Number 1319 (Items 2689 - 2831 & MR 245 - MR 259) (E-BLN 72 PAGES) 22 Dec 2018
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Respice in praeteritum, praesens et futurum
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society - founded 1955
WEBSITE ADDRESS: branchline.uk
Membership Enquiries, Alan Welsh [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from member7s2; 8a6n7i7nternational section is available.
Opinions herein are not necessaarivlyaitlahbolsee. of the Compilers or the Society.
……………BLN 1320 is dated Sat 12 Jan 2019; contributions by Wed 2 Jan please
MIND THE GAP! There is a 3‐week gap until BLN 1320 (12 Jan 2019)
with NO BcLiNetyO. NSo5cieJtAyN. 2019 YOUR BLN TEAM & COMMITTEE WISH
ALL OUR MEMBERS A MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY 2019
2689] TRACKmaps Book 4, Midlands & North West, Edited by (our)
Martyn Brailsford: The new fully revised 4th (2019) Edition is expected to
be published in the New Year. To assist our Sales Officer, Graeme Jolley,
estimate order quantities, please email [email protected] with
'Midland Quail' as the Subject, indicating how many copies you require
(no obligation) or text 07484 646542. Cover price £15.95 but please do
not send any money as there may well be some good news on the price.
Date Event and details = Please Book Online BLN Lead Status
Sat 5 Jan 19 09.30 to dark Scunthorpe FULL WITH FULL WAITING LIST 1314 MG FULL
Sat 26 Jan Charity tour West/South Yorkshire. Deferred to a later date TBA TBA Deferred
Sat 2 Feb The Positioning Move Lancaster to Bristol TM (one way) 1317 MG OPEN
Sun 3 Feb The Looe Brush Main tour Bristol to Cornwall 96% FULL 1317 MG FULL
Sat 23 Feb 17.00 Woodhorn Railway; APPLY FOR WAITING LIST 1318
Sun 24 Feb Tyne & Wear Metro tour, 08.40-16.05; WAITING LIST 1317
Wed 27 Feb The Swanage Shunters; APPLY FOR WAITING LIST 1318
Sat 23 Mar Save the date, railtour via the Marches line to Weymouth TBA TBA Claimed
Sun 24 Mar Save the date, tentative date for the Ruby Vampire rerun TBA TBA Claimed
30 - 31 Mar Save the date, North Wales narrow gauge weekend TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 6 Apr Save the date, provisional track railtour to East Anglia TBA TBA Claimed
Sun 14 Apr Weston, Nantwich Methodist Church & Willaston Railways NB: REDATED Claimed
16-18 May Island of Ireland IV - EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST PLEASE BELOW KA *NOTIFY*
Sun 19 May Cork - Dublin Heuston (for evening flights) rare track tour TBA TBA Claimed
Thur 13 Jun Save the date, annual Pre-Peaks Challenge Railtour TBA TBA Claimed
Sun 16 Jun Father's Day Fawley Hill Railway tour before public running TBA TBA Claimed
7 and 8 Jul Sun and Mon; save the dates for Devon service train tracker TBA TBA Claimed
26 - 28 Jul Society tour southern Austria NOTIFY INTEREST BY 1 JAN 1318 PG *NOTIFY*
15 - 17 Nov Provisional, Barrow Hill AGM weekend with Sunday railtour TBA TBA Claimed
KA = Kev Adlam; MG = Mark Gomm; PG = Paul Griffin - for all contact details please see back page.
2690]:Island of Ireland IV 16-19 May:: Expressions of interest are welcomed to our Fixtures Secretary
per back page please (email preferred; if writing enclose an SAE) for the Thur to Sat part only. NB:
Please advise if you do not require the group service train booking. It is advisable to arrive in Belfast
on Wed 15 May for the early start on Thur 16 May by train to Londonderry for a special opening of the
Foyle Valley Railway Museum. Our coach then takes us to the Donegal Railway Heritage Centre and
Hells Kitchen Museum & Bar (Castlerea); the largest private railway memorabilia collection in Ireland!
Next it's to Athlone for the train to Cork via Heuston, expected to include the Charleville Down Loop.
Friday: A full day from Cork exploring the Western Corridor by service train, with a lunch break in
Galway. Returning from Galway we head to Thurles, for a chance to take coffee before traversing the
Limerick Junction 'Direct Curve' (avoiding line), returning to Cork in time for a refreshing drink!
Saturday: A varied day on the coach, visiting Halfway House Vintage Club and then Clonakilty Golf
Club (riding their two funicular railways), before heading to West Cork Model Railway Village for a
quick coffee and enjoying a private charter on the Choo Choo Road Train around Clonakilty. At Tralee
we view, by special arrangement, the rolling stock of the closed Tralee & Dingle Light Railway, before
heading to Listowel to ride on the Lartigue monorail. Finally, our coach takes us on the ferry from
Tarbert to Killimer and then on to the West Clare Railway for a track exploration and to view the locos
and stock at the Moyasta Transport Museum, before our coach returns us back to Cork in the evening.
Sunday: A charity Irish Rail DMU railtour exploring unusual lines starting at Cork to Dublin Heuston,
for evening flights home or stay overnight. Details will be announced separately once confirmed.
2691] :BLS Carinthia Explorer, proposed Society tour; 26-28 Jul 2019:: BLN 1318.2553 had full details
of the proposed route, traction etc. With thanks to Dave Cromarty and Paul Griffin, a double sided A4
colour map is with this BLN to explain the route for those not au fait with Austria. Many familiar faces
will be present, with help and advice readily available, and the project is led by our International Editor
Paul Griffin. The more people who attend the cheaper it will be per head. Standard BLS Fixtures Terms
& Conditions apply. IMPORTANT: The closing date to notify interest (no obligation) is 1 Jan 2019.
1319 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
2692] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) Reopens Location (stations exclusive where bracketed) bold = closed now
1316.2434 5 Aug 18 Unknown (Clitheroe) - Hellifield South Jn [SuO PSUL service]
1316.2435 25 Aug 18 Unknown Heaton Norris Jn - Guide Bridge Station Jn [SO PSUL service]
1318.2558 25 Aug 18 Unknown Gainsborough Trent East Jn - Wrawby Jn [SO service]
1314.2066 28 Sep 18 Unknown CairnGorm Mountain Railway, 'Base Station' - Ptarmigan
1314.2070 6 Oct 18 late Dec 18 Woolwich Ferry; North Woolwich - Woolwich
1318.2559 15 Nov 18 17 Dec 18 *Llandudno Jn - Blaenau Ffestiniog ROP Mon 17 Dec 2018
1315.2209 25 Dec 18 2 Jan 19 *(Newport) Maindee West Jn - Stoke Gifford No1 Jn/(Chepstow)
1315.2210 23 Dec 18 3 Jan 19 Westbury - Heywood Rd Jn/Fairwood Jn/Trowbridge/Warminster
1311.1736 25 Dec 18 *4 Jan 19 *Wirral Loop
1311.1736 5 Jan 19 *14 Jan 19 *Walton Jn - (Kirkby) DMU services unaffected
1311.1736 19 Jan 19 *28 Jan 19 *(Liverpool Central) - (Hunts Cross)
1311.1736 2 Feb 19 *11 Feb 19 *(Blundellsands & Crosby) - (Southport)
1311.1736 11 Feb 19 *25 Feb 19 *Sandhills Jn - (Freshfield)
1311.1736 2 Mar 19 *23 Mar 19 *(Rock Ferry) - (Hooton)
1317.2441 2 Jan 19 30 Mar 19 *West Somerset Railway, Bishops Lydeard - Minehead
1313.1945 20 Oct 18 XX Apr 19 Reedham Jn - Berney Arms request stop - (Great Yarmouth)
1311.1736 25 Mar 19 *3 Apr 19 *(Hooton) - (Chester P7)
1311.1736 7 Apr 19 *15 Apr 19 *Bidston East Jn - West Kirby, no DMUs to/from Bidston station
1311.1736 15 Apr 19 *23 Apr 19 *(Bidston) - West Kirby, DMUs expected to run to/from Bidston
1311.1736 27 Apr 19 *6 May 19 *Bidston East Jn - New Brighton
2693] Streatham South Jn - Reversible Fast Spur - Streatham North Jn: TCP after running Fri 21 Dec
2018; next booked Wed 2 Jan. SSuX PSUL, three Up services not running during Victoria closure, below.
2694] Queenstown Road Battersea: TCP 22 to 28 Dec 2018 due to relaying of pointwork at Waterloo
where services are reduced by about half. At times P1-13 are not in use (with increased use of P20 and
recently reopened P21/22); at other times only low numbered platforms are operational. Additionally
Upper Kennington Lane bridge is being strengthened at Vauxhall station (where P5-8 will be closed).
2695] London Paddington (NR) (incl) - Slough (excl) & 9 stations: No services 23-26 or 30 Dec 2018; an
extended Christmas shutdown to relay a junction at Southall. There are no GWR Peak restrictions
22 Dec - 1 Jan. West Ealing & Hanwell stations are TCP 23 until 30 Dec (& Acton Main line to 31st).
31 Dec/1 Jan there is an all night Paddington - Hayes service 4 trains per hour, and 1-3 tph to Reading.
At Slough turnbacks are at P4 & 5 in passenger service (bidirectional running from/to Slough West).
2796] London Victoria P8 to 19 - Battersea Park P3, 4 & 5 - Pouparts Jn - Clapham Jn (excl): TCP Sun
23 Dec 2018 to Tue 1 Jan 2019 to relay this side of Battersea Pier Jn. Most Southern trains divert to
London Bridge; no Gatwick Express services run. Thameslink & Southeastern services are unaffected.
At Clapham Junction services from Caterham and Sutton arrive P14 and, after an ECS shunt, return
from P15. Horsham/Dorking services arrive P16 and, after an ECS shunt, return from P17. The London
Overground PSULs mostly run to/from Battersea Park. Tattenham Corner is a shuttle to Purley P2.
2697] Westerfield Jn - Felixstowe with two stations: TCP 23 until 27 Dec 2018 (both incl) for capacity
improvements - a new dynamic loop and level crossing safety works. (On most Sat evenings/Sundays
there have been buses since 8 Apr and until autumn 2019 - with the notable exception of 30 Dec.)
2698] Bethnal Green East Jn - Romford (excl) with 7 intermediate stations (Stratford is open for other
services); Romford P1 - Emerson Park - Upminster P6; Bury Street Jn - Cheshunt Jn and Stratford
P11/12 - Copper Mill Jn with Bethnal Green, Cambridge Heath, London Fields, Hackney Downs,
Clapton, Lea Bridge, Northumberland Park (mainline), Angel Road, Southbury, Turkey Street and
Theobalds Grove stations: All TCP Sun 23 Dec 2018 until Tue 1 Jan 2019 (incl), a ten day closure to
install 12.5km of new OHLE in the Forest Gate area and work on the high numbered platforms at
Liverpool Street (P10-18 TCP). Some inner suburban stations are closed due to reduced capacity.
On Boxing Day a half hourly Stansted Airport service runs to/from Tottenham Hale this year.
23 Dec-1 Jan Norwich, Clacton & Ipswich services are thinned and turnback at Shenfield all calling at
Ingatestone for buses to/from Newbury Park (Central Line). From 28 Dec TfL also operates between
Shenfield and Romford only. Braintree is a branch shuttle; Colchester Town runs to/from Colchester.
2699] South Tottenham (Excl)/Forest Gate Jn - Barking station Jn - Barking P1/Barking Tilbury Line Jn
West & 6 stations: TCP Sun 23 Dec-Tue 1 Jan; no T&H to Barking and no LT&S services to Liverpool St.
2700] Shenfield (Southend Line) Jn - Billericay (excl): TCP Sun 23 Dec 2018 to Tue 1 Jan 2019 (both
incl) for OHLE upgrade work (buses to/from Newbury Park). From 29 Dec to 1 Jan the closure extends
to Southend Victoria and Southminster with 11 other intermediate stations on both lines closed.
2701] Northolt Jn - Greenford West Jn - Greenford (LUL) Bay Jn: TCP 24* Dec 2018 to Mon 1 Jan 2019
(incl) - Chiltern West Ealing SSuX PSUL. [*Shown to run 24 Dec but West Ealing station is 'closed'.]
2702] Greenford bay P2 - Greenford (LUL) Bay Jn - West Ealing bay P5/West Ealing Jn and 3 stations
TCP 24-28 Dec extended Christmas closure (which is timetabled SuX) partly due to Paddington closure.
2703] Newport, Maindee West Jn - Stoke Gifford No1 Jn and Severn Tunnel Jn - Chepstow (excl) with
Severn Tunnel Junction, Caldicot, Pilning & Patchway: (Revising BLN 1315.2209.) TCP Tue 25 Dec until
Tue 1 Jan (incl); extended Christmas electrification works closure, with coaches Newport - Chepstow/
Gloucester and Newport - Bristol Parkway. Turnbacks at Newport, Bristol Parkway and Chepstow.
2704] Hunts Cross - Liverpool South Parkway (P6): TCP 25 Dec 2018 to 1 Jan 2019 (see next item);
Merseyrail services run Southport - Liverpool South Parkway P5 (crossover in service on departure).
Proposed Branch Line Society overseas railtour in Carinthia, Austria
26-28 July 2019
Taurachbahn, 760mm gauge
Please see the next page for enlargements of the areas outlined in grey.
Tour area outlined in blue
Linz ViennaVienna (Wien)
KEY To Lienz and Sa
To Hermagor Villach
Stations (selected) Open Closed
Railways : To Tarvisio
Standard gauge ÖBB
Owned/operated by region
Friday railtour route
Saturday railtour route
Lines out of use
Airports with direct UK f lights Linz
Unzmarkt To Zeltweg
Murtalbahn, 760mm gauge N
owned/run by Steiermark (Styria)
Klein St. Paul
St. Veit an der Glan
To Jesenice Lendcanal Klagenfurt CSD
Avoiding line High level line
To Villach Süd
VILLACH SÜD Fürnitz
Weizelsdorf FERLACHER BA
Stations (selected) Open Closed
N Railways :
Pöckstein-Zwn. Standard gauge ÖBB
Triebach-Althofen Owned/operated by region
To St. Veit Heritage tramways
Friday railtour route
Saturday railtour route
Lines out of use
St Veit an
der Glan N
St Veit a.d. Wörther Lendcanal
Glan West See
(1000 mm gauge)
ST VEIT AN DER GLAN LENDCANAL N
Tram & train
Historama (1435mm gauge)
2705] Runcorn (excl) - Edge Hill East Jn with Liverpool South Parkway P1-4; West Allerton & Mossley
Hill stations. Also Warrington Central (excl) - Hunts Cross West Jn - Allerton Jn with five stations: TCP
25 Dec 2018 until 1 Jan 2019 - extended Christmas shutdown for commissioning of new signalling in
the Allerton, Speke, and Garston areas with recontrol to the Manchester Rail Operating Centre. Virgin
Trains to/from Lime Street run via Warrington BQ and East Midlands Trains via Newton-le-Willows.
2706] Birkenhead North (excl) - Birkenhead Park - Conway Park - Hamilton Square - James Street -
Moorfields (deep level) - Lime St (deep level) - Liverpool Central (deep level) - James St - Hamilton
Square - Birkenhead Central (excl): (revising BLN 1311.1736) Includes Mersey Tunnel and Liverpool
Loop TCP 25 Dec 2018 until 3 Jan 2019 (incl) for track and platform adjustments for new rolling stock.
Birkenhead North is an ECS shunt; at Birkenhead Central trains arrive at/depart from P1 in service.
2707] Ash (excl) - Guildford (bay P1 only in use) - Reigate (excl); Haslemere (excl) - Guildford -
Woking Jn and 13 stations also Aldershot North Jn - Aldershot South Jn: TCP 27-30 Dec; for bridge
strengthening. Guildford has just four Waterloo trains per hour using bay P1 via Clandon. The work is
on the A31 Farnham Road Overbridge above the Waterloo to Portsmouth line immediately south of
the station. NR is required by law to maintain it to carry 24 tonne loads but Surrey County Council
requires a load bearing capacity of 40 tonnes or 44 tonne 6-axle lorries (per EU directives) meaning the
County Council will be liable for up to 80% of the £4.5M cost. The bridge is now 'critically deficient'
meaning that if the work is not carried out the weight limit would have to be reduced to 7.5 tonnes.
At Ash there is an ECS shunt, at Haslemere trains from Portsmouth turnback in P2 (the middle
platform). TRACKmaps Book 5 p26B has incorrect platform numbers; P1 (shown as P2) is on the Down
Main, P2 Up main and P3 the Up Platform Loop - which is regularly used by passenger services.
2708] West Somerset Railway: (BLN 1317.2441 REVISED) TCP (whole railway) expected 2 Jan with ROP
Sat 30 Mar 2019 for Mother's Day. There are infrastructure and organisational issues to address.
2709] Ambergate Jn - Matlock (P1) and 4 stations: (BLN 1316.2316) TCP expected Sat 9 to Sun 17 Feb
2019 (incl) for Ambergate Jn remodelling and resignalling (online systems may not yet be amended).
Chesterfield - Derby services may be diverted via Toton. During the 78 (not 79) day Derby remodelling
a new longer trailing crossover was installed further south on a straight section of track for easier
maintenance and higher speed (including the main lines). New turnouts were installed for the Up and
Down Broadholme Loops which are being shortened; 1km of track was laid and 3,600 tonnes of ballast
dropped. During this second closure the £13M scheme will be completed and commissioned with
more signalling work; the junction is being moved south and a new safe walking route will be created.
2710] Keymer Jn - Lewes (incl) - Willingdon Jn; Montpelier Jn - Lewes Jn & Southerham Jn - Seaford
(incl) with 14 stations in total: (BLN 1316.2351) TCP/A 7 Mar until 10 Mar 2019 for resignalling and
transfer of control to Three Bridges ROC. Trains are replaced by buses on all routes from Lewes with no
trains between Wivelsfield and Eastbourne or Brighton and Eastbourne. In addition, enabling work
took/takes place on: Sun 2, Sat 15 Dec 2018 and Sat 19 & Sun 20 Jan, Sun 3 Feb & Sun 17 Mar 2019.
1319 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
2711] Charity Railway Ball: Kev Adlam represented the Society at this year's event on 30 Nov at which
it was announced that our total donations to Railway Children (used in the UK) now exceed £200,000.
2712] Posted early for Christmas: (BLN 1318.2656) A member kindly posted a letter to advise that
there is a 'genuine' post box in use on Alton station Network Rail/South Western Railway P1. Earlier
this year at Sligo he was able to post a letter in a fine 'Victoria' box painted in Irish Post Office Green -
there were other examples in the town (including an 'EVIIR' - Edward VII box) despite the country
gaining independence almost 100 years ago. In 2004 at the then still largely intact Cork, Albert Quay
station (CP from 3 Apr 1961; CA 12 Apr 1976) he found a VR Post Box lettered 'Bandon Railway'. Active
post boxes have also been reported on Westbury P1, Carlisle P3 and Lincoln P3. Recently a member
posted a letter at Leamington Spa on the Down P2 right by the subway (inside the ticket gate line).
Lymington Town station has an EIIR on the outside wall - our informant asks if any members with a
philatelic bent might know why some station post boxes are only accessible to rail passengers when
the station is open (like Alton and Sligo) but others, like Lymington, are outside and accessible to all?
2713] Signal Post? (BLN 1318.2675) Another member reports that Gaerwen is not the only combined
Signal Box/Post Box. A letter box in the wall of Corby Gates Signal Box in Great Corby, Cumbria
(just east of Wetheral station on the Tyne Valley Line between Carlisle and Newcastle) is still in use.
NEXT PAGE UPPER: Corby Gates Signal Box with a functioning letter box in the wall, at Great Corby,
Cumbria (near Wetheral station on the Tyne Valley Line between Carlisle and Newcastle). Passing is
EMT 43076 at the rear of a northbound diverted East Coast service on Sat 23 Sep 2017. (Sam Dixon.)
2714] Points & Slips: ●●BLN 1312.MR171] A reliable source has advised that a minor accident on the
Isle Abbots Railway on Sat 9 Jun 2018 resulted in it not running (as had been planned) the following
day. ●●BLN 1318.2591] The pictures with the item about the final passenger train signalled between
York and Hull partly by semaphores were from our member Robert Sharpe. ●●2639] Hartlebury:
In 2017-18 there was 17.1% passenger growth over 12 months to 57,944. ●●E-BLN 1318.X.171: The
Yeovil Pen Mill item should be renumbered 1318.X.171.A and the Malvern Link item 1318.X.171.B.
2715] Signal Box Quiz II - Part 1 Answers: (BLN 1318.2572) With thanks to Angus McDougall, locations
of a selection of signal boxes whose names give little or no clues as to where they were situated....
(1): Atlantic Dock Junction - Bootle (12): Eastern Junction - Dalston Junction
(2): Bank Top - Tyne Dock (not Darlington!) (13): Exhibition Junction - Edge Hill
(3): Black Lion♣ - Quakers Yard (Merthyr) (14): Factory Junction - Wandsworth Road
(4): Branches Fork Junction - Pontypool (15): Fell - Consett
(5): Bridge Junction - Doncaster (16): Foreshore - Thornaby
(6): Cemetery - Wood Green (London) (17): Gas Factory Junction - Bow (London)
(7): Charity - Darlington (18): Granary - Bishopsgate (London)
(8): Coal Shoots - Bradford (19): Grand Junction - Birmingham
(9): Coke Ovens Junction - Lowestoft (20): Grove Junction - Tunbridge Wells
(10): Copper Works Junction - Margam (21): Iron Gates Crossing - Newport
(11): Decoy - Doncaster ...........................................(South Wales)
♣The Sligo, Leitrim & Northern Counties Railway cabin in northwest Ireland was 'Belcoo & Blacklion',
interestingly Belcoo is now in Northern Ireland and Blacklion (one word) the Republic.
2716] Christmas Quiz (1): To keep you occupied and entertained in the three week BLN gap ... with
thanks to Robert Green for compiling his fifth BLN quiz with 'seasonal' answers and some cryptic clues.
(Answers, which may be open, closed or abandoned locations, will appear next year in BLN 1320.)
(1): One might expect this deep tube station to be at a higher level - above the fields?
(2): Yr Wyddfa without the Oxbridge fellow?
(3): Flocking to a Cornish Station - surprised when the train arrived?
(4): A girl sewist may come knocking at the door in this Glasgow urban area?
(5): Often on the cards but seasonally private in the Highlands?
(6): Just right for Christmas Day in north Greater London?
(7): Often flaming, a starting place (the answer) later commemorated by a London landmark?
(8): If needed after too much (6), may be from a shed in South Wales or in North Somerset?
(9): Manger animal parting of the ways but not found in its eponymous northern Episcopal see?
(10): From the east, but placed west of these - Counties, Lynn, Sutton, Worthy?
2717] Regional Funding of Railways: (BLN 1318.2575) To balance this item a member makes some
points. Expenditure within a region does not just benefit the people who live there, but visitors also.
This is particularly relevant in the case of Greater London, where the transport systems carry a huge
number of passengers including visitors generating wealth from elsewhere. The London figure includes
investment in the Underground system and, to put that in perspective, LU carries 1,350M passengers
per year, against 1,705M for the whole of National Rail (most recent TfL and ORR data available on
line). The expenditure per passenger mile or km could lead to a completely different result.
The figures quoted in BLN 1318 relate to rail infrastructure investment but, as pointed out in BLN
before, regarding revenue support the North/South divide is reversed. Latest statistics from ORR show
Government subsidy per passenger kilometre to be 6.1p overall. Most London TOCs are close to or
well below that figure, including SWR 0.0p, c2c 0.5p, Greater Anglia 2.8p, Chiltern 3.0p and GTR 4.2p
[these do not necessarily take into account franchise contract terms with regard to premium/subsidy].
The most heavily subsidised London commuter TOC is Southeastern at 7.1p per passenger km, but that
is because of the huge track access charges it must pay to use HS1. In contrast: Merseyrail 19.4p,
ScotRail 20.9p, Northern 26.1p and ATW (now TfW) 27.2p. The difference is partly because fares are
much higher in London and South East England. The following figures for the cost of an annual season
ticket were published by the Southern Electric Group (all are 2018 fares):
Journey of about 5 miles £1,060 1 Journey of about 10 miles £1,592
Maze Hill - London Terminals £1,012 East Croydon - London Victoria £1,400
Balham - London Terminals Shortlands - London Terminals £1,320 1
Earlsfield - London Terminals £992 New Malden - London £1,020
Kings Norton - Birmingham £680 Bolton - Manchester
Muirend - Glasgow £628 East Kilbride - Glasgow £984
Aintree - Liverpool £560 Pontyclun - Cardiff £980
Radyr - Cardiff £532 Grindleford - Sheffield £928
Hessle - Hull £508 Walsall - Birmingham £775
Journey of about 20 miles Journey of about 50 miles
Sevenoaks - London Terminals £3,500 Faversham - London Terminals £4,900 2
Egham - London Terminals £2,760 Brighton - London Terminals £4,696 3
Redhill - London Terminals £2,744 Basingstoke - London £4,424 4
Weston-super-Mare - Bristol £1,940 Hull - Leeds £4,176
Harrogate - York £1,672 Edinburgh - Glasgow £3,956
Helensburgh - Glasgow £1,576 Exeter Central - Plymouth £3,364
Southport - Liverpool £1,133 Blackpool - Manchester £3,320
Coventry - Birmingham £845 1 Northampton - Birmingham £2,180
1: With unlimited rail travel in the relevant West Midlands zones. 2: £5,936 with high speed services.
3: Victoria only £4,332; St Pancras only is £3,968. 4: Via Woking only; £4,464 via any reasonable route.
Final examples: Saltburn - Middlesbrough £852; Bickley - London Terminals £1,828 (both 12 miles).
2718] Christmas Quiz (2): By Greg Beecroft. PART 1: How many pairs of National Rail stations can you
identify where the names differ by one letter, for example Billingham and Gillingham? There are over
70 pairs with some stations appearing in more than one pair. Only National Rail stations are included.
Those used exclusively by London Underground, Glasgow Subway, Tyne & Wear Metro, trams and
heritage railways do not count. The full station name must be considered, so Tilbury and Tisbury are
not a valid pair, because Tisbury is not Tisbury Town. However, bracketed county names, to distinguish
similarly named stations, can be disregarded, so Hadfield and Hatfield are acceptable. Wording such
as 'for somewhere or something else' is not considered to be part of the station name. Changes in
name by omitting a letter, such as Beccles and Eccles, are not included. PART 2: Find a five station
sequence, each differs by one letter from the previous one, and with the fifth station differs by one
letter from the first? All five have a factor in common that is nothing to do with their names.
1319 EAST MIDLANDS (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
2719] Nottingham: On 10 Dec NR began work to improve station accessibility. All of the lifts are to be
replaced with modern new ones. Of possible interest to members who like to do these things, each lift
will be temporarily replaced by an attended stair lift to access each platform (but not directly from the
concourse - the mystery deepens...). The P7 lift, severely damaged by the station fire earlier this year,
is expected to be back in use from mid-Jan and the rest by the end of Apr, so don't delay your visit.
2720] Corby (1): (BLN 1297.130) The unidirectional, Down Corby line from Corby Station South Jn
(78m 60ch) to Corby Station North Jn (79m 68ch) is now in use. It bypasses the bidirectional single
platform (Up Corby) line previously used by all trains both ways. It was not commissioned when the
Kettering line was redoubled from 26 Feb 2018 due to clearance issues with the edge of the former
Down platform. Now northbound diverted passenger trains, freights, railtours etc can be expected to
do it. A member confirms that a Railway Touring Company Ealing Broadway to York steam special did
so on 17 Nov. The UK Railtour 8 Dec 'Festive Oozlum Bird' tour on 8 Dec from Victoria would have
done it. Another member reports that this former Down platform was still in place on 1 Jun 2018.
2721] Corby (2): (BLN 1318.2578) On 24 & 31 Dec and 1 Jan the Midland Main Line is closed Kettering
to Bedford for relaying of Wellingborough North Jn. Unusually there are separate through trains from
Sheffield and Nottingham each hour to/from Corby reversing at Kettering. Corby has double its
normal service because the Wellingborough and Bedford bus connection is from Corby not Kettering,
where the station forecourt is too small to accommodate the number of buses required. It's a good job
they redoubled Kettering to Corby then! There are two fast EMT trains per hour Bedford - St Pancras.
2722] Skegness: To release DMUs to strengthen other services before Christmas, a 6-car Angel HST
(ex-Grand Central) is/was booked to operate Sats 15, 22 & 29 Dec: 09.55 Nottingham to Skegness and
12.15 return via Grantham as well as 14.45 ex-Nottingham via Grantham and 17.24 return.
2723] Sunday Joint beefed up: Unusually, as a one off, on Sun 9 Dec EMT ran scheduled Sunday trains
at 09.11 & 10.11 from Peterborough via the Joint Line to Lincoln (which takes about 90 minutes) and a
third from Sleaford at 12.01, calling for Lincoln Christmas Market. There is normally no Sunday service.
This is much easier and commercially more viable now the line is controlled from Lincoln Signalling
Centre. Previously a large number of staff were required for the numerous level crossings and signal
boxes. The three trains returned from Lincoln to Peterborough at 14.45, 16.00 and to Sleaford at
18.30. There were three associated ECS moves from Lincoln in the morning and another three back to
Lincoln afterwards, so it was not a simple operation to mount, but hopefully a commercial success.
Steam Dreams also ran a steam-hauled excursion from King's Cross to Lincoln via the Joint Line.
2724] Lincoln: 1.86M passengers used the station in 2017-18, up 2.7% in 12 months. At the end of
November improvement works were in progress resulting in some of the previous facilities being OOU
and the permanent replacements not yet commissioned. Completely new Ladies, Gents and disabled
toilets have been installed in the main building; bucking the trend elsewhere they are 'Pay as You Go'
with turnstiles (not yet in use). Seemingly to help relieve congestion in the main entrance, the barrier
facilities have now been 'doubled up', although only gaining one barrier gate (from 5 before to 6) but
the extra gate is also a wide luggage/wheelchair one. This has been effected by adding a second
barrier about the same size as the existing one, but further west along on P3 by the middle entrance
archway. This route was used by staff previously by releasing a magnetic lock on one of the iron railing
gates and presumably for vehicle access. These iron railing gates are now fully open during
access/egress hours but labelled as 'No Entry' outside. This new gate line is indicated as the 'Way Out'
only (?) - BLS members are known to like way out things. The original gate line off the old ticket hall is
now inward only. Unfortunately, as they are separated by at least 50yd along P3, they both need
staffing or have to be left open, as was observed recently. Unfortunately each gate line only has three
gates and considerable congestion resulted just from the arrival of a single Class 153 from Newark.
1319 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]
2725] Deep Tube Upgrade: (BLN 1317.2458) Apart from the planned Piccadilly Line new train order,
(part funded by the sale and leaseback of Elizabeth line trains) TfL has suspended this programme for
the foreseeable future. New stock for the Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo & City Lines and resignalling
of all four lines will only go ahead with Government funding. The funding shortfall is blamed on the
end of government grants for day to day running, plateauing passenger numbers, and the Elizabeth
Line delays [surely add the fares freeze as well?]. Non safety critical work on roads is also paused.
2726] New Year, some new fares: Despite TfL's financial crisis the Mayor of London has confirmed
that fares under his control are frozen for a third year (of the intended four). Pay as you go journeys on
the Tube, DLR, Emirates Air Line and rail services where TfL fares apply are all frozen at 2016 levels, as
well as the cost of hiring a Santander Cycles bike. As in previous years, Travelcards and associated caps
set with the train operating companies under government fares regulations will increase by 3.1%.
Technical testing and approvals for introducing Monday to Sunday (weekly) Oyster capping are close
to completion. Once introduced, the cap, already available for contactless users, will ensure that
customers are never charged more than the cost of an equivalent 7 Day Travelcard. TfL and train
operating companies are now finalising plans to introduce the cap by spring 2019. However, the
weekly cap became available for adult bus and tram users from 13 Dec. Anyone only using the bus or
tram never needs to buy a 7 Day Bus & Tram Pass (£21.20), as their cost will be capped at this amount.
2727] Canal Tunnels: On Fri 7 Dec a member joined the 13.54 Peterborough to Horsham Thameslink
train at Finsbury Park P2 (15.08). Going south it took the Up Slow then the facing crossover at the
south end of Copenhagen Tunnel to the Down Slow (which is bidirectional thereafter). At Belle Isle Jn
the Down Canal Tunnel was used in the Up direction to the 'long' crossover which was taken to the Up
Canal Tunnel line to reach St Pancras International platform 'A'. In the absence of conflicting trains
going north this appears to be the preferred route, although may become less common as the service
frequency is increased. This route did show on Realtime Trains afterwards although this train is booked
to follow the Up Slow and Up Canal Tunnel all the way. There is an optional northbound ECS 'Q' path
that, if running, would pass it at Belle Island Jn and it would then have to stay on the Up lines.
Note that the speed restriction is the same, 30mph, on both the tunnel lines and this long crossover.
X.173] Chasing a Wimbledon crossover: Leaving Wimbledon P9 for Sutton the Down St Helier line has
been rusty recently with all Wimbledon to Wimbledon Chase trains routed over the bidirectional Up
St Helier to Wimbledon West Jn. Here they take a previously rare trailing crossover (7m 60ch) to the
Down line. Wimbledon P9 country end signal displays a proceed aspect with a 'U' indication. The
reason for this is unknown (or how long it will continue) and seems to have started about Wed 3 Oct
but has not previously been reported in BLN. There are no problems for railway operations except if an
aggregate train to Tolworth is unable to cross to the Down Main Slow line at Wimbledon West Jn.
ABOVE: The 10.48 St Albans City to Sutton Thameslink service doing this crossover at Wimbledon
West Jn on 9 Dec 2018; Wimbledon station country end is in the background. Prior to 3 Oct the only
passenger move over the crossover that a local member is aware of was https://goo.gl/f5Mbkx our
Society's 'Western Essex Express' railtour of 20 Apr 2002.
2728] Free Tickets: (BLN 1318.2582) NEXT PAGE: The back of the card tickets issued free to work the
gates for inter-terminal Heathrow trips. A member sampled TfL rail to Heathrow two months ago and
was able to obtain a free shuttle ticket from a machine by the barrier line at T2/T3. From memory it
was a dedicated machine. Another member recently travelled from and to Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3
by rail (BLN 1318.2570) and the carriage maps and automatic announcements were still referring to it
as 'Terminals 1, 2 & 3'; to add to the confusion it is also known as 'Heathrow Central'. Perhaps the
renaming experts who changed Belfast Central to Belfast Lanyon Place are needed to sort it all out?
2729] Old Oak Common: (BLN 1318.2566) The GWR lease on the Depot expired at 01.59 on 9 Dec. The
final arrivals were HSTs on Sat 8 Dec 2018 at 10.10, 10.28 and 11.08 departing 12.28, 15.44 and 16.42
2730] Barking - Gospel Oak: (BLN 1317.2452) TfL has now stated that they expect the six remaining
Class 172 DMUs to transfer to the West Midlands gradually between January and the end of March.
This will allow a little more time to get some Class 710 EMUs into service. However as at 11 Dec no
units had completed their mileage accumulation and been handed over to Arriva Rail London and no
driver training will take pIace this year, although Driver Instructors have been training on the units at
Old Dalby. It is not possible to introduce a special 20-minute interval timetable at weekends to remove
the gaps caused by reduced unit availability because of NR's reluctance to accept short-notice
timetable changes and the effect on the rosters of drivers who also work on other lines. [The irony
here is that NR have inflicted very short notice engineering work on various lines recently - PAS.]
2731] Bank: (BLN 1285.1485) The new Walbrook entrance, see https://goo.gl/V34ppn primarily to
give access to the Waterloo & City Line, opened on 30 Nov beneath the large Bloomberg Building.
2732] Feltham: (BLN 1311.1748) P1 is to be extended by 52yd & P2 by 41yd with signalling adjustments.
2733] Stepping out: At Carshalton lift installation has started. Subway access has been opened up on
the west side of the line to facilitate the work, but it is not clear if it will be retained for passenger use.
Coulsdon South is to have a new footbridge with lifts. Selhust station is also to have step-free access.
2734] Park Royal: (BLN 1318.2582) 3-car 165038, instead of the usual 2-car unit, did the honours on
the final trains of 7 Dec. The Society was well represented with a large number of members travelling
(from as far afield as Perth, Maesteg and Preston), including members of the Committee and editorial
team. The train crossed to Line 3 at Ladbroke Grove then right across the layout to have the honour of
using Paddington P1, instead of its normal P14, and special announcements were made here about it
being the last Chiltern train. Return was via Line 3 to the Down Relief. They even featured on the local
BBC news that evening. In contrast to the usual handful, the guard counted 140 passengers on the
inward train (there had been 40 the day before and 15 the previous Friday) and 192 on the outward
and he even sold some tickets! There had been 15 the previous Friday and 40 on its penultimate day.
ABOVE: The final Chiltern train at Paddington waits to depart from P1. (Stuart Hicks.)
That day, 6 Dec, despite Realtime Trains previously showing extra calls at South Ruislip, Gerrards Cross
and Beaconsfield (BLN 1317.2453), the 11.35 London Paddington P14 to High Wycombe P1 made no
intermediate calls, nor were any indicated aurally or visually at Paddington or aboard. The extra stops
were made on the last day, as booked, with many alighting at South Ruislip. These two trains were/are
not a Chiltern franchise requirement in facts (although it specifies that they can apply to run trains to
Paddington if they so wish). They are obviously not commercial but retain driver route knowledge in
case Marylebone closes unexpectedly or for occasional planned engineering diversions.
PREVIOUS PAGE BOTTOM: West Ealing bay P5 (which has permissive working); the first Chiltern public
timetabled service on Mon 10 Dec; the Society was represented. The GWR Greenford shuttle is left;
looking towards Paddington. ABOVE: The bay looking towards Slough. (Don Kennedy 10 Dec 2018.)
2735] Crossrail: (BLN 1317.2457) From the last Chiltern train to Paddington on 7 Dec, two Class 345
EMUs were noted in Westbourne Park (turnback) sidings. However test running in the western
tunnels is not expected to start until next month at the earliest. The new Chief Executive of Crossrail
Ltd has said that he is unable to commit to the revised opening date of autumn 2019 and some
sources are suggesting it could now be late 2020 before it opens. This would have a considerable
impact on TfL's already parlous financial situation. Pending clarification of the opening date, TfL is
exploring with the DfT the possibility of operating Reading to Paddington (Crossrail) services ahead of
the opening of the central tunnels. It has also been announced that substantial additional financing is
needed. The DfT will lend the Greater London Authority (GLA) £1.3bn, to be recovered through
business rate levies, and the GLA will contribute a further £100M. There is also a contingency
arrangement for a further loan from the DfT to TfL of £750M replacing the previously agreed £350M
package. Meanwhile 'Freightmaster interactive' reports that construction of the last 13 units at Derby
has been paused as there is nowhere to store them. During the full and partial closures of lines into
Paddington over the Christmas and New Year period (BLN 1316.2326), staircases and lift shafts for
new footbridges will be lifted into position at Acton Main Line, Ealing Broadway and West Ealing.
2736] Clearing the King's throat: (BLN 1310.1640) The major King's Cross remodelling, scheduled for
Dec 2019 to Mar 2020, will be delayed by up to a year. The relevant TOCs failed to agree to the original
schedule, with nervousness following the timetable disruption in May the suggested reason. ('RAIL')
2737] Waterloo: P21/22 in the former International station came into permanent use from 10 Dec.
Until 22.00 SSuX most Reading trains use P21 and most Windsor & Eton Riverside trains use P22.
Direct access to the Underground station will be available from early next year. For the time being
access to P20 is still via P19. P23/24 will come into use from the 19 May timetable change.
2738] Whitechapel: (BLN 1299.356) Not initially served by overnight services due to Crossrail works,
from the Dec timetable change London Overground services started calling on Fri and Sat nights.
2739] Christmas Angel: EMT power car 43480 was named 'West Hampstead PSB' at a ceremony at
Kentish Town station Fri 14 Dec. The Angel Trains owned power car, introduced Feb 1978 itself some
40 years young (!), ran possibly the shortest ever special train from St Pancras P3 to Kentish Town P3*
as 1Z22. The Power Box celebrates 40 years of operation in 2019 when a commemorative plaque will
be added under its nameplate. [*The Sectional Appendix shows this as 1m 30ch; the Society record,
our 10 Apr 2016 'Caledonia Casualty' with Chiltern Railways, was 1m 30ch (report BLN 1255.760) - PAS]
ABOVE, BELOW & NEXT PAGE: Three pictures of the event thanks to 'Local' BLS member Robin Morel.
1319 NORTH EAST & YORKSHIRE (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
X.174] Woodhead route threatened! The National Grid is proposing to remove seven pylons and bury
2km of power cables under the track bed of the former Woodhead railway line, east of the Woodhead
Tunnel near Dunford Bridge in Barnsley Borough (PREVIOUS PAGE: 1961 7th Series one inch map).
Apparently if this goes ahead it would make it much more difficult, if not impossible, to re-open the
Woodhead line. The proposal is currently the subject of a not widely publicised public consultation
that closes :5 Jan 2019:. Railfuture is urging anyone interested to spread the word and to respond to
the consultation as individuals and/or as rail user groups as appropriate. See https://goo.gl/wRRfk9
or email: [email protected] or ring 0330 134 0051 to request a feedback form.
2740] Widdrington Sidings: On Sat 15 Dec 56113 worked a 17.44 from 'Carlisle New Yard' (fully
operational only since 1963 (!) otherwise known as Kingmoor Yard). It ran via Hexham then headed
north at Newcastle to Wooden Gate Jn and crossed to the Down Main (possibly after running round in
one of the loops); 'Widdrington' was reached at 22.34. An 800 tonne Colas worked Engineer's train, it
left 05.20 Sun 16 Dec 400 tones lighter for Doncaster Up Decoy. Reportedly it was delivering rail and it
is wondered if it used 'Widdrington Exchange Sidings' for the former Open Cast Disposal Point where
sporadic outward coal traffic was last reported in Mar 2010 (BLN 1112.420). However, it could have
stayed on the Down Main as no other trains are shown running in either direction while it was there
and 'Widdrington' on Realtime Trains etc refers to the passenger station rather than the sidings. Any
ideas please anyone? Widdrington sidings/crossover are shown as available in the Sectional Appendix.
BELOW: A couple of mules* at Walkeringham MoD Fuel Depot sidings, looking northwest on the
Doncaster to Gainsborough line. What do you think... three or four members perched on each and
swap over at the end to come back after overlap? [*Collective noun: a 'barren' of mules.]
2741] Mules - early Hybrids perhaps? A 'mule' was provided at Hatfield Colliery (BLN 1317.2479) to
load Merry go Round (MGR) trains without needing a loco. It is a small runner on rail wheels which
couples to the wagons. The runner is connected to a cable which is wound by a motorised system, like
a horizontal lift, to pull the wagons along. This enables the loco which brought in the wagons to leave
the site (or the crew to have their break) and play no part in loading or unloading a train.
At Hatfield the loco bringing in an empty MGR train could depart almost immediately with a previously
loaded train, greatly enhancing efficiency (as happens at the Foreign Ore Terminal with unloading).
The empty train was then pulled through the rapid loading bunker by the mule. The various bunker
lines and connections at Hatfield were fully signalled by Doncaster Power Box so the mule was
interlocked with the signalling system, being released by the panel in the same way as, say, a ground
frame might be released. It had to be proved as locked away in its compound before the release from
Doncaster could be restored to normal. This is reminiscent of the system (now presumably obsolete)
for locking away permanent way trolleys at running-off points within a block section on some lines.
Your Regional Editor thinks that this involved plugging a cable attached to the trolley into an electrical
socket completing a circuit between the signal boxes, but would welcome information from members.
Hatfield mule had been OOU for a long time; by 1992 the train loco hauled the wagons through the
bunker. The MoD fuel terminal at Walkeringham, on the Doncaster - Gainsborough line, had two. That
was also OOU before 1992 but the depot remained rail connected until the resignalling in 2014. Mules
reported by members include at Carne Point in Cornwall and Powderhall waste compaction terminal
(CG Nov 2016), Edinburgh. It is presumed that Scunthorpe Foreign Ore Branch has one as the wagons
move without a loco (which can leave with a different rake of empty wagons). See Item 2768 also.
BELOW: The defunct Hatfield Colliery mule on the 'Mule Spur' (TRACKmaps Book 2, P32b - Oct 2016).
(All three pictures in this section are by Andy Overton.)
ABOVE: Hatfield & Stainforth station looking northeast on 9 Aug 2009 when Hatfield Colliery was still
in production. The rapid loading bunker is in the distance left and the mule is hiding on the 'Mule Spur'
behind the lineside palisade metal fence upper left. Distant left, next to the pit head, is a bit of a tip.
X.175] Passenger trains to Monk Bretton! Before anyone gets too excited, they are not planning to
reopen this former Midland Railway main line to passenger traffic. Northern have been running driver
training specials on this well sanded lengthy freight line on the days when the Middleton Towers sand
train isn't running. This is for training new drivers rather than route learning; the equivalent of taking a
learner driver to a quiet bit of private road to practice perhaps? ABOVE & BELOW: 3-car DMU 144017.
2742] Sheffield: The station was eerily quiet at 17.30 on Sat 15 Dec with distinctly few passengers and
dramatically fewer trains than normal - very reminiscent of when the services were far less frequent in
the 1970s. This was due to the Northern weekly Saturday strike by Guards. Northern are only able to
provide a twice hourly service to Barnsley and hourly service to Doncaster from 08.30 to 17.30 (both
with gaps for crew breaks). There were many stabled shutdown Northern DMUs around the station.
2743] Scarborough: (BLN 1296.69). Construction has begun of the £7M depot to maintain TPE's new
Nova 3 trains and fuel any trains operating to/from Scarborough. Opening is expected in spring 2019.
2744] Middlesbrough: A study by the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) shows that a significant
proportion of trains are delayed as the platform capacity at the station is insufficient to accommodate
even the existing booked services. The resulting late departures have a wider impact on the network
across the north of England. Transport for the North (TfN) has identified this issue as one of its key
priorities for network improvements. It has always seemed strange to the Regional Editor that the
North Eastern Railway, when it rebuilt and greatly enlarged the station in 1877, provided so few
platforms (two through and a short bay at the east end) - fewer than Sunderland, [West] Hartlepool,
Saltburn or even Whitby. The problem is compounded by planned service increases in the near future:
>Manchester Airport: From Spring 2019 (deferred from Dec 2018 (BLN 1317.2480) due to a technical
issue with a key on-board system) trains will be formed of new Class 68 hauled Nova 3 stock, which is
longer and requires more preparation time. This is also why Yarm platforms are being extended
(BLN 1318.2590). [However, see the item below on Saltburn; this may mitigate the capacity problem.]
>Whitby: Additional services from Dec 2019 (a two train service on the branch as before 1 Oct 1990
..timetable change when British Rail reduced it to one, due to losses of £750K (worth £1.8M in 2018).
>Carlisle: (BLN 1300.466) 'Northern Connect' new hourly Middlesbrough to Newcastle and Carlisle
..service from Dec 2019, probably via Ferryhill, but unlikely to start from this scheduled date now.
>Hartlepool: Additional (unspecified) services.
While these services can in theory be accommodated within the timetable, they will clearly create
additional pressure, which again would impact across the wider network. From Dec 2020 a two hourly
direct London service has also been specified by the DfT as part of the franchise. (These will be worked
by the new Class 800 Azuma bi-mode trains.) This would have a significant effect on the current
timetable, as the East Coast franchise would have access rights to the station that supersede those of
the other rail operators! In other words the local rail services could be well and truly messed up.
To accommodate all these, it may be necessary to use temporary measures until the necessary works
can be completed. It may include extending Middlesbrough terminating trains (eg to Saltburn - below)
and/or introducing only a limited direct London service initially. The only permanent solution is an
additional through platform. The TVCA has therefore used part of the £75M devolved to it from the
'Transforming Cities Fund' and approved £20M to 'fully fund' the redevelopment for the new services.
The third platform would require abolition, or singling of, the Goods lines (BLN 1308.1415) that bypass
the station on the north side. This involves layout changes and some resignalling. £20M does not seem
much to fund changes of this magnitude, even though it apparently includes a £2M contingency, and
one wonders what will happen if this turns out to be insufficient. It also seems almost impossible to
complete it by Dec 2020, as it is presumably starting from scratch, with no design work in existence.
Resignalling and transfer of control from Middlesbrough box to York ROC is not now planned until at
least CP7 [2024-29] (BLN 1313.1973). Unless short term changes are made to the switch panel in the
box, this transfer might have to be expedited. This might cause recontrol of the Durham Coast boxes
from Jul 2021 to be deferred, but it seems more likely that the Middlesbrough scheme will run late.
2745] T&W Metro: At this time of year, when most fare increases are announced, Nexus has frozen
fares using its Pop Pay as you Go smartcard. However, single, day and season tickets will see a 'modest
increase' in line with inflation. Smartcard fares have NOT increased since 2012! The Nexus MD claimed
that Metro fares remain some of the lowest in the country, and thus offer excellent value for money.
2746] Darlington: The TVCA has also approved a £25M contribution towards the new platforms for
Saltburn trains (BLN 1307.1284), although government funding will be needed to complement this.
2747] Saltmarshe - Ferriby: (BLN 1317.2475) Among the many semaphore distant signals abolished as
part of the recent resignalling scheme were two which were newer than the others. About 20 years
ago it became evident that the braking distance from the Oxmardyke gate box Down Distant signal
(located beneath the Gilberdyke Junction signal box Down Section signal) to its Home signal, where
the line speed is 70mph, was insufficient for freight trains permitted to travel at the maximum 75mph -
although a rare event on this line. As a consequence (i) Oxmardyke's existing Down Distant signal
became its Down Inner Distant signal and (ii) further Down Outer Distant signals were commissioned
underneath Gilberdyke Junction's Down Inner Home signals on the lines from both Selby & Goole.
An Outer Distant signal on the Goole line was not a mandatory requirement because the speed
restriction on this line is only 30mph over Gilberdyke Jn, making it obviously impossible to achieve
75mph before reaching Oxmardyke Gate Box. However, common sense dictated otherwise, and one
was provided so as not to confuse drivers. In the recent resignalling scheme three/four aspect colour
light signals on the Down line in this area now provide an adequate braking distance.
2748] Saltburn: Following a meeting of the Tees Valley Mayor and the Middlesbrough South & East
Cleveland MP with TPE, TfN has approved a franchise change to provide direct Manchester Airport -
Saltburn-by-the-Sea trains from Dec 2019. This is an extension of the Middlesbrough service. A final
agreement with TPE to operate it is still needed but this is a big step in the right direction. It would
ease congestion at Middlesbrough (above) by not turning back the Manchester trains there - and
greatly increase the opportunities for doing the 'rare' Saltburn P2 (BLN 1289.1941)! This would be the
first regular loco hauled service here for 55 yrs if your Regional Editor's calculations are right.
2749] Gauging: The completion of Manchester Victoria - Euxton Jn electrification enables the 'further
deployment' of legacy rolling stock to other areas. NR has therefore issued a Network Change Request
for Legacy (sic) Gauge Clearance of Classes 156 and 158 in the North East. They are needed to replace
the widely disliked Pacers, which must be withdrawn by the end of 2019 as they are not compliant
with the 2020 disability access regulations. For the Class 158s the request includes almost every
passenger line in the region north to Crag Mill loops, where the Chathill service reverses, and even
Morpeth Jn - Hepscott Jn, used for Morpeth terminators to reverse ECS. Class 156s already have
access rights over these lines so the request for them covers only Norton on Tees South Jn - Ferryhill
South Jn and, interestingly, Norton on Tees East - Norton on Tees West; this is requested for the 158s
as well, of course. This is significant as the line is now only a diversionary route. The request is clearly
essential for the proposed 'Northern Connect' direct Middlesbrough - Newcastle (- Carlisle) service.
1319 NORTH WEST (John Cameron) [email protected]
2750] Carlisle Brunthill: On Fri 30 Nov what is thought to be the first freight traffic of 2018 ran.
A Freightliner Heavy Haul (it was too, at up to 2,200 tonnes) working left Tunstead at 02.13 reaching
Brunthill terminal, which was a former RAF Depot at the stub end of the Waverley Route, at 08.12.
After unloading, the not so heavy (600 tonnes) cement wagons left at 14.52 to reach Tunstead at
22.19. The outward train ran via Reddish North, Manchester Piccadilly (no problem at 3am!), Eccles
and the WCML with the return routed via the Mid-Cheshire line to Northenden Jn then via Chinley.
Our 'Route 66 Railtour' of 9 Oct 2010 reached the NR boundary (95m 06ch) on the Brunthill branch.
2751] Speke Up Sidings - don't whisper now: From 19.00 Sun 16 Dec, as part of enabling works for the
Weaver - Wavertree Resignalling Project, the following were taken OOU with associated signalling until
main commissioning (Wed 2 Jan): ●Up & Down Through Siding; ●Speke Sidings 1-6; ●The Up Siding.
2752] Preston - Blackpool: The line is closed for seven consecutive Sundays from 6 Jan (although trains
have been shown for 17 Feb) with buses to both Blackpool North and South stations. NR is carrying
out two major drainage upgrades at Poulton-le-Fylde and Kirkham & Wesham stations. Also two new
lifts installed at Kirkham & Wesham earlier this year are to be finished with external cladding.
ABOVE: 1961 OS 7th Series 1" map; Keswick station is bottom left and Threlkeld upper middle right.
2753] Keswick: (BLN 1297.145) A £7.9M funding package has been agreed to reconnect the superb
scenic path between Keswick and Threlkeld which was severely damaged in Dec 2015 by Storm
Desmond (BLN 1247.2337 with pictures). The path is on the trackbed of the former Cockermouth,
Keswick & Penrith Railway. During the storm two of the very attractive and unusual bowstring truss
bridges that cross the River Greta and about 200m of path were washed away, with Rawsome Bridge
closed for public safety. Work should start in the New Year for full reopening within two years.
X.176] Wigan Wallgate: A member recently noticed the magnificent flora display here, (Completely
missed by your GS and Editor recently who had about 40 seconds to catch a train out of the bay.)
BELOW: An English Rose at Wigan Wallgate; view towards Kirkby/Southport; next page lower towards
Manchester/Bolton. (Both Don Kennedy 11 Sep 2018 who was impressed by what he saw but perhaps
felt St Helens Central/Junction might have been more appropriate? Clue the lady's name is not Wigan.)
X.177] Metrolink, Trafford Park extension: (BLN 1314.2108) Recent pictures all by Ian Mortimer. THIS
PAGE BELOW: It's funny how trams can to go round right angled bends. A tram from the Eccles line at
the new junction for the Trafford Park line (straight on) approaches Pomona stop island platform.
NEXT PAGE TOP: In the opposite direction, with a tram on the Eccles line, the steeply graded curving
viaduct is under construction to bring the tramway down to the level of the former Pomona Docks.
BELOW: The graceful curved viaduct from Pomona tram stop (far left middle)
drops down to the dockside level.
ABOVE: A close up of the substantial new viaduct. BELOW: View from Trafford Road Bridge of line
approaching from east. (Ex-Manchester Ship Canal railway track bed if you didn't do it then!).
ABOVE: Wharfside tram stop site; a distant view from Trafford Road Bridge.
BELOW: Close up of the site of Wharfside tram stop.
ABOVE: Taken from the site of Imperial War Museum North tram stop site looking west.
BELOW: Crumpsall bay under construction for the Trafford Park service, looking towards Manchester.
ABOVE: Poster at Crumpsall showing the completed stop, looking north towards Bury.
2754] Loo Charges Down the Pan: Members will be relieved to hear that it became free to spend a
penny at Leeds, Manchester Piccadilly and Liverpool Lime Street from 17 Dec. Previously 30p was
charged (40p at Leeds) although passengers could have a two for the price of one but not 'BOGOF'.
2755] Livening things up at Bolton: (BLN 1318.2609) The OHLE between Salford Crescent and Euxton
Jn was finally energised on Tue 11 Dec (over two years later than originally envisaged). Two return test
runs from Preston to Manchester Piccadilly were completed with Class 390 Pendolino 390104 from
00.05 to 04.16 on Thur 13 Dec (shown as Voyager Class 220/221 DMU in Realtime Trains - perhaps the
system had refused to accept electric traction "I don't beleeeve it..."‽). 390154 was also used the
following morning. Both Pendolinos had worked in passenger services from Euston to Preston just
before. Meanwhile the eight scheduled overnight Northern DMUs were replaced by buses as usual.
A member with a special interest in electric traction considers a Class 390 was used for its minimal risk:
(1): They have a high power draw so extra test loads are not needed. (2): They have two pantographs
in case one is damaged. (3): They can be (and were, on the two nights of testing) set up to record line
voltage and line current draw simply by typing a few commands into a laptop. In fact the recordings
showed a minor infrastructure problem on the first run through Salford Crescent, which was fixed by
the second run on the first night. It might have been missed if the recording hadn't taken place.
Northern EMU 319386 was used for three return runs between Manchester Victoria and Salford
Crescent via Salford Central on the evening of Sat 15 Dec to test the wiring on that section. Sign-off for
unrestricted use is expected in the New Year. There are likely to be regular Pendolino ECS workings.
2756] Metrolink: In November 3,972,807 passenger journeys were recorded, the most ever in one
month on the system. Adding new meaning to a tram being 'wedged' on Tue 4 Dec, a tram was so full
that it became stuck on the platform edge at Brooklands stop in the morning rush hour. The driver had
difficulty shutting the doors, then when he had the tram would not move so called out over the tannoy
for passengers waiting on the platform to push it away from the platform. After about 10 seconds the
tram was able to move and the driver said 'Thank you very much, everyone'. This is not the first time
this has happened at a Metrolink stop. See https://goo.gl/iFQ5xr allow time to load and click arrow.
2757] Blackpool Trams: There was single line working on the tramway using the northbound track
between Cabin and North Pier stops from Sun 9 Dec until Tue 18 Dec, with associated use of rare
crossovers for southbound trams. A 20 minute all day frequency was operated. We advised members
of this in our e-BLN email message of 6 Dec and it appeared on 'Gensheet' too. The work involved
connecting the Blackpool North station extension to the promenade line at North Pier.
(ABOVE & NEXT PAGE TOP: Both Kev Adlam 17 Dec 2018.)
2758] Cumbrian Coast: (BLN 1318 2606) It is perhaps hard to now believe that the Barrow-in-Furness
to Whitehaven section was down for complete passenger closure in the 1963 Beeching Report. The
£3M relaying scheme, over six Sundays from 6 Jan to 10 Feb 2019 and eight weeknights, involves
replacing 5,000 yds of track on the double track section between Silecroft and Bootle. This also
requires 8,400 tonnes of ballast and 7,870 steel/concrete sleepers. There is a temporary speed
restriction between the stations which will be lifted after the work. Additionally there is 'spot
resleepering' and timber replacement work ongoing between Bootle and Sellafield at night.
2759] Northwich: The Down & Up Goods Line, behind Down P2, has been OOU since 12.59 on 28 Nov
due to the condition of track. Access at each end (Northwich East Jn and Northwich Station Jn) is still
available to the adjacent Down Reception Sidings at Lostock Works but requires 'top & tail' working as
there is no run round facility now. The problem prevents moves between Middlewich and Altrincham
in both directions and the line was also used to regulate freight services to/from the WCML.
1319 SOUTH EAST - NORTH & EAST ANGLIA (Julian James) [email protected]
2760] St Albans Abbey: On Sun 9 Dec children and adults with valid rail tickets were all welcome to
hop aboard Santa's festive train on the Abbey Line to gain admission to his special grotto. Alighting at
Bricket Wood station a trail led to the grotto at St Stephens Parish Centre. There was Face Painting,
Balloon Modelling, Arts & Crafts, ride-on 'steam' Railway, a quiz with prizes, refreshments by Mount
Pleasant Primary School PTA, Farr Brew and live music. Entry to the event grounds was free. As under
5s travel free they were covered by the adult's ticket. London Northwestern Railway also allowed
unlimited travel on Abbey line services all day with 'a return train ticket' on 9 Dec.
2761] Huntingdon: NR proposes to remove the catch points at Huntingdon North Jn on the Down
Slow at 59m 27ch as part of S&C renewal between 5 and 18 Jan 2019. The catch points are described
as redundant and life expired. Removal will have no operational impact but reduces maintenance costs
and the risk of them failing, while improving ride and track quality. They are north of the Down Slow to
Down Fast crossover and protect against trains on the Down Slow running back towards Huntingdon
station. The S&C renewal is of all five points forming the junction, largely on a like for like basis;
the two Down Sidings North and their connection to the Down Slow are unaffected. The cost of
removing the catch points is put at £200k with renewal costing £500k.
2762] Wisbech: (BLN 1309.1551) On 28 Nov the board of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
Combined Authority approved a budget of £1.5M comprising £1.3M estimated cost and a £200k
contingency for consultants to develop the business case and single option design for reinstating rail
services between March and Wisbech with consideration of onward connections and connectivity to
Cambridge and Peterborough. The study will also consider lower cost, non-heavy rail alternatives.
It will be carried out for the Combined Authority and will be procured and managed by Cambridgeshire
County Council on its behalf and is estimated to take nine months to complete. According to the
report, NR and other key stakeholders will be directly involved, and the successful consultant will be
expected to work with all interested parties in developing the scheme. The Combined Authority says
the scheme is a 'priority for the development' of Wisbech, especially given hopes to expand the town
into a 'garden town' which could bring 10,000 to 12,000 extra homes over 25 years from 2020.
2763] Ipswich: The Bacon Factory Curve saw 'normal' passenger use (as opposed to railtours) on
Wed 5 Dec when a failed train blocked access to Ipswich station. The 18.28 Felixstowe to Ipswich ran
via Boss Hall Jn to Europa Jn then to Stowmarket, the lucky passengers also did the trailing crossover
there after reversing in P2 as well as qualifying for compensation due to the 61¾ minutes delay!
2764] Heathrow Western Rail Link: NEXT PAGE: NR has issued draft outline layout changes between
Langley and Iver for the connection of the proposed western access line to Heathrow to the Up Relief
and Down Relief. These will firstly be relocated at Christmas 2022 north of the present alignment with
removal of all existing sidings. The Up Main will be slewed at Easter 2023 closer to the Down Main (the
present six-foot way being that for the former broad gauge railway) and new 125mph alignments
created at Christmas 2023 for the Up Main and Down Main where the Relief lines are now. Over
Christmas 2024, after construction of an oblique underbridge in the space created, the temporarily
disused Down Main will return to its present alignment, followed by the Up Main and the 125mph
alignments where the Relief lines are now located. At Easter 2025 a new turnout converging from the
right into the Down Relief east of Langley will fall to pass through the new underbridge. Two years
later … at Easter 2027 this Down Airport will be joined by an Up Airport facing and diverging right east
of Langley! Thus the double track Airport lines will connect between the Reliefs and pass under the
Mains. There will be a facing and a trailing crossover on the new tracks east of the junction and before
entering the bridge under the Mains. From just south of the GWML the new line will be in tunnel to a
station lying east-west at T5. Consultation has started to establish the intended scope by 25 Feb 2019.
2765] Slough: On 24 & 31 Dec the last train (22.19) from Windsor & Eton Central is shown as running
through to Slough P2 (rather than the normal bay P1) in passenger service via the branch main line
connection (then ECS to Reading as usual but in a revised path). Of note this is the only passenger
service to use Slough P2 all day on 24th. Similarly, on 27 & 31 Dec as well as 1 Jan, the first train to
Windsor & Eton Central is booked from Slough P2 rather than P1 at 06.31, 06.31 & 05.30 respectively.
2766] North Cotswold Line (1): (BLN 1317.2644) On 27 Nov work on platform lengthening for 10-car
IETs to operate - with their longer carriages - was noted (from an HST, of course) as follows:
●Hanborough: Construction of a substantial extension of the platform at the London end. The basic
support structure was there with a few 'concrete'* surface blocks in place but most were piled on the
south side of the line awaiting installation. There was no obvious sign of the 'new' booking office
(second hand) from Abbey Wood. ●Charlbury: Up P1 is 5-car and with 2011 redoubling Down P2 was
built for 7. Both have similar extensions underway at the London end - with a substantial discontinuity
on the Up side where the ramp will have to be removed and the gap filled. ●Kingham: No work on the
Down side but a short Up P1 country end extension is almost complete. ●Moreton-in-Marsh: Nothing
doing on Down side where services turned back during the 17 to 24 Nov line closure. The Up side has a
short country end extension, almost complete but not open. *Your Regional Ed has noted the use of
white polystyrene blocks for the body of new platforms under the paved surface. Cost, ease and speed
of installation are key advantages. To the casual observer - particularly from a passing HST - these may
look like concrete! [They were used to widen Abergele & Pensarn Down P1 out in early 2017 - PAS.]
●Honeybourne: 'Extending' this into Worcestershire the currently 4-car length Down P1 is having a
country end extension. Up P2, dating from the 2011 redoubling, already takes 7 conventional length
cars; a short country end extension is being constructed.
2766 - continued: ●Evesham: Down P1 takes 7 coaches but only 5 doors are currently opened. There is
a London end extension, bases are installed but it needs fencing etc. The Up P2 extension is at the
country end, fenced, but not yet in use. ●Pershore: (Down side platform on the single line.) A London
end extension is substantially complete with fencing and lamp posts (not lamps). The trackless former
Up platform is still present at the London end but only about three coaches long. ●Worcestershire
Parkway: There are many buildings and footbridges but no platforms yet; it will take a 10-car IET.
●Worcester Shrub Hill: The London end P1 signal was moved closer to London for 10 car IETs and
allow them to split/join here. It is the only platform that passenger trains from Oxford/Cheltenham
can arrive in, although departures can be from all three platforms. P1 takes 12 conventional cars,
bidirectional P2 takes 13 and Bay P3 just 3 with the buffer stop end coach behind the wall and two on
the platform. ●Worcester Foregate Street takes 7 cars, no changes are planned (or at stations to
Hereford which have stop signs for 5, 9 & 10-car IETs). The new (but still unused) Henwick Turnback
Facility (121m 72ch) has signage for 5 and 10 car IETs.
2767] Extended Item - North Cotswold Line (2): From 17 Dec platform extensions were due to open:
●Hanborough†: Single platform, on the Up side extended by 114yd from 88yd to 202yd.
●Charlbury†: Up P2 by 78yd from 125yd to 203yd; Down P1 by 51yd from 152yd to 203yd.
●Kingham: Up P2 by 28yd from 148yd to 176yd. (Down P1 remains unaltered at 168yd).
●Moreton-in-Marsh: Up P2 by 45yd from 155yd to 200yd; Down P1 by 70yd from 146yd to 216yd.
●Honeybourne: Up P2 by 50yd from 153yd to 203yd; Down P1 by 117yd from 86yd to 203yd.
●Evesham: Up P2 by 65yd from 138yd to 203yd; Down P1 by 37yd from 166yd to 203yd.
●Pershore: Single platform, on the Down side extended by 72yd from 132yd to 204yd.
†The extensions at Hanborough and Charlbury at least were not ready in time and opening was
deferred. An unusual train on this line is the 16.22 (SSuX) Paddington to Great Malvern, now a 5-car
IET advertised at Paddington as non-stop to Oxford (but in fact calls at Slough and Reading to pick up).
After Oxford it changes to an IVET§ stopping at every single station (15 in total, soon to be 16 with
Worcestershire Parkway) including the wooden platform at lowly Combe station (1,994 passengers in
2017-18). On this train recently a family were travelling to Kingham and commented that they had
never even heard of some of the places it stopped at; an § Inter Village Express Train? It does have First
Class accommodation though and a dedicated First Class host. The morning 'Oxfordshire Halts' train
(also SSuX) is a Worcester Foregate Street to Didcot Parkway Standard Class only 2-car Turbo DMU.
2768] Harwich International - Dovercourt: Land belonging to Hutchison Ports is to be leased to
Greater Anglia for a new wheel lathe site. The Through Siding, parallel to the single running line and
currently out of operational use, is planned to be reinstated to form a reception road from 69m 17ch
to 69m 59ch with a new connection from it to a land area capable of accepting 243m trains. An electric
shunt mule will propel trains from the electrified Through Siding to the lathe (one is used at Siemens
Southampton Traincare facility). There will also be a storage siding forming a loop from the Through
Siding. The existing Ilford depot wheel lathe can only accommodate 4-car trains because of the short
length of the headshunt there. It is intended to complete and commission the works by Nov 2020.
2769] Oxford: From 3 Dec the 102m Up Oxford Headshunt within the Up Oxford Sidings was brought
back into use with signal routes to/from the headshunt reinstated. A passing visit on 7 Dec showed the
five new Up Carriage Sidings to be very impressive facilities (ranging from 182yd to 368yd long), well
illuminated at night and better organised now they are all on one side of the line. The Down Side
sidings are for turnbacks plus three Engineer's Sidings. The only thing missing is OHLE! Unusually
(SSuX) between the 08.40 departure for Marylebone and the 08.51 arrival from there is no Chiltern at
Oxford station; normally one arrives from London then another leaves. On Fri 7 Dec, even more
unusually, bay P1 was occupied by a 2-car GWR Turbo DMU forming the 08.58 to Banbury (cancelled
from Didcot due to late running of the inbound service) and next to it another 2-car GWR Turbo (ECS)
was reversing to access the carriage sidings. These bays are normally the preserve of Chiltern services.
2770] Bedwyn/IETs: Introduction of Hitachi IET bimodes to Newbury and Bedwyn is delayed until
further notice. It had been expected from the GWR timetable change at the start on January with
completion of electrification to Newbury. GWR advise that new CCTV cameras are required for the
driver to confirm that the doors can be safely closed - stopping services are Driver Only Operated and
smaller stations are unstaffed so there is no assistance with dispatch. Meanwhile the cascade of Class
165 DMU Turbos from the route is also delayed. 9-car IETs on long distance trains (with a conductor)
are not affected and can call at all stations (with selective door opening where necessary).
GWR is unable to say when the modifications will be complete and creating a further modified 'sub-
fleet' could reduce operating flexibility. There are already two sub-groups with those for Devon and
Cornwall having higher engine operating power, larger fuel tanks are more Dawlish-proof (salt water
resistant). GWR will have 58 of the 5-car IETs with 326 seats and 35 of the 9-car sets with 655 seats.
Previously there were 50 HSTs, five 5-car Adelante Class 180s plus the Turbo DMUs of course.
1319 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]
2771] SE Freight: Construction materials supplier Day Group has renewed a contract for DB Cargo
UK(DBC) to haul sea-dredged aggregates and 'incinerator bottom ash' for a further ten years.
The ash trains run from Newhaven to a processing facility at Brentford, then return to Newhaven
carrying recycled aggregates in what DBC says is an 'unusual two-way rail movement of bulk products'.
Separately, aggregates are transported from Cliffe on the Isle of Grain to depots at Battersea, Crawley
New Yard, Purley and Tolworth. The contract renewal announced on 9 Nov covers operation of more
than 15 trains a week, which DBC said was the equivalent of 190 lorry loads a day. There is provision
for the operation of additional services, including to other concrete plants. (Railway Gazette)
2772] Newhaven Marine: (BLN 1314.2126) From 15 Dec the Wharf Road (the platform line) and No3
& 4 Sidings were taken OOU until week commencing 9 Mar 2019 with commissioning of the Lewes
to Seaford resignalling and control transferring to Three Bridges ROC. Freight use of the track at the
platform will probably be for aggregate. There are also two new (in 2016) tracks on the Up side
north of Newhaven Town, not yet shown on TRACKmaps, next to the waste incineration plant with
unusual bidirectional traffic flows. 'Incinerator bottom ash' and sea dredged aggregates go by rail to
London (Brentford) and, in the other direction, in the same wagons, recycled aggregates are carried
to, and stored at, Newhaven (BLN 1270.3080). On 25 Jul 2018 Brett Aggregates Ltd were, despite
strong local opposition, given planning permission (by a 4:3 vote of East Sussex Council's Planning
Committee) to build a concrete block factory, concrete and aggregate plant here. The plans show it
as rail served by an extension of the line past Newhaven Marine - forming a significant branch.
2773] Newhaven Town: The UK's first flood barrier spanning a national passenger rail track will form a
key part of the £18M Newhaven flood alleviation scheme when it is completed next year. [There are
flood gates of a much simpler design on the 15" gauge Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway.] In 2013 a tidal
surge from the River Ouse flooded almost 60 properties and closed the railway between Lewes and
Seaford. In response, the Environment Agency and Lewes District Council have developed a scheme to
reduce the risks of flooding to approximately 430 homes and 390 businesses in and around Newhaven.
It will also protect infrastructure such as the road network, the railway, the commercial area near the
port and Newhaven Town station. There is a perceived risk of 'backdoor flooding' from the upstream
flood plain north of the town that could be triggered by the breaching of the River Ouse embankments
during an extreme tidal surge. This would particularly hit the Newhaven Enterprise Zone on the east
bank. To protect this area, two clay-cored bunds up to 2.7m high and totalling 600m long have already
been constructed. They will eventually be linked by the new floodgate and its flanking concrete walls,
1km north of Newhaven Town station. A twin leaf hydraulically operated design was chosen by the
scheme's joint venture design and build contractor Jackson Hyder. Each steel leaf will be about
6m wide and 1.2m high, weighing about 3,000kg. When there is no risk of flooding the leaves will be
parked on each side of the tracks. Should a tidal surge threaten, the leaves can be swung out into
position in a matter of 'moments'. Detailed design continues, but the current estimated cost of the
gates and the necessary changes to the railway infrastructure is expected to be approx £1.5M.
Installation of the gates should take place next year. Five areas on both banks of the estuary make up
the entire scheme, with the floodgates being in Area 1. Construction began in Jan 2017, and overall
completion is scheduled for autumn next year. On overall completion the town will have a 1-in-200-
year standard of protection, even making allowances for sea level rises due to climate change. This is a
0.5% chance of flooding from the sea in any one year. Funding is mainly from the Environment Agency
(the government's Flood and Coastal Risk Management Grant-in-aid), with two local enterprise
partnerships contributing £1.5M each. (New Civil Engineer.) Past railway or road construction for
100/150 year standards of protection makes this 200 year provision - through higher defences - seem
appropriate action. However, with so many adverse weather episodes, even expressing the flooding
probability in any one year at 0.5%, may still leave those affected alarmed. This illustrates how modern
risk assessment techniques can leave the reader better informed, but still concerned [Regional Ed].
2774] Coulsdon South: Lifts and a new footbridge are to be installed, funded from £30M to be spread
between stations in the south east. Selhurst and Carshalton are also targeted for investment although
decisions remain to be made on these plans. Plans for Coulsdon South to make it more accessible
were submitted to Croydon Council last year and approved by Council officers on 24 Apr with no
timescale for the work to begin. (Croydon Advertiser.)
2775] An isolated item: NR is changing the traction current isolation process on third rail lines starting
on the South Western Railway routes. Up to now two people are required with heavy (30kg) portable
equipment. This will be replaced by one person driving to a local control panel, away from the live
railway, to operate a series of switches. The system is initially being rolled out across SWR routes and
is expected to give track workers an extra 1,600 hours a year to carry out work. More than 450 of the
devices required for this technology will be installed by March next year with another 400 added over
the coming three years. The new approach has been successfully trialled in the Guildford area.
1319 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon) [email protected]
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Iron Acton Station Road crossing gates (1m 6ch) on the Tytherington branch
in 1970. ABOVE: Latteridge Level Crossing (2m 47ch) over the B4059 looking towards Yate in 1970.
BELOW: Tytherington station in 1970, it CP along with the whole Thornbury branch back in 1944.
ABOVE: Tytherington Tunnel (5m 46ch - 5m 56ch) the north end with a convenient entrance. The M5
now crosses above and trains run again, looking towards Yate. The quarry is behind the photographer.
BELOW: Grovesend Quarry (5m 70ch) loading point was past Tytherington and had seen better days;
looking towards the end of line. (All Black & White pictures tken by David Palmer in 1970.)
ABOVE: 1960 1" 7th Series map; Yate is bottom right and the former Thornaby terminus is top left.
NEXT PAGE UPPER: The underbridge at Tytherington village, just east of the tunnel when the track
was being relayed; one of two new bridges built at the village for the 1972 reopening. (Ian Mortimer.)
NEXT PAGE LOWER: Oxford University Railway Society 'Bristol Area Railtour' https://goo.gl/8MNLxK
at Grovesend Quarry, which is actually beyond Tytherington. (Ian Mortimer 25 Sep 1976.)
X.178] Tytherington: (BLN 1218.2563) The recent re-revival of traffic reminds a member of his not-so-
misspent youth! He lived quite close to the branch and visited it on his trusty bicycle several times
after closure (CG 2/11/1967). The line was relaid and re-commissioned 3 Jul 1972 then CG 15 Sep 2013
again ROG 29 Nov 2018). The B&W photographs above were taken in 1970. As these show, the track
had been taken up and the two tunnels blocked up (though with openings so they were easy to walk
through - but it was 1970!). There was a run-round loop at the Yate Middle Jn end of the branch only,
broadly as shown on TRACKmaps Book 3 p17A (Jun 2018). He missed photographing Thornbury station
building at the end of the branch past the quarry (although remembers sketching it - possibly in 1969)
and also Iron Acton which, like Tytherington, was a wooden building but was demolished by 1970.
X.179] Severn Beach
branch: RIGHT: Not
an imminent collision
on this single line
branch but train 2K12
(a passenger service)
becomes 2K13 on its
return from Severn
Beach and the system - Thames Valley Signalling Centre, Didcot - has the next move ready on standby.
(Andrew Taylor, Open Train Times.)
X.180] BELOW: A Penzance to Exeter St Davids train approaching St Erth. (Peter Scott 15 May 2007.)
ABOVE: A Class 47 on a South Wales to Paddington service approaching Pilning (formerly 'High Level')
station on 27 Jul 1975; the low level line to, and then through, Severn Beach station is to the middle
right of the station. Of note this was taken from the now absent footbridge. (Ian Mortimer.)
2776] Pilning on the Passengers: (BLN 1318.2633) The ORR 2017-18 station usage figures published on
11 Dec 18 show one South West station has more than doubled its patronage. Based on the 'total
entrances and exits', Pilning had 478 passengers compared to 230 in 2016-17. However, despite its
two unidirectional trains (08.00 & 15.00 SO Cardiff Central departures to Taunton), that is just over
four per train, so don't expect GWR to make more stops. They claim to lose money on every stop now.
With no station facilities other than its one accessible platform and a bus shelter without seating, one
wonders how passenger numbers are calculated, especially with no ticket gates. Ticket sales to/from
Pilning, on board or in advance, are the basis but how are passengers using rover tickets or breaking
journey allowed for? [The ORR annual report has sections on methodology which is constantly refined
- PAS.] Newport residents may wish to break their journey with seven hours in Pilning on a Saturday to
trace the old railway to Severn Beach, for example, some 3 miles out and back again.
How about when the railway is closed and taxi replacement is provided? Or indeed are enthusiasts
buying tickets to/from Pilning online for their collection and not using them? Such exactness is less
significant for stations like Temple Meads with 11.4M passengers but potentially more notable in
percentage terms for stations such as Pilning. This may be especially true due to promotions carried
out by the Pilning Station Group (and regular mention in the railway press) encouraging enthusiasts
and locals. This includes their 'Pilning Scramble', a point based game based on visiting small stations‡.
The Group has also produced a video set to Sinead O'Connor's 'Nothing Compares 2U' and T-shirts
(£15 all sizes available online) to support their campaign to improve Pilning's train services for the
village's 3,647 population. [Now if only they each made a few journeys by train each year....]
Amazingly the increased footfall makes Pilning now only the fifth least used station in the South West
(previously third - must try less hard?). The 'honour' of least used now falls to Coombe Junction Halt
(156 but 212 in 2016-17) - visited by our Cornwall event 11 Jul 2018, with Sampford Courtenay
(188/144) holding the 'privilege' of being second. Chapelton (188/566) and Portsmouth Arms
(444/518) have to live with being only third and fourth least used. Chapelton had the greatest
percentage reduction (-70%; nowhere else exceeded 30% reduction). Bristol Parkway's loss of 174,438
due to engineering work is the most in absolute numbers and St Ives (3,588 +10%) the greatest gain.
Temple Meads unsurprisingly had most interchanges at 1,477,064, with Exeter St Davids (1,060,465)
and Bristol Parkway (695,790) next. Dorchester West (48) was lowest excluding the many 'zeros'.
‡Starting at Pilning, score points (as per the station initial letter Scrabble score) for each station visited
where you must alight and take a photo, with a minimum connection time of five minutes - no hopping
off and straight back on at Quintrell Downs (10 points). 50 points gets you a Gold Pilning Scramble
ticket - no one has yet achieved that! (Do you get treble points for loco-hauled or double for HST?)
Not hard enough? - try the Pilning Multiplex or Grandslam! www.pilningstation.uk/challenges/ps
Rumour has it they will be Olympic sports by the 2020 Tokyo Games.
2777] Tytherington: (BLN 1317.2439) 59204 worked the 0Z90 Westbury - Grovesend Quarry via
Swindon route refresher/test light engine run on Thur 15 Nov. The delay arriving mentioned was due
to NR having to replace three sleepers near the Iron Acton bypass (B4058) level crossing, holding the
loco up for 40 minutes. At the quarry, the Bristol based DBC drivers had to walk from the loco to the
operating limit of the branch at Grovesend as the loading conveyor belt (reportedly 'out of use') was in
the 'down' position preventing the loco from passing beneath. (Cardiff & Avonside Railway Society.)
2778] 'On yer Bike': Cyclists who have left their bicycles at Bristol TM for long periods of time without
using them are being warned that they will be removed, stored for a month then, if not claimed, given to
charity (recycled?). The cull is to free up space for cyclists. Station staff placed warning notices on all
bikes here, advising owners that if those notices were still there on 18 Dec the locks may be cut and
bikes removed (no good getting cut up over this). The bike racks layout recently changed with the new
ticket gates (in use from 17 Dec (SSuX 07.00-10.00 & 16.00-19.00) capacity increased from 294 to 588.
2779] Portishead: (BLN 1310.1671) Another £1.4M is to be allocated towards the Development
Consent Order application by North Somerset Council. Further investment has been required because
of additional requirements related to the environmental statement being placed on the project
including hydraulic modelling and imperative reasons of overriding public interest.
1319 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]
2780] Blakedown: The site of the former trailing crossover (RIP), just south of the crossing, is marked
by the outer check rails of the points (known as 'cover checks') which unusually remain in both tracks.
This very rare crossover was abolished as part of the August Bank Holiday 2012 resignalling. Although
close to the former signal box (also south of the level crossing by the Down line) it was controlled
locally from line side equipment released from the box. The former 1888 'Churchill & Blakedown
Signal Box' also closed in Aug 2012 with resignalling. NR dismantled and stored it, donating it to Wyre
Forest District Council. With the help of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, money and support from NR
and locally, the Parish Council arranged for it to be rebuilt behind Down P2 (the Birmingham platform)
north of the level crossing and away from the railway. Beautifully restored and easily visible from
passing trains, it opened as a village community centre on 24 Oct 2016. It is available to hire for events
and exhibitions, can hold up to 30 people and is the home of Churchill & Blakedown Historical Society.
2781] Aldridge: According to the Wolverhampton Express & Star, reopening with extension of OHLE
from Ryecroft Jn is unlikely to be progressed due to 'a lack of diesel trains'. West Midlands Trains does
have some on order for other lines but the Walsall services will become all EMU from May with Chase
Line Electrification. The plan was to extend the two all station Wolverhampton via New Street EMUs
from Walsall to/from Aldridge. Apart from electrification, the trailing crossover at 44m 73ch needs to
be moved west to accommodate the longer Class 350 EMUs (and their new successors on order).
2782] New Street: On Tue 4 Dec the 07.23 TfW service to Llandudno departed in service northbound
from P1 to the Wolverhampton line, an extremely unusual move nowadays with no booked workings,
using the rare New Street North Tunnel trailing crossover (0m 21ch). The inbound service (05.18 ex-
Shrewsbury) terminated here at 06.19 due to a fault with the Class 175 DMU that was subsequently
rectified, so it turned back in P1 instead of running to Birmingham International and back as booked.
2783] Diamond Geezers: A passenger lost her wedding ring over Bloxwich North platform edge one
dark morning last month, waiting for the 07.03 to Birmingham New Street. NR's Walsall track section
manager was alerted the next day and his technicians kindly quickly located and returned it. The lady
had been moisturising her hands and it slipped off - she didn't dare tell her husband until afterwards.
2784] Telford: (BLN 1308.1456) The new footbridge and monumental new connected footbridge to
the town centre, spanning both a dual carriageway and the A5/M54 link road, opened to the public
without fanfare during the day on 30 Nov. The old footbridge and the temporary scaffolding supported
ramps were removed over the weekend of 1/2 Dec, leaving only the concrete steps. We trust our BLN
Regional Ed (who commutes to Telford at times from Wilnecote) has gone for a tramp on the bridge?
2785] Lost Property: Charges for retrieving lost property (and cash) at West Midlands Trains stations
were dropped from 3 Dec. They were inherited from London Midland Railways, the former operator.
2786] Wolverhampton: An odd train from here is the 07.19 (SSuX) Class 323 EMU all stations via
Smethwick Rolfe Street (07.38) and Birmingham New Street to Four Oaks (08.11) advertised as a
through train, including intermediately and does not change headcode. There is no equivalent working
in the other direction; does anyone know of similar unusual through advertised trains?
2787] Oxley Chord - the sequel: (BLN 1319.2636) The Shrewsbury to Crewe evening Voyager ECS
working reverses in Wolverhampton station rather than using the chord to avoid turning the set. On at
least one occasion the morning Central Rivers to Shrewsbury ECS has reversed in Bushbury Down
Loop then used the chord in the rarer direction to turn. [Most Virgin Trains drivers don't sign it either.]
1319 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]
2788] New NIR Vehicles: When the 4000 class (20 x 3 car sets) were ordered from CAF the contract
included an option for additional vehicles to be exercised by the end of 2018. NIR recently announced
that they have ordered 21 powered intermediates with the intention of making up seven of the sets to
permanent 6 car trains. Delivery is not scheduled to start until the second half of 2021.
2789] Bangor: (E-BLN 1318.2648) P3 is actually the preferred platform rather than P2 except in the
peaks when 2 and 3 are used alternately. However, P1 has increased booked use in the new timetable:
SSuX 07.31 & 16.17 to Portadown and 07.57 to Lisburn; 07.22 & 17.55 from Belfast Central/Lanyon
Place (LP) and 09.07 from Lisburn. SO 07.57 to Portadown and 20.15 from Portadown.
2790] Travel Early (morning) for Christmas: NIR also ran late night services Fri/Sat (actually early
Sat/Sun) from 1-22 Dec inclusive: 00.11 GVS to Coleraine all stops except City Hospital and Yorkgate;
00.16 GVS to Larne Harbour all stops except City Hospital; 00.21 GVS to Bangor all stops except City
Hospital & 00.15 Belfast Central/LP to Portadown: Botanic, GVS, Lisburn, Moira & Lurgan only.
2791] ... and New Year: Meanwhile in Dublin there are (allegedly) early morning trains after the New
Year's Eve concerts in the city - although when checked they were not coming up on the Journey
Planner. From Pearse there are 01.30 & 02.30 trains all stations to Howth; 01.40 & 02.40 to Dundalk
(Tara Street, Connolly and all stations after Howth Junction); 01.20 & 02.55 all stations to Maynooth
and interestingly 00.50 & 02.50 all stations to Kildare via Drumcondra. There are also 01.30 & 02.30
trains from Connolly all stations to Greystones. Security personnel are provided; normal fares apply.
2792] Hybrids: On 28 Nov the Irish Government announced it will provide up to €15M to convert the
Intercity Railcar fleet (2000 Class) to hybrid technology, one of seven projects supported by its €77M
Climate Action Fund first round. This will start with the design, supply, installation and commissioning
of an initial nine Hybrid battery PowerPacks for the trains by Rolls-Royce. Subject to the success of the
trials between the end of 2019 and 2021, IR plan to convert the entire 234 car fleet. Simulations have
demonstrated up to 33% possible fuel and emissions savings, depending on the route and timetable.
Regenerative braking is included reducing the requirement to replace brake pads and discs.
2793] IR Timetable changes: Further to the BLN 1317.2523 summary. From 9 Dec the additional SSuX
Connolly to Drogheda services are at 07.50, 09.10 & 15.22 and from Drogheda at 09.00, 10.10 and
16.28. From public consultation on Saturdays some Northern Commuter DMUs additionally serve
Howth Junction, Clongriffin and Portmarnock. The 22.05 (SO) Connolly to Drogheda leaves at 21.45
and there is a new 22.45 (SO) Connolly to Dundalk. From Connolly to Sligo 06.55 (SSuX) & 09.05 (SuX)
trains replace the 08.00 (SuX). A 16.55 SSuX (17.00 SO) & 19.00 (SuX) Sligo to Dublin Connolly, replace
the previous 18.00 (SSuX) departure. Some services were altered, including the 07.05 (SuX) Sligo to
Dublin Connolly which departs at 06.40. The 18.00 (SuO) Sligo to Dublin Connolly now leaves at 19.00.
The 17.33 (SSuX) Connolly to Wexford is extended to Rosslare Europort; the 18.35 (SSuX) Connolly to
Rosslare Europort terminates at Wexford. 09.40 (SO) Connolly to Rosslare leaves 08.05. On Sundays
the 09.45 Connolly to Rosslare now departs 10.25 and 09.30 Rosslare to Connolly leaves at 09.40.
2794] NIR Timetable: (BLN 1318.2648) The SO 22.25 ex-Larne Harbour is a through train to Portadown.
2895] Connolly P7 - Newcomen Jn: (BLN 1314.2163) From 9 Dec in the new timetable the 17.05 SuO
Connolly to Sligo has been retimed to 17.10 SuO with the Drumcondra stop removed again, so
diversion via Newcomen Jn is possible again for sporting events at Croke Park next summer/autumn.
2796] Youghal: (BLN 1317.2526) Summer passenger use of the branch continued after 1978, shown in
the Working Timetables & PSUL. Summer Sea-Breeze Excursions ran in the 1979 season (BELOW: From
1979 PSUL) - but not after, despite appearing in WTTs (BLNs 391 p64 & 419 p126). When the weather
was good these operated, as often as WSSuO (usually only one round trip from Cork at the end).
1319 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
2797] MER 125; Oldest Trams in the WORLD: There aren't many trams in the British Isles which can
lay claim to having an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records but the original Manx Electric
Railway motors do. They are officially the oldest trams in the world still operating on their original
system and despite their 125 years they still see regular use with timetable 'D' during much of the
year. Readers may be interested to note that during the Regional Editor's tenure the crew roster was
issued on a weekly basis. Whenever Tram 1 (and if the weather was OK Trailer 51 as well) was
scheduled to operate only a very small number of motormen were even considered for the duty.
1319 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe) [email protected]
2798] Happy Hogmanay: On Tue 1 Jan all Virgin West Coast Trains (five Voyagers each way) from/to
Edinburgh are booked via Slateford Jn - Craiglockhart Jn and the suburban line. CrossCountry services
from Newcastle run to Edinburgh (rather than Glasgow Central) and TPE services are replaced by
buses (only three hours to Carlisle). This can be done at 2018 fares as the increase takes effect on 2nd
2799] Very Happy Hogmanay! For the third year running all night FREE trams run in Edinburgh during
the Hogmanay celebrations. On New Year's Day they are every 15 minutes from midnight to 05.00
between Edinburgh Airport and West End - Princes Street. This is a chance to do the trailing crossover
on departure from the latter stop free (trams don't run to York Place due to the crowds on Princes
Street and fireworks). Also free is what is considered to be the UK's most expensive bit of track to do
between Ingliston Park & Ride (open all night with free unrestricted parking) and Edinburgh Airport.
X.181] ABOVE & BELOW: Paddington station, Glasgow? (Nick Jones 14 Dec 2018.)
ABOVE: ScotRail HSTs at Inverness - we are not so sure about the 'new' though. (Nick Jones Oct 2018.)
2800] Edinburgh Trams: Antler vinyls and reindeer names have been added to trams. Tram '276'
named 'Rudolph' was used on the Gyle Santa Express and had antlers on the cab sides. All of Santa's
reindeer have been honoured with a named tram; '271' became 'Cupid'.
2801] Ayr: (BLN 1317.2436) P3 finally reopened as a through line Wed 19 Dec with full restoration of
the normal timetable including the Kilmarnock - Girvan short workings (Girvan having an almost
hourly service SuX) and full reopening of Townhead EMU Sidings south or Ayr station on the Up side.
2802] Dunblane & Stirling: The two semaphore signals nearest the north end of the station (DB45 on
the Down Main and DB42 on the Down Passenger Loop) were replaced recently for electrification.
(NEXT PAGE TOP: Dunblane station looking north (Jonathan Frye with thanks to Nick Jones) - also
showing NR's most northerly electrified line, but only done by ECS.) The other two main semaphores
DB6 and DB44, further north of the station, are reportedly remaining as semaphores as they are clear
of the OHLE. The main signals at the south end of Dunblane were replaced with colour light five or so
years ago. Not sure about any remaining discs. The plan was also to remove the two remaining
semaphores at Stirling North (SN36, SN37, both on the Down Main).
2803] Alloha to EMUs: On Thur 13 Dec the weather being fine, a member went for a trip on Britain's
most northerly mainline electric trains. All trains between Edinburgh and Glasgow were electric, as
has been the case for several months. They are mostly the new Class 385 (with the modified driver's
windscreens), but there are still some Class 380s, including via Cumbernauld. As expected Edinburgh -
Dunblane services are almost all worked by Class 365 EMUs, but there was a Class 170 DMU on the
13.28 Dunblane to Edinburgh. Trains between Glasgow and Alloa are mostly the new Class 385s, but
there was a Class 170 DMU on the 11.19 Glasgow to Alloa. There still seem to be a few Glasgow -
Dunblane DMU turns, which our member understands to be down to how units inter-work with other
services and because crew training is not complete.
BELOW: The old order and the slightly younger old order at Dunblane, P1 for Stirling, Glasgow and
Edinburgh is right. P2 for Perth (used by some terminating trains) is to the left. (Greg Beecroft 13 Dec.)