored the station building to a habitable condition, installing electricity and
water. Our party had a successful all-track coverage commencing around 11.30. Traction was a Ruston
0-4-0 DM No275882 'Meg of Saughtree', originally from Hull Oil Refinery. Passengers rode in two 13-
ton 5-plank wagons B740080/4 (seating with ingenious concealed stepped access; Geoff is an architect
of repute!) and in a 20-ton brake van B950001 'Les Prothero', named after a late stalwart of the works
here. It has the distinction of being the first brakevan built by BR; an LMS design was used. There is
over a third of a mile of 'main' line, with a siding into a loading bank opposite the passenger platform.
A headshunt from this loading bank parallels the running line southwards; each of these is long enough
to accommodate the train. Going north a siding trails back on the Down side towards the station, and
on this a facing point leads onto a connection into a building, which once provided accommodation for
two railway families. It has been converted into an engine shed which houses a Permaquip four-seater
man-carrier (perhaps a Mann-carrier?). The trip (with 'Meg' at the north end of the train and Geoff
driving) began from the platform, propelling back to where there was once a four-arched viaduct (over
Dawston Burn and the B6357 road), demolished by Borders Council in the 1960s. The north extremity,
loading bank and its headshunt were also covered as was the siding. The radius on the curve to the
engine shed is too tight for the wagons to clear the entrance so the trolley was used to give rides
between the shed branch and the very end of line, through the (opened) gate that keeps the local
sheep out. Being open and low on the ground the exhilarating ride appeared fast. Tea, coffee and
biscuits were kindly provided. To recognise the facilities provided by Geoff and his family, a £200
donation was made to the local volunteer 'Newcastleton Rapid Response Service' providing medical
assistance whilst awaiting an ambulance. This can take a long time in this remote area with poor roads.

1415] Dove Nest Diviner: (BLN 1236.1295) Like birds of a feather many of the morning BLS brood
'flocked' down the M6 (97 miles as the dove flies), to 'land', on the Dove Nest Group management
centre, Crosthwaite Mill, 6 miles west of Oxenholme. This was for a 16.00 Kentrail Enthusiast Group
trip on the rarely visited 270yd, complex, 7¼" miniature railway nestling in its sylvan grounds. The
most friendly and accommodating host Chief Executive, Dave Moore, has owned the centre for some
22 years. He acquired the railway lock stock and barrel in situ (from a hippy 'organic vegetable' style
commune in which context the railway's function is unfathomable!). The railway is coincidental and
actually has nothing to do with the work of the centre. The party were furnished with a battery electric
locomotive and a four-seater coach and simply let loose! Indeed that is the entire rolling stock fleet of
the line and its provenance is completely unknown; it all looks quite heavily built and rugged up to the
bodywork and then seems to give way to the homemade seats made from right-angled section and
square cut wood. (If anyone can even suggest where it all came from, looking at the photo below from
Simon Mortimer do advise; Dave would like to know!) The site regularly floods from the VERY adjacent
beck and so the railway has now been entirely set on concrete. Unfortunately the softwood sleepers

[BLN 1238.1415 - cont.]
have allowed the rails to spread out of gauge and move a little in places making progress sometimes a
little perilous especially when within a foot of the riverbank. However, slow driving, luck and the
occasional re-railing exercise saw all the participants 'wing it' and eventually cover the whole layout
without any splashdowns. These have apparently met some putative passengers in the past including
three 'well-built' teen chicks making an unbraked descent of the loop with a tangential trajectory over
the edge into the river! Our manoeuvres were punctuated by guided tours of the superb Grade II listed
mill itself. The mill last ground animal feed in 1965, having operated since the 17th century and still has
all the apparatus intact, some fully carpeted around including chains and drive belts between the
floors and three millstones, one of which can still rotate! With the battery electric whirring its last, the
party made a final reversal into the shed; Dave said he had never seen such a thorough traversal and
was delighted by our interest in his railway. We had similarly been delighted by this almost unknown
line, its mysterious train and the lovely weather. Special thanks to KEG and BLS members Simon
Mortimer and Rod Bryant for 'hatching' the visit. Below: 'Aren't the drivers looking young these days!'

1416] Thameslink Tracker, Sun 12 July: 89/60 There were 152 participants on this unusual railtour run
in aid of three cancer charities. Formed by especially prepared 319444, it covered 157m 55ch with
over 19 manoeuvres, meticulously planned and executed; performing excellently against the
schedule. A cab video https://goo.gl/gw83rx and, for many the highlight https://goo.gl/QhmW9L of
the excellent tour, Smithfield Sidings. Thanks to all at Thameslink, and especially project manager
Matthew Dodd and NR Mobile Operations Manager Robin Morel, for making it happen. An electronic
version of the route itinerary / historical notes is attached to e-BLN courtesy of the compiler, David
Palmer. Stephen Phillip's tour map and track plan was with e-BLN 1236. Additionally a member has
advised that there was a significant 1¼-mile WW2 connection immediately south of Napsbury station
from the Midland Main Line (MML) opposite the signal box. See map below (OS 1" to the mile
6thSeries) which although dated 1945 shows the link line (correctly??) as 'Old Railway' and lifted.

[BLN 1238.1416 - cont.]
Heading south west from Napsbury, with a bridge over the A5 (Watling Street) it joined the St. Albans
Abbey Line just north of the present How Wood station; south of Park Street station. A WW2 rail
mounted gun was stabled on it at times. Traces are visible and a cul-de-sac, 'Branch Road' (a very
desirable address for Society members) runs south of part of the route. It can be seen heading
southwest off the former 'Watling Street' (now at the junction of Park Street and Frogmore) south of
the line's embankment there. How Wood station did not open until 22 October 1988 where the
unmetalled track crosses the St. Albans line at the bottom of the map so is not shown. Moving north,
Park Street station is seen on an embankment by the 'kink' in Watling Street. Further north still along
the branch is St. Albans Abbey terminus with its Great Northern branch to Hatfield trailing in from the
east (BLNs 1233.976 & 1234.1074). The first station just before it passes under the MML is St. Albans
(London Road) then Salvation Army Halt which would have been open but it is not shown on the map;
it is on the OS 7th series map. Of note just before Hill End station is a short single track standard gauge
branch down to the 174-acre Hill End Mental Hospital and east of that station, top right of map, is the
former OS level crossing symbol of a red cross (perhaps more suited to the previous halt?). On the
MML itself another single track branch (mainly used to bring coal and supplies in) diverges south east
the London end of Napsbury station to the eponymous mental hospital with capacity (!) for 2,000.

[BLN 1238.1416 - cont.]
Back on board our railtour a charity raffle was held with amazing prizes, and a fun quiz was undertaken
(BLN 1237.1346 and below) the winners scoring a very creditable 16/19. A 'silent auction' for a cab
ride back to Bedford resulted in a very generous donation. Chris Green, the former Managing Director
of Network South East (inter alia), was on board spending most of the day chatting with passengers,
signing tour brochures and catching up with former colleagues. There were also guests from the St.
Albans South Signal Box Preservation Society and the Network South East Society who explained their
respective projects to passengers. Chris Green was heard to comment that he 'needed' the West
Hampstead Down Carriage Loop so was delighted when we covered it. Interestingly it had fast
turnouts but mostly jointed track and we were the first passenger carrying train. Participants were also
delighted when we were unexpectedly routed 'bang road' in each direction between Blackfriars and
City Thameslink so covering four crossovers! The Fixtures Secretary wishes to thank the stewarding
team for their assistance with this particularly demanding project. A 'rare track' summary for the tour:

 Bedford North Siding (the northern limit of MML electrification and for a few more years yet!).
 Bedford Carriage Washer Siding (washer in use!).
 Bedford EMU Sidings No11.
 Bedford P1A with an EMU (the Bletchley service bay).
 Bedford Run Round Siding.
 Bedford Jowetts Sidings No15.
 Up and Down Bletchley Goods.
 Connection off Bletchley line to Bedford P2.
 Bedford Cauldwell EMU Depot Carriage Wash to/from Siding 1.
 Luton Carriage Siding (via P1 in both directions) to the double slip.
 Trailing X/O Luton P1 Up Slow to Down Slow (not on track diagram to check if members awake).
 Trailing X/O Luton North Jn Down Slow to Up Fast.
 Up Hendon from Cricklewood South Jn.
 Up Hendon X/Os to Kentish Town P3 (Up & Down Relief) X/O to Up Moorgate.
 'Bang Road' Clerkenwell No 2 through Farringdon P4 X/O to Down Snow Hill.
 'Bang Road' City Thameslink to Blackfriars Jn (beyond station).
 Herne Hill Turnback Siding (the long siding on Down side paralleling P4).
 Smithfield Sidings No2 (video link above), to end of line (as with each terminal line above).
 'Bang Road' from Southwark Bridge Jn through Blackfriars P1 to City Thameslink station.
 West Hampstead Down Carriage Loop (first ever passenger train).
 Many other X/Os too numerous to mention!

1417] Thameslink Tracker quiz answers: thanks to the complier, our member Mike McCabe:
(1) Irchester South box on the Midland Main Line fringed with West Hampstead PSB on opening.
(2) Bedford St. Johns station featured Frank Spencer stuck in a chair in Some Mothers Do 'Ave Em.
(3) Eric Morecambe was the comedian who was a noted Luton Town supporter.
(4) The former railway trackbed between Luton and Dunstable is now a guided busway.
(5) Harpenden Station, Harpenden Junction, Luton North and Luton South are the four signal boxes
that closed when West Hampstead PSB Stage 1 opened in October 1979.
(6) The classic advert featuring Lorraine Chase: 'Were you truly wafted here from paradise?'….….
'Naah, Luton Airport' was advertising https://goo.gl/AtpBLi the alcoholic liqueur Campari.
(7) The maximum permissible speed (line speed) on the main and fast lines between Hendon and Trent
Jn in 1980, which had been the same since at least 1960, was 90mph (and is now 125mph).
(8) The Bedford line Class 127 DMUs carried 'blue square' and 'red triangle' signs in their lives.
(9) Class 317 carriage 77048 never entered service, and was replaced by one with the same number.

[BLN 1238.1417 - cont.]
(10) After Class 319s replaced them, the Class 317s worked Euston to Birmingham locals/semi-fasts.
(11) The longest continuous four-track railway in Britain (at 74m 77ch) once ran between London St.
Pancras and Glendon North Jn. An easy question as the answer was in the subsequent item [1347]!
(12) Northern Rail recently took delivery of Class 319 EMUs (Liverpool to Manchester/Wigan services).
(13) The 'Condor' (container) service began running between Hendon and Gushetfaulds in early 1959.
(14) Cricklewood Depot was '14A' before the two letter codes (the clue was in the question number).
(15) The diesel-fuelling depot, just outside St. Pancras station was Cambridge Street.
(16) A Harrier Jump Jet was an unusual visitor to Somers Town goods yard in May 1969.
(17) Sir John Betjeman was the famous poet behind the campaign to save St. Pancras from demolition
in the 1960s. Hence the statue of him there (pictured on Joe Brown's London Atlas in e-BLN 1228.507).
(18) George Gilbert Scott designed St. Pancras's 'Midland Grand Hotel' (open from 1873 to 1935).
(19) There are 86 Class 319 EMUs.
(20) Why were there only 19 questions in this quiz?

1418] East Lancashire Railway (ELR) Bury Bubble Tracker, Sun 19 July: (92/60) We have all enjoyed
participating in a Society Fixture, but what's it like to plan, organise and run one? That is something I
have recently found out, but it all began back in July 2014. Kev approached me whilst I was on guards'
duty at the ELR and asked if I would like to look into the possibility of a BLS visit to cover rare track.
Yes, I am up for a challenge and was certainly interested to see what could be done. That started the
planning process. Being a volunteer, I am not always at the railway at the same time as the 'full
timers'; therefore finding the opportunity to speak to the right people took a while, but time was on
our side, so no rush. The ELR advised me to put together a 'spec' of what we wanted to do. Thus to the
drawing board and one of the most interesting bits of the process, working out what we could attempt
and whether we would have time to cover it in a day without overstretching ourselves. Various emails
between Kev and me then ensued with my rough idea and Kev's thoughts. The Baron Street Yard area
had been remodelled in 2007 for Carillion to use, storing and assembling their engineers' trains for
Metrolink work, thus my narrative of the various sidings caused a bit of confusion between us! I
therefore put together a suite of photographs and we had a discussion on a mainline railtour in
January this year. Then we had to set a date; a weekend without an ELR special event, avoiding BLS
fixtures or potential mainline railtours. Sunday 19 July was eventually decided on.

With the route spec agreed between Kev and myself, I then went about splitting it into sections and
working out when we could occupy the mainline to fit around service trains. The date fixed, the spec
submitted to the railway and formalised allowed Kev to finally advertise the fixture. The 'fully booked'
sign went up quickly, an extremely positive sign, but now the pressure was on to deliver with people
travelling from far and wide. Various phone calls and email exchanges took place with Kev to ensure
everything was covered in the 'Method of Ops' issued to us by the railway in the week before the tour.
Nervous tension awaiting this (presumably, how Kev feels pending validated NR timings on a mainline
tour) turned to relief and excitement, that it was effectively the spec we had submitted. Now to enjoy
the tour, although the hard work was not yet completed.

Drivers were in place and men on the ground to assist with the point clipping and scotching, along with
a guard (myself). Arriving at the railway on the Sunday, conversations were had with Bury South box
and the Responsible Officer; ensuring everyone had copies of the Method of Ops to enable the day to
(hopefully) run smoothly and all were fully aware of the moves to be covered. Kev then arrived with
Jim and Glen, our stewards for the day. I had arranged for him to park at Baron Street, but did not
realise this would generate so much excitement, Kev rushing from the car leaving his two stewards to
unload as he had seen some stock stabled which was a cop; sorry Kev. [There has to be some
advantages of being the boss - Ed.] We then proceeded to Bubble Car 55001, our vehicle for the day,

[BLN 1238.1418 - cont.]
stabled as a nice bonus for us on C&W Road 3. Headboards duly positioned on each end, we then ran
to Bury station to pick up our passengers; stewards and guard (!) with their first bit of required track in
the bag. More was definitely to follow. The driver was briefed and reminded of our route as we
proceeded and certainly played his part in ensuring we always reached the safe extremities. Departing
from P4 at 10.00 prompt, we traversed Carriage Siding (CS) 2 to the stabled stock before our first
reversal in P4 and then CS1, another reversal took us to 'Belle Vue Terrace' onto the through siding. A
further reversal (the driver getting the hang of it, as they do) took us back to Bury South before
running towards C&W as far as Belle Vue Terrace Stopboard. A brief stop followed awaiting loco
(09024) which piloted the tour into Bury P3 for an impromptu photo stop. The Class 09 then hauled us
to Castlecroft slot where it was detached, its short cameo appearance completed and much
appreciated by those onboard. (Picture below by David Hill.) Another two reversals were required to
reach P4 as there is no direct access from Castlecroft slot. Due to running early and waiting the service
train, a short break was taken. We then ran early nonstop to Ramsbottom sidings, no longer needing
to wait in the station to cross a train hauled by diesel 37109 which passed after we had entered the
sidings instead. The right hand siding road was followed to the buffers where a stewards' group photo
was taken, before the other road onto the headshunt adjacent to Ramsbottom Signalbox. Next to
Ramsbottom station awaiting steam loco 13065 (BR 42765) to pass on a train. Due to the efficiency of
our driver, clippers and scotchers on the ground, there was an extra 35-minute break here. A nonstop
return to Bury completed the morning's activities and a 45-minute lunch break ensued when
passengers could visit the interesting Bury Transport Museum.

Prompt reconvening after a driver change meant an early departure for the afternoon session with a
run through Baron Street Yard Through Road 3 to the Metrolink Boundary. A short wait here whilst all
five point clips were positioned enabled traversal of Road 5 to just inside the steam shed doors.
Roads 6, 4, 3, 2 and 1 were then also taken as far as possible. Then came a bit of track our driver, both
the clippers and scotchers all needed; the Steam shed coaling road (they were diesel department staff

[BLN 1238.1418 - cont.]
so had no requirement for coal). The South end of Baron Street Yard was then covered in numerical
order, Roads 4, 2, 1, 0 (Super Siding, so named allegedly as it is laid with concrete sleepers) and -1 (the
tram siding; because it stables Metrolink 1003), whilst constantly looking at our watches to ensure we
didn't miss our path to Heywood. Unfortunately circumstances conspired against us as we were
delayed waiting for 09024 hauling D7076 to stable at the South End of Road 4. This meant arriving 16
minutes late back into Bury P3. A quick change of ends and with the Responsible Officer on board (to
activate Green Lane crossing), we departed 13 late. Conscious of the need not to delay the following
service train (so as not to queer the pitch for future trips and our Society's reputation), the decision
was made to omit the section from Heywood to Hopwood G.F. (covered by railtours from NR), but
retain the much rarer Heywood run round loop. This proved an excellent and well supported choice;
arrival back into Bury was only 7 minutes late with just a minor 2 minute delay to the service train.

A short comfort break was then taken during which I contacted Bury South Signalman to add an extra
bonus, a run from P4 to the Metrolink Bridge via the Outer Curve before returning via the Inner Curve
into P2 and then, following a reversal, the crossover from P2 onto the Through Siding to Baron Street
Yard north end. Using all 5 point clips enabled swift and safe coverage in order from left to right,
Roads 6, 5, 4, 2 and 1. All available track traversed, we then proceeded back to terminate at Bury in
P3, 30 minutes early at the end of a thoroughly enjoyable day. Thus, after 53 reversals, numerous
points being clipped, scotched, and unclipped, 23 miles later the fixture was complete. Would I do it
again? Oh yes! In fact, Kev has already come up with some ideas for next year, onto the planning
phase we go again. Special thanks to the ELR and particularly our member David Hill for all the
excellent arrangements and for his personal account from which this report is adapted.

1238 HEAD LINES
1419] Spa Valley Miniature Railway: (7¼" gauge) Previously NRU, this was lifted by 30 July 2015 and
probably last used by passengers during our visit there on 31 July 2014. A short uncomplicated single
line at Tunbridge Wells West station that did not qualify for Peter Scott's MR booklet. It ran parallel to,
and north of, the standard gauge station run round loop past the loco shed and workshop.

1420] Stirling station (excl.) - Charlestown Jn (Dunfermline) and Alloa station: (BLN 1202.177) TCA 11
to 27 July 2015 for a further stage of remedial engineering work on the line. Stirling to Alloa passenger
services were replaced by buses. Clarifying (BLN 1237.1319) Longannet Power station had generally
been receiving an average of one coal train daily (SSuX) in total and these ran via Stirling.

[BLN 1238]
1421] National Railway Museum miniature: ROP 22 July 2015, new extended 7¼" gauge railway in the
South Yard, installed by Severn Lamb. £2.50 (£8 family of four); no child fare given suitable for all ages.
(Picture above, by Anthony Coulis: The departure platform, there is an annoying gap between the
arrivals platform and here which public trains traverse ECS. We expect to cover this on 14 November.)
1422] London Tramlink, New Addington (incl.) - Sandilands (excl.) and six intermediate stops: TCP
from 22 to 31 July inclusive for track works in the Gravel Hill area (the Wimbledon closure is ongoing).
1423] Hyde North Jn - Romiley Jn and Hyde Central & Woodley stations also Marple Wharf Jn - Rose
Hill Marple (incl.): TCP 25 July to 2 August 2015 (passenger service is SuX) inclusive for signalling work
with the closure of Romiley signal box and transfer of control to Manchester East Signalling Centre.
1424] Nottingham NET, Station Street: Original tram stop just north of Nottingham station, CP after
service on 26 July 2015 (12.29km from Hucknall end of line). The crossovers to the north remain in use.
1425] Nottingham NET, Nottingham Station: The new tram stop above the station OP 27 July 2015
(12.43km from Hucknall end of line) with both platforms in use. (See East Midlands item 1445).
(Picture below: The new stop on 28 July; note tram display indicates destination is 'Meadows Way W'
with a temporary paper version in front of the driver indicating 'Nottingham Station' - Ian Mortimer.)

1426] Snibston Colliery Railway, Belvoir Road Halt & Snibston Central station: (BLN 1234.1035) CA
from 1 August 2015 along with the 'Discovery Museum' following dismissal of the legal challenge to
closure of the site on 23 July. Leicestershire County Council advised the site was losing up to £900k per
year, visitor numbers were falling and expensive, extensive repairs were needed. The listed unusual

[BLN 1238.1426 - cont.]
colliery headstocks and equipment will be maintained http://goo.gl/ri5mwb and, subject to funding,
may form part of a small mining museum. Note: when the Chiswell Road Level Crossing gates could be
staffed north of Snibston Central passenger trains did run to the end of line at the Elk Sculptures (but it
required four members of staff to fully operate the whole 1200yd railway).

1427] Westbury East Loop Jn to Hawkeridge Jn: (BLN 1233.931) TCP 3 to 31 August 2015 inclusive, as
a consequence of the Bath electrification work blockade. Its only (PSUL) train, the 17.06/17.07 SSuX
London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads, terminates short at Bedwyn during that period

1428] Brampton station: (Between Beccles and Halesworth on the East Suffolk Line) TCP expected 8 to
16 August 2015 inclusive for construction work. Passengers were advised to use the station help point
to arrange transport to the next station to connect with trains.

1429] Colne Valley Railway & Castle Hedingham station: (BLN 1237.1336) (MR p8) The standard
gauge and miniature railways have been reprieved from closure and granted a further lease until 31
December 2016 at least. The landowner has offered to sell the site to the railway which has applied to
the Heritage Lottery fund for a £1.65M grant towards the cost (and to construct two new buildings, an
interpretation centre and skills centre), the outcome of the bid will be known in March next year.

1430] Bromsgrove station: (BLN 1234.1046) OP now deferred from November to Spring 2016 due to
changes in safety rules which mean the footbridge bridge (already designed in detail) would be too
close to the overhead power lines. It is being redesigned and built 15in (40cm) higher.

1431] Old Oak West Jn. - Greenford East Jn - Greenford West/South Jns: This 'PSUL' and freight line is
expected to be severed south-east of Park Royal in 2017 at the start of HS2 construction work. This is
provided for in the hybrid parliamentary bill, so a closure proposal will not be needed. It will become a
long siding from Greenford for at least 9 years until HS2 construction is completed. (Railway Observer).

1238 BLN GENERAL
1432] Ticket refunds: From 19 July changes to the National Rail conditions of carriage mean that
passengers may claim cash compensation ('Delay Repay') for late journeys, instead of vouchers, on
request. This usually starts at 30 minutes with higher levels being payable for 60 minutes and 120
minutes delay. Additionally, the limit of replacing lost season tickets once was removed for existing
and new tickets. Refunds are now available for duplicate season tickets (unless fraud is suspected.)

1433] Points Arising: BLN 1236.1233] The free paper A5 size supplement to 'GB Railtimes' is now
available including an Index, tables 71, 124, 125, 127, 130, 160, 167 and sleeper services. E-timetables
etc are available at http://goo.gl/514gh NR website. 1240] On the SMJR, 'Ravenswood Jn' (actually at
St. Boswells) should have been Ravenstone Wood Jn; the signal box was just named 'Ravenstone
Wood'. 1273] The current and now solitary Hereford signal box was once named 'Aylestone Hill'.
Following the final item in 'BLN Pictorial 1236' about the signposts remaining to Mindrum station (CP
22 September 1930) and others, a member recalls seeing similar signs to closed stations at Blake Hall,
'Middle Stoke Halt' and Lyne, shown as 'Lyne station (only).' (See picture on next page with thanks to
Angus McDougall.) BLN 1237: item 1311] On 19 July at Chesterfield the 09.47 from Nottingham
crossed via the first X/O (145m 07ch) from the Down Erewash to the Up Main then terminated in P2 as
booked. The 09.08 Edinburgh to Penzance crossed at Dore Station Jn from the Up Main to the Down
Main and ran 'wrong line' to call at Chesterfield P1, also as booked returning to the Up Main at
Chesterfield South Jn. 1317] Thanks to the one member who kindly pointed out that 'Lyndsey' should
have been 'Lindsey' oil refinery.

[BLN 1238.1433 - cont.]

Item 1321] Barrington: With further thanks to Iain
Scotchman and Martyn Brailsford, the new full
track layout of the branch is now as shown to the
left. 1323] On the Mid Norfolk Railway Thuxton
signal box was commissioned on 21 July. 1347]
The Midland Railway's continuous section of
quadruple track did actually have the fast and slow
lines separated at Bedford and even more so on
the goods lines at the (Sharnbrook) Wymington
deviation. 1352] Right at the end of this item,
White City P4 is eastbound not westbound and the
westbound was in use as described! 1360] St.
Peter's refers to St. Peter's Square Metrolink stop.
Item 1393] There are working co-acting signals at
Helsby (picture below) controlling moves from the
Ellesmere Port line onto the Chester to Warrington
line; this is due to the location of the bridge on the
branch platform. Thetford used to have co-acting
signals (seen on our 16 June 2012 signal box visits
and removed a couple of months later) as did New
Cumnock. There are still thought to be operational
examples at Cantley and there is (or was) a co-
acting colour light signal at Worksop east with the
main signal sitting on the platform and a co-acting
one sat in the 'six foot' due to sighting difficulties
with the station canopy on approach from
Worksop west. East Midlands Parkway has co-
acting signals at the country end of the Down Fast
(ST4497 & ST4497CA) side by side, i.e. at the end
of P1 & P2 for sighting purposes, due to the line
curvature and station canopies. (Picture: NR)

[BLN 1238.1433 - cont.]
There are also preserved examples at Boat of Garten, Ropley, Ramsbottom, Corfe Castle and Castle
Hedingham. (Picture below: the co-acting signals at the east end of Helsby station - Angus McDougall.)

1434] PISs: (BLN 1237.1399) The Sugar Loaf Passenger Information System (PIS) reminds a member
that a few years ago he wished to board a train at Minffordd that was late. The only information
source then was a very decrepit telephone with a button underneath to press. With the button duly
pressed, the hand-piece spoke away in Welsh for several minutes, adding as a final brief codicil, in
English, 'The train to Pwllheli is 16 minutes late' before it went dead. The train did indeed arrive at the
amended time but your correspondent wonders to this day what other numerous gems of information
he missed by his non-understanding of the Welsh version, which had ample time to give the full route
timetable, ticket and fare information several times over.
Whilst Railway PIS displays are usually reasonably accurate (especially during late running) some other
systems, including London buses and Manchester Metrolink, do tend to drop late running services
when they are overdue rather than await their actual arrival. This can be misleading at times when
they finally arrive at a stop with multiple destinations. On NR if a train is stationary (even just outside a
station) it will generally, automatically and frustratingly at times, just show 'delayed' with the time
involved not revealed until the train has passed the next timing point. A recent example of this at Pye
Corner demoted the service being caught and shown as 'delayed' from the first to third train implying
a 90+ minute delay (as the second was also going to Ebbw Vale and due in 90 minutes) fortunately it
later changed to 8 minutes late and was actually only 4 minutes late on arrival!

[BLN 1238]

1435] Railway Herald 'BLS SPECIAL': A digital magazine published on Wednesdays 47 times each year
covering the operational and enthusiast aspect of the UK (mainly), European and Worldwide railway
scenes. It is well illustrated with some video footage and can be read on any Windows or Mac
computer or mobile device such as an iPad or Smartphone. Railway Herald is topical, aided by frequent
publication; for example, your editor went to Worcester Shrub Hill one Wednesday afternoon to see
The Queen and Prince Philip alighting from the Royal Train, then arrived home that evening to see
pictures of the same train taken that afternoon in the magazine. The 38 page 22 July edition (No464)
contained a four-page Diamond Jubilee article about the Branch Line Society and seven illustrations
of our recent fixtures. We are delighted and very proud to be sending out a special attachment,
including the article, to e-BLN subscribers (it may be sent separately); anyone else who would like an
electronic copy of this please email the editor. For more details http://goo.gl/OAi6h and subscriptions.

1436] RailStaff: A monthly rail industry magazine with a wide variety of articles, some of which will
certainly be of interest to most members. The Society features on p19 of this http://goo.gl/6X0zs5
July edition. See http://goo.gl/rNnsb1 to subscribe free (paper version available to industry personnel.)

1437]: Guess the location: Where
(precisely) would this lovely sign
(left) have been originally located
'PLATFORM FOR STRATFORD-
UPON-AVON, LEAMINGTON SPA,
BIRMINGHAM (SNOW HILL) AND
CHELTENHAM SPA (ST. JAMES)'?
Part 2: where is this sign now?

1438] Staff Shortage Quiz? (BLN
1237.1339) The shortest NR line
operated by a single line staff is
currently 21ch from Keith Jn to 'branch platform'. This was introduced when the 11 mile long staff
operated Dufftown branch closed with retention of the stub at Keith Jn from 1 April 1991 to save
having to devise and install a new method of signalling. A recent Society visit on 20 June saw the staff
which is kept in Keith signal box. This box is unusual in having a fully working semaphore signalled
'traditional' layout of a passing loop, a branch with a yard and sidings (mostly rarely used other than
the loop); it has few spare levers. The staff was used by the Pathfinder Great North of Scotland Reviver
17 February tour and is used by (Belmond) Northern Belle trains (that formerly ran to Dufftown).

1439] Member No1 Golden Anniversary: On
Saturday 7 August 1965, member No1 made his first
attempt at running a BR railtour for the North West
Branch of the Locomotive Club of Great Britain
(LCGB). The tour comprised nine brake vans hauled
by Fowler class 2-6-4 tank No 42343 and was
criticised in the planning stage by a fellow committee
member that the route was rather 'thin' in content!
This did not deter him from proceeding with the
negotiations with BR's then Manchester Division and
the following route was agreed for 'The Middleton
Branch Brakevan Rail Tour'. One of the main reasons

[BLN 1238.1439 - cont.]
for the tour was to traverse the branch from Middleton Jn to Middleton [Lancs.] before complete
closure, (OG 5 January 1857, CP 7 September 1964). It ran two months before its complete closure on
11 October 1965. Starting at Middleton Junction station at 10.45 the tour immediately traversed the
branch to Middleton and then: Middleton Jn - Chadderton Goods - Middleton Jn - Rochdale -
Whitworth - Rochdale - Royton Jn - Hartford Sdg. - Royton Jn - Royton - Oldham Mumps - Oldham
Werneth - Oldham Werneth Goods Yard - Brewery Sdg. - Ashton Branch Sdg. - Droylsden Jn - OA&GB
Jn - Oldham Clegg St. - Oldham Mumps - Park Bridge - Droylsden Jn - Baguley Fold Jn - Philips Park
No2 - Midland Jn - Ashburys - Ardwick Jn - Manchester Ducie Street Goods (arrive 17.45).

(Picture left: Middleton Junction (was
Oldham Junction 1839-42 then just
Middleton, 'Junction' added 1852); the
line curving round to the right was to
Oldham Werneth via the 1 in 27
gradient Werneth Incline; a short
section at this end survived as far as
Chadderton Coal Depot until 1993.
Left is the Calder Valley main line to
Rochdale; the branch to Middleton
went off far left after the station out of
sight. Behind the camera operator the
line continues to Manchester Victoria -
all pictures by Member No1.) The tour
stalled on the Wardleworth to
Whitworth incline, so had to propel back to Wardleworth to detach five brake vans to reach the end of
line at Whitworth station. On return to Wardleworth, the four vans were reformed to the original nine
and the rather squashed participants were able to breathe again! (Picture bottom of previous page, the
distinctive late George Hebdon with glasses in the middle; does anybody recognise anyone else?) The
train did go into Oldham Werneth Goods Yard, despite some reports stating that this was refused due
to curvature/class of loco. It is true, however, to say that the train was stopped on the curve within the
yard by the inspector and crew before the end of the line. (Picture below: At Chadderton Goods Yard.)

[BLN 1238.1439- cont.]

The train http://goo.gl/YKnOc6 at Werneth Goods Yard, which website also has very interesting maps

of the yards and area and historical data. The railtour charter charge at £150 was thought of in those

early days to be 'high'; the fare for each of the 120 participants being 28s 6d (£1.42½p now or £25.82

with inflation and actually very reasonable by modern tour prices!). Fifty years on, the very interesting
and enjoyable trip helped member No1 to learn and go on to arrange more LCGB tours, then assist the

BLS initially in 1966 and further in the 1980s and 90s when an extensive number of fixtures and tours

were managed. What was the organiser's second attempt….? To be continued! [Editor's note: Oh for a
time machine and it is pleasing to report that we have recently welcomed member No 3,031 to the

Society, and counting!]

1440] Criss Cross Quiz: The (XC) franchise is unusual in that it is the only one that

manages no stations and serves few lines exclusively. Which sections of lines have scheduled

passenger carrying services only normally provided by CrossCountry (i.e. excluding ECS workings or

diverted services)? Answers to the Editor please who was surprised to have thought of as many as

seven so far. Secondly, which stations are exclusively served by XC and who manages each of these?

1238 ENGLAND – EAST MIDLANDS
1441] Staveley: (TRACKmaps 2 p30A September 2006) The curves from Foxlow Jn and Barrow Hill
North Jn to Hall Lane Jn and beyond to Oxcroft Jn are being lifted using rail mounted JCBs. The track
panels are being stacked and at least two colour light signals remained lit but trackless. Recently NR
consulted on lifting the Seymour Jn to Bolsover branch. In the last few years, NR has lifted most of the
many long disused lines in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire (as previously noted in BLN, the job had
been partly done for them by local vandals and scrap metal thieves). Markham Vale was always
intended to be a road served industrial park but now HS2 is planned to pass that way! The Bolsover
line (the remains of the Midland Railway Mansfield line) mostly had LMS chairs including many of the
rarer 'LMSR' chairs from the 1920s. The August 1982 BR spur, with its significant earthworks at Hall
Lane Jn put in to serve Arkwright Colliery on the Great Central line and replace the line from Beighton
station is still easily traceable. It was used by very few trains and was taken OOU in February 1987.

1442] Kirton Lindsey line: 1 October 1993 was the last day of Monday to Friday services between
Cleethorpes and Sheffield via (and at) Brigg, Kirton Lindsey and Gainsborough Central stations. Since
then the line has had only three passenger trains a week each way (on Saturdays), 'cutting off
communities and preventing improvements to job prospects, education and tourism'. The friends of
the Brigg and Lincoln lines are a small voluntary, not for profit group http://goo.gl/Atl4FZ working
with other promotion groups and Northern Rail, to maximise the potential of the 72-mile route. They
promote the Saturday services and all those on the Sheffield to Lincoln line. Northern Duo tickets are
now valid Shireoaks to Cleethorpes and Sheffield to Lincoln via Gainsborough Lea Road, both also
intermediately. That is 25% off when two adults travel together on a day return, time restricted, no
railcard needed, no further railcard discounts, selected routes daily except December weekends

1443] Corby: As part of the Kettering to Manton Jn Capacity Project, a new facing crossover was to be
installed and commissioned from 3 August from the existing bi-directional line to the new Down Corby.
The existing bi-directional line was to become the Up Corby.

1444] Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT): (BLN 1224.86) The latest 'DIRFT 3'
distribution complex (for Sainsbury's) is due to open shortly and loco 37714 will be shunting at the
site. The new rail link between DIRFT 2 and 3 includes an elevated bridge over the A428 with
gradients each end, hence the need for something with more power than a class 08 shunting loco.

[BLN 1238]
1445] Nottingham NET: (BLN 1237.1348) Remaining finishing works, including new utility manholes, at
the junction of Queens Road East and University Boulevard are taking place over the school holidays.
Trams have been running to Nottingham station since 27 July. On 28 July it was noted that after
dropping their passengers, they carried on as ECS workings with destinations, both on the trams and
station departure boards, shown as 'Meadows Way West' and 'Queens Walk'. Exploring south of the
station the trams to Queens Walk were reversing there and using the trailing crossover to regain the
northbound line, but trams to Meadows Way West, where there is no crossover, were running
through non-stop. The next crossover (see track plan in BLN 1224.63) is at University Boulevard, so
presumably they were reversing there, but this was not confirmed. Also, all observed trams from
Queens Walk were running to Phoenix Park, and those from Meadows Way West ran to Hucknall. A
full shadow timetable test service began on Friday 31 July with trams from every seven minutes on the
Clifton and Toton lines and associated minor retiming on existing lines. Confusion has resulted from
test trams running through from the north beyond Nottingham Station but displaying destination
names on the extensions. To add to this Chilwell was initially incorrectly spelt! There are predictions
that the extensions are likely to open to passengers on or before Monday 17 August. (Picture below: A
tram heading north leaving Queen's Walk over the crossover on 28 July - Ian Mortimer.)

1446] Robin Hood Line: On 9 July, the local Mansfield paper reported that the Ollerton to Shirebrook
part of the ex-Lancashire, Derbyshire & East Coast 'Dukeries Line', CP (regular services) 1955, is closer
to re-opening. Sherwood's MP and Nottinghamshire C.C. have been developing the scheme proposing
stations at Ollerton, Edwinstowe and Warsop with hourly services to Mansfield and Nottingham (i.e.
via both Shirebrook curves). The local authorities have paid for the development work so far and
pledged £100k towards the next stage. Another £100k is needed from the Government to complete
the plan. The 8 July Budget made an extra £20M available nationally for the New Stations Fund.

1238 GREATER LONDON
1447] 3D Underground Station Maps: There are 3D maps of every station at http://goo.gl/KggYla on
the ShortList.com website. No two are exactly the same and some are very complex (e.g. Bank).

[BLN 1238]
1448] Hackney: (BLN 1225.153) The 200m pedestrian link http://goo.gl/dYlaUB between Hackney
Downs P1 and Hackney Central P2 opened on 23 July, so the new LO routes out of Liverpool Street
now have an interchange with the previous network. Funded by NR, TfL and the borough of Hackney at
a cost not quoted, it avoids a 600m walk along the roads previously taken by about 165,000 people per
year and expected to more than double. The walkway has lifts, monitored CCTV and bright lights.
(Diamond Geezer blog which has much of London rail interest http://goo.gl/z0ISII)

1449] 'Transported by Design': This is the name of a new TfL programme of events, exhibitions and
competitions running until early 2017 which is intended to raise awareness of pioneering designs on
the TfL network. See https://goo.gl/IbGibd for further details.

1450] Paddington: (BLNs 1214.1162 & 1233.955) Upgrade work to be carried out includes renovation
of 'The Lawn' on the platform side of the main station building to provide better retail choices and
more food and drink outlets (more NR rental income!), improved ticket office and waiting facilities.

1451] Crossrail: (BLN 1237.1353) (1) On Network Station Improvement Programme: (BLN 1237.1370)
TfL has agreed funding of £93.6M for this programme. Apart from the already announced installation
of lifts, the funding is to address perceived shortcomings at 22 stations, including rundown exteriors
and poorly maintained interiors, which were not due to be improved as part of the main Crossrail
programme. Planned improvements will vary from station to station, but will include building
renovation, decluttering, redecoration, new lighting, improved seating and new finishes. At Ealing
Broadway, the lower level of the station will be remodelled to improve the interchange between
Crossrail and Underground trains (Crossrail funding is paying for major works to the upper concourse)
and at West Drayton a new entrance will permit ticket gates to be installed. (Transport Briefing)
(2) West Ealing: Crossrail Ltd. has submitted plans to Ealing Council for a new glass and steel ticket hall
to be located on the north side of the station in Manor Road. Other work includes:
 A new footbridge with new lifts to provide step-free access to every platform.
 A new country end bay (half-hourly Greenford single DMU shuttle; needs two units to Paddington).
 Platform extensions to accommodate Crossrail trains.
 New lighting, customer information screens, station signage, help points and CCTV.
(3) Southall: Plans for a new station building, similar in design to that proposed for West Ealing, have
been approved. There will also be a new footbridge and lifts accessing all (extended) platforms.

1452] Chadwell Heath: On Sunday 26 July engineering work on the overhead equipment blocked the
main lines between Liverpool Street and Shenfield. As a result the 2tph TfL Rail service from Liverpool
Street reversed at Chadwell Heath using the new turnback siding (sadly ECS!), its first regular use. The
Liverpool Street to Gidea Park services were booked to run normally and the AGA Southend Victoria
trains, which normally serves all stations from Romford on Sundays, also called at Chadwell Heath, a
station not served by that company since TfL Rail took over the Metro services. A peculiarity was that
Up services were unable to call at Brentwood and Harold Wood, with a one-way replacement bus
service between Shenfield and Gidea Park! According to a post on Anglia Gen, this was because Up
trains had to coast through those stations. The London Railway Record reports that the new Chadwell
Heath Turnback siding was commissioned on 10 May but initially OOU (no walking route for drivers to
change ends). Full commissioning was on Monday 20 July by two test trips from Ilford Depot.

1453] Lea Bridge: (BLN 1227.346) A ground-breaking ceremony to mark the start of building work on
the new station was held on 10 July. Re-opening with EMU services is now expected in spring 2016.

1454] Cricklewood sidings: (BLN 1236.1248) When passing on our 12 July 'Thameslink Tracker' tour it
was noted that the North Reception Line to the Up Slow Line connection was still OOU.

1238 NORTH EAST
1455] Seal Sands: (BLN 1233.912) After his recent, almost weekly, visits for work a member can
confirm that the only track removed on the branch is the previously mentioned 10 to 15ft. It is actually
just west of 'North/South Crossing' (0m 71ch from Seal Sands Jn) which is shown as 'North/South
Access' on TRACKmaps 2 p48A (September 2006) rather than west of the 'Enron' level crossing (0m
52ch) given before. By 31 July, the two branches off south at 1m 40ch to 'BASF' (now INEOS) and
Monsanto had been completely lifted. Track remained on the Simon Storage North and South lines.
(Picture Below: Track lifting in progress on 26 July at Monsanto Yard looking East, i.e. towards Seal
Sands; the main branch there runs to the left of the road out of picture - Alan Sheppard.)

1238 NORTH WEST
1456] Warrington West: Family security, drainage and noise are just three of the issues highlighted by
residents to the council following the submission of plans for this new station (even before the
inevitable Slow worms and Newts put in their appearance!). In line with the dictionary definition of
'NIMBYs', the residents do, of course, believe the facility is needed. It is on the southern Liverpool to
Manchester DMU operated route of the former Cheshire Lines Committee railway between Sankey
and Warrington Central stations near Chapleford and would also serve the brownfield 'Omega
Development Site' of 560 acres on the former RAF/US Airforce Burtonwood airbase.

1457] Manchester Metrolink: (1) Trafford Park extension: Manchester United Football Club has
objected to the Trafford Wharf Road access arrangements on safety grounds. This does not relate to
the basic principle of the line itself, which is actually seen as of benefit to the whole area.
(2) St. Peter's Square: (BLN 1234.1069) On 16 July the overhead wires appeared to have been
removed from Manchester Central (or thereabouts) to part way up Mosley Street. Here points have
been laid (by Nicholas Street), presumably for the new single to double junction. Track has been
removed from just east/north of St. Peter's Square platforms across Princess Street. The new single
line alongside the existing double track runs from Central (probably) almost to Princess Street.

1458] Rochdale: (BLN 1228.461.2) The glaze-tiled underpass beneath a disused part of the station has
been reopened after 36 years of dilapidation. Users of the new Hare Street Park & Ride, on the
station's south side, now have easy access to the main-line platforms and nearby Metrolink tram stop.
The 40yd passageway originally opened in April 1889 when the station was moved to its existing site

[BLN 1238.1458 - cont.]
and enlarged, enabling the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway to deal with increasing passenger numbers.
King George V and Queen Mary visited in 1913. The six former platforms at Rochdale station were
reduced to three in 1979 with dwindling traffic and the underpass was closed. It was fenced off and
reclaimed by nature. Reopening complements both the Northern Hub scheme, with its new
Manchester facing bay platform at Rochdale, and the local council's master plan for the station
'gateway' area. Many heritage features have been retained and restored, notably the stonework, iron
bridge spans, and tiling. The new railings and lamp fittings have been chosen in sympathy with their
surroundings. A York stone floor and new drainage has been installed.

1459] Manchester Airport: (BLN 1226:259) The new NR P4 was scheduled to be brought into use on 9
February 2015 but during a visit on 25 July no trains were using it and the passenger entrance was
blocked. The previous pattern of allocating trains to platforms was still in operation. [ATW were
refused permission to extend their Chester/Llandudno services to the Airport from the May timetable
using P4, even though there is time in their layover at Piccadilly and the crews are all trained on the
route as there were (and still are) a few extended early and late services. P4 is reportedly earmarked
for extended Calder Valley services and others via the new Ordsall Chord, but see next item!]

1460] Ordsall Chord: The Public Enquiry is underway and a 'Statement of Case' has been lodged by Mr
Mark Whitby; former president of the Institution of Civil Engineers and employed by NR in 2012 as a
design consultant for the project. He presents an alternative, but significantly more expensive, route
moving it slightly west (including existing tracks from the west heading towards Victoria) onto a
derelict brown field site, Middlewood Locks. Mr Whitby claims this avoids any harm to the heritage
assets currently due to be 'destroyed'. The Statement http://goo.gl/Y7aTTB is cohesive and it will be
interesting to see how this develops.

1238 SOUTH EAST – NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
1461] Snow expected in March: A snowplough was noted on Midsummer's day in March Down Yard.

1462] Sundon Loop: (BLN 1237.1368) The loop was not commissioned on 13 July due to wiring
problems and a blown 650V fuse, needing time to correct which would have jeopardised the required
handback time. The new rail served distribution depot will be east of the line, served off the new loop
and will access junction 11A of the M1 on the west of the line, just south of Toddington Services.
Called a Rail Freight Interchange and sized at 5 hectares (12 acres), there will be provision for 40
hectares (99 acres) of employment land. The rail element is described as pick up/drop off access on
the western side of the site. Central Bedfordshire and Luton Borough Councils are taking the proposals
forward. The adjacent Sundon Chalk Quarry is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. (Modern Railways)
The junction at the south end of the loop (35m 49ch) is Sundon Jn not Leagrave Jn (BLN 1237.1367).

1463] Newport Pagnell branch: (BLN 1235.1160) A leaflet for those interested in railways or geology
and particularly if both apply http://goo.gl/Z6BL8f 01494 881325 (Chiltern Archaeology).

1464] Bedford - Cambridge: The two routes being considered for East West Rail are via Sandy or
Hitchin according to a 27 July announcement by that consortium. The latter opens the prospect of
complete departure from the original route via Potton and Gamlingay. An additional crossing of the
ECML north of Hitchin station could result in avoidance of any significant station between Bedford and
Letchworth! NR will evaluate the proposals, from an original list of seven routes, and the consortium
hopes to publish the preferred route in September 2016 in the Initial Industry Plan. The alignment off
the Hitchin Flyover towards Hitchin East Jn was built with a deliberate 'kink' in it to allow a possible
third side of the triangle to be built for a potential (Oxford) - Bedford - Cambridge - (Norwich) route.

[BLN 1238]
1465] Slough: There are a number of new crossovers either side of Slough between the Relief lines, as
well as the one formerly giving access to bay P6 remaining in use. When seen by your Sub-Editor on 8
July this latter was still shiny and despite the actual bay turnout having been removed, the bay track
was still in place with the describer lit and working, though (fortunately!) not advertising a departure.
A new trailing crossover between the Up and Down Relief lines at the Langley end of Slough station
was to be brought into use on 20 July and a route from the Down Relief line platform in the Up
direction to the Up Relief was to be commissioned at the same time. The route is indicated by a main
aspect accompanied by a position 1 junction indicator. In the event, the work was postponed. At the
other end of the station, on departing from the bay P1 trains now enter the former East Loop, then via
a new slew about half way along the former loop regain the old Bay Line (cue revisit to the Windsor &
Eton branch). The old Bay Line and East Loop remained connected, OOU; disconnected at the slew.

1466] Slough West curve: (BLN 1236.1374) C R Potts' book just confirms the existence, in winter 1902,
October 1909 and 1911 of the direct service between Windsor and Basingstoke over the curve it had
booked passenger trains in the February 1927 Bradshaw but they had ceased by August that year.

1467] Witham: On 5 July the parapet wall of Blunts Hall Road brick arch underbridge, about a mile
south of Witham, was dislodged at ballast level and moved outwards (away from the track), reducing
ballast support to the sleeper ends. With further movement there was the risk of the parapet dropping
to ground below and some bricks had already fallen. Engineers reported no issues with its structural
integrity as a test train passed over it. The damage to the whole of one side of the bridge was detected
on the Up side and a 20mph restriction applied, with a 40mph restriction the Down line. Due to this
and restricted paths on the (fortunately) bi-directional Down line, much freight was diverted via Ely
and even Newmarket. It is believed that the high output ballast cleaning train had been operating as
part of its Great Eastern main line programme. It does not take much to dislodge plain brickwork! (NR)

1238 SOUTH EAST ENGLAND – SOUTH
1468.1] Southern Un-refreshed: Southern ended its trolley services from 26 July, the date of transfer
of the franchise to GTR. Your Sub-Editor saw no trollies in action on his travels the day before. 70 rail
staff were displaced from the previously sub-contract. Trolleys were supplied at Bognor Regis (brick
building P3), Brighton (shed between P7 and P8) and Eastbourne. (In part Times 24 July.) As usual the
media have seen little difficulty rerunning the soggy sandwich approach in the same breath as the
shock-horror deprivation of victimised fare payers. A key factor on Southern has been the growth in
long distance standing in 12-car formations making access to even a small proportion of the train
difficult.

1468.2] Ramsgate Tunnel Railway (RTR): (BLN 1237.1373) The large lettering formerly over the tunnel
portal reading 'TUNNEL RAILWAY' has mostly survived and can be seen displayed within the tunnel,
though in somewhat battered condition. The 2ft gauge 1,444 yd long RTR was living on borrowed time
by the late 1950s. Operations were suspended following an accident in July 1965. This leads on to our
correspondent's own rather poignant memory. Trains presumably resumed after this accident, but in
September 1965 he had his first BR railrover ticket and holiday (in the Southern Region).

On 13 September that year, he alighted at Dumpton Park and walked to the RTR's Hereson Road
station, to be met with a sad little notice in the ticket office window reading 'Closed owing to illness.
Reopen in 3 days.' He rejigged his schedule and returned on the 16th, this time to be find an even
sadder notice: 'Closed owing to bereavement'. The official closure date seems to have been recorded
as Tuesday 28 September 1965. For our correspondent this was the 'one that got away' but it is
unclear whether the last train had run on a date before 13 September or whether any had run after his
return visit on 16 September. [Mitchell, Vic; Smith, Keith (1991) 'Sittingbourne to Ramsgate' Midhurst;
Middleton Press gives a date 'services stopped on' as Sunday 26 September 1965.]

1469] Ryde - Shanklin: The Isle of Wight MP has recently revealed details of a briefing last year by
South West Trains to himself and around 30 stakeholders in which it was stated that £40M needs to be
spent on the 8m 31ch line over the next four years to meet the running costs and repairs; £8M of this
is for Ryde Pier. He encouraged the council to open discussions with the DfT, who are stated to have
been 'very supportive' of works to retain the rail service but very little progress has actually resulted.
The MP is understandably concerned about recent government announcement of departments,
including the DfT, being asked to make substantial cuts to budgets.

1470] Rye: The recent Budget confirmed that the DfT has asked the rail industry to include extending
High Speed 1 services to Hastings and Rye in the forthcoming Kent Route Study. (Transport Briefing)

1471] Uckfield - Lewes: (BLN 1186.814) The Budget also confirms the Government have undertaken to
extend the scope of a reopening study of this line. This will yet again look at improving rail links
between London and the south coast, including upgrades to existing routes, consideration of the
Brighton Main Line corridor, and re-examination of the DfT's feasibility study on 'BML2' (Brighton Main
Line 2). (Transport Briefing) See http://goo.gl/QznJtq website also.

1472] Lewes: A buried siding has been uncovered in Lewes town centre, during excavations for a
housing development near Railway Lane, which runs adjacent to and south west of the River Ouse
immediately south of the pedestrianised High Street. It is next to the crossing of High Street at higher
level by the former running lines through the town centre, of which all the substantial brick viaduct
was removed many years ago. The track now found would have been connected to the former and
separate alignment running from the north side of Lewes station (behind P1) to join the present line
north of Southerham Jn. There are three photos at http://goo.gl/hcFLTf both former alignments are
now lost to flats, a car park and public toilets. (The Argus 22 July)

[BLN 1238]
1473] South West Trains: The expected franchise direct award to South West Trains until at least April
2019 was reported by Stagecoach Group on 7 July to be now the subject of competitive tender after
the DfT had ended discussions. The intention to have a direct award had been announced by DfT in
March 2013. Now the existing franchise will be extended to no later than August 2017.

1474] Surbiton: On 23 July a late running Waterloo to Hampton Court service (the 18.35 departure
from Surbiton) departed P3 from Surbiton, an extremely rare move.

1475] Waterloo - Basingstoke: On 21 July severe disruption during the morning rush hour caused by a
person being hit by a train at Raynes Park gave rise to a number of unusual microgrices. The 06.55
Weymouth to Waterloo made an additional stop at Basingstoke P2 to pick up passengers, thus doing
the Up Fast to Down Fast crossover west of the station. The 09.09 Waterloo to Portsmouth via
Farnborough was noted starting from Woking P6 at 09.35 and the 08.54 Basingstoke to Waterloo
ended up running over an hour late and was terminated at Surbiton P2 via the Up Slow/Up Fast
connection at Hampton Court Jn. The stock then formed a service to Alton that was booked to depart
Surbiton at 10.41. Noted at Woking (not witnessed) with its very flexible layout, was a Waterloo bound
train shown departing P5 and a Down service shown running through P2 during the disruption.

1476] Camberley: The trailing crossover, ground frame and associated ground signals at about 36m
00ch (on the Frimley side of Camberley station, i.e. the Country End) were to be removed from 27 July.

1238 SOUTH WEST ENGLAND
1477] Dursley branch: (BLN 1237.1376) A local member reports that parts can be seen, mostly
between Cam and the former Coaley Jn just south of the 1993 Cam & Dursley station. The former
Dursley (a town not a village incidentally) station area became absorbed into the sprawling Lister
Petter site. It was roughly where the Security Office was, he was informed, but the whole valley is now
being re-developed with around 600 houses and some industrial premises.

1478] Newent: Work has begun to turn the abandoned railway (originally built as a waterway and
turned into a railway in the 1880s) back into a canal! The Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal
Trust said that the project is part of a scheme to restore the entire 34-mile Gloucester to Hereford
canal. This ran through Newent, Dymock and Ledbury and was closed in 1881 to make way for the
Ledbury and Gloucester Railway (OP 27 July 1885, CP 13 July 1959 and CA Ledbury to Dymock; the
final section Dymock to Gloucester, Over Jn CG 1 June 1964). Most of the route was sold off piecemeal
to over 100 landowners so acquiring the land is a major challenge for the Trust. However they have
control of all the land at Newent around the old railway station site so are able to start clearance work
between the platforms. Over the next few years they expect to completely re-create the whole of the
railway station and install a canal back through the platforms. A 225th anniversary campaign has been
launched by the Trust in a bid to raise the substantial funds needed to reinstate the rest of the canal.

1479] Castle Cary - Taunton: At 27 miles without a station nowadays, this line is being considered
for an intermediate railhead station (likely to be Langport or Somerton), subject to a business case.

1480] MetroWest: Phase 2 of the Bristol local rail network is to include a spur to Henbury rather than
the more expensive Henbury loop option. New stations are planned at North Filton, Henbury and
Ashley Down. Consultation on the location of Henbury station is expected to take place in the autumn.
A report by NR found that one additional train would be required to serve a Henbury spur but three
would be needed for a loop service. For the latter, substantial track work and signalling alterations
would be required at Hallen Marsh Jn to allow both passenger and freight services to operate. The
loop would also double the number of train crossings at St. Andrews Level Crossing in Avonmouth
from two per hour to four each way, which would have an adverse impact on Avonmouth Docks road

[BLN 1238.1480 - cont.]
traffic. A GRIP 2 study has confirmed there are no minor track and signalling interventions that could
mitigate the adverse impact of these additional train crossings on the Port. NR's study informs the
MetroWest Phase 2 Business Case which was to be presented to the West of England Joint Transport
Board on 17 July. It recommends progressing the Henbury spur option to GRIP 3 but shelving proposals
for a passenger loop service and/or a station at Constable Road, suggested because a new station at
Horfield would be incompatible with the work in progress to re-quadruple the railway. The meeting
was to be asked to support plans to upgrade Yate train services to half-hourly although extending
these to Gloucester remains a longer-term aspiration. The recommended Henbury spur and Yate
options have a calculated benefit cost ratio greater than two and require no revenue support to run.

1238 WEST MIDLANDS
1481] Midland Metro: [BLN 1237.1381] Metro and Centro Managers advise that commissioning of the
extension to Grand Central requires a 3 week blockade to slew the track and power feeds, when trams
will run as far as St. Paul's, with its trailing Wolverhampton end crossover in regular use. After the
blockade they will run to the new Snow Hill stop, by the bridge over Great Charles Street Queensway
but without easy access to the main line station (this appears to be the case long term) then out of
service to Grand Central to give drivers experience of driving in busy pedestrian areas. Drivers' shift
and rest day patterns dictate that this phase will take 4 to 5 weeks. The opening to Grand Central for
passengers is expected by the end of the year. (Will someone please start a petition to have the Metro
stop called New Street station?) It is expected that overhead wire installation will happen fairly quickly.

After the extensions under construction and proposed are built, the service pattern will be alternate
trams from Wolverhampton to Digbeth and Hagley Road. Each will then run across Birmingham
Centre to the other terminus and back to Wolverhampton. At that end, it has yet to be decided which
trams will run to the existing St. George's terminus and what proportion to the railway station. A more
thorough public consultation will be undertaken; the previous one only elicited about 200 responses.
Consideration is being given to a West Bromwich turnback, for short workings to any of the 4 termini.

1482] Great Malvern information appeal: http://goo.gl/ESTVkN The Friends of Malvern's Railways is
working on a project to restore the station clock tower http://goo.gl/XIv8y0 which was removed by BR
sometime between 1957 and 1960 as it had become 'unsafe'. Does anyone have a more precise date
for removal and/or any other information about the clock tower please?

1483] Birmingham New Street: From 26 July, P4A and P4B were taken OOU (until 20 September) in
connection with the Gateway Project works P4C will remain in use. P3 was returned to use the day

1238 YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE
1484] Rail investment bears fruit: DBS has secured a contract with International Procurement and
Logistics (IPL) of Normanton to transport containers of produce on its services from London Gateway
to Wakefield Europort for Asda Walmart. The first train in July (of two services per week) delivered
sixteen containers of bananas from Costa Rica. Up to 25 round road trips will be saved weekly.

1485] Doncaster: The 'New Erecting Shop' where most of the new locomotives were constructed
(including Flying Scotsman), a cavernous brick building at the town's historic railway works known as
'The Plant', was given Grade II listed building status in July. Other parts already have listed status.

1238 IRELAND
1486] Dublin - Cork: IÉ has been undertaking ballast cleaning work during 11 weekend 'disruptive
possessions' on the Dublin to Cork line. The programme is reported to be on target with 13¾ single
track miles of ballast cleaned. Interestingly, where possible the removed ballast is dumped alongside

[BLN 1238.1486 - cont.]
the railway embankment or cutting after 'shelves' have been cut out to accommodate it. There will be
six more disruptive possessions (re-commencing after the busy holiday season on 11 September). It is
intended to complete in excess of the target of 20 miles of ballast cleaning before the year-end. These
possessions result in the Dublin suburban services terminating in the previously unused middle bay P3
at Hazelhatch & Celbridge station. The next €9M phase of the work has recently been approved, part
of the Dublin to Cork upgrade for 100mph running cutting journeys by 15 minutes (this obviously also
benefits Galway, Westport services as far as Portarlington).

1487] Waterford - New Ross: (BLN 1231.796) http://goo.gl/IN38RY is Illustrated with three excellent
photos of the line; a map and more pictures at http://goo.gl/ABdygY website. RTÉ News reports that
Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford councils wish to lift the remaining track on the 13½ mile branch
(once a through line to Macmine Jn on the Dublin, Wicklow & Wexford Railway) and create a greenway
at a cost of €3.2M. 'Greenway' is the term used in Ireland for a cycling and walking path. The project is
said to be vital for developing tourism and would link with a proposed greenway between Waterford
and Dungarvan. Information meetings have led to strong criticism from landowners and heritage
groups who say a railway tourism project would make a lot more money and safeguard the line. IÉ
owns the line and has consented to the local authority submitting a planning permission application. In
July 2010 the branch was noted to have then been recently lifted at the Waterford, Abbey Jn end.

1488] Mosney: (BLN 1236.1278) On 6 December 2000, a member travelled to the station as a
passenger on the terminating 14.50 from Dublin Pearse, returning on the 16.08. It was formed of
seven coaches hauled by locos 127 and 129. This was nearly three months after the station was said to
have been 'closed'. He is sure it was not an ECS working just running round in the loop. Mosney ceased
to be an advertised calling point from 18 December 2000 based on the updated published Iarnród
Éireann (IÉ) passenger timetable and reported in BLN (BLN 909 p241). It was unusual in having a single
platform adjacent to a double track line, actually on a reversible loop off the Down (to Belfast) side,
with crossovers to give access from, and back to, the Up line. Limerick Junction was similar (on a grand
scale, with bays) and Dunbar station in Scotland too, though with some lateral displacement between
the loop and the Down and Up Berwicks. On Monday 27 July 2015 a member passing Mosney on a trip
from Dublin to Dundalk confirms that the loop was lifted and both crossovers plain-lined. He was
surprised to see the platform was fully intact and smart even retaining bilingual station name boards
(nearly 15 years after closure!). The former Butlin's Holiday camp it used to serve is largely intact and
instead of holiday-seekers now houses asylum-seekers (it certainly does not look like a holiday camp!).
Judging by the large numbers seen from the train there might be a strong business case to reopen the
station! (Pictures below, Left: the engines run round the train (travelling Up the Down line towards
Dublin) at Mosney station. Right: The train awaiting departure to Dublin Pearse. Both Gary Lonsdale.)

1238 ISLE OF MAN
1489] Manx Transport Festival: (29 July to 2 August) As usual many interesting events were arranged
including goods trains, guided trackbed walks, a vintage bus tour of closed lines and the 'Fourteen
Railways' costal cruise aboard M.V. Karina from Douglas as chartered for our latest Society's IOM visit
in October 2012. On 1 August the Manx Steam Railway Southern Line was 'recreating' the Northern
Line (CP September 1968) for the day. Douglas was temporarily renamed St. John's, Port Soderick - St.
Germains, Santon - Kirk Michael, Ballasalla - Ballaugh, Castletown - Wildlife Park, Ballbeg - Sulby Glen,
Colby - Sulby Bridge, Port St. Mary - Lezayre and Port Erin became Ramsey. On the Manx Electric
Railway car No16 was to work from Derby Castle to Ramsey using the seaside line northbound 'wrong
line' all the way (believed to be for the first time). Later in the day this was being repeated on the
landside line, the full-length wrong line working southbound again believed to be a first. Short
workings were scheduled to Fairy Cottage using the crossover in passenger service there.

1490] Manx Electric Railway: A planning proposal dated 24 July 2015 has been submitted to erect a
new electric substation at Ballameanagh (poles 198-199) just south of Baldrine. The existing tram
shelter will be temporarily relocated further up the track during the work.

1491] Douglas Horse Tramway: (BLN 1237.1388) For many years this terminated at the Jubilee Clock,
(in fact until 24 October 2013 when the clock was moved slightly!). The proposed new terminus,
described as at 'Victoria Street', actually appears to be at a similar location to the present one. The
horse tram did run to Victoria Pier regularly until 1960 when a new Sea Terminal building was
constructed including a new Tram Terminal. This was little used after 1961 due to Douglas Harbour
Board then levying a heavy toll for use of the pier lines. Your editor remembers arriving off a boat from
Liverpool in July 1964 on a family holiday and taking the tram from there, loaded up with luggage, to
the 'boarding house'. (He was not bored though as steam was still working to Peel and Ramsey; the
latter's pier railway was operational too.) It has been confirmed that some boats were still met by
horse trams at the pier then. Another member reports that on her first visit to the Island (a family day
trip around 1956!) the track extended down the pier even further than after the new 1960 Sea
Terminal was built. The trams were certainly very close to the boat, and it was very tempting to step
on the next one in the queue, as they did! When the Society chartered a tram in May 1979 (Pearl was
the 1hp traction), the track ended somewhere close to, and parallel with, the outer edge of the
terminal building. The rationale for using Pearl was that she was a horse old enough to have 'done' the
track before, so was less likely to refuse although it did prove difficult to get her started on the rare
track. A mass of detail about the proposed new tramway https://goo.gl/tjbVez (the IOM Gov. website).

1238 SCOTLAND
1492] Maxwelltown branch: (BLN 1237.1327) A member was interested to see from BLN 1237 that the
Greenock Container Depot branch has finally been removed from the Sectional Appendix. This was
one of a number of lines which Railtrack declined to accept from the British Railways Board (BRB) in
1994. However, Railtrack HQ seems never to have bothered to tell anyone out in the zones which lines
they did or did not own, so their records were not updated. Another line in this category is the former
3 mile Dumfries to Maxwelltown branch, (the start of the former 'Port Line' to Stranraer) which is still
in the latest online Sectional Appendix dated 2 December 2006. It is shown as OOU but this is not
true! It is quite heavily used by cyclists and pedestrians making use of the surfaced path along it! Of
the track, only a short siding up to the NR boundary at Dumfries remains. This branch caused Railtrack
some difficulty, because it was agreed to resume wagonload oil traffic to the Scottish Oil Siding and
the customer obtained a freight facility grant for this. Only after that had been secured was it realised
that Railtrack did not own the line. Meantime, BRB (Residuary) had arranged to dispose of the line for
a nominal sum, so that it could become a path. That project was put on hold and the line was offered
to Railtrack on the same terms. Railtrack soon realised that even if they acquired the line free of
charge, the expense of maintaining the track, lineside fences, several public road bridges and the listed

[BLN 1238.1492 - cont.]
viaduct over the River Nith would far exceed anything they would receive from track access charges
from fairly limited traffic. The BRB could not itself authorise trains to operate, because it did not have a
Network Licence or Safety Case, and it was supposed to be winding up. Several meetings, with a 'cast
of thousands', were held to try to find a way forward, without success. It is surprising that this did not
prompt a revision to the Sectional Appendix. BRB (Residuary) was wound up on 30 September 2013.

1493] Newton: Also due to engineering work, the only route available through Newton over the
weekend 11/12 July was via Kirkhill. On both days trains between Glasgow Central and Lanark or
London Euston (via the Trent Valley) were diverted via King's Park and the South Connecting Line at
Newton. Other trains diverted via King's Park went via Hamilton. XC, TPE, Virgin East Coast, Virgin
Trains via Birmingham and ScotRail trains via Glasgow Central Low Level were all replaced by buses
through the affected area. Eastbound trains terminated at either Dalmarnock (thence Rutherglen West
Curve to reverse) and Rutherglen (P1). At least one working to Larkhall on Saturday was by a class 314;
believed to be the first time in passenger service at least (formerly Class 318s and now also 320s).

1494] Anniesland: (BLN 1233.1002) Work, described on the NR poster as 'connecting Anniesland to
the rest of the network', involves bus replacement on the Queen Street High Level (HL) to Anniesland
line SuO 9 August to 1 November and from 20.00 SSuX 19 October to 6 November (last train from HL
19.26 and 19.51 return). SuO 25 October and 1 November there will be 'no trains Dalmuir/Milngavie to
Anniesland'; as at 31 July there is no amendment for these last Sundays, other than bus substitution to
HL, on Realtime Trains. The new connection will be for Up trains; might the Down line see some use?

1495] Whifflet line: (BLN 1237.1330) During the line closure period 11 to 26 July, movement of the
new 2,000 tonne rail bridge west of Bargeddie into place over what will be a new section of M8 road
(still to be opened and which will not affect the railway) was completed on 18 July. This left 8 days of
line closure to replace track and overhead equipment, which was done successfully, and trains ran
normally on Monday 27 July. The first trains were an 04.20 Engineers' movement from Polmont North
Up Passenger Loop to Rutherglen Depot, the 05.54 Motherwell to Milngavie and 05.45 Yoker Depot to
Motherwell. The new road is to replace a short stretch of A8 between the M8 to the east and west.
The bridge over the M8 has long been known as the 'Cutty Sark' bridge after an advert for that whisky
brand which adorned it for many years; the new bridge may well also acquire that unofficial name.

1496] Elderslie - Lochwinnoch: (BLN 1235.1182) On 18 July (traditionally the Glasgow Fair Saturday
when Glasgow Central station, as other city terminals, would once upon a time have handled countless
thousands of folk leaving for the holiday fortnight) the vital Ayrshire line was hamstrung by an
overhead line fault. The Ayr service was reduced to XX.00/30 from Glasgow Central (GC) and the 08.30
(3 cars only with a Class 380/0), normally non-stop to Kilwinning, was shown as such on GC station
information screens. En route it was announced as calling additionally at all stations from Milliken
Park, a novel stopping pattern indeed! Passage was over the Up line (i.e. the northbound line) from
Elderslie facing crossover to Lochwinnoch trailing crossover. Kilwinning was reached 17 minutes late at
09.11. Fortunately for Mr. and Mrs. Sub-Editor (headed for Arran on this train instead of the cancelled
08.34 to Ardrossan Harbour), a local member had made his coach company available to shuttle
between those locations. Cometh the hour, cometh the man and the 09.45 sailing was made
comfortably. Ardrossan and Largs services were running again by about 11.00.

1497] Winchburgh Tunnel: (BLN 1235.1188) The 44-day blockage was given up on time on Monday 27
July. The first trains were the 04.46 Haymarket Depot to Grahamston and 05.21 Dunblane to
Edinburgh. Along with lowering of the trackbed and installing concrete slab track, the drainage in this

[BLN 1238.1497 - cont.]
flood-susceptible area was enhanced and supporting clips fitted for the fixed overhead conductor bar
system which is to be used in the tunnel; actual electrification is still to be carried out

1498] Tweedbank: (BLN 1231.797) From 20 July paths have been provided and used westbound from
Waverley over the Edinburgh Suburban line for Tweedbank route learning specials. This is at least in
part anticipating diversions for engineering work in the Portobello Jn area later. They are booked until
3 September SSuX also SO 29 and SuO 30 August. On Sunday 26 July, a Class 158 special conveyed the
1969 Waverley Route closure protester Madge Elliot, now an MBE, and some of her family. Abellio's
steam-hauled trains on the line are due to commence on 10 September (WThSuO) for six weeks with
considerable resulting alteration and cancellation of some service trains to accommodate them from
the first week the line is open (!) This is far worse than shown in the printed timetables. It is hoped
that new local passengers will not be put off the new service if they have an initial bad experience as a
result. Steam train tickets include ScotRail travel to Edinburgh http://goo.gl/RHFyt8 A4 60009 Union of
South Africa's is first line traction. Edinburgh to Tweedbank http://goo.gl/ZsDgM8 in three minutes.

1238 WALES
1499] ATW 'penalty fares': (BLN 1236.1291) This BLN item was picked up by a local reporter and, as a
result, has generated considerable column inches in the local press. ATW maintains that the £70
charge is an 'administrative fee' rather than a 'penalty fare'. In support of its view that passengers are
obliged to purchase a ticket at the 'first available opportunity' ATW now states that anyone needing to
pay in cash has a responsibility to 'go and find the Guard' to buy their ticket, rather than, as has been
local practice and custom since the 1970s, waiting for the Guard to come to them. The news stories
have also highlighted that at some unstaffed stations (e.g. Llanishen), the only ticket machine is on the
'from Cardiff' platform, necessitating a considerable detour for the majority of users.

1500] Wrexham General - Chester: (BLN 1227.414) A commissioning date of 15 November has been
announced for the re-doubling of 5m 38ch of the line between Rossett Jn (206m 48ch) just beyond
Rossett Level Crossing and Saltney Jn (212m 06ch). The new permissible line speeds will be changed,
and additional signalling provided, to increase capacity and reduce journey times. Trains are currently
using bi-directionally what will become the Down line whilst work on the Up line continues.

1501] Pontypridd: Following removal of the main span of the old footbridge on 19 July, platforms
reverted to their full operational length on the 26th. The new, accessible, bridge is north of the old one.

1502] Carmarthen - Aberystwyth: (BLN 1233.1012) Welsh Government Transport Minister Edwina
Hart has agreed to provide £30k toward a scoping study and assessment as to whether there is any
business case for reopening the line. The initial study will work with representatives of local pressure
group Traws Link Cymru, and results are expected in the autumn. A very tentative estimate puts the
anticipated cost of the link, with proposed stations at Pencader, Llanybydder, Lampeter and Tregaron,
at £500M. The impact upon the Gwili Railway (which line is incidentally very tortuous with very little
straight track) has not been mentioned! Before closure in the early 1960s there 3 three trains a day
each way over the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth line taking 2½ hours for 56 miles (with many stops).

1503] Cardiff Central: NR has released images of revised proposals for a major revamp of the station's
north side. Whilst retaining a significant element of retail development, these are now shown slightly
east, away from the Grade II listed art deco façade, and will also form part of an 'indoor' link to a new
Central Bus Station to be developed on the site of Marland House and the adjacent multi-storey car
park. Meanwhile, work is nearing completion on the new south side entrance building, and removal of
Riverside siding (BLN 1236.1289) will allow work to begin on track laying for the new P8.

[BLN 1238]
1504] Cambrian Line: (1) Bow Street: The Welsh Government has agreed to fund a feasibility study
into reopening of this station (CP 14 June 1965) between Aberystwyth and Borth. The University of
Aberystwyth plans to further develop the nearby Gogerddan campus, with direct pedestrian and cycle
access and a park-&-ride facility to reduce the notorious peak road congestion north of the town.
(2) Dovey Junction: The Montgomery Wildlife Trust reports a fifth successful year of hatchings for
Osprey chicks nearby. NR has helped sponsor the project, and recently escorted experts along the
railway to reach the site and fit the birds with satellite trackers that will enable their annual migration
to Africa to be monitored. (The nesting platform is visible from the trains; the Ospreys not always so!)
(3) Welshpool: Cattle pens which are the only remaining part of the goods yard are being restored. On
15 July workmen were clearing accumulated earth and undergrowth by hand from all sides. The pens
were built in the winter of 1937/8 to serve the adjacent Smithfield cattle market (nowadays a Tesco
store and car park), and featured mixed-gauge track. In the 1930s cattle still provided significant traffic
for the 2' 6'' gauge Welshpool & Llanfair Railway line.

1505] Heart of (Central) Wales line: (BLN 1237.1399) Regarding the Welsh rendition of Sugar Loaf as
'Dinas y Bwlch', a correspondent points out that this literally translates as 'City of the Pass', somewhat
ironic as anywhere less like a city would be hard to find! Regarding retention of the Heart of Wales
Line in the 1960s, it has sometimes been suggested that this was motivated by political expediency,
but in reality the three Constituencies which the line at the time served (Brecon & Radnor, Carmarthen
and Llanelli) were all rock-solid Labour seats in the elections of 1964 and 1966. BR did seriously
consider developing the line as a freight artery with 'Centralised Train Control' in the early 1960s.

1506] Ebbw Vale: (BLN 1232.887) As part of the redoubling north of Cross Keys to Aberbeeg, the
single line was slued to a new alignment over various lengths from 18 July. The work is proceeding well
with ballast spread over most of the length to be doubled, sleepers dropped off in some places, spaced
in others and rail clipped in place elsewhere but the additional platforms at Newbridge and Llanhilleth
have yet to be started. Most visitors continue to report the 'inclined lift' at Ebbw Vale Town out of
service, for no apparent reason, but the SE and Ireland Sub-Editor used it successfully on Friday 31
July. There is some debate as to when it is supposed to run, it was certainly closed late afternoon on
Saturday 25 July; a notice gave the original operating hours of 07.00 to 19.00 Mondays to Fridays.

1507] Rhondda Tunnel: (BLN 1233.1009) Proposals by the Rhondda Tunnel Society to reopen the
tunnel for cyclists and walkers have been boosted by results of the initial three-day inspection.
Engineers have confirmed that the structure remains in 'remarkable' condition, considering that no
maintenance has been undertaken in 47 years. The Transport Minister has consequently authorised a
feasibility study aiming to develop a business case and help identify sources for the estimated £10M
project, as well as engaging local communities. An initial report is targeted for October.

1238 MINOR RAILWAYS
MR120] Gwili Railway, Carmarthenshire (MR p9): A member visiting the railway on Friday 24 July,
notes there is still no news of an opening date for the southward extension, despite all this year's
publicity material referring to this*. Therefore, for now, the ride remains as before, with 15 minutes
allowed from Bronwydd Arms to Danycoed, 10 minutes at the terminus, and 45 minutes for the return
journey which includes a 30-minute break at Llwyfan Cerrig. The train was top and tailed by Austerity
0-6-0ST Haulwen and (Class 03) 0-6-0 diesel D2178, with five Mk 1 coaches: BG (converted to Kitchen
Car and numbered '94404'), TSO, CK, SK and BSK. The BG and TSO, along with another TSO undergoing
maintenance, have an unusual dark green and red livery sponsored by Felinfoel Brewery! The stop at
Llwyfan Cerrig allows time to ride the short ex-Ebbw Vale 7¼" gauge line, which leaves from the
adjacent Conway Halt, this train comprising 0-4-0 loco Ben and three sit-astride coaches. Other

[BLN 1238.MR120 - cont.]
attractions here include some of the vintage coaches undergoing restoration, access to mail sorting
coach 80371, and the ex-Swansea Vale Railway Hunslet Austerity awaiting restoration. RSH Austerity
Welsh Guardsman was out of steam at Bronwydd Arms, where two grounded vintage coach bodies
have been converted to form the station buffet. [*On 25 July your Editor was advised at the railway
that completion of the Abergwilli Junction run-round loop is needed before the extension can open
later in the year or early next year. Incidentally due to its location next to the hospital and two dual
carriageway roads without footpaths there is unusually only to be station access by road (or rail)
vehicle but not on foot; a planning consent stipulation. Five Mk 1 coaches in the dining train formation
(above) are too long for the loops so always require top and tail working, for those interested, that is
the time to have the Class 03 for haulage. Normal passenger trains have three coaches and one loco.
There is potential for a future four-mile extension north from Danycoed Halt towards Llanpumpsaint.]

MR121] Leighton Buzzard Railway, Bedfordshire (MR p12) (BLN 1223.MR208): On Sunday 10 May our
roving reporter arrived at this railway via LM trains and a 40 minute walk from the NR station. The 2ft
gauge railway's electronic ticket machine went into failure mode, but eventually woke up to issue a
portion of paper looking more like a till receipt - no Edmondson card tickets here now. The 10.40 ex-
Pages Park left 5 minutes late waiting for a 40 strong party that turned up very close to departure
time. Motive power was 0-4-0WT No11 P C Allen (OK5834/1912). It returned with the train from
Stonehenge and with the next train ex-Pages Park. The 13.05 ex-Stonehenge was hauled by 4wDH 80
Beaudesert (rebuilt AK59R/1999), 4wDM 44 (MR7933/1941) and 4wDM 43 (MR10409/1954). The
short 7¼" gauge line at Stonehenge was operating with 6wBE Pam with two sit-astride coaches.

MR122] Summerfields Miniature Railway, Bedfordshire (MR p12) (BLN 1091.MR91): This 7¼" gauge
railway is owned and operated by the Bedford Model Engineers, located near Haynes, south of
Bedford. Those using GPS based on the postcode MK45 3BH are warned that some systems (especially
TOM TOM) will direct you into a farmer's field who is not delighted to welcome visitors, unlike the
Model Engineers! The site is well posted off the A600. Public open days are held with a base £2 return
fare for the main railway. Next dates are 12, 19, 30 & 31 August, 6 & 27 September, 11 October and 1
November. Those wishing to see someone with a long white beard can pre-book to visit on 5 & 6
December. The MES are around most weekends and generally happy to receive individual visitors on
non-public days and, of course, donations towards costs. Two members were very warmly received on
Sunday 14 June and soon offered a trip behind an S&LRR 2-4-2, an American style steam loco and its
two American coaches; flat wooden seats on the roofs. Starting just off the turntable allowed a run
through the 4-platform Haynes End station (the terminus by the car park) before quite a significant
climb on double track past their shed to Badgers Holt, noting a short, unconnected section of track laid
in concrete towards a field on the left that was for a planned extension that never happened. Beyond
Badgers Holt, with its passing loop and Up/Down crossover, the outward track turns left past a lengthy
carriage shed, with the return track part of a triangle and having some new sidings constructed off it
towards that shed. The other side of the triangle is the loops that allow trains from the other main
station, Hammer Hill Junction, to travel in ever decreasing circles over effectively 3 loops. Within these
loops is the elevated 'Winterfield Railway', which had operated earlier that day, notable for a lifting
bridge over sidings off the ground level railway at Hammer Hill and a flexible section of track and
support that swings off the main circuit as a 'Y' to access steaming bays - quite an engineering feat
considering its multiple gauges. Pointwork round the loops is controlled by the driver from levers in
advance of the air-operated points, although how some points are set cannot be observed until the
lever is passed. Care is also required to ensure that the travelling public's hands are not tempted to
reach towards the levers. Having covered the main loops, a return to Haynes End found The Rodney
being readied for a run, which our desperate duo were invited to join. This might look like another
engine but any resemblance of its blue livery, red lining and No1 to one with a face is purely
coincidental. Having realised that there were no set operating patterns on non-public days, various

[BLN 1238.MR122 - cont.]
connections between loops and platforms were requested round the Hammer Hill loops that were
readily agreed to on the move, although the loco's lack of flange on the centre wheels of this 6w BE
required extreme caution over points and occasional assistance from our members. There is a track
plan displayed at Haynes End showing the standard running routes, which do not cover all the loops at
Hammer Hill and certainly not all the connections. Previous visitors have reported that, on public days,
a separate service from Hammer Hill round the loops may operate (at extra cost) if locos are available.

MR123] Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway, Kent (MR p19) (BLN 1209 p196): A rather damp
Sunday 25 April saw our roving reporter on this 2ft 6in gauge railway being hauled by 0-6-2T Superb
(WB2624/1940) with four covered bogie coaches. The new season had started on Good Friday and the
line is now open every Sunday until the end of September, plus Wednesdays in August and Bank
Holiday Mondays. The 5" gauge miniature railway at Kemsley Down has been partially relaid.

MR124] Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways, Gwynedd (MR p29): On Saturday 18 April 2015 our
correspondent travelled on 'The Snowdonian' train (BLN 1225.143), starting from Porthmadog
Harbour to Blaenau Ffestiniog with locos Taliesin and Lyd, and back via Rhiw Goch loop where Lyd left
the train as a result of a failure. Taliesin continued alone with the train to Pen Cob. Here the train
stopped to change engines, with Prince, Blanche and Linda taking over. Restarting, the train slowly ran
non-stop through Harbour station, only to be halted at a red signal before Cae Pawb Crossing, until an
on time Arriva Trains Wales DMU had passed because the train was now somewhat late and had lost
its path over the flat crossing. Resuming, the train stopped for more than an hour at Beddgelert
station, where dinner was included for all passengers at the Royal Goat Hotel. There was plenty of
time for a short walk down the road from the hotel to photograph surviving bridges on the partly-built
line of the Portmadoc, Beddgelert & South Snowdon Railway. The unfulfilled dream of the PB&SSR,
had construction been completed, was to have been the first electrified railway in Wales. After dinner,
the special continued to Caernarfon, and back again to Porthmadog. Our correspondent noted on the
way that the grey stone building of the original Cwellyn station, closed in 1877 when the North Wales
Narrow Gauge Railway extended the line to South Snowdon. Also noted was the original Tryfan
Junction station building, now fully restored. This was the junction for the Bryngwyn branch, the
trackbed of which is now a high quality public footpath to Rhostryfan, but less good on to Bryngwyn.
He had, incidentally, walked this path on 8 June 1977 when, crossing the main road near the former
station site in Rhostryfan, he spoke with a then 87-year-old man who remembered passenger trains;
withdrawn, according to Clinker, on 1 January 1914. He told him that the train only ran on Saturdays,
although looking at his April 1910 Bradshaw, the service shown at that date comprised five trains on
Saturdays, with two on Monday to Friday. According to the old man, when the trains were withdrawn
they were replaced by a horse-drawn bus. Progress indeed!

The following day, our correspondent took the WHR train from Porthmadog Harbour to Nantmor
station, and walked back via public footpaths etc, photographing the sites of former stations and halts.
Here is the current situation he noted: Hafod y Llyn (2nd station): this was a temporary terminus of the
modern line from Caernarfon in 2009, where the engine ran round, but passengers were not allowed
to alight - although he understand that restriction was lifted around six weeks prior to closure, on
extension of the line to Pont Croesor. Today, there is still a simple platform and name-board, but the
loop line is scotch-blocked, and trains do not call. Hafod y Llyn (1st station): this was adjacent to the
farm crossing, serving Hafod y LlynIsaf farm. There is still a crossing here, but nothing else.
Ynysferlas/Hafod Garregog: the crossing here leads to two farms, one either side of the line, and the
Halt has been known by both names. Again, only the farm crossing remains. Whilst here, he took the
opportunity to photograph the last train of the day from Porthmadog passing, hauled by Garratt
locomotive 138. Croesor Junction: the WHR has built a new curve here, easing the passage of the big
locomotives now operating the line. The site of Croesor Junction station is therefore a little way up the

[BLN 1238.MR124 - cont.]
original Croesor Tramroad, perhaps some 20-30yd from the present junction toward the foot of the
incline near Y Garreg Hylldre. Two steel girders can be seen there, leaving the course of the Tramroad
and marking the original WHR route across the watercourse and round a sharp curve toward Hafod
Garregog. Ynysfor: here, once again, only the farm crossing survives, adjacent to a cottage; note that
this is not to be confused with another Ynysfor Crossing, over a public road some half-mile to the
south. Pont Croesor (1st station): there is no trace at all of this station, which was on the north side of
the public road crossing beside the Afon Glaslyn. Pont Croesor (2nd station): this station is served by
today's WHR, with a loop, two platforms, name board, and corrugated-iron shelter dating from 1923,
painted dark green. On 19 April 2015, and perhaps for around two weeks, the loop was out of use
because a car had been driven into the equipment box controlling the crossing barriers, causing an
estimated £40k of damage. Portreuddyn: the site of this station is lost, the adjacent crossing having
been replaced by a new farm bridge over the line at the same location. The halt here had served
Portreuddyn Castle farm house, some quarter mile away, and distinguished by its castellated tower.
Pen-y-Mount: the WHR runs behind this Heritage Railway station, but does not have a platform.
Perhaps one day there could be an interchange between the two lines here. He took a photo of a
Welsh nameboard here, facing passing WHR trains, which in translation reads 'Pen-y-Mount Junction.
Change here for the Welsh Highland Railway Museum, Porthmadog Station (WHR) and '. We live
in hope! Portmadoc New: nothing remains of the 1933 station, which stood behind the Gelert's Farm
depot of the Heritage Railway north of the Cambrian Coast line. The 1923 station was on the other
(south) side of Cae Pawb Crossing, and all that remains is a concrete column which he think marks the
location of the water tank (it looks similar to that which supports the tank at Beddgelert).

MR125] Yorkshire Wolds Railway (YWR), East Riding of Yorkshire (BLN 1165.MR135 & 1234.1037):
This newly opened 100yd standard gauge line at 'Fimber Halt' was visited on Sunday 28 June.
Footplate rides for the public, maximum 3 at a time, were being given along the full length of the track
so far laid, immediately parallel to the B1248 road behind a hedge. The operating group of volunteers,
trading as 'Malton Dodger Ltd', has a gravel surfaced fenced area extending 20yd into a large field. The
land has been made available by the Sledmere Estate, the head of the owning family of which in the
1850s, Sir Tatton Sykes, was a major supporter of the original Malton to Driffield line, as is his
namesake descendant of the revival effort. The intended extension is south eastwards alongside the
road for ¼ mile but then, amending BLN 1234, not towards the A166 but curving to the east on the
original alignment, through a wide valley of large fields with Wetwang village on higher ground to the
south. Initial landowner and planning permissions are for 0.9 miles, to short of the Wetwang station
site (a ¼ mile down a lane from the main street). All parties involved are supportive in principle of
further extension towards Driffield, though the group even in the long term does not aspire to
reaching beyond the site of the next station, Garton, a total length of 4 miles all on Sledmere land. In
an ideal world the way to go would be west, deeper into the scenic valleys of the chalk wolds to
Burdale and its tunnel. However, with an immediate need for Transport & Works Act Order procedural
hurdles and costs to be overcome for restoration of level crossings, over the B1248 to the original
Fimber passenger station site (now a picnic area) then another B1251 crossing, and several fiercely
hostile landowners for the next three miles no hope is seen in that direction.

The north end buffers just short of the road vehicular access to the compound (which is co-incident
with the former level crossing) is thus always likely to be the northern limit. For the purist, the original
line crossed the road at an angle and then curved to parallel it, so the new running line is closer to the
hedge. The rate of progress with extension will, besides the limited person power resources of a small
group, be largely governed by availability of free or low cost track materials. Although the arrival of
more sleepers from a source at Goole was imminently expected the obtaining of more rails will be
crucial to how far, if at all, rides might be extended by the 2016 season. Ride and sales income seems
unlikely to be a driving factor, as during a two hour visit your correspondent's donation was amplified

[BLN 1238.MR125 cont.]
by only half a dozen others. This was despite plenty of Sunday motorist traffic passing and a large
Country Fair at Sledmere House, only two miles away where the group had a stand to point people to
Fimber station. [Perhaps the message here is visit it while you can - Ed.] Rides on the last Sunday of the
month and bank holidays will probably operate through the current season until October, extra
running days might be added if there are enough volunteers available (on 12 July, no rides were
provided as only one competent driver was on site - it needs two on the footplate to give rides). The
proposed platform is so far only a set of steps where the loco (no shed) parks, and there is a brake
vehicle on a separate track panel which contains exhibition, shop and refreshment areas, together
with several sheds and containers for storage. Some interpretation panels include one giving the
history of the diesel 0-4-0 loco and details of one of its sisters still working on the Docklands Light
Railway. GECT Loco 5576 carried a Malton Dodger headboard and is said to have moved from Shotton
to a steelworks in Glasgow, subsequently to RFS Kilnhurst, then a Worcestershire phosphorous
company, before Lindholme, leaving there in April 2013. The group's business title is claimed to
originate from the way the original Malton to Driffield line, taking the easiest route through the Wolds,
'dodged' most of the villages but that is not confirmed. The nickname 'Dodger' for a local branch line
train shuttling back and forward occurred on a number of other services throughout the country.

In relation to the line closure chronology given in the previous report, the official date for the freight
traffic is, as often the case, not as clear as it seems. The group's exhibition includes photos of a 'last
train' from Sledmere & Fimber on 11 October 1958, a last one on the line on Thursday 16 October and
a stated 'official' closure date as three days later; possibly clearance of empty wagons and station
equipment and an actual putting out of use. BLN 1234 mentioned that our 2 June 1957 'Yorkshireman'
tour covered the line; the 'Forty Years' book records that this was our first ever special charter train.

1238 OTHERS' DOINGS:

A service to members Please mention the Branch Line Society when booking/enquiring, details must be checked with the organisers.

1508] Vale of Rheidol Railway: Rare track at Devil's Bridge 'Driver for a Fiver' or footplate rides £3, on
Kerr Stuart steam loco Wren No3114. August 10 to 31 inclusive http://goo.gl/AJFHQw not Fridays or
Sundays 01970 625819. Also on Sep 26/27 at the Steam Festival Weekend 'The Forgotten Engines'
http://goo.gl/nQr0Zn including never seen before locos in the workshops and many other attractions.

1509] Greenford Signal Box, 19 or 20 Aug: (report BLN 1227.337) Evening RCTS visit thanks to our
member Stuart Hicks. Apply [email protected] please notify your BLS membership number. A high
visibility vest IS required, a charity donation applies and offers to write a report would be appreciated

1510] ScotRail Club 50: https://goo.gl/iwzlQM Starts 14 September age 50 and over, until 31 August
there is free membership for 12 months (£15 afterwards) and a £10 go anywhere in Scotland offer 14
to 30 September return by 29 October (not Lockerbie - no ScotRail services!). 20% online Off-Peak and
Advance fare discount (10% via telesales and stations). Free tea or coffee on trains (where available),
special offers and deals. Smartcard tickets start 2016. Email address and photo required.

1511] Waterford & Suir Valley Railway: (MR p27) http://goo.gl/Ryo5QN Kilmeadan Village 10km
southwest of Waterford off the N25 towards Cork (Irish Grid ref: S515108 use http://goo.gl/vLtRMI).
Trackbed of the Waterford to Mallow via Fermoy line (CA March 1967; ROG here April 1970 to July
1982). The 3' gauge 4¾ mile line runs hourly until end of September 11.00-16.00 (SuX) 12.00-17.00
(SuO), finishing an hour earlier in September. The full line to Grace Dieu Jn is covered SO (50 min
round trip) other days to Carriganore only (40 minute trip). €8.50 return, Golden Years (!)/Student €7.

1512] Steam on the Met, 13 & 14 Sept: Met No1 and L150 vintage stock various journeys; Watford
(Met) - Chesham/Harrow-on-the-Hill. Optional cake and tea http://goo.gl/64iH7S or 02075 657298.

[BLN 1238]
1513] Foxfield Miniature Railway Bank Holiday Gala, 30 & 31 Aug: 11.00-16.30, Caverswall Road
station, Blythe Bridge (a ½ mile walk from the mainline station) ST11 9BG. (SJ957420). Visiting locos,
normal fares apply (standard gauge trains from Caverswall Road at 11.30, 13.00, 14.30 & 16.00) plus
charge for miniature rides. A 'guaranteed' chance to find this newly extended railway operating.

1514] Moorland House Miniature Railway, 6 Sept: Staintondale, YO13 0EW (SE975996) nine miles
north of Scarborough, lovely National Park location; sea view. A rare public opening of Alan William's
private railway. 14.00-17.00 in aid of Myeloma UK, train rides cream teas etc. Look for the kites!

1515] Heritage Railway Association, West Somerset Railway, 13 Sept: Various events include a 14.00
to 15.30 brakevan special from Bishop's Lydeard to cover the Norton Triangle area. Also a conducted
coach tour of the ex-West Somerset Mineral Railway http://goo.gl/vEWiJ9 0800 7565111 ext 427.

1516] The Leicestershire Bell, Sat 19 Sept: Hastings (06.35/ 21.40 approx), stations to Clapham
Junction (11.30/19.15) then New Kew Jn, Acton Central, Brent Curve Jn (expected) Midland Main Line,
Corby, Leicester (11.30/17.00) Loughborough Chord Jn to Ruddington Great Central Railway North
(12.45/15.45) back via Market Harborough in the preserved Hastings DMU. From £62 return, club class
£88. See http://goo.gl/9BZdRV queries 01424 812251 or email [email protected]

1517] Mountsorrel Branch, 24 & 25 Oct: (BLN 1226.239) Dates for your diary; special trial weekend to
assess passenger numbers and operational requirements before public opening in early 2016. 'High
visitor numbers are essential to ensure regular use in 2016'. Details http://goo.gl/sqaRFW to follow. A
heritage and visitor centre is under construction at a former quarry including a 'quarry recreation' with
sidings for shunting demonstrations served by a future intermediate 'Nunckley Hill Halt' (SK 5698
1416) on the branch. The new junction for the sidings has been laid (SK 5694 1412). Phase 2 (subject to
funding) is a Museum and exhibition buildings with a railway element. Mountsorrel Halt is just before
Bond Lane overbridge; the branch ends beneath the bridge in a short sand drag (SK 5724 1472).

1518] Evening Value (1): 'Oxford Evening Out': Didcot Parkway to Banbury / Moreton-in-Marsh
unlimited travel after 18.50 (daily); Skipton and Ascott-under-Whychwood (17.50), Kingham and
Hanborough (18.00) and Charlbury (18.10). Adult £3.05, Child £1.50, Railcard £2.00. (2): Hereford &
Worcester Evening Return (Super Off-peak Return) Available for any specific return journey after
18.00, (17.40 Hereford or 17.20 Moreton-in-Marsh) any day of the week using the 'X' shaped network
centred on Droitwich Spa; bounded by Moreton-in-Marsh, Hereford, Stourbridge Town/Junction and
Bromsgrove. Not valid via Birmingham. Adults £3.70 Railcard £2.45 no child fare. With both tickets try:
Stourbridge Town SSuX (18.02/23.52) to Didcot (20.24/20.52) i.e. 176 miles is possible for £6.75 (3.8p
per mile) or £4.45 (2.5p per mile) with a Railcard. Alternatively, Great Malvern SSuX (18.10/22.29) to
Didcot (20.24/20.52) gives 152½ miles for the same price (4.4p per mile or 2.9p with a Railcard)!

BLN ADDENDA
STOP PRESS, IÉ Rare Track (1): Sunday 16 August, very unusually Dublin Connolly P7 - Newcomen Jn -
Glasnevin Jn: 17.05 Connolly to Sligo is booked that way because Drumcondra station is due to be
occupied at that time by a local train waiting passengers after the All-Ireland Hurling Semi-Final then.

Railway Archive: http://goo.gl/bRoIxe A free online archive of documents charting the development of
Britain's railways. Key historical documents related to Britain's railways. The archive contains acts of
parliament, accident reports, publicity material, financial and economic reports, strategy
documents, technical documents, white papers and more. Around 4,200 documents and 8,950
accident reports.

[BLN 1238]
E-BLN Guess the location: Clues: some older members will have travelled behind a Class 31 locomotive
through here and its closure was part of the changes when other lines were electrified.

STOP PRESS, IÉ Rare Track (2): Sunday 16 August Ballybrophy Connection (NRU) in both directions All
Ireland Hurling semi-final in Dublin Croke Park IF REQUIRED (depends on which team gets through!).
09.10 Birdhill, stations to Ballybrophy (Bay P3) reverse/pick up 10.42/48 to Dublin Heuston 11.58/
19.40, Ballybrophy (Bay P3) reverse 20.50/21.10, stations to Birdhill (22.39). Through trains to the
Nenagh line in this direction are very rare, involving three reversals and one of the Down/Up X/Os at
Ballybrophy. Watch http://goo.gl/c4OLKc for details fares and bookings if it runs.3531 8366222.

Distribution: Dave Monger, 6 Underhill Close, GODALMING, GU7 1NU. [email protected] 07592 585230.
Branch Line: Nick Garnham, [email protected] Subscribe: [email protected]
Fixtures Secretary: Kev Adlam, 53 Kemble Close, Wistaston, CREWE CW2 6XN. [email protected] Twitter: @BLSGeneralSec
General Secretary: Tim Wallis, 10 Sandringham Road, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. [email protected]
Chairman: John Williamson, 'La Marguerite', Croit-E-Quill Rd., LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7JD. [email protected]
SALES: Mark Gomm, 84 Mornington Road, STOKE-ON-TRENT, ST1 6EL. [email protected] 01782 769960 (daytime).
NEWS TEAM: Wales: Paul Jeffries, 54 Heol Erwin, CARDIFF, CF14 6QR. [email protected]
South East England, East Anglia & Ireland: Julian James, 58 Nelson Road, WORTHING, BN12 6EN. [email protected]
London: Geoff Brockett, 155 Onslow Gardens, South Woodford, LONDON, E18 1NA. [email protected]
Midlands & South West England: Brian Schindler, 15 Sudeley, Dosthill, TAMWORTH, B77 1JR. [email protected]
Northern England & Isle of Man: Graeme Jolley, 3 Laurel Cottages, Rencell Hill, LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7BJ. [email protected]
Scotland: Bob Watt, 18 Kilmailing Road, GLASGOW, G44 5UJ. [email protected]
Minor Railways (British Isles): Peter Scott, 93 Josephine Court, Southcote Rd, READING, RG30 2DQ. [email protected]
International: Paul Griffin, 7 School Bell Mews, Church Lane, Stoneleigh, COVENTRY, CV8 3ZZ. [email protected]
E-BLN (Distribution problems and for image submission etc): Dave Cromarty, [email protected]
Editor/Head Lines: Paul Stewart, 4 Clarence Close, MALVERN, WR14 3HX. [email protected] 01684 562862 or 07790652351.
Printed by Deva Enterprises, Waters Edge, The Drive, Ifold, LOXWOOD, West Sussex RH14 0TD, tel: 01403 752837, [email protected]
or [email protected] . Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Rd, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947


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