Issue Number 1295 (Items 2456 - 2571 &IssMueRN2u3m6 b- eMr R1226480) (E-BLN 64 PAGES) 16 Dec 2017
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society - founded 1955
NEW WEBSITE ADDRESS: branchline.uk
Membership Enquiries, Alan Welsh [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from member7s2; 8a6n7i7nternational section is available.
Opinions herein are not necessaarivlyaitlahbolsee. of the Compilers or the Society.
………………..BLN 1296 is dated Sat 6 JanS2o0c1ie8ty;.CSooncitertiyb.utions must be received by 27 Dec
YOUR BLN TEAM & COMMITTEE WISH ALL MEMBERS A MERRY CHRISTMAS & A HAPPY 2018
NB: There is a 3‐week gap until BLN 1296 on 6 January 2018 with NO BLN on 30 December.
Date Event and details BLN Lead Status
Sun 17/12/17 The Grand Farewell; PAY ON THE DAY AVAILABLE 1294 JE OPEN
Sat 6/1/2018 09.30 - dark: Railtour of Scunthorpe Steel Works (now full) 1291 JE FULL
Sun 21/1/18 12.00 Burnley & Pendle MRS, Thompson Park, new track 1295 JE *OPEN*
Sun 25/2/18 Newcastle: Tyne & Wear Metro railtour (north side) TBA TBA Claimed
24-25/3/18 The Sussex Salopian track & traction tour SEE 3rd PAGE 1295 JE *OPEN*
20-24/4/18 5 day tour; Finnish freight lines that might well finish 1290 IS OPEN
3 to 6/5/18 Island of Ireland 4-day 'long weekend' (UPDATE BELOW) 1294 KA NOTIFY
Sat 12/5/18 With '565 Railtours', West Coast traction & Colas Class 37s TBA TBA Claimed
Thu 14/6/18 Annual Pre-Peaks Trekker, Loco-hauled charity railtour TBA TBA Claimed
IS-Iain Scotchman, JE-Jill Everitt, KA-Kev Adlam, TBA-To Be Advised, = book online at branchline.uk
2456] AMAZING CHARITY AUCTION, PERFECT UNIQUE CHRISTMAS PRESENTS: As part of our Grand
Central tour (you do not have to be on the tour to bid) text name, the item you are bidding for with
bid to: 07581 178759 by Sunday 16.30. Bids must exceed the reserve and items are expected to
go for much more. All income is shared 50/50 by RBF/Railway Children. E-BLN has a poster with
details. Treat someone (or yourself) for Christmas! ❶Grand Central Class 180 Adelante cab ride
(£500 min reserve) one person over 18, York or Doncaster to King's Cross (with First Class travel to/
from a Grand Central served station). ❷Original 'PETER FOX 1942-2011 PLATFORM 5' nameplate
from 43484 (£1,000 min). ❸'THE GRAND FAREWELL 2007-2017' special railtour headboard (£400
min). ❹VTEC HST Cab ride 1,103 miles King's Cross to Inverness (includes ECS and fuelling moves)
and Aberdeen (with more rare track) to King's Cross and try driving the new Azuma simulator at
Newcastle during a break, for one person over 18 with accommodation & breakfast in Inverness
and travel on 10.57 ScotRail Inverness to Aberdeen service. (£750 min) ❺Harsco Stoneblower
Footplate Experience (£400 reserve) a full accompanied shift before 26 Jan 2018. Harsco Rail's
revolutionary Multipurpose Stoneblower is an alternative to traditional tamping to restore vertical
and lateral track alignment. It gives a smooth track surface, available immediately for full line speed.
2457] The Grand Farewell HST Railtour, Sun 17 Dec: Pay on the day is available: £70 (cash) Standard
Class. Route per BLN 1294.2371 (Gascoigne Wood Down Sidings is replaced by the Goods Loop). Joining
and alighting will be possible at Bradford. Final times: Newcastle P4, 08.05; Sunderland P3, 08.28;
Hartlepool P1, 09.19; York P3 10.19; Doncaster P4, 10.59; Sheffield P1, 12.55; Bradford Interchange
P2, 16.28/16.36; York P5, 18.02; Hartlepool P1, 19.06; Sunderland P1, 19.36 & Newcastle, P4, 20.02.
X.185] PREVIOUS PAGE: The Geographical map of our 18 Dec Grand Central tour (Stephen Phillips).
David Palmer's Route Description and Historical Notes are available to read with BLN on our website.
X.186] Thompson Park Railway, Sun 21 Jan, 12.00: Colne Road, Burnley, BB11 2AA, (SD 844 333)
(MR p19). The Society is delighted to be invited back to this interesting 1,000yd complex railway
operated by the Burnley and Pendle Miniature Railway Society https://goo.gl/qnBHkx for another
'all available lines' visit, including, since our last visit, new depot lines and the new platform loop. Tea
and coffee will be provided in the clubhouse starting at 12.00. Construction began in 2001; the railway
was extended in 2005 and 2013. Track coverage includes the 'not normally used connection' and other
non-passenger lines. A variety of traction is expected at this lovely 7¼" gauge railway in a delightful
park setting. £11 adult BLS members, non-members £15. Bookings via BLS website please or cheques
payee 'Branch line Society' by post to Jill Everitt (back page) with an email address or SAE (two for an
acknowledgement). Please advise any members you know who only take paper BLN about this event.
X.187] The Sussex Salopian, Sat 24 - Sun 25 Mar 2018: A 'Track & Traction' loco-hauled railtour that is
more than a full day out with the West Coast Railway Company (WCR) and '84G‡ Railtours' (with
thanks to Tim Brawn). Timings (provisional) and route as validated by WCR and bid to Network Rail:
Carnforth PU P2 04.29 - Lancaster PU P3 04.39 (Down Passenger Loop) - Preston PU 05.04 - Crewe PU
06.08 - Gresty Green Through Siding (No1 Siding on TRACKmaps Vol 4 p13 Aug 2013) - Shrewsbury Up
Goods Loop - Shrewsbury PU 07.00 - Wellington Up Though Line - Cosford Up Goods Loop - Oxley Up
Goods Loop - Wolverhampton - Tame Bridge Parkway PU 08.14 - Aston - Birmingham International P1
PU 08.50 - Rugby Up & Down Through Siding - Northampton Up Fast - Wembley European Freight
Operations Centre Road 5 - Wembley Yard South Jn - Willesden No7 - Acton Lane Reception Sidings
(change loco) - Kensington Olympia - Latchmere No1 Jn - Clapham Jn P17 - Streatham Common -
Windmill Bridge Jn (Down Slow) - East Croydon P2 - South Croydon P4 - Redhill NEW P0 - Gatwick
Airport P2 - Horsham - Ford - Barnham P1 - Bognor Regis (break 14.15/15.20) - Barnham P1 (rev) -
Fratton P2 (rev) – Haselmere P2 - Guildford - Reading Spur Jn - Reading New Jn - Reading P7 - Reading
West (rev) - Down Reading West Curve - Didcot East Jn - Didcot North Jn - Oxford P4 - Banbury Depot
Jn - Banbury (NEW) Down Goods Loop (change loco) - Reservoir Jn - Leamington Spa Down Main -
Kenilworth Loop - Birmingham International SD 20.52 - Birmingham New St SD 21.09 - Tame Bridge
Parkway SD 21.35 - Wolverhampton - Down Oxley Goods Loop - Cosford Down Goods Loop -
Wellington Down Through Line - Shrewsbury SD 22.42 - Gresty Green Down Through Siding (was the
'Through Siding' & 'Down Salop Siding') - Crewe Down Salop Goods Line - Crewe SD 23.35. Overnight
stay in Crewe then (part of the tour): Sunday Crewe PU 12.05 - Acton Grange Jn - Walton Old Jn -
Warrington BQ P4 - Earlestown P4 - Bamfurlong Down Goods Line - Wigan NW P5 - Preston SD P7
13.30 - Barton & Broughton Down Pass Loop - Oubeck Down Goods Loop - Lancaster SD P5 (Up Pass
Loop 2) - Carnforth Up & Down Goods Loop - Carnforth SD 15.05. [‡Shrewsbury WR shed 1949-60]
All timings and routing are provisional and subject to validation by Network Rail.
Traction: Our 9-coach charter will be hauled by a West Coast Class 37 to Acton Lane with a Class 47/57
at the rear (that will work small sections on the Southern) then a WCRC Class 33 takes the majority of
the work until Banbury where the Class 37 returns. Now open for bookings with card payment via our
website (which would greatly assist your volunteer Society and give immediate acknowledgement).
Alternatively send a cheque (banked on receipt) payee 'Branch Line Society' to Jill Everitt per back
page. If booking by post please supply full names, and membership number of each person, with an
email address or an A4 SAE (and a second SAE if an immediate acknowledgement is required).
IMPORTANT FOR ALL BOOKINGS - PLEASE STATE WHERE YOU INTEND TO JOIN AND ALIGHT (this is
important for coach stewarding purposes please and can be changed subsequently by notification).
Paper booking forms are not being printed and bookings open with this e-BLN. Details will be in paper
BLN 1296 in January but if you know of anyone who only takes paper BLN and might be interested
please tell them about this tour. Booking as a group assists in achieving seating preferences.
Fares: •Standard Class £85 BLS Members (all fares include all day Saturday and the Sunday section).
Fares: •First Class Plus with refreshments £133*, table for two with refreshments £286*.
Fares: •Non BLS members add £12 per person.
Fares: •Under 18s (must be accompanied) deduct £5.
There will be an on train charity raffle with attractive prizes from which all income will be donated to
Railway Children. A buffet car will serve hot food including delicious breakfast rolls, drinks, snacks and
light refreshments. Real ales from Salopian Brewery are expected to be available for sale. *First Class
Plus passengers will additionally benefit from complimentary morning tea/coffee with a Danish pastry,
and in the afternoon, tea or coffee with savoury of the day and a selection of fine cakes. The usual
souvenir ticket, itinerary and historical notes with a geographical map and track maps are expected.
All queries please to Bookings Officer Jill Everitt, by email [email protected] If no email,
queries can be made by post (with an SAE) to 4 Barnside Way, Moulton, NORTHWICH, CW9 8PT, or if
necessary 01270 662 396 Monday to Friday between 20.30 and 21.30 only please.
Tickets are NOT transferable and smoking is not permitted on the train. The Society will not accept any liability
arising from changes imposed by any third parties (either before or on the day) or any consequences of any late
running that may occur. Please be cautious about connections and buying advance train tickets. Please note no
refunds will be entertained on cancellations within 7 days of the tour. Tickets will be sent out about 5 days before
the tour - if possible this will be an e-ticket with a souvenir ticket being provided on the train. Standard Branch Line
Society Terms and Conditions apply to all participants (available to download on our website or by post with an SAE).
2458] Website: With thanks to Richard Maund, a preliminary electronic copy of the new 2018 PSUL
is now available (the paper version will be out in the New Year) updated for the 10 Dec timetable
change. On our website home page go along the top banner to the right-hand end: 'More options…'
then to the second page down ('PSUL'), select the third across the top 'Current Year'. The latest
version (5 Dec) of Lee Nash's 'Diary' is now available to logged in members with its own page. On
'More options…' it is the fourth page down, use zoom to see details. Our updated Fixtures Terms &
Conditions are also on the website; go to the 'Archive' page - the fourth from the left on the home
page banner and search 'Terms'. They are also included with BLN 1295. Changes: Sections 1 & 10
have been updated and there are new Sections 21 & 22. These cover pay on the day fares, refunds,
children under 5 years old also variations and updates to the standard terms. The latest version will
be on the website and dated (or request a paper copy from the Editor enclosing an A4 SAE please.)
2459] Island of Ireland Part 3: Expressions of interest are now invited for our May 2018 adventure!
The now customary long(er) weekend includes, once again, both Northern Ireland and the Republic.
There is a mix of national network exploration and heritage railways of various gauges, with a rather
splendid twist this time. Coach travel will be included with the arrangements where required but all
participants will, as usual, be responsible for all their own flights, travel and accommodation.
The itinerary spans Thur 3 to Sun 6 May (inclusive) with the ability to arrive on early flights Thursday
and return by late flights on the Sunday evening. The programme is still being finalised but is currently
expected to include Peatlands Park, service tram rides on the new LUAS extension to Broombridge,
service train coverage of the Sligo branch out via Newcomen curve, inspection of the Ballymote
miniature railway site, a Cavan & Leitrim Railway visit, Lullymore Heritage Park, Lough Boora Park, a
visit to Dunsandle station, the Galway Leisureland Express, dinner in the Pullman Coach at Glenlo
Abbey Hotel and an exploration of lesser used parts of Irish Rail infrastructure in the wider Dublin area
by way of a .full day Irish Rail private charter railtour!. To express interest, please email or write with
an SAE to Kev Adlam (per back page) to be kept informed of the more detailed plans as they emerge.
2460] BLS Constitution & Standing Orders Nov 2017: This document has also been updated after
our recent SGM and is in the website 'archive' (dated 02.12.2017) and was with e-BLN 1294. It can
be found by searching 'constitution'. Request a paper version from the Editor with an A4 SAE please.
1295 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
2461] Ebbw Vale Town, Lower - Upper Cableway stops: (BLN 1290.2002) Reported operational again
(date to be advised) after TCP by 13 Jun 2017 due to a failed CCTV monitoring telephone fibre cable.
The advertised running hours are 07.00-19.00 (SSuBHX) but it has closed many times due to vandalism.
2462] Llandudno Jn - Blaenau Ffestiniog & 9 stations: (BLN 1924.2377) The branch service was again
replaced by buses for the third time recently on 1 & 2 Dec due to a shortage of serviceable DMUs.
2463] Midland Metro, Wolverhampton St George's - Priestfield (excl) & 'The Royal': (BLN 1294.2381)
ROP Fri 8 Dec (15 days early) after 5 days of trams running empty for testing and staff familiarisation.
It had TCP Sun 11 Jun 2017 for replacement of rails and installation of the new station branch junction.
ABOVE & BELOW: Ordsall Chord on its opening day, the OHL supports are not vertical! (Angus McDougall)
2464] Manchester, Deal St Jn (Up Ordsall Chord Jn) (31m 12ch*) - Water Street Jn (190m 05ch*):
(BLN 1204.2404): OP Sun 10 Dec 2017; first timetabled train was 08.40 Manchester Victoria to Oxford
Road (08.46) DMU. The 07.24 Newton Heath Depot- Oxford Road ECS preceded it that day, previously
it ran via Salford Crescent (reverse). [*= 190m 62ch from Euston making the Up Ordsall Chord 57ch.]
2465] Manchester, Water Street Jn (190m 05ch) - Down Ordsall Chord - Irwell Street Jn (190m 34ch):
OP Sun 10 Dec 2017; first timetabled train over the 29ch Down chord was 08.57 Oxford Road to Leeds.
2466] Channelsea North Jn - Stratford Central Jn West: CP Mon 11 Dec 2017 (OP 18 May 2015 then
TCP 9 Dec 2016 until 27 Feb 2017). A Connection of Strategic Importance, the solitary unidirectional
PSUL passenger train, 18.30 (SSuX) ex-Clapham Junction is booked to use Stratford P2 rather than P11.
2467] Doncaster, Bessacarr Jn - Black Carr Jn: (BLN 1294.2385) ROP (regular scheduled services) Mon
11 Dec 2017 for (SSuX) 11.54 Lincoln to Doncaster and 13.01 return plus (SO) 14.10 Lincoln to
Doncaster and 15.07 return - a train from Lincoln is required to do Bessacarr Jn facing crossover.
Previously CP from 29 May 1995, restored from 24 Jul 1995, ceased again from 3 Jun 1996, restored
from 4 Oct 1997 and finally ceased again from 31 May 1999. During these periods only occasional
trains (see PSUL archive which now has its own page on the members' section of our website) used
this spur. Trains from the Lincoln line mostly took the flyover to/from Doncaster Down side platforms.
Since 31 May 1999 service trains between Doncaster and the GN & GE Joint line have been booked to
use the Lincoln flyover in both directions. The link has seen passenger use meantime - but only for Up
services diverted away from the ECML (such as those over recent weekends - including 2/3 Dec 2017).
From 27 Dec 2016 (BLN 1271.3201) passenger standard bidirectional signalling was extended through
Doncaster P1 & 3 to the Thorne line (also part of bay P0 commissioning). The Up Platform Loop
(P1 line) was also extended south avoiding Up side (P2) Lincoln line arrivals and departures conflicting
with an Up departure from P3 to the Up Fast and improving flexibility. This now allows easy use of bay
P2 for passenger arrivals and departures from/to the Lincoln line - previously arrivals were ECS (unless
special arrangements were made). A tour via Doncaster Up side in the Down direction would be good.
2468] Marcon Siding & Paddington New Yard: On the Up side between Portobello Jn and 1m 12ch,
due to be taken OOU until further notice from 16 Dec 2017, with signalling and associated routes
disconnected. (Previously ROG 9 Jan 2016 and used for Crossrail construction traffic.)
2469] Christmas Closures: 32,600 staff are working on 260 projects, including (& BLN 1294.2382):
2470] St Pancras International, Thameslink LL platforms (excl) - Farringdon (NR) - City Thameslink -
London Blackfriars (incl until 26 Dec): TCP Sat 23 Dec 2017 until Mon 1 Jan 2018 (both dates incl).
2471] London Blackfriars (incl) - Elephant & Castle - Loughborough Junction station (incl) - Herne Hill
North Jn & Loughborough Jn - Cambria Jn/Canterbury Road Jn: TCP/TCA 23 until 26 Dec 2017.
2472] Camden Road* (excl) - Stratford P1/2 & Highbury & Islington (P1, 2, 7 & 8) - Dalston Junction†
(excl) & 7 intermediate stations: TCP 23 until 30 Dec 2017. [*Trains from the west arrive P2 returning
in service over the trailing crossover. †All 4 platforms have arrival from and departures to the south.]
2473] Charing Cross - Waterloo East (also Cannon Street) - London Bridge (through platforms) TO:
❶ Charlton Jn (& four stations). ❷ New Cross (London Overground services continue) - St Johns -
Lewisham Crossover Jns: 'A' to 'B' & 'A' to 'D'. ❸ Parks Bridge Jn - Ladywell Jn ❹ Courthill Loop Jn
and Courthill Loop Jn South. ❺ Bricklayers Arms Jn: (BLN 1294.2500) TCP 23 Dec 2017 to 1 Jan 2018.
SE services are diverted to Victoria and, on 27-29 Dec (working days), will also run to Blackfriars and…
2474] Linford Street Jn - Linford St Viaduct - Nine Elms Jn: Normally NRU, TROP 23, 24 & 27 Dec-1 Jan
2018, long distance SE services generally half-hourly Ramsgate/Dover Priory to/from Waterloo P22.
2475] Stoats Nest Jn - Coulsdon South - Merstham - Redhill - Earlswood (all incl) - Earlswood South Jn
also Tonbridge Line Jn (Redhill) - Tonbridge West Jn (and five intermediate stations) plus Guildford
Line Jn (Redhill) - Reigate (excl): TCP/TCA Sat 23 Dec 2017 until Mon 1 Jan 2018 (incl) - no passenger
trains at Redhill. For signalling, platform and track alteration works associated with the new Redhill P0.
Reigate will be served by GWR services to/from Reading (with an ECS shunt over the crossover).
2476] Stratford (excl) - Shenfield & 11 intermediate stations - Ingatestone (excl)/Billericay (excl) and
Romford (incl) - Emerson Park - Upminster P6: TCP 23 Dec 2017-1 Jan 2018. Church Lane crossover/s
(24m 60ch) will used by passenger trains; bus services are provided to/from Newbury Park (Central
Line). On 23 & 24 Dec c2c services run from Liverpool St via Forest Gate Jn calling at Stratford. Working
round the clock it includes new OHL, platform lengthening, step-free access and ticket halls at stations.
2477] Preston (excl) - Lancaster (excl): TCP/TCA from Sun 24 Dec until Wed 27 Dec 2017.
2478] Greenford Bay P2 - West Ealing Bay P5/West Ealing Jn and three intermediate stations also
Acton Main Line: TCP 24 Dec 2017 until 1 Jan 2018 (a regular Christmas closure in recent years).
2479] London Paddington (incl) - Heathrow Terminals 1 & 3 (excl) / Slough (excl) and 8 intermediate
stations: TCP 24 Dec until 27 Dec for Crossrail works (item 2498). The free Heathrow Express airport
terminal shuttle operates, including (as usual) on 25 & 26 Dec: Terminals 1 & 3 to/from Terminal 4 and
separately Terminal 5 if anyone is short of things to do! Burnham station TCP 25-31 Dec; Langley TCP
24-27 Dec. On 24th & 27th GWR is operating an hourly service from/to Marylebone P3 via Oxford
Parkway, and Didcot North Jn to Foxhall Jn, with destinations as far afield as Penzance and Swansea.
2480] District Line, Edgware Road - Wimbledon, South Kensington - Ealing Broadway*/Richmond* &
Earl's Court - Kensington Olympia and Circle Line, Aldgate - Victoria - Edgware Road plus 18 stations
normally served, or partially served, by one/both lines: TCP 24 to 30 Dec. *During the day Piccadilly
line trains will serve District Line stations Hammersmith - Acton Town but the Night Tube will not.
District Line services operate Tower Hill - South Kensington. Tower Hill - Aldgate (both excl) is TCP.
2481] Southampton Central (excl) - St Denys - Swaythling - Southampton Airport Parkway (excl): TCP
24 Dec 2017 - 1 Jan 2018 to replace Northam Jn, 14 sets of points, renew 200m of track & replace
6,000m of cable. This suggests single line working from Eastleigh to Southampton Airport Parkway. All
CrossCountry services are diverted via Laverstock Loop (Salisbury) and Andover to/from Basingstoke.
GWR services are diverted between Romsey and Fareham serving Chandlers Ford and Eastleigh.
2482] St Denys Jn - Bitterne - Woolston (excl): TCP 24 Dec 2017 - 1 Jan 2018 (previous item). Southern
trains operate 08.30 to 18.30 SSuX Brighton - Woolston P1 via the trailing crossover on departure.
2483] Whifflet North Jn - Garnqueen North Jn & Coatbridge Central station: TCP 25 Dec 2017 to 2 Jan
2018 (this section is SuX) part of the Motherwell to Cumbernauld service which generally still runs
south of Whifflet (Motherwell - Dalmuir/Balloch). It is resignalling work for commissioning 3 Apr 2018.
2484] Bury St Jn (north of Edmonton Green) - Southbury - Turkey Street - Theobalds Grove -
Cheshunt Jn; also Bethnal Green, Cambridge Heath and London Fields stations TCP 27 - 30 Dec 2017.
2485] Maghull (excl) - Ormskirk (P1): After having a half-hourly Boxing Day service, TCP 27 Dec 2017
until Sun 7 Jan 2018, (Maghull North station construction work). Maghull crossover used on departure.
2486] Penhelig station: TCP Mon 1 Jan to Fri 30 Mar 2018 (when the station is quieter) to replace the
single wooden platform at this Cambrian Coast line request stop with a glass reinforced plastic version
to improve access and requires minimal maintenance. New lighting is to be installed and work carried
out in Copperhill Street and Penhelig Tunnels. ATW will provide a taxi on request (Wick anybody?).
2488] King Edward Bridge South Jn - Norwood Jn - Metrocentre* (excl) & Dunston: (BLN 1292.2198)
TCP 6-14 Jan 2018. *Trains depart P1 west in service except: SSuX 06.35, 16.30 & 18.00 go from P2.
2487] Newcastle (excl) - King Edward Bridge North Jn - King Edward Bridge East Jn/King Edward
Bridge South Jn: (BLN 1292.2197 revised) TCA 00.15 Sat 6 until 05.15 on 14 Jan 2018 to relay
Newcastle South Jn installed in the 1980s with 15 failures from Jan to Oct 2017. All Virgin East Coast &
CrossCountry Anglo-Scottish divert to High Level Bridge. CrossCountry Reading to Newcastle trains run
to Durham, Northern Carlisle services operate to Metro Centre (with some single line working to/from
Swalwell Jn), TPE Manchester Airport services run as far as York and Liverpool services to Darlington.
2489] Waterford & Suir Valley Railway, Mount Congreve Gardens: (MR p27) (BLN 1294.MR235) The
Railway advise that station OP is planned for 2018 and the date will be on their website when known.
PREVIOUS PAGE UPPER: The site of Maghull North station from our 19 Nov Merseyrail tour at speed.
LOWER: Maghull trailing crossover from the tour, the station is in the background. (Both Mark Haggas)
1295 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
2490] The Times They Are a-Changin': Some 10 Dec timetable highlights, with apologies to Bob Dylan:
ATW: The 10.07 (SuO) Hereford to Carmarthen is extended to Fishguard Harbour returning at 15.40
to Swansea. 19.43 (SSuX) Rhymney to Cardiff Central starts Caerphilly 20.25; in place the 20.40 (SSuX)
Caerphilly to Barry Island now starts from Rhymney at 20.00. Strangely this extends the very long gap
in Rhymney departures from 2 hours 19 minutes (17.26 to 19.45) previously to 2 hours 33 minutes
now (during which time four trains terminate from Penarth, the first three stable in Rhymney sidings).
Chiltern: The 05.17 (SSuX) Banbury to Marylebone is lengthened from 2 to 4-cars and now calls at
Beaconsfield and Gerrards Cross; there is a new 06.05 Beaconsfield to Marylebone calling at Gerrards
Cross. Marylebone to Oxford trains from 09.35 to 14.06 are at least 4 coaches (SSuX) and extra trains
run to Oxford 16.00 (SSuX), 00.01 (SSuMX), 00.10 & 01.10 (both SO), from Marylebone & 16.54 (SSuX)
from Oxford. SuO there is a new 07.49 Banbury to Marylebone. SO the 17.10 & 19.40 also SuO the
18.10, 19.40 & 20.40 from Marylebone run to Kidderminster reinstating SO Down services. From
Kidderminster trains depart SuO 09.40 & 11.13 - the first ever Sunday Chiltern Kidderminster trains.
CrossCountry: A new 07.56 Southampton Central to Bournemouth was previously an ECS working.
The 07.35 Newcastle to Glasgow Central starts York at 06.25 and the 19.00 return is extended to York
(these 3 are all SSuX). There are 2 more Morpeth calls each way SuX with 2 Down and 3 three Up SuO.
BELOW: A year after Chiltern services from Marylebone were extended from Oxford Parkway to
Oxford the new canopy takes shape at the north end of P3 (bays P2 & P1 are on the right) on 12 Dec.
(Stuart Hicks). Chiltern is again running Oxford Parkway - Marylebone Boxing Day services this year.
Greater Anglia: SO new EMU services from Colchester to Stratford and Liverpool Street at 09.03,
10.03 & 11.13 calling at Chelmsford to replace stops by trains from Norwich that were already full.
GWR: Major changes from 2 Jan with the end of Adelante Class 180 working and extension of EMUs
from Maidenhead to Didcot Parkway. There are many extra coaches on most peak services (8 or 12-
car EMUs). For local services a DMU shuttle runs Didcot - Oxford/Banbury. A 06.33 (SSuX) Paddington
to Penzance (arr 11.37) replaces the 07.06 but calls only at Reading, Taunton, Exeter St Davids and
Plymouth before Cornwall. Advance fares for the full journey start at only £37 (£24.40 Senior Railcard).
A new 07.03 (SSuX) from Paddington runs to Paignton (10.11) serving the main intermediate stations
via Westbury. There is a new 16.36 (SSuX) fast Paddington to Didcot EMU calling only at Reading.
London Overground: There are more evening trains on the East London and Clapham Junction to
Stratford lines. SuO the latter service starts 90 minutes earlier about 09.00. Watford Junction - Euston
increases to every 20 minutes all day every day. From 15 Dec FSO overnight services now run Dalston
Junction - New Cross Gate, every 15 minutes (requiring 5 EMUs), but not serving Whitechapel until the
Crossrail works are complete there. It is due to be extended to Highbury & Islington - New Cross Gate
in 2018. Gospel Oak - Barking will have later evening trains when the line ROP, expected 14 Jan 2018.
Northern: ●Darlington - Bishop Auckland is now 1tph (train per hour) SuX instead of every 2 hours.
●Leeds - Manchester Victoria: Some are extended via Ordsall Chord to Oxford Road (SuO 1tph but
SuX there are only six each way). ●Blackburn - Manchester Victoria via Darwen increased to 2tph
most of the day (SuX) with much increased use of Blackburn bay P3. .AND ON SUNDAYS:: ●Morpeth:
new Northern local service every two hours, most to/from Metro Centre now serving Cramlington and
Manors with more calls at Dunston. ●Whitby now has an all year Sunday service (4 trains each way).
●Middlesbrough - Nunthorpe: 1tph 09.00 to 20.00 instead of 4 trains all day each way. ●Bradford -
Ilkley/Skipton: Increased from every two hours to 1tph. ●Leeds - Knaresborough: Hourly improved to
half-hourly 10.00 to 20.00. ●Sheffield - Lincoln: Increased from 4 trains each way to one per hour from
08.42 to 21.24 (10.05 to 21.50 return).●Leeds - Knottingley: The service via Castleford continues every
two hours, alternating with a new Leeds - Wakefield Westgate - Knottingley Sunday service also every
two hours. ●Leeds - Manchester Victoria is extended hourly to/from Oxford Road via Ordsall Chord.
●Liverpool - Wigan NW and Manchester Victoria to Wigan Wallgate via Atherton: Increased from
1tph to 2tph. Colne-Preston: (now truncated from Blackpool South) 1tph instead of every 2 hours.
●TEES-SIDE AIRPORT 50% SERVICE REDUCTION, the 11.16 (SuO) to Hartlepool and 12.36 (SuO) to
Darlington are replaced by only a 14.56 to Darlington, making a Sunday day trip from Darlington
(complete with picnic baskets) impossible. It will be interesting to see the effect on passenger numbers
(in 2016/17 there were 30 and 98 the year before). ●Hartlepool: Bay P1 (as it was from 15 Nov 2010
resignalling but shown as P2 on RTT) service which is SuO has changed and doubled. There is a 13.14
from Darlington (Hartlepool 13.53) that returns 14.25 and a 17.16 from Darlington arriving 17.56 then
returning 18.20. The bay is used by both as there are through trains at P2. These are the only Northern
(and franchised) services Stockton Cut Jn - Hartburn Jn; the rest are Grand Central open access.
Southeastern: After 31 Dec Cannon Street services will call at London Bridge again. Hayes: SSuX a
new service pattern operates: 2tph to Cannon Street (all stations via Lewisham) and 2tph to Charing
Cross fast Ladywell to London Bridge. Some Bromley North peak trains are retimed for Grove Park
connections. Saturday services will be the same as the Monday to Friday off peak pattern.
TPE: Later last Saturday departure from Hull (22.07) to Leeds (23.03). Also from Middlesbrough
(SSuX) at 22.50 to York (23.54). FO the 19.22 Lime Street - York is extended to Middlesbrough (22.32).
There are additional Sunday Manchester Airport to Cleethorpes services at 07.51, 09.51 and 11.55
and in the opposite direction at 12.12 and 20.26. 10 years after TPE began running through trains
(on 9 Dec 2007) there are 13 new services between Manchester and Glasgow/Edinburgh, including a
21.00 (SSuX) Manchester Airport to Glasgow Central (00.50) and a 22.15 (SSuX) Edinburgh to Airport
(02.16 or 01.59 WO). Four new early morning and evening Saturday trains run, with more on Sundays.
Thameslink: Revisions all day (SSuX) between London St Pancras International (LL) and Blackfriars.
South Western Railway: Some Portsmouth and Bournemouth line trains are lengthened and for
part of the journey, some Exeter services. First Class is now available between Ascot and Guildford!
Southern: Two early Up morning and four Down evening peak Littlehampton services transfer to
Thameslink as do six services each way during the day between London Bridge and Horsham.
ScotRail: Five additional return Dumfries to Carlisle services (SSuX) match the Saturday service
(but there are still only five each way on Sundays). There are extra Kilmarnock - Dumfries (SSuX)
trains. After the evening peak (SuX) fast Airdrie - Glasgow Queen Street and Queen Street -
Dumbarton Central services are withdrawn as are evening trains Airdrie - Balloch. Instead evening
services Cumbernauld - Dumbarton Central are extended to Balloch, calling additionally at Kilpatrick
and Bowling. Evening Edinburgh - Helensburgh Central services call at all stations via Singer. Buses are
timetabled to replace some trains (FSX) evenings Croy / Polmont - Stirling, and between Cumbernauld
and Falkirk Grahamston as well as on the Shotts line, in all cases due to electrification work.
2491] Re-re-re-re-re-renamings: (BLN 1294.2454) Another station renamed (RN) six times, and also
having a BLS tour pass through its site this month, was Rotherham Masborough. OP 11 May 1840 as
Masborough (Rotherham); RN Masborough for Rotherham 1864; RN Masborough and Rotherham
1 May 1894; RN Masborough and Rotherham 1 May 1896; RN Rotherham (Masborough) 1 Apr 1908;
RN Rotherham 20 Feb 1969; RN Rotherham Masborough 11 May 1987 and CP 3 Oct 1988.
BELOW: At Petworth, left to right 'Mimosa', 'Alicante', 'Montana' &'Flora'. (Alan Portess 17 Nov 2017)
2492] Points & Slips: ●BLN 1294.2442] 'Garvan' was the train driver at Cedarbarn Railway; at the
Wolds Way Lavender Railway it was 'Sam'. ●2447] At the former Petworth station there are 10
Bedrooms, two in the old station and eight outside in four (rather than two) Pullman coaches:
'Mimosa' & 'Alicante' are in the bay platform with 'Montana' & 'Flora' in the through platform.
●With apologies to contributors quite a few more Points & Slips are pending and will be in BLN 1296.
2493] Unusual Track: With thanks to Ian Delgado and a reminder that logged in BLS members can now
access his 'UT' website free via our website (on Home Page, go to 'More options…' at right end of the
top banner and down three to 'Unusual Track'). The following was posted (to logged in members only)
to our website 'Forum' page on 8 Dec. It is worth checking regularly for information and updates. The
following crossovers etc apply all day unless otherwise shown: (LE = London End, CE = Country End)
#17 Dec: Bromley South X/O. #23 Dec: Billericay trailing X/O also 24, 30, 31 Dec, 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 & 18
Feb. #23 Dec: Church Lane & Ingatestone facing X/O also 24 Dec, 27 Dec - 1 Jan, SO 3 - 24 Feb.
#24 Dec: South Croydon LE X/O am only. #26 Dec: Hooton Liverpool-end facing X/O; King's Park X/O;
Liverpool S Parkway LL X/O. #27 Dec: Huyton Manch'r-end X/O; 27 Dec: Liverpool S Parkway HL X/O.
#27-29 Dec: Herne Hill CE X/O; Lenham DPL: 09.19 Blackfriars to Canterbury West; Woolston X/O.
#31 Dec: Kilburn High Road X/O. #1 Jan: Deal X/O; Harlow Town CE X/O - caution, no ECS shunt yet
shown. #2 Jan: Dalmeny DPL. #3 Jan: Harpenden LE X/O (& 4 Jan) late night and early morning only.
#6 Jan: Bishops Stortford CE X/O & 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 & 28 Jan; Morpeth Up Loop (& 13 Jan): 07.10
Chathill - Newcastle. #6-14 Jan: Swalwell Jn X/O. #7 Jan: Audley End CE X/O; Melton Mowbray X/O
also 14 Jan, caution, no ECS shunt shown; Pitsea LE X/O (both). #13 Jan: Farringdon X/O (also 27 Jan).
#13 Jan: Swanley X/O. #15 Jan-27 Feb, Mon-Thu: Hockley CE facing X/O, overnight only, caution, may
be SLW. #20 Jan: Ashburton Jn facing X/O. #21 Jan: Bexhill X/O (also 10 & 11 Feb); 21 Jan: Faversham
CE X/O - both (also 28 Jan). #28 Jan-25 Feb SuO: Kilwinning CE X/O. #28 Jan: South Tottenham X/O,
morning only. #3 Feb: Abergavenny X/O, treat with caution, 09.55 & 11.54 to Cardiff only. #4 Feb:
Edenbridge X/O; Kelvedon trailing X/O also 11, 18 & 25 Feb. #04 Feb: Leicester South Jn facing X/O;
Sole Street X/O; Wadhurst X/O. #10 Feb: Arundel X/O (also on 11 Feb). #11 Feb: Old Kew Jn X/O;
Robertsbridge X/O also 18 Feb. #12-16 Feb: Fratton LE X/O. #18 Feb: Audley End LE X/O; Stevenage CE
X/O, also 24 & 25 Feb. #25 Feb: Charlton CE X/O; Ebbsfleet Int LE X/O; Great Missenden X/O, am only.
1295 EAST MIDLANDS (John Cameron) [email protected]
X.188] BELOW: From Brigg Road bridge, Scunthorpe, outside the Power Signal Box and looking west.
The Class 20s are expected to be used for the 2018 leaf fall season too. (Gary Crompton 17 Nov 2017)
2494] Elmton & Creswell: The former junction connections (149m 37ch) to/from the line via Clowne to
Oxcroft Jn are due to be removed from 17 Dec 2017 along with associated signalling. Rail traffic ceased
in the autumn of 2001 and the line was deleted from the Sectional Appendix by 2 Aug 2003. For those
that spotted as young Children in the box after school each day (ahem… no clowning about we trust,
Kev) the line was known as the 'Seymour Branch'! [As in Seymouth Jn and Seymour Colliery - Ed.]
1295 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]
2495] Posted Early for Christmas: At London King's Cross station a quite dramatic 6m high 2m wide
'playable Christmas Tree' has been installed with a control console. There is no tree as such; it is 7,200
LEDs, over 120m of coiled lights, based on 'Line Wobbler' (nothing to do with railway lines) an 'indie'
game created in London celebrating the third London (interactive) Games Festival from 5-15 Apr 2018.
2496] Abandoned Underground Stations: An article https://goo.gl/Ugt2Yg on 'CityMetric' website
purports to list all closed stations formerly part of the Underground network, but wrongly refers to
them all as 'Tube' stations. Shoreditch is excluded on the grounds that the East London Line is no
longer part of LUL, but former Metropolitan Railway stations north of Amersham are included!
2497] Blackfriars: A little known entrance to the north end of the main line station runs at first floor
level from Queen Victoria Street. It utilises part of the 1960s 'Pedway Scheme', intended to link
buildings in the City at first floor level but was never successful. See https://goo.gl/dNhF9R (1½ min).
249] Crossrail: (BLN 1294.2396) ❶GEML: New points (clipped OOU) have been installed in the Down
Electric Line on the country side of Gidea Park Jn. ❷GWML: From 18 Dec new points are due to be
installed OOU at 1m 18ch (between Royal Oak and Portobello Jn) forming part of a bidirectional
connection from Line 5 to/from the new Crossrail Westbound Line and Turnback Line 'A' (see‡ below).
To implement the next stage of Crossrail enabling works, the GWML is closed between Slough and
Paddington from 24 to 27 Dec. An hourly intercity service runs to Marylebone via Oxford and Bicester
on 24th & 27th. A reduced service operates at Paddington on 23 & 28 to 31 Dec. The main changes are:
Paddington P2 will be electrified.
The re-laid Royal Oak Sidings will be renamed Royal Oak Carriage Loops A and B. A new connection
will be installed at Royal Oak between the Link Line and Line 1 which will enable access to/from the
Carriage Loops from Paddington P1-5. The Carriage Loops and the Link Line will be electrified but
will remain blocked to electric traction until further notice.
Line 6 [traversed by our 'Christmas Brush' railtour on 2 Dec] was to be truncated at 0m 72ch from
11 Dec to enable the track immediately beyond to be converted to the Crossrail Westbound Line
and for Line 6 to be realigned at Portobello Jn to form the new Crossrail Eastbound Line.
From 28 Dec a new crossover between Line 5 and Line 6 will be commissioned east of the new
buffer stops and Line 6 will be restored to use for movements in and out of Paddington.
Westbourne Park Jn, the London side of Portobello Jn will be created for the Crossrail Tunnel Lines.
Between the two Crossrail lines, ‡Turnback 'A' will be a through line and Turnbacks 'B' and 'C' will
be sidings accessible from the east (pictured in e-BLN 1294.X.178) with automatic working for ECS.
An exit signal will be provided for Paddington New Yard, although it is not clear if the yard will come
back into use at this stage.
The new Crossrail depot at Old Oak Common will be brought into use. All the new depot lines will
be bidirectionally signalled and will be controlled by the Crossrail Old Oak Common Depot
Operations Controller. The OHL in the depot is not due to be energised until 3 Jan.
2499] Down Street: Hidden London's excellent 23 Nov tour of the closed station identified something
the guides have not been able to explain so far. A few passageway ceramic tiles carry the capital letter
'G', notably one on the level immediately above the Piccadilly Line tracks, some way below ground - so
not for 'Ground'. The 'G' is top left of tiles about eye-height, and occurs at other stations, including at
Euston in tunnels visited by Hidden London tours (also 'S' is reported there). Any ideas anyone please?
2500] Angel Road: (BLN 1293.2308) Work has started constructing the new Meridian Water station.
2501] Barking - Gospel Oak: (BLN 1294.2394) The OHL equipment between Gospel Oak Jn and beyond
South Tottenham East Jn at 6m 47ch was to be energised from 10 Dec. This is due to be followed by
the remainder of the line to Woodgrange Park Jn plus the two connecting spurs at South Tottenham
from 17 Dec. Then Barking bay P1 and the Harringay curve are due to be energised from 26 Dec.
Thus the electrification of the passenger route should be complete well before the service resumes on
15 Jan 2018, with just the freight spur from Junction Road Jn to Carlton Road Jn to complete.
2502] Croydon Tramlink: TfL is consulting on a new timetable starting in early 2018. Line numbers will
no longer be displayed on trams allowing destination information to be larger. A new daytime service
pattern will operate SuX. The service has become less reliable with longer waits since new speed
restrictions were introduced, with trams 'bunching'. There will be a reduction in frequency but
improved reliability. Trams from Wimbledon will operate every 5 minutes, alternating platforms, and
running alternately to Elmers End/Beckenham Junction. New Addington to West Croydon will run
every 7-8 minutes. https://goo.gl/g5Ym2N has more with consultation events; feedback is requested.
2503] Holborn: (BLN 1292.2219) The former through branch P5 is intended to be used to form a new
Piccadilly Line concourse. This would sever the Aldwych branch junction with the Eastbound Line, used
very occasionally to move trains to and from Aldwych for filmcontracts. ('London Reconnections')
2504] Old Underground Car Uses Cont.: (BLN 1270.3054) A 1967 Victoria Line Tube Stock car is a 'pop-
up' restaurant at the Walthamstow Pumphouse Museum. Their Christmas meals are fully booked!
2505] Rayners Lane: (BLN 1290.2034) The ex-goods yard track has largely been lifted after junction
relaying. A short four-rail track with pointwork is retained for staff training. ('Underground News')
2506] Thameslink: (BLN 1294.2500) The South Eastern Railway war memorial formerly inside their
Tooley Street offices (and twice visited there by BLS parties) has been cleaned up and re-erected in the
southern entrance to London Bridge station near the street level booking office. GTR is now consulting
on proposed improvements to weekend and late-night/overnight services. Proposed timetables for
Great Northern, Thameslink, Southern and Gatwick Express https://goo.gl/nJPzHr and give feedback.
2507] Willesden Junction: From 2 Dec West London Junction on the West Coast Main Line was
re-designated West London Junction (Willesden) in Table A of the Sectional Appendix.
2508] Wimbledon: From 27 Nov a new temporary platform was installed at the London end of P9 for
dispatch staff and drivers changing ends during reversals.
2509] Gratis Gricing: Free travel will be available from 23.45 New Year's Eve until 04.30 on 1 Jan 2018,
as usual, on London buses, Tube, Tram, DLR and London Overground. Who can fit the most lines in?
1295 NORTH EAST (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
2510] Tees Valley: Half of the £1.7bn in the new Transforming Cities Fund announced in the budget
will be allocated on a per capita basis to the six combined authorities with elected metro mayors.
For Tees Valley this is £59M. The mayor stated that 'current public transport system for the Tees Valley
is nowhere near good enough. With this investment, I want to improve the quality, frequency and
reliability of the bus and rail services in our area'. Officials have been instructed to produce proposals.
Most of the money is likely to be spent on bus services but even the whole £59M would not fund
much railway improvement. The average speed of 35mph on the Darlington to Saltburn line must be
one of the slowest in the country for the main route to a large conurbation [what a challenge to BLN
readers!]. The average journey time from Middlesbrough is now 2 minutes longer than 60 years ago.
X.189] NEXT PAGE: Just out of its box at the Port of Tyne, one of the 50 new biomass wagons being
leased by GBRf for the Lynemouth Power Station flow starting next year. Converting the power station
from coal firing is behind schedule. There will be two rakes of 24 wagons, each train carrying 1,680
tonnes - the wagon holds 70 tonnes compared 53 tonnes for current wagons. (Prof Ian Hughes)
2511] Tyne & Wear: The recent Budget allocated £337M from the National Productivity Investment
Fund to replace the Metro's nearly 40 year old rolling stock with modern energy efficient trains to
reduce running costs while improving performance and reliability for the 38M annual passengers.
2512] South Shields: Demolition work lasting three months has begun to prepare for a new £100M
transport hub - a new Metro stop located further south (NZ 3637 6712), south of Keppel St, with a new
bus interchange. This will shorten the present branch if you need it. Construction is expected to begin
in spring 2018. It has been reported that the new interchange will have two platforms to cope with the
Great North Run passengers; the current single platform is wholly inadequate for huge volumes of
people. However, much of the South Shields branch is single track (it was double track in BR days) and
also ongoing power supply issues both limit the number of trains that can run on it.
Nexus (the public body which owns and manages the Metro) is also building a £8.4M training centre
within the existing Metro sidings ('Emergency Over-run' on TRACKmaps Vol 2 p49) between Mile End
Rd and Salem St in South Shields, site of the former BR station (CP 1 Jun 1981), beyond the current
Metro stop. It includes 70m of double track, points, signalling and overhead line for infrastructure
training. The facility will house a new computerised Metro driver training simulator and mock up
Metro stop, with a full length platform, ticket gates, PA system, CCTV and help points. It will be
interesting to see if it is connected to the South Shields branch (does anyone know?). Your BLN Editor
wonders if £100M would give greater benefit if used towards ROP the Blyth & Tyne line for example.
1295 NORTH WEST (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
2513] A Noble Loop: On Mon 20 Nov the 14.02 Manchester Victoria to Liverpool Lime Street Class
319 EMU was diverted into the Up & Down Earlestown West Passenger Loop and held for another
Class 319 to pass. The conductor advised this was an 'express train' but it looked like ECS to our
member. The result was a further delay at Roby while a TPE non-stop Manchester Victoria to Lime
Street train also overtook so arrival at Liverpool was 13 minutes late; it was on time at Earlestown.
X.190] NEXT PAGE X2: The 17.45 arrival from, and 18.04 departure (the same train of course) to, Colne
in the rarely use Preston bay P4c. This is due to the temporary Blackpool south line closure, where
they would normally run to. Bay P3c (right) is used by most Ormskirk services. On Realtime Trains P4c
is shown until the Colne train arrives when it changes to P4 (‽) even though 4c must be used or the
Euston to Glasgow services will have a tough time reaching the north end of Preston... P4c has more
passenger use during the Blackpool South line closure (11 Nov to 28 Jan), than in several previous
decades but check first as not all Colne services are using it... (Simon Mortimer Sat 18 Nov 2017.)
2514] Keeping Track of the FS at Work: Your Fixtures Secretary 'scored' Trafford Park East Jn facing
crossover (32m 02ch) when he recently attended a (non-BLS) fixture at Manchester United Football
Ground, naturally in relation to work duties. Manchester United beat CSKA Moscow 2-1, for the
record. The very well loaded train (ABOVE), an extension of a service from Crewe (via Manchester
Airport) was the only arrival but there were three departures after the game. No penalty fares were
2515] Blackpool Tramway: (BLN 1292.2230) On 30 Nov the DfT issued the necessary permission for
the double track 600m extension costing £22M to Blackpool North station. Included in the cost are
two new trams. They are identical to the existing 16 Flexity 2 trams and the first (017) arrived by road
from Hull Docks on 1 Dec. The extension will leave the existing route at North Pier via a two-way
double-track junction, already installed, creating a triangle. The line then crosses the Promenade
highway to Talbot Square, which is to be remodelled to segregate trams and road traffic. A new
eastbound tram stop in Talbot Square will allow interchanges with the existing North Pier tram stops.
The double platform terminus, with a scissors crossover before, will be on the site of the Wilkinson's
building on Talbot Road, 60m walk from the station. Blackpool Council plans to build a new 4-star hotel
there as part of its £31M town centre regeneration. The 14 objections (6 out of time) to the tramway
extension were adequately dealt with without need for an expensive Public Enquiry which could have
delayed the project. Preliminary works have begun with utility diversion work to begin before
Christmas. Actual construction starts next year for completion in Apr 2019. See https://goo.gl/LGzQi9
ABOVE: Track plan of the Blackpool North tram extension from the Council's application.
2516] Lancaster: The £50k conversion of a small space on P3 into a café has revealed an original ceiling
of the Lancaster & Carlisle Railway building. Harold Bowtell's book 'Over Shap to Carlisle' has an
interesting reference to the 1846 building: "(On the Down side), the first-floor room under the
northerly gable....has a handsome 'bulkhead ceiling ' supported on timber trusses springing from the
side walls (and was probably) the boardroom of the Lancaster & Carlisle Railway." ('Rail' Magazine)
X.191] Southport: Our recent AGM fixtures here led Ian Mortimer to dig up a few treasures in the area
from his photo collection. BELOW: The original Southport pier tram in Sep 1981 which closed in the
mid 1990s. NEXT PAGE TOP The last incarnation, a 3' 6" tramway, which lasted from 2002 until 2015.
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: In the days when Southport Steamport Museum (in the former Lancashire &
Yorkshire Railway steam shed seen above left) was open, occasional shuttles were run from the main
station. This shows a Class 142 in Jul 1988 on arrival at the museum platform, confusingly with a
Chapel Street name board. Steamport started in 1973 and closed in 1999 moving to Preston Docks
(and becoming the Ribble Steam Railway). This site is now an ASDA supermarket. BELOW: Class 31 on
a Manchester Victoria train in July 1989. Then there were a few booked loco-hauled services - what
made them interesting for track was that the ECS turned on the former triangle outside the station.
2517] Fylde Jn - Salwick: From 27 Dec the OHL is due be energised on both the Down & Up Fylde lines.
2518] Moston: Two very smart new platform shelters were officially opened on 27 Nov. A Friends of
Moston Station group has been formed and, from May 2018, two trains per hour are being restored.
This previously neglected station (68,000 passengers 2016/17) is hopefully in line for a renaissance.
2519] Heysham: On Wed 6 Dec your Regional Editor arrived here on the IOM Steam Packet vessel for
the connecting 13.17 train to Lancaster. The ferry docked on time at 12.15 and he, along with about 12
other passengers, were in the Steam Packet waiting area when, at around 12.30, an announcement
was made by the ferry company that the train was cancelled due to crewing difficulties. A coach was
laid on to take passengers to Morecambe, Bare Lane and Lancaster. A quick check on Real Time trains
showed that the train had run to Morecambe and was waiting time there before its return journey.
The bus reached Morecambe at 13.30 just in time for the 13.33 train departure. Lack of Morecambe to
Heysham route knowledge would be an explanation but the DMU works a round trip from Leeds to
Heysham and it is more likely that relief was not available (Lancaster - Lancaster) for crew break/s.
1295 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA) (Julian James) [email protected]
2520] Tallington: (BLN 1293.2329) The Up Fast to Down Fast X/O was to be returned to use from 26 Nov.
2521] Claydon L&NE Jn - Bletchley: (BLN 1294.2408) A member has responded to the request for
information on eastbound diversions of WCML sleeper services via Oxford, returning to the Euston
route at Bletchley with a reversal each end. His only experience was in the reverse direction on a
diverted Glasgow and Edinburgh to Plymouth sleeper train on a Saturday night. He travelled on it
once during 1989 when it stopped at Milton Keynes to change train crew, at Oxford (an advertised
stop), Swindon (for change of crew) and regained its normal route in the Bristol area. A problem
would have been train crew route knowledge. At the time there was a stone train working from
Westbury to Wolverton via this route (which he thinks was worked by Swindon drivers and guards).
2522] Watford Junction: Embankment stabilisation north of Watford Tunnels following the Sep 2016
'Down' landslip that caused a Class 350 EMU to derail has been completed. Over 1km of rock netting
has been used with the previously installed 500 rock anchors in a £4M project running over 14 months.
2523] Banbury: (BLN 1293.2332) From 11 Dec the Depot Departure line was to be extended at the
south end to form the new Headshunt Approach and South End Headshunt. Sidings 1 & 2 were to have
their buffer stops recovered, and points provided to connect them with the South End Headshunt.
2524] Oxford: (BLN 1293.2326) From 11 Dec Up Carriage Siding No3 was to be brought back into use in
a newly realigned position with a new buffer stop with red lights at its north end. The available
operational standage after allowing for stand backs and splitting/joining between buffer stop and
walkway at southern end is 252m. Up Carriage Siding No1 has been temporarily taken out of use.
2525] Cowley: (BLN 1294.2412): Chiltern Railways' original thoughts for serving Oxford were to
reinstate the direct route from Princes Risborough via Thame and Cowley. However, they were
advised that there is insufficient capacity between Kennington Jn (without four tracking) and in
particular at Oxford, which is still basically a through station. Quite a few trains from the south
terminate and can do so in Down (P4) then are unable to return south directly. Before leaving the
platform they have to be inspected to ensure everyone has alighted and shunt via the sidings to P3.
It is possible to terminate from the south in passenger service directly in P3 and some trains do, but
not easy when there are frequent trains in the opposite direction. More trains would not be welcome.
Therefore Chiltern served Oxford from the north via Bicester to the north end bays (the Thame route
would have been very expensive and difficult to rebuild). It has been suggested that Chiltern might run
through Oxford from Marylebone to/from Cowley which would be a more useful service. A plan is also
being developed to rebuild Oxford station with two islands giving four through bidirectional platform
tracks and P5 a London facing bay on the Down side. Resignalling is required and electrification might
also be possible. A correspondent was at a talk last year at which the speaker said that it was likely
that Cowley would be served by Chiltern (or successor) but only after remodelling of Oxford.
2526] Didcot: From 17 Dec OLE on the Down avoiding line is due to be energised.
2527] East West Rail: (BLN 1290.2059) The Budget appeared to remove uncertainty surrounding the
funding of the East West Rail western section including Aylesbury - Milton Keynes service with £140M
for the corridor allocated from the National Productivity Investment Fund and a pledge to complete
the project by 2024. There is also support to develop the missing central Bedford - Cambridge section.
The Budget also included match-funding for the development of plans for a Cambridge South station
(BLN 1294.2410), 'with possible construction from the early 2020s subject to affordability, meaningful
local contributions and a robust business case'. This station would eventually be on the East West Rail
line. There is also a commitment to make £300k available to co-fund a study of opportunities for new
stations, services and routes across the Oxfordshire rail corridor. The red book describes this as a first
step towards opening a station at Cowley (previous item). (Transport Briefing)
2528] Cambridgeshire: Associated with the Budget, the Treasury announced that in partnership with
Cambridgeshire County Council, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, and the
Greater Cambridge Partnership, the government is commissioning NR to report by summer 2018 on
rail growth in Cambridgeshire up to 2043, and enhancements required to support this - which could
bring rail benefits across East Anglia, including Cambridge - Ipswich and Norwich. (Transport Briefing)
2529] Sandy: (BLN 1294.2411) The LNWR bridge over the ECML has only partly gone. In the mid-1950s
it was life-expired and was replaced. The LNWR route here CA from 1 Jan 1968 and a few years later
the bridge was dismantled and the main girders reused for a replacement Potton Road bridge
immediately at the north end of Sandy station. Probably something that would never happen now; not
being allowed to reuse bridges from Reading at Loughborough (GCR) springs to our member's mind.
2530] Tilbury: The Port of Tilbury London Ltd has announced an application for a Development
Consent Order for a new port terminal to be known as 'Tilbury2' (sic) 1km west of the existing port on
land that previously formed the western part of Tilbury power station site with a road and rail corridor
to the west. This includes a link road and rail spur and sidings. The application can be found at
https://goo.gl/Jsxfu8 and is also available for inspection at various locations in the area until 8 Jan.
1295 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]
2531] Uckfield branch: The May 2018 Southern timetable is expected to include improved services.
Journey times will be consistent all day at 1h 20min (a couple are 8 minutes faster now) from Uckfield
to London Bridge and 1h 15min back. (Car journeys are said to be between 1 hour 40 minutes and
2 hours 10 minutes or more.) An hourly clockface timetable is expected and half hourly for four hours
in both peaks. All trains (SuX) will run to/from London Bridge except the first. This will end the use of
the non-electrified Oxted bay P3 by the 18.07 & 19.08 (SSuX) to Uckfield. The equivalent arrivals of
the 17.03 & 17.58 (SSuX) from Uckfield use Oxted P1 followed by an ECS shunt to P3 due to the layout.
On Sundays there will be an earlier first train and every day of the week all services are to call at all
stations improving frequency at Ashurst, Cowden and Hever, but no doubt disappointing some.
The weekday changes give Uckfield 27 trains to London Bridge, compared to 25 now (23 to London
Bridge 2 to Oxted). There will be 26 Uckfield arrivals, all but the first train coming from London Bridge,
contrasting with 24 now with 21 from London Bridge. Ashurst and Hever each gain 9 Up and 6 Down
services with Cowden gaining 7 Up and 5 Down. The diesel Turbostars were limited to two platforms
at Victoria which have exhaust extraction equipment, but have not run there for some years (when?).
All platforms are now 10-car, incredible for a line that was listed to close in the 1963 Beeching report
south of Crowborough to Lewes (including Uckfield).
2532] Ashford - Hastings: Latest thought on development of this line stems from local MP Amber Rudd
meeting the Transport Secretary and agreeing commitment to support a proposed track layout at
Ashford that permits through running to HS1. The MP's aspiration is a 66 minute journey time from
Hastings to London, claimed to be possible with infrastructure improvements between Ashford and
Hastings. An 81 minute journey is now possible from/to St Pancras with a good Ashford connection
(88 minutes is the best on direct trains but most take considerably longer). Electrification is not key to
this. Local authorities, NR and Southeastern were involved in the meeting. (Modern Railways)
2533] St Leonards West Marina: Following the death of a cleaner three years ago Southeastern Trains
and Wetton Cleaning Services have been fined £2.5M and £1.1M respectively at Guildford Crown
Court. The cleaner was fatally electrocuted after falling onto a 750V live rail at West Marina Depot in
May 2014 while on night shift cleaning the sides of the trains. Cleaners at West Marina should have
been protected from the live rail by portable 'Protection Boards,' but the ORR reports that inspectors
found that though four boards were present at the location, none was in use. Failures included relying
on paperwork as opposed to checking what was happening in the depot, not ensuring that safe
systems were in operation and inadequate training and supervision.
2534] Redhill: From 11 Dec the previous facing crossover between the Down and Up Redhill lines,
north of the station at 22m 02ch was to be abolished. It allowed bidirectional running on the Up
Redhill and will be replaced by a new crossover slightly further north. currently installed OOU. The
signalling, platform and track alterations for the new P0 are to apply from 2 Jan 2018 (see Head Lines).
2535] Stone Crossing: From 11 Dec a new footbridge was to be provided at the station at 19m 07ch.
1295 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon) [email protected]
2536] Marsh Barton: (BLN 1206.493) It has been reported that, south of Exeter St Thomas, NR plan to
remove the trailing crossover that permits access to Alphington Road Sims Metal Management scrap
yard. The last tour to use the branch (and crossover) was the First Great Western 'Class 142 Farewell'
on 27 Nov 2011. The last outward train of scrap metal ran on 6 Aug 2015 with 66174 on the 17.18
Alphington Road to Cardiff Tidal sidings. At times there is severe flooding (very dramatically so in 1960)
beneath the branch underbridge for Marsh Barton Rd (SX 9185 9104) where the road dips. There is a
suggestion that removing this bridge so that the road can be built up will help alleviate the problem.
2537] Greater Western Franchise: The DfT is taking up its option to extend the franchise (which the
First Group has held since 1 Apr 2006, now as GWR) by 12 months to Mar 2020 and is consulting on a
further two year extension. This is to avoid changing operator during a period of significant change in
the area. A key consultation element is whether the the franchise should be retained in its current
form, or if passengers' interests would be best served by splitting it into two (or more) separate
franchises, each with a stronger focus on the needs of a particular market or geographical area.
The document explores possible ways of splitting the GWR territory. One suggested franchise would
concentrate on the 'Intercity' markets between London and Bristol, South Wales and the Cotswolds,
outer Thames Valley suburban and branches, airport services and potential future Heathrow services
via the proposed western rail link. The other franchise would provide long-distance services between
London, Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall (including the Sleeper), with regional and local
services in the central area and southwest, including potential future services to Portishead and other
parts of the Bristol 'MetroWest' scheme. This could include Paddington to Newbury and Bedwyn, as
although that service may fit well with other Thames Valley services, there could be potential for the
services to be integrated within the longer-distance Intercity services on the route.
The document explores possible ways of splitting the GWR territory. One suggested franchise would
concentrate on the 'Intercity' markets between London and Bristol, South Wales and the Cotswolds,
outer Thames Valley suburban and branches, airport services and potential future Heathrow services
via the proposed western rail link. The other franchise would provide long-distance services between
London, Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall (including the Sleeper), with regional and local
services in the central area and southwest, including potential future services to Portishead and other
parts of the Bristol 'MetroWest' scheme. This could include Paddington to Newbury and Bedwyn, as
although that service may fit well with other Thames Valley services, there could be potential for the
services to be integrated within the longer-distance Intercity services on the route.
The consultation supports potential infrastructure enhancements including those promoted by local
authorities or other third-parties, and also to work with NR on identifying sources of third-party
funding. It says that these should meet a clearly identified local need, examples quoted include:
●MetroWest: Promoted by the West of England Combined Authority to provide half-hourly services at
most Bristol area local stations, restoring passenger services to Portishead and opening other new
stations. The DfT states that subject to the local promoters proceeding, they will work with them to
deliver these service enhancements and are examining the potential to extend MetroWest services to
Gloucester and Westbury. ●Devon Metro: See BLN 1293.2334 with map. ●Okehampton: The DfT will
request proposals from GWR to trial a seven day all year service. ●Tavistock and Plymouth Metro:
Devon County Council is leading a project to reopen Bere Alston to Tavistock (5½ miles).
X.192] PREVIOUS PAGE TOP: Work on the new platform and four tracking at Filton Abbey Wood in
October, this is the Up Bristol line, looking towards Patchway and the Severn Tunnel with P3 on the
right; the new P4 will be on the left. PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Looking the other way towards Temple
Meads. (Both David Guy 11 Oct 2017)
2538] Bristol Parkway. (BLN 1294.2417) BELOW: 'Before' (top) and 'after' (the latter based on NR
Sectional Appendix Sep 2017 and WONs) the recent changes - plans thanks to Martyn Brailsford. The
new P1 will be south of P2 on the Down Bristol Parkway Passenger Loop which, extending the previous
headshunt, bypasses Stoke Gifford No1 Jn (left of station). With the bidirectional signalling this will
increase operating flexibility allowing more parallel moves. Note also the new IEP depot access. The
lines will be bidirectional between Stoke Gifford East Jn and Stoke Gifford No2 Jn through P2 & 3 as will
be P4 and the adjacent Up Bristol Parkway Passenger Loop between Stoke Gifford East and West Jns.
1295 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]
2539] Birmingham New Street PSB: (BLN 1294.2382) Phase 5 resignalling : Hamstead - Duddeston
(excl), Aston South Jn - Stechford North Jn (excl) and Aston North Jn - Gravelly Hill trailing crossover
(excl)(the boundary with Aston Signalling Centre which is actually at Duddeston!) is to be operative
from 06.00 Wed 27 Dec. Phase 4: Soho South Jn - Tipton, Galton Jn - Smethwick West Jn, Soho South
Jn - Perry Barr South Jn, Soho North Jn - Soho East Jn & Perry Barr West Jn - Perry Barr North Jn is to
be operative from 04.00 Wed 3 Jan. Control transfers to the West Midlands Signalling Centre (WMSC).
Soho North Jn is remodelled; the new layout can be done from 6 Jan until 24 Mar (expected) 2018 on
the 06.38 (SO) PSUL, Wolverhampton to Walsall EMU booked non-stop to Walsall. Note on Saturdays
the West Midlands Day Ranger has no time restriction. This train has two possible routes: ❶ (Position
1 route indicator on Signal BW4204) from the new Soho Curve Jn (2m 62ch) - turnout restricted to
15mph. Then via the former Down Through Siding to the Up Soho Curve Line (new name) and on to
Perry Barr West Jn then North Jn. Or: ❷ (Position 2 route indicator on Signal BW4204) at Soho North
Jn (20mph restricted) to the initially bidirectional Down Soho Curve then the new facing crossover to
the Up Soho Curve and on to Perry Barr West Jn. The former Soho East Ground Frame is recovered.
The Tipton station area of control transfers from WMSC Wolverhampton Workstation to its Stour
Valley Work Station. The trailing electrified crossover at 5m 70ch on the Stour Lines is renamed
Albion Jn and upgraded from 5mph to 15mph running. There will be a flashing double and single
yellow sequence at Galton Jn for trains routed to the Down Stourbridge Line. There will be splitting
banner repeater signals for Galton Jn on the Down Stour line, also for Aston South Jn on the Down
Vauxhall and for Perry Barr West Jn on the Down Soho in Hamstead Tunnel. The three-state banner
repeaters remain on the Up Stour at Coseley and Tipton station. The three states are: ① Black
horizontal bar, white background = the related signal is at red.② Black diagonal, white background =
the related signal is at caution. ③ Black diagonal, green background = the related signal is at green.
Signal prefixes: BW: Birmingham New Street - Wolverhampton. SP: Soho - Perry Barr, GS: Galton Jn -
Stourbridge. SB: Stechford - Bushbury Jn. PA: Proof House Jn - Aston. AW: Aston - Wichnor Jn. During
our recent New Street PSB visit we were told that the station area resignalling is deferred until 2024.
2540] Midland Metro: An overrun with the Paradise Circus redevelopment work is delaying work on
the Centenary Square extension; this will eventually be further extended to Edgbaston, Five Ways.
2541] Hammered Midland Metro trams under the hammer: Transport for West Midlands' Ansaldo
T69 trams, mothballed in 2014, are being sold by online auction on 29 Jan. They were in service from
1998 to 2014 but phased out, then stored at Long Marston with the introduction of the Urbos 3 trams.
Prospective bidders must be a registered company. There are 15 each with a 156 passenger capacity.
There is no reserve, but bidding is in increments of £100 and the trams are to be sold as seen.
2542] Kenilworth: (BLN 1293.2340) There is no firm date for the station (now said to be complete
after a period of 24 hour working) opening with a recent announcement that it is delayed until Feb
when a DMU will be available. The DfT has made it clear that Warwickshire County Council (who led
the project) has not yet obtained industry agreement from NR, the train operator and ORR to allow a
service to start. Outstanding are safety assessments, regulatory approvals and quality sign-off of the
station and industry agreement to the timetable (now removed from online systems week by week).
2543]: West Midlands Trains: The new franchise started 02.00 on 10 Dec when the new website went
live (with redirection from 'London Midland'). Major timetable changes are expected from 9 Dec 2018.
1295 YORKSHIRE (Graeme Jolley; Geoff Blyth for North & East Yorks) email addresses elsewhere
2544] Bolton-upon-Dearne: South of the station, as part of the future Beighton Resignalling Scheme
the OOU facing crossover at the former Dearne Jn (168m 53ch) is to be removed from 17 Dec 2017.
The signalling had been removed previously. This end of the curve to Manvers Main Colliery CA 1993;
beyond to Wath Central Jn had CA Jul 1988 with associated remodelling of the colliery connection.
2545] Leeds: New images show what the HS2 station could look like. Under current plans, platforms
would be built at right angles to those at the present station creating a vast T-shaped interchange.
An elevated second floor concourse would be similar to that at St Pancras and could make it easier to
walk from one side of the city centre to the other. In Oct the City Council's executive board approved
the Leeds Integrated Station Masterplan estimated to cost £500M. It has considerable ambition, from
improving the public realm to regenerating the city centre and boosting the local economy. It is
designed to cope with the forecast doubling of passengers using the station over the next 30 years.
Land has been set aside for extra platforms for new services and the emerging Northern Powerhouse
rail proposals. There is passive provision for a future mass transit system and a proposal for the HS2
station roof to be used as amenity space, subject to feasibility tests. The HS2 station would have north,
central and south entrances and the existing station could have a new clear, undulating roof allowing
more daylight in. Public consultation on this https://goo.gl/AJSRZq concludes just before Christmas.
1295 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]
2546] A Red for the Green Line Connection: (BLN 1294.2379) The much sought after two new Dublin
connections between the Red and Green Lines can only be done at night with Garda (Irish
Police) assistance. Due to the tram length, it is not possible to stop one beyond the northbound facing
points on O'Connell Street without the rear blocking Bachelors Walk road junction. This applies to the
present 40 or 43m cars and will be even worse for the extended 55m trams. https://goo.gl/eVdFqV is
an interesting 22 minute video of the 10 Nov LRTA trip on the Green Line extension with maps etc.
https://goo.gl/hrz6jy (30½ minutes) is the first northbound passenger trip - very lively too!
2547] Fares Revision: Following a determination by the National Transport Authority, revised fares
applied on some services from 1 Dec. Various Irish Rail fares increased by 1.2% on average (pause for
GB readers to turn green) but Consumer Price Inflation is about 0.6%. However, some fare types did
not increase and the Cork commuter fare structure has been simplified, with some customers seeing a
reduction of up to 25%. Intercity express single fares were reduced by 5% on average to improve value
and reduce the differential between the Dublin Short Hop Zone and Intercity Zone. Rail travel will be
free for under 5s on all rail services: DART, Commuter & Intercity.
2548] New Timetables: https://goo.gl/YNhU9W has the new 10 Dec Irish Rail timetables in PDF. IR
intend to make changes to the DART schedules in early 2018 so they are unchanged now.
2549] Xmas X/Os: Enhanced pre-Christmas Sunday services give extra chances to do Portadown P3:
Ex-Bangor 11.27, 15.27, ex-Great Victoria Street 12.35, 17.10, 18.10 and from Portadown north at
11.40, 11.45, 12.45, 13.40, 13.45 and 17.45 (with an extra at 12.40 booked north from P1). The 06.00
and 07.00 (both SSuX) to Newry are booked to depart south from Portadown P1.
1295 WALES (Paul Jeffries) [email protected]
2550] North Wales: (BLN 1294.2439) The recent work at Rhyl is part of the £50M Phase 1 North Wales
resignalling, from Shotton (187m 40ch Down line / 188.58ch Up line) to Llysfaen (217m 09ch) about
two miles before Colwyn Bay and some 187 miles from Cardiff [long cables!]. Commissioning in March
will allow control of this then railway signalling 'island' to transfer to Cardiff Rail Operations Centre,
with closure of the six remaining manual signal boxes: ◊ Rockcliffe Hall (a double height Portakabin
©1995) with an IFS panel. ◊ Holywell Junction (LNWR 1902 refurbished in 2004) and Grade II* listed -
the station buildings are Grade II*. Here the Up and Down loops will close. ◊ Mostyn (formerly No1;
LNWR 1902) box closed 9 Jan 2017, it is also Grade II listed. There will be a new bidirectional Up loop,
trailing and facing crossovers. ◊ Talacre (LNWR 1903), ◊ Prestatyn (LNWR 1897/LMS 1931; refurbished
2007). ◊ Rhyl (formerly No1) (LNWR 1900) Grade II listed as is the closed No2 box. ◊ Abergele (LNWR
1902) also Grade II listed. ◊ Tyn-Y-Morfa crossing keepers hut (202m 65ch) west of Talacre closes too.
Fringe (interface) work is taking place at Llandudno Junction signal box and Chester PSB.
BELOW: A First Class view of Rockcliffe Hall 'signal box', most definitely not a listed structure but still
has facing and trailing crossovers. (Angus McDougall from Y Triongl Gogledd Cymru, 22 April 2017.)
BELOW: Holywell Junction, the elusive Up Goods Loop and sidings are right. (Angus McDougall 25 Jun 1983)
ABOVE: Rhyl No2, not long before abolition from 25 Mar 1990 at the Holyhead end of the station; the
Up Main line 'through' (second from the right) was operational too. (Angus McDougall 13 Jan 1990)
BELOW: Abergele station and signal box before removal of the Down Platform Loop and extension of
the Down platform out to the Down Main. the centre line here. (Angus McDougall 13 May 2007)
2551] Rumney River Bridge: On 29 November, NR imposed a ban on loco hauled traffic on the Up
reception line over the river (167m 67ch), the spans had failed an assessment due to corrosion of the
main girder panels. The Main and Relief Lines are not affected, and rectification was expected within
two weeks. Freight trains entering Pengam Yard and Tidal Sidings meantime had to be top and tailed.
2552] Blaenau Ffestiniog: (BLN 1293.2358) Reference to contemporary periodicals confirms that, on
and from 2 April 1950, the BR Western Region / London Midland Region boundary was relocated to a
point between Roman Bridge and Blaenau Festiniog North. The map is therefore correct!
2553] Refranchising: (BLN 1293.2360) Recently made public is the 'Agency Agreement' dated 28 Sep
between DfT and the Welsh Government (WG). The WG is to be empowered to manage franchising
arrangements for 'the Welsh Component of the Welsh services' and the DfT remains the franchising
authority for the 'English component'. The latter responsibility is devolved to WG under the agency
agreement and the need for effective partnership is acknowledged. In effect, this section of the
agreement serves to guarantee that stations in England will receive a service at least equivalent to that
currently provided by ATW, and that the new franchisee will create a separate 'Borders Business unit'
and monitor service performance separately from the Welsh component. The new franchise is to
incorporate the title 'Wales & Borders' in its trading name. The document recognises that part of the
refranchising process involves transferring ownership and management of the 'core Valley Lines'
(north of Cardiff Central) from NR to WG, and implementation thereon of a 'metro style service'.
1295 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe) [email protected]
2554] Edinburgh: (BLN 1286.1693) Now lengthened at the buffer stop end to take 8-cars instead of 4,
bay P12 which has been OOU since 11 Dec 2016, ROP on Sun 10 Dec with regular use in the new
timetable. The first train was 07.50 ex-Queen Street at 08.52 https://goo.gl/4Vfx4c returning 09.00.
2555] Pitlochry: As part of the extension work on the platforms, the Up Sidings are scheduled to be
decommissioned from 17 Dec with the shunt signal removed and the point clipped and scotched OOU.
1295 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
X.193] PREVIOUS PAGE: This is the Isle of Man not the Isle of 'White'... On 12 Dec Horse Tram 36 was
moved from the horse tram shed to the Manx Electric Railway shed above Derby Castle. Haulage (and
also 'draggage' where appropriate) was by railway and horse tramway staff [but not in drag we trust].
Here it is under the wires at Derby Castle MER station prior to the final push uphill. (Jenny Williamson)
2556] Some Good News! The combined number of single passenger journeys recorded on the IOM
Heritage railways and tramways this year from 9 Mar until 5 Nov 2017 increased by 13% over the 2016
season to 512,847 (up by 65,949). The Snaefell Mountain Railway 'ascended' the most by 27% from
46,395 to 63,175, perhaps surprisingly because of its partial closure and problems. Douglas Bay Horse
Tramway recorded a 6% increase to 73,954 single journeys. Despite a reduced service at times due to
loco availability, the IOM Steam Railway had 147,892 passenger journeys (up 32,355 or 22%). An extra
12,572 (5%) single journeys were made on the Manx Electric Railway, the most popular of the four,
with a total of 227,826. The increases are attributed to growth in the coach and cruise ship group
travel market; also more people took holidays in the British Isles this year. There has been significant
growth in higher value special events and dining experiences too. Special events in 2018 include: 'Rush
Hour on the Railways' over Easter (30 Mar - 2 Apr); the Manx Heritage Transport Festival 25 - 29 Jul
(strongly recommended) and the Manx Electric Railway's 125th Anniversary (OP 7 Sep 1893) 1-8 Sep.
2557] 2018 Services: ❖Steam Railway: Fri 9 Mar-Mon 5 Nov. ❖Horse Tramway: Tue 1 May-29 Oct.
❖Manx Electric Railway: Fri 16 Mar-Sun 4 Nov. ❖Snaefell Mountain Railway: Thu 29 Mar-Sun 4 Nov.
1295 MINOR RAILWAYS (Peter Scott) [email protected]
MR236] Swindon & Cricklade Railway, Wiltshire (MR p6): The Railway has now started construction of
its northern extension from South Meadow Lane towards Cricklade. This extension will be completed
in two stages, with the first section now being worked on to take the line as far as Fairfield Lane -
around 500 yards from South Meadow Lane. A run-round loop will be built here and it is hoped that
track laying will begin early in 2018. Currently there is no planned opening date. Stage two - extending
to a new station in Cricklade - will follow, but entails a lot more work as it will be necessary to rebuild
Fairfield Lane overline bridge. This was demolished during an army training exercise in the 1970s.
MR237] Saffron Walden Model Engineers, Essex (MR p17) (BLN 974.MR154): On Sunday 29 October
2017 our roving reporter trundled around this ground level 5"/7¼" gauge railway. The fare was £1 for
two circuits. Motive power was 1E36 4w-4wD D834 with one sit-astride coach. 0-4-0ST 'Felicity' was
also working with two sit-astride coaches. The elevated line is long out of use, but partly still in-situ.
MR238] Mail Rail, Clerkenwell, Greater London (Supp 3) (BLN 1285.1464): NEXT PAGE: Plan thanks to
Martyn Brailsford. Peter Scott has also kindly allowed his track map to be available. It is with e-BLN and
our website archive; for a printed version please send an SAE to Paul Stewart.) Mail Rail trains operate
over about 1,000 yards of the 2ft gauge Post Office Railway at Mount Pleasant Sorting Office and is
open 10.00-17.00 (except 24-26 December) the last train departs 16.30. Passenger trains commenced
on Monday 4 September 2017. Entrance is from Phoenix Place, via the former Car Depot/Maintenance
Area - a short distance along the road from the main Exhibition building on the opposite side of the
road. Two members visited on Saturday 25 November 2017, arriving in good time for opening at 10.00
and the first train at 10.15, which had been booked in advance, https://goo.gl/GYFXzK has details.
Passengers simply descend a short flight of steps to the former Car Depot, the tracks of which have
mostly been boarded over, but are visible through inspection windows in the floor. They were first in
the queue for the 10.15 and after depositing their bags in the secure cupboard, boarded the green
3-coach train taking the seat, in true BLS tradition, at the very rear (buffer stop) end of the train!
Sitting side by side is just possible for 'normal' sized adults. The narrowest tunnels are only 7ft wide so
carriages are rather small and may be unsuitable, claustrophobic or too uncomfortable for some.
The train measures: floor to canopy 51"; seat to top canopy 34"; door to door width 31"; and between
seats 17".The clear Perspex covers are alarmed; you are warned that leaning on them stops the train!
The train was almost full by 10.15 and departure was exactly on time. Immediately after leaving the
platform (which is on the right of the train at departure - see plans) a crossover with spring points is
taken to the left to gain the outbound line of the double track spur leading down a ramp on to the
main system 70ft below ground. The maximum train speed is 7½ mph. A siding stabling one train trails
in left at this crossover - the only 'rare' bit of track on the reopened section that is not covered by the
public runs which are all identical with either train. There is a pause in the platform on Mount Pleasant
station eastbound line for an audio-visual display. The train then uses the return loop and pauses
before the westbound platform where a 'power cut' is staged, demonstrating the darkness. It then
runs, via the eastern scissors crossover, to stop opposite the westbound platform for another audio-
visual display. Using the western most crossover the train then returns up the ramp to the station
taking the other line back to the platform so is turned during each complete run. This day a 10-minute
frequency service was provided using the red and green trains - presumably passing each other as they
pause at Mount Pleasant station (on quiet days one train runs with a 20 minute frequency service).
Time keeping is very precise; the journey with the three non-alighting stops, takes 15 minutes.
Full tunnel lighting now gives excellent views including of the track except during the 'power cut'.
After (or even before) the ride the whole experience can, cleverly, be repeated (as many times as
required) with a continuous audiovisual presentation with seating in the exhibition. The commentary is
identical; useful if anything was missed and additional trackside scenes of trains running adds interest.
Tantalising, the former 'main line' running west to Paddington and east to the Eastern District Office
totalling 6½ miles is seen in each direction - apparently blocked by simple wire gates. Those who were
lucky enough to do the full run will gain extra track from the new ride. The two eastern sidings
(now called 'The Graveyard') hold trains, which can be glimpsed as the train passes over them around
the return loop. The access spurs to these sidings are sealed off by Fire Doors. The fare, with admission
to the Exhibition on the other side of the road (Phoenix Place) was £16 for adults (Concessions - over
60 and Students £14.30, Child 1-15 £8, Royal Mail Staff travel free with ID) which can be gift aided.
Cheaper fares are available without a voluntary donation to the Museum of £1.50 adult and 75p per
child which can be deducted. The 'Exhibition only' adult charge is £11 (£10 without donation), which
makes the train fare a very reasonable £5 (£4.50 without donation). Train only tickets are not available
but there are many artefacts of rail and other interest to see in the Postal Museum including old films
(allow an hour at least).
The train ride and railway displays are a unique and interesting experience and very well worth a visit.
Advance booking is only via the website, but some 'pay on the day' is available. Phoenix Place is about
a 15-20 minute walk from King's Cross - not signposted but is easy to navigate.
MR239] Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway, Lincolnshire (MR p20) (BLN 1290.MR194): A member
recently visited this 15" gauge railway, which will be celebrating its 70th anniversary in July 2018.
After arriving at the station via a National Express service, previously unknown to the writer, between
Hull and Cleethorpes (it goes to London) and a quick hop on a local Stagecoach bus, he purchased an
All Day Ticket - priced at an exceptionally low £10 - at Lakeside station and went to the platform where
the coaching stock was being prepared. Unusually, this was a train formed of just four coaches and the
reason was made clear when the train's loco for the day came down from the shed - the small
Heywood replica 0-4-0 'Effie' making a rare appearance. Departure was prompt at 10.50 from P3 (P1
and 2 are OOU most of the time, used for storing coaching stock and during major events) for the first
run of the day, bunker first, to Kingsway. The train stopped at the loco sheds to allow a small group to
alight to work on engines and other items. Restarting, it was discovered 'Effie' could not move due to
low traction however a valiant effort on the part of the driver soon got the train going and Kingsway
arrival was only a minute or so behind schedule. After the run-round, 'Effie' was facing chimney first.
Kingsway station, for those that have never visited, is a simple terminus station with two platforms -
P1 being the most used due to the positioning of the headshunt. At the extreme end of the season, the
station building is closed with entrance gained via a side gate, which is fully signed. With nobody else
there, the train set off for a run all the way to Humberston station with sand having to be applied for
the first few trips due to poor adhesion that morning. Anyway, it was onwards for a very enjoyable day
out with our reporter spending most runs behind the engine so he could film 'Effie' hard at work.
Humberston station is the southern end of the line at the moment and is a simple platform
arrangement with a headshunt and run round loop - with an additional loop just outside the station for
use on gala days. BELOW: The Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway when it was run by the local Council.
Severn-Lamb 2-8-0 No7217 has just arrived at the northern end of line. The Current Kingsway station is
to the right, out of sight, of this view. (Peter Scott 2 July 1988)
As it was winter, the station building was closed and he was told that the station might be demolished
during rebuilding works when the line is extended to a nearby caravan park. Apparently, the plan is to
build the new platform where the passing loop is and Humberston would become an intermediate
station. This work could be carried out over the winter closed period and involves altering
Humberston's track arrangement as well as laying additional track, new platform and a bridge to get
over a small stream - the Buck Beck. After a number of absolutely splendid runs behind 'Effie',
including a marvellous start out of Kingsway with a little wheelslip making some truly awesome noises,
the train pulled into Lakeside to find that, due to 'Effie' not having a headlamp fitting and the darkness
of the evening drawing closer, it was decided to end services.
This suited our reporter as he could catch the last bus home instead of a train and a bus! However, the
staff decided that, as Kingsway's gate was still open, 'Effie' would run light engine up there to secure
the gate before running light engine back. They realised that our reporter was still around and asked if
he minded walking from Kingsway back to Cleethorpes Pier. When he replied he did not, the first
coach was detached from the rest of the rake and a 'special service' formed of 'Effie' and the lone
coach ran up to Kingsway to save him walking part of the way there - a great way to end the day out!
MR240] Butlin's Holiday Camp, Pwllheli, Gwynedd: The Holiday Camp opened Saturday 29 March
1947, with an official opening on Tuesday 13 May 1947. The latter was carried out before 1,200 guests
by the Lord Lieutenant of 'Caernarvonshire', (at the time) Brigadier W H Wynn-Finch. The Mayors of
Pwllheli, 'Caernarvon' as it was in 1947, Bangor and 'Conway' were present along with the London
Symphony Orchestra - Billy Butlin did not do things by half! Pwllheli was Butlin's fourth camp - after
Skegness (1936), Clacton (1938) and Filey (1945). The miniature railway at the Pwllheli Camp probably
opened on Friday 22 May 1953 - the first day of that season.
BELOW: The Butlins Pwllheli railway in 21" gauge days. Tremadog Bay provides a splendid background
as D612 rounds the cliffs approaching Beach station with a train from Camp station.
(R Griffiths / Peter Scott Collection, June 1969.)
The line was 21in gauge and linked the Camp with the Beach. It was a 'dumb-bell' layout with return
loops at each end, giving a route length of 1,120 yards (PREVIOUS PAGE: plan thanks to Peter Scott).
Motive power was Hudswell Clarke steam outline 4-6-2 'Princess Margaret Rose' (later named 'Queen
Elizabeth') - works number D612. This locomotive operated the railway until the end of the 1970
season, when it was replaced by Ruston 4wDM 'Old Sparky' (487963). Over the winter of 1977/ 1978
the line was re-gauged from 21in to 2ft. New motive power was in the form of Chance 'C P Huntington'
steam outline locomotive No157, with matching coaches. This loco and coaches then ran on the line
until it closed at the end of the 1996 season. The Camp itself ceased to be a Butlin's and became a
Haven Holiday Park over the winter of 1998/1999. The Chance loco and stock left in November 1998
and the track was lifted the same month.
A member visited the site on 18 November 2017 for a Prog Rock Festival. Exploring the site he came
across an intact platform, complete with remains of its painted white edge. Stepping down onto the
erstwhile trackbed, he followed it to the end of the line above the Beach. The platform at the Beach
end is now overgrown. Embedded in the trackbed by the Beach station are the remains of a points
mechanism. Retracing his steps almost back to the Camp station he then veered right and followed the
balloon loop on a built up embankment in places to the Camp station. The whole of the trackbed is
therefore walkable and along the cliff top appears to be part of the main cliff top path.
BELOW: Butlins Pwllheli in 2ft gauge; Chance 157 heads for the Beach with a well loaded train. The
Chair Lift is clearly visible striding across the skyline. (P Knottley/P Scott Collection. 24 August 1980.)
X.194] New track for us to do on the Aln Valley Railway (MR p9), at Woodburn open level crossing.
ABOVE: Looking towards Alnmouth. BELOW: In the opposite direction, Alnwick (Lionheart) is round
the curve to the left. The branch (CA 7 Oct 1968) was double track in BR days. (Prof Ian Hughes 8 Dec)
2558] Fixtures Reports: Animal Tracker, Sat 7 Oct: (BLN 1294.2444) Part of the Caldecotte Miniature
Railway report was omitted: The ground level line tour started at the Station Siding end of the line
(it should become a through loop during 2018 but much shorter with far less deviation than the
original proposal shown on Peter Scott's excellent 22 Apr 2012 Kentrail Enthusiasts Group track plan).
Two circuits were needed to cover both station approach roads and a third to do the Turntable Road.
2559] Along Lilliput Lines, Sun 8 Oct: 12 miniature men met at Gulliver's Land Milton Keynes for
9am. This Children's Adventure Park on Brickhill St has a very strict 'no adults without children' policy,
but we were allowed in before public opening. The £19.95 adult admission fee was kindly waived in
return for a donation to a local charity, which provides entertainment for children while in hospital.
Our group was escorted through the staff entrance and up to the elevated Main Street station (where
the train stables overnight), home of Gulliver's Railroad. Normally two covered compartment coaches
run but as one was OOU two runs were needed to take us. Loco No3, a steam outline 0-6-0 apparently
built on site in 1999, made a slow clockwise run of the 15" gauge, 600yd circuit. It passes close to the
roller coasters, log flumes and, intriguingly, a single track monorail! Just after Discovery Bay Halt is the
only other track on the line, a shed spur. Naturally this had been requested by our organiser, Bill Davis,
but the point 'turned out' not to have moved in 10 years! The shed was full of non-rail items anyway.
After everyone had ridden and achieved overlap we thanked the driver who, like everyone else at all
the locations this weekend, went out of his way to accommodate us! It was a lovely sunny morning
and with our next location within easy walking distance, most chose this (healthy) option! Willen Lake
Miniature Railway (WLMR) is a 7¼" gauge 600yd ground level balloon loop from Willen 'Holt'.
(Per station building, but 'Halt' on the nameboards, and not a single otter in sight!) A maroon liveried
diesel hydraulic loco appeared from the shed (there is also a near identical petrol version). The stock,
to our surprise, wasn't in secure storage like the locos, but stacked on top of each other on wooden
pallets placed on the ground close to the shed and covered by a tarpaulin. This seemed risky in a town
public park, but apparently there have been no problems apart from the odd inquisitive teenager who
might peel back the tarpaulin to have a look! People power was needed to assemble the train and we
started from the shed approach by propelling into each of the three shed roads to the doors, pulling
forward over the level crossing to the station each time to avoid fouling the footpath/cycleway.
The original (pre-2006) line went straight ahead at the level crossing. A short distance is in situ before
it disappears into the undergrowth but is in too poor a condition to be done. Meanwhile the normal
public run was taken which curves sharply left and continues paralleling the lake and, at a distance, the
original alignment. This was sacrificed to make way for 'Go Ape!' a rock/rope climbing facility now on
the landward side. The line then takes a wide return loop and passes under the elevated A509 twice,
before returning to the station. Another member of the WLMR team was on leaf-clearing duties,
walking ahead with a broom on this section. [Note this railway opens less than its advertised hours.]
The 6th and final port of call for the weekend was Northampton Society of Model Engineers (NSME),
at Delapre Park. There is a dual 5"/7¼" ground level line with a 650yd balloon type circuit public run,
with a similar length 3½"/5 elevated line.
Your reporter arrived early for
complimentary hot drinks in the clubhouse
and the chance to see their members setting
up. Splitting into two groups, one started on
the ground level line and the other on the
elevated, before swapping over. We began
at 14.30 from the lengthy loco/stock
transfer line set in concrete beyond the
steaming bays. LEFT: At the steaming bays.
(All pictures are thanks to the NSME)
Haulage for the lines around Delapre station
was an interesting replica of a German Imperial
Army Deutz Benzollack 'C XIV' chain driven
petrol loco, used during WWI close to enemy
lines. It covered all the steaming bays and to
the interesting sector point for the three road
shed. Sadly at this 'point' the loco's chain gave
up but 0-6-0 DH Merlin came to the rescue
with commendable speed. This took us on an
exploration of the station run-round roads,
including the rare section between the 'arrival'
and 'departure' parts of the station normally done by ECS only. All were traversed to/onto the
turntable. Following this 100% coverage, it was time for a 'normal' circuit stopping about halfway
round before the tunnel to set back towards a new two road shed that was suitably added by hand to
our BLS trackplan on the day. ABOVE RIGHT: If you go down to the woods today you are sure of a big
surprise… (or at least on 8 Oct 2017 you were!). Many of these types of railways run in woodland.
As is commonly the case, the 3½"/5" elevated track is
just a simple circuit inside the ground level line. Two
locos were provided, 2-4-2 steam loco 'Jenna' with a
cowcatcher, and Colas 66849 with a sound chip.
Haulage was duly achieved with both, as well as the
requisite overlap. It was then back to the clubhouse for
more drinks with sandwiches and cakes laid on by the
NSME catering team. LEFT: Yet another Jim Sellens'
souvenir ticket masterpiece; note in particular how
inexpensive the whole day was. The hospitality was
very welcome and a great way to round off a great
weekend. It only remains to place on record our (and
my) appreciation to all of the staff and volunteers at all six locations for their efforts and for making us
so welcome. Thanks also to Bill Davis for his work putting it all together (It's been like keeping 6 plates
spinning in the air at once!). For your reporter it was the easiest of journeys home, a pleasant stroll
into Northampton town centre and onto a 'fast' bus home! (Duncan Finch, local member.)
BELOW: The railway 'rose' to the occasion and kindly ran the elevated line for our party.
ABOVE: Our special train with the 40 participants on the West Lancashire Light Railway. (Alan Hart)
2560] 2017 AGM WEEKEND, (1): West Lancashire Light Railway (WLLR) Fri 17 Nov: (MR p19) On a
cold, and frosty morning at least in Malvern (or so your Editor tells me), 40 members met at the WLLR
in Hesketh Bank near Southport for a visit which did all that was promised and probably a lot more.
BELOW: Exploring behind the shed area (Alan Hart - who kept following us around all morning!)
Copious quantities of bacon rolls, or baps in this corner of the kingdom, tea and coffee were available
to purchase before we adjourned to our charter.
This was diesel loco 'Tawd' with 4 open wagons (from
MoD Eastriggs with longitudinal seating recently
added especially) to reach the parts other rolling
stock (normal passenger coaches) cannot reach.
It was waiting on Becconsall station run-round loop
and at 09.15 began the day's travels by shunting up
the headshunt to the buffer stops (of course). A quick
reversal and we were off, via the run round line; the
first of various trips along the line to Delph.
For those whose knowledge of the Lancastrian dialect is somewhat lacking a 'Delph' is a quarry and
hereabouts the line onward was laid along the quarry edge. Unfortunately due to a slow landslip the
insurers will no longer provide cover for trains further than the current Delph headshunt, even though
the rails are still visible (and easily walkable) quite a way beyond a substantial buffer stop constructed
of sleepers. No31, 'Mill Reef', then coupled onto the rear and took us back to Willow Tree Halt, the
intermediate station, where it was uncoupled and 'Tawd' then shunted the train into the left hand
siding there, the other one then being occupied. After leaving the siding 'Mill Reef' was re-coupled
and, leaving 'Tawd' behind, we returned to Becconsall platform and headshunt, overlap completed!
ABOVE: We've just come to inspect your artefacts (a likely story) - for the record the very end of line
was reached after a few obstacles were cleared (with permission of course). (Alan Hart)
NEXT PAGE TOP: The layout at the Delph (off to the left) end of the Becconsall. (Ian Mortimer)
BELOW: Left to right: members from Daventry, Laxey IOM (two), - at least occasionally, New Malden
and Coventry enjoy spinnage on the turntable. Our Chairman notes down the haulage. (Roger Hart)
PREVIOUS (FULL) PAGE: A traditional photo run past near Willow Tree Halt. (John Cameron)
ABOVE: Willow Tree Halt right hand siding; participants keenly focus on the end of line - this stopped
in front of the shed as did the train. The left side had been done earlier in its entirety. (John Cameron)
Planet No10, Ruston 36 and 'Mill Reef' then provided the motive power for a comprehensive track bash
of all available loops and sidings in the station area, except one short line where there was no way the
point could be held in position and that siding was occupied by a couple of trucks anyway. What was
absolutely amazing was the efficiency of the movements going on in the background. The railway has
an extensive rolling stock collection (some of which even they wondered would ever move again - they
did!), which had to be shunted to make every line available for us including even the turntable where
everyone had 'spinnage'! Then another journey to Delph, to cover the run round loop there and return
to Willow Tree Halt for the second siding brought us back to Becconsall.
With everything out of the way, steam loco 21, 'Utrillas', brought the (remarkably wide and capacious
for 2ft gauge) passenger stock into Becconsall for the final trip to Delph, then ran round and propelled
the coaches back to the buffer stops for return. On arrival at Willow Tree Halt all those who wished
disembarked and the train was shunted back up the line to the junction with the sidings line and then
took part in a short run past before everyone rejoined to return to Becconsall. The haulage fraternity
had a pleasant surprise when told that the guard's van was built on the chassis of a loco and some
climbed aboard so it could be counted as such! Arrival at Becconsall for the final time was at 13.05.
NEXT PAGE TOP: Running from Delph to Becconsall the tour passes Willow Tree Sidings. (Alan Hart)
NEXT PAGE LOWER: West Lancashire Light Railway, Delph station platform with run-round loop,
the end of line (sleeper stop block) is top right. (Chris Totty 17 Nov 2017)
This is a 2ft gauge railway that is well worth a visit and, be warned, you may have to do this in the near
future. It appears that since the railway was first built on a green field site over 50 years ago they have
been on a recurring 6-month lease from the local brickworks/builders' merchants. Unfortunately there
has been an application to the local Planning Authorities for residential building on the land so things
will be changing. As an aside, the railway's current toilet block will end up in someone's back garden
(so if you need it…)! The WLLR is attempting to raise funds so they can purchase the land they run on,
whether through donations or loans, otherwise their future may be somewhat insecure. Sincere
congratulations to the WLLR, especially the Operations Manager and Alan Frodsham, for the way they
managed our visit; nothing was too much for them, virtually every inch of track covered with 6 locos!
2561] (2): Bonus Tarleton Branch Walk: (BLN 1235.1169)
To follow our WLLR visit your Editor suggested that, to fill
the 1½ hours before the afternoon event (15 minutes
away), it might be a pleasant outing to walk along the
trackbed of the 1¼ miles Tarleton Halt branch from
Hesketh Bank. (The latter is top left on this 1920 OS 6th
Series 1" map LEFT; Southport is off top left and Preston
top right. The Tarleton (Lock) branch used to extend to
the warehouse near the bottom of the map by the canal
bridge but is curtailed on this edition. The modern WLLR is
now north east of the former Hesketh Bank station.)
So a party made up of your Editor, General Secretary and
scribe from Jersey set forth to find the trackbed and using
a somewhat ancient OS map and the modern intricacies of
Google Earth managed to discover that what appeared to
be the route was, in fact, a public footpath. Leaving the
Editor's car (more later) at the WLLR, the party ventured
along a short lane, which ended up in a building site.
An employee of the builders asked us our business and
when told we were looking for a public footpath was none
too happy but pointed out to us a gate in the fence behind
the new buildings, which he assured us led onto the path.
He invited us to walk across the footings, goodness knows
what will happen when the buildings are complete and
another rambler wants access and has to go through
someone's kitchen (!), and we went through the gate into what can only be described as a sea of mud.
We tried to find the path but realised that we were being watched by an extremely large bull, looking
after his harem, clearly high on testosterone and built for speed. Discretion being the better part of
valour, we retraced our steps as fast as we could to the gate and across the footings back to your
Editor's car which we proceeded to fill with the products of the field off our footwear (no bull sh*t).
We agreed to look for the line further towards the terminus but first an attempt was made to discover
the route of the Southport - Preston line (CP 7 Sep 1964) from Hesketh Bank station. In 1964 your
scribe missed travelling on this line by just 10 minutes (long story). Driving round a couple of housing
estates we came to the conclusion that the actual route probably lay in their back gardens. Back onto
the main road and across what remains of the bridge over the railway we found a road that led to
'River View.' Almost turning on two wheels your Editor steered the vehicle into yet another estate and
using the maxim that 'the river is always at the bottom of the hill' parked up and we discovered a path
leading to the River Douglas. Across a field and up onto what was obviously the railway route we
proceeded towards Tarleton (success!). It OA 3 Jun 1912; CP 1 Oct 1913 and had CA by Nov 1930
(hence the old map). There was one intermediate stop at Boat Yard Crossing Halt just before Tarleton.
This was not the right time of year to be walking old lines in this part of deepest Lancashire as soon we
found ourselves in mud again and decided to retrace our steps. Going past the spot where we had
accessed the path, we were soon in a field full of cows who were eyeing us suspiciously. Checking the
time we realised that we needed to head to the afternoon's event or we would be late so we bade
farewell to this short lived line duly now recorded in the Society archives as visited by a BLS party.
2562] (3): Windmill Farm Railway (WFR): (MR p19)
Following the morning visit to the WLLR, 40 members
arrived at the nearby Windmill Animal Farm in time
to obtain an excellent lunch from their café which
had been opened especially for us. Windmill Farm
station has two through (to the sheds) platform lines,
a bay and two sidings, one undercover, with an
impressive overall roof. Proceedings started at 14.35
with a steam hauled trip to Lakeview noting on the
way the connection (removed in Jan 2009) which
used to complete a reversing loop at that terminus. We were advised that the point was taken out due
to the difficulties of maintenance, principally with the blades on the curve.
NEXT PAGE TOP: Our special, complete with special headboard, waits to set off from Windmill Farm
station plus a bonus posterior view of Membership Secretary, Alan Welsh (in glasses). (John Cameron)
NEXT PAGE LOWER: Not the Liverpool Garden Festival actually but returning to the end of Windmill
Farm station that is used by the public runs; it can be seen ahead with an overall roof. (John Cameron).
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER & ABOVE: 'Whippit Quick' (which was rather full) and a small open riding
vehicle (for eight) with some happy members on rare track at the other end of Windmill Farm station
that is not used by public services. In the second picture our members are 'going round the bend' into
the shed (which is behind the photographer in the first picture). The name of the 'Autotruck' was quite
appropriate as they certainly didn't hang about with this part of our tour and it was beginning to go
dark. The eponymous Windmill is seen in the background of the first picrure. (John Cameron)
The loco, which was unnamed, was 'Siận', formerly of the Fairbourne Railway (until that line re-gauged
from 15" to 12¼" in 1986). On arrival at Lakeview one coach was uncoupled with the loco and all
participants had the opportunity to ride the run-round loop. Due to the points being sprung absolute
overlap could not be achieved (except by those who had a subsequent footplate ride!). For the
haulage fraternity a further trip to Lakeview was arranged but this time with the steam outline diesel
loco 'Safari Express' leaving from P1 at Windmill Farm and returning to P2.
On our return to Windmill Farm time was spent with the railcar 'Whippit Quick', again in Fairbourne
livery and an 8 seat open carriage traversing the line to the turntable, and the 3 sidings to the first
shed. This was the extent of rare track available to us, all other track being occupied with other stock.
The more intrepid members with a good sense of balance also managed a 'people-power' trip along
the 16' 6" (approx.) gauge traverser outside of the workshop. The railway does have an interesting
collection of 10 ancient locos from various miniature lines around the country. To conclude the visit a
final return trip, again with 'Siận', was made out to Lakeview. Many thanks to Austin Moss, the owner,
and his team for opening especially for us on a somewhat inclement Friday afternoon in November.
2563] (4): Lakeside Miniature Railway, Southport, Sat 18 Nov: (MR p20) 30 members gathered at
Pleasureland station Southport, for a most interesting visit (some staying locally had even managed
breakfast). This traditional 15" gauge seaside railway dates back to 1911 making it one of the oldest in
the country, and some of the original stock is in the terminus shed. It was opened so that we could
view the stock and later a carriage of a more recent vintage was wheeled out to photograph. All track
on the shed side of Pleasureland platform was (very) OOU; the point blades at the junction with the
main line being bolted to the sleepers. This old carriage shed is destined to become a museum with
some equipment, including the belt driven lathes,
from the railway's workshops, being installed there.
The morning's travels started with loco No3, 'Jenny',
hauling our train the length of the line to Marine
Parade station. Here the loco was uncoupled and the
stock pushed out of the way so that each participant
could have a round trip in the cab to the end of the
headshunt returning through the run-round loop and
back along the platform road. Those with lower Body
Mass Indexes were able to do this two at a time!
The rails into the second (left) platform and its run round loop have been lifted, their junction with the
main line plain-lined. The sleepers remain but are filled up with soil and grassed over, a dramatic fairly
recent change. The station loop and track round the first bend almost to Princes Park (intermediate
station CP 1948) has been relayed on ⅓ size standard gauge sleepers. The new owner advised this
would continue each winter, but first he had to relay both platform surfaces.
RIGHT: Marine Parade station platform looking
inland in the opposite direction to the picture
below, the loco is on the run-round loop. The
track/loop for the second platform used to be
on the right but you wouldn't know.
BELOW Looking towards the sea Mr Sheppard
(smiling) sits on Mr Adlam's lap (but don't tell
anyone!) while doing the run-round loop at
Marine Parade station, both riding 'Jenny'. The
driver is on the other side of the cab. The
disused second platform is to the left; its track
is now replaced by grass. Southport pier (sadly
no tramway operating these days) is in the
upper background. (both John Cameron).
NEXT PAGE TOP: Some participants enjoy doing
the shed road on a sleeper train which is kindly
being guided by Alan Sheppard. The running
line is to the right, Pleasureland station is not
far behind the camera.
(John Cameron, Sat 18 Nov 2017)