Issue Number 1260 (Items 1258 - 1372 & MR 116 - MR 127) (BLN 48 PAGES) 9 July 2016
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)
Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Ave., Epsom, Surrey, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from members, an international section is also available.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or the Society.
BLN 1261 is dated 23 July, all contSroibciuettyio. ns must be received by 13 July.
Date Event Details BLN Lead Status
1257 JC FULL
Tue 19/7/16 Derby Roundhouse 14.00 conducted tour then bus to:
Tue 19/7/16 Egginton Junction to Derby Friargate GNR walk then walk to: 1257 JC FULL
Tue 19/7/16 DC Rail control visit Derby Friargate, to follow walk 1258 JC OPEN
Wed 20/7/16 Rugeley Power Station 19.30 MES railway farewell visit 1260 PS *OPEN*
Thur 4/8/16 Spa Valley Explorer, 14.00 Brakevan tour UPDATE BELOW 1256 GW *OPEN*
Sat 13/8/16 Wycombe Wanderer Tracker railtour 1259 JE OPEN
Sat 20/8/16 *NEW* Signal Box Visits 09.45 Harrogate to York line 1260 NG *OPEN*
Sun 21/8/16 Afternoon Mountsorrel railway walk; a branch running day 1260 TG *OPEN*
Mon 29/8/16 A Tale of Two Ports Sunderland & Tyne Port branches 1259 KA OPEN
Sat 3/9/16 Derby RTC visit 09.30 Signet Solutions visit 1 1259 PS OPEN
Sun 4/9/16 Derby RTC visit 11.30 Signet Solutions visit 2 1259 PS OPEN
Sun 18/9/16 Summerfields (Bedford MES) /Fancott Miniature Railways TBA BD Planned
Fri 30/9/16 (Afternoon) Eastleigh Lakeside & Netley Royal Victoria Rlys 1258 JE Planned
Fri 4/11/16 Epping & Ongar Railway 08.30 Very comprehensive tour 1257 DG OPEN
Sat 5/11/16 East Kent Railway/AGM 08.30 Very comprehensive tour 1257 DG OPEN
Sat 5/11/16 Evening presentation by Ian Mortimer with interval buffet 1257 DG OPEN
Sun 6/11/16 Kent & East Sussex Rly 08.30 Extensive railtour 1257 DG OPEN
10-17/11/16 Jordan Hejaz Railway Provisional new date (enhance) 1250 IS OPEN
BD-Bill Davis, DG-Darren Garnon, GW-Glen Wells, IS-Iain Scotchman, JC-John Cameron, JE-Jill Everitt,
KA-Kev Adlam, NG-Nick Garnham, PS-Paul Stewart, TG-Tom Gilby.
1258] Rugeley Power Station Model Engineering Society, BLS Farewell Visit, Wed 20 July 19.30:
Following closure of the power station on 8 June the model engineers there have been given 'notice to
quit'. Kev Adlam has negotiated a short notice farewell visit with trips using a variety of motive power
including steam. There is a lengthy 1,950 ft run of raised mixed 3½/5/7¼ inch gauge track in attractive
private surroundings. Http://goo.gl/qxqJYH includes a layout diagram (see 'gallery'). This is also a
chance to see the power station infrastructure close up before demolition, which has begun. There is a
pub and McDonalds near for tea beforehand. IMPORTANT, due to very strict site security here please
supply: Full name, address and contact number for each participant. The vehicle registration number
any driver is arriving in and number of passengers that can be accommodated please. They will need
to be collected outside the power station gate or at a local station. The gate is walkable from Rugeley
Town and Trent Valley stations. PARTICIPANTS WILL NOT BE ADMITTED ON FOOT AND MUST ARRIVE
IN A CAR; as well as security requirements it is a long walk to the railway. Cheques £6 per head payee
'Branch Line Society', and queries to Paul Stewart (back page) with an email address or SAE. Advance
booking only, closes Mon 18 Jul 12.00; a list of participants/vehicles has to be supplied in advance and
will be checked off at the gatehouse. SORRY NO PAY ON THE DAY OR UNBOOKED PARTICIPANTS.
1259] Spa Valley Railway Explorer III, Thur 4 Aug: 14.00 Tunbridge Wells West, 09026 is expected to
haul this 'Rare Track Excursion', its first public run in preservation. Includes East/West Headshunt via
the station loop and No3 Road outside the shed (normally steam engines only) at Tunbridge Wells
West, Groombridge Engineers Siding to the buffer stops and west crossover, Eridge bay P3 and south
beyond the station. Lines are being cleared of stock specially. £25, cheque/CPA, payee 'Branch Line
Society', to Glen Wells, 48 Eastville Avenue, Rhyl, LL18 3TN. Please advise email address or send sae
(two for acknowledgement); queries: [email protected] or if no email: 01745797902.
1260] Wycombe Wanderer, Sat 13 Aug: Our Chiltern Railways charity tour is raising money for the
Banbury and Chipping Norton Home Start and Railway Children with track not previously railtoured.
London Marylebone 10.53 (loco hauled connection 07.10 from Kidderminster via Birmingham £29
off peak return, railcard £19.15, or 08.13 (Moor Street 08.56) by 'Mainline' DMU). Includes AT
LEAST: Wembley Down Loop, West Ruislip Down Spur, High Wycombe Engineers Sidings, Princes
Risborough Up Main (through line), Bicester MoD Depot Goods Loop, Oxford Parkway, Banbury
Road Sidings, Bicester Village Run Round Loop, Bicester South Jn, Bicester North Engineers Sidings
- High Wycombe (Down P2) 18.10 (for 18.34 loco-hauled Birmingham train), Marylebone 19.00. It
has been confirmed that two catering trolleys will kindly be provided on the tour. All crossovers on
the Bicester South Jn to Oxford Parkway line are included. £65 members; £77 non-members. A
booking form http://goo.gl/uFYgkM was sent out with BLN 1257 or send an SAE to the Editor for a
further paper copy. Please give this unusual and interesting railtour maximum publicity to fill it.
1261] Harrogate - Hammerton/Poppleton Signal Box Visits, Sat 20 Aug: Thanks to our member Nick
Garnham. Meet Harrogate station at 09.45 or catch the 09.11 from York. Due to parking restrictions
the group will travel largely by train; any cars are to be parked at Cattal station. Bookings/full details:
[email protected] or 82 Baron Court, Peterborough, PE4 7ZF (with SAE). Please indicate
if you have a Hi Vis vest, which is required, or any spare/s to loan. A charity donation, collected on the
day applies. NB visits are subject to operational circumstances on the day. There is a party limit, but a
repeat may be possible; please indicate interest in an alternative date if 20 Aug is not suitable.
LEFT: Nunckley Hill station
(due to open on 20 August)
under construction in Oct
2015. Mountsorrel terminus
is off to the right, the branch
to the quarry/visitors centre
(seen top right) is middle left
and bottom left leads to
Swithland sidings on the
Great Central Railway 'main'
line . (Dennis Wilcock)
1262] Mountsorrel walk, Sun 21 Aug: Thanks to our local member Tom Gilby, meet at Mountsorrel
Halt 14.00 (allows time to traverse the branch and a visit the Heritage Centre etc before - see later). A
two-hour circular walk to the quarry and the start of the 'other' (MR) branch, closed in the 1970s,
down to the Midland Main Line to Barrow-upon-Soar. It carries stone on a conveyor rather than trains.
Includes the Canal Wharf and ornate bridge over the River Soar, passing a canal-side pub and bus stops
for Leicester/Loughborough at about 15.30; back about 16.00. Notify [email protected] or
by post to 69 Regent Street, Barwell, Leicester, LE9 8GY with an SAE for confirmation/details.
1263] BLS 2016 AGM Fixtures: Members are reminded of the very attractive AGM weekend events
detailed in BLN 1257.967 to 971. Due to the considerable effort that each of the three railways are
going to for us, including closing to all other traffic and clearing the lines out specially, they should
be regarded as 'unrepeatable'. The discounted 'AGM Rover' fare is available if booked by 31 July.
Please remember to add £10 for the presentation and buffet; we do not have many of these events
so do consider supporting what will be an interesting and enjoyable social evening. There is no need
to attend our AGM and fixtures can be booked individually! In answer to queries, the AGM cannot
be changed this year for the clash that has now developed with a railtour to Ludgershall station (not
beyond); that branch is being traversed in the dark though. IMPORTANT: If you are likely to want
to come on ANY of the AGM fixtures and have not yet booked please advise the organiser, Darren
Garnon, by 31 July to give an idea of numbers [email protected] 9 Burlington Place,
Kincraig Drive, Sevenoaks TN13 3BH. It may not be possible to accommodate all/any late bookings.
ABOVE: Ongar in London transport days, on a wet dingy Sunday in Jan 1979 after a very long trip
across London starting at Chesham! At that time it was a single track basic branch (Ian Mortimer).
BLN 1260.1264] Unusual Track: Expected but should be re-checked http://goo.gl/wwSbYv etc.
Manx Electric Railway, Groudle Glen X/O: WO 13 & 20 Jul, 3, 10 & 17 Aug 20.25 Groudle Glen to
Douglas short working. Also 27-31 Jul regularly during the 2016 Manx Heritage Transport Festival.
Midland Metro, Wednesbury Parkway facing X/O to P3: New timetable, ex-Wolverhampton St
George's (SSuX) 09.00, 19.08, 19.20, 19.38, 19.50, 23.45, 00.00 (sic) & 00.15 latter two are MX. (SO)
18.49, 19.05, 19.21, 19.37 & 00.15, (SuO) 00.15, 00.30, 00.45, 23.15, 23.30 & 23.45.
Midland Metro, south to Wednesbury Parkway P3: Ex-Grand Central (SSuX) 19.47, 23.45, 00.00 &
00.15 (last two MX); (SO) 00.00, 00.15, 19.08, 19.18, (SuO) 00.15, 00.30, 00.45, 23.15, 23.30/23.45.
1260 HEAD LINES
1265] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: * = New
BLN Start (incl) End (incl) Location (exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]
1256.882 Sat 2 Jul Sun 31 Jul SPT Glasgow Underground (complete closure)
1252.444 Sat 30 Jul Sun 7 Aug (Bicester North)/(Oxford); Oxford from 3 Aug - (Leamington)
1256.886 Wed 3 Aug Sun 7 Aug (Hanborough) - Oxford; Oxford station is TCP for 5 days
1254.653 Sun 20 Mar Sun 7 Aug Glasgow Queen St - (Cowlairs West Jn) / (Sighthill West Jn)
1259.1190 Sat 6 Aug Wed 10 Aug *(Droitwich Spa) - (Worcester Shrub Hill) direct route
1259.1192 Sat 6 Aug Wed 10 Aug *(Galton Jn) - (Smethwick Jn)
1258.1071 Sun 26 Jun Early Aug Metrolink, (Cornbrook) - MediaCityUK
1256.884 Sat 30 Jul Sun 14 Aug (Didcot) - (Oxford); from 3 Aug Oxford; from 8 Aug (Oxford)
1258.1068 Sun 26 Jun Mon 29 Aug Metrolink, (Deansgate-Castlefield) - The Delta West/North
1258.1070 Sun 26 Jun Mon 29 Aug Metrolink, MediaCityUK (excl after early Aug) - Eccles
1258.1072 Sat 27 Aug Thur 1 Sep Cannon Street - (Borough Market Jn)
1258.1072 Sat 27 Aug Thur 1 Sep (North Kent East Jn) - (Charlton Jn) via Greenwich
1255.783 Mon 12 Sep Fri 21 Oct (Filton Abbey Wood/Bristol Parkway) - (Severn Tunnel Jn)
1255.784 Thu 3 Nov? Tue 22 Nov? (Antrim) - Londonderry and Coleraine - Portrush branch
1198.1659 15 Feb 2013 12 Dec 2016 *(Oxford Parkway) - (Oxford)
1248.79 24 Dec 2015 Dec 2016 (Folkestone Central) - (Dover Priory)
1257.979 Sat 7 May Feb 2017 Tottenham: South Jn - East Jn & West Jn - Seven Sisters Jn
1253.554/5 Sat 4 Jun Feb 2017 (Barking) - (South Tottenham) (Gospel Oak) from 24 Sep
1237.1360 28 Jun 2015 Early 2017? Third side of the triangle avoiding MediaCityUK
1251.334 9 Feb 2016 Late 2017? *(Carlisle) - (Armathwaite); still slipping
1222.1799 20 Dec 2014 Jan 2018 (London Blackfriars) - (London Bridge) Thameslink work
1222.1799 20 Dec 2014 Jan 2018 (London Bridge), Spa Road - Bricklayers Arms Jn
1266] Farington Jn - Lostock Hall Jn (Farington Curve): NRU since 9 Feb 2016 due to the S&C landslip.
1267] Teifi Valley, Forest Halt (268m 15ch): (BLN 1247.2285) ROP Sun 5 Jun 2016; first steam working
19 June. Henllan station (267m 68ch) ROP 18 Aug 2015 with a 'short run' since when the line has been
extending west. Subject to materials, it is hoped to reach Pontprenshitw (268m 32ch) for the Santa
specials. Offers of help and fundraising ('sponsor a sleeper') appreciated [email protected]
01559 371077. [Ex- GWR standard gauge Pencader Jn to Newcastle Emlyn branch.]
1268] Southend Pier Railway, North Station - South Station (both incl): (MR p17) 3ft gauge, TCP from
10 Jun 2016 (last ran early morning of 9th) expected for 12 weeks due to the discovery of 27 cracked
pile caps that need replacing, mostly on the eastern side where the railway operates. The pier walkway
reopened 11 June; advice of the ROP date for the 2,180yd long railway would be appreciated.
1269] Hazel Grove East Jn - Buxton (incl) and seven intermediate stations: TCP/A at 15.20 on 11 Jun
2016; the 14.49 Manchester Piccadilly to Buxton ran through two landslips near Norbury Hollow level
crossing (3m 60ch). There were two smaller slips and flooding in the Middlewood and Disley tunnel
areas. A washout developed at the west end of Middlewood station platforms which deteriorated over
the next two days (at one point two inches of rain fell in two hours) removing 6,000 tonnes of earth.
LEFT: The hole in the Buxton Line at
the Stockport end of Middlewood
station last month (Network Rail).
1270] Furness Vale - Buxton (both
inclusive) and three intermediate
stations: (see previous item) ROP
14 Jun 2016 with an hourly shuttle
service. Furness Vale turnback was
a Manchester end ECS shunt.
1271] Hazel Grove Jn - Furness
Vale (excl) and three intermediate
stations: (Above) ROP 25 Jun 2016.
1272] Churnet Valley Railway; Leek Brook Junction (sic) station: (SJ981535) (BLN 1208.MR56) (MR p8)
OP Sat 25 Jun 2016, the first arrival was at 10.55, the 10.30 from Kingsley & Froghall, returning 11.05.
It is for special events only when the signal box is open for visitors but does have public access.
BELOW: Leek Brook Junction station on its opening day, 25 Jun 2016 with 14901 (Patrick Chandler).
1273] Peterborough, Spital Sidings (76m 61ch): (BLN 1223.1898) Commissioned from 26 Jun 2016,
Electrified stabling sidings for Thameslink, installed on the Up side of the ECML north of the station.
1274] Appleby (excl) - Armathwaite (incl) also Langwathby and Lazonby & Kirkoswald stations: ROP
Mon 27 Jun 2016 (regional section) after TCP since 9 Feb due a landslip near Baron Wood Tunnels.
1275] Gillingham (Kent), Chatham Dockyard Jn - End of branch before former A289 Pier Rd bridge
(TQ776693): CG/CA from 17.00 Fri 1 Jul 2016 after TCA since 9 Mar 2015 (BLN 1228.436). The Chatham
Dockyard branch has been closed; all track and the new signalling (never used) is to be removed. The
OOU points from Down Gillingham Siding No2/Dockyard Branch (36m 13ch) will be plain lined.
1276] Northfleet Jn (21m 43ch) - Northfleet Lafarge: (BLN 1214.1143) ROG 30 Jun 2016; 66603 left at
23.15 with 36 loaded PCA wagons for Manchester Weaste terminal (next item). The previous traffic,
Crossrail spoil from Westbourne Park, last ran 19 Jun 2014; empty wagons were cleared 8 July 2014.
1277] Eccles Station Jn - Weaste (Lafarge Cement Terminal): (BLN 1233.910) Was NRU; ROG 1 Jul
2016 inward cement ex-Northfleet (above), 36 loaded PCA wagons with 66603 at 08.57. The previous
train was our 12 Jun 2010 'Wrexham & Lancashire' tour and the previous freight was outwards cement
on 14 May 2010 to clear the storage silos. The reason for this traffic revival is the collapse on 16 May
of a new lifting bridge under construction over the Manchester Ship Canal (MSC) next to the M60
http://goo.gl/P74HPi Barton Bridge. This has temporarily blocked the canal preventing cement from
coming in by boat. The NR boundary with the former MSC Railway is at 54ch. The 'Arklow Vale' a ship
trapped by the blockage is reportedly due to sail on 18 July; rail traffic may be short term. Any reports,
including about the bridge, appreciated. ABOVE: The collapsed bridge; right is the M60 (Press Release).
BLN 1260.1278] Dublin Luas, Jervis (excl) - The Point/Connolly & five intermediate stops: (BLN
1257.985) ROP Sun 3 Jul 07.00 (earlier than expected) after TCP at 21.00 on 21 May 2016. Engineering
work including installation of two (non-passenger) connections to the cross city line (BLN 1231.793).
1279] Leadhills - Wanlockhead B797 road: TCP 4-9 Jul 2016 for road resurfacing work. The Leadhills &
Wanlockhead Railway provided a very unusual special road replacement rail service with Glasgow and
Lanark connections http://goo.gl/mtyJFU by 'Interlink'. A fare of £1 single or £2 return applied.
1280] Bromsgrove station: (BLN 1259.1189) CP deferred due to some 345 snags needing attention.
Final day of service is expected to be 11 July with OP of the new station anticipated on Tue 12 Jul 2016;
1281] LU, Bakerloo Line, Lambeth North station: TCP is due from 13 Jul 2016 until about 8 Feb 2017,
for replacement of the two 30 year old lifts. They fail regularly; using just one would increase the risk
of failure and therefore that of unplanned station closures as well as lengthening the work from 30 to
64 weeks. The spiral staircase has 100 steps and is too narrow for a two-way flow of passengers.
1282] Shepperton - Fulwell Jn - Strawberry Hill Jn/Shacklegate Jn and five intermediate stations: TCP
is booked 16-30 July 2016 (incl). The Shepperton branch, which is partly below ground water level and
passes under the Longford River, is due to TCP for drainage work, particularly in Fulwell Tunnel, (with a
new pumping station being built). Preliminary work for resignalling is also being carried out.
1283] Great Central Railway, Mountsorrel Branch, Nunckley Hill station: (BLN 1245.MR192) (SK 5700
1419) 68ch from the junction with Swithland Sidings Up Goods Loop (97m 10ch; GCR line). OP is due
20 Aug 2016 (10.30 DMU ex-Mountsorrel) for special occasions only. See 'Connections' at the back.
1284] Oxford Parkway (excl) - Oxford North Jn: (BLN 1198.1659) From Mon 21 Nov 2016 the new Up
and Down Bletchley line(s) and at Oxford station the new bay P1, are expected to be commissioned.
1285] FIXTURES REPORTS, Southern Area Signalling Centres (ASC), Sat 30 Apr: Originally advertised as
a morning visit to Feltham; Victoria and Three Bridges ASCs were added to the day, enabling different
generations of panel boxes dating from the mid 1970s onwards to be experienced and compared. 15
signalling aficionados met for 10.30 at Feltham station and took the short walk to the 1974-opened
signalling centre. The smallest of the three visited, it was originally part of a BR 1970s scheme to signal
the entire Southern Region from just 13 locations by the mid-1980s (the first box to be built was at
Dartford). Feltham covers a large area previously signalled from many boxes by semaphores in south-
west London and beyond mostly into Middlesex and Berkshire. It fringes with Wimbledon ASC towards
London, at Chiswick, Richmond and Norbiton, Wokingham box at Bracknell, Woking ASC at Chertsey
and Frimley as well as Acton Wells Junction signal box at Kew East Jn. The area is mostly two tracked
with many level crossings and has frequent London Waterloo EMU services. Freight passes through
the area towards the North London line at Kew East Jn, towards Clapham Junction, for the West
London line, as well as towards Kent. Little has changed over the last 40+ years other than the removal
of a few berthing sidings at outstations and various emergency crossovers. It is anticipated that
signalling control will move to Basingstoke Rail Operating Centre (ROC) over the next few years. The
first sign of this is the proposed automation of the Shepperton branch signalling next year.
During our visit train services were running very well despite heavy passenger traffic, requiring some
additional trains, because of the Army versus Navy rugby matches at Twickenham. The party noted
the crowd control arrangements there: all Up trains use the Up loop (P3) to avoid the possibility of
both Up and Down trains disgorging large number of passengers onto the Up and Down main
platforms (P4 & P5 island) together. This worked well and also applies after events. A train from
Reading was losing time due to the large number of passengers; the conflicts this created at junctions
were witnessed, and the resulting knock-on effects. After 90 minutes at the box and thanking the staff,
members left for the station to experience the crowded trains, travelling via Twickenham to Clapham
Junction for the second visit! Parts of the large former Feltham Yard site (closed 6 Jan 1969) had
recently been cleared of trees, presumably for some sort of development.
At 12.30 the party met up again outside the 1980/92 Victoria ASC (at Clapham Junction!). On entering
the building participants were struck by its sheer size, the scale of the operation (much greater than
imagined) and the number of staff required. Some were changing shifts, which enabled observation of
the two enormous concave panels facing each other and attempts to identify the locations from the
track layouts. From our entrance point (the Victoria station end, the east side of the building) the
Sussex route was on the right and Kent on the left. Splitting into two groups enabled each group to
work along one side in detail, meet at the far end then work back along the other side. The Kent side
covers from Victoria Eastern through to Swanley. Outside Victoria is Stewarts Lane depot area, where
many lines are reversible and a variety of routings are available. Crews often request to run via a less
commonly used route to keep up their knowledge! The Factory Jn area connections to Waterloo via
the Stewarts Lane Viaduct to Nine Elms Jn are rarely used since the transfer of Eurostar traffic to St
Pancras. Conversely, the connections via Longhedge Jn to the West London line (signalled from the
Victoria Sussex side) and towards Clapham Junction (Wimbledon ASC) via the Ludgate lines now have
4tph each way since the introduction of the London Overground service to the East London line.
From Shepherds Lane Jn through to Swanley there is effectively a four (or more) track railway; two
routes split at Brixton to run via Herne Hill or Nunhead and Catford recombining at Shortlands Jn. It is
important that trains be correctly routed through this section to minimise delays. This area is split
between several signallers so close liaison is needed to keep everything running smoothly. There are
many junctions to swap trains between fast and slow lines but several include switch diamonds which
are sensitive to hot weather with expansion, so are not used at certain times of the year.
At St Mary Cray Jn and Bickley Jn and there are connections to Petts Wood and Chislehurst (Ashford
IECC). Demonstrations were given on how the interface with Ashford IECC worked on the reversible
lines. A release has to be obtained before movement with a direction of flow arrow showing which
way the move is taking place. Beyond Swanley Jn, where the line splits towards either Rochester (East
Kent IECC) or Otford (Ashford IECC), was Fawkham Jn and the now OOU connection to HS1. From the
Southfleet Jn end, this line is now used as sidings for secure storage of original Eurostars. There is
insufficient siding space available at Temple Mills depot since the new units had been delivered.
The Central side towards London was far quieter than usual due to resignalling commissioning with
transfer of the Streatham area to Three Bridges ROC. This had started from the Friday close of service
a few hours before our Spring Bank Holiday weekend visit! The panel's country end covers Sutton
radiating from the Wallington area to Epsom Downs, Wimbledon and Ewell West. This is expected to
be the next transfer to Three Bridges ROC in 2017/18. A large blank area on the panel was where the
Wimbledon to West Croydon via Mitcham Junction line had been removed in 1997 on closure to
become part of Tramlink. Moving along the diagram the four-track main line, Balham (excl) to Norbury
section was under possession along with Streatham to Streatham South Jn for the resignalling and
transfer of control as mentioned. From Balham via Streatham Hill towards Crystal Palace was the only
route open for traffic with many fewer paths available. These were just the Thameslink route trains via
Tulse Hill and a quarter hourly service from Victoria (most trains to/from Brighton, Littlehampton and
Eastbourne etc used London Bridge instead). The signaller covering this area also had additional work
because a track defect had recently been reported in Streatham Hill tunnel; trains had to be advised
to run cautiously through it until inspection and any rectification work needed had been undertaken.
Continuing to London, the Clapham Junction to Victoria section was remarkably quiet because of the
engineering work but the Central side London end also controls the West London line signalling linking
to Mitre Bridge Jn (Wembley SCC). Its traffic has dramatically increased in recent years with a regular
service of 5tph both ways, and many freight workings, as the line links to many other parts of the
London area. The reversible signalling is only generally used during disruption to keep trains moving.
No set time had been allocated for our visit and it was surprising how quickly the 2½ hours went here.
Then it was back to Clapham Junction station to travel to the 1982/2013 Three Bridges ASC. The
journey via Streatham Hill was delayed due to the track defect cautioning at Streatham Hill, missing a
rather optimistic connection at East Croydon. At Three Bridges there was direct access off P5 to the
ASC which was reached at 16.50. The Shift Manager gave a quick briefing before having to return to his
duties because of multiple incidents. The main signalling diagram is in a very large horseshoe shape
giving a very airy and spacious feel to the operating floor. From the left the routes towards Victoria
and London Bridge combined at Windmill Bridge Jn. Both of these lines are now controlled from Three
Bridges ROC (in the fork of the Horsham and Brighton lines, the other side of the main line). The
Brighton main line route then occupies the whole diagram to the far right hand side (Brighton station).
Branches at South Croydon towards Oxted, at Purley to Tattenham Corner and Caterham, Redhill
towards Godstone and at Three Bridges towards Crawley and Horsham are also controlled from this
centre. Along and behind the open part of the horseshoe, a much newer separate panel, facing
inwards, controls Dorking (excl) to Arundel (excl) via Horsham linking to the main panel. Using axle
counters, it took over from the manual signalling of the Arun Valley line, a project completed in 2013.
From Balcombe Tunnel Jn to Preston Park the route has 'SimBiDS' (Simplified Bi-Directional Signalling)
but because of restrictions imposed following a head-on collision at Copyhold Jn many years ago, it is
now only generally used in emergency or during overnight engineering works.
Other locations the ASC links to are the depots at Selhurst (suburban fleet and DMUs), Brighton Lovers
Walk (mostly main line fleet) and the massive, recently completed Three Bridges depot complex (just
south of the signalling centre) for the new Thameslink Class 700 EMUs. The Copyhold Jn (Haywards
Heath) to Ardingly stone terminal single line electric token block was demonstrated to our members.
During the visit there were various incidents which were all dealt with in an impressively calm and
controlled fashion but enabled members to experience some of the problems that can, and do, occur
throughout the railway system. There was congestion at East Croydon; a passenger was taken ill
delaying trains at Purley and a track defect at Redhill caused a track circuit fault requiring trains to be
talked past red signals with manual setting of routes until it was cleared. Another track fault at
Gatwick Airport closed the Up fast (P4) line all day. A trespass at Whyteleafe South required a few
trains to be cautioned until the person had returned to the platform (a similar incident also occurred at
Peckham Rye during the Victoria visit), demonstrating that delays are not always the fault of the
railway. Finally, a train approaching a red signal at Tinsley Green Jn travelling just slightly over the
permitted speed activated the TPWS equipment, which stopped it safely, requiring the Three Bridges
supervisor to question the driver (over the GSM-R) and fill in a form about all the circumstances.
Most participants returned towards London but your reporter made a quick trip to Haywards Heath to
view the new units in the depot. On returning the rare Up Fast to Up Loop Tinsley Green Jn crossovers
and Earlswood Up Slow to Up Quarry crossovers were experienced to bypass the Gatwick Airport P4
closure. Then to London Bridge for yet another different route into the Central side of the station and
to observe the rebuilding progress on the Eastern side and approaches. Thanks in particular to our
member Jon King for arranging these excellent, interesting and most instructive visits.
1286] Sutton Coldfield MES (SCMES) PRIVATE Little Hay Railway, Tue 31 May: Having, despite 60
years residence in the 'Royal Town', never visited this local railway (which is somewhat remote from its
town and actually nearer Shenstone), this fixture was not to be missed! The layout is described in
Peter Scott's handbook as 'complex' and 29 members attended. Three trains were laid on operating
simultaneously and starting at 18.15 for early arrivals. 'Great Northern' 280A, a 7¼" gauge American
diesel outline loco running on 700yd of mixed 5/7¼" gauge track, hauled a mainline train with two sit-
astride coaches. Starting from P2 of Little Hay Low Level station, adjacent to the clubhouse, it ran via a
short tunnel then alongside the main line before crossing to it at Pool Jn via an 'unusual' crossover. A
complete perimeter circuit of the site followed, then an 'unusual' crossover to the inner loop, before
diverging right to return to the station. Passing through P2 again, this time the train continued straight
ahead at Pool Jn to follow the inner loop, converging with the outer one at the site entrance level
crossing. It continued on via Pool Jn again to terminate back at P3.
This train's running was periodically interrupted by the second train's manœuvres which covered the
various sidings and branches connected to the running lines. Also formed of two riding vehicles, it was
hauled by 'Hymek' D7101 'George Weedon'. A route description without a diagram would not be very
illuminating. Suffice it to say that station P1 was included, sidings at both ends of the station, both
turntable approaches (and onto it for some trips), the shed and workshop sidings at the east side of
the site and (not previously covered by passenger carrying trains) the lengthy west loading line.
Within the area bounded by the station, the shed and Pool Junction is a slightly elevated 460ft long
line of very mixed gauge (2½/3½/5") with a third train was running. It was hauled by live steam engine,
LMS Pacific 6220 'Coronation' in blue-liveried streamlined condition (PREVIOUS PAGE TOP - Kev
Adlam). This needed periodic attention to its working but the ride round two circuits from Little Hay
High Level (there are no sidings) was quite fast and exhilarating. The total distance with a trip on each
of the three trains was about 1½ miles.
Virtually all track on site was covered other than a second loading siding which was only accessible
from the turntable via a flat crossing of the running lines and the track inside the shed gates. Other
points of interest included the signalling, a modern simulator of the system in the Club House
(PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER - Kev Adlam) and a 'G Gauge' (45mm) outdoor model railway layout inside
the elevated circuit. The finale, which certainly lifted spirits in the light rain, was a ride on the unusual
vertical carriage lift normally used for ECS (and demonstrated to be able to carry at least 17 people
effortlessly). The riding vehicles are stabled on several levels in the shed, the 'basement' is very rare
indeed and only used by the lift for the annual firework night event, the busiest day of the year with all
available stock in service. Most participants managed to do all the track comprehensively before the
rain set in; some even arrived by (big) train, walking from Blake Street station.
Thanks to SCMES for an excellent visit on many levels and for the refreshments including cakes,
biscuits, drinks and the splendid late afternoon 'breakfast rolls'; also toour very own inimitable Kev
Adlam for yet another great organisational success. There is no public running but two events per
annum are generally available (by day membership) see 'Connections'. (PREVIOUS PAGE: On the up;
some of the participants rise to the occasion with an uplifting experience on the hydraulic vertical
carriage lift - Bill Colman SCMES.)
PS: The SCMES clearly enjoyed our visit as much as we did; from their June bulletin: 'The Branch Line
Society visit on a Tuesday night was attended by 29 of their members. Their enthusiasm was infectious
and it turned out to be a really enjoyable occasion. They wanted to ride on every inch of track we
possessed. They even had a ride on the carriage lift.' Another quote 'I do hope your group enjoyed your
visit to Little Hay last night in spite of the inclement weather. For our part, it was interesting to meet
with folks with slightly different interests. We loved having you.'
ABOVE: 'Clyde' at the Wanlockhead end of Leadhills station (All pictures John Cameron 11 Jun 2016).
1287] 'The High Flyer', Leadhills & Wanlockhead Railway, Sat 11 June: (MR p28) (BLN 1256.867) 17
members met at the remote Leadhills station for this unique 1,200 yd long 2ft gauge railway. Splitting
into two groups, the first boarded the main train at Leadhills platform. Two of the three coaches were
converted from former Motor Rail Simplex locomotives in a semi fixed formation. The loco propels the
train up the incline, due to the steep gradients. 'Clyde' (Hunslet 6347 of 1975) was the motive power
through the hills, where old lead workings and
associated remains were very much in evidence, to
Glengonnar Halt (poor Glen!). This is the current
terminus and summit of the UK's highest adhesion
worked railway (1,498ft). The Abt rack-and-pinion
system Snowdon Mountain Railway is 3,493ft and
the Cairngorm Mountain cable worked railway
3,599ft. On request, the driver kindly drew the
train forward beyond the normal reversing point
to the buffer stops. Members alighted to look round and the friendly train crew answered questions
about the line. The track bed to Wanlockhead (1½ miles) was in a cutting beyond and the railway
hopes to be able to extend in the future. Issues over permission and access have held up expansion for
20 years although the Leadhills Estate tenant who objected has now gone. (ABOVE RIGHT: Jim Sellens'
usual excellent souvenir ticket went down very well with the railway volunteers and participants.)
Back at Leadhills, the tour took the run round loop to the right of the platform line then reversed
beyond back into it. The two groups then swapped over. The other part of the visit was cab rides in
'Luce' (Ruston & Hornsby 7002/0467/6 of 1966), to the headshunt and shed roads (at the Elvanfoot
end of Leadhills). Members took turns to travel two or three at a time, overlapping with the other trip,
while the others looked round the locos and stock in the shed. This included a rare look at 'Charlotte'
(OK 6335 of 1913) in her container, specially unlocked. In the station building (two converted standard
gauge wagons) the railway laid on hot drinks and displays were viewed about this interesting branch.
The cab rides reached the end of shed road No1, to parked locos on the other road and the safe limit
on the headshunt (the original branch route). This was so efficient that there was time for a run over
the siding nearest the running line, after a track machine and loco had been moved out of the way.
BELOW: Some participants and railway staff; the trackbed continues in the cutting to Wanlockhead.
Following the rides some took a service train back to Glengonnar Halt and walked the 1½ mile intact
track bed to Wanlockhead station site (1,498ft), terminus of the standard gauge railway until CP 31
Dec 1938 and CG 2 Jan 1939. We were made very welcome by the friendly and dedicated Leadhills and
Wanlockhead team. A very remote railway, well worth a visit and unlikely to have much passing trade.
Carlisle and District Model Engineers Society (C&DMES): Hammonds Park, Blackwell Road, CA2 4SD
(NY 406534). After Leadhills several members called in here for the annual visitors' running day and
80th anniversary celebrations. They were made most welcome, given rides round the 183yd elevated
3½/5/7½ inch mixed-gauge circuit at good speeds and a slice of delicious birthday cake. Suitable
donations were made. C&DMES run 14.00-16.00 SuO Easter-October, weather dependent. Rides 50p.
ABOVE: 'Luce' giving footplate rides,
Shed Road No2 at the Elvanfoot
Junction end of Leadhills. LEFT:
Leadhills headshunt looking towards
Elvanfoot on a previous occasion.
BLN 1260.1288] BLS Achilles Heel Trekker Thur 23 June: This gave an opportunity to travel on some
rare West Coast Main Line track and 'scratch' a new loco. The idea was simple, to make use of the
Crewe to Euston ECS for the annual 'Three Peaks' charity charter https://goo.gl/trGZnf (23-25 June in
maximum daylight), to raise additional funds by running it as a 'mini tour' appealing to both track and
haulage enthusiasts. Operator DRS was asked to supply 68023 'Achilles' to work the train into Euston
with BLS passengers alighting at Watford Junction (later extended to Wembley Central). This gave the
crew time to ensure the train was fully prepared for Three Peaks participants on arrival at Euston.
ABOVE: The Passenger Information System display at Crew P12 before departure (Geoff Noakes).
BELOW: 'Achilles' looking extremely smart prior to the tour. (Reproduced with permission)
LEFT: The other end of the train in sidings at Crewe.
The 23 June was a 'morning after the night before'.
Due to torrential overnight rainfall with flash
flooding, the Great Eastern Mainline was affected
in several places; both TfL Rail and Greater Anglia
services were suspended. A rubber tyred vehicle
was therefore required by our reporter to make
tracks for the London Underground network to
reach Euston for Virgin Trains 390140 to Crewe.
The railtour departure was booked 11.12 from
Crewe P12 with the ECS due in at 11.00; a nice
touch was the platform passenger information
system showing the tour name and details
(mentioning the Society). DRS 57301 'Goliath'
appeared just after 11.00 with the ECS and the
advertised loco, 68023 'Achilles', on the rear to
work south. Stock was 9 MkII FO air-cons, a MkI
kitchen car and a MkII brake/ support/generator
coach. Our participants were allocated to the three
leading coaches behind 68023.
Departing 3 minutes late at 11.15, 68023 accelerated away south initially using the Up Slow, 57301
remained on the rear to work the Three Peaks charter north later in the day. The 110 all first class
participants were served an 'at seat' complimentary hot drink and the customary charity raffle (non-
complimentary!), which raised a very creditable £414. Much interest was shown in the new Norton
Bridge layout (there was a sleeper across the London end of the un-commissioned reversible single
track Norton Bridge East Chord) as the train headed towards the first highlight of the day and became
the first booked passenger train over the new Nuneaton Up Relief (the middle line between P5 & P6).
Shortly after it approached Rugby, running slightly early and was routed as planned into the Up Goods
Loop, departing right time south on the Up Northampton. Just before Northampton the tour slowed
and at Mill Lane Jn turned on the Up & Down Slow with ground position signalling. Then the third
highlight, the Reception Line (once part of the Market Harborough line and on a separate bridge from
the present passenger lines), continuing on the Up & Down Slow at Northampton Station. NR's bright
yellow HST Measurement Train blocked the view of photographers on P2 much to their annoyance!
The tour at Rugeley http://goo.gl/M6AIU3 on the Trent Valley line.
The fourth highlight came soon as approaching Bletchley at Denbigh Hall South Jn the tour diverged
from the Up slow to the reversible Up Bletchley. At Bletchley Flyover Jn participants were very
relieved to take the crossover on to the Bletchley Relief No2, through P5 (just in time, as a train from
Bedford was imminent). Then it was via the remodelled single lead Bletchley South Jn back to the Up
Slow. Now in commuter territory the last highlight of the day was to be Kings Langley Up Goods Loop.
The special slowed approaching the loop but stopped as the signal was set for the Up Slow rather than
the loop. Our driver queried the route which was reset and after the signalling 'timeout' the loop was
Participants detrained at the remarkably narrow Wembley Central P6 where the special terminated
(rather to the surprise of the London Overground station staff on the barriers when faced with large
numbers of 'paper tickets'). After a few photographs, 68023 restarted the now ECS, heading for Euston
while most tour participants boarded the 14.29 London Midland service (13.56 ex-Tring) to reach the
ABOVE: A pristine loco on pristine track; the tour at the south end of Bletchley Relief No2 line, about
to pass through P5 (where the photographer is standing) then join the Up Slow at Bletchley South Jn.
No1 relief is left of the train and joins the Up Slow north of P4. (Geoff Plumb our BLS photographer).
Thanks must go to the fixtures team, Three Peaks onboard team, DRS, Riviera Trains and NR. Our tour
raised a total of £4,679.69 for the Railway Children from the fares, catering sales and raffle. The
Society also gained 15 new members after the tour. The Three Peaks Challenge itself achieved an
incredible £165K, a significant proportion of which was due to our previous efforts with TPE. Itinerary:
23 June: 15.50 Euston to Bangor (20.50) for Snowdon (240m 20ch); ECS to/from Holyhead.
24 June: 04.37 Bangor to Ravenglass (08.52) for Scafell Pike (182m 01ch); ECS to Barrow.
24 June: 18.44 Barrow to Fort William (04.18) for Ben Nevis (309m 31ch); ECS to Yard.
25 June: 12.30 Fort William to London Euston (00.09) (526m 17ch). TOTAL 1,257m 69ch
1260 BLN GENERAL
1289] BLS Docklands Explorer, Fri 24 June 22.00 - Sat 25 June 07.15: Please would anyone with
pictures taken on or outside our train kindly forward them by email to the Editor for e-BLN. The
Docklands Light Railway staff who kindly organised the tour have also asked for some. Thank you.
1290] Points & Slips: BLN 1258.118] Formal notice of closure of Watford Met station and 1.3km of line
appeared in The Times as long ago as 23 Feb 2012 (BLN 1156.243 of 10 Mar 2012) with the proviso
that closure would not take effect until the Croxley Rail Link (since renamed the Metropolitan Line
Extension) opens, current forecast 2020. The station with its Grade II listed building will remain and be
used for stabling ECS. BLN 1259.1180] By late June, Encirc Glass at Ellesmere Port was receiving sand
from Middleton Towers via the new sidings at West Cheshire Jn rather than via the Ellesmere Port
Docks facility (BLN 1259.1183). There are
paths for trains transporting new cars
from/to the latter which have run
occasionally. 1214] At Warrington BQ RTT
shows that the 05.49 (SSux) from P1 to
Ellesmere Port is actually booked Up Main
to Acton Grange Jn (there are no other
trains around then). 1249] On the Barry
Island station picture taken by Angus
McDougall on 19 Aug 1962 the somersault
signal (LEFT) was of Barry Railway origin as
mentioned in the text and not Taff Vale
Railway as in the caption.
1291] National Timetables: (BLN 1258.1077) A member is under the impression that publication of
mileages along railway lines is a Statutory Requirement. [If this is still so it might be considered that
the mileages published in the NR Electronic National Rail Timetable http://goo.gl/514gh of similar
format to the former paper versions, achieve that objective. They are also available individually and as
an example Table 1 with mileages is included as a download with this e-BLN - Ed.]
1292] Ferrying Coal: The reprieved Fid(d)lers Ferry Power station received its first coal since 15 Feb
when a trial train ran on Mon 20 June with 66601from the closed Ferrybridge 'C'. Regular traffic began
on 27 June. There is still a large stockpile at the latter which has had various inward and outward coal
trains since electricity generation ceased in March, presumably pre-ordered or for blending. Another
recently closed power station with a large stockpile (100,000 tonnes) is Rugeley. The manager has
kindly offered to donate coal free to preservation/heritage railways, it has to be collected and samples
are available. For details (calorific value etc), please contact Kev Adlam. Greenburn disposal point has
been dispatching coal to clear stocks but it is understood that coal is not being open-casted there now.
1260 EAST MIDLANDS
1293] Clipstone Triangle: (BLN 1250.237) The final Clipstone West Jn pointwork was plain lined on 28
June which means that all pointwork at Clipstone has now been removed including the crossover road.
1294] Lincoln: The new footbridge with lifts each end at High Street level crossing opened on 24 June.
Over 140 trains, 35,000 pedestrians and cyclists use it daily. It was NR London North Eastern and East
Midlands region's highest risk misused crossing. Pedestrians run over the crossing after the light
sequence has begun and even when the barriers start to lower. Plans for a 'paused' second footbridge
at nearby Brayford Wharf level crossing (the third most dangerous in the region) are to be submitted
to the planning authority by NR after additional funding was identified (BLN 1252.453).
1295] Lincolnshire: The mid-1800s was a period littered with failed plans for new railways. Some rare
documents from then relating to schemes in Lincolnshire have been donated by Louth Museum to the
Lincolnshire Wolds Railway. They include three share prospectuses for schemes that were abandoned:
The Lincoln, Horncastle, Spilsby & Wainfleet Haven Railway: Intended to link the Lincolnshire
Marshes grazing country directly with the large manufacturing centres of the North and Midlands.
The Lincolnshire & Eastern Counties Junction Railway: Cambridge to New Holland via March,
Boston, Horncastle, Wragby & Market Rasen; a direct line from London to Hull via the Humber ferry.
Connecting lines to Selby, Grimsby & Lincoln connecting Hull, Selby, Goole, Grimsby, Gainsborough
& King's Lynn giving direct links with London, Northern England and the West Yorkshire coalfields.
The Louth & Gainsborough Railway, via Market Rasen giving the agricultural area of Lincolnshire
direct access to Rotherham, Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool.
A fourth was for a completed scheme, the East Lincolnshire Railway from Boston to Grimsby.
An 1866 handbill lists the potential committee for the Louth & Lincoln Railway that was built with
the original route changed. Land acquisition problems prevented the construction of a junction at
Five Mile House; the scheme as built included a connection at Bardney facing Boston hence the
reversal subsequently required there for trains running to Lincoln.
1260 GREATER LONDON
1296] Camden Town: Work to renew points and crossings at Camden Town, together with track
replacement between West Finchley and Finchley Central, will result in the Northern Line being
suspended between Hampstead/High Barnet/Mill Hill East and Charing Cross/Moorgate over the
weekends of 30/31 July and 6/7/20/21 August. This should see use of the Hampstead crossover in
passenger service. Between 1 and 5 August a set of points at Camden Town will be secured, requiring
a segregated northbound service, with Bank branch services running to Edgware and Charing Cross
branch services running to High Barnet. To cater for the high level of interchanging passengers,
Camden Town will be exit-only from 16.00 to 19.00 on these dates.
1297] Chislehurst: From 13 June a new trailing crossover was installed between the Down Fast and Up
Slow Lines between Elmstead Wood and Chislehurst at 10m 75ch. Then from 20 June, a new facing
crossover was installed between the Up Fast and Down Fast Lines at 11m 00ch. Both were
commissioned from 27th, but are to remain OOU until 22 August. Also from 27 June, the existing
crossover from the Up Fast to the Up Slow south of Chislehurst station was secured OOU.
1298] Crossrail: (BLN 1259.1198) (1) GEML: During June local residents were warned of overnight work
to adjust the positions of the platform edges at Goodmayes and Harold Wood to accommodate the
necessary clearance for the new Crossrail trains. (2) Heathrow Branch: (BLN 1232.843) Further
clarification of the routeing of Down Heathrow Connect services is needed, as the commissioning of a
new connection in December enabled these trains to be routed from the Down Relief Line to the
branch via the original viaduct and it is thought that this is now their normal route. Before generally all
Up and Down Heathrow Connect ('local') services used the reversible Up Airport Relief line, the new
Stockley North and Stockley West Flyovers in both directions. Down trains (to Heathrow T4) take the
new Down Relief to Up Relief facing crossover west of Hayes & Harlington (P3), which is coming out in
the final layout, and also the Up Airport to Down Airport crossover at Heathrow Tunnel Jn.
1299] Hayes & Harlington: (BLN 1258.1087) The WTT times in RTT from 1 August for trains starting
and finishing here are listed as pathed for Turbo DMUs and Transport Briefing reports that the Class
387 EMUs will not enter service until 5 September. RTT also shows the trains as shunting via Heathrow
Airport Jn rather than using the bay (which is still in the process of being extended).
1300] Harrow-on-the-Hill: (BLN 1259.1204) On 16 June a member used an Uxbridge to Aldgate semi-
fast train which departed from Harrow about 08.00 and made the P5 to Southbound Fast move. Seven
morning SSuX Uxbridge to Aldgate semi-fasts have been reintroduced after a short absence. All are
timetabled to use P6, along with Amersham, Chesham and Watford trains not calling at Northwick
Park, Preston Road and Wembley Park, thus presenting passengers with uniform platform use.
However the P5 to Southbound Fast move happens with any of the semi-fasts from Uxbridge if
presentation times at Harrow-on-the-Hill from either North Harrow or West Harrow are slightly late,
so with no booked moves the 'NRU' may be correct by definition but not in practice.
1301] LUL 24 Hour Service: (BLN 1258.1086) New WTTs are to be introduced on the Central and
Victoria Lines, nominally from Sunday 7 August, although in practice timetable notices will be in force
on that day incorporating traditional first train times. Over the following weekend, overnight trains will
operate empty for trial purposes, with the first passenger operation on the night of Friday 19 August.
Press reports indicate that Jubilee Line services will commence on the night of Friday 2 September.
1302] Thameslink: (BLN 1258.1083) Over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend Siemens commissioned a
new signalling system within Hornsey depot replacing hand-signalling. The new depot building is due
to open in the summer. The upgrade has provided increased stabling capacity, an integrated systems
control room, new roads equipped with controlled emission toilet facilities, a new maintenance facility
building and two train washes which use reclaimed water. Modifications to the existing wheel lathe
enable quicker, more accurate configuration of wheel profiles and cater for the new Class 700 fleet.
ABOVE: Greenford train in the new West Ealing bay P5 adjacent to P4 with P3 on the right.
BELOW: The bay platform from the west end, looking east to the buffers (both Don Kennedy 20 June).
1303] Paddington: At 18.15 on 16 June an empty Class 165 DMU making a shunt move into the station
from the Link Line passed a signal at danger and the first coach became completely derailed on trap
points and struck an OLE gantry. As a result, traction current was discharged between Paddington and
Heathrow Airport Jn and EMUs were stranded blocking all lines. It was not possible to run any trains in
or out of Paddington. From the following morning, P1-5 and Lines 1 and 2 were blocked, with Line 3
available to diesel traction only and Lines 4-6 available to all traction. The derailed train and damaged
gantry were removed over the weekend of 18th and 19th, but normal services did not resume until 21st.
1304] West Ealing: Due to this incident bay P5 (PICTURES ABOVE) (its commissioning had been
delayed until 12 June) was unexpectedly used; a train on the branch during the derailment terminated
there. Over subsequent days a West Ealing-Greenford shuttle operating and this continued until 22nd.
1305] No Bull: (BLN 1259.1197) The final section of rail at Upminster P6 (not P5 which is LU third rail
DC track) at the buffer stops is bullhead. The AC Romford EMUs run over it to fit on the platform.
1260 NORTH EAST
1306] Redcar British Steel: (BLN 1259.1217) This is shown as both
'British Steel Redcar' and 'Redcar British Steel' (the latter per
platform nameboard and tickets) in the current e-NRT index but has
been 'British Steel Redcar' in the relevant table since at least 1992
and almost certainly from its opening. Additionally, names on tickets
are notorious for differing from the timetable. The doyens of station
chronology in the Railway & Canal Historical Society have long
regarded the public timetable and, more particularly, the relevant
table rather than the index, as the definitive source of station names.
It might be considered relatively unusual for a station to
have two names, however similar they are to each other,
but this is why the RCHS (and Clinker's Register for
example) use timetable tables. Netherfield GNR had
seven signboards on the station - each different!
However, even timetables are not infallible. For instance,
the LNWR gave different names on different pages in the
same timetable for its Leamington stations, and had
Stalybridge on one page and 'Staleybridge' on another.
The continued reference in electronic-National Rail Timetable table 44 footnote § to 'BSC' (an
organisation which expired when it was merged into Corus on 6 Oct 1999; is amusing). However,
'British Steel', having been incorrect for some 16 years, is now once again correct for the ownership of
the only part of the Teesside steel plant that remains in use, the (Lackenby) Beam Mill.
1260 NORTH WEST
1307] Unusual Moves: On 1 June, there was very rare use of Southport P3 (electrified) by Wigan line
DMU services (the 11.46 from Manchester Victoria and 13.57 to Victoria) thought to be due to unit
swaps. Southport P3 is the only one that can be used by both Liverpool and Wigan line trains directly.
On 10 June a signal fault at Hyde Jn resulted in some Rose Hill Marple services for the Up Woodley line
being routed through the Up and Down Passenger Loop (past the former Dewsnap Sidings) at Guide
Bridge East Jn. Later at Ashburys, a failed EMU in Down P2 led to some TPE services being routed from
Gorton via the Down Goods, the Arrivals & Departures road to Ardwick East Jn, and then the Up line
in the Down direction to Ardwick Jn. Our Sat 3 July TPE Turbo Prop Tracker railtour took this route.
X.85] BELOW: (BLN 1258.1100) The 29 Jul 1962 Roch Valley Railway Society 'Salford Hundred' tour at
Facit http://goo.gl/juhzUK on the then freight branch from Rochdale that used to continue to Bacup.
Loco 40063 was taken out of store especially for the tour; the rear loco was 52523. (Angus McDougall).
1308] Ordsall Chord work: Over the 25/26 June weekend various road closures were due to take place
in the area, including Trinity Way, to demolish four arches of Middlewood viaduct. Later in the year it
is planned to install a new 108m long steel bridge weighing 1,300 tonnes over Trinity Way.
1309] Metrolink: (BLN 1258.1068) Following the temporary line closure through St Peter's Square
from 26 June; by Mon 27th the double to single trackwork in Mosley Street was already lifted. It was
railway track (which has been donated to Heaton Park Tramway for reuse) and needs to be replaced
by tram rails. At Victoria the centre line now appeared to be usable from the north (although it did not
look used), but not from the south (due to a stop board blocking it).
1310] Shocking event at Euxton Jn: (Pronounced 'Exton'.) On 23 June a member was delayed here on
the 15.28 Liverpool Lime Street to Preston. A tawny owl had flown into the OHL at about 12.02 causing
the OHL equipment to trip. Inspection of the line was completed by a Glasgow to Euston train driver
who reported the OHL was down and fouling the fast line. For the rest of the day the Down Fast was
closed with the Up Fast restricted to diesel traction only. There were 20 missing droppers, the catenary
wire had parted and there was damage to the registration equipment. Repairs were made overnight.
The fate of the owl was not reported but passengers 'owls of complaint were heard…
1311] Leyland Business Park: (BLN 1257.1004) Planning permission has been granted to adapt the
existing sidings adjacent to the WCML for stabling stock during the Blackpool North electrification
works. The site is to be used until at least May 2018 with an option to extend until December 2019.
1312] Blackpool Electric Tramway: With thanks to our Society Cartographer and Publications Officer,
Martyn Brailsford, an original recently updated track plan (as usual it is diagrammatic and not to scale):
1313] Settle & Carlisle (S&C) line: (BLN 1259.1213) Even though the S&C is closed at Eden Brows with
Low House Crossing and Howe & Co's Siding signal boxes now de-staffed, freight services operate
south of the closure. During week commencing 26 June a daily train (SSuX) of brand new Romanian
constructed MMA open box type wagons ran empty to Ribblehead sidings to load 1,200 tonnes of
aggregates each for Leeds Hunslet. Operated by DB Cargo (DBC, formerly DBS), they are painted in
their red livery complete with a red 60091 for haulage. The GBRf operated aggregates from Arcow
Quarry also ran SSuX to Hunslet and Manchester terminals. This new branch turns southwest through
a sharp right angle bend and can all be seen from passing trains as can the ex-Midland Railway
footbridge from Camden carrying a footpath over it. Its trains and those from Ribblehead depart north
over Ribblehead Viaduct so they can run round at Blea Moor before heading south.
On 22 June, 'rock' originating from Spain and brought to Hull by boat was carried in the first train of a
new DBC contract from Hull Docks to Kirkby Thore, British Gypsum. Open box 100 tonne type wagons
were used (constructed from unwanted recycled MGR coal wagons). The traffic makes for the reduced
Flue Gas Desulphurisation Gypsum available from UK coal fired power stations with their run down.
The Baron Wood tunnels landslip work (BLN 1259.1213) has been completed and from 27 June,
Northern Rail extended some passenger trains from Appleby to Armathwaite calling at Langwathby
and Lazonby & Kirkoswald. There is single line Pilot working from Kirkby Thore on the Down line.
However, the trains return after five minutes, take the trailing crossover at Kirkby Thore and wait at
Appleby (where the crews take their breaks) for nearly an hour before continuing to Leeds. Appleby to
Armathwaite takes 36 minutes by train; the replacement bus was still shown as running (at least in the
first week) taking 50 minutes. The 'fast' bus from Appleby to Carlisle takes an hour for 32 miles, some
now serve Penrith instead/as well.
The 18.14 SSuX Carlisle to Leeds bus mentioned In BLN 1259 was/is set down only after Appleby. It has
apparently never operated south of Ribblehead, connecting there with the 21.00 train to Leeds.
Extending passenger services to Armathwaite has reduced the section of S&C closed to passenger
traffic from 30 to 10 miles and is seen as part of the 'hearts and minds' policy being operated by NR
and Northern in the Armathwaite area to win over the locals and reassure them that line will
eventually fully reopen. A vast amount of work is required on Eden Brows Landslip first.
1314] Warrington: DB Cargo (DBC) and Cemex have opened a 'pop-up rail depot' to serve the North
West construction market. About 125,000 tonnes of aggregates will be transported from Derbyshire,
Dove Holes Quarry on two weekly trains, each carrying approximately 1,540 tonnes and replacing 150
lorries. DBC UK unloads the aggregates at Warrington for transport to local construction sites and
concrete plants by road. Cemex, said: 'A pop-up rail depot can be installed in weeks rather than months
and gives the flexibility to move aggregates from quarries to areas where they are needed, especially
short term. So with the right piece of land close to the rail network you can create a depot.'
1260 SOUTH EAST – NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
1315] Banbury: (BLN 1259.1224) New signals have recently been erected at the north end of the
station. As a further step towards the new layout (see BLN 1258.1119) the existing but redundant
sidings and loops on the Up side were to be taken OOU on 4 July pending recovery. Points connecting
these lines to the Up Main line were to be secured OOU. They were:
Up Goods Empty Cattle Road Up Neck
Up Goods Loop Cattle Road Up Siding (on TRACKmaps
Middle Road Up South Bay (P4 road*) Vol 3, p13B, No1 Siding).
Also from 4 July Mileage Sidings No1 & No2 were to be recovered with associated pointwork changes.
(*The new layout has a new through P4 just at the north end of the new Up Banbury Platform Line
with passive provision for future lengthening south. This was removed from the present scheme.)
TOP: 1896 OS one-inch map showing the original branch alignment between Frinton and Walton.
LOWER: 1960 7th Series one-inch map showing coastal erosion and the 1930 branch realignment.
1317] Frinton-on-Sea: (BLN 1258.1111) The old level crossing gates are preserved in a small history
display on the station forecourt. Estate Agents seem to have dropped the practice for properties here
of using the note 'inside the gates' displayed in their windows - 'inside the barriers' has a different ring
to it! Frinton's reputation as a 'snooty' town has changed to being nice and friendly, with smaller shops
and splendid seaside walks; worth visiting to see former railway route alignment to Walton nearer to
the sea that suffered coastal cliff erosion in the 1920s (the new route was completed on 15 Jan 1930).
1316] Reading - Didcot: (BLN 1259.1222) The energisation due on 2 July due from Reading, Scours
Lane Jn to Didcot, Milton Jn was of the Up Main and Down Main, with Scours Lane Jn to Didcot
Moreton Cutting Jn Up Relief and Down Relief due on 16 July.
1318] Shenfield: (BLN 1257.1016) The intention for the two Middle Sidings at the Ingatestone end of
the station is that No1 is to be relaid whilst currently No2 is retained for engineering trains, as required.
The buffer stop end has been built up by at least one metre. Beyond the end of P5, part of the
Chelmsford loop will remain as an overrun or possibly a headshunt. There is to be a new 'avoiding line'
on a presently unconfirmed route which may require a new bridge. ABOVE: 66747 at London end of an
engineers' train in former Shenfield middle carriage siding area with another 66/7 on rear (66727 from
TOPS Lists). RTT shows that this ran as the 21.31 from Whitemoor Local Distribution Centre on 7 June.
The train appears to be using the relaid/re-aligned former Chelmsford Loop; the EMU sidings appear to
have been lifted although a connection to them remains (Iain Scotchman 8 June 2016).
1260 SOUTH EAST – SOUTH
1319] Redhill: (BLN 1256.923) The yard adjacent to Redhill P1 is OOU for construction of a new Up
Loop P0; the existing P1 is to become a bay. When seen on 11 June a substantial stockade of close
pitched vertical universal columns was being concreted in place immediately clear of the P1 track
between that and the now lifted Goods Loop. At the south end, the access turnout was still in place.
1320] Alton branch slip 'Up': (BLN 1257.980) A trip to Alton on 24 June confirmed that the temporary
slew south of Farnham at the Wrecclesham embankment slip is to the former Down side trackbed
(rather than the Up from double track days). The speed restriction has been raised from 5mph to
20mph so timekeeping is much improved. Work was in progress, but not quite complete, on rebuilding
the original alignment. The temporary slew looks likely to continue for a few more weeks. At Aldershot
preparations were being made to replace the 120 year old High Street (A323) underbridge on the
London side of the station over the 25/26 June weekend (when the line was closed) Some impressively
large temporary lifting gear was in place. That is the end of the slews now it is time for…
1260 SOUTH WEST
1321] Powering under the Severn: The Severn and the three Patchway Tunnels are under engineers'
possession from 12 Sept to 21 Oct for the most challenging phase of the GWML electrification work.
NR estimate that had the closure not been possible, the equivalent work would have taken up to five
years of possessions. Along with the track lowering (particularly in Patchway Old Tunnels) and renewal
in common with other parts of the project, the tunnel has provided specific challenges; not least the
removal of over 40 tonnes of soot and the installation of new 'deflector shields' where water enters it.
Over eight miles of Rigid Overhead Conductor Rail is to be erected. The Severn Tunnel is, of course,
notoriously wet and Sudbrook pumping station extracts 10 to 20M gallons of water daily to prevent
flooding. There is also a ventilation shaft, with eight-metre diameter fans that can force 80,000 cubic
feet per minute of fresh air into the tunnel. Preparatory work started in July 2014, enabling a shorter
period of total closure. This including installation of feeder cable anchors at two metre intervals above
each track requiring scarification and, where necessary, repair of the brick lining. Contractors
described the structure as being in better condition than expected. A joint venture of Alstom, Babcock
and Costain is working for NR's tunnel team, along with numerous sub-contractors and suppliers.
1322] Exmouth: Since the 16 May timetable change, additional Sunday trains have run on the branch,
the 'Avocet Line'. This increases the frequency to half-hourly, seven days a week all year; a great
improvement on the hourly service previously offered, and testament to the tireless campaigning on
the part of ALRUG, the local user group. It also gives Exeter Central bay P1 four trains a week (Sundays
only); formerly so rare that the FS once included it in a railtour! The case for more services was in part
proven by extra trains during the Christmas season, funded by the Community Rail Development Fund.
A campaign to promote events along the line on Sundays http://goo.gl/bGuEMV is now underway.
1323] Something for the weekend? The parade of summer additional trains might be a thing of the
past, but GWR still have a seasonal 14.34 FO from Paddington, returning from Exeter St David's 18.17.
1324] Rowtor Target Railway: (SX594911) One of the more unusual railways in the South West, and an
unlikely survivor, can be found https://goo.gl/xrEMgk around two miles south of Okehampton station
in the midst of rugged Dartmoor. The railway consists of about 500m of track with four sets of points
in a rough 'dumbbell' shape, with a two-road shed housing a locomotive which was used to haul a
moving target along the track to facilitate target practice. The track is believed to remain in place, and
be in remarkably good condition considering the exposed location. Evidence of gun emplacements
from which the soldiers fired also remains. While there is no external connection to the line, and
indeed no easy foot or road access, it is tempting to give it a shot and consider how dedicated gricers
might manage to target this unusual track? Interesting pictures http://goo.gl/HQLlUY from 2009.
1325] Another Thingley Thing: (BLN 1259.1233) On the weekend of 2/3 Jul westbound services from
Chippenham departed from P2 and ran 'wrong-line' to Thingley Jn taking advantage of the recently
restored reversible signalling. The service was suspended east of Chippenham for electrification works.
Some through services from Bristol to Paddington were diverted via Filton Bank and Hullavington.
1260 WEST MIDLANDS
1326] Midland Metro: (1): On the afternoon of 28 June a 'signal issue' caused tram services from
Wolverhampton to terminate initially at Bull Street and use the trailing crossover on return. Later they
loaded in the Grand Central arrivals platform taking the 'rare' trailing crossover there on departure.
This may have been the first passenger use of the latter. Snow Hill crossover was still clipped OOU.
(2) Wolverhampton extension: Government approval has been granted; preparatory work is due to
start later this year with OP planned for 2019 when most trams will run to the station. The £18M route
leaves the present line before St George's terminus, runs along Piper's Row and past the bus station to
the railway station. It is part of a £120M city centre redevelopment including a major rebuild of of the
railway station. Following a six-week legal challenge period the tramway Transport & Works Act Order
comes into force and then the inevitable utility diversion work can start (Wolverhampton Greater
Crested Newts and Slowworms permitting!). The new 'Transport for West Midlands' will take the lead;
with devolution, it has replaced the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority and Centro.
1327] 'Wolverhampton Interchange': A planning application has been submitted to build the new
station giving visitors the 'best first impression possible' of the city (a hard job indeed! - Regional
Editor). The application was lodged by Neptune Developments Ltd and Wolverhampton City Council. If
approved, work begins next year after extension of the multi-storey car park, due for completion at
Christmas. The old station will be demolished to make way for a 'Birmingham New Street-style' facility
with more ticket offices, ticket barriers (not presently provided due to severe space constraint) and
improved retail and café provisions http://goo.gl/DZ08BC but with no mention of 'coloured lounges'.
1328] Oddingley (62m 60ch): On the Birmingham to Gloucester main line, the Midland Railway 1908
manual level crossing gate box between Stoke Works Jn and Abbotswood Jn is an unlikely survivor.
The gates are normally closed to road traffic and a 1969 Annett's Key Lock instrument is interlocked
with the signals. The crossing keeper may remove the key to open the gates if no train is approaching
(if there is the key will not release). Removing the key turns the signals in both directions to red.
From 24 June until 8 August as part of the Bromsgrove re-signalling project, enabling works are in
progress. The crossing is closed to vehicles and pedestrians with the gates temporarily removed and
the road fenced off. This is for installation of Manually Controlled Barriers with Obstacle Detection for
commissioning on 7 Nov. The new barriers will be installed in the raised position. The box has large
windows and can be seen from the public crossing (worth visiting between 8 August and closure).
BELOW: Odingley level crossing on 10 Oct 2012 (©Rob Newman licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence).
1329] Flooding Fools Freight: On the early evening 16 June severe flash flooding at Lye (to platform
level) closed the Stourbridge to Birmingham line early evening on 16 June. Matters deteriorated as the
alternative Barnt Green to Blackwell line was also blocked (reported as water above the railhead).
Flooding at Bournville resulted in a 5mph speed restriction through the Up platform and the Down line
was closed. The Camp Hill route was blocked at Moseley Tunnel. Much freight came to a stand!
1330] Dorridge: From 27 June, the north end points in the Up & Down Dorridge Goods Loop (119m
10ch), connecting to the Up & Down Dorridge Passenger Loop, were recovered. From 4 July new
points were to be provided (OOU). New trap points on the Down Dorridge Spur, a continuation north
of the goods loop (119m 33ch), were to be provided (OOU). Cue visit by a future Chiltern railtour?
1331] Birmingham New Street: From 19 June (until 24 July), P9 is OOU for refurbishment and P8A was
returned to service. The P9A stop board is 44m from the end allowing access to No3 Through Siding.
1332] Worcestershire Parkway: Worcestershire County Council (WCC) has agreed an 'undisclosed fee'
to allow the development to go ahead resulting in a public inquiry being abandoned. However, the
station will now not be complete until March 2018, instead of the original aim of May 2017. WCC had
started Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) proceedings against the landowner, Norton Parkway
Developments Ltd. The latter believed it has 'a legal right' to develop the land off Woodbury Lane for
the station. A private confidential agreement has been made with WCC further adding to the cost of
the project. The CPO objections have now been withdrawn, meaning no public inquiry is needed.
1260 YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE
1333] Kirkstall Forge: (BLN 1259.1188) A formal opening by local dignitaries was carried out on 26
June after the station OP on 19th. The service is hourly each way with additional peak services. There is
a 129-space car park, cycle parking, a pick up/drop off point and two 100m long platforms with waiting
shelters, staircases and ramps. The station, on the busiest section of the Airedale and Wharfedale rail
lines between Leeds and Shipley, is adjacent to the former Kirkstall Forge industrial site off the A65,
three miles north west of Leeds city centre. Access to the station is via a new road with a traffic
signalled junction off the A65. Building work has started at the Kirkstall Forge development with the
first 110,000 sq ft, seven-storey office due for completion in 2017. Commercial Estate Group's 57-acre
development is ultimately to become a mixed-use community in a wooded, riverside setting with
1,050 new homes, 300,000 sq ft of offices and 100,000 sq ft of retail, leisure and community space.
1334] Hull: TPE is spending £1.4M upgrading Paragon station because Hull is 'UK 2017 City of Culture'.
New waiting facilities and toilets, an enhanced booking office, new customer information boards and
additional retail outlets are promised. The station building is Grade II* listed; subject to listed building
consent and the usual planning permission, work starts in early summer for completion in November.
1335] Huddersfield: The station is to have a first class waiting room, several decades after closure of
the previous one. Tens of thousands of pounds have been spent converting the former training room
facilities on P1 into a stylish, modern waiting room with toilets, TV, Wi-Fi, and soft furnishings.
BLN 1260.1336] Bellarena: (BLN 1253.603) The official opening of the rebuilt station was performed by
HM The Queen on 28 June. She travelled there from Coleraine on an RPSI train hauled by their loco 85
before returning by road. Our correspondent points out that it is a shame she did not go to the end of
the line beacuse she still needs the 4½ miles of track from Lisahally to Londonderry having only
travelled as far as Lisahally navy base on 3 Jul 1953 (a temporary platform was erected for the royal
party, BELOW Martin Baumann)! Perhaps Alan Welsh should send a prospectus, sample BLNs and
membership form to Buckingham Palace? 'The Branch line Society, by appointment to Her Majesty
Queen Elizabeth II purveyors of fine rare track'? Caption below right: 'May one borrow your red pen?'
BELOW: Bellarena new station (OP 21 Mar 2016) from
the level crossing, looking to Belfast. The new loop,
replacing the present loop at Castlerock, is due to be
completed during a line blockade for resignalling from 3
to 23 Nov. Planning permission to alter the level crossing
is also required first. (All Martin Baumann, 20 Apr 2016). ABOVE: Looking the other way straight into
the sun towards Derry/Londonderry showing the old station on the left (CP 18 Oct 1976, ROP 28 Jun
1982, CP 21 Mar 2016). The lengthy loop will run across the level crossing when it is completed.
BLN 1260.1337] Timetables: IÉ have ceased issuing printed timetables for public (or even staff) use in
booklet or route format. Times can be accessed on their journey planner or by the downloading PDFs.
1338] Dublin Connolly - Newcomen Jn: (BLN 1259.1176) The postponed new IÉ 10 April timetable,
deferred due to threatened industrial action by train staff, has no booked service over this link. Both
Dublin Connolly to Maynooth trains at 08.00 and 08.04 (SSuX) are booked to call at Drumcondra.
1339] Single Line Workings: Due to engineering works, on Sat 2 July the two Limerick to Ballybrophy
trains each way were unusually extended via the Ballybrophy connection (a double reversal) to/from
Portlaoise to reverse. Single line working over the Down track between Kildare and Portarlington
reduced the basic hourly Dublin to Cork service to every two hours.
1340] Possible line closures: The National Transport Authority which oversees IÉ's PSO (public service
obligation) services is believed to be looking at closure of Wexford to Rosslare and Ballybrophy to
Killonan Jn (Limerick), with a view to reducing the hefty subsidy paid to IÉ for them. Further extension
of the Western Rail Corridor (e.g. to Tuam) is seen as 'very unlikely'; questions are even being asked as
to whether Ennis to Athenry should continue. Anyone who has not done these interesting lines…
1341] Dublin Luas: The third side of the LUAS triangle at Connolly was thought to be 'prohibited' to
passenger-carrying workings. This is not the case; it was designed for off-peak services to/from The
Point via Connolly and has been used for special occasions. However it has long been concluded that
the time taken for such a move would not be acceptable commercially or operationally.
1342] South Wexford line: (BLN 1259.1243) Contrary to (BLN 1258.1138), IÉ had programmed the
weed spray train on this line from the Waterford end into and through the two Absolute Possessions
from Waterford to Wellington Bridge and Wellington Bridge to Rosslare Strand on 13 May. Also on 5
May loco 072 worked from Waterford to Wexford with eight 60ft wagons each with four track panels
for Duncormick. After unloading at Duncormick the train continued empty to Rosslare Harbour to run
round then left for Wexford. The panels are to replace less worn track for use elsewhere. Those
inserted were not fully topped and lined and this was the reason a passenger carrying service was not
possible and nothing to do with the Barrow bridge. On 21 June, the Track Recording Vehicle EM50
Y501 and inspection car Y601 traversed the line respectively at 10.00 and 14.10 from Rosslare Strand.
1343] Mallow: (BLN 1258.1136) On 19 June the crossover connecting the Down Main to the Up Main
at the Dublin end of Mallow Station was to be temporarily disconnected, removed and replaced with
plain line along the normal lie of these points to be reinstated in a new position 247m closer to Dublin.
1260 ISLE OF MAN
1344] Snaefell Mountain Railway: (BLN 1250.292) (MR p12) Following the significant December flood
damage including a landslip, repairs to the damaged and TCP Up line were completed in time for the
annual TT (Tourist Trophy) races between 28 May and 10 June. This is when the Island railways run an
intensive service; double track working was restored between Laxey and Bungalow. Amending (BLN
1252.499) the Up line does indeed go 'up' to the summit, and note that the 4¾ mile long, 3' 6" gauge
railway with a 'Fell' centre rail has right hand running. A considerable amount of money has been
invested in the substantial works. New open drainage channels cross at right angles under the line with
thick concrete walls; there is new piling along the Up line with significant concrete edging and new
wooden sleepers fixed longitudinally alongside the line to retain ballast. There is new track and much
new ballast. At the summit, the single reversing line can accommodate three trams, the area is now
attractively pavemented; the non-slip paving stones have multiple small IOM three legged sun symbols
in relief. A fourth tram can terminate before the point on the Up line, if necessary, towards the end of
the double track section. New areas of paving installed here correspond with the front and rear
passenger doors for unloading and a new paved footpath is provided alongside this line to the summit
café. At Bungalow it was recently noted that the trailing and facing crossovers either side of the A18
level crossing (part of the 37¾ mile TT course) are not overhead wired. They are used during the TT
races when the railway runs in two sections carrying large numbers of spectators to Bungalow.
ABOVE: 1957 one-inch 7th series OS map. Laxey is bottom right with the Snaefell Mountain Railway
running to the 2,034ft summit, top left. The Manx Electric (MER) from Laxey runs south to Douglas and
north to Ramsey along the coast (right). The 602ft spot height just south of Dhoon Glen (middle right)
is the MER summit. Just south of it (not marked) is Bulgham stop (BLN 1193.1296) OP 2009 with a low
wooden decking type platform on the seaside (southbound) of the double track line only. It is used for
special occasions only (such as a photo stop on our comprehensive MER railtour of 17 Sep 2013).
1345] Port Erin: At this terminus of the IOM Steam Railway there is a new siding (since our Sep 2013
visit) at the end of the line, a continuation of the run-round loop which angles slightly towards the
railway museum. Unusually it consists of two sections of tram rail mounted on wooden sleepers. The
museum curator advised that it is intended for display purposes and has tram track as it was spare!
1346] Wemyss Bay Jn: The Spring points on the Down Wemyss Bay line were to be removed 3 July.
1347] Hurlford: (BLN 1257.1038) The signal box is OOU and boarded up. Presumably the lever frame is
still there but long disused. Block instruments have been removed for spares. There is a camera on the
front, to Kilmarnock signal box so the signaller can check tail lamps of trains arriving from Mauchline.
BELOW: Hurlford signal box Jan 2016, boarded up and OOU with tail lamp camera affixed. (Nick Jones).
1348] Craigo: (BLN 1257.1038) ABOVE: This box retains all equipment in working order and can be
switched-in as needed. This is done every three months (e.g. 11/12 June), to allow equipment to be
checked and to 'refresh' signallers' knowledge so that they remain 'passed' to work it. Normally (when
switched out) all semaphore signals are left permanently 'off' so pictures like BELOW with signals 'on'
are relatively rare. The Up sidings in TRACKmaps were recovered in a Christmas 2015/New Year 2016
possession. The crossover is in situ but OOU. The HST is from Aberdeen to King's Cross. (Nick Jones)
1349] Craigentinny Depot: (BLN 1258.1142) Departure Road No4 was to be back into use on 5 July.
1350] Wick/Thurso: The 'Friends of the Far North Line' are trying to expedite a loop at Lentran and
one at Kinbrace to help improve the reliability of the service. The former is now in NR's draft plans for
2019-24. The 24m 29ch between Helmsdale and Forsinard is now the longest NR single track section.
1351] Oban mystery: Despite the Sectional Appendix showing the platforms as P1 and P2, these do
not exist. P1 is P4 and P2 is P3! All passenger trains are shown using P2 in RTT and OTT, which reflects
the Integrated Train Planning System. In reality, they all use P3 as this can be closed off to the public.
There is a (SuSX) 15.39 Oban to Oban ECS via Oban GF, from P2 (i.e. 3) terminating in P1 (4) at 15.48,
but its next working (16.11 to Dalmally) starts from P2 (3)! Oddly, this ECS move is recorded as running
every day it should, but when our correspondent departed at 05.21 on 16 June, P4 track was very rusty
as were the sidings. There is then only one passenger train at Oban at a time. On Saturdays there is a
shunt from P2 (3) to P1 (4) and back at 13.55 and 17.55 respectively (recorded as running on 11 June)
with two trains present from 15.28 to 16.11. On Sundays several are shown to use P1 (4), including
passenger trains, amongst them the first starter and last terminator. There are two trains between
15.27 and 16.11. NR's website map shows (facing Glasgow) P3 on the left at the stop blocks end
becoming P1 at the Glasgow end. On the right is P4 at the stop blocks and P2 at the Glasgow end!!
X.86 Aberdeen Waterloo: ABOVE: An unusual branch line view from the 17.00 Aberdeen to Lerwick
sailing on Sunday 5 June. This was after Terry Velvick's Society Scottish Minor Railway fixtures. The first
(grey) overbridge (Castle Terrace) is in the background mid-right. There are tanks in the OMYA siding
(centre) which are loaded with Calcium Carbonate slurry shipped from Norway. It is transported by rail
via Mossend Yard to Irvine paper mill for coating paper and usually runs on Saturdays (Geoff Noakes).
BELOW: One-inch OS 7th Series 1959 map. The Waterloo Goods branch runs from top left to the
quayside in the centre. The two stations closed to passengers on the main line (white spots) are School
Hill just north of the principal 'Aberdeen Joint' station and Hutcheon Street further northwest.
1352] Hairmyres Loops: In TRACKmaps 1 page 7R (Dec 2007), the Hairmyres loops are shown as an Up
Loop and a Down Loop (each unidirectional). However, the 16 Jan 2016 dated Sectional Appendix on
line suggest that they are both now bidirectional. Neither has a line designation though, just a 50mph
restriction in the Up direction, ie to East Kilbride (shown diagrammatically as straight) and 40mph in
the Down (shown as a loop diagrammatically). A member decided to see how they actually work…
On Wed 15 June he caught the 07.12 Glasgow Central to East Kilbride which waited in Hairmyres Down
Loop for the 07.42 East Kilbride to Glasgow Central to pass. The 08.10 East Kilbride to Glasgow Central
again waited in the Down Loop to allow the 07.43 Glasgow Central to East Kilbride to pass. Alighting at
Hairmyres, he then caught the 08.19 Glasgow Central to East Kilbride which went directly through the
Up Loop. Its return, the 08.57 East Kilbride to Glasgow Central, also went directly through the Up Loop.
The only other trains that are shown to wait in the loops are the 17.25, 17.56 and 18.27 East Kilbride
to Glasgow Central. These three and the two which made the move above are all SSuX.
If anything has to be held to be passed in the loops at Hairmyres, it must be the Down Loop as there
are signals at either end of it (GB5130 at the East Kilbride end and GB5131 at the Hairmyres end). If
trains are routed via the Up Loop from Hairmyres, the signal, GB 5132, will only display a main aspect
and the next signal it encounters is beyond the Up Loop, so nothing can be held in the Up Loop.
Likewise, after leaving East Kilbride, signal GB 5129 displays a main aspect route via the Up Loop and
the next signal is after the Up Loop, so nothing can be held in there in that direction either. This may fit
with the diagram and speed restriction in the Sectional Appendix described above.
When heading towards Glasgow Central and going into the 'Down Loop', route indicator (or 'feathers')
No1 at 'half past ten' will be displayed at GB 5129. When heading towards East Kilbride, route indicator
No4 at 'half past one' will be displayed at GB 5132; this signal is located just off the platform end at the
East Kilbride end of Hairmyres Station.
X.87] ABOVE: The Grade II listed signal box at Caersws with an original Dutton 18-lever frame, latterly
a level crossing gate box. The token equipment was removed in 1988. (Richard Hickman 9 Jun 2016).
1353] Manchester Airport: (BLN 1246.2269) Following a successful appeal to the ORR and despite NR,
opposition, ATW has secured six additional paths daily to extend Llandudno/Manchester Piccadilly
trains to/from the Airport also serving East Didsbury. Through trains have increased from 17 to 57 per
week. The Civil Aviation Authority estimates 849,000 residents of Wales took flights here in 2014.
1354] Llandaf: The new station footbridge, noted as complete at the time of our 'Valleys Tracker' tour
on 13 Aug 2015, finally opened to the public on 20 June. Provided under the 'Access for All' scheme,
unfortunately it is still not accessible to all as the lifts have yet to be commissioned! At the wrong end
of the station for the ticket office, platform canopies, and train stop markers it is far from convenient.
1355] Whitland: Bay P3 now has booked seasonal use only twice weekly: SuO until 11 Sep, 20.37
Whitland to Pembroke Dock and SO until 10 Sep 08.35 from Pembroke Dock. However, it was in use all
day on 22 May for branch trains due to an engineering possession with buses to/from Carmarthen.
1356] Gwendraeth Valley: £75k funding has been secured for a proposed 'velorail' operation, based at
a visitor centre at Kidwelly station sidings. Customers would hire the pedal-powered vehicles and set
off in convoy up the disused Cwmmawr branch. This is seen as a precursor to an eventual heritage
railway. Publicity states that it would include 'the oldest railway bridge in Wales' does anyone know
which one? The Trawsfynydd line velorail scheme in North Wales does not seem to have progressed.
1357] Penyffordd: (BLN 1258.1147) The spelling has been with 'dd' (a single letter in Welsh) since at
least 1887 (Bradshaw's Guide) - if not always. From 6 May 1974 'for Leeswood' was dropped from the
station's name, with no spelling alteration. The suffix did not however appear in the October 1960
Sectional Appendix, if ever. Hyphenation as 'Pen-y-Ffordd' has been inconsistent over the years and
remains so; the station nameboards now have hyphens whilst the signal box nameboard does not!
This shows on Angus McDougall's picture (BELOW) of 24 Jun 2002, with the now redundant crossover.
The point to the sidings is lower extreme right with the cement works in the background.
1358] Pont Briwet: (BLN 1217.1355) A video has been discovered on YouTube claimed to be filmed
from an ordinary passenger train on 30 August 2014. The train is shown departing Penrhyndeudraeth,
crossing the new bridge and passing non-stop through Llandecwyn. If the date is correct, BLN may
need to be revisited does anyone have any information that might assist please?
1359] Builth Road well connected: (BLN 1258.1151) Through carriages operated each weekday for the
1892 summer season (1 Jul until 30 Sep), leaving Cardiff TVR at 1.15 pm and Merthyr 2.37pm. They
were taken forward from Talyllyn Junction at 3.55pm by a Cambrian Railways locomotive, via a double
reversal over the Builth Road connection to reach Llandrindod Wells at 5.10pm. Leaving at 5.40pm,
the carriages returned by the same manoeuvre to reach Builth Wells at 6.05pm and attach to the
4.50pm ex-Moat Lane Junction, terminating at Merthyr at 8.20pm.
With a slightly later departure at 6.0pm, a similar working applied in summer 1893. 30 Sep 1893 was
the final date of operation over the link line at Builth Road, until 1920. Then a southbound-only SO
service, with Cambrian loco and crew, was then tried for two seasons, from 12 Jul 1920 until 10
Sep1921, leaving Llandrindod Wells at 12.20pm and running via Talyllyn Loop (the rare track avoiding
curve!) to Merthyr, but it did not reappear in 1922. On 9 Jul 1923 however, the GWR introduced a
seasonal round trip service (Mondays and Saturdays until the year 1930; Saturdays only from 1931)
which operated until 2 Sep 1939 (apart from 1926). This ran from Barry via Cardiff, Merthyr, Talyllyn
Loop and the double reversal at Builth Road to reach Llandrindod at 3.10pm, returning at 4.15pm. All
these workings appear to have been by special agreement between the respective companies, rather
than full running powers; the Builth Road link itself was owned by the L&NWR/LMSR.
ABOVE: 1952 one inch 7th Series OS map showing Builth Road station and the link line. 'High Level' is a
request stop, still open on the Central Wales/Heart of Wales Line; Llandrindod Wells and Craven Arms
are off top right; Llanelli and Swansea are off bottom left. A member travelling from Shrewsbury to
Swansea in June was extremely surprised that the train stoped at Builth Road to pick up a catering
trolley and an operative. It had travelled north on the service just crossed at Llandrindod and using the
single platform at Builth Road was the easiest way to transfer between trains. Builth Road Low Level
closed with the Mid Wales line from 31 Dec 1962. This line via Rhayader and Llanidloes to Moat Lane
Junction (which was between Newtown and Caerws) went off top left and bottom right via Builth
Wells to Three Cocks Junction, Brecon and Merthyr. Builth Road station comes to life during the Royal
Welsh Show each year (18 to 21 Jul 2016). An extra service is running at 07.14 from Cardiff Central
arriving 10.19 and returning 18.45 (Cardiff 21.58) via the Grovesend Colliery Loop to Hendy Junction
1360] Dinas Caernarvon: (BLN 1257.1043) On the 'Caernarvon' to Afon Wen line the station building
on the Down LNWR platform was a relic of the shared adjacent Welsh Highland Railway (WHR) Dinas
Junction station. The station agent had been a WHR employee in their passenger days, which trains
last ran on 28 Sep 1936. The 1937 date represents the lessee, the 'Festiniog' Railway (FR), giving up the
pretence of retaining a goods service, and should probably read 'with effect from 31 May 1937',
although as there is no definitive evidence, 'end of May 1937' would be better. There were subsequent
movements to repatriate FR and WHR rolling stock to their respective lines; one such is understood to
have worked on 19 June, with the last, from Beddgelert to Dinas Junction, apparently on Friday 25
June 1937. GWR Chief Goods Manager's circular R1534481 of 28 Jun 1937 records that 'The above
Railway [WHR] has now been closed altogether' and instructs that traffic for the southern area it had
served was now to be dealt with by Country Lorry Service from 'Portmadoc', GWR.
ABOVE: 1913 OS six-inch map of the area when the WHR was the delightfully named 'North Wales
Narrow Gauge Railway(s)' middle right heading for Tryfan Junction where there was a branch to
Bryngwyn, and Rhyd Dhu https://goo.gl/S4KQTr on the route of the present WHR. 'Caernarvon' is to
the top middle; Afon Wen (a closed junction station on the now Cambrian Coast line) is off bottom left.
1260 MINOR RAILWAYS
X.88] ABOVE: Rare track (and haulage) on the IOW at Havenstreet on 23 April; part of UKRT's 'Ticket to
Ryde'. Many of our members participated in this Class 159 railtour with SWT from Waterloo (some
joining just for the ferry from Portsmouth Harbour!). There was private running on the Isle of Wight
Steam Railway including this brakevan shuttle, with the Class 05 not available on public operation,
over the quite lengthy branch (past what looks like some sort of enchanted wood) from Havenstreet to
the carriage shed headshunt https://goo.gl/7sl9RW with numerous points clipped (Iain Scotchman).
MR116] Helston Railway, Cornwall (MR p6) (BLN 1239.MR127): The Railway has finally been granted
the Planning Application that was first applied for in 2013. The Inspector granted the Appeal on 2 June
for planning permission for an extension of the track, new platform and sidings, car park, and access
road at Prospidnick. The temporary platform may also be retained until the new platform is brought
into service. Otherwise, the railway will be open as usual for passengers on Sundays and Thursdays
until 30 October. Car parking is free; under 5s ride free and Santa Specials will run in December.
MR117] North Yorkshire Moors Railway, North Yorkshire (MR p9) (BLN 1254.MR59): Stage 2 of the
changeover from the Train Staff and Ticket Telephone Block method of signalling to Electric Token
Block working, using Tyer's No6 tablet instruments, between Goathland - Levisham - New Bridge signal
boxes (SB) has been accomplished. On Saturday 11 June, 1T12, the 09.25 Pickering to Whitby, carried a
metal ticket from New Bridge SB to Levisham SB for the last time. At 10.40 Train Staff & Ticket working
between these two signal boxes was withdrawn. For the remainder of that day, and 12 June during the
normal train service, Pilotman working applied to allow the S&T to carry out work on the conversion.
Electric Token Block was commissioned over the 'short' section between New Bridge SB and Levisham
SB at 17.00 on the same Sunday. The first train to carry a token was 1T12 the 09.25 Pickering to
Whitby on 13 June. There is no date yet for Stage 3 commissioning; 'long' section working by Tyer's No
9 key token instruments (Goathland SB to New Bridge SB), allowing Levisham SB to 'switch out'.
MR118] Leighton Buzzard Railway, Bedfordshire (MR p12) (BLN 1255.MR73) Our roving reporter
visited this 2ft gauge railway on Sunday 1 May. This was a 'Blue' timetable day, so two passenger trains
were in operation, with No80 'Beaudesert' 4wDH (AK 59R/1999) and No81 'Peter Wood' 4wDH (HE9347
/1994) each hauling a train of bogie coaches. AMW No165 4wDM (RH194784/1939) and No34 'Red
Rum' 4wDM (MR7105/1936) were also operating at Stonehenge on demonstration trains. Steam was
not available on this day, except on the short 7¼" gauge miniature railway at Stonehenge, where 0-4-0
'Bill' was working with two bogie sit-astride coaches from Quarry Halt. 4wBE 'Pam' was on standby.
MR119] Otterton & East Budleigh Light Railway, Devon (MR p15) (BLN 1212.MR99): This private 7¼"
gauge railway http://goo.gl/kZTvTY (with track plan) was open to the public for the Otterton Open
Gardens Day on Sunday 5 June, 11.00 to 16.00. This event only occurs every two years now. Located
in, and around, the former L&SWR Budleigh Salterton/Exmouth branch East Budleigh station. The
miniature line starts from a two-platform station ('Bridge End') almost underneath road overbridge
No16 (168m 43ch) at the north end of the former, but intact, platform. It then runs north below the full
length of the platform along the trackbed. Passing another small platform (not used on public open
days) the line turns through 180 degrees at the limit of the owner's property and runs across the
garden in front of the station building to terminate in a turning triangle at 'Otter End'.
The railway is about 300yd in route length. Locomotives are turned at Bridge End on a turntable, while
the entire train with passengers aboard is turned at Otter End using the triangle. Two passenger trains
were in operation: steam locomotive No1 'Otter' 2-4-2 based at the Beer Heights Light Railway, with
two sit-in bogie coaches and visiting from the South Devon Miniature Railway at Buckfastleigh;
'Phoenix' a 0-4-0PH hauling one sit-astride coach. 0-4-0BE 'Empress' and 4wPH 'Goliath' also ran
occasionally with one wagon each (non-passenger). Rides were free, once a Open Gardens ticket for £5
had been purchased.
BELOW: Otterton & East Budleigh Railway; 'Otter' passing the former platform (Peter Scott 5 Jun 2016).
MR120] Drusillas Railway, East Sussex (MR p16) (BLN 1253.MR49): Following the entry at 1253.MR49,
a member ventured to Drusillas on Saturday 11 June and took a spin on the 2ft gauge railway. The
driver said that the issue was solely re-branding, and that 'Go Wild' would be replacing 'Thomas' next
year. Those who want the simple pleasure of this simple circuit can simply take their time planning!
MR121] Knees Woodland Miniature Railway, Kent (MR p19) (BLN 1242.MR161): A visit by our roving
reporter on Bank Holiday Monday 30 May found this 7¼" gauge railway, at the East Kent Railway site
at Shepherds Well, in operation. The cut-off inner curve is now in use, with trains passing around the
return loop in an anticlockwise direction for an extra circuit. The fare was £1. Comprehensive visits to
this and the new second extensive miniature railway here are included in our AGM visit on 5 Nov.
MR122] Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway, Kent (MR p19) (BLN 1249.MR13): A passing visit was
paid to Dungeness station on Friday 3 June to see progress on the redeveloped café extension. It was
found open for business, apparently since the previous Friday. Opening was originally planned for
Easter, but the initial building contractor stopped work on ceasing trading. Finishing work was still in
progress. The single story extension is a very large, roughly square shaped, flat roofed, very modern
looking glazed conservatory style building. The redeveloped section includes the old café area and
then new build extends forward to the rear of the platform. Regrettably, but as was widely and
disappointedly anticipated, the construction in no way blends in with the original Henry Greenly
designed building. There appears to have been no concession given at all to any pretence of traditional
railway style architecture or heritage atmosphere. All window/door frames (including replacement
ones in the Greenly section) together with vertical exterior cladding is of the currently fashionable grey
uPVC type materials. A narrow width canopy projects over the platform to shelter passengers. From a
purely commercial point of view, the building will satisfy a long required need for improved booking
and refreshment facilities. The interior appears to have been designed so that it can be sub-divided to
suit various purposes. The café area in use at the time would have seated a three-figure number of
customers. Gentlemen will be pleased that full modern loos are provided and the old 'ceremony of the
many intertwining doors' to reach the facilities is now consigned to history. The overall design would
fit well with the modern mainline railway, but sits uneasily here. Sadly, although the railway company
is justifiably proud of, and lavishes much care and attention on its stud of near to 90-year-old steam
locomotives it does not seem to appreciate the relevance of operating them past largely compatible
suitable heritage style railway infrastructure.
MR123] Mizens Railway, Surrey (MR p24) (BLN 1257.MR93): A member visited this 7¼" gauge railway
on Saturday 4 June, as a member of the 'G' Scale Society whose Surrey Local Area Group had organised
a meeting in the 'station room' to operate a large portable layout for members' locomotives etc. The
miniature railway was operating, with two Woking members in charge who are also 'G' Scale members
- one drove the train (a diesel) and one supervised the signals. Initially only the 'Suburban' route, as
described (BLN 1257.MR93), was possible. After lunch, with some persuasion from our member, and
consideration, it was decided that with one changed point, and on site checks, the 'Miler' route could
also be done. The spirit of co-operation recorded in MR93 was obviously repeated. Clearly, with only
one signalman present the 'Highlander' route could not be done.
MR124] Woodland Railway, Wiltshire (MR p26) (BLN 1178.MR27): Brokerswood Country Park (in
which this 10¼" gauge railway operates) has again closed to 'day' visitors - due to the wet winter of
2015/16. The Park remains open to organised parties and to those booked on the various activities
available - in both cases access is supervised to protect the Park from damage to those areas badly
affected by the poor underfoot, wet conditions. The railway, however, is currently OOU. Part of the
track was undermined by the wet weather and needs attention, for which funds are not currently
available. There are no plans to dispose of the railway and hopefully it will be brought back into use.
BLN 1260] ABOVE: Bartlemas Farm Railway, 12 Jun 2016 open day, Loco 'Ruby' (Peter Scott).
BELOW: 20 Jun 1999 open day; LEFT: loco 'Hot Chocolate' RIGHT: 'Ruby' (Peter Scott).
MR125] Bartlemas Farm Railway, Pavenham, Bedfordshire: This short private 9½" gauge railway runs
for the public each year for the Pavenham Village Open Gardens Day; a Sunday afternoon around the
middle of June. The track and locomotives came from a line, which ran in the grounds of the Kings
Arms public house in Cardington, Bedfordshire (apparently, the turntable pit from this line still survives
as the flower bed in front of the pub!). The Bartlemas Farm Railway was visited by the Society on a wet
day way back in June 1991. At that time it was an 'L' shape of about 200yd, with passenger running
along the straight section of 125yd. The short part of the 'L' led up a steep gradient to a one road shed.
By 1996 this short non-passenger section had been removed (and the land partly built on), and by the
1999 open day, had been relaid at the other end in a tightly curved alignment back on itself to a
turntable serving a new two road shed. This 90yd long section is not used in passenger service as it is
too tightly curved. A visit was made during the afternoon of the Open Gardens Day on Sunday 12 June.
(as advertised to Members via 'Branch Line'). Car Parking was provided in a field at the east end of the
village - not far from the railway. A ticket for all the Gardens was available here for £4.50, for which a
leaflet describing the gardens was provided. Garden No2 was the most interesting! At the bottom of
this Garden the railway was found in operation, with 'Ruby' (a 4-4-2 built by Parver Models Limited of
Birkdale, Southport in 1914) at work with two sit-astride coaches. The locomotive hauled the train
eastwards along the line - through a tree lined tunnel and past the shed, stopping at the start of the
tight curve. From here, it propelled back. There is no station - merely a stopping point on the grass.
Another sit-astride coach of the same design was stabled at the western end of the track. No other
stock was visible - the other locomotive - a side tank steam loco called 'Hot Chocolate' was said to be
in 'the workshops'. No further charge was made for a ride, but a charity box was nearby. Tea and cake
was also available up at the house. There is running at Bartlemas Farm on 13 July (BLN 1259.1254).
MR126] Treetops Miniature Railway, Halton, Wendover, Buckinghamshire: This is a 5"/7¼" gauge
private railway in the village of Halton, between Wendover and Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire.
However, on Sunday 11 September it will be open to the public between 11.00 & 17.00 for the annual
Halton Village Festival. Over the past few years this event has proved to be a great success raising over
£14,000 for local charities. The Festival will once again take place on the same day as the Halton House
open day with a bus running between the two. Details on how to get tickets will be posted on the
Festival web site http://goo.gl/zfxNHk in due course. Facebook https://goo.gl/yddvad page.
MR127] Buxton Miniature Railway, Derbyshire (MR p14) (BLN 1219.MR179): It was noted on 14 June
that this 12¼" gauge railway was temporarily OOU. Neither the locomotive, nor any coaches were on
site. A notice stated 'Edward the train is sick, but hopes to be back shortly'.
.Please mention the Branch Line Society when booking or enquiring.. A service to members, details must be checked with the organisers.
1361] Crewe and Weston Private Railway, Sat 9 Jul 13.30: 112 Main Rd, Weston, CW2 5LD (SJ 7342
5271) 'Garden Party Open Day' with rides on this unusual 9½ inch gauge line. £1 adults, children free.
X.89] 'Trainspotting Live', BBC4 on 11, 12 &13 Jul, 10.00-21.00: Not what it sounds and could be quite
interesting. Live from Didcot Railway Centre see http://goo.gl/kARpnL and http://goo.gl/DwEK5d or
on BBC iPlayer http://goo.gl/FfbJKh after the programme. .
1362] Little Hay PRIVATE Railway, Sutton Coldfield MES: (BLN 1254.629, track plan e-BLN) Balleny
Green, Little Hay Lane, Shenstone, WS14 0QA, (SK 122027). A complex 2,760ft ground level railway.
Sat 17 Jul 'Garden Party' 11.15-16.00 unlimited trains rides http://goo.gl/AOJUDT 0121 351 3509
(before 21.00 only). Sat 12 Nov 18.15 annual bonfire night party, 18.00 admission by advance ticket
only see http://goo.gl/rirbRR for booking form after 17 July, unlimited train rides, fireworks 19.15.
1363] PLUSBUS save money and travel more! (BLN 1210. p235/6) PLUSBUS
train ticket add on is valid for unlimited travel all day (first bus to midnight);
railcard discounts apply. Midland Metro (BLN 1259.1236.3) confirm that the
full length of the Wolverhampton to Grand Central, Birmingham tramway is available with any local
PLUSBUS ticket, not just the section within the PLUSBUS area held. This includes Wolverhampton,
Coseley, Dudley, Sandwell & Tipton and Birmingham areas; also the Dorridge, Longbridge, Rowley
Regis, Smethwick Galton Bridge or Hawthorns area. The latter gives buses over the whole West
Midlands too for only £3.30 adult (railcard £2.20) & £1.65 child. SPECIAL OFFER: July and August: Most
PLUSBUS tickets are reduced to £2 adult when bought online with train tickets except for the IOM,
Edinburgh, Newton Abbot, Paignton, Torquay and Windermere.
Other points: Edinburgh PLUSBUS £3.40 adult (railcard £2.25) includes the tram, except the premium
section from Ingliston to the airport and is effectively a day rover. The large Sheffield & Meadowhall
PLUSBUS area is £3.80 adult (£2 July/ August), railcard £2.50 and includes all of the Supertram system.
An Isle of Man PLUSBUS whole island day bus ticket can only be bought in conjunction with both train
and ferry tickets for travel to or from Douglas using the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company ferry;
£3.50 adult, Railcard £2.30. Blackpool North and South includes the trams from Starr Gate to
Thornton Gate. Nottingham and local stations include the NET except beyond Moor Bridge to
Hucknall. Finally remember each train ticket allows two PLUSBUS areas, (there are about 290); one for
the originating station and another for the destination (not available if both are within the same area).
See leaflets or http://goo.gl/gdOkk6 for more details.
1364] Derwent Valley Light Railway, Running Evening, Fri 22 Jul, 18.30: At the Yorkshire Museum of
Farming, Murton Lane, Murton, YO19 5UF, (SE651523). £6 adult, all working locos operating, intensive
timetable includes double heading also 'top and tail'. Light refreshments available. Normal service SuO
and Bank Holidays until 25 Sep: 11.00, 11.30, 12.00, 13.15, 13.45, 14.15, 14.45, 15.15, 15.45 & 16.15.
1365] Leadhills & Wanlockhead Railway, steam weekend 30/31 Jul 10.00-17.00: (BLN 1256.867)
Leadhills station, Lanarkshire, ML12 6XS, (NS886145) 2ft gauge and 1,200yd long, with visiting loco
'WOTO'. Http://goo.gl/1RU01M day ticket £8 adult, £6 concession, £4 child and £20 family (two
adults & two children). Thoroughly recommended after our 11 June BLS visit, particularly walking
the trackbed from Glengonnar station on this former standard gauge branch to Wanlockhead and
from Leadhills to Elvanfoot Junction (map e-BLN 1258.1054). Amazing scenery/industrial heritage.
1366] Mountsorrel branch, 20 & 21 Aug:
(BLN 1245.MR192) The Great Central
Railway 3-car DMU (subject to testing on the
line and availability) is to operate from
Mountsorrel to Swithland (no alighting)
calling at Nunckley Hill station (first use)
10.30 to 15.45 every 45 minutes from; eight
return trips each day. Not open for bookings
yet. £5 adult/£3 child or £7 adult/£5 child
for a 'three hour ticket' starting with a ride;
multiple trips allowing a visit to the stations,
Heritage Centre and nature trail. Tickets
available online soon (not from GCR
stations). Spare tickets available for cash on
1367] The Ayr Apparent, 27 Aug: UK
Railtours, Euston (05.50/23.15), Watford
Junction, Rugby and Crewe (08.15/20.35).
Includes Mauchline Jn - Annbank Jn -
Newton Jn, Kilmarnock Leys Sidings (end of
Dalry line; probably the first passenger train
since that line CA in 1973), Mossband Jn to
Bush-on-Esk No2 Crossing and Kingmoor
Flyover. Fares start at £93.50 standard class
http://goo.gl/KoIRZD 01438 715050.
1368] Stapleford Park Miniature Railway, 27-29 Aug: Melton Mowbray, LE14 2SF, (SK 812183).
10¼" gauge and two miles long. Bank Holiday charity open weekend steam rally 10.00 - 17.00. £3,
under 12s free, small charge for rides, many attractions. One of only two annual public openings.
1369] Institute of Railway Signal Engineers, Minor Railways Section 3 & 4 Sep: At Signet Solutions,
Derby, Signalling Maintenance & Inspection Technical Workshop with the support of Green Dragon
Rail. Only £89 with lunch both days and an evening meal Saturday. Email [email protected] for details.
1370] Alan Keef Ltd 'Steam-Up and Open Day', 17 Sep: A40, (SO 665214), Ross-on-Wye, HR9 7LQ,
Light railway engineers and locomotive builders. 2ft gauge railway rides. Current projects on display,
stalls etc. 11.00-16.30 £6 adult £2.50 child charity event. Locally Lea Bailey Light Railway (SO 6437
1960) open days and Perrygrove Railway (GL16 8QB) 20th Anniversary Gala are 17 & 18 Sep.
1371] Banbury North Signal Box, 10 Aug to 2 Oct: (BLN 1259.1224) FINAL VISITS, free of charge, after
decommissioning and prior to demolition on 8 Oct. Https://goo.gl/fi981U (read all the information
carefully please, then click on slot/s) each is an hour within
a 90-minute slot. A email is needed to confirm any
bookings. The box was described in our 5 Dec 2015 visit
report to the box (see BLN 1248.37 with pictures in e-BLN).
1372] Birmingham & West Midlands Railway Atlas: Those
who have Joe Brown's superb London Railway Atlas (and
every BLS Member really should!) will need no convincing
about his similar publication due from Ian Allan on 22 Sep.
A comprehensive study of the railways of the West
Midlands. The area covered extends to Nuneaton, Coventry,
Redditch, Wolverhampton, Lichfield, Tamworth, Leamington
and Stratford, with additional large scale and evolutionary
maps of areas of particular interest. The detailed mapping
shows individual track and platforms for all the lines, open
and closed, as well as stations, changes of station name and
opening and closing dates. The lines are colour coded by
pre-Grouping company, with closed lines shown as thinner
dashed lines. Hardcover 297 x 210 x 12 mm, £20 (or less)
from Amazon with free UK delivery https://goo.gl/vDwuaU
NEXT PAGE TOP: A 'Valleys' DMU (no corridor connection and no toilets!) on a Saturday railtour at
Trethomas station (CP 31 Dec 1962) on the Brecon & Merthyr line (Newport to Brecon). British Benzol
and Coal Distillation Co Ltd Trethomas coking works (closed 24 Dec 1986) and Bedwas Navigation
colliery (closed with the miners' 1984/85 strike) are behind at the end of line. This then branch was a
continuation of the present Machen Quarry branch. One railtour at the time did go past the station
NEXT PAGE BOTTOM: It is easy to forget how badly run down and neglected many stations became in
the 1960s and 70s. Looking across towards the dingy multiple disused Manchester Victoria northeast
end bays (the station used to have 17 platforms) which became more decrepit further away from the
residual running lines. Incredibly, this is now the site of the Metrolink stop (we would never have
believed it would happen). A BR Class 504 EMU 1200v DC 2-car unit is in the bay (the equivalent of P1
probably now) on a Bury working, these were very 'bouncy' on the jointed track. (Both Ian Mortimer)
CONTACTS: No changes to Society contacts from recent BLNs; The Editor would be pleased to advise or forward any messages.
Fixtures Secretary: Kev Adlam, 53 Kemble Close, Wistaston, CREWE CW2 6XN. [email protected] Twitter: @BLSGeneralSec
Editor/Head Lines: Paul Stewart, 4 Clarence Close, MALVERN, WR14 3HX [email protected] 01684562862 / 07790652351.
Printed by Deva Enterprises, Waters Edge, The Drive, Ifold, LOXWOOD, West Sussex, RH14 0TD 01403 752735 (REVISED) [email protected]
or [email protected] Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Rd, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947.