Number 1315 (Items 2199 - 2290 & MR 205 - MR 215) (BLN 68 PAGES) 27 Oct 2018
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Respice in praeteritum, praesens et futurum
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society - founded 1955
WEBSITE ADDRESS: branchline.uk
Membership Enquiries, Alan Welsh [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from member7s2; 8a6n7i7nternational section is available.
Opinions herein are not necessaarivlyaitlahbolsee. of the Compilers or the Society.
BLN 1316 is dated Sat 10 NoSovc;ipetlye.aSsoeciseetyn.d all contributions in by Wed 31 Oct.
Date Event and details = Please Book Online BLN Lead Status
Fri 26 Oct 10.30 Kirklees Light Railway comprehensive tour; CLOSED 1311 B/O Closed
Fri 26 Oct 15.30 National Coal Mining Museum (England) Mine Train 1311 B/O FULL
Fri 26 Oct West Yorkshire Service Train Tracker - NOTIFY INTEREST 1312 MH NOTIFY
Sat 27 Oct 09.00 Middleton Railway tour; FULL - APPLY WAITING LIST 1311 B/O APPLY
Sat 27 Oct 12.00-15.00 Annual General Meeting - UPDATE BELOW 1311 TW Closed
Sat 27 Oct 15.00-16.00 Middleton Railway 'Behind the Scenes' tour 1311 B/O OPEN
Sat 27 Oct 16.30 Railway Film Presentation with a Fish & Chip supper 1311 B/O OPEN
Sun 28 Oct 10.20 The Ruby Shoesday tour PAY ON THE DAY AVAILABLE 1311 B/O OPEN
Wed 31 Oct Chesterfield Roundabout, half term conducted railway walk 1311 NL OPEN
Sun 4 Nov 08.55 The Ruby Vampire; A FEW PLACES NOW AVAILABLE 1312 B/O *OPEN*
Sat 17 Nov 08.29 The Screaming Valentas charity HST tour with EMT 1313 B/O OPEN
Sun 25 Nov 09.30 Perth, for Highland Line Signal Box Visits Part 2 - FULL 1313 NJ FULL
Sat 8 Dec Carnforth Charity Cracker FULL WITH A FULL WAITING LIST 1312 B/O FULL
Sat 5 Jan 19 09.30 to dark Scunthorpe Steelworks Railtour No17 - 75% FULL 1314 B/O OPEN
Sun 27 Jan Save the date, mainline railtour to the West Country TBA TBA Claimed
Sun 24 Feb Save the date for a railtour in the north of England TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 13 Apr Weston, Nantwich Methodist Church & Willaston Railways TBA TBA Claimed
16-19 May Island of Ireland IV (2019) - reserve the dates TBA TBA Claimed
B/O=Bookings Officer .Jill Everitt until 27 Oct,, MH=Mark Haggas, NJ=Nick Jones, NL=Neil Lewis, TW=Tim Wallis
2199] Fixtures Bookings: It is worth drawing to your attention that Debit Card payment saves your
Society money compared with Credit Cards - although the latter may, of course, be used if desired.
Jill Everitt is standing down as our Bookings Officer from 27 October and her replacement will not be
known until the AGM on 27 Oct (except that their first name will definitely be Mark!). Postal bookings
can still be sent to Jill meanwhile. Please note that website bookings are unaffected. This is another
suitable place to thank Jill for all the considerable time and effort that she has invested over the last
three years and the way she has developed the role. Jill's work has greatly assisted all your fixtures
organisers and made their tasks and those of, particularly, the Fixtures Secretary and Treasurer so
much easier. Not least she has also provided a very high level of service to our fixture participants.
2200] 2018 AGM Update: (BLN 1311.1722) Although bookings (with entitlement to free refreshments)
have closed, unbooked Society Members will be accommodated on the day within the maximum
number permitted by the fire certificate for the venue - this is unlikely to be a problem. Unfortunately,
pay on the day for the evening ciné film presentation and supper is not possible. Pay on the day (in
cash) can be accepted for our inexpensive AGM Merseyrail charity tour on Sun 28 Oct (see next page).
2201] GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Members will be aware that this regulation
came into force at the end of May, and is binding on all organisations who hold and process
information with regard to customers, members etc. It is a tightening up of the UK's former 1998
Data Protection Act and covers all member states of the European Union. The Regulation covers
personal information held by the Society whether in written or electronic form principally as would
be expected names, addresses and all other contact details. The information held by the Society has
been collated over the years mostly from application forms to join the Society or more recently from
web-based applications. The Membership Secretary, Alan Welsh, is the Society's Data Protection
Officer (DPO) whose contact details appear on the masthead of every Branch Line News.
To be sent details of the availability of Branch Line News as well as other information concerning
details of forthcoming travel opportunities, the Society has set up an email distribution network
administered by MailChimp. This has the advantage of allowing the Society to use the database
effectively and to remain safely within the constraints of GDPR, and comply with the Regulation.
The Society will not pass on information about a member to anyone else, and indeed even under the
old act membership lists have not been issued generally for some time. However over the years a
policy has been in force whereby we will pass on contact details but only with the consent of the
member concerned. Members may request the Society to provide the information held about them
on file; in practice this can be easily achieved by the member looking at the details held by the
Society on the website, otherwise contact the Membership Secretary.
The Society deals with outside organisations principally for MailChimp, envelope production and
card payments initiated by a member using the website. All are covered by the Regulation, and
members may rest assured that the Society has completed an audit ensuring third party compliance.
Members, of course, have the right to complain to the Society if they feel that there has been a
breach of confidence, and the first contact to make is the Membership Secretary as DPO. If a
member is not satisfied, a formal complaint may then be made to:
Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 5AF.
[email protected] 03031231113 (09.00-17.00) Society reference number: ZA 042674.
2202] ;AGM Weekend, Sun 28 Oct, The Ruby Shoesday Merseyrail Charity Railtour: Hooton 10.20 to
19.02: Thanks to our Merseyrail friends, a low cost leisurely day complementing our recent tours, with
pick-ups at Hooton (10.20) and Liverpool Lime Street Low Level (10.51) with set downs at Liverpool
Central Low Level (18.07) and Hooton (19.02). It includes James Street Stabling Siding, New Brighton
Wall Siding, West Kirkby No2 Siding, Southport No9 Siding, Birkdale No3 Siding, Rock Ferry P4 (bay
platform), Hunts Cross P2, Hoylake crossover, the Down Southport in the Up direction from Leeds
Street Jn and the customary visits to Birkenhead North Depot (No5 Road requested) and Kirkdale
Depot. On the day surprises are possible! All profits go to the Merseyside and Cheshire Blood Bikes
charity, supported by Merseyrail. As usual there will be comfort breaks throughout the day. Route:
Hooton P2 (PU) 10.20 - Lime Street Low Level (PU) - James Street (rev) - James Street Stabling Siding
(rev) - James Street P2 - West Kirby No2 Siding (rev) - Hoylake (rev) - Hoylake (rev) [crossover in both
directions] - Birkenhead North EMU Depot No5 Road (rev) - New Brighton Wall Siding (rev) -
New Brighton Signal 606 (rev) - New Brighton P2 (rev) - Stock Interchange Line - Hunts Cross P2 (rev)
[normally DMU served and rare for an EMU] - Sandhills - Kirkdale EMU Depot - Walton Jn (rev) -
Sandhills Reversing Siding (rev!) - Southport P3 (break/rev) - Southport No9 Siding (rev) - Southport P2
(rev) - Southport Signal 112 (rev) - Birkdale No3 Siding (rev) - Southport Signal 112 (rev) - Southport P3
(rev) - Sandhills - Dn Southport (Up direction) - Liverpool Central Reversing Siding (rev!) - Liverpool
Central (SD 18.07) - Stock Interchange Line - Rock Ferry P3 [P4 was done on our 2017 railtour] - (rev) -
Rock Ferry Signal 722 (rev) - Hooton P3 (SD) 19.02. Members just £59, Under 18 £29.50 (must be
accompanied by adult); non-BLS members £71, U18s £41.50. Book online or cash only on the day.
2203] .The Screaming Valentas. Sat 17 Nov, 2018 A low-cost day out with a difference! We partner
with125 Group, and (EMT) to take a newly refurbished EMT (ex-Grand
Central) 6-coach HST set from Derby to the Great Central Railway (Nottingham) - GCR (N), via the
Loughborough South Jn connection. Traction is expected to be two EMT buffer fitted power cars to
Ruddington, where one will be replaced on GCR(N) by 125 Group's prototype power car, 41001.
Drinks and light refreshments will be on sale from the Buffet Car, including a choice of real ales.
The charter will raise funds for 125 Group in support of their recently launched HST Depot Appeal.
See www.125group.org.uk for details. Both 125 Group and BLS‡ sales stands will be provided, with
famous industrial designer Sir Kenneth Grange autographing souvenirs and memorabilia. As usual, a
charity raffle (with all the revenue going to 125 Group) will take place with some fantastic prizes on
offer. Timings and routing are provisional and have been submitted to Network Rail for validation:
Derby P6 (PU 08.29) - Chaddesden Sidings (NEW Carriage Road 1, 3 or 4 requested) (rev) - Pilot Line
(new layout) - Derby Service Platform (P7 - no booked passenger use) - Pilot Line - Loughborough
South Jn (rev) - Rushcliffe Up Platform - 50 Steps (rev) - Ruddington Fields P1. At GCR(N) various
unusual moves are planned including Ruddington Relief Road, Rushcliffe Up Loop in full, Rushcliffe
bay platform, 50 Steps Loop both sides and Rushcliffe Halt both main platforms. Return route:
Ruddington Fields P1 - 28 Points (rev) - Ruddington Fields P2 (rev) - 50 Steps (rev) - Loughborough
South Jn - Leicester Up & Down Slow - Knighton Jn (rev) - Leicester P1 (SD TBA) - Up & Down Goods
(Humberstone Rd) - Toton High Level Goods - Ilkeston Jn (rev) - Toton Centre - Derby P5 (SD 18.38).
Standard Class available only £41.01; Under 18s (who must be accompanied by an adult) benefit
from a £20 reduction. (‡Contact Mark Gomm per back page to bring particular requested items.)
2204] Darren Garnon: As per the AGM final notice (BLN 1314), we will be delighted to welcome Darren
as an 'ordinary' (which he is most certainly not) Committee member, with Helen Cromarty standing
down. You will know him both as BLN South West Regional Editor and from the excellent fixtures, AGM
and Southeastern railtour he has organised. BLN 1278.760 had a full introduction.
2205] An introduction to Phil Wieland: (Nominee for Website Officer.) I am 56 years old, based in
Huyton and I seem to have been interested in trains for all of those years. My first railtour was the
British Rail run 'Cross Town IV'** in 1978, a fine introduction to rare track around London that got me
hooked on the red bits in Baker. The first edition was published the year before. I joined the Society in
1981, and have travelled on many of our railtours since. At the time of writing I have covered all
passenger routes on the national network in the UK, although by the time you read this I think there
may be something new for me to visit. Elsewhere in the world I have enjoyed railways on four
continents (so far); a highlight was driving a steam-hauled passenger service on the Jitong line in China
just a few days before main line steam working ended there.
Away from the tracks my other interests include flying; visiting, blogging and writing about pubs;
software development and running a number of websites. I took on the role of Society Webmaster in
June of this year, assisting Ian Delgado with some of the day to day tasks, and I am looking forward to
continuing his excellent work, joining your Committee with the AGM as the Society Website Officer.
**On 11 Mar 1978, a repeat of the fully booked tour of 12 Nov 1977, a Class 33 and two 4 TC Sets with
an RMB. It included Chessington Goods coal depot beyond Chessington South, Bricklayers Arms
(on its last legs) via both routes and many spurs, curves etc. It did East Putney Jn - Point Pleasant Jn
via the now demolished flyover and Stratford Southern Jn - Stratford Western Jn (severed in Jul 1981).
2206] An introduction to Mark Haggas: (Joining your Committee after the AGM either as the Bookings
Officer or an Ordinary Committee Member.) My first train ventures started in the early 1990s, as a
Thameslink commuter from St Albans to London where I worked as an IT engineer travelling around
the capital visiting firms fixing their computers. I gradually wanted to learn more about how the
railway worked from the view of a commuter so that I could understand reasons for delays and more
technical things about the trains in general. I soon learnt that the trains I travelled on were Class 319
EMUs and for fun (!) decided to keep track of the units I used. It didn't take long to clear all 86 of them
without trying (I remember 319426 was the winner with over 30 scratches, but I have never done
numbers since then). The interest then expanded to the Underground which I used a lot for work, so it
didn't take me long by being 'creative' in how I reached client's sites to clear the tube map too with
little effort. My first railtour was Pathfinder Tours 'The Sand Stormer' on 23 Oct 1999 with D9000 on a
non-stop run from Waterloo to Weymouth, and shortly after that I acquired my first Baker Atlas and
got down to some serious clearing of lines on almost every weekend. I was hooked...
Sadly IT jobs were hit hard when the '.com' bubble burst in 2001 and I was made redundant. I thought
it a good time to join the railways and with an interest in rail tickets (doing split ticketing since 1997),
applied for, and got, a job at London Waterloo Travel Centre - a job I truly loved and still miss. I did
three years but unfortunately had to leave shortly after getting married as this involved moving to
Leicestershire. The 2½ hours each way six days a week commute to Waterloo was too tiring! My wife
was originally from Ukraine and I did go there a few times, sampled Soviet era trains and overnight
sleepers (very different to the UK). In 2005 I transferred to 'Midland Mainline' (later East Midlands
Trains) where I worked as relief station supervisor at Wellingborough, Market Harborough and
Kettering. I enjoyed the work (especially dispatching HSTs), but my interest in trains waned outside
work as I was surrounded by them in my job and in 2008 I went back to IT. I have been Technical
Manager in a firm making Bus and Rail departure screens - sort of keeping me in the industry.
In early 2015 my interest returned when I accidentally stumbled across a website for the 'Buffer Puffer'
series of railtours and having remembered doing a couple nearly 10 years earlier booked for nostalgia.
By pure chance, I was seated on a table with our beloved FS, Kev Adlam and many other Society
regulars. Hearing their conversations rekindled all my interest and I both joined the BLS and booked
my first BLS railtour (the TPE 'S&C tracker') on the spot with Kev. The rest is history as they say!
I'm very much a 'unit' person and have a particular soft spot for 150/1s, 319s, 442s, and EMT HSTs with
their original comfy 'InterCity70' seats. Although not hugely into locos or kettles I do have a soft spot
for Class 37s and 66s though. I also particularly enjoy the opposite of preserved trains on the mainline
when modern units/locos go onto preserved railways as we did at GCR(N) and Yeovil. Now in my early
40s, my taste for the unusual is forever growing (extending to my dress style as you may have noticed).
I'm neither an exclusive 'Baker' nor 'Quail' person and instead record track 'personal' to me at Quail
level (eg Thameslink, and the South West) and everything else at Baker. This will probably sound
unusual to most of you, but my top track win was to cover St Albans Centre Siding last year on our
excellent and very enjoyable Thameslink 319 farewell tour, something I remember wanting to do back
as a St Albans commuter and probably never to be done again now that the 700s are here.
Many of you will know me as a steward on our tours, the person who updates fixtures on our website,
and recently for work on our Ketton and Service Train Tracker fixtures. I also load 'even' (as opposed
to the 'odd') e-BLNs and documents onto our website and send out the e-BLN message. I intend as part
of my Committee role to use my IT and Railway skills to help the Society grow and thrive even more.
1315 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
['Significant' route infrastructure and service changes, past and proposed; openings and closures.]
2207] Central Wales Line, Llandrindod Wells (excl) - Morlais Jn (53 miles) & 16 intermediate stations
plus Llangennech & Bynea: TCP Sat 13 Oct (after the 04.31 ex-Swansea train terminated at Knighton
on time) due to flood damage by Storm Callum in the Llandovery/Llandeilo areas. No passenger trains
ran over any of the line until Tue 16 Oct (then Shrewsbury - Llandrindod service; buses south). Buses
from Llanelli did not connect with trains at Llandrindod but ran as required as far as Shrewsbury to set
passengers down from the southern part of the line. A bus served the main/accessible stations with a
minibus for the less accessible ones. For an endurance test Swansea to Shrewsbury all stations by rail
replacement bus was scheduled for 7 hours 9 mins (never complain again about the train taking four
hours or so via the Central Wales line!). ROP Fri 19 Oct 2018 with the 15.41 Llandrindod to Swansea.
2208] Haydock Branch Jn (2m 42ch♣) - Haydock
Branch - Kelbit Private Siding: (BLN 1256.880)
ROG Mon 15 Oct 2018; regular inward aggregate
worked by GBRf; 04.24 from Hanson Shap
Harrison's Sidings. Ironically these trains run
past Haydock Branch Jn to be staged at
Liverpool, Tuebrook Sidings, then work to/from
Kelbit in two portions (arriving 09.58 &15.58)
each of 12 wagons, via St Helens Central and
Ince Moss Chord ('Bamfurlong Curve'). A new
run-round loop at the Hanson terminal means
trains propel on the private branch from/to the
headshunt both ways. Originally the Edge Green
Colliery line (closed 1969), it then served Kelly's Bitumen (Kelbit) works. The extremely curvaceous
branch was amazingly included on the 21 September 1991 Institute of Mining Engineers railtour. Years
ago propelling with a brake van over the branch and West Coast Mainline Down Slow was the normal
method of working. ABOVE: Liverpool, Tuebrook Sidings with 60095 on 15.10 to Kelbit (15.58) - the
second portion - taken through the window of a moving passenger train. (John Cameron, 18 Oct 2018.)
Pathfinder's Lancashire Links railtour on 7 Mar 2015 remarkably reached fairly dense vegetation near
the headshunt end of line at 0m 53ch (SJ 5965 9867) from Haydock Branch Jn on the ex-St Helens
Central branch. It did not do the sharply curved trailing branch off it back to the former Kelbit Bitumen
site which then had a fence across it. Stone traffic was last reported in Mar 2010. Kelbit Private Siding
(sic) was added to the Sectional Appendix on 22 Sep 2018. The traffic is a result of the determination
of Wigan businessman Les Bailey, whose company PF Jones has invested considerably in clearing and
refurbishing the ¾ mile branch; he rents the site to Hanson. [ ♣Miles from Newton-le-Willows Jn.]
PREVIOUS: Edge Green Jn 3 May 1987, looking east, the Kelbit branch is off left and Haydock Branch
Jn (WCML) is off to the right. The bridge carries the B5207, Aston Rd. (Angus McDougall, 3 May 1987.)
BELOW UPPER: The Institution of Mining Engineers 'North West Railtour' https://goo.gl/Y8bwgB at
Kelbit Bitumen Sidings as they were on 21 Sep 1991. LOWER: The tour on the branch. (Ian Mortimer.)
2209] Severn Tunnel Jn - Stoke Gifford No1 Jn with Pilning & Patchway: TCP Tue 25 Dec until Tue 1 Jan
(incl) for electrification; coaches Newport - Bristol Parkway. Online planners may not be updated.
2210] Westbury (inclusive) - Heywood Road Jn/Fairwood Jn/Trowbridge/Warminster (both excl)
with Dilton Marsh station: (BLN 1312.1876) TCP Sun 23 Dec until Thur 3 Jan (incl) - an extended
Christmas closure of Westbury station for relaying with minor repositioning of Westbury North Jn.
Coaches run Trowbridge - Westbury - Warminster; some long distance services call at Frome instead of
Westbury for coach connections to/from Westbury and increased use of the Westbury Avoiding line.
2211] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) Reopens Location (stations exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]
1312.1830 28 Aug 18 Unknown (Ayr) - Stranraer
1314.2066 28 Sep 28 Unknown *CairnGorm Mountain Railway, 'Base Station' - Ptarmigan
1311.1736 20 Oct 18 29 Oct 18 Walton Jn - Aintree (back reference has the Merseyrail closures)
1311.1736 20 Oct 18 10 Nov 18 Aintree; [(Aintree) from 29 Oct] - (Ormskirk)
1313.1942 1 Oct 18 4 Nov 18 T&W (Chichester) - pronounced 'Chai-Chester' - South Shields
1313.1944 20 Oct 18 28 Oct 18 *Whitlingham Jn - Acle/Reedham - Yarmouth/Oulton Broad N Jn
1302.702 27 Oct 18 19 Nov 18 Bristol East Jn - Stoke Gifford No1 Jn; Filton Jn - Patchway Jn;
Feeder Bridge Jn - Dr Day's Jn & Narroways Hill Jn - Severn Beach
1300.441 19 Nov 18 23 Nov 18 (Theale) - Westbury North Jn/Fairwood Jn (last significant closure)
1312.1835 17 Nov 18 24 Nov 18 (Worcester) Norton Jn - (Moreton-in-Marsh)
1311.1736 12 Nov 18 17 Dec 18 Bank Hall station (trains run through non-stop)
1314.2070 6 Oct 18 ?? Dec 18 *Woolwich Ferry; North Woolwich - Woolwich
1299.337 10 Dec 18 Greenford West Jn - Greenford East Jn - Park Royal - Old Oak Common West CP
1297.123 16 Feb 19 24 Feb 19 (Three Bridges) - (Brighton)/(Hove)/(Lewes)
1313.1945 20 Oct 18 XX Apr19 *Reedham Jn - Berney Arms request stop - (Great Yarmouth)
1315 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
[National material, non-geographical or covering multiple areas.]
2212] Points & Slips: ●●BLN 1314.X.146] A green background indication on a banner repeater signal
(a 'three-state banner') indicates only that the next signal is displaying a green. If that signal is a yellow
or double yellow aspect the banner shows 'Off' - with the black line angled and just the more common
white background. Of course, 'On' - a horizontal black line on the banner repeater is shown if the next
signal is at red. The concept was invented in 1900 by WR Sykes & Co for when signals were obstructed
by bridges etc and has stood the test of time - the modern ones are LED without moving parts.
●●BLN 1313.1980] The hourly Chester to Liverpool Lime Street service from May will call at Helsby
rather than Halton (which CP from 7 Jul 1952). ●●BLN 1314.2068] Passenger services resumed
through Bristol Parkway on Sun 7 Oct after the recent three week closure for electrification work.
●●2072] Signalling control of Filton Bank etc has already transferred from Bristol PSB to Thames Valley
Signalling Centre from 4 Apr, of course. ●●2165] Dirleton (CP 1 Feb 1954), on the North Berwick
branch, 2½ miles from Drem and 2¼ miles from North Berwick was the only intermediate rather than
intermittent station - it certainly did not come and go! ●●2186] As at Broomfleet, Freemans signal box
on the North Blyth branch has four motorised barriers and no red road lights at its manually controlled
crossing with barriers. ●●2187] A member believes that many lineside fires (in steam days) were
deliberately started to protect embankments etc from fires started accidentally by steam locos!
NEXT PAGE TOP: Freemans level crossing, and signal box where the double track left of the crossing
(note no lights) becomes single. This is where the lines into the now demolished Blyth Cambois 'A'
Power Station and, further east, the 'B' Station used to branch off. (Andy Overton, 20 Apr 2009.)
2213] All Our Yesterdays; West Highland Line: (BLN 104.p3 1 May 1968) The 16.40 Fort William to
Mallaig and its return journey at 18.45 are mixed trains, two of the very few still operating on British
Rail. Indeed, they are the only two still operating in Scotland. Usual composition is two passenger
coaches, a brake/second, a 'compo' and wagons etc as required. On 18 April 1968 the freight portion
consisted of five petrol tanks and two 16 ton wagons of coal, all loose coupled! All loco power on the
West Highland Line is now provided by North British Type 2s with Paxman Engines. Normally only one
loco is used on the Fort William to Mallaig section and stays overnight at Mallaig. The Society's outing
on 24th August 1968 will be a DMU's first ever visit to Mallaig in revenue earning service.
1315 EAST MIDLANDS (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
[Derbyshire (not Buxton or the Hope Valley), Notts, Lincolnshire, Northants, Leicestershire & Rutland]
X.152 NEXT PAGE: The Good Old Days … an original sign in the 'Three Guineas', Reading. (Stuart Hicks.)
X.153 BELOW: UK Railtours 'Man of Steel' with many Society members on; Scunthorpe, Foreign Ore
Branch (of interest to even those who don't normally do foreign track). (Gary Crompton Sat 25 Oct.)
2214] Market Harborough: (BLN 1314.2085) From Sat 20 Oct just south of the station, the trailing and
facing crossover point ends at Market Harborough Jn - out of use (OOU) since 6 Oct - were to be
removed from the Down Main and plain lined. This completed the removal of the junction.
2215] Lincoln green for bridge: (BLN 1287.1733) On Mon 29 Oct work is due to start on a new stepped
footbridge at Brayford Level Crossing (82m 57ch), (ABOVE - NR) the second west of the station.
Members with a good memory will recall that Lincoln City Council refused planning permission in 2017
due to the lack of lifts, and also refused to fund or contribute to the extra costs of lifts [excuse me, it's
a level crossing…]. NR appealed, adding to project costs, to the Secretary of State as there are lifts at
High Street footbridge, 160yd away. Incredibly, common sense prevailed. Brayford Crossing will be
much safer until 6 May 2019 as it is closed to all road traffic; however, pedestrian and cyclist access
will be mostly maintained.
2216] Matlock: (BLN 1309.1505) A local member who works here reports that the service was far from
normal on the first day that Derby station reopened fully, Mon 8 Oct. The first three trains ran but
each was about 15 minutes late. Then, after the 08.26 departure, nothing reached Matlock until the
17.27 arrival from Newark Northgate (relatively unusually a Class 158 DMU). The first cancellation was
due to a signalling fault and the rest due to severe leaf contamination hence more 'surefooted' 158
rather than the usual Class 153. The Railhead Treatment Train 'top & tailed' by 56090 & 56094 had
visited the branch twice on Sun 7 Oct. However, services had not run since 24 Aug, over six weeks
before. Meanwhile at Ambergate Jn by 18 Oct a works compound with a temporary access road had
been set up as part of the remodelling (BLNs 1300.455 & 1314.2087) which will move it further south.
2217] Derby: (BLN 1314.2143) With thanks to Ian Delgado of Unusual Track (available on our website
to members), the 06.10 (SSuX) Derby to Plymouth is booked until 17 May 2019, at least, to do the new
trailing crossover at the Birmingham end of P1 and Realtime Trains shows it regularly runs as booked.
The feather (left) is lit on the platform end signal when this route is set up. It happens as the combined
ECS from Central Rivers for two services arrives in P1, the front unit on arrival then forms the 05.56 to
Newcastle. Also thanks to Ian, the 06.07 (SO) and 15.05 (SuO) Crewe to Derby are currently booked to
cross from the Up to the Down Tamworth Slow (the latter not on 28 Oct or 11 Nov). From the 8 Dec
timetable change the 16.07 (SSuX) and 16.08 (SuO) Crewe to Derby are also booked to do it.
Graeme would be particularly grateful for East Midlands material - short or long please.
1315 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett)
2218] Barking - Gospel Oak: (BLN 1313.1963) The
line's user group reports that four bus trips now
run in the morning peak between Leytonstone
High Road, Leyton Midland Road and
Walthamstow Central in an attempt to relieve
overcrowding on the westbound train services.
The new Class 710 EMUs were finally given type
approval by NR early this month, currently
operated for testing by the Rail Operations
Group, but they continue to have software
problems. Test runs have operated over the
Gospel Oak - Barking line and there will be
mileage accumulation runs on the WCML. Once
units have achieved 2,000 miles fault-free running
they will be handed over to Arriva Rail London.
They then have to be fully gauged on all routes they will operate on and drivers will need to be trained.
2219] HS2: (BLN 1314.2099) The former Down Side Carriage Shed outside Euston, closed in 2004, has
now been demolished. It will form the site of the southern tunnel portal just south of Mornington
Street bridge. From here the line will run in tunnel to the sub-surface station at Old Oak Common HS2
station and then continue in tunnel to the portal just west of West Ruislip station. Some track
components recovered from the carriage shed were donated to the Bluebell Railway.
2220] NR Investment Opportunities: (BLN 1314.2081) Included in this document are proposals for a
country-end concourse with extended platforms at Paddington and remodelling of Ripple Lane yard
into 'a strategic recess and regulation node for HS1/Essex Thameside/Cross London freight'.
2221] Crossrail: (BLN 1313.1969) On 1 Oct the footbridge leading to Ealing Broadway P1-3 finally
closed for demolition. As P1/2 are on the Main Lines they are not normally used, but passengers for all
Down trains (P3), now have to walk the length of P4 to the new London end 'evacuation' footbridge.
(ABOVE - the closed bridge is at the far end of the platform wrapped in white plastic - Don Kennedy.)
'The Times' reports that a clause allows the DfT to take Crossrail ownership from TfL if costs exceed the
budget by a certain level. MTR runs TfL Rail operation as a concession, which continues as more stages
open, so revenue goes to TfL. There seems no indication at present that this might happen, but if it did
it would cause a major political row and do severe damage to TfL's precarious financial situation.
Local MPs, council leaders and business organisations are campaigning for an extension from Abbey
Wood to Ebbsfleet. It was included in the original Crossrail proposals but removed in 2008.
2222] Cricklewood: (BLNs 1305.1042 & 1314.2102) The new South Freight Siding will be used to load
recycled materials from construction of the 'Brent Cross West' general development. This is also the
name of the new station on the site of the north end sidings at Cricklewood. PREVIOUS PAGE, LOWER
LEFT: Progress on the line to the reinstated Cricklewood South Sidings on 15 Oct 2018, looking south
towards St Pancras, PREVIOUS PAGE, LOWER RIGHT: The current state of the junction. (Robin Morel.)
2223] Earlsfield: NR has completed restoration of the underbridges outside the station. They are
repainted dark green with 'Earlsfield Station' in white as in https://goo.gl/oUCuzA historic photos.
2224] East Croydon: (BLN 1300.460) NR is consulting https://goo.gl/kXFuFs from 5 Nov until 17 Dec
on their plans to expand the station (22.6M passengers in 2016-17) with two extra through platforms,
a bigger concourse, better passenger facilities plus new offices and homes above and around it.
The extended new pedestrian overbridge span at the north exit from the station was to permit
additional platforms on the west side, but they were conceived at the time as terminal platforms.
North of the station the Selhurst triangle would be remodelled replacing flat junctions with more
flyovers. Lower Addiscombe Road/Windmill Bridge would be rebuilt to allow the five running lines
north of East Croydon station to be increased to seven. Norwood Junction station (4.4M passengers in
2016-17) would be remodelled to allow more trains to run, increase station capacity and provide step-
free access to all platforms. [Those members who need the out of use (OOU) single Reception Sidings
(sic) - from Norwood North Jn (Down side) 8m 35ch from London Bridge, through 'P7' becoming the
Goods Road at 8m 62ch then the splendidly named 'Perturbation Siding' (from 9m 39ch to 9m 61ch),
in use and electrified, might care to suggest it would make a good extra running line and platform!]
1315 NORTH EAST (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
[Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, County Durham & Teesside]
2225] Durham Coast: Deferring re-control to York ROC of Tees Yard PSB, Middlesbrough and boxes
east until at least CP7 (2024-29) (BLN 1313.1973) will at least provide eight boxes to which staff could
be transferred when displaced by the re-control of the Durham Coast line (BLN 1312.1858) in 2021.
The travel time limit for displaced staff is 70 minutes - worked out on AA Route Planner. Depending on
where they live, all the boxes east of Bowesfield should be within that limit, except perhaps Crag Hall
for some. The economics of NR's resignalling master plan may have missed out the human resources
element of the equation! It seems savings are not turning out quite as expected as there are
apparently a number of signallers on 'gardening leave'. [In practice elsewhere jobs are normally found
for those that want them, some staff will retire and others transfer to alternative jobs within or
outside the rail industry, the latter with redundancy payments of course. When an area is to be
resignalled there is usually a recruitment freeze and it is often difficult to cover all the shifts anyway.]
2226] South Gosforth (British Railways) Depot: Your Regional Editor found this notice in a weekly
operating notice for 19-25 Jan 1963… Until further notice, the Down Branch line between No8 points
South Gosforth West and No44 Down Loop Home Signal at South Gosforth East will be out of use for
traffic and will be used for the storage of empty electric coaches. Block working will not apply on the
Down Branch line. Empty coaches may only be placed on or taken off this line under the supervision of
a District Operating Inspector, who will be responsible for making safe arrangements with the
signalmen at South Gosforth West and East Signal Boxes.
During the time coaches are stored on the Down Branch Iine No8 points at South Gosforth West must
be clipped and padlocked in the normal position and the keys kept in the Signal Box. A sleeper chock
must be placed across the line opposite South Gosforth East No44 Down Loop Home signal and this
chock must be securely fastened to the rails. Detonators, red flags and red Iamps must be placed on
the line at each end of the stabled coaches. Traffic from South Gosforth West to South Gosforth East
must travel via South Gosforth Station. Trains from South Gosforth East to South Gosforth West will
continue to travel over the Up Branch line under Absolute Block Regulations.
Clearly there must have been a shortage of places to store withdrawn electric stock following the end
of third rail electric traction on the Tyneside suburban services. One wonders how long the Down line
was used in this way; South Gosforth East - South Gosforth West (original route) CA 14 Jun 1965.
1315 NORTH WEST (John Cameron) [email protected]
[Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Buxton & the Hope Valley]
2227] Manchester Victoria pecking order: NR has enlisted a Harris hawk to rid the station roof of
pesky/pecky seagulls. In 2015 new ethylene tetrafluoroethylene roof panels were fitted as part of the
station's £44M improvements. Seagulls have taken up residence on the roof and peck at it. The roof is
robust enough to carry the weight of a car but the pecking has created holes in some panels, causing
rain water to leak on to the platforms below. A handler will fly the Harris hawk around the station
eight times a month between Oct and Nov to disrupt the gulls' behaviour by disturbing them on a
regular basis. The idea is that they become unsettled and 're-station' themselves to roost and nest.
2228] Manchester Oxford Road: Which? has found that this station had the highest percentage of
delayed trains from the start of Jan until the end of Sep out of the 10 busiest stations in London plus
the 20 busiest outside the capital. Using data from website, Which? found that 68%
of services were delayed at Oxford Road, rising to 77% during peak times. Piccadilly and Victoria also
suffered a high percentage of late services, coming in 6th and 8th worst outside London. London
Fenchurch Street was the best performer of NR's busiest 100 stations. 'On Time Trains' gives very
detailed daily and hourly rankings with lots of other information. UPDATE: York has since become the
No1 for delays in the 'busiest stations' section and is the 2,551st best performing station (out of 2,614).
2229] Irwell Valley: Rochdale Online reports that Rossendale Borough Council and Lancashire County
Council have commissioned the Centre for Economics and Business Research to look at the early
strategic case for investment in the Rawtenstall to Manchester corridor. This could use tram-trains,
accessing Metrolink at Buckley Wells (Bury) or using a heavy rail curve at Castleton. Any solution
would need to be integrated with the East Lancashire Railway. The route takes in large towns not
currently on the national rail network including Rawtenstall, Ramsbottom, Bury and Heywood.
2230] Wigan: An unfortunate member wishes to travel over the southbound connection from Wigan
Wallgate to the WCML at Wigan Station Jn. In theory there is an hourly (SO) train from Southport to
Manchester Victoria while the Bolton line is closed every weekend for electrification work until 3 Nov.
It is booked non-stop Wigan Wallgate to Victoria via the WCML and Eccles. On Sundays a bus runs.
However, due to Northern industrious inaction, the service has run with reduced frequency and hours
between Southport and Wigan Wallgate only. Even the Wigan turnaround is only an ECS shunt.
X.154] BELOW: (BLN 1314.2108) The new junction for the Trafford Park branch (straight ahead) from
either side of Pomona island platform. When the Eccles line (off to the right) was opened (1999/2000)
passive provision was made for a junction with concrete track supports, however these have all been
replaced as can be seen, presumably to modern standards. (Both Angus McDougall, 23 Oct 2018.)
X.155] PREVIOUS PAGE: Liverpool Lime Street, the recently opened new P1 with a train from Crewe
which only takes 2 hours 15 minutes with a mere 29 intermediate stops via Sandbach, Manchester
Airport, Eccles & Huyton. As can be seen the track has gone from the former P1 on the left. For those
who enjoy rail travel, £3 Advance Tickets are available for the end to end journey (£2 with railcard)!
2231] Merseyrail: (BLN 1313.1979) The list of closed stations in the special timetable for the 'Giants
Spectacular' event in Liverpool was subsequently revised, perhaps as a result of the resulting public
'anger'. The Merseyrail website was updated with Hightown, for example, having a 15 minute service
on the Friday and Saturday, and a Bache stop was added to the Hooton - Chester shuttles.
2232] Windermere: The Lakes Line Rail User Group reports that the national bad publicity with the
lack of trains on the branch in early June affected business in the area as tourists stayed away. As a
result, the rail industry has set aside £285k for a Cumbria Tourism marketing campaign to remind the
public that the Lakes Line is up and running again [Saturdays excepted; when with the now weekly
strikes, buses are provided]. It aims to attract people back onto all the Lake District lines and stations.
2233] Tebay: On Sat 13 Oct unusually a passenger service 1T97, a 16.25 TPE service started from
Tebay at 16.43 running to Carlisle (arrive 17.36) calling at Penrith. All passenger trains were cancelled
for about four hours, and many more over a longer period due to a landslip at Lambrigg after severe
weather. The train was formed of the 12.12 TPE EMU from Edinburgh to Manchester Airport which
terminated 14.03 at Tebay. As a minimum the passengers would have been rewarded with one of the
crossovers for their delay. The 12.40 Virgin Trains Glasgow to Euston service similarly terminated at
Tebay at 14.13 and, with Richard Branson working his magic, vanished from online systems. The first
Up passenger train through Lambrigg was the 15.40 Glasgow to Preston at 19.00, running 98 minutes
late, and in the Down direction the 16.30 Euston to Glasgow at 19.47 which was 32 minutes late.
1315 SOUTH EAST - NORTH & EAST ANGLIA (Julian James) [email protected]
[Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Bucks, Oxfordshire, Berks, Hertfordshire & Essex]
2234] Liverpool Street - Norwich: (BLN 1314.2081) NR's national 'Open for Business' campaign to
involve the private sector in schemes includes a loop between Witham and Kelvedon (on which side of
the line is not stated), doubling or grade separation of Haughley Jn and doubling over Norwich Trowse
swing bridge as potential schemes. The full (whole country) prospectus is available on our website.
2235] Felixstowe: (BLN 1291.2147) A Transport & Works Act Order has been granted for the closure of
six pedestrian crossings on the branch between Derby Road and Trimley. Volker Fitzpatrick is to build
a new bridleway bridge on the site of Gun Lane level crossing, one of the six to close.
2236] Oxford: The footbridge over Hinksey Yard was closed in Aug following a bridge strike by a lorry.
Local people have demanded that when it is rebuilt for OHLE it should have access ramps. Railwatch
notes this would cost millions of pounds providing an excuse to remove the bridge, although the right
of way existed before the railway was built. [Electrification to Oxford is officially 'cancelled' - Ed.]
2237] Didcot Parkway: (Photo E-BLN 1314.X146) A lengthy covered ramp up to the new footbridge
and continuing at a high level into the car park was erected one weekend probably in September using
a large hired in crane. The ramp runs westwards from behind the country end of Down Main P1.
As well as access directly into the second floor of the multi storey car park (which is now open, with
the lifts working), there is a flight of stairs directly to ground level (and currently a small gap between
this section and the passageway onto the car park). The new ramp is not yet open.
1315 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]
[Hampshire, Surrey, Kent, West Sussex, East Sussex & Isle of Wight]
2238] Maidstone East: (BLN 1280.982) Work has finally started on demolishing the adjacent 'Victoria'
hotel, so as to open out a (to be redeveloped) glass fronted booking hall to the surrounding streets.
ABOVE: Colthrop Crossing gate box. (Angus McDougall, 18 Aug 2001.)
2239] Midgham - Thatcham: Dating from 1912, Colthrop gate box (48m 75ch) was open to the public
between 10.00 and 15.00 on Wed 10 Oct as part of NR community action promotions. The thinking
here was to get some of the local public in to help explain to them why the three level crossings in the
area have to close for up to 15 minutes at a time, when a number of trains are approaching. This tries
to ensure that the variety of trains on the route see proceed aspects and ideally green ones at all times
in this three aspect signalled area. Guided tours to explain what's behind the level crossing were on
offer, lasting 10 minutes and requiring pre-booking, along with an opportunity to meet the team, see
displays about rail safety (both electrification and on level crossings) and other local information.
The Society advised those members signed up to our email service of the open day in advance.
Complimentary tea, coffee, cake and biscuits were on offer to round off the day [yes that was on the
level]. Our member booked and turned up in good time for the 14.45 appointment and was admitted
around 14.15. Another local correspondent with a 14.30 appointment had seen little evidence of the
event having wide publicity [numbers were limited]. He only knew because a friend in Scotland tipped
him off! It coincided with the first week of the annual Thatcham Festival and could have been
publicised with the many other community activities. He forwarded the information to Thatcham
Town Council over the weekend, and a town councillor, who lives in the next road, turned up without
booking in the afternoon.
Level crossing incident statistics, facts & figures: # 55% involve vehicles; 40% pedestrians (with a
disproportionate number of youths/elderly) plus (5%) 28 dog walkers, 127 farmers & 44 horse riders.
# Pedestrian incidents have increased every year since 2011/12. # Peak incident months are Apr to Oct,
with warmer weather, harvest and outdoor pursuits. # 12,665 incidents caused 318,392 delay minutes.
Colthrop controls three crossings and was reduced from a signal box when the Newbury panel was
commissioned at Reading panel signal box in Jan 1978. Kintbury similarly controls three crossings
further west (Hungerford, Kintbury and Hamstead). The three crossings that Colthrop controls are:
# Colthrop, a classic crossing outside the box (48m 75ch), barriers are lowered using conventional local
…technology and the signalman's eyes check that the crossing is clear;
# Thatcham crossing to the west (49m 51ch) on the country side of that station; and
# Midgham (46m 56ch) (towards London) both of which are monitored using CCTV.
Block sections have not changed from the 1978 Multiple Aspect Signalling (MAS) installation which
have to accommodate 100mph HSTs and Class 6 fully loaded 30mph Mendip stone trains. Signal heads
have relatively recently been replaced by LEDs but re-signalling of the Berks & Hants is not expected
for a long time and the line can only get busier. It is significantly busier than when MAS was installed.
The box is open 24/7 including Christmas Day; the signaller was disappointed that he could not allow
us (at 15.00) to control the crossings (some morning visitors had) as they were all being locally
monitored and controlled to assist the movement of engineering plant (ABOVE: Required for haulage/
rideage? Picture taken from the gate box by Stuart Hicks). Indeed we saw some plant moving towards
the crossing from the west and the road crossing being closed (with red flags) to allow it to cross.
There is a recently installed panel that shows approaching trains in good time for the signaller to lower
the barriers in sequence, different for fast and stopping passenger trains and for freights. The previous
panel (replaced when Thames Valley Signalling Centre (TVSC) took over from Reading in Apr 2010) also
showed various former sidings. Indeed the box was once named 'Colthrop Sidings Ground Frame'.
Although it had been intended to move all the six CCTV controlled crossings into TVSC, this had not
happened yet and it may well be another decade before this is done.
Locally there is considerable annoyance that, while the nearby tiny village of Brimpton has had an
overbridge for a long time and more recently also the tiny village at Ufton Nervet [political], and the
new large housing development at Newbury Racecourse has its own new bridge (paid for of course by
the developers), the second largest population in West Berkshire has a level crossing which at its
busiest can be closed for up to 40 minutes in the hour. During the engineering closures this year traffic
up and down Crookham Hill has appeared to be less disturbing because it is flowing completely freely
rather than the long 'blocks' of traffic caused by the barriers being closed for extended periods.
There is a desperate need for another road bridge between Brimpton Road and the racecourse in the
vicinity of Thatcham. The site of the existing level crossing and station vicinity is not the place to put it
because it would also have to cross the Kennet Navigation and River Kennet; there are also many
overhead high tension lines in the vicinity. Around Colthrop Crossing would be ideal, and sufficient
land is still available, though a new road back to Crookham Hill would be required. However, nobody is
prepared to put up the £10M to £30M (according to whom you speak) required.
2240] Redhill - Reading: The Sussex Community Rail Partnership has extended its reach into Surrey
and Berkshire along the North Downs line. Between Reigate and Guildford local communities are
being encouraged to promote rail travel and improve stations. Information boards about the easily
accessible Surrey Hills are being installed along with signs from each station to the North Downs Way.
Pupils from local schools are providing artwork for the stations. (Railwatch)
2241] Fawley: (BLN 1282.1176) ExxonMobil has announced plans for a £500M upgrade at the UK's
largest oil refinery including new units to process a wider range of crude oils. It would support 1,000
jobs and reduce the need for UK diesel imports. The company will make a final decision on the planned
investment before July 2019 (pending Brexit?). ExxonMobil said the development would include a new
'hydrotreater' refinery to produce cleaner fuels, supported by a new hydrogen plant. Fawley refinery
manager Simon Downing said the project was a 'bold statement of confidence in Fawley and its ability
to produce high quality fuels for the UK economy'. He said planning permissions and permits were
being applied for and the final investment decision would depend on regulatory approval and market
conditions. The Fawley site provides a fifth of the UK's refinery capacity. These proposals do not
include any reference to rail transport of construction products or, on completion, oil. (BBC News)
Separately, developers of Fawley oil fired power station site (1,500 dwellings) have revealed proposals
for a 'Hythe & Fawley Parkway' station at the southern end of the line where it enters the oil refinery.
They envisage a train every 30 minutes to Southampton Central, with a journey time of 20 minutes.
Buses would connect the station to their main housing development south of the refinery. (Railwatch)
2242] Folkestone Harbour: (BLN 1303.846) A recent visit found work ongoing on the permanent steps
leading up onto the landward end of the cross-harbour viaduct. Work also continues on the platforms,
but they are now open to walkers with the canopies fully replaced and suitable retro signs in place.
The gap in the curved Up platform (where a leading connection to carriage sidings on the beach passed
through) is retained. Work continues on the upper promenade level of the outer pier. Although there
is now a strong retro element to the harbour, in our member's opinion it sits uneasily in places with
the overall contemporary art ethos of the development. This includes wooden 'shacks' on the pier
housing refreshment and other outlets. A token display of four wheeled box vans has been sited on
the pier tracks. Nevertheless, this is a very popular attraction and is recommended for a visit. Are there
any signs of life at the 5' 10" gauge Leas Cliff Lift (BLN 1275.MR37) which last ran on 6 Nov 2016?
2243] Ryde - Shanklin: (BLN 1302.754) Island line services have been reduced on some days to one an
hour in each direction, 3 Oct being a case in point, through failure of one of the only two available
units required to operate the timetable. Vivarail Class 230 conversions of former LU 'D' stock as used
on the District line stock have been the subject of study by South Western Railway for the line, but
whether diesel or electric (battery) powered is not clear - the three for Bedford - Bletchley are diesel
electrics (BLN 1301.609). Vivarail confirm that these sub-surface vehicles will pass through Ryde
Esplanade Tunnel where track raised to alleviate flooding necessitated the introduction of the 1938
tube stock. Other 230s have bodies raised by 45mm for use on NR tracks, but the trains were the first
sub-surface fleet to have bogies with tube diameter wheels in an attempt to standardise across LU.
2244] Sussex: NR is investing over £100M to improve level crossing safety with first installations of
state-of-the-art red light safety enforcement cameras (RLSEC) to be installed at 21 of the county's
highest-risk level crossings. It is part of a wider roll-out of camera technology at 45 Automatic Half
Barrier crossings across the south east by the end of 2019. Much like a speed camera, they can identify
vehicles that jump the lights at level crossings and capture evidence.
Motorists are then automatically notified of their offence and given the option to pay a £60 fine and
receive points on their licence, or sit a level crossing safety awareness course. As an extra deterrent,
signs will be installed to warn motorists they could be caught on camera. The cameras have already
been installed at four crossings in the south east. Early findings show over 80% average reduction in
the number of motorists ignoring warning lights and swerving around the barriers. Over 60 motorists
were caught risking their lives ignoring warning lights at Yapton crossing between Ford and Barnham
in the RLSEC's first month of operation. A further 94 were caught but not prosecuted while the camera
was in 'test' mode the month before, including a school minibus (carrying children) and a loaded bus.
The announcement coincides with the nationwide launch of a NR level crossing safety campaign
targeting motorists who deliberately flout the rules, putting themselves and others in danger.
New research from NR reveals that one in seven drivers wouldn't wait for the barrier or gate to open
before driving their vehicle over. In the last five years alone, six people have lost their lives in vehicles
at level crossings, with many more being hurt and injured. Each week about 46 incidents involve
vehicles at level crossings across the country. Worryingly, the findings showed 11% of drivers would go
straight over a level crossing if they had checked the train timetable and believed no train was coming.
1315 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon) [email protected]
[Gloucestershire, Avon, Somerset, Wiltshire, Devon, Lundy, Dorset, Channel Islands & Cornwall]
PREVIOUS PAGE: St Dennis Jn looking southeast on 29 May 1983 with its operational passing loop.
The line towards Par curves off to the left, the Newquay direction is behind the photographer. The line
immediately behind the signal box off to the left was to the Civil Engineer's Tip; the middle line was
the line through Parkandillack (to Burngullow on the main line west of St Austell), the stub was used
as sidings. The Retew branch to Meledor Mill, OOU by Jan 1982, is far right. (Angus McDougall.)
2245] St Dennis Jn - Parkandillack: (TCA 5 Apr 1965; used by a weed spraying train 20 May 1965; taken
out of use 6 Feb 1966.) On 10 Sep 2018, a member parked on Moorland Road, east of Indian Queens,
near where it crosses above the present Newquay branch by St Dennis Jn (SW 9329 5994), once
known as Bodmin Road Jn. This is not far from where the A30 also crosses above the line between
Roche and St Columb Road stations. From the
bridge, the remains of a short Down side
platform can be seen just north west of
Moorland Road (the old A30). LEFT: Looking
northwest towards Newquay, the platform is on
the left of this line - (Nick Jones also later
pictures unless specified; 10-13 Sep 2018).
Could it have been for token exchange perhaps
as St Dennis Jn was never a passenger station?
A path from here leads south down from the
road, running just outside the railway fence (on
the southwest side). Very little trace remains of
the former junction itself, although the remains
of the branch headshunt buffers are still in situ.
Soon a large area widens out on the left of the
trackbed - St Dennis Civil Engineer's Tip. It was
the final rail traffic here after the Retew Branch
to Meledor Mill (china clay) closed in the early
1980s. The final railtour to Meledor Mill was the
Lea Valley Railway Club 'Royal Duchy' on 30 Apr
1977. At St Dennis tip site the remains of an
unknown concrete structure could be seen,
(BELOW - Any ideas anyone please?).
ABOVE: A Class 37 on some 'Hoodies' - china clay wagons - at Meledor Mill. (Ian Mortimer, Jul 1979.)
There is also a foul-looking pond at the site of St Dennis Jn tip. A Cornwall Railway Society DMU tour of
28 Apr 1990 ran on the Tip branch but stopped well short of the then end of line. During the photo
stop one of our peripatetic members enquired of the inspector whether track condition prohibited
fuller coverage. It did not and, by request, after passengers reboarded, the tour then ran to the end
before reversing away. If you don't ask (nicely)…
Returning to the trackbed, south towards Parkandillack, the path narrows to a couple of feet wide
(PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER) but is flat and easy to walk for the next mile or so although only one dog
walker was encountered despite it being a pleasant late summer evening. A stone and mortar
structure is encountered on the left of the line (SW 9413 5929) (THIS PAGE BELOW). From subsequent
research, our member believes this to be the transhipment 'wharf' for the (probably) 3' 1" gauge
Gothers Tramway (from Lower Gothers China Clay Works).
Then another path crosses the trackbed (SW 9431 5882); beyond it becomes very overgrown and more
difficult. However, in true BLS tradition our member persisted and eventually reached the B3279
overbridge (SW 9436 5851). Just south of this, the trackbed is blocked by a sturdy barbed wire fence.
He scrambled up to the B3279 ('up' was straightforward but he wouldn't advise going down that way!)
and continued west along that road for around half a mile until it crossed the Retew Branch trackbed
(SW 9370 5872) at a former level crossing. The trackbed north of here is part of https://goo.gl/2GoQdj
the Goss Moor Multi-Use Trail. This is a wide easy track until the trail turns left (SW 9368 5960).
From here the last few 100yd of track bed can be followed completing a 'circular tour' walk all the way
back to St Dennis Jn but the menacing undergrowth makes it harder going. NEXT PAGE UPPER:
Approaching the B3279 overbridge from St Dennis Jn, looking south; the cutting has very steep slopes.
On 13 Sep, our member tackled the line from the south. At Parkandillack, (BELOW) the loading sidings
can be viewed from the public footpath; rail traffic has increased from a roughly weekly train a few
years ago. The empty wagons arrive from Carne Point, Fowey Dock as a single train, with the loaded
running back in two portions to be staged at Burngullow. They then proceed on as one train carrying
about 1,000 tonnes of china clay to Fowey for export, running alternate days Mondays to Fridays on
average. NEXT PAGE TOP: the end of line (St Dennis Jn was off to the right).
BELOW: Our 'Cornishman' railtour of 4 May 1986 at Parkandillack. This tour https://goo.gl/ucsYQm
was organised by our present Chairman, John Williamson. (Ian Mortimer)
The controversial non-rail served Cornwall Energy Recovery Centre (CERC) or incinerator has been built
immediately north of the site and current OS maps show the right of way passing between the railway
and the site. However, that path is so overgrown as to be totally impassable and another path has
been built around the north side of the CERC. It is not clear if the right of way has been legally moved
since the OS map was updated, although that map does show the CERC buildings. Starting from a
fence line just beyond the buffers at the end of the Parkandillack branch (SW 947 572), the former
trackbed can be followed north along a narrow but easy to follow path. However, some land has been
cleared in adjacent fields (ABOVE) - possibly for development - could it sever the route in the near
future? If so this might be the final end of any plan to divert the Newquay branch this way.
The path continues until it crosses Whitegate near its junction with Hendra Prazey (SW 947 577).
Beyond this the vegetation is completely impenetrable although it can be followed for the next 100yd
by walking along the road. After this the trackbed is clear again but is now a private farm road. There is
a footpath adjacent to the trackbed just north of here but our member was running out of time. One
might consider seeking out the farmer and asking permission to walk - there can only be about 600yd
to the B3729 road reached from the north three days earlier!
NEXT PAGE TOP: Our 'Cornish Clayliner' https://goo.gl/ZpH6Hz of 13 Sep 1987, organised by the then
Fixtures Secretary, a certain Ian Mortimer, at Carne Point, Fowey Docks (pronounced 'Foy'). This is
thought to be the furthest in a tour has been here since it ceased to be a through line. (Ian Mortimer.)
2246] Exeter Riverside Yard: NR is taking possession of the Up Goods Reception line and Up Goods
Siding (between 192m 74ch and 193m 8ch) from 5 Nov until 9 Dec 2018 to demolish and re-construct
the 412yd long flood wall between the railway and the River Exe. Hopefully floods are not expected!
2247] Dawlish: (BLN 1309.1559) NR is holding community drop in sessions this autumn to update the
locals on its work to improve resilience of the railway between Dawlish and Teignmouth. Three will be
held in Dawlish, Holcombe and Teignmouth with NR representatives and 'world leading engineers' in
coastal, tunnel, cliff and railway engineering. Such is the scale and importance of the challenge that,
with £15M of DfT funding, NR has established a dedicated South West Rail Resilience Programme to
identify and implement the best options. Longer-term options will be presented to the public, local
councils and government in 2019 on completion of analysis of the engineering studies.
2248] Talking of resilience... At 02.45 on Sun 14 Oct engineers working on a possession discovered a
collapsed culvert at 211m 68ch on the Up Main line near Teignmouth. The culvert manages estuary
tidal flow. Ballast was reported to be disappearing with the hole growing. An initial assessment advised
that the possession would remain in place until at least until 16.00 for remedial work. The possession
was later amended to the affected area only, reopening Exeter to Teignmouth by 16.00 to allow an
Exeter - Dawlish Warren shuttle service to operate. However, no trains ran between Dawlish Warren
and Newton Abbot all day. The line was handed back with a 20mph ESR at 04.25 on Mon 15 Oct.
2249] Exmouth: The line from Exmouth Jn was double track to Topsham with even an intermediate
box at Newcourt but was singled by British Rail from 4 Feb 1973 (when the service was hourly). This
was just prior to the branch bridge over the M5 being built (for single track - no coincidence‽) when
the M5 was under construction. This left one passing loop on the branch at Topsham station. During
the day, every train crosses another there, so any late running causes extended knock on delays. Trains
to Exmouth more than 13 minutes late may be terminated at Topsham, but the tiny shelter on the
down platform cannot accommodate what could be 50 or more people. Recently, GWR has started
skip-stopping to recover time, which avoids overcrowding on subsequent trains but decisions must be
made early enough to give passengers timely warning. Until Mar 1968 Exmouth had four platforms.
2250] Devon Electrification: From National Rail Enquiries (12 Oct): The Met Office has issued a
weather warning for strong winds today and tomorrow, affecting train services in the South West of
England. All lines between Plymouth and Totnes have reopened, following damage to the overhead
electric wires between these stations. In this case the overhead wires belonged to the National Grid!
2251] South Western Railway (SWR): SWR has published a Sep 2018 'Customer Report' available
online and at their staffed stations. It is a surprisingly frank document (perhaps honesty is the best
policy) with the introduction by Andy Mellors, MD including: ●We also faced several challenges that
meant we didn't deliver the standard or services expected. This is explained as due to ●Frustrating and
unnecessary industrial action (which) relates to the introduction of our new Class 701 trains ... from
late next year and ●Record high temperatures. More promisingly it includes: ●We have also submitted
our proposals following the consultation on the Isle of Wight's Island Line, which includes proposed
rolling stock and track upgrades, to the DfT and look forward to hearing from them later this year.
Also ●SWR is investing a further £5M in performance improvements and still planning to deliver further
capacity gains in December through the introduction of some of the 90 additional Class 442 carriages.
SWR is ●Working to improve onboard Wi-Fi by reducing demand, providing customer entertainment
free of charge hosted on the train! Do not expect live cabaret or musical performances - it will be films,
TV shows, newspapers, magazines and games held onboard not requiring the use of limited mobile
phone signals to stream them! [Not a magic show making trains disappear then?]. SWR has
commendably achieved ●Zero waste from stations and depots to landfill one year ahead of schedule.
The report then looks at aspects in more detail, summarised from Feb to Aug 2018:
●Performance: The biggest cause of delays within SWR's control was rolling stock reliability, with 4.4%
of services cancelled or significantly late and only 54.7% 'right time' on average. British Transport
Police will in future be given direct access to SWR CCTV recordings from the front of trains to reduce
the time taken to clear lines during criminal or suspicious incidents.
●National Rail Passenger Survey: Only Metro area stations showed increased passenger satisfaction
offset by 'Customer Service Metro' being the lowest at only 60%. All results were below target.
●Stations: 78% of booked assisted travel was successfully completed; 17% of the 'missed' element was
due to passengers not arriving as scheduled. 98% of unbooked assistance was successfully completed,
with the 2% missed attributed to no space on busy trains or staff not available at short notice.
Just under 98% of ticket offices were open during the advertised times. All stations except Beaulieu
Road, Holton Heath, Longcross, Millbrook and Redbridge now have self service ticket machines.
●Customer Service: 24,118 complaints were responded to, 97.7% within 20 working days. There were
21 complaints per 100,000 journeys. Faults with ticket machines caused most complaints but only 62
ticket machine faults were actually reported despite a 'Report a Fault' section on the SWR website!
●Sustainability: Recycling has increased to 74% and no waste goes to landfill. Energy targets on trains
and buildings were met. Over the next 6 months, £20k will fund IOW social or community projects.
●Ticketing: Smart Ticketing 'touch' cards are in use with automatic delay repay from April 2019.
●Delay Repay: 226,137 claims were received Feb to Aug 2018; just over a quarter were rejected.
The Report shows '2018' when 2017 was presumably intended: Delay Repay was introduced … on the
South Western Railway network in Sep 2018 and since then, over 465,435 claims have been processed.
In Dec 2018 (sic), Delay Repay 15 (was) launched, allowing customers to claim compensation for delays
of 15 or more minutes irrespective of the ticket held, time of travel or cause of delay.
2252] Par - St Erth: (BLN 1298.268) From 15 Oct, after a weekend line closure west of Truro additional
signals were commissioned in the Gwinear Road, Chacewater and Redruth areas for the Cornwall
Capacity Enabling Works Phase 1 West. A new colour light home and distant signal at each provides
three new signal sections controlled from Roskear Junction box. Train detection is by axle counters.
1315 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]
[Malvern, Staffordshire, Shropshire, West Midlands, Herefordshire, Worcestershire & Warwickshire]
2253] Wolverhampton: On 11 Oct a fatality at Dudley Port station saw trains diverted via Bescot over
the Crane Street Jn to Portobello Jn line. The 14.12 ATW service to Birmingham International went via
Aston to Birmingham New Street (22 mins late) to reverse, rather than the more usual Soho Loop.
ABOVE: Coal train about to leave Birch Coppice Colliery exchange sidings in April 1980,
the actually colliery is in the distance, middle left. (Ian Mortimer.)
BELOW: Baddesley Colliery in Oct 1983; an internal loco is on the left. (Ian Mortimer.)
2254] Birch Coppice: (BLN 1300.487) There have been significant changes to the public footpaths
recently. The long level crossing over the container terminal exchange sidings, reached by the
UK Railtours Sat 11 Aug 'Walsall Concerto' tour, is now closed with the footpath officially diverted via
Ansley Hall Drive, the overbridge to the north over the start of the headshunt. The original footpath is
re-joined at the crossing just before the Volkswagen Terminal. Then it is re-routed via a subway under
the entry to the container terminal to run between the terminal and the arrival sidings under a further
subway beneath the road embankment. This crosses the former Baddesley Colliery branch trackbed a
short distance east of Hall End Jn¶ where a short disused stub of the branch finishes at a buffer stop.
There are remnants of a substantial brick built footbridge which once carried the public footpath over
the Baddesley branch. [ ¶Where the Birch Coppice and Baddesley Colliery branches split.]
[A series of contemporary pictures recently taken by the Regional editor has been held over.]
2255] Ironbridge: (BLN 1308.1455) The Harworth Group recently unveiled two similar proposals for re-
development of the 350 acre power station site it now owns. Public comment is invited. Most of the
existing buildings, including the famous pink cooling tours will be demolished over the next two to
three years but the former 'A' station bridge is likely to be retained for pedestrian and cycle use along
with one of the pump houses, possibly as a restaurant. The railway line is shown on both the proposals
- the item 'Steam Railway' appears on the developer's website under the heading 'Leisure/Pastimes'.
Telford Steam Railway would like to extend to Ironbridge and the developers are also 'supportive' of a
regular train service to Birmingham New Street. Readers can decide how likely these are to happen.
X.156] ABOVE: A recent light engine movement near Walsall. (Rich Hickman.)
1315 YORKSHIRE (Graeme Jolley; Geoff Blyth for North & East Yorkshire)
2256] ECML, Selby Diversion, Temple Hirst Jn - Colton Jn: The original item (BLN 1313.2015) was
about the last/first trains over the full length of the old/new lines, after the southern section (Temple
Hirst Jn - Hambleton North Jn/West Jn) opened. The northern section had opened five months earlier.
Some interesting additional details have been received. All dates refer to 1983. On 13 March revised
signalling was commissioned between Church Fenton and Chaloners Whin Jn, ready to commission
the new Colton Jn - the first high speed junction in the country with 125 mph running on both
diverging routes. According to Jun 1983 Railway Magazine, an inspection saloon conveying the Eastern
Region General Manager on 21 Mar was the first 'passenger' train over the new Colton Jn - Hambleton
East Jn line [there have to be some perks], which became 'available to traffic' on 10 Apr. BLN 466
quoted 'Railnews' as saying it was 'only a week after Colton Jn was connected up' and deduced that
this meant 17 Apr. Assuming Railway Magazine was correct, might this have required the Colton Jn
points to be worked manually (which would have been very hard and very slow work indeed)?
Also on 10 Apr, the trailing crossover between the Down and Up Hull Lines, just west of Hambleton
West Jn between MP 4¾ and 5, and the associated facing connection from the Down Hull Line to
Hambleton Construction Sidings (arrival line), were secured OOU pending removal of the construction
sidings. Associated signalling (GW5931 - presumably Gascoigne Wood) was abolished. These sidings
were also connected to the Down Main on the as yet unopened new line south of Hambleton North
Jn. It is not known when this connection was secured - presumably around the same time.
Colton Jn - Hambleton East Jn officially OA 16 May and the first public train was the 06.55 Hull to York
DMU (Selby 07.40). This passed the first southbound train, the 07.41 York to Hull north of Hambleton
North Jn. During the preceding week a Cravens DMU had been on driver training runs. However,
BLN 466, p114/83-47A (26 May) states that, in spite of the 'official' opening day, York - Hull trains
were using the line at an earlier date. It is known that one of them used it on 7 May and there might
have been earlier ones. So we shall probably never know which was really the first public train!
Hambleton West and South Jns were commissioned between 23 and 27 May. The Down and Up curve
lines between Hambleton South Jn and Hambleton West Jn, and the Down and Up Main Lines
between Hambleton South Jn and Hambleton North Jn, were to be considered as Engineer's Arrival
/Departure lines until the opening of the line to Temple Hirst Jn. The final train via the old ECML was
20.54 Newcastle to King's Cross (York 22.34) on 24 Sep, hauled by 47016.
There was initially some confusion as to which way it would be routed at Chaloners Whin Jn. About a
third of the enthusiasts in the first coach were BLS members and one made an appropriate toast to the
line's memory with a pint or three of Adlam's Old Gricer Bitter. A salute of detonators greeted it at
Selby. A headboard, 'THE NORTH BRITTON SELBY LAMENT' (sic - oh dear!), had been made. It was not
allowed on the loco when in motion, but a photo stop with the board in position was made at Selby.
The train continued to Doncaster via Selby West Jn, Gascoigne Wood, Milford Jn and Askern.
Following passage of this train possession of all lines south of York was taken at 23.00, for the
abolition of Chaloners Whin Jn. This was lifted on the Leeds lines at 06.00 on 25 Sep to allow traffic to
pass between Holgate Jn and Colton Jn. The Main (former Normanton) lines were given up at 15.00.
At the same time, possession between Shaftholme Jn and Selby Canal Jn was taken at 23.00 for the
installation of Temple Hirst Jn, with ECML services being diverted via Askern. No information has been
found as to how Doncaster - Selby passengers were served in the following week. Replacement buses
were less common in those days and it could be that they had to travel via York - a long way round!
According to BLN 477.2A (3 Nov), and contrary to expectations, the line between Temple Hirst Jn and
Hambleton North Jn/Hambleton West Jn was opened to traffic throughout on Fri 30 Sep. As a result,
the scheduled diversions via Askern that weekend did not take place. This ties up with the report in
BLN 1313.2015 that the first train over the new line was the 14.10 Newcastle to King's Cross (York dep
15.17) on Sat 1 Oct. For at least two days before 1 Oct, a full length loaded merry-go-round coal train -
(mentioned in BLN 1313) shuttled up and down the line to consolidate the trackbed!! Hauled by 56103
on the Saturday, it was 'borrowed' from the Freight Sector and resourced from Doncaster. It covered
Hambleton South Jn - Hambleton West Jn curve earlier that day and had done so previously in both
directions. However, as it was in effect an engineer's train (they did not have sophisticated tampers
able to hand track back at line speed in 1983) it was not in fact the 'first service' on the curve, although
the coal would have ended up as revenue when eventually discharged at a Power Station!
The following changes were scheduled in the Weekly Notices from 2 Oct 1983: ●Temple Hirst Jn -
Hambleton North Jn/Hambleton West Jn opened to traffic (a bit behind the times here!). ●The Down
Main line through Selby station was taken OOU ●Temple Hirst Jn - Selby South Jn line speed was
reduced to 100mph ●The former Down and Up Main Lines between Barlby North Jn and Chaloners
Whin Jn became Engineer's Arrival/Departure sidings and all signalling on this line was taken OOU.
It should be pointed out that this line would have been under a possession from when Chaloners Whin
Jn was taken OOU the previous weekend, so that this later date was simply an administrative change.
There was a roughly two hourly Doncaster - Selby - York DMU service from 3 Oct, connecting with
King's Cross trains. The 'Hull Executive' ran via Goole, so these local services were the only passenger
trains booked Temple Hirst Jn - Selby, on part of the old ECML - it was wondered if it would survive!
The first BLN reference to a passenger train on the Hambleton South - West curve is in BLN 494.44:
when Sunday trains were diverted via Lincoln during the early part of the summer 1984 timetable, the
loco hauled 12.40 King's Cross to Leeds was diverted via Hambleton South Jn - West Jn to avoid
having to reverse at Leeds station, thus maintaining its 16.45 departure via the normal route.
Regular passenger use did not start until 25 May 1998 when it gained a PSUL entry - initially all
weekdays - later SO. It will no doubt have been involved in freight working well before that but
unfortunately there is no known access to a relevant working timetable. Can any member help?
2257] Bradford Interchange: (BLN 1305.1083) PREVIOUS PAGE: Thanks to Martyn Mapman Brailsford,
showing the layout at the station before and after resignalling from 23 Oct with line directionality
indicated - spot the differences. In response to a previous query the facing crossover at Hammerton
Street (191m 13ch) remains allowing bidirectional working on the Up Line from Leeds with access to
all four Bradford Interchange platforms. Line 'W' is west, 'M' middle and 'E' is east. Line 'W' has been
extended further south to the new 'Ripley Jn' and becomes bidirectional. Line 'M' is also bidirectional
to the same point. There is a new bidirectional connection between Line 'W' (previously only allowing
arrivals in to P1) and P2. This allows Halifax line movements to/from P1 & 2 clear of the Leeds lines.
1315 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]
2258] Rosslare Strand - Waterford: An inspection car was due to operate in this direction on 23 Oct.
2259] : : The first and last tram departures from the Connolly station Luas stop are 07.10/19.31
(SSuX); 09.14/18.39 (SO) and 15.00/18.50 (SuO and local Bank Holidays). On Fri 12 Oct your Ireland
Editor travelled on the last tram of the day from Connolly which departed at precisely 19.31 as
advertised. A well kept secret was discovered via the National Transport Authority journey planner;
the entire LUAS timetable can be downloaded in pdf format! https://goo.gl/Srfwm9 put 'Green'
or 'Red' in the lower 'route number' box. At The Point on Sunday mornings, at least two of the three
platforms can be covered. On the 14 Oct the 07.40 from Tallaght arrived in the outbound platform
(far right) while the next departure at 08.30 went from the inbound (middle); it had been there since
working the 07.43 from Red Cow. (There was enough time to change from one tram to the other.)
2260] Irish Rail: (BLN 1314.2162) Despite many adverse reports circulating on social media and
elsewhere about the new timetable, your Ireland Editor found the evening peak to be running well on
Fri 12 Oct with mostly good timekeeping and all EMU workings 6 or 8 car sets. Trains seen running via
Phoenix Park Tunnel were all well loaded and business seems to be increasing on that route.
An unusual move was made by the 18.15 Maynooth to Pearse. It was six minutes late and the booked
Connolly P6 was occupied by the (punctual) 18.30 Malahide to Greystones. The 18.15 ran in to P7 and
went ahead of the 18.30, as it should have been, taking the Up Bray to Down Bray trailing crossover
beyond Connolly station. This was actually poor regulation as it delayed both the 18.30 and the
following 18.02 Drogheda to Pearse. (The 18.02 is the retimed 18.00 from the previous timetable and
no longer uses the crossover between Tara Street and Pearse but now terminates in Pearse Down P2.)
2261] Cobh corked: The 13 Oct RPSI Railtour failed to reach Cobh and therefore did not do the Cork
avoiding line. It was 75 minutes late into Cork, mainly due to a broken rail being dealt with very slowly
in Cork Tunnel. (This was reported on Thursday evening but only dealt with on Saturday morning;
it may have been made safe by clamping in the meantime.) After replacing the rail and giving up the
possession the PW Department then reimposed it causing the tour to be held outside Cork for a
considerable time. The tour organisers requested IR to allow the train to go to Cobh and to recover the
time by cancelling later photo stops but unfortunately this was turned down.
2262] Limerick Junction: (BLN 1310.1690) Works for the second (Down) platform did not start as
intended on 17 Jul. The RPSI special (above) passed the station on the Down Main to Cork. The works
were replanned to start 15 Oct and did! The Down Main is closed for the duration of the works but the
unidirectional Up Main remains available. All Down trains will be routed via the bidirectional platform.
2263] SLW: Operated over the Down Line between Portlaoise and Portarlington on Sat 20 Oct.
2264] Clifden: This 5' 3" gauge 49 mile branch from Galway opened in two sections in 1895; the last
train left Clifden on 27 Apr 1935 due to falling traffic and the need for expensive repairs. However,
a new heritage venture, the Connemara Railway has been announced based on Maam Cross station,
Co Galway - 27 miles from Galway and 22 from Clifden. About ¾ mile of the former trackbed has been
acquired and the station cleared of foliage for detailed work to begin. The Planning Permission notice
published, including in the 'Connacht Tribune' newspaper includes:
●Rebuilding a partly demolished signal cabin.
●Refurbishment of the goods store, loading bank, water tower and passenger platforms.
●Repairs to existing corrugated iron stores and workshop.
https://goo.gl/T87eHS has pictures, plans etc for anyone who didn't do the line before closure.
2265] Belfast Mess, second helpings: (BLN 1314.2157) In response to a member's specific query,
Translink has advised by email that Belfast Central has formally been renamed Lanyon Place
for passengers only! In relation to any works, notices, signal cabins, junctions, etc, it is still known as
'Central'. Akin to the way that actors refer to Macbeth, perhaps it should be 'The Belfast Station'‽
2266] Londonderry: By 19 Oct the loop had been completely lifted and also two rail lengths from P2.
1315 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
2267] Upper Douglas Cable Tramway: Making its BLN debut… The one surviving piece of machinery
used in the operation of this 3ft gauge tramway is to go on display in the town following restoration.
A flywheel, restored by volunteers from the Jurby Transport Museum and a team from Douglas
Borough Council, is on display with information boards at the Bottleneck Car Park (which is close to the
Sea Terminal) for all to see once more.
The Upper Douglas Cable Tramway operated between 1896 and 1929 with termini at the Clock Tower
and Broadway on the southern end of the promenade. It described a 1½ mile long 'U' shape between
them rising to the upper part of the town then falling again with steep gradients. There was a total of
nearly three miles of track. The route from the Clock Tower (where a set of points connected it to the
horse tramway) was via Victoria St, Prospect Hill, Buck's Rd, Woodbourne Rd, York Rd (depot and
winding gear) and Ballaquayle Rd to Broadway where a proposed link to the horse tramway was never
built. There were many sharp curves, one with a radius of 40ft and gradients of up to 1 in 10.6.
PREVIOUS PAGE ABOVE: Upper Douglas Cable Tramway, detail from the information board showing
the cable tramlines being laid on Prospect Hill in 1895 and, top left, a plan of the route.
There was a continuous, approximately two inch diameter, cable running in a centre conduit, similar to
the San Francisco system of 1875. The driver was in control of the gripper mechanism that allowed the
car to be pulled by the cable, thus, apart from the short terminus section single tracks, the track was
mainly double, the cars having a gripper at each end [and not to check tickets either...].
Very little now survives of the line. There is the joint No72/73, the only tram of the 15 operating to
have been saved. It was restored from two surviving car bodies discovered in the late 1960s and is now
at the Jurby Transport Museum having previously run under its own battery-operated power on the
horse tramway. The flywheel was uncovered during excavation works carried out by the former Isle of
Man Water Authority in 2000 for a sewer scheme, when a long buried cable tram chamber was
unearthed. https://goo.gl/afcieB has more information and interesting pictures about the tramway.
BELOW: The restored flywheel on the seafront near the Sea Terminal, with the Horse Tramway in the
background, middle right. NEXT PAGE BELOW: The other side of the information board showing an
original tram. (Pictures from our IOM special correspondent Jenny Williamson, 21 Oct 2018.)
1315 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe) [email protected]
2268] Vivarail: (E-BLN 1314.X.148 - photos) On 2 Oct unit 230002, of converted ex-D78 LUL stock, was
taken by road to Bo'ness for testing and demonstrations on the Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway. It is a
2-car set powered by lithium ion batteries, which were charged from a mobile generator at Bo'ness,
east of the passenger station. Free of charge public return trips to Manuel were offered from 3-5 Oct
at 11.00, 13.00 & 15.00 with a quick recharge between each; the Society was represented. Vivarail
staff said that the unit is a prototype and production ones will have more advanced batteries, with
greater output. Internally the coaches had been cleaned, LU publicity and maps removed and the seats
re-covered. Otherwise passenger accommodation is essentially the same as on the District Line, but
there are USB sockets for charging mobile devices, which were working. A display in the café at
Bo'ness indicated the ways in which the interiors could be refitted, including a version with a café bar.
Speed restrictions on the railway made it difficult to judge how the unit would perform on the main
line, but it had no difficulty with the gradient from Kinneil up to Birkhill and managed a fair speed to
Manuel. The rail joints were very evident, more so than riding the line in a Mark 1. Among passengers
on the train were railway staff who had worked on the BR battery unit on the Ballater branch. Adrian
Shooter Vivarail Chief Executive, was present. Most of the passengers were stakeholders, rail staff,
ex-rail staff and enthusiasts, but there at least one mother with a young child represented the public!
2269] HST: On 10 Oct a refurbished 'Inter7City' mini-HST from Aberdeen, a VIP run for politicians,
business people, rail journalists and invited guests had an air leak at Ladybank resulting in a 30 minute
late arrival at Edinburgh. ScotRail reportedly said that the driver sounded the horn for too long which
knocked out some functions! Perhaps a bell could be fitted? However, the first timetabled services on
this route began, as planned, on Mon 15 Oct. Meanwhile ScotRail's entire fleet of Class 385 EMUs was
temporarily withdrawn on Fri 6 Oct for brake tests following discovery of a technical fault on one.
ABOVE: The west side of Ayr station. (Both Greg Beecroft, 14 Oct 2018.)
BELOW: The east (P3 & 4) side and A70 Station Bridge.
2270] Blackford: (BLN 1308.1471) From 21 Oct, as part of the new Highland Spring rail freight facility
on the Up side, the Down Refuge Siding was to be removed to provide a safe cable route. Associated
signalling was secured in the 'on' position and pointwork in the normal position for later removal.
2271] Breich: (E-BLN 1314.X.149 photo) Britain's most modern station? Hopefully the passenger here
is pleased with the £2.4M rebuild. It includes new raised, resurfaced longer platforms with shelters.
There is no footbridge, as access is now by ramps from the road overbridge just west of the station. It
is thought that an electrification works compound in an adjacent field will become the station car park.
2272] Ayr: (BLN 1313.2035) With the exclusion zone (extending to part of the adjacent A70 'Station
Bridge') very securely fenced off, a decent view from the platforms or overbridge at Ayr station is not
possible. The unsafe hotel is being encased in scaffolding and screened. As at 14 Oct Up through P3
façade was covered in full-height scaffolding, but that along bay P1 had the more limited scaffolding
and screens erected some considerable time ago. There is little scaffolding on the west side of the
building. ScotRail normally keeps its trains very clean, but Class 380 units have been noted in quite
dirty condition, presumably due to Ayr carriage washer, at Townhill EMU Sidings south of the station,
not being available. Two EMUs have been stabling at Largs P1 and some at Glasgow Central overnight.
There does not seem to be agreement as to the long-term solution. The latest estimate for renovating
the building so it can be put to some use is £32M, about ten times the cost of demolition. The owners
(in Malaysia) are keeping a low profile and probably looking to sell it on. Irrespective of what the
owners want, NR could, with the approval of Transport Scotland, exercise its powers under Section 14
of the Regulation of Railways Act 1842 to demolish the hotel. Furthermore, Section 15 would allow the
site to be compulsorily purchased, allowing construction of a new transport interchange which would
be welcomed locally. Anyone having property compulsorily purchased is entitled to compensation, but
there would appear to be little difficulty in establishing that in this case the sum due is 'zero'.
2273] Stirling: It is believed that resignalling (for electrification) during the temporary closure would
see the last semaphore signals replaced with LED colour lights from 21 Oct; disc shunt signals remain.
1315 WALES (Chris Parker) [email protected]
[Also: Chester - Shrewsbury - Hereford - Newport, with flexibility to most appropriately place items]
2274] Rebranding: (BLN 1313.2042) Far from clinging to its ATW logos, by 8 Oct 3-car unit 175107 was
fully resplendent in TfW livery. This follows repairs to fire damage it sustained at Deganwy on 21 Apr.
BELOW: 2b, or not 2b, that is the question… (All pictures by Penny Jolley.)
ABOVE: The approaching train from Aberystwyth is about to cross over the main
and only station entrance (pedestrian crossing) - taken from the south end of the very long P2.
2275] Dovey Junction: (BLN 1311.1805) There cannot be many places in the UK where three single
lines converge at a station with no road access! Not only that but three separate trains are now in the
two platforms at the same time on several occasions each day except Sundays and you can even see
Ospreys. A recent visit here saw your now locally based Regional Editor for the IOM, East Midlands and
Yorkshire, with his wife and dogs walk out to the station in the Dyfi (Dovey) estuary marshes.
BELOW: The north end of P2 looking towards Machynlleth, the Aberystwyth lines is on the right with
the bidirectional loop far right and the coast line from Pwllheli is left. The Osprey nest is arrowed.
Watching the trains crossing was fascinating and shows what can be done in today's 'limited' Cambrian
lines. A 2-car Pwllheli to Machynlleth Class 158 DMU arrived at P1 over the Dyfi bridge past the only
house (occupied) out here in the marshes. Shortly afterwards another arrived from Aberystwyth, also
going to Machynlleth and then on to Birmingham International, pulling up at the east end of the very
long P2. Both trains then waited [smart 'move'] for an Aberystwyth bound train from Machynlleth
which used the loop to pass this train at P2 and ran to the west end of the platform where it called.
The first train away was that from Pwllheli, followed by the DMU to Aberystwyth disappearing off to
the west around the salt marsh and finally a couple of minutes later the working from Aberystwyth
departed. The European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) allows these close headways
to/from Machynlleth in the same direction of travel. This was also latterly possible for Down (to the
coast) trains in pre-ERTMS days after an Intermediate Block Signal (colour light) was installed in the
1980s. Although until ERTMS (Mar 2011) the Cambrian was generally controlled by Radio Electronic
Token Block (commissioned 24 Oct 1988), Machynlleth to Dovey Junction then had Track Circuit Block.
Once all the trains have left, the station and its minimal facilities revert to a peaceful oasis in the
middle of nowhere. Of amusement value, line speeds and restrictions on the Cambrian routes are in
km/hour rather than mph (and these are transmitted live to the cab screen via ERTMS) as shown in the
Sectional Appendix, which also gives line distances in… yes, you've guessed it… Miles and Chains!
2276] The Aberystwyth Flyer: Your now locally based ex-IOM multi-regional Ed also took a trip on the
non-stop 18.01 (SSuX) Machynlleth to Aberystwyth on Wed 26 Sep. As per BLN 1311.1805 the unit
arrived in P2 from Pwllheli shortly before 18.00. After a rapid turnaround, on departure it ran non-
stop to Aberystwyth (booked to arrive at 18.27), and is the only train to do this in the timetable.
The reason is because it then forms the 18.32 to Shrewsbury and must clear the single line section
back at Dovey Jn on return so as to not delay the next train to Aberystwyth. On this evening the run
start to stop was completed in 25¼ minutes which is an average of 49mph for the 20m 56ch; the
booked time is 26 minutes with a 1 minute allowance for 'engineering'.
2277] ATW steams on? Despite its franchise ending on 13 Oct, ATW still intends to sponsor a rerun of
its ill-fated 'Sugar Loaf Mountaineer' farewell railtour on Sun 28 Apr 2019. This was originally to have
operated out and back Birmingham International to Carmarthen via Shrewsbury (reverse) and
Llandrindod Wells on Sat 7 Jul 2018 with steam haulage by Black Five 45231 south of Shrewsbury.
It was postponed to Sun 23 Sep because of fire risk, then at short notice cut back to the village of
Bynea because of engineering work affecting Carmarthen triangle and finally hauled by diesel 37605
throughout as the steam loco had failed with brake problems. It also started at Birmingham New
Street which it left 47 minutes late, regaining 20 en route but participants still had 91 minutes to look
round Bynea. So other than all that, a complete success! The ECS reversed in the Genwen/Llandeilo Jn
area. The plan is to revert to the original route and traction, but using SRPS rolling stock and operated
by DBC as before but with Pathfinder Tours, assuming more of a lead role for booking and stewarding.
2278] Second Severn rail bridge? (BLN 1313.2049) A member recalls reading that NR still has a bridge
across the Severn Estuary on its wish list as an alternative to the Severn Tunnel. This would be near the
location proposed by Brunel for the South Wales Railway in 1844 which was at Hock Cliff, 8 miles south
west of Gloucester between Fretherne and Awre. This was 'scuppered' by a combination of strenuous
opposition from those who wished the line to pass through Gloucester and the Admiralty as a
hindrance to shipping. NR's Welsh Route Study refers to the capacity limitations imposed by the
Severn Tunnel which now effectively lacks intermediate signals for passenger trains‡ so is all one block
section in each direction (those installed in 1941 during WWII were removed in 1947) but makes no
suggestion of a bridge and no other supporting evidence has been found; can anyone oblige?
‡ Reinstated intermediate signals are visible if one sits on the six foot way side of trains, but following
investigation into a breakdown in the tunnel, their use is prohibited for trains following specified train
classes; the second train is manually signal checked on approach to the tunnel until the first clears.
2279] South Wales Metro (BLN 1306.1238): On 4 Oct Welsh Government First Minister, Carwyn Jones
announced on that £119M of EU funding has been awarded to progress this project, as follows:
Treherbert: £27.4M for infrastructure works, includes redoubling from north of Ynyswen to south of
Treorchy and north of Llwynypia to south of Dinas, again with new platforms where required.
Merthyr: £21.1M for redoubling Merthyr Tydfil - Pentre-Bach and Merthyr Vale - Quakers Yard with
new platforms where required, improved interchange at Merthyr Tydfil station, ramped access at
Pentre-Bach and new footbridge at Quakers Yard.
Aberdare: £23.7M for infrastructure works including redoubling Aberdare - Cwmbach, Fernhill -
Penrhiwceiber, and 'north of Abercynon', at Aberdare a new platform [is that a replacement or a
second platform?], step-free access and waiting rooms and at Abercynon an enhanced interchange.
Rhymney: Despite the lack of electrification north of Ystrad Mynach, £19.5M is allocated for track
redoubling 'south of Rhymney, north of Tir Phil and around Bargoed', new platforms where required,
including step-free access and a new waiting room at Rhymney.
Taffs Well: £27.3M for land purchase, road build and rail access, providing serviced land for a new
high quality train servicing facility.
The Welsh Government is also applying for a further £40M+ in EU funding to support further Metro
infrastructure enhancements, which it hopes will be secured by the end of 2018 (Brexit permitting?)
2280] Bala - Blaenau F(f)estiniog Central: (BLN 1312.1915, maps/photos in e-BLN) NEXT PAGE: Thanks
to Dave Cromarty, a plan showing Llyn Celyn Reservoir (when full), the location of the flooded
Capel Celyn village, the route of the former branch and the proposed (rather circuitous) deviation.
In the event the line closed instead in Jan 1961 just after preliminary work started on the dam. 'X'
marks the spot where a couple of members reached the water's edge along the railway on Sat 15 Sep.
They started at Arenig station site (off the map, left) where there are no remains but plenty of parking
on the site of the old quarry crushing/loading plant. There is a permissive path on the railway trackbed
towards the reservoir. Finding it was not immediately obvious but paths lead onto a section that is
well-maintained, probably by grazing sheep, with ballast visible in places and some new side-fencing.
A cutting is soon reached which becomes deep, with a fence to the adjacent road immediately before.
The first stretch into the cutting is in good condition, again with some ballast still present, but a
waterlogged section of about 300yd is soon encountered that would need wellingtons at least.
The cutting can be by-passed on that adjacent road (a gate has a map with the route of the permissive
footpath on the old railway; other parts are regarded as 'informal' footpaths). The other end of the
cutting is dry but the railway can be re-entered after passing 'TY NEWYDD GORSAF' - 'New Station
House', an obvious railway building between the road and the trackbed. This replaced the original
Arenig station master's house (presumably due to quarry blasting there) and is being restored - its
overgrown fenced-off grounds extend over the trackbed but are easily bypassed on the adjacent road.
Thereafter the trackbed is well maintained to the reservoir. Just after Nant Aberderfel (stream) the
formation enters another long cutting alongside and leading towards the reservoir. This has been
surfaced to provide an access road (connecting from the 'C' road to the right) which then runs along
the railway to a farm. At the end of this cutting, at the overbridge, there is a gate protecting a short
section by the farm buildings which the formation skirts on the left hand side in a curve before another
gate. Immediately past this bridge, on the left, and accessed from it was the very short wooden
Capel Celyn Halt (the concrete lamp post at its entrance and the break in the fence line for the
entrance wicket gate can still be seen nearly 59 years after passenger closure). Beyond there, a short
cutting before the embankment in the reservoir is reached, where water is encountered when it is full.
The first section of the normally flooded railway embankment is littered with broken stone/tarmac and
is not an easy walk but becomes easier further on where the trackbed has been resurfaced with 2 or 3
layers of tarmac (presumably for original dam construction access?). The embankment drops down at
1:50 towards the dam and Bala. The last section before it enters the water is cover in mud and silt.
If this page is narrower than the previous 'portrait' pages after that 'landscape'
page, then switch to 'full screen' width viewing (recommended for best results
anyway with e-BLN) to maintain all the page widths.
Apart from the railway bridges pictured in e-BLN 1312, there are dry stone walls, fences, fields, a large
number of exposed tree stumps with roots (they must have been felled before the valley was flooded
in the 1960s) and some rusty fishplate bolts all normally under water. A 'spooky' but interesting walk.
The exposure of Capel Celyn village is a rare event; the buildings were demolished but the foundations
and road can be revealed. The water needs to drop further than this year; a dry summer needs to
coincide with a dry winter; 1989 was the 'best' year. The trackbed is partly revealed rather more often.
With thanks to our Wales Regional Editor, Chris Parker, his Railway Ramblers guide to the walk with
recent and historic photographs and extra information is available as an extra download with e-BLN.
2281] Gobowen - Welshpool (Buttington Jn): Perhaps something of a non-story, but the local press
and Railway Herald report that in June, a Powys county councillor, Elwyn Vaughan, called for the
possibility of reopening this route to be investigated. He believes it would bring benefits to the
economy, education and health services. Transport Secretary for Wales Ken Skates has now been
asked by Mid and West Wales Assembly Member Helen Mary Jones whether a study will be
commissioned as part of the Mid Wales Growth Deal. His suitably non-committal response: The
development of the new Wales Transport Strategy, now underway, will look at the potential to re-open
railway lines across Wales. If taken literally, that immediately excludes the Gobowen - Llanymynech
section which is in England! It is questionable how much the inclusion of Gobowen in the Wales &
Borders franchise counts for, particularly as Gobowen - Llynclys Jn and Llynclys South - Penygarreg are
currently owned by an English local authority, Shropshire Council. Cambrian Heritage Railways leases it
and operates over part of it, having been granted a Transport and Works Act Order.
Major physical obstacles to reopening include primary road level crossings north and south of
Oswestry (only ever used by a few trains). At Pool Quay a few years ago your Regional Ed soon
dropped the idea of a Llanymynech to Buttington walk as large sections of the trackbed had been
reutilised or ploughed out and numerous underbridges removed. This was despite stories that the
route was to be protected against further redevelopment with a view to possible restoration. Suddenly
the Aberystwyth to Carmarthen proposal (BLN 1308.1481) doesn't seem quite so improbable!
2282] Amlwch; you've heard of raising the roof but this is ridiculous: (BLN 1310.1701) An overheight
lorry struck the bridge carrying the 'mothballed' Anglesey branch over the A5114 south of the former
Llangefni station at around 15.00 on Thu 11 Oct. Despite the HGV carrying a 'Convoi Exceptionnel' sign
on the front indicating it was carrying an oversized load and the bridge carrying signs indicating 13' 3"
headroom with advance warnings signposting an alternative route, the lorry was driven under before
becoming trapped halfway, blocking the road in both directions. The impact was so severe as to lift the
bridge off its mountings and the lorry ended up supporting it. Two 100 tonne capacity cranes were
brought in on Sun 15 Oct, removed the lorry, then the rails and the bridge span (PREVIOUS PAGE) with
no indication that they will be replaced - bad news for those still hoping to reopen the branch.
1315 MINOR RAILWAYS (Peter Scott) [email protected]
[Those that qualify for Peter Scott's MR publication, except IOM. Not National or Local Authority, Light
Rail or Tram Systems. Pre-heritage/preservation (historical) items usually go in the regional sections.]
MR205] Didcot Railway Centre, Oxfordshire (MR p7): The Centre held a 'Delivering the Goods' special
event over the weekend of 22/23 September. Our reporter visited on the Sunday - a day of two halves
weather wise. By the time he arrived just before 13.00 the sun was breaking through after a very wet
morning. Due to this, there were very few visitors and our reporter notes he had never seen the
Centre so quiet. Adult admission with Gift Aid was £11. Various goods wagons and accompanying
locomotives were displayed around the site - all nicely set up for photography. Running on the Branch
Line was the Steam Railmotor with Auto Coach 190, which ran all day except for a break over lunch.
On the Main Line GWR 2-6-2T 4144 was working with GWR coaches 536 & 2202 on passenger trains.
A demonstration goods train was scheduled to run for a period in morning and afternoon with 4144.
The morning runs did not take place due to the wet weather, but the afternoon workings ran.
The main reason for the visit was to see the excellent new signalling centre, where visitors can try their
hand at signalling trains on the former Swindon Panel. Aside from these attractions, the loco shed,
carriage shed & works, transfer shed and museum are all worth a visit. The Broad Gauge running line is
currently out of use, as there is no serviceable loco of that gauge [Does anyone know the last date of
operation please - possibly in 2015 or earlier?]. There is also an extensive second hand bookshop in a
coach, which should keep most enthusiasts browsing for a while! The site is adjacent to the main line
Didcot Parkway station and is very easily accessed through the station subway.
MR206] Llangollen Railway, Denbighshire (MR p9) (BLN 1312.1834): As already reported, the
temporary platform at Dwyrain Corwen (Corwen East) will close after the main season's last train
departs at 15.50 on 4 November, at least two years later than originally hoped. The hire charges for
the scaffolding structure have been a financial burden and it will be dismantled shortly after with
recovery of the wooden palings and decking to be arranged by volunteers. The priority is then to
complete trackwork and platforms to enable the permanent Corwen terminus to open in 2019 on a
date to be announced; all public trains will terminate at Carrog meanwhile. The temporary building to
be the Corwen booking office/waiting room has received planning permission as well as new doors,
windows and roof to enable internal renovation. The exterior has been repainted in British Railways
(Western Region) chocolate and cream. Trackwise, the need is to set out the points for the loop and
siding relative to the water tank and platform end. Before this can happen, the ex-Weston Rhyn
signalbox top has to be brought in by road from Carrog to be installed on top of the completed locking
room brickwork. This oversized load movement will require a closure of 2½ miles of the A5 and, to
quote the Railway's Press Officer, 'should be an interesting challenge'!
MR207] Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway, Oxfordshire (MR p7): A cloudy Bank Holiday Monday,
27 August 2018 saw our Roving Reporter at this railway; his first visit was on Saturday 29 June 1957,
the last day of public passenger service (to Watlington). Departing from Princes Risborough platform 4
he travelled to Chinnor and back behind GWR 2-6-2T 5526 'top and tail' with Class 20 D8059. The train
consisted of five coaches, the toilet doors of which are locked when passing over Network Rail track.
PREVIOUS PAGE TOP: Didcot Railway Centre Fireman Kevin Dare keeps a watchful eye as '4144'
moves off the Main line. LOWER: '3822' on a goods by the Loco Shed. (Both Peter Scott, 23 Sep 2018.)
MR208] Steeple Grange Light Railway (SGLR), Derbyshire (MR p14) (BLN 1312.MR169): Trackwork was
indeed sufficiently finalised for the public train service to run right to the end of line at the site of
(there is no platform yet) the permanent terminus at Middleton on Sunday 16 September 2018, so this
was the opening date to public traffic of the extension. However, torrential rain during the following
week resulted in some earth slippage along a couple of yards of the new embankment, which carries
the line over the former standard gauge alignment, with the resultant subsidence creating a distortion
of the track which the Steeple Grange Light Railway's permanent way team considered a risk, low but
not one to be ignored, of derailment or instability to the manriding vehicles. As a result, a stop board
was reinstated 100 yards short of the terminus, and the public service on Sunday 23 September had to
reverse there. The Railway Ramblers party on 27 September did have to alight and walk the
temporarily closed section, and the ordinary public trains will be stopping short until further notice.
Remedial action is anticipated to require a number of working days (normally once a week), so no date
has been set for passenger trains to resume to the end of line yet. Public Sunday trains ran only to the
end of September, but the Railway still envisages special running on Sunday 11 November for the
Imperial War Graves Commission commemoration, and Santa Specials as far as Dark Lane.
MR209] Barton House Riverside Railway, Norfolk (MR p20) (BLN 1174.MR228): This private railway is
normally open to the public on the 3rd Sunday of the month, April to October from 14.30. However,
our Roving Reporter visited on Thursday 29 August when the railway was especially open for a party
from 'Railtrail'. A battery powered boat was provided from nearby Hoveton & Wroxham station to
Barton House. The 7¼" gauge 'Riverside Railway' was in use with a train of three sit-in coaches.
The elevated 3½" gauge 'Midland Railway' ran with a battery electric loco. An extension to the
Riverside Railway is under construction (and has been for some years), with no target opening date.
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Lynton & Barnstaple Railway 1, 'Perchance it is not dead, but sleepth'. 'Lyd'
displays an iconic wreath of bronze chrysanthemums as left on the stop block at Barnstaple Town
station with the line's closure in 1935 by a 'constant user and admirer'. (Peter Scott, 29 Sep 2018.)
NEXT PAGE TOP: Lynton & Barnstaple Railway 2 - A sight not seen for over 80 years! 'Lyn' and 'Lyd'
await departure from the beautifully restored and authentic Woody Bay. (Peter Scott, 29 Sep 2018.)
MR210] Lynton & Barnstaple Railway (L&B), Devon (MR p15) (BLN 1306.MR109): The railway held
their Autumn Steam Gala over the weekend of 29/30 September. This was a very special event: for the
first time since 1935 it was possible to see two L&B locomotives working together - albeit these were
new build. Our reporter visited on the Saturday - a beautiful sunny day - and can confirm the two locos
looked the part working together or individually. Access to the event was via a Park & Ride system
from a car park at Blackmoor Gate Cattle Market (or the '310' Barnstaple/Lynton service bus which
passes Woody Bay station). Two minibuses operated by Filers Travel provided a continuous service to
and from Woody Bay and L&B volunteers provided an interesting commentary on board, as it was
possible to see traces of the old line from the bus. Adult admission to the railway at Woody Bay was
£15, which allowed unlimited riding all day on the half-hourly service to and from Killington Lane.
A special titled ('LYN & LYD running together for the 1st time') green Edmondson ticket was issued - our
reporter's being No0194). For the first few trains the new build locomotives worked double-headed
and then individually. The 11.00 from Woody Bay and 11.15 return from Killington Lane was sampled.
2-6-2T 'Lyd' 190 (FR Co 14/2010) and 2-4-2T 'Lyn' 762 (AK92/2017) double-headed with four rebuilt
L&B bogie coaches. The whole combination looked splendid! Operating top & tail on a goods train
were 0-6-0T 'Axe' (KS2451/1915) and 0-4-2T 'Faith' 8 (J Uphill/2016). This ran a short distance towards
Killington Lane from Woody Bay and back. Oddly perhaps, the goods trains ran from the main
platform, while passenger trains used the rarer grass-covered far platform. The 7¼" gauge miniature
railway was in operation with 0-4-0ST Hunslet 'River Plym' with two sit-in coaches (one covered and
one enclosed). There was no additional charge to ride the miniature railway, although a sign board
stated that normally the fare was £1. A lovely day in a beautiful location, with views over the hills to
the sea and wonderful L&B trains. The extension towards Blackmoor Gate cannot come fast enough!
MR211] Beer Heights Light Railway, Devon (MR p15) (BLN 1166.MR139): Located high above the
village of Beer, in the grounds of Pecorama, this is a complex fully signalled 7¼" gauge railway. During
the afternoon of Saturday 15 September a one-train service was being operated by 0-4-2T No12 'Jools'
(Exmoor Steam Railway 300/2000) with a train of eight sit-in bogie coaches. Due to the number of
passengers waiting an additional train was run at 15.00 and our reporter was aboard. Routeing of
trains can be varied to cope with demand and the number of trains running. Observed trains and the
15.00 ran from Much Natter platform 2, via Devil's Gorge, tunnel, Mount Delight, Deep Water, Mount
Delight, tunnel and Devil's Gorge to Much Natter platform 1. The last train of the day (16.10) was to be
diesel hauled. A ticket allowing one ride on the train and entrance to the gardens and model railway
exhibition is £2 (age 1-2); £9 (3-12); £11 (13-64); £10 (65-79) and FREE over 80; online discount 10%.
MR212] Bressingham Steam Museum, Norfolk (MR p21) (BLN 1288.MR162): In early September our
Roving Reporter visited this location, some three miles west of Diss. Running on the 2ft gauge
Fen Railway (the former Nursery Railway) was 0-4-0ST 'George Sholto' (HE994/1909), while at work
on the 15" gauge Waveney Valley Railway was 2-6-2T 'St Christopher' (ESR311/2001). Both these
were running at 30 minutes intervals with four coaches. The 10¼" gauge Garden Railway saw 0-4-0ST
'Alan Bloom' (P Gray/1995) running at approximately 15 minute intervals with three coaches. The
5"/7¼" gauge Miniature Railway was out of use with 'black rust' on the rails (MR Ed - Passenger trains
ran for the 'Steam in Miniature' event on Sunday 12 August and for the same event in 2017. These
seem to be the only definite operating dates each year). The standard gauge line was not operating.
MR213] Brooklands Miniature Railway, West Sussex (MR p25) (BLN 1000.MR165): Unfortunately, this
10¼" gauge railway has closed. Located near the seafront in Brooklands Park, East Worthing, it opened
in 1965 as a 9½" gauge railway with an 'E' layout, later replaced by the 10¼" gauge line running around
a large lake forming a circuit of about 1,000yds. The last passenger trains ran on Sunday 23 September
2018; track lifting commenced on Monday 8 October. Locos, coaches and track were for sale on eBay.
MR214] Seaton Tramway, Devon (MR p32) (BLN 1309.MR146): The new terminus in Seaton is an
impressive and modern structure and covers four simple stub roads. It is slightly closer to the sea front
than the previous terminus, of which all trace has been removed. A visit was made on a warm and
pleasant Saturday 15 September. A 20-minute service was in operation and all trams viewed around
the middle of the day were well loaded. A trip was taken on the 12.00 departure from Seaton
(from Road 2) with tram No9 (built 2004). It was noted Roads 2 & 3 were used alternately - so with
simply counting the trams passed en-route to Colyton; it was possible to work out which working to
travel on back to Seaton! This was the 12.50 from Colyton with tram No2 (built 1964), which duly
arrived in Road 3. Also in operation were Trams No10 & No11 - all four of these trams are double
deckers. An all day adult ticket was a very reasonable £10. Tickets were a till roll receipt, but a wrist
band was also supplied to save repeated ticket checks.
MR215] Derbyshire Dales Narrow Gauge Railway, Peak Rail, Derbyshire (BLN 1308.MR132): IRS
Bulletin 1017 records that on 1 July, during a 'Behind the Scenes Day', locomotive 'Spondon' was giving
visitors rides from the crossing to the Ashover LRS shed. No further details are given and information
would be very welcome. There is no mention of trains running on the Ashover or Peak Rail web sites.
1315 FIXTURES REPORTS (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
2283] Saltmarshe - Hull Box Visits; 13 Feb & 7 Mar 2018, Part 3/3: (BLN 1314.2186) By John Cowburn.
On 7 Mar, the second visit took in the remaining group of three closely spaced mechanical boxes at
Brough East, Welton and Melton Lane, along with Hessle Road and Hull Paragon power signal boxes
which will both survive the current re-signalling scheme. Starting from the west end of the section
again, a slightly larger group assembled by the substantial Brough East Signal Box, a full height
North Eastern Railway (NER) Type S2 box dating from 1904 with a brick base and timber upper on the
Down side of the line, east of the station by the level crossing. The 52 lever frame is complete,
although all but eleven of the levers are either partly or completely white painted ('spare') and, with
the crossover out of use until re-signalling, only the six levers which control the mix of colour light and
semaphore signals on the Up and Down main lines remain in use. Blue lever 19 is an interlocking lever.
The box works absolute block to Crabley Creek in the west and Melton Lane to the east, using two
wooden-cased original London North Eastern Railway double track instruments on the block shelf.
Block working is normal on the Down line but, in the Up direction, trains are immediately offered on to
Crabley to give the signaller there more notice, given the time it takes to open and close the gates for a
road vehicle to cross. Brough East directly supervises the adjacent level crossing which has four power-
operated barriers and road lights and is operated from a control unit in the corner of the box.
There is no barrier release lever in the frame and the signaller needs only to initiate the operating
sequence and then monitor events; as soon as the train has passed, the barriers automatically raise.
Less than a mile to the east is Welton Gate Box, on the Up side of the line and another NER Type S2
1904 structure. This supervises the adjacent gate level crossing which is protected by metal, outward-
opening, hand operated gates fitted with key locks as at Crabley Creek. The box is provided with a
frame of only six levers, standard block repeater indicators and a single repeater block bell on the very
short block shelf. Five of the six levers remain in use, four for the (mainly semaphore) signals and the
fifth, plated 'KEY LOCK RELEASE', has the lever key lock for the gate keys at its base as at Crabley.
The gates are normally maintained in the closed position across the road with the signals cleared.
The crossing is operated in much the same way as that at Crabley except that to start the process of
opening the gates, the signals need to be put back to danger with their levers in the 'normal' position.
The crossing keeper on duty was a traditional 'resident' who, very unusually these days, still lives in the
railway house adjacent to the crossing which comes with the job. Although working from the box for
our group's benefit, he normally operates from the house and has repeater block indicators there,
with a repeater gate bell on the outside wall which rings when motorists wishing to cross press a
plunger adjacent to the crossing gates. The repeater gate bell can be silenced when he is not on duty!
The easternmost of the manual boxes is the slightly younger Melton Lane Signal Box, an NER type S4
structure of 1921 which dates back to the remodelling of the lines in the area on the opening of the
former adjacent cement works. The box is less than a mile east of Welton and strangely is located next
to a level crossing over Gibson Lane! The crossing is a modern four barrier affair with protecting road
lights; in contrast with that at Brough East, its control system is more traditional and there is a barrier
release lever but no auto raise function on the barriers. The road crosses three tracks here, the Up
slow line still being operational and used by Up trains stopping at Ferriby station (no platform on the
Up main line). The disused Melton Halt Up platform also remains extant here. The halt CP 8 Jul 1989
due to low usage and BR claimed that considerable expenditure would be required to keep it open.
The box controls its immediate area and the end of the Up slow line by means of its 34 lever frame
which mainly operates semaphores; there is also a small Individual Function Switch panel mounted on
the block shelf which controls the divergence of the Up slow line and the colour light signalling in its
immediate area. The absolute block section to Brough East is controlled by a wooden-cased LNER
instrument but Melton Lane to Hessle is controlled by Track Circuit Block, with a single-stroke bell
used to describe trains. The box diagram shows two entrances to the former cement works sidings,