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21st October 2017

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Published by membersonly, 2018-04-11 06:10:40


21st October 2017

Issue Number 1291 (Items 2105 - 2188 &IsMsuRe 1N9u5m-bMerR1220658) (E-BLN 68 PAGES) 21 Oct 2017


Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society - founded 1955


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

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

………………..BLN 1292 is dated Sat 4 NovS;oCcioetnyt.rSibocuiteitoyn. s must be received by 25 Oct

2105] OUR NEW BLS WEBSITE: Further to the BLN 1290 announcement, we are delighted to
confirm that our new website will indeed be live from Friday 20 October as planned. Please note
that our BLS website address has changed to dropping the '.org' suffix. Also
all contact email addresses have changed in line with the new website, including for submitting
BLN news items; please use the new addresses. The full list is on the back page. This results in
more logical, consistent and professional generic addresses which will not need to be changed to
automatically redirect emails if necessary for holidays or future change of volunteers etc.

To access the member-only features of the website, click on 'Members' on the blue navigation
(menu) bar at the top of the page. You will need to obtain a password to proceed by clicking on
'Request a new password' at the bottom of the login screen. Enter your email address (which must
be the one you previously supplied to us - see BLN 1290.1996) and then click 'Reset Password'.
Your individual password will automatically be sent immediately to the email address you supplied.

If you receive the message 'Sorry, we are unable to locate you in our database', please ensure you
have entered the email address that you registered when you took out or last renewed your
membership. If you have not provided an email address, you can do so by sending your details
(with your membership number) to Alan Welsh at [email protected] please.

The previous system of distributing e-BLN will continue for a short while for overlap, but we are
switching to e-BLN being available to view or download directly from our new website. Paper BLN
is unaffected. Members will be notified by email when the latest e-BLN is released then need to log
onto the website to view and download it so please obtain your password and check how to use it.

When you visit the site for the first time, please read the important information that is given on
the 'About' page, which can be reached by clicking on 'About our site' at the foot of the home
page. In particular Javascript needs to be enabled for the website to function as intended. If
'Javascript' means nothing to you, don't worry - just follow the instructions on the 'About' page!

A reminder that initially there is only one fixture - the 6 Jan 2018 Scunthorpe Steel Works tour -
now open for online booking (indicated by '' in the fixtures grid below). For other open fixtures,
follow the previous directions. In future, it will be possible to book nearly all new fixtures online as
soon as they are opened for booking in e-BLN; postal bookings will still be accepted as before.

If you have any queries about our new website please email Ian Delgado, our Website Officer, at
[email protected] (remembering that there is one of him and over 1,200 members!).

This is a good moment to recognise all the hard work that our outgoing webmaster, Tim Harris, has
put in over the years. Tim, not even a BLS member, has selflessly given us his time and expertise as
a volunteer in maintaining the old website, for which he receives our thanks and appreciation.

2106] 2017 AGM Update: The Officers' Annual Reports and 2016-17 draft accounts are with this BLN.
The closing date to notify attendance at our Liverpool SGM and AGM on Sat 18 Nov at 13.00 (and to qualify
for complimentary drinks and cakes) is Mon 13 Nov. Do come along, meet your Committee and support
one of our rare indoor social meetings: Chris Totty's early evening film presentation/buffet after the AGM.

Date Event and details BLN Lead Status
1287 JE OPEN
Sat 21/10/17 14.30 Heaton Park Tramway, Manchester (new track)

Wed 25/10/17 Morning & afternoon guided Ashover Light Railway walks 1288 JC OPEN

Fri 17/11/17 09.00 West Lancs Light & 14.00 Windmill Farm Railways 1289 JE OPEN

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

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

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

Sun 19/11/17 09.30 - 18.30 Hooton: The Whitechapel Wayfarer railtour 1289 JE OPEN

Sat 2/12/17 07.30 The Christmas Brush READING SET DOWN 16.40 1290 KA OPEN

Sun 17/12/17 Save the date… railtour in the north of England (BELOW) TBA TBA Claimed

Sat 6/1/2018 09.30 - dark: Scunthorpe Steel Works railtour & lunch 1291 JE *OPEN*

End Apr 18? Finland tour NOTIFY BY 26 Oct PLEASE (per back page) 1290 IS OPEN

3 to 6/5/18 Island of Ireland four day 'long weekend'; NOT YET OPEN TBA TBA Claimed

= Can be booked on our website, IS-Iain Scotchman, JC-John Cameron, JE-Jill Everitt, KA-Kev Adlam, TW-Tim Wallis.

2107] The Christmas Brush, Sat 2 Dec: A booking form was sent out with BLN 1290 for this year's
Society Christmas loco hauled tour from Reading (07.37 bid) to London Paddington (09.34/19.25
bid). First Class Plus passengers will receive 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.
Festive treats, plenty of Christmas Quail and offerings from our Baker will be available for all our
passengers! The tour includes a fine selection of rare and requested lines between Bradford Jn,
Theale, Reading and Paddington for Macro and Microgricers alike, some very new. Class 47/0 and
47/7 expected with a great atmosphere on board. UPDATE: There is a Reading set down at 16.40.

2108] Save The Date, Sunday 17 December! We are pleased to announce that plans are being finalised for
an exciting charity railtour. It is planned to run from the North East of England and Yorkshire, taking in
various lines in Yorkshire and the North West, including unusual lines and track that would not normally
see passenger trains! Final details of routing, pricing and seat availability are being confirmed; please keep
an eye on for more details, available in coming weeks. Please note that suitable pickups are
scheduled for those who may be railtouring elsewhere the previous day. We look forward to welcoming
you on this one-off day out to mark a special occasion, in support of some brilliant charities!

2109] Scunthorpe Steel Tracker, Sat 6 Jan: (report: BLN 1273.213) Make an early New Year resolution
(to go on more BLS fixtures) now and book our first one of 2018. It is a good time to visit as internal
traffic is quieter after Christmas. An interesting and unique experience, enjoy it while you still can and
strike while the 'iron' is still hot, at one of the UK's last 24 hour operational integrated steel works set
in 200 acres (totally unspoilt by tourism). Over 100 miles of standard gauge track and a great way to
see an operating steel works at close quarters. 09.30 prompt at the AFRPS platform until dark (about
16.30). An extensive full day railtour with a break at the AFRPS shed (view and photo the locos).
Subject to engineering work, Birmingham, Liverpool and London (etc) rail connections are available.
Maximum 60, first come first served, £41 MEMBERS ONLY, includes food and drink in the break, a
detailed track map, stock list and souvenir ticket. Our tour supports the good work of the AFRPS. Book
online at our new website. You will need your membership number, that of any other member(s)
you wish to book for and their first and last name. Or book by post with SAE (2 for acknowledgement)
to Jill Everitt (back page). Queries and specific line requests in advance only (ASAP) to Paul Stewart.

1291 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart)
[email protected]

2110] Firbeck Jn (11m 20ch) -
Harworth Colliery (15m 35ch): (BLN
1259.1194) (TRACKmaps Vol 2 p34A -
Oct 2016) On 15 Oct 2017 this branch
off the South Yorkshire Joint Line was
deleted from the Sectional Appendix
and shown as 'closed'. No official
dated closure via Section C of the
Weekly Operating Notice has ever
appeared. This recent deletion described the Harworth Branch as already 'closed', however the last
notified status was that this line was 'temporarily OOU'. There were geological problems at the colliery
and it was 'mothballed' in Apr 2006 never to reopen. Pathfinder Tours 'The Joint Line Jester' on 17 Jan
2004 is thought to have been the last railtour. The final coal train, on 4 Sep 2006, ran to Cottam Power
Station and the branch was taken OOU 13 May 2009 by formal network change process and
periodically renewed on several occasions since. Firbeck Jn was plain lined with associated signalling
changes 4 Sep 2010 without notification in the Weekly Operating Notice (or the required formal
'network change' notice). In Dec 2011 most of the line was stolen by scrap metal thieves. ABOVE LEFT:
May 1979, a train of empties approaches Firbeck (East!) Jn from the north (Doncaster) with the points
set for the Harworth Colliery branch (off to the bottom right corner) in double track days. The junction
was triangular, the other two junctions being (appropriately) Firbeck West Jn and Firbeck South Jn.

BELOW: The site of the remote Firbeck (formerly West) Jn on 28 Aug 2017, now single track, the
Harworth Colliery line went off to the right. There are now between just one and four trains each way
daily on the South Yorkshire Joint Line, but sometimes one or two do run on Sundays. (David Guy)

2111] Bury St Edmunds: From 28 Sep 2017 (after an inspection that day) the Up Yard was taken OOU,
not to be used for train movements under any circumstances. Apparently, it is leased to DBC but is not
being maintained by them or NR and there is a high derailment risk. The Dock Siding remains open for
incoming stone traffic but the (Freightliner) train needs to split to do this and used the closed sidings.

2112] Normanby Park GF (2m 11ch) - Dragonby Vossloh Cogifer Factory: (BLN 1273.144) 11 Oct 2017,
trial run, DRS light engine from York with wagons from Scunthorpe Trent Yard (BLN 1277.X33 - photo).

2113] Darlaston Jn - Walsall Pleck Jn: TCP 14 Oct 2017 expected until 30 Mar 2018, for work on the
overhead interface at Pleck Jn (dating back to the early 1960s), part of the Chase Line Electrification
Project. No electric trains should be routed Pleck Jn - Darlaston Jn. The weekly 06.38 Wolverhampton
to Walsall train SO PSUL is diverted via Soho North to Soho East curve and the Soho Road line again.
This is covered by the West Midlands Day Tripper, West Midlands Day Ranger and other rover tickets.
The direct fare of £2.70 (£1.80 with railcard) single is also excellent value for the 30 minute journey!

2114] Birmingham, Soho North Jn - Soho East Jn: TROP 14 Oct 2017 expected until 24 Mar 2018, used
by the weekly SO 06.38 PSUL service from Wolverhampton to Walsall (no booked intermediate stops)
diverted from the Darlaston Jn - Portobello Jn route. There are to be major changes to the layout at
Soho North Jn during this diversion with resignalling from Wed 27 Dec (the new Up running line will be
via 'Soho Curve Jn' and the Up through Siding instead of the present connection - BLN 1284.1405).

2115] Brighton, Volk's Electric Railway, Aquarium - Halfway station only: (BLN 1279.813) (MR p17)
ROP Sat 14 Oct 2017 at 10.30 (TCP after running on 4 Sep 2016 for refurbishment), work continues to
Black Rock station (as referred to on the new website). The new Visitor's
Centre is open with daily trains 10.30-16.00 Aquarium to Halfway to 5 Nov then selected winter dates.

2116] Seaton Tramway, Riverside Loop south end (4m 01ch) - Seaton (4m 57ch) (BLN 1286.1609) (MR
p32) Amending the previous entry, TCP for construction of a new £2M terminus after last running Sun
17 Sep (rather than 1 Oct); ROP expected Good Friday 30 Mar 2018. A shuttle bus connects Seaton
with the temporary tram terminus at Riverside Depot, until 29 Oct, during Dec then until the new stop
opens. Do trams carry passengers off the normal running line? A 'behind the scenes' depot tour is
included in the fare. On 10 Oct the entire layout and overhead wiring had been cleared from Seaton
terminus. The new building was progressing nicely with concrete columns sprouting up all around the
area. The man charged with marshalling customers onto the coach shuttle to the temporary terminus
advised that the new layout would comprise four terminal tracks. The incoming single track will divide
into two on the approach to the building then into four undercover unloading/loading positions.

2117] Midland Metro, Wolverhampton St George's - Priestfield (excl) & 'The Royal': (BLN 1281.1033)
ROP expected 23 Dec (TCP Sun 11 Jun 2017, to replace 1.35km of double track in Bilston Rd laid in
1999 with associated road resurfacing, drainage and other work). By 13 Oct pointwork had been laid in
that line for the double track line to Wolverhampton station as well as the first rails on the branch.

2118] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) End (incl) Location (exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]

1285.1466 30 Sep 17 22 Oct 17 (Edge Hill) - (Liverpool South Parkway) stations
1288.1833 30 Sep 17 22 Oct 17 (Liverpool South Parkway) - EMU route - (Hunts Cross)
1286.1608 17 Sep 17 22 Oct 17 Barking P1 - Gospel Oak Jn
1288.1835 21 Oct 17 23 Oct 17 (Spalding) - Sleaford East Jn & Sleaford West Jn - Pelham St Jn
1281.1033 11 Jun 17 23 Dec 17 *Midland Metro; Wolverhampton St George's - (Priestfield)
1222.1799 20 Dec 14 2 Jan 2018 (London Blackfriars) - (London Bridge) Thameslink work
1275.365 11 Nov 17 28 Jan 18 Fylde Jn (Preston) - Kirkham North Jn - Blackpool South
1275.366 11 Nov 17 18 Mar 18 Kirkham North Jn - Blackpool North
1286.1609 x1 Oct 17 29 Mar 18 Seaton Tramway, Riverside Loop south end - Seaton
1286.1612 22 Jul 18 x7 Oct 18 *Derby station/associated lines - partial rotating closures now

1291 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart)
[email protected]

2119] The 'RailStaff' Awards 2017: (BLN 1287.1816)
This took place at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on
Sat 7 Oct. The Society was represented at this
prestigious rail industry annual event by our
Chairman John Williamson, Fixtures Secretary Kev
Adlam and Publications Officer Martyn Brailsford. It
is a genuine pleasure to report that our Fixtures
Secretary, Kev Adlam, received a runner up
certificate in the 'Heart of Gold' award for charity,
which is recognition of what we have all achieved as
a Society in recent years. This is an opportune
moment to mention that there still seems to be
some confusion over our TOC charity railtours.
These are generally run at no financial risk to the
Society; the fares are part of the charity donation in place of (not additional to) rolling stock hire
charges etc. The fares are often lower than commercial tours which are priced to break even
(depending on bookings). ABOVE: Kev receives his 'Highly Commended' certificate at the awards
ceremony. Left to right: Dave Ellis (Railway Children Corporate Partnerships Manager), our Chairman
John Williamson, Kev and Jason Tetley (Chief Executive Railway Benefit Fund). (Twitter press release)

2120] Points and Slips: ●BLN 1290.1204] The Sandiway Miniature Railway item should be No 2094.
●2010] The LMS map series being sent out with e-BLN were part of their 'system' public timetable
(ie not the suburban books). With e-BLN 1291 is No2 'Northern Eastern & Western Centre' and No3
'Midlands & Welsh Section'. ●2033] Those who know our member Simon Mortimer will realise he
doesn't hang about, but even Simon hasn't discovered the secret of travelling forward in time (yet).
The pictures at South Harrow LUL were actually taken on 24 Sep 2017. ●2042] A member suggests the
proposed new Merseyrail Headbolt Lane station should perhaps have a bronze statue of Frankenstein.

●2056] Liverpool St James: OP 2 Mar 1874; CP 1 Jan 1917. ●MR187] Does anyone have a name for, or
any information about, the 'Halt' referred to on the west side of the Rhyl Miniature Railway, 'Britain's
Oldest Miniature Railway' or indeed reference to an old map that shows it (as mentioned) please?

●2093] This report asked if is there anywhere apart from Dullingham where a signal box (which is not
a gate box) has keys released by a switch operating outside crossing gates. Yes! - Batley, Rauceby,
Stonea and Wickenby signal boxes all have key locks for level crossing gates released in this way.

2121] A BLN Podcast: A member's generally very successful day trip from Poulton-le-Fylde to London
on 4 Oct took in Mail Rail, Heathrow Connect and the T5 POD system although failed to achieve the
Acton diveunder. He found the incessant PA blathering and interruptions on VT's Pendolino heading
south was, as usual, seriously irritating - including the inane toilet message. Interestingly return on the
16.33 Blackpool North through Voyager was a model of calm and relative quiet! Mail Rail was well
worth the trip. Heathrow Connect to Terminal 5 (T5) completed the last two required Stockley Flyover
connections, the Down Relief to Down Airport Relief and Down Airport Relief to Down Airport.

Then he undertook a fascinating tour of the T5 POD system (available anytime to anyone on demand),
each time in his own 4-seater POD due to very few others using it. All normal routes including the four
T5 docking bays and two each at Car Parks 'A' and 'B' were easily covered (you programme your
required destination!). There are loops bypassing the docking bays at T5, 'A' and 'B' and a very short
loop on the exit side of T5 docking bays. There is a POD holding loop at 'B' and four at T5, each with
gadgets in the track that keep the POD concerned in a specific position until called to its next duty.
Finally, a loop with two sidings runs into a depot building, all on the exit side of the docking bays at 'A'.

[BLN 1291]
The system has right hand running taking five
minutes from T5 to 'A' or 'B' and two minutes
between 'A' and 'B'. The three termini sit on a
balloon loop and are linked by double track
spokes to a track hub/ roundabout. There are
no crossovers as such in the running track
which looks like it is surfaced with green
mineral roofing felt! Obviously, this hides a
guidance system to tell PODs where to go. The
ride is surprisingly rough especially on the main
route from T5 to the roundabout (no falling
asleep then after a long international flight!).

The most interesting feature is the docking
arrangement. Each dock takes just the length
of one POD. They run in from the track on the
skew but must reverse out before running to
either of the other two termini. It looks as
though a reversal out from one bay may not
quite overlap the track of a run into the
adjacent bay meaning that you need to
carefully map your journeys to achieve the
magical running route continuity sought by any
self-respecting microgricer. The best part is
that it is all free of charge and unlimited!

Next a quick out and back to see the electrified bidirectional West Drayton Loop, part of the realigned
start of the Colnbrook branch and to do the slewed Down and Up Reliefs where they pass under the
Stockley Viaduct. Finally, an attempt to do the Acton diveunder was foiled by either/both our
member's choice of train from Ealing Broadway P4 and inability anyway to see the Up Relief signal
with the relevant feather! A fascinating day out needing only Martyn Brailsford to please publish the
POD route plan. [Your wish is our command, sir, diagram ABOVE thanks to … guess who?]

2122] Assistant Distribution Officer's Retirement Report by Ronald Jackson: [This report arrived too
late to be included in the AGM supplement - Ed.] I am pleased to say that I am glad to be relieved of
my responsibilities as I have found it harder to avoid hiccups due to postal delays and personal illness.

When I took over from Jerry Holmes in late 1997 there were many more subscription options for
members: A and B; 1st and 2nd Class were divided into fortnightly or monthly postings, some 1,200
then; there were options for International pages or not and we had 60 gram weight limitations. The
first thing I did was to divide each option into a 'category' so that the subscriber knew which to choose
and the stuffing team would know what to stuff. This meant that at each renewal there were category
changes which would mean changing each affected member. The other change I instituted, was to
print the name, category and number of the subscriber directly on the envelope to save having to print
labels and stick them on. There was one disadvantage: the heat of the laser printer meant that self-
adhesive envelopes could not be used and a heavier paper quality was also precluded. This did not
matter until rougher post handling and fewer envelope types became a factor.

Over the years, the options, and thus categories, became fewer and the weight limit rose to 100 gram,
so renewals were simplified especially with removal of the 2nd class option a little before I finished my
time as officeholder. Even then, I had to remember to still segregate overseas members with their
European and world rates of stamping.

[BLN 1291]
I originally achieved significant savings on BLN postage as Royal Mail, while a nationalised body,
allowed stamps to be bought in advance, so that those bought before the regular April increase could
be used until exhausted. With the approval of our Treasurer, I would buy some 23,000 stamps to last a
year, including European standard stamps. Thus a hedge against increased cost was maintained,
including the last year in public ownership when rates increased by nine pence. Now Royal Mail's new
owners are more financially astute and do not allow more than a month's purchase, although the
Treasurer's direct purchases of stamps latterly still achieved significant savings to help keep your
subscriptions down.

It is worthwhile reflecting on the number of stages up to receipt by members that each postal BLN
used to require: Editor to printer, then car to distribution. Then the addressed, printed and stamped
envelopes by carrier from me, or at times by Alan Welsh's hands (we would meet at a London station).
Stuffing was then organised, letters posted and Royal Mail trusted to do the job. More recently, the
printer would receive the prepared envelopes and take them together with the printed BLNs to the
distributer. So many stages, but now Alan Welsh simply emails some 500 names and addresses to
Willow, our contractor, and they arrange the printing, stuffing and posting!

Distribution of paper BLN remains in safe hands, even if not now mine and the other distributors who
have served you all so well for many years.

X.157] Report to 2017 AGM on Our New Website: After well over 30,000 lines of code have been
written and tested, our new website is scheduled to go live on Friday 20 October. I had hoped that
my first report would be able to relay that so many members and so many non-members had visited
the site since it was launched, but with still five days to go (at the time of writing) before the launch
date, that is a little difficult to do! Hopefully, an update on this will be available at the AGM itself.
The new website address is or type '' in a browser to find it.

The main driver behind the new site was to be able to offer online booking of fixtures and online
membership and renewal, but hopefully it will be seen that much more is available over and above
our current website. You need have no concerns about security, as we will be taking online
payments through Worldpay which offers a very secure means of processing online transactions.
Although they may not be a household name, Worldpay is a global leader in payments processing
technology and solutions, and on a typical day process over 31 million mobile, online and in-store
transactions. They are the leader in payments in the UK, where they process approximately 42% of
all transactions.

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

Not wanting to run before we have learnt to walk, it is intended to start online bookings with just
one fixture (the 6 Jan 2018 Scunthorpe Steel Works tour) so that we can 'iron' out any wrinkles that
might appear. Once that has been shown to be problem-free (not that we are expecting any
problems!), then nearly all newly-announced fixtures from that point forward will be made available
for online booking.

Some features of the new website will only be available to members, not the least of which will be
the much requested online access to our document archive. This will enable you to view and
download past copies of BLN, BLN International (BLNI) and BLN Pictorial. When we go live, all BLNs
back to BLN 1184 (11 May 2013), and from Oct 1955 (No1 of the first series) to at least 1971 will be
loaded, with our document archivist and our website officer continuing to bridge the gap in time.

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

Other new features include a news forum (or 'blog'), to which members can contribute, access to
Richard Maund's excellent PSUL (including previous versions, back to 1963, in easily-downloadable
PDF format), and also - for members only - access to Unusual Track (Ian Delgado 15 Oct 2017)

X.158] Intermittently Exasperating Trains (Day 1), subtitled 'A Tale of Two InterCities': With ex-
Hurricane Ophelia sweeping towards the UK on Monday 16 October, the high-level translucent tropical
cloud cover mixed with Saharan dust and Spanish smoke over Bristol around 09.30 gave the sun an
ongoing very red hue more reminiscent of sunset. "Red sky during the morning; someone'll be
mourning". It was your reporter doing so as the 09.43 from Bristol Parkway to Cardiff was cancelled,
the first public service working of IETs through Parkway! Staff identified that the IET set had a software
failure ('hard' luck then?) and had been "cancelled at Cogload Junction", unlikely as its previous
working had been 06.00 from Bristol TM - Paddington to form this, the 08.15 Paddington - Cardiff.

BELOW: A GWR InterCity Express Train (IET) standard class saloon. (David Guy 16 Oct 2017)

The 06.00 from Bristol TM, the IET's first working was 25 minutes late leaving as the set had been
pressure washed coming off depot, for its big press launch. Unfortunately, this resulted in water
ingressing the coupling box between 800005/006. Worse came on the journey, an overhead air-
conditioning unit failed with water cascading onto seats, laptops and passengers seated below, as
shown on national news and described by some as a 'free shower'. Not only that but when the
pantograph was finally raised after Maidenhead, it promptly tripped the OLE, finally arriving into
Paddington 10 minutes after it should have returned to Cardiff again which service was cancelled.

Your reporter instead caught an HST towards Swindon to intercept the 09.30 Bristol to Paddington,
part of the other IET diagram scheduled to commence that day. The station Passenger Information
Screens identified this as a 10-coach train formed of 2x5 IETs, which looked promising, and
sets 800009/008 duly appeared, 7 minutes late, retaining much the same lateness into Paddington P5.

At Paddington there was only limited attention from GWR staff and photographers as not only was
hurricane Ophelia approaching, the Tornado had already arrived. Steam-loco 60163 was on P1 blocks
on the Belmond Pullman (Silver-liveried DBC 67029 at the departure end), attracting so much attention
that P1 was temporarily barred to the public other than a narrow gangway to the extreme left. There
was a notable police presence to control observers largely unaware of what was happening on P5.

The pair of IETs duly departed on the next leg of their diagram, the 11.45 to Swansea, on time and
generally maintained time on the journey despite concerns that on diesel IET performance would be
inferior to HSTs. The new era had arrived but what did your reporting member observe?

BELOW: A 5-car test train at Malvern Link on Sun 1 Oct. Much improvement work has been carried out
to the former stationmaster's house (right) since it changed hands fairly recently. (David Guy)

[BLN 1291]
The reservation system was not operating with all coaches except 'A' (leading from Paddington) having
the trusty traditional paper labels (luckily there are slots for them). In 'A' the overhead electronic
reservations were operative, showing all seats 'Available'. Shame then that passengers had been
reserved into them resulting in conflict with those already sat in what were shown as unreserved…

Like GWR Class 387s EMU, the seats are hard and will not meet general approval. Coaches have more
tables so the high-back seats are slightly less 'in your face' and the on-board atmosphere is superior to
GWR's HST Standard Class format [Doesn't take much - long suffering GWR HST Ed]. The gangway is a
bit narrow for those with substantial luggage or ruc ksacks. The underfloor diesel engine noise is
notable but not excessive; it is most noisy accelerating away from stations at an appreciable rate.

Transition from diesel to electric took place smoothly at MP22¾ into London, and MP22½ on the
return (between Maidenhead and Taplow). There is an audible 'click' at the rear of coaches when
transition occurs, also notable if using a laptop as onboard power is cut for 5 to 10 seconds. After the
'emergency' closure of Reading the previous two days reportedly to commission OLE through the
station, it was perhaps surprising that diesel was still necessary east of Maidenhead to Didcot. There is
also a rather unhealthy sounding grinding noise shortly after doors shut, very audible inside carriages
nearby, presumed a solid, mechanical secondary door interlocking mechanism. There is free WiFi
throughout the train which your report describes as 'as good/as bad' as on HSTs (no better then).

There was notable sideways wobble between Swindon and Bristol but this may have been caused
more by Ophelia's affections on this often flat stretch of countryside rather than be down to IET itself.

The airline seats have notably more
legroom than HSTs, with drop-down tables
that appear more slippery though laptops
are easily usable. Priority seats for those
requiring easier access are available. Plugs
are located between the seats, (LEFT:
Stuart Hicks) facing the same direction as
the seat, requiring a 'reverse logic' to
insert plugs compared to HSTs where the
plugs face on airline seats and are above
on tables. This does reduce lead clutter on
tables though and ensures one plug per
seat, double that of HSTs.

Internal doors open when approached;
this is useful provided they remain open if
there is an obstruction in between them
unlike Voyagers. Toilets are not situated at
the end of each coach so demand for these, some of which are smaller than previously, may prove an
issue at times. Some toilets are wider with automatic doors for those with access needs. Similarly,
litter bins are in restricted supply, with none in the seated area of Coach 'A' or the end vestibule. There
appeared to no longer be any 'Quiet Coach' facilities, a possible benefit as one phone ringing in an
otherwise quiet coach is more disruptive than in a normal coach environment. The emergency alarms
are very high up, on the luggage racks which is very surprising. (NEXT PAGE TOP: Stuart Hicks)

First class passengers, based on this formation, are placed at the centre of pairs of IETs, so no longer
targeted at the London end, though are only 3 or 4 coach lengths from it. The doors here are for crew
purposes only but there are no external signs advising passengers of this and those legitimately trying
to access through these were being turned away.

Bristol Parkway's platforms have not yet been extended and the doors of the rear coach 'G'
(surprisingly not the 10th letter of the alphabet) were not opened there. Coach 'L' was the rear of the
leading set. The Train Manager was unsure in advance whether the front or rear coach would be off
platform at Neath, only announcing after arrival that passengers in the rear coach would be those
required to move to the next coach to exit. The return journey also warned passengers at both ends,
though again the rearmost vehicles were off platform at Neath. However, with only part of Coach 'C' at
the rear on platform, all those in the rear 3 coaches had to be instructed to walk forward, leading to a
late departure.

Departing Newport, the train ground to a brief halt with the message 'Crew Call: Passenger call for aid
activated' repeated with various beeps. Bristol Parkway arrival was eventually some 10 minutes late,
reflecting the unfamiliarity of staff and passengers with the new train rather than faults with IET itself.

In many years of travel, seldom has your reporter seen so many GWR staff aboard - ticket examiners,
train manager, cleaner, trolley dollies plus various managers. It was no surprise then that the service's
arrival at Swansea, the first public IET there, was met with an official launch on P2.

The overall impression was 'just about favourable' for this reporter [A sad reflection - Ed], although the
recent poor maintenance of HSTs, including increasingly rough riding, makes the comparison
somewhat unfair on HSTs. However, travellers who prefer some 'give' in seats will not enjoy the
prospect of lengthy journeys - will VTEC specify better seating one wonders for their longer Kings Cross
to Scotland Azumas? GWR services are increasingly commuter in nature so their customers, unlike
their seats, may be more forgiving. Your reporter wonders what IETs will be like when some 45 years
old! Crush loading, with limited toilets, litter bins etc may be an issue he has yet to experience.

ABOVE: A tri-modal IET? As well as electric and diesel it appears to have steam mode! (Stuart Hicks)

X.159] IET Day 1 - Take 2 (Reading between the lines): A second member reports that the first Up
working (sets 800006 and 800005), on which he travelled from Reading to London did not augur
well. It had been delayed by 25 minutes at Bristol owing to technical problems before departure. The
train was still about 25 minutes late at Reading, and reported full and standing, although that was not
the case in the second coach where he found a table seat, and in good company too; Mark Hopwood
(GWR MD) was sitting just down the coach. In the First Class section were invited guests etc, who (on
Paddington P3 later) included Peter Hendy, Andy Mellors, the DfT's GWR franchising manager, and
many of the senior and middle management teams. When the driver tried to change to electric
working the train ground to a halt at Taplow and he had to summon technical assistance over the
public address system. This delayed the journey further and messed up the morning peak service -
although one HST passed, several other trains were delayed for up to half an hour. And the WiFi cut
out too when the diesels were eventually restarted. The offending units were set to North Pole for
examination and rectification so that diagram was not IET for the rest of the day.

So instead of the 08.15 IET return working to Cardiff (cancelled according to RealTime Trains and other
reports) as far as Didcot our member took the 09.15 HST and had a shorter wait for the Up run of the
other IET pair, which duly arrived close to time (delayed by a preceding Swansea HST). He took 800009
to London in Standard Class, and return in First Class to Reading in 800008 on the 11.45 down. This run
was broadly fine and on electric traction from/to Maidenhead (the Pantograph shadow was visible).

A few other first impressions:
●The toilet signs don't tell you if they are engaged.
●The water is badly laid out, hands have to be high up so the water tends to end up on the floor.
●There are no roller towels.
●The toilet door hands are quite difficult to manipulate.
●The catering trolleys park in entrances and can block progress along train.

●There are power sockets for every seat (in First Class next to seat arms) but under each Standard
Class seat, not at all obvious, and not mentioned in the literature available on trains and stations.
●The tables are quite spacious; leg room looks good at tables and in Standard Class airline seats.
●The air conditioning leaves something to be desired - the first train was too hot and humid - the
windows steamed up at one point (two bays in one coach had water on the tables and were taped off).
●Acceleration on diesel power is not that good (on the first Up run) - in electric mode it is good.
●The WiFi did not work in 800009,
●First Class has no litter bins (as staff are supposed to clear rubbish away).
●The buttons for the toilets are opposite the door buttons so you may open the toilet when you
actually want to alight - they might have been better the other side of the toilet door.
●The leaflet shows that 10 car trains will be formed A (quiet - not evident to our first reporter) to E
(First) and then G (quiet) to L (First) at London end - but the 06.00 Bristol arrived with E at the front.
●Platform information displays simply said that coaches D, E, K and L all had first class, without saying
where they were (for example 'front and middle' or 'rear and middle'), and - no doubt inadvertently -
give the impression of a lot of first class seating.

BELOW: First Class saloon. (Stuart Hicks)

1291 EAST MIDLANDS (John Cameron) [email protected]
2123] NET (1): (BLN 1270.3037) Unsurprisingly the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board has said that the
high cost of developing an extension of the tram network from Toton HS2 station to Derby appears to
make it unviable. Instead, they say there is potential for an A52 bus lane with 'rapid' bus services
taking passengers directly to the HS2 station. A second route - bus or rail - is also being considered. It
would run south of the A52 linking Toton HS2 station with Long Eaton, and then Breaston, Borrowash,
Spondon, Pride Park and to Derby station. This would be slower, but serve a much larger population.

2124] NET (2): We are delighted to report that our member and NET employee Daniel Patterson, who
many members will know from our two recent NET railtours, has been named Employee of the Year at
the Global Light Rail Awards in London on 4 Oct. The 21-year-old was praised for his customer service,
outstanding service to the network and commitment to trams and light rail outside of his normal work.
Daniel has organised NET tours and volunteers at Crich National Tramway Museum on his days off.

2125] NET (3): From Sat 21 to Mon 23 Oct inclusive there is work on the OLE and sections of track are
being replaced near Phoenix Park with no service on the branch, trams run to/from Bulwell instead.

2126] Sinfin: The now single track branch was part of the formerly double track Derby to Melbourne
(OP 1868) and later (mostly single track) line on to Ashby De La Zouch (OP 1874). CP 1930 and
CA south of Rolls Royce Siding 30 Dec 1973, it was freight only until 4 Oct 1976. Derby City Council
then sponsored the opening of new stations at Sinfin North and Sinfin Central (with Peartree ROP).
They were aimed at Rolls Royce and other factory workers in Sinfin, due to severe road congestion.

Trains (7 from Derby and 10 from Sinfin - don't ask!) ran to/from Matlock and were crowded initially
with over 2,800 daily commuters! However, the factory shift patterns changed but the trains did not,
they became poorly used and were reduced to four return trips daily with no evening/weekend trains.
Then there were mass redundancies at Rolls Royce and other factories closed. From 11 May 1992 just
one trip, the 06.08 from Matlock which returned from Sinfin Central at 06.57 ran. The final* booked
train service was on 17 May 1993; it was withdrawn because Sprinters were introduced which did not
activate the Lucus low voltage track circuits - the cost of upgrading them was put at £50k at the time,
£100k now. A taxi costing Central Trains £4.50 a day was provided in the morning (only) from Derby
which was actually used by 4-6 regular commuters (with season tickets); the single fare was £1.20.

[*BLN reports that further heritage DMUs ran in service to Sinfin once in Jul 1993 and 26 Nov 1993 at
least for the TUCC. After a rather protracted closure procedure formal closure was from 22 Sep 2002.]

BELOW: Sinfin Central (130m 37ch) waiting shelter, platform & trackside platform fence. (John Cameron)

ABOVE: The tour passing Sinfin North platform (130m 73ch). (John Cameron 8 Oct 2017)

Peartree (BLN 1277.611) remained open, initially
with one train each way between Derby and Crewe,
(3 from and 2 to Derby SSuX; two each way SO). The
single Sinfin North and Central platforms to the
south of the line survive and were seen from the 8
Oct 'Lickey Incliner II' tour that reached just past
Central platform. Aviation fuel is still brought in by
rail from Grangemouth refinery to Rolls Royce for
testing aeroplane engines. The train runs past Sinfin
Central platform and is unloaded in two portions
(siding shown at 130m 20ch on TRACKmaps Vol 4
p25C - Aug 2013). It now runs from Grangemouth via
Mossend, Millerhill, Tyne Yard, Doncaster, the
Barrow Hill line and Derby directly on/off the branch.
Previously it went WCML and Uttoxeter, running
round both ways at 'Ramsline Halt'. When this train
runs, it is due to arrive 06.56 SO with the discharged empty wagons departing for Mossend 16.41 SuO.
ABOVE: The station open to passengers is Peartree with the Sinfin branch heading off southeast.

2127] Derby: While enjoying the excellent 'Lickey Incliner II' railtour on 8 Oct, a quartet of members
noticed that the St Andrews No2 siding (disconnected with the points plain lined by 11 Jul 2016) had
been very recently lifted (lifting equipment still present!); presumably part of the Derby remodelling.

ABOVE: St Andrews Siding No2 in the course of being lifted on 8 Oct, taken from the railtour looking
north, Derby station is just round the corner beyond the new London road overbridge seen upper
middle right. Bottom left is where No1 and No2 siding split from the 'Though siding'. (John Cameron)

1291 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]

2128] Barking Riverside: (BLN 1287.1741) Although the new branch will be owned by NR, the new
station will be the property of TfL. ('RailStaff' website)

2129] Acton Works: (BLN 1282.1152) From 4 Sep sidings 16-23 were decommissioned as the area is
required for the new workshop. ('Underground News')

2130] Barking - Gospel Oak: (BLN 1289.1913) From 29 Oct a new OHL buffer section (a section break)
at Woodgrange Park Jn, from 11m 74ch to 11m 69ch, will be energised (well it's a start!).

2131] Crossrail: (BLN 1290.2031) (1): GEML: A revised timetable for TfL Rail runs from 27 Nov until
19 May 2018. Apart from a slight increase in the peak services, the main alteration is the closure of
Gidea Park carriage sidings, presumably to allow remodelling. Trains will instead be stabled at
Shenfield, Aldersbrook and overnight at Liverpool Street. ('Anglia Gen') (2): GWML: In early Oct it was
noted that ballasted track was being laid at the entrance to the Crossrail tunnels at Westbourne Park,
with central OHL masts being erected. (3) General: details still pending.

2132] Crossrail 2: (BLN 1289.1741) TfL has warned privately that the project might be delayed by a
decade, to the 2040s, to raise funding for the £31bn project. Meanwhile HS2 Ltd has denied claims
that Euston will be unable to cope with the extra passengers generated by HS2 without Crossrail 2.

2133] Croydon Tramlink: TfL has committed £70M to the construction of a new South Wimbledon to
Sutton route but now requires a commitment from Merton and Sutton Councils
of significant contributions towards the total cost of up to £350M. ('Homes & Property' website)

2134] Paddington: (BLN 1286.1636) From 9 Oct new points (facing in the Up direction) were provided
in Line 5 at 0m 72ch, which eventually will form half of a new crossover between Lines 5 and 6
between Subway Jn and Portobello Jn.

2135] Thameslink: (BLN 1290.2035) From 9 Oct a new facing point (clipped OOU) was installed in the
Up Charing Cross Line at Metropolitan Jn at 1m 41ch.

2136] West London Orbital Rail: The West London Alliance, a consortium of five local authorities, is
proposing a DMU service as part of London Overground using the Dudding Hill line. Phase 1 would
operate from 2026, with 4tph from West Hampstead to Hounslow. This would fit in with NR plans for
resignalling the route. Proposed calling points are West Hampstead (new platform on Down Hendon
Line), Cricklewood (new platforms on Hendon Lines), Neasden, Harlesden, Old Oak Common, Acton
Central, South Acton, Brentford, Syon Lane, Isleworth and Hounslow. The Old Oak Common station
would be just short of Acton Wells Jn in Victoria Rd and would have a pedestrian link to the proposed
North London Line station nearby. At Hounslow a new bay P3 would be built south of the existing
platforms. The line between the junction with the Dudding Hill line and the junction with the incline to
the GWML at Acton Wells would be quadrupled and Old Kew Jn re-doubled. Both Bollo Lane level
crossings would close and consideration be given to closing Churchfield Rd crossing at Acton Central.
Phase 2 from 2029 would see a further 4tph operating between Hendon and Kew Bridge. This would
use the west side of Dudding Hill triangle, with a new platform on the Up Hendon Line at Hendon and
new platforms on the Hendon Lines at the yet to be built Brent Cross station. Trains would terminate
at reinstated platforms on the east curve at Kew Bridge. has vast detail.

2137] Waterloo & City Microgricing (BLN 1290.2036): The last guide was in Mar 2010 (BLN 1108.196)
The current WTT (7) is dated 9 Oct 2017; the line is closed on Sundays. Booked Bank platform use:

Bank P7 arr/dep [train running number] Bank P8 arr/dep [train running number]
MWFO: start - 06.39/06.40¼ [202] TThO: start - 06.38¾/06.40¼ [202]
TThO: (stabled)/06.43¼ [203] MWFO: (stabled)/06.43¼ [203]
SSuX: 06.45/06.46½ [204] - 10.30¾/10.32¾ [201]
SSuX: 10.34½/10.37¼ [202] - 16.04½/16.07¼ [202]
SSuX: 16.09½/16.11¾ [203]-17.20¾/17.22 [203]
SSuX: alternate 17.26¼/17.27½ [201]-19.38¼/19.39½ [203] SSuX: alternate 17.23¼/17.24½ [205]-19.40¾/19.42 [205]
SSuX: 19.43¾/19.45 [201] - 21.26½/21.28½ [202]
TThO: 21.30½/21.33½ [203] - 23.19¾/23.22 [203]
TThO: 23.26½/23.28½ [205] - close MWFO: 21.30½/21.33½ [203] - close
SO: (stabled)/08.02¼ [203]
SO: 08.04½/08.07¼ [201] - close

2138] …..And Finally, Don't be Alarmed! Residents close to Abbey Wood station were warned that
the public address and voice alarm system on all four platforms and in the new station building would
be tested between 19.00 and 23.00 on 20 Oct. As part of the validation of the emergency system, this
would involve the use of 'pink noise', described as a loud hissing sound, to set up the speaker system.

1291 NORTH EAST (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]

2139] Stockton & Darlington Railway (S&DR): (BLN 1290.2038) The S&DR is the only railway of this
vintage to have had celebrations on each of its 50th anniversaries. The 50th anniversary celebration in

1875 included unveiling of a statue of Joseph Pease, the inevitable banquet (attended by the Lord

Mayor of London) and an exhibition of 'locomotive engines etc' at North Road station. The exhibition
included Locomotion No1, which by this time was on display on a pedestal at North Road station. It

was moved from there and supplied with steam to allow the movement of the wheels and valve gear.

The 1925 centenary celebration was a much larger affair, only a few years after grouping and so the
various new companies, in particular the LNER, had a motive to put on a show. The International
Railway Congress was due to meet in Spain, but in view of the centenary the Congress Committee
suggested that, if the celebrations were held in July instead of the anniversary in September, they
would hold it in London instead of in Madrid. This is why the main celebration was moved forward to
July. An exhibition entitled a 'Collection of Railway Relics and Modern Stock' was held at the then fairly
new Darlington Faverdale wagon works. This was visited by the Duke and Duchess of York (later King
George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother). These relics had been collected over the preceding
30 or more years and formed the nucleus of the old Queen Street Railway Museum in York.

The procession was held on 2 Jul 1925 starting at Stockton. A
large grandstand was built north of the Darlington to
Eaglescliffe line between Goosepool (roughly Teesside Airport
station site) and Urlay Nook. An estimated 250,000 people
lined the route. The Duke and Duchess spent the night at
Fencehouses (Leamside line) on the Royal Train which then ran
to the viewing stand. 55 locomotives, some hauling trains, from
all the pre-grouping companies took part in the procession,
which ran from Stockton towards Darlington. It was headed by
the 1822 Hetton Colliery loco, (LEFT) surprisingly under its own
steam - although it had been rebuilt in 1857 and again in 1882.
Two LNER electric locos had, of course, to be hauled by steam
locos. There were also an NER Railbus, an LNER petrol autocar and a Sentinel steam railcar. The
cavalcade concluded with Locomotion No1, apparently under her own steam, (BELOW) but in fact
driven by a petrol engine hidden in the replica tender and with oily rags burning in the smoke box to
produce a smoke effect! Each unit in the cavalcade had to stay 135yd apart, and for this purpose
marker boards were placed at set intervals
along the track. Trains had to stay 270yd
apart. Crews were issued with a white flag,
and should any unit be brought to a standstill,
the flag had to be held out of the right hand
side of the footplate; this was repeated along
the line of the cavalcade.

There was a railborne display (tableaux)
showing the evolution of the wheel in
transport from its use by early man to the
development of railways worldwide. The
exhibits were mounted on six 40 ton wagons,
with six 12 ton goods wagons between each,
carrying captions with a brake van at the end:

 Symbolic wheel, with early astrologers  Wheels on abandoned Sedan chairs
 The first wheel, with early man  Wheels on locos, George Stephenson & friends
 Pharaohs drawn by slaves (wheeled platforms)  The worldwide use of railways

This train (NEXT PAGE TOP LEFT) carried a band in one of the wagons. Unfortunately, the train stopped
rather abruptly at the stand. Accounts differ, but one version claims that part of the trumpet section
ended up sprawled on the floor of the wagon, still playing valiantly! This display was given some of the
loudest applause, for both 'Locomotion' and the tenacity of the musicians.

When the procession had passed, the dignitaries returned to Stockton for lunch. After this the Duke
unveiled a tablet on the building at St. John's Crossing from which the first railway ticket was issued.

[BLN 1291]
The tablet bore the inscription,
'Here the Stockton and Darlington
Railway Company issued the first
passenger railway ticket thus
marking an epoch in the history of

2140] Saltburn: (BLN 1290.2039). The railway was built to access ironstone, mined nearby for the
furnaces of Middlesbrough. The development of a new town on the cliff top above the old fishing
village was the brainchild of Henry Pease, a leading figure in the S&DR, who founded the Saltburn
Improvement Company in partnership with other luminaries. The town was laid out according to a
plan by George Dickenson, a Darlington surveyor, but a variety of people designed individual buildings,
of which the two key ones are Saltburn station and the Zetland Hotel, both by William Peachey.

When OA 19 Aug 1861 the original
temporary terminus (RIGHT) was
north of the line, replaced by the
present station building to the
south on an unknown date.
Excursion traffic built up rapidly,
and in 1870 the original platform,
lengthened and equipped with a
waiting shed and toilets, became a
separate excursion station.
Increased traffic led the NER to
extend the main station platform
and provide additional bays at the
west end. An Aug 1969 picture
shows that the through 'Zetland'
platform was then P1, the one to
the south of it P2, and the present
P1 and P2 were then P3 and P4 respectively. has 1969 pictures of the station.

1291 NORTH WEST (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
2141] Kirkdale: Work has begun on enabling works for the new depot (with 2019 completion) for the
new Merseyrail fleet, expected to be introduced during 2020 with all 52 trains in service by 2021.
The contract for the trains, depot and maintenance is worth £700M with an option on an extra 60
EMUs. The new depot will have a driving cab simulator, a link between the 'trainer' and 'trainee' and a
lecture theatre for observers. There will also be a train wash facility, office and stabling for up to 30
trains. Birkenhead North depot remains in use and plans including a new train wash.

2142] Metrolink: By late Aug the platforms at Victoria had been renumbered: ⮚'A' is now M1, ⮚'B' is
M2, ⮚'C' is M3 and ⮚'D' is M4. Bury and Rochdale trams use M1 inbound and M4 outbound. Our
member wonders if Metrolink are preparing to extend the Airport trams from Deansgate-Castlefield
via the Second City Crossing to Victoria centre platform? St Peter's Square also has platform numbers:

⮚M1: The northwest-most platform, is for the second City Crossing towards Exchange Square.

⮚M2: The platform towards 'The Delta' junction (Market Street/Piccadilly Gardens).

⮚M3: The platform (from the Second City Crossing) towards Deansgate-Castlefield etc.

⮚M4: The southeast-most platform, is from 'The Delta' towards Deansgate-Castlefield etc.

At Deansgate-Castlefield there didn't appear to be any platform numbers.

2143] Huyton: (BLN 1290.2054) ABOVE: Thanks to Martyn Brailsford, showing the three stages of the
layout. The minimum journey to cover the new fourth track (Up Chat Moss Slow) is Broad Green to
Prescot. Trains towards St Helens Central must use this line. Services for St Helens Junction, can use
the Up Chat Moss Fast or Up Chat Moss Slow (and the facing crossover at the east end of Huyton P4).
Trains terminating from the St Helens Central direction use this crossover to reverse in Huyton P4, a
signalled move, (in the interim three track layout this happened in P3). There is a fixed red about 50yd
west of Huyton P4. The crossover was in use/is to be used 9-13 & 16-22 Oct in the evening/weekends
for turnbacks due to the Lime Street work. Freight trains can be looped on the Up Chat Moss Slow.

X.160] BELOW UPPER: (BLN 1290.2055) The temporary crossover at Liverpool Lime Street (mainline)
that was only used at certain times from 9 to 20 Oct giving access between P2 (left) and the Up Slow.
The latter was worked (with the overhead live) bidirectionally to Edge Hill. There the facing crossover
at 1m 09ch was used in the Down direction to access the single line. Much work was going on between
the two stations. The EMU is leaving P1 the only other platform in use. (Mark Simkins 9 Oct 2017)

BELOW LOWER: P1 on the right looking towards the buffer stops with a train in P2 on the left.
(Ian Mortimer 13 Oct 2017)

ABOVE: An EMU arriving into P2 over the temporary crossover, note the temporary LED signalling for
P1 & P2 which could each accommodate one 4-car train. (Mark Simkins 9 Oct 2017)

BELOW: From the London end of P1, the Up Slow (still in use) is far left. (Ian Mortimer 13 Oct 2017)

ABOVE: Meanwhile this was the scene at Liverpool South Parkway; the temporary extension to P4 for
Virgin Pendolinos is in the foreground. A London Midland Birmingham train is on the left and a TPE
Class 185 train to Scarborough is on the Hunts Cross Chord (upper middle background).

BELOW: The substantial temporary extension to P4 (in use again next July). (Both Ian Mortimer 13 Oct)

2144] NW Bolt-on Item: (BLN 1288.1860) The official commissioning date of the new Bolton layout
and signalling should have been 29 Aug. The previous signalling was actually signed out on 12 Aug at
00.56 and the new wasn't signed in until 4 Sep at 23.30, due to the to delays following the burst water
main at Moses Gate. Control remains with Manchester Piccadilly PSB as before. Since commissioning
P4 has (as expected) been temporarily OOU for reconstruction of the edging, which is taking a long
time, with all trains to Preston and Wigan Wallgate using P5 (the new layout does not allow them to
use P3). They are still (throughout the current timetable) booked to use P4 but change to P5 after the
event on Realtime Trains etc. P5 when completed will be very long (the section already open takes 8
cars), possibly to accommodate Pendolinos from/to Euston? During the Aug Bolton engineering
closure the track in bay P2 was relaid. There has been good progress with the OLE steelwork.

2145] Settle & Carlisle line: (BLN 1283.1280) Although ROA 31 Mar 2017 (after TCA during 9 Feb 2016
with the collapse and slipping of the formation at Eden Brows), considerable work has continued to
stabilise the foot of this very tall embankment by the River Eden and NR releases regular bulletins.
River silt booms have recently been fitted. Further completed works includes continuing removal of
spoil (mostly by train), and installing the first set of cut off drains and river rock armour. Scour work is
due to end late November leaving installation of the remaining cut off drains to complete the project.

1291 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA) (Julian James) [email protected]

2146] Sheringham: Balfour Beatty has completed the final bridge beam lifts on the 20km Norwich
Northern Distributor Road project; one of its eight bridges crosses the branch about 2½km from
Whitlingham Jn towards Salhouse. 32 beams have been lifted into place at Middle Road, Great
Plumstead using a 500 tonne crane. Work took two days creating a second 'green bridge' on the route,
with hedgerow and panelling providing a dark corridor - a safe bat crossing [free batmobiles next?].

2147] Felixstowe: (BLN 1278.746) The £60.4M scheme to increase freight services and create a more
reliable railway has been approved by the Secretary of State for Transport and the Port of Felixstowe.
A second track will be installed between Trimley station and Grimston Lane foot crossing. This will
allow up to 47 freight trains to run per day, 14 more than can now run on the single line. In the coming
months, engineers will start clearing vegetation in preparation for building the second track. The
project is funded through the Strategic Freight Network, with a contribution from Hutchison Ports UK.
NR also submitted a TWAO application earlier this year to close six level crossings as part of the
project. A public inquiry will be held early next year. Four level crossings will also be upgraded. (NR)

2148] Oxford (1): (BLN 1287.1759) The basic structure of a new P2 & 3 canopy has been erected
roughly 4 car lengths north of the footbridge. It is due to be completed in November. There will also be
a canopy on P1 in due course, perhaps to be finished by January. Work on the canopy is restricted to
Saturday nights as the only time when a possession can be taken. One presumes it will be compatible
with the proposed £125M Oxford station rebuild (the July track and signalling works reportedly were)?

2149] Oxford (2): (BLN 1224.71) Work is expected to begin early next year on an ambitious £1M eight
month project to restore the historic Rewley Road Swing Bridge (a scheduled ancient monument) over
the Sheepwash Channel. The bridge is still owned by NR and stands immediately east of the main line
just north of Oxford station. After securing financial support from a range of bodies, including Historic
England, NR, the Railway Heritage Trust and Oxford City Council, the bridge's custodians, Oxford
Preservation Trust, plan to invite tenders from specialist engineering firms, to start restoration work.

The swing bridge was designed by Robert Stephenson & Co in 1850 and built by the London & North
Western Railway (LNWR) the following year, to provide a crossing over a waterway that links the
Oxford Canal with the River Thames, known as the 'Sheepwash Channel'. Its railway accessed the
LNWR, Oxford Rewley Road terminus. This CP 1 Oct 1951 with the diversion of Cambridge, Bedford
and Bicester trains to Oxford station, but the bridge was used by coal trains until Rewley Road coal
yard CG 11 May 1984. It is abandoned and locked in the open position alongside the waterway. Rewley
Road Swing Bridge is one of only two moving bridges across the Thames - the other is Tower Bridge.

ABOVE: Oxford, the new canopy on 3 Oct, a Chiltern DMU is in bay P2 (Stuart Hicks 3 Oct 2017)

BELOW: The swing bridge is open on 8 Jun 1977, a single track was then still in use to access the coal
depot at Oxford Rewley Road (ahead) - looking south. (Robin Webester)

2150] Reading: [BLN 1290.2029] At least some OLE commissioning took place over the whole 14/15
Oct weekend (rather than 24 Sep); the station was closed to GWR services except to/from Redhill/
Gatwick Airport. Amazingly the GWR website described this as 'emergency work for more OLE testing
in the Reading area'. Three more Sunday morning shut downs are planned. Passengers could change at
Oxford for Chiltern services to/from London. Of particular note, maintaining the GWR 'long way round'
tradition on the Saturday, an 06.17 Hereford to Swansea HST ran via Oxford, Foxhall Jn, Swindon,
Kemble, Gloucester and Lydney finally reaching Swansea at 12.05! There was no through GWR service
in the opposite direction; it's been a few years since there were through trains between Hereford and
Gloucester! The 'emergency' engineering work coincided with a Severn Tunnel closure. Interestingly it
is reported that the first Down public IETs on 16 Oct changed to diesel power at Maidenhead…

1291 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]

2151] South Western Railway: SWR is consulting from 29 Sep to 22 Dec on the 9 Dec 2018 timetable.
Described as major changes, the proposals have been developed with extensive input from customers
and stakeholders who asked for added peak capacity, faster services, earlier and later trains and more
Sunday services. A final consultation document will be put to the DfT and NR;
has narrative summaries. Full M-F timetables are provided under NRT table numbers but in Excel
format and for these days only. While they are comprehensive and interesting, little use has been
made of the formatting available in Excel; an immediate need is to keep the station bank as a visible
left hand column as seen on the screen. (In a downloaded copy, select the 'View' tab, then Freeze
Panes with the cursor on a cell in the first column of times and the row with Waterloo departures).

2152] Not long at Longcross: (BLN 1289.1949) Some 40 years ago a member set himself the task of
acquiring platform tickets from all the stations still issuing them, many being on the Southern region.
Longcross Halt was one. On 18 Oct 1978 he caught the 10.14 from Feltham to Longcross Halt (10.32)
in the hope it was manned and still issuing. Luckily it was and a ticket was obtained, No0188, a '3d'
(that's three pence in pre-decimal money for the very young members, 80 to the pound) British
Railways Board Edmondson card, although it actually cost him 4p (25 to the pound) - decimalisation
was 15 Feb 1971. He wonders who the other 187 purchasers were. The railman on duty showed him
his ticket rack with a good selection of First Class tickets allegedly for MoD Civil Servants coming on

It was a very short visit as he returned on the 10.36 to Richmond. Of the two off-peak services
mentioned in item 1949, the latest SWR (2017) timetable now has only a 13.35 (SX) Down, with no Up
lunchtime train. To spell out the geography, exiting the station you are facing south. It is then the left-
hand (eastward) path that is surfaced and was blocked off, and the right-hand (westward) path that is
unsurfaced and leads eventually to the B386 roundabout.

1291 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon) [email protected]

2153] Parson Street: On 3 Sep a community event to celebrate the 90th birthday of this Bristol station
took place. OP as late as 1927, it suffered derisory services in the 1990s. However, recorded journeys
have increased from under 2,000 in 1997/98 to 127,000 in 2015/16 according to ORR statistics.

2154] Salisbury - Exeter: Railfuture, the independent rail users group, has published a document
detailing practical steps that can be taken to solve capacity and reliability issues, in the short term and
later when additional funding becomes available. They advocate that additional class 158 and 159
units should be allocated to the route as part of rolling stock cascades to permit most trains to be at
least six car lengths as far west as Yeovil. They also suggest that the existing passing loop at Tisbury
needs to be lengthened to provide more operational flexibility. They call for additional passing loops,
in Crewkerne and in East Devon. While the primary concern is acknowledged to be a more frequent
and reliable service west of Salisbury, Railfuture also recognises the value of the route as a credible
diversionary path for Great Western services when required.

2155] Dorset: In advance of the publication of South Western Railway's draft Dec 2018 timetable,
rail users in south Dorset have reacted angrily to the Company's plan to replace one of the two trains
to Waterloo each hour with a service running between Weymouth and Portsmouth, reports
Railfuture. The proposal is that apart from peaks minor stations west of Southampton would only be
served by the Portsmouth service, forcing passengers to change at Southampton travelling to/from
London. There are exceptions; eg Pokesdown continues to have an hourly Waterloo service..
2156] Island Line: Railfuture reports that Isle of Wight rail users are heartened by the enthusiasm for
the Island Line shown by their new Conservative MP, Bob Seely. He has even been reported as calling
reopening of the lines to Newport (CP 22 Feb 1966) and Ventnor (CP 18 Apr 1966 and lifted in 1970).
Shorter term hopes are resting on the promised review of Island line operations by South Western

Railway. Early signs are that the company is receptive to re-introducing a 20 minute frequency service.

1291 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]

X.161] ABOVE: The 'Lickey Incliner II' railtour (advertised in BLN) from Derby to Moreton Park stone
terminal via Rowsley South and Sinfin Central arrives at Great Malvern for a stop while, (as booked),
awaiting a train from Hereford to clear the single line from Ledbury. This Rail Operations Group (ROG)
tour celebrated the 70th birthday of our Derby member Alan Spencer who started his railway career on
25 Feb 1963 at Bromsgrove Motive Power Depot and is now a ROG Control Manager at Derby. BELOW:
The tour departs for Hereford after arrival of the Paddington service. (Both Alex Stewart Sun 8 Oct)

2157] Double Crossed at Walsall: It has been reported that the Down Walsall Slow line between
Walsall Pleck Jn (5m 44ch*) and Walsall North Jn (6m 40ch*) is not being electrified. With an 'all EMU'
service expected after electrification, P1 (on the Down Walsall Slow) now used by DMUs to Rugeley
Trent Valley will be OOU. This platform is not conveniently connected to the rest of the station; it is
quite a walk round outside the station. The track layout also means that through EMUs will observe
right hand running (Rugeley to Birmingham P2 and vice versa P3) and therefore 'potentially' conflict at
Walsall North Jn. They will be able to crossover at Walsall South Jn or Walsall Pleck Jn though. With a
half-hourly service this is not expected to be a problem. P3 (the 'current' electrified one, previously a
bay and now a 'pseudo-bay' with the restoration of through running) is bidirectional but only for
turnbacks from the south. [*Miles from the former Dudley Jn south of Dudley Port low level station.]

2158] Washwood Heath: The extensive Up Yard (to Derby direction), closed by DBC for some time, is
now used for storing redundant steel wagons. However, around 100yd of Washwood Heath Arrival/
Departure Line No1 from Washwood Heath West Jn and the associated crossovers at 39m 54ch are
well used for freight trains reversing on the Down Derby Goods to run-round.

1291 YORKSHIRE (Graeme Jolley; Geoff Blyth for North & East Yorks) email addresses elsewhere

2159] Doncaster iPort: (TRACKmaps Vol 2 p34A - Oct 2016) A connection was due to be installed on
15 Oct between Brancliffe East Jn and Kirk Sandall Jn for this new intermodal facility. St Catherines
Loop will have a new facing connection (14m 75ch) OOU in the Up direction to the future Rossington
iPort Siding. It was thought the old curve formation from there to Black Carr East box, closed by May
1972, might have been used, but the new connection faces the wrong way for that to happen. It is a
direct connection from the South Yorkshire Joint line near Doncaster, now just a through freight line
with no intermediate traffic sources. There may eventually be a second access to the new terminal via
the Rossington Colliery Jn to Rossington branch (used for spoil traffic to Scunthorpe, Roxby Gullet).

1291 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]

2160] Londonderry P2: (BLN 1274.310) It is understood that P2 will be permanently OOU from about
the end of Jan 2018 after timetable alterations and the abolition of signals between Bellarena and
Londonderry, to facilitate start of work on the new station. Anyone who needs it has been warned!

2161] Bangor: Due to canopy work there are frequent platform alterations; P1 is closed 16 to 27 Oct.

2162] Carrickfergus: On Wed 11 Oct the 17.06 Belfast Great Victoria Street to Larne Harbour ran
through P3; the northern exit from this platform is NRU. The Society was represented on the train.

2163] Timetable Changes: Irish Rail intends to change the timetable 'in line' with standard European
changes. A new timetable will therefore be introduced on 10 Dec but details are not yet available.

2164] Ireland 2040: As part of this Irish Government Plan these rail aspirations have been listed:
☘ Key rail projects set out in the Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area including: ☘ DART
expansion for mobility and sustainability. ☘ All major rail routes in the Dublin area upgraded to DART.
☘ A second line through the city (the high capacity DART Underground line) linking the Northside
DART with routes from Heuston would dramatically expand capacity with a major increase in the
number of trains operating on all lines into Dublin. It would connect all routes into an integrated
network.☘ Improved access to Dublin Airport with improved public transport, consideration of heavy
rail access to facilitate direct services from the national rail network in the context of potential future
electrification. ☘ Travel while working, broadening labour catchments to benefit of the international
competitiveness of major cities in Ireland. ☘ Develop the existing good quality rail links between
Dublin and Belfast and Cork into an island rail spine through lines speed and service enhancements.
On the Cork route this would significantly benefit journeys between Dublin and Kerry and Limerick.

2165] Moving 'block': (BLN 1290.2077) On Sat 21 Oct the single line working (when required) is over
the Up Line between the facing crossover at Kildare and trailing crossover at Portarlington.

2166] Ophelia Storms in: On Mon 16 Oct and until necessary train speed restrictions were initially

reduced to a maximum of 50mph (or lower as existing) in both directions during the storm between:

(1): Cork to Cobh and Midleton. (2): Killarney Jn to Tralee. (3): Cork to Charleville. (4): Rosslare

Europort to Gorey. (5): Kilkenny to Waterford. The following lines were closed until further notice (1):

Killonan Jn to Ballybrophy. (2) Waterford West Jn to Limerick Junction. Later in the day winds were so

strong that all Irish Rail and services were suspended as were NIR routes after about 17.45.

1291 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]

2167] Douglas Promenade: The Department of Infrastructure is progressing detailed designs for the
redevelopment of Douglas Promenade, with the intention of submitting a planning application in
October. Subject to approval being granted, work will start in Sep 2018 to reconstruct the area widely
regarded as the 'gateway to the Isle of Man'. So 'business as usual' is expected on the present Douglas
Bay Horse Tramway next year for the last time. Included is a full-depth excavation and reconstruction
of the failing highway and drainage, the laying of more than 7,500m of tram rails and the installation of
new water and gas mains and ducting. Based on the Department's experience and expertise in
delivering complex civil engineering projects of this magnitude, a construction period of up to three
years is considered a realistic timescale to complete the work. has details.

2168] IOM Steam Railway … can't get the staff: The Douglas to Castletown single line staff (as in staff
and ticket) incredibly has four sections (1): Douglas - Port Soderick, (2): Port Soderick - Santon,
(3): Santon - Ballasalla and (4): Ballasalla - Castletown. The normal crossing point for an ordinary 'R'
timetable (four departures each way per day) is Castletown but when there is a daytime Dining Train
or Driving Experience the staff is regularly split with both Port Soderick and Santon being used as
crossing points. During the last few months Ballasalla has not been used for crossing, due to a track
defect, however it is understood that this has now been rectified. The Castletown - Port Erin staff has
just two sections for crossing at Colby. Does anyone know of a staff with more than four sections?

PREVIOUS PAGE: The four part Douglas to Castletown single line staff. (Graeme Jolley Oct 2017)

2169] Port Erin: (BLN 1290.2081) From 'IOM Today': In a
'surprise development' foundations are also being laid for
a future (third) platform, to the left on arrival, alongside
the loco shed and museum, opposite to the terminal end
of the main platform now being realigned. The new
platform, for dining and private hire trains, was not in the
planning application approved by the Council of Ministers
in 2013 or the drawing with the Department of
Infrastructure's (DOI) press release on the current works!
The DOI said that during the current works the opportunity
is being taken to prepare for a possible additional platform
but it would need planning and funding considerations.
Two agents advised BLN that the plan may be to remove
the existing Port Erin bay platform as part of the new bus interchange. ABOVE LEFT: Foundations for
the possible new platform at Port Erin, looking towards the end of line. (IMSR Supporters Association)

1291 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe) [email protected]

2170] Forres: (BLN 1290.2006-8) The recent closure of the 1863 route and second station is a chance
to recall another element of the layout, lost in 1965. Between Forres South and Forres East boxes was
a single track connection - the fork line (1870 OS map, 25" to the mile, zoom
in or see NEXT PAGE UPPER), and the 1904 version - NEXT PAGE LOWER
Note: Old Station Road has become Market Street and the new (1863) Station Road is Tytler Street!).

It was (according to 1960 Sectional Appendix) a 'non-token' block section (no token or train staff was
used, despite being single track), restricted to 10mph, which crossed the 1863 station approach on the
level - the gates being worked by a station porter. The distance between the two boxes was given as
500yd although the fork itself would have been rather shorter. It has recently become clear that -
despite not appearing in PSUL at the time - the fork had a regular passenger train, explaining the
BLN 42 (dated 13 Oct 1965) front page passenger closure entry: 'Aviemore - Forres (both curves)' from
18 Oct 1965. You can see BLN 42 and many others for yourself on our new website!

ABOVE: 1870 OS map. BELOW: 1904 map; both 25" to the mile. In both cases the line to Inverness is
off left, Aberdeen top right and Aviemore via Dava and Grantown-on-Spey (West) bottom middle.

The train in question was the 04.20 SuX Aviemore to Elgin, which ran via the fork, as evidenced by
entries in copies of the 1965 Train Register Book for Forres South box - including for its last day of
operation, Sat 16 Oct 1965. The train then set back from East box into a Keith-line platform (there
being no platforms on the fork) for its 12 minute Forres station stop - mainly, of course, for mails and
parcels. The relevant archived on-line copies of PSUL have been amended to include a suitable entry.
After the withdrawal of the Aviemore line passenger service, the fork continued to be the means of
access to the truncated section to Dallas Dhu (distillery) siding (NJ 036 567), as 'one engine in steam'
south from Forres South. That box itself was finally switched out on Mon 15 Aug 1966 when the South
- West curve was put out of use. Then, the train staff section extended from Forres East to Dallas Dhu,
although this was fairly short lived because the access at Forres East was severed on 21 May 1967.

It is understood that the fork was used by war time naval leave specials between Elgin and the south,
and it was used by at least one railtour: the RCTS/SLS Joint tour from Inverness on Sat 16 Jun 1962; this
went twice round the triangle (!) so that the loco and train continued facing forward on its departure
to Aviemore, while avoiding the need for uncoupling and recoupling. This incredible 10 day tour
continued from 14 to 23 Jun 1962 (inclusive) see did any reader do it all?

2171] Inverness - Keith Jn: Since Tue 17 Oct, as part of the £332M Stage 1 work, Keith Junction Signal
Box to Inverness Signalling Centre, previously controlled from Elgin, Forres and Nairn Signal Boxes,
has been controlled from Inverness Signalling Centre, Highland Workstation. Axle Counters have been
installed between 30m 756yd and 128m 660yd. Further details of the changes from 17 Oct….

2172] Nairn: The 'Up & Down Main Line' is renamed the 'Up & Down East Single Line'. The 'Up Loop'
(from 128m 63ch to 129m 04ch is 737yd - 62 Standard Length Units - SLU) is now the 'Up Nairn Loop'.
This area was re-controlled to Inverness without signalling or track alteration. Our on the spot reporter
found little visible change recently except signal post telephones have sprouted up all over the place.

BELOW: Yes, it's the end of token working at Nairn! (Nick Jones 6 0ct 2017)

2173] Forres: (BLN 1290.2006-8) Both platforms at the new station are 175yd long. P1 south of the line
and more convenient for the town is on the 'Up & Down East Single Line' which has been realigned and
extended to 1,263yd, taking 180 SLU in the Up direction (to Aberdeen). P2, across the new bridge, is
north of the line on 'Up and Down Forres Loop' this has been realigned and extended from 218yd to
1,410yd in the Down direction (to Inverness) taking 201 SLU. Both lines are bidirectionally signalled.

The original Forres East to West direct line (CA as a through route in 1965) was single track, but is now
part of the double track extending from 119m 58ch (miles from Perth via Dava) in the east, just west
of Findhorn Viaduct, to 0m 64ch (miles from the previous Forres station towards Keith Jn) in the west.
There is a change of mileage at 119m 29ch = 0m 00ch east of the new station (itself at 0m 07ch).
The previous mileage change 119m 26ch = 0m 00ch shows that the new straighter route is 3ch shorter.

ScotRail staff from the old Forres station have been transferred to the new one. On 6 Oct some station
adopters were salvaging plants from the old station. New planters are being sourced for the new one.
The 19.34 Edinburgh to Inverness DMU was indeed the final passenger train to be signalled by the
three boxes and use the old Forres station. It left there 42 mins late at 00.26 Sat 7 Oct 2017. Despite
the late hour several photographers were present to mark the event and the British Transport Police
attended but were not required to do anything. The previous line was lifted by the Mon evening 9 Oct.

2174] Keith Junction - Elgin: The 'Up & Down Main Line' between Keith Junction Signal Box and Elgin
has been re-named 'Up and Down East Single Line'.

2175] Elgin: The Down Passenger loop (P2) is now bidirectional, renamed 'Up and Down Elgin Loop' it
extends from 11m 58ch to 12m 48ch (miles from the previous Forres station) and has been lengthened
over the site of the signal box from 413yd to 642yd (91 SLU). The double track section now extends
over Elgin (Wards Road) level crossing. Newly installed motorised points have replaced the ground
frame at the entry to Elgin Yard and the sidings in the yard have been partially re-laid and re-aligned.

After the last passenger train (above) before the line closed there was still one more train to arrive at
Elgin: 6K50 Millerhill to Elgin (top and tailed engineer's with Freightliner 66's). Realtime Trains showed
this right-time at Elgin at 00.20 but this may be a mistake. When our member arrived from Forres at
Elgin Level Crossing at about 00.50, he could see into the box and the Tokenless Block instrument to
Keith was showing red for a train in the block approaching Elgin from Keith. It finally appeared at Elgin
station around 01.15. After a while, the instrument went to green and the train departed back into the
Keith section (only a couple of chains east of the loop points at Elgin). The box was then shut at 01.34
with bell code 7-5-5, closing signal box, (with the Block instrument still at green!). Although surprising
at first sight, it is an original design feature of the Scottish Region Tokenless Block system so that
signallers can dispatch a train, then shut the box without having to wait for the train to reach the far
end of the section. This was intended for remote areas with the signalman leaving on the final train.

Reportedly, demolition of the 1951 built Elgin Signal Box (formerly Elgin West) started about 06.00 the
same day (the loop extension runs through its site). By the time our reporter returned around 09.00,
only a section of the brick base and the stairs remained. By 10.00, after there was nothing but rubble.

This line was the last example of regular Key Token working on a main line in Scotland. However:
(a): Dunragit - Stranraer uses Key Tokens on the (very rare) occasions that Stranraer is switched in.
(b): The Mauchline - Ayr freight line is still worked by Key Token (No Signalman Key Token).
(c): Girvan - Barrhill - Glenwhilly - Dunragit still uses Tyer's No6 Tablet working (BLS visits 1 Mar 2014).

2176] Alves: (BLN 1237.1325) Also from 17 Oct, Alves Ground Frame (6m 42ch) and Burghead branch
connection was removed (disconnected pre-Apr 2014). The Sectional Appendix entry is withdrawn.

NEXT PAGE UPPER: Token exchange at Nairn on 6 Oct, now a thing of the past. (All Nick Jones)

NEXT PAGE LOWER: Train to Aberdeen calling at Forres on the station's last day - 6 Oct 2017.

E-BLN 1291 has a supplement of pictures of the new station taken 19 Oct by Greg Beecroft.


ABOVE: The onetime Forres East Jn looking west from Waterford Level Crossing (0m 23ch) on 6 Oct.
The new alignment and station to the right and left is the now lifted loop to the previous station.
BELOW: In the early hours of sat 7 Oct the signaller, bottom left, leaves Elgin (West) signal box for the
final time as the orange army prepares for action….

ABOVE: Later on Sat 7 Oct Elgin box is reduced to a pile of rubble - part of the lever frame is seen here.
The urgency was because the loop has been extended over its footprint (cue quick chorus of
'The Railroad Runs Through the Middle of the House….!' )

2177] Having more at Aviemore: (BLN 1290.2084) Confirming that BLS members are at the top of their
game: On the 30 Sep SRPS Ayr to Inverness tour (which did Brownhill Up Passenger Loop), after the
Inverness move with 08523, two members were not put off by cancellation of the 12.53 train to
Aviemore. They summoned a taxi with two others (£15 each, the rail fare is £12.40 or £8.10 with a
railcard) and reached the Strathspey for the top 'n tailed diesel loco special that ran onto Dulnain
Bridge (like our 4 Sep 2015 tour with PLEG) and into the Roy Hamilton Carriage Shed with 08490.

1291 WALES (Paul Jeffries) [email protected]
2178] Llandeilo - Carmarthen line: (CA 9 Sep 1963) The Welsh Government has announced a grant of
£132k to progress plans for work in the Nantgaredig area as part of a proposed 16-mile Tywi Valley
Path which will, where possible, follow the former trackbed. Costings for the full project are £5M-£8M,
and work will proceed in stages, subject to negotiations with landowners and the available funding.

2179] New stations: The Welsh Government has confirmed that it plans to work in partnership with
NR and Flintshire County Council on developing a new Deeside Parkway station between Hawarden
Bridge and Neston, as well as improved interchange between Shotton high and low level. The 2018-19
draft budget also includes provision of £50M to fund a new Llanwern park-and-ride station (which has
quick access from the new M4 route), serving a major regeneration area east of Newport earmarked
for housing, industry and commerce. The emerging South Wales Metro scheme is said to envisage a
cross-city rail service between Llanwern and the Celtic Springs business park, to the west of the city.

2180] Wales & Borders Franchise: (BLN 1290.2092) The recent statement is interesting more for what
it does NOT state! There is, for example, no indication of the expected duration of the next franchise,
no indication as to whether a light or heavy rail option is preferred for the Valley Lines, or indeed
whether electric or diesel traction is envisaged, and no indication as to what is to replace the large
non-compliant Pacer fleet from 1 Jan 2020. The Welsh Government budget statement does however
acknowledge that capital funding will be earmarked in reserves to buy new rolling stock for the new
Wales and Borders franchise, subject to the outcome of the procurement process.

[BLN 1291]
2181] St Davids Lifeboat Station: Off the beaten track, a new lifeboat station opened at St Justinian's
(SM 723 252) in Oct 2016. This is also the terminus for the seasonal passenger ferry to Ramsey Island.
As well as regular concrete steps down from the coastal path, there is a passenger lift that resembles
Ebbw Vale's cableway (BLN 1290.2002) in some ways - but hopefully operates more regularly.
St Davids equivalent runs on cylindrical 'rails' about 900mm apart, with a rack midway between the
rails, its sideways teeth pointing north. The pinion is in a case about the size of an outboard motor, but
none of the workings is visible. Just to the north is the old lifeboat station, which has its own more
traditional rails alongside steps, a trolley with flanged wheels, and a rusty cable and winding
mechanism at the top. Does anyone have any high resolution pictures for e-BLN please?

2182] Llandaf: The very long drawn out renovation of Llandaf station is at last nearing completion.
Work has included a new footbridge, with passenger lifts to both platforms, resurfacing of the car park
with 74 marked spaces, a 'kiss and ride' drop-off zone, and a new ticket office. The latter on the Up
side is structurally complete, but is yet to be commissioned, and meantime the office on the Down
platform remains in use. New signage features the red and orange colours of the South Wales Metro.

1291 MINOR RAILWAYS (Peter Scott) [email protected]

MR195] Cambrian Heritage Railways (Oswestry), Shropshire (MR p7) (BLN 1285.124): The Railway
was running on Sunday 10 September 2017 as part of the Oswestry Heritage weekend events. In use
was un-named 0-4-0ST (AB2261/1949) with a dogfish wagon and LMS brake van M732435.
The locomotive hauled the train to the north end of Oswestry station platform (18m 11ch) and then
ran non-stop to the current passenger limit which is at 18m 58ch, just short of the Shrewsbury Road
overbridge (18m 61ch). The loco hauled the train back non-stop to the north end of Oswestry platform
and then returned to the middle of the station (18m 16ch). The fare, allowing unlimited riding, was £5.
A Crosville double-decker bus was running between Oswestry station and the other operational
railway at Llynclys.

MR196] Tanat Valley Light Railway, Shropshire (MR p7) (BLNs 1278.MR60 & 1285.1572): The monorail
collection relocated by its owner Rich Morris from Blaenau Ffestiniog is now housed on a site to the
south side of the valley, in which this standard gauge preserved railway runs. It is in a corner of a field
overlooking part of the valley across from the prominent lime kilns, which are a historic feature of
Nantmawr. A 50 yard oval circuit of monorail track has been installed, and for the IRS sponsored first
open day on 23 August, driver experience rides were provided to those willing to try the by no means
smooth running. Most of the collection of upwards of a hundred of the specialised locos, gathered by
Mr Morris from construction industry sites throughout Britain, are in open storage in neat rows, with
large amounts of equipment and ancillary material at the end of the field. The field is also used for
grazing, so access is only by prior arrangement and under supervision.

Rides by DMU or loco and brake van on the standard gauge lines were not available due to crewing
issues, and the general lack of evidence of activity around the Nantmawr base did not augur well for
future progress of the project. This was confirmed by a visit on Sunday 10 September, when the site
was open for the Oswestry Heritage Weekend events. In 2016, there were direction signs for the site
and DMU rides every hour, which were well-patronised. This year there were no direction signs and
only a handful of visitors. There was no action on the standard gauge line, although there were signs
someone had made an attempt at clearing some vegetation, but the rails showed no signs of any
recent use. The (apparently operational) two-car DMU was parked in the new Nantmawr station
(which appeared complete) - but was formed cab to cab. Some restoration had obviously been
recently carried out to the bodywork. There were no noticeboards or volunteers on site to offer any
information. However, the monorail was 'staffed' by two volunteers and was offering rides by
donation, on demand. Adjacent was a small tent offering drinks. The visit was a depressing experience.

MR197] Conwy Valley Railway Museum, Conwy (MR p29 & 32) (BLN 1143.MR140): This Museum is
located adjacent to the Conwy Valley line at Betws-y-Coed station and was visited during the late
afternoon of Friday 8 September. The last train of the day (16.30) on the 7¼" gauge line was sampled.
Motive power was Bo-Bo diesel 'Gwydir Castle', in blue livery, with four covered coaches. The fare was
£2, for which a titled Edmondson card ticket was issued and clipped before departure by the driver.

The Museum itself was not visited. The 15" gauge Tramway was not in use and, from the appearance
of the rails, has not seen any recent operation for a good while. The Museum's web site when checked
in early September stated: 'Unfortunately, the tram is currently not operational. The line was flooded
on Boxing Day and gales have brought down the power cables….it is a big job to get everything
working again'. The item is undated, so it is not known which Boxing Day is being referred to! The Tram
was presumably locked in its shed at the south end of the line, but a derailed wagon was noted near
there. Some of the overhead poles were leaning at an alarming angle and the track needs attention.

ABOVE: Conwy Valley Railway Museum 25 Jun 1983. Betws-y-Coed station looking north towards
Llandudno Jn. The museum on the right with a train on the miniature railway. (Angus McDougall)

MR198] Sandiway Miniature Railway, Cheshire (MR p13) (BLNs 1280.MR74 & 1290.1204 =
1290.2094): The Society visited this 5"/7¼" gauge railway, operated by the Mid Cheshire Model
Engineers, on Sunday 10 September allowing an update on the previous report. The railway is formed

of a simple circuit, around 290yd long with a one platform
station (Woodside) set off the circuit on a loop line. A second
platform road is planned alongside that loop but only the
initial pointwork is in situ. The ride is twice-round although,
when busy, the station by-pass line is now operational
allowing two train-sets to operate at the same time (or when
we are there!). The points are currently manually operated,
requiring two pointsmen for the by-pass to operate.

The elevated much shorter 3½"/5" gauge track was made available for our visit, behind a 'Jinty' (no

number) 0-6-0T, unusually in the scribe's experience running anti-clockwise* and thus making a fine

sight passing steam 'Vivien' on the ground level run. Limited coaching stock for the elevated run is

available but it is not run for the public yet, so this was a notable first. As always, the Model Engineers

were extremely welcoming, despite being somewhat tired after laying, operating and lifting a lengthy

temporary ground-level line the previous day at a nearby fair. The five road shed served off a

turntable, along with a loading line, siding behind the box and two steaming bays (the one set in

concrete having a curve within it), were explored fully. The centre road in the shed is having a bench

built over it such that line usage is likely to be for carriage or wagon storage. [*This is deliberate policy

so outer and inner circuit trains pass each other regularly.] (Souvenir ticket by Jim Sellens.)

MR199] Exmouth Express, Devon (MR p15) (BLN 1286.MR145): The Fun Park and historic 10¼" gauge
railway closed on Thursday 31st August 2017, on expiry of the site lease. Sadly, another traditional
seaside miniature railway has gone. A motion was discussed at an extraordinary East Devon District
Council meeting on Wednesday 13 September calling for prevention of further unnecessary dereliction
and to save the current community and visitor offer, that the closure of the Fun Park be postponed
and an extended lease granted. But after an hour-long discussion, councillors voted by 26 votes to 21
to reject the motion, and as a result, the Fun Park did not reopen. The Council will now prepare the
site for a range of new temporary attractions over the next year pending a long term planned
development, which has faced massive delays. The contents of the Fun Park, including the railway,
were sold on site at Exmouth by auction at 12 noon on Thursday 14 September by MST Auctioneers
Limited of Marcus Road, Dunkerswell, Honiton, Devon. The auction catalogue described the railway
(Lot 7) as '10¼" gauge diesel Loco type 4 WDM by G. Kilehanside 1978, two carriages, Lister diesel
engine with associated spares incl one carriage' [sic].

MR200] Acton Miniature Railway, Greater London (MR p17) (BLN 1281.MR83): The biannual open day
was held over the weekend of 23/24 September and our dedicated reporter visited on the Saturday.
The 7¼" gauge extended railway was operating with three trains: one steam, one hauled by a Met
Railway locomotive and a two-car 1938 tube car battery-electric set. Trains were operating left-hand
running through Wesley's Halt and terminating at Ealing End on the right hand straight platform road.
They were well patronised, with most trains full and the fare of £1 excellent value. The open day was
well attended with a few new tube vehicles added to the collection over the last couple of years.

MR201] Grantown-on-Spey East, Highland Heritage & Cultural Centre, Highland: A visit on 21 August
found this restoration project is well underway. This station, on the Great North of Scotland Railway
route from Boat of Garten to Craigellachie CP 18 October 1965 and the line CA 4 November 1968.
The site is being restored by Dave Garman and Karen Blessington of Revack Lodge Estate. The main
station building is being renovated as a multi-use facility for retail, heritage and performances.
Platforms have been restored and a short length of twin track has been laid to support two static Mk I
coaches (from Long Marston and now welded to the rails!). These are connected and will form a

restaurant, complete with stone-bake pizza oven.
There are also plans for an extensive 7¼" gauge
ride-on railway. It is hoped to open to the public in
time for the start of the 2018 season. Note: this
project is completely independent of the
Strathspey Railway's plans to extend their line from
Dulnain Bridge along the former Highland Railway's
Forres route. That extension would terminate at a
new station replacing Grantown-on-Spey West
(but expected to be short of, not on, the original
station site). LEFT: Work in progress inside the
station building. (All Nick Jones 21 Aug 2017.)

ABOVE: D5327 at Grantown- on-Spey East on the daily 10.20 Aviemore to Craigellachie pick up goods
with a very inviting looking brakevan at the rear. Note that the station signs are still all in place eight
months after passenger closure! (22 Jun 1966; both pictures thanks to J M Boyes, Armstrong Railway
Photographic Trust and our member Nick Jones.) BELOW: D8031 shunting the yard on 30 Jun 1966.

[BLN 1291]
PREVIOUS PAGE TOP: OS 1957 1" 7th Series. Dulnain Bridge is bottom left on the Strathspey Railway
from Aviemore (ex-Highland Railway which served Grantown-on-Spey (West) and ran to Forres via
Dava). The ex-Great North of Scotland line from Boat of Garten is right and ran via Grantown-on-Spay
(East) shown as 'Grantown Sta', to Craigellachie. Sadly, both Grantown stations CP 18 Oct 1965.

ABOVE LOWER TWO: Grantown-on-Spey East 21 Aug 2017, in both the trackbed to Boat of Garten is
left; right is to Craigellachie. The station was not conveniently situated for the town. (All Nick Jones)

MR202] Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway, Kent (MR p19) (BLN 1289.MR173): The railway held
their 'End of Season' gala over the weekend of 23/24 September. An intensive service of passenger
and freight trains was promised and timetabled, with three steam locomotives and a diesel locomotive
in use. On the Sunday, the morning timetable was thrown into disarray by the failure of the diesel on a
freight working. On arrival at Sittingbourne Viaduct at around 11.15, the 11.00 departure was still in
the station. It eventually left at 11.30. The timetable was later recovered by not running the freight
trains and one round passenger trip. In use on two sets of coaches were 0-4-2ST 'Melior' (KS4219 /
1924), 0-4-2ST 'Leader' (KS926/1905) and 0-6-2T 'Superb' (WB2624/1940). The gala gives a rare
opportunity to 'do' Kemsley Down station platform 2 - all trains on normal running days use platform 1
(the west side of the island platform). The ground level 5" gauge railway at Kemsley Down was not in
use, probably all the volunteers were required elsewhere.

THIS PAGE BELOW: Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway, 0-4-2T 'Leader' (KS926 of 1905)
at Sittingbourne Viaduct during the September Gala. (Peter Scott 24 September 2017)

NEXT PAGE: (Item MR 200) Acton Miniature Railway 'Depot Approach' station. (Rod Bryant 23 September)

MR203] Pentney Light Railway, Norfolk (MR p21) (BLN 1217.MR153): This 7¼" gauge railway, which
ran in the grounds of Pentney Park Caravan & Camping Site at Narborough has closed. Opened in
1985, it was formed of a 'B' layout of 1,027 yards in length. The Park changed hands recently on the
retirement of the owners and the new owners are taking it up market, moving away from touring
caravans to expensive chalets. It was reported the track was lifted in early September and it was
confirmed on 16 September the track had gone but the station building was still standing. The Park's
web site, when checked on 17 October, still mentioned the 'amazing miniature railway'!

MR204] Brecon Mountain Railway, Merthyr Tydfil (MR p30) (BLN 1265.MR185): A member visited this
railway on Thursday 31 August during the school holiday peak to ride on the 1 April 2014 extension.
He was rather annoyed to arrive at Pant at about 11.30 to find that, not only the 12.15, but also the
14.00 train were sold out - mostly to coach parties seemingly. He reluctantly booked on the 15.45 train
and visited the historic Blaenavon Ironworks site. Returning in good time, seats were still available just
before departure on that train. When the previous departure came in there were probably 20 to 30
seats on board, scattered through the four reserved coaches and a handful in the non-reserved coach.

Our member wonders what had happened as given the damp drizzling weather it seemed unlikely that
20 to 30 people had alighted either at Pontsticill or at the far terminus to have a walk. [It is always
possible that a booked coach party did not turn up, or there were fewer numbers than expected on
one or more - PAS.] Indeed, nobody was waiting in the rain at the station for the last train at either
station when he arrived later. The ride was enjoyable, with a break for refreshments and a museum
visit at Pontsticill on the return, and the scenery along the reservoir dramatic, although there are trees
that partly obscure the view. Standing is allowed on coach verandas which is recommended and gives
a clear view but children must be accompanied. On a good day, it could indeed be attractive to alight
and return on a later train, although that potentially raises capacity issues on returning later trains.
Motive power that day was No2 along with their (unnumbered, but reservation lettered A-E) five
saloon coaches (probably each seating around 34) and the small caboose, which seats around a dozen.

The railway is constrained by only having one rake of coaches (there are more working locomotives)
and so can only offer four departures in high season and fewer at other times. Our reporter comments
that it is worth visiting for the ride, the views and the hardworking locomotive - but be prepared to get
the quieter first or last trains or book ahead (you can supposedly do this on their website but it
wouldn't let our reporter do this the day before!). [Online bookings are advertised as available up to
09.00 on the day for the 10.30 departure or later and this was certainly the case on 17 October.]

MR205] Isle of Bute, Argyll & Bute: On Saturday and Sunday 26/27 August, the Edinburgh Society of
Model Engineers operated a steam-powered miniature railway along the promenade at Rothesay.
The railway was arranged by the Isle of Bute Trust, who were quoted in 'The Buteman' saying 'About
350 people altogether took a ride on the train across the two days. We're trying to learn from how it
went and think about how to improve it for the next time'. There was a 15" gauge 'miniature' railway
on the Isle of Bute at Ettrick Bay. This opened on 1 June 1936 and closed during WWII - around 1943.

2183] FIXTURES REPORTS: The Pickering Paxman, Sat 15 Jul: (East Midlands Trains (EMT), Branch Line
Society & 125 Group charity railtour, in aid of Railway Children, by John Zabernik, 125 Group Trustee.)

EMT has an impressive record of operating charity railtours featuring High Speed Trains (HSTs), going
back to the 'Valenta Ventura' from Leicester to
Scarborough. This ran on Sat 26 Jul 2008 in aid of the by
then already well established charity Railway Children,
featuring 43064 and 43081. For one day only they were
named '125 Group' and 'Midland Valenta' respectively, two
of the last Midland Main Line power cars fitted with
Paxman Valenta 12RP200L type engines which gave HSTs
much of their character from when they were new.

[BLN 1291]
To celebrate EMT's relationship with Railway Children,
43082 was named 'RAILWAY children' by the charity's
Chairman, David Maidment, at Leeds Neville Hill depot
open day on Sun 13 Sep 2009. The plates were a unique cast
type, in the style of the organisation's logo at the time and
included the subscript or strapline 'THE VOICE FOR STREET
CHILDREN WORLDWIDE'. Railway Children have recently
slightly altered their logo, and reflecting the evolution of the charity's work, changed the strapline to
'Fighting for street children', rendering 43082's nameplates a little out of date. Sounds like a good
reason for a renaming ceremony ... what better occasion to stage a renaming than a charity railtour‽

125 Group has long worked with EMT and its predecessor Midland Mainline going back to its first joint
effort in Aug 2004 which was the filming of a HST cab ride DVD called 'Midland to Manchester' (a mere
£11 from !). This features the driver's view and engine soundtrack from 43198
over the Hope Valley line in the days of 'Project Rio', when 125s were used on an hourly service
between St Pancras and Manchester from May 2003 to Sep 2004. 125 Group has been pleased to
support EMT's charity fundraising tours ever since and was honoured when on Sat 15 Nov 2014 the
company ran 'The Screaming Valenta' launch train. This took a 6 car HST from Derby to the Great
Central Railway (Nottingham) (GCRN) to run with Prototype HST Power Car 41001 which had just
been restored to working order - 'Project Miller'. Last year 125 Group itself became a registered
charity (after much paperwork!) and has been really pleased to recently join forces with the BLS,
working closely on the Virgin Trains East Coast 'Bound for Craigy' HST railtour on Sat 18 Mar 2017.

BELOW: Kev with some of the entrants and entries in the kids' colouring competition on the tour -
excellent efforts by all concerned and all entrants (young enough to qualify) won a prize - except Kev.

[BLN 1291]
So, to 'The Pickering Paxman'. The objective was to take an HST to pastures new, unveil the new 43082
nameplates, have a grand day out but most importantly raise a train load of cash for a fantastic charity
which carries out vital work protecting vulnerable children at home and abroad. To sell as many tickets
as possible on the 470 seat HST, the railtour needed to appeal to a wide range of interests: Rare track
for BLS members, some fast running and the novelty of riding a HST over unusual routes for 125 Group
members. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway and Whitby is a fantastic day out for 'normals'.
For the 'Gronk Hunters' (non-normals?) was the later added diamond appeal of haulage from two Class
08s, one of which had never worked a passenger train. The itinerary evolved over many months and
long hours of planning but only made possible by the 'can do' attitude of many kind railway industry
folk working for many different companies, driven by the amazing team at EMT! The Monday before
the railtour, 43082 was stopped at Neville Hill and the new nameplates successfully fitted. Set NL10
and power car 43044 were nominated as running mates based on their recent reliable performance.

All HST power cars were built in Crewe Works and 43082 was delivered on 11 Feb 1978 and accepted
into traffic with 43083 as part of set 254014 on 6 Apr 1978, for use on ECML services; its first allocation
was to Heaton depot, Newcastle. On 29 Sep 1991 it worked the first scheduled HST passenger service
to Holyhead (18.45 from Euston). After a period at Bounds Green, it was re-allocated to Neville Hill on
6 May 1990 and has remained there since. Conversion from Valenta to VP185 engine was carried out
at Devonport Dockyard and completed on 20 Feb 2003. Since becoming Railway Children's pet power
car, 43082 has been a popular choice for special events, including 19 Nov 2016 appearing at the 125
Group/GCRN 'HSTs@40 event' and the 18 Mar 2017 BLS 'Bound for Craigy' tour from King's Cross (KX).

43044 is less of a celebrity, delivered new as part of Western Region set 253022 on 19 Mar 1977, it
was based at Old Oak Common for its first five years. In Oct 1982, like most in the 43038-43055 range,
it was reallocated when InterCity services at St Pancras converted to HST operation; 43044 moved to
Neville Hill where it has been based ever since. On 8 Aug 1991 while on crew training runs with 43047
on the North Wales Coast in preparation for the start of HST services, it was unexpectedly pressed into
service to work a 13.00 Holyhead to Crewe relief. This was the first ever revenue earning HST service
over the route, although the very short train consisted of only a TGS (Trailer Guards Standard) and two
TRUKs (Trailer Restaurant Unclassified Kitchen)! Subsequent railtour action saw 43044 work the first
ever HST over the Central Wales route on 29 Jan 1994 and visit Blaenau Ffestiniog on 9 Apr 1994.

Derby P3 Etches Park Depot, Old CW Line 08417 + 08899 0m 44ch
Etches Park Depot, Old CW Line 127m 27ch
Chesterfield P3 Darlington Up & Dn Station Loop 43082 + 43044 102m 57ch
Sheffield P2 ..90m 37ch
York P11 Battersby P1 43044 + 43082 ..44m 12ch
Darlington Up & Dn Station Loop Grosmont GF, Whitby Single Line 43082 + 43044 ..26m 00ch
Battersby P1 Pickering NYMR P1 43044 + 43082 ..17m 76ch
Grosmont GF, Whitby Single Line Whitby P2 43082 + 43044 ..18m 04ch
Pickering NYMR P1 Battersby P1 43044 + 43082 ..24m 10ch
Whitby P2 York, Up & Down Holgate Loop 43082 + 43044 ..24m 02ch
Battersby P1 York P11 43044 + 43082 ..62m 18ch
York, Up & Down Holgate Loop Sheffield P6 ....0m 54ch
Derby P6 43082 +43044 ..46m 25ch
York P11 (Miles thanks to Jim Sellens) ..82m 56ch

The day before the Pickering Paxman, our chosen HST worked diagram NL082 starting with 04.12
Neville Hill - Sheffield ECS, 05.30 Sheffield - St Pancras, then out to Cricklewood for a rest; 18.25 St
Pancras - Sheffield and 21.03 Sheffield - Derby Etches Park ECS. Instead of taking the booked route via
Ambergate Jn, the ECS was routed via Toton/Trent to turn the set so that 43082 was at the north end.

This was preferred because it would enable the celebrity to lead the tour for most of the day and be at
the Whitby buffer stops end for the rededication ceremony. Overnight servicing and final preparation
were carried out by the fantastic Etches Park staff including attaching the Class 08s.

Railtour day arrived and crowds of eager enthusiasts were on Derby station in the early morning
summer sun to see the special formation come from the depot, ECS into P3, a little later than planned.
From north to south was 43082, 41075, 41076, 40756, 42328, 42341, 42148, 42149, 44051, 43044,
08899 & 08417. Passengers boarded, catering stores were loaded and the 'Gronk Hunter' headboard
was mounted to the front of 08417. This special design had been produced as a pin badge to sell on
the train. Late on during railtour planning a challenge had been set as to whether we could get a
similar headboard made. As it happens this challenge turned out to be a joke(!), but the headboard
had already been ordered from super speedy, appropriately named 'Bizarre Signs' of Wakefield, a
small friendly firm who had previously manufactured 125 Group's laser cut acrylic logo headboard.

06.17 (public time 05.55) Derby - Grosmont: 05.55 was advertised before the final
timings were received and was retained to allow more time for the railtour to visit
the depot. With drivers in both locos, 08417 leading and 08899 inside, the first leg of the day finally set
off at 06.30 from Derby P3, both 08s powering and the HST idling, taking the Up & Down line and
crossing into Etches Park depot - old carriage wash line. This is thought to be 08417's first passenger
train, certainly the first known. The old girl chose to mark the event in a big way by putting on a pretty
spectacular flame throwing display from its exhaust, having a good clear out, burning off the oily
deposits accumulated over the years of light shunting use. The flames soon self-extinguished with no
permanent damage. 08417, the traincrew and the 'Gronk Hunter' headboard took it all in their stride!

BELOW: Flaming Gronk! Taken with permission and supervised. (All by Geoff Plumb unless specified.)

The Class 08s were uncoupled and, with 43082 leading, we set off north. In all the excitement, the
hoped for Pilot Line did not materialise and we took the Down Goods avoiding Derby station, now 23
late. However an immediate claw back came in the form of crossing over at St Mary's North Jn onto
the Down Goods to Breadsall. On the Down main the VP185 power cars were properly wound up for
the dash to Chesterfield P3, where over 80 satisfied 'Gronk Hunters' left and more 'day outers' joined.

As we stormed north, First Class punters were now tucking into breakfast baps. For Standard
passengers the buffet was churning out bacon rolls, with 'Paxman Pale Ale' available for those who
needed an early boost; all catering profits from this railtour went to the charity. After another pick up
at Sheffield P2 it was via Meadowhall and Swinton onto the S&K (Swinton & Knottingley Joint Railway)
still used by XC and EMT service 125s as far as Moorthorpe. However, in the 1980s this was a regular
non-stop route for York - Sheffield HSTs. Past the mighty towers of Ferrybridge C Power Station
(closed March 2016) and onto the former North Eastern Railway route to Church Fenton; this section
sees one VTEC HST in the form of 22.00 (SX) KX - Newcastle, which your author regularly drives!

The final passenger pick up was at York P11 where our DRS drivers joined to route conduct the EMT
crew to Grosmont and Whitby. Departing 08.42, only 10 late, fast line running ensued on the racetrack
to Darlington with sustained 125mph line speed action, to the approval of the HST bashers on-board!
Darlington was approached via the Down Passenger Loop, reversing under the station canopy in the
Up/Dn Station Loop, then it was via Dinsdale to Eaglescliffe. This route is used for occasional VTEC
planned and emergency diversions, a recent example being 21 Aug 2017 with 43309 + 43315 on the
22.00 KX - Newcastle with an emergency overnight possession to repair OHL damage at Durham.

Another 'Brucie Bonus' (RIP Sir Bruce Forsyth, British entertainer 22 Feb 1928 - 18 Aug 2017),
otherwise known in the trade as an 'Adlam Extra' (still going strong!) followed, Marshalls Down Goods
Loop (DGL). Then one of the main advertised track highlights of the day, the DGL all the way from
Thornaby East Jn along the current northern extremity of Tees Yard through to Newport East Jn
where we crossed onto the Down Main, into Middlesbrough for a brief stop to set down staff.

BELOW: Token exchange at Glaisdale station, the last loop before Whitby.

LEFT: A token photograph of Glaisdale - the machine
has two single line tokens remaining but fortunately the
chance of three Down trains to Whitby appearing
without any Up trains is fairly remote…

The last regular HST service to Middlesbrough was the
05.10 Newcastle - KX via Sunderland which reversed in
the station but ceased running 28 Sep 1990. In earlier
years it carried the name 'The Cleveland Executive'.
Grand Central HSTs (soon to be Adelantes - a HST
farewell tour would be good…) pass nearby at Hartburn
Jn but have never made it into 'Boro'. The time penalty
of reversal would lengthen the Sunderland to KX
journey, losing any time advantage over travelling via
Newcastle even with a change of trains there.

Our Pickering Paxman HST took a right turn at
Guisborough Jn onto the now single track Whitby route
running 12 late but time was recouped on the branch.
The reversal at Battersby was made in the platform,
unfortunately the Station Loop was unavailable due to
problems with the signal interlocking, despite the very
best efforts of the MOM on the ground there. Leaving
Battersby Jn, the line enters the North York Moors
National Park, running through Kildale and Commondale then meeting the River Esk from which the
'Esk Valley Line' takes its name. The railway crosses back and forth over the Esk nine times en route to
Grosmont, the view from the railtour giving an overwhelming impression of rich green landscape
reflecting our wet summer so far. Our HST stopped after Grosmont Ground Frame, changed direction
and ran into P2, 10 late at 11.25, in time for a leg stretch and a few photographs.

ABOVE: The sharply curved Grosmont P1 with the NRMR P2-4 in the background, the line curves
round to the left for Whitby where the HST reversed at Grosmont Ground Frame to access the NYMR

11.45 Grosmont - Pickering: Departure was punctual, through Grosmont Tunnel and
up the steep climb towards Goathland. HSTs are not fitted with sanders; as insurance
for our ascent of the 2½ mile, 1:49 gradient, the previous train to Pickering had an extra diesel loco
booked on the rear to Goathland to lay sand on the rails, detached and returned down the hill laying
sand again, preparing the way for us, in addition we ran through Goathland non-stop. Slight overkill
perhaps but on a peak summer Saturday when NYMR trains are heavily loaded, it was wise to cover all
bases. Progress up the climb was surefooted, especially the rear power car which normally benefits
from a better railhead, it had been cleaned by the wheels of the front power car and the 8 coach set.
BELOW: After reversal over the NR to NYMR connection the tour reaches Grosmont P2. Movements
on to Whitby line are controlled by signals on this magnificent gantry from Falsgrave (Scarborough)
decommissioned there on 10 Oct 2010. Photo by John Zabernik of the 125 Group for Geoff Plumb.

'The Moors' is one of the best known preserved railways, with over £2M turnover and 45 employees
plus an army of volunteers, a huge tourist attraction vital to this beautiful region of the UK. The normal
timetable had been altered to accommodate us with NYMR tickets valid and the HST taking the path of
regular service trains. The iconic InterCity 125 has huge public appeal and, as we traversed the North
Yorkshire Moors Railway, the special received much attention from families on days out as well as
enthusiastic photographers and videographers. On departure from Levisham the local Permanent Way
gang were standing-by to check on the passage of the HST and had erected a classic stencil type speed
limit sign with the digits '125' ... very tongue in cheek and fortunately ignored by our drivers! We
dropped down into Pickering, the end of the line becoming the first HST to reach here. Our train used
P1 (left), stopping on the points beyond the platform where more adoring crowds admired our 125.

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