Number 1312 (Items 1820 - 1930 & MR 168 - MR 180) (E-BLN 69 PAGES) 15 Sep 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 1313 is dated Sat 29 Sep; Spoleciaestye. sSeoncidetay.ll contributions in by Wed 19 Sep. ………
Date Event and details BLN Lead Status
Sat 29 Sep NEW Llangollen railway Track & traction event with PLEG BELOW B/O *OPEN*
Sat 29 Sep 13.00 Coate Water Railway, North Wilts MES, Swindon 1307 B/O OPEN
Sun 30 Sep 10.00. 11.00, 12.00 & 13.00: Ribblesdale Cement Works BELOW B/O *OPEN*
Fri 12 Oct 10.15 Bangor, Anglesey Boxes - FULL & FULL WAITING LIST 1310 BC FULL
Thu 18 Oct 09.42 Derby New Track Tracker FULL APPLY WAITING LIST 1311 TG FULL
Sun 21 Oct 12.00 Andover Model Engineers all line style visit 1307 B/O OPEN
Fri 26 Oct 10.30 Kirklees Light Railway FULL APPLY WAITING LIST 1311 B/O APPLY
Fri 26 Oct 15.30 National Coal Mining Museum (England) Mine Train 1311 B/O OPEN
Fri 26 Oct Possible evening West Yorkshire Service Train Tracker BELOW MH *OPEN*
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 - please book online 1311 B/O OPEN
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 Fish & Chip supper 1311 B/O OPEN
Sun 28 Oct 10.20 The Ruby Shoesday Merseyrail Charity Railtour 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; FULL WITH A FULL WAITING LIST BELOW B/O *FULL*
4/24 Nov Highland Line Signal Box Visits Part 2 - limited numbers BELOW NJ *OPEN*
Sat 17 Nov East Midlands Tour keep an eye on website and for emails TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 8 Dec 10.30 & 12.00 Carnforth Charity Track & Traction event BELOW B/O *OPEN*
Sat 5 Jan 09.30 Scunthorpe Steel Works Railtour No17, save the date TBA TBA Claimed
Sun 24 Feb Save the date for a railtour in the north of England TBA TBA Claimed
B/O= Bookings Officer Jill Everitt, MH=Mark Haggas, NJ=Nick Jones, NL=Neil Lewis, TG=Tom Gilby, = book online.
1820] .Ribblesdale Cement Works. Sun 30 Sep: West Bradford Rd, Clitheroe, BB7 4QF (SD 748 433),
(a mile to walk from Clitheroe station). Thanks to Hanson Cement Ribblesdale (part of Heidelberg
Cement), identical 'all available lines' tours of the branch railway at 10.00, 11.00, 12.00 & 13.00, each
limited to 50 participants and lasting about 45 minutes, in our Society mess van 'Molly' with a couple
of surprises. Using a temporary platform, these cover the whole railway system, to the NR boundary
near the Blackburn to Hellifield line, both siding roads and the loco shed road. Operated by volunteers
and Hanson staff, the onsite locos (GECT 0-6-0DH 5396 and 5401 of 1975) 'top & tail'. £45 all Adults;
Under 18s £22.50; - note all Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult. Includes souvenir ticket,
stocklist and map. All profits will be distributed to Hanson's nominated charities. Book on line or by
post to our Bookings Officer, Jill Everitt, with your membership number and email address or an SAE.
X.131] Llangollen Shunter Shuttle, Sat 29 Sep: A joint fixture with Llangollen Diesel Group and PLEG
departing at 12.15; an unusual opportunity to enjoy a brakevan ride behind 08195, as part of the
Diesel Day. Route: Llangollen station, past Goods Jn ground frame to Pentre Carriage & Wagon Works
gates. Then running via Fford Jn up the incline to Llangollen Yard Diesel Road before returning to the
station. PLEASE BOOK ONLINE £12/Under 18 £6. See llangollen-railway.co.uk for more about the
Diesel Day. There is the option of upgrading your Shunter Shuttle ticket to a one day rover on the day.
1821] .West Yorkshire Evening Service Train Tracker. Fri 26 Oct: After our National Coal Mining Museum
fixture Mark Haggas is investigating options for unusual routes, crossovers, platforms and stations. A start
at Outwood station (free parking) on the 16.59/17.20 to Leeds is envisaged. A West Yorkshire Train Day
Rover (£7.50 adult, no railcard discount) will be used with extra tickets for the 16.01-18.29 peak restriction.
Expressions of interest please via our website to confirm viability/numbers ASAP. All queries to Mark at
[email protected] or by post at: 12 The Square, Earl Shilton, Leicester, LE9 7GU (with an SAE).
1823].The Ruby Vampire. Sun 4 Nov: 'Track & Traction' loco-hauled railtour with West Coast Railways
booked for at least one Class 33 loco. Due to train length constraints, limited to four vehicles and will
book very rapidly. A restricted service of cold drinks/light refreshments will be available to purchase.
The charter is raising funds for Merseyrail's nominated charity 'Merseyside & Cheshire Blood Bikes'.
Crewe P12 PU (08.55) - Chester Goods No1 Reception - Wrexham PU (09.55) - Croes Newydd Loop -
Gobowen (rev) - Wrexham General - Dee Marsh Reception (rev) - Dee Marsh North Jn (rev) - Bidston
P1 - Bidston Stabling Sidings (rev) - Hoylake (rev) crossover - Bidston Stabling Sidings (RM) - Bidston P2
- Wrexham - Croes Newydd Loop (rev) - Chester Curve - Hooton - Rock Ferry (rev) - Hooton - Ellesmere
Port - Helsby - Acton Grange Jn - Down Helsby - Warrington Bank Quay Down Slow - Earlestown West
Curve - Earlestown Loop - St Helens Junction - Huyton P2 - Olive Mount Chord - Bootle Jn - Southport
P3 (break, rev) - Wigan Wallgate SD (20.00) - Up Passenger Loop - Earlestown P5 - Warrington Bank
Quay P2 SD (20.30) - Up Helsby - Crewe Up Fast - Up Slow Coalyard - Crewe SD (21.00).
Provisional timings and routing as submitted to NR. NB: Please state where you intend to board/alight,
which can be changed by notification. Members only Standard Class: £89; Under18s, who must be
accompanied by an adult, £44.50. .This tour, released between BLNs is FULL with a full waiting list.
X.132] .Highland Line Signal Box Visits (2). With thanks to Nick Jones. Includes at least Perth, the
lovely Pitlochry box (which is closing) and Blair Atholl. Also visiting Perth signal training centre with a
fully operational lever frame and NX panel! Expressions of interest - expected to be a Sunday in Nov
(4th or 25th are possible) to [email protected] (NB two underscores) or (with an SAE) to
57 Blar Mhor Rd, Caol, Fort William, PH33 7HR. Please advise which of these two dates you can make,
if you are arriving by car (and how many lifts you can give) or by train - we may need to minimise car
usage. BLS Members only, max 12, Hi-Viz orange jackets are required. An on the day cash charity
donation applies, including from anyone who subsequently definitely books (when the date is
confirmed) and fails to turn up for any reason or cancels at short notice and cannot be replaced.
1824] .Carnforth Charity Charter Cracker. Sat 8 Dec 10.30 & 12.00 (two identical trips): West Coast
Railways (WCR) with BLS and PLEG are delighted to announce a rare Track & Traction event at WCR's
Carnforth base. This is raising money for www.thebrooke.org The Brooke Hospital for Animals, and
also www.ciwf.org.uk Compassion in World Farming. Max 64 participants per trip in a TSO; 03196 and
08485 will operate 'top & tail' for about 60 minutes. A condition of site entry is that participants must
follow stewards' instructions and, although photography for personal use is permitted, no images may
be shared on social media, Flickr etc or published in the railway press or otherwise. Subject to line
availability, (which should be better than usual as three trains are due out)/operational constraints,
the train will cover as many tracks as safely available in 60 mins. £50; book online www.branchline.uk
BLS Fixture Terms & Conditions apply. Online bookings open 21.30 Thur 13 Sep or post to Jill Everitt,
per back page, with your membership number, and email address or SAE (two for acknowledgement).
1822] .Middleton Railway. (MR p9) Our Sat 27 Oct pre-AGM charter is the final chance to do the
Dartmouth branch (which once carried commercial scrap traffic) as the point is being removed after
1312 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
1825] Weardale Railway, Witton-le-Wear (excl) - Bishop Auckland West (incl): (BLNs 1187.846 &
1210.843) ROP Sun 1 Jul 2018; TCP (except occasional special events) after running 28 Oct 2012. ROP
was delayed by embankment settlement at 'Broken Banks' west of Bishop Auckland. A DMU weekend
heritage service (plus WO in school holidays & Bank Holiday Mons). 10.00 & 15.00 Stanhope to Bishop
Auckland, 11.15 & 16.15 return, plus 13.00 Stanhope to Witton-le-Wear (where a platform extension
opened in early Apr allows a 2-car DMU to run) and 13.50 return. Full return journey: Adult £14; Child
£8; 60+ £12; Family (2A+3C) £36. 'Bishop Trains' at Bishop Auckland NR station sell Weardale tickets.
1826] Sheffield Supertram, Birley Lane - Halfway: (BLN 1305.1022) TCP Sat 23 Jun until Fri 10 Aug
2018 (incl) for replacement of worn rails - the work overran, taking two days longer than planned.
1827] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) Reopens Location (stations exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]
1305.1022 10 Sep 18 22 Sep 18 *Sheffield Supertram: Donetsk Way - Halfway [extended 7 days]
1309.1505 25 Aug 18 8 Oct 18 Ambergate Jn - Matlock with Belper & Duffield stations
1309.1498 22 Jul 18 8 Oct 18 (Lichfield Trent Valley High Level) - Wichnor Jn (PSUL route)
1309.1503 1 Sep 18 8 Oct 18 *Chesterfield South Jn - Ambergate Jn - (Derby)
1308.1394 15 Sep 18 8 Oct 18 *Bristol P'wy-(Patchway)/(Filton Abbey Wood)/(Yate)/(Swindon)
1311.1735 6 Oct 18 11 Oct 18 *(Connel Ferry) - Oban
1300.441 8 Oct 18 12 Oct 18 *(Theale) - Westbury North Jn/Fairwood Jn (and 1 later period)
1311.1736 20 Oct 18 29 Oct 18 *Walton Jn - Aintree (back reference has all Merseyrail closures)
1311.1736 20 Oct 18 10 Nov 18 *Aintree; [(Aintree) after 29 Oct] - (Ormskirk)
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 - (Clifton Down)
1300.441 19 Nov 18 23 Nov 18 *(Theale) - Westbury North Jn/Fairwood Jn (last significant closure)
1311.1736 12 Nov 18 17 Dec 18 *Bank Hall station (trains run through non-stop)
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)
1828] Sheffield Supertram, Donetsk Way - Halfway: TCP 10 expected until 21 Sep 2018 (a week longer
than first planned). This concludes the 2018 work; the next stage is due to start in spring 2019.
1829] Aberdare Ground Frame (22m 37ch) - Tower Colliery loading pad - Hirwaun Pond (27m 15ch):
(NR boundary 26m 62ch) (BLN 1307.1258) Out of Use from 31 May 2018 (saves maintenance costs and
business rates). A temporary stop block is now fitted at the heel area of Aberdare Ground Frame with
a new buffer stop on top of the rails chained in position. The final coal train left 11 May 2017;
UK Railtours ran the last tour, the 'Valley Legend', on Sun 30 Jul 2017 from Paddington (BLN 1276.592).
1830] Ayr (excl) - Stranraer (incl) and Maybole, Girvan & Barrhill stations TCA; Kilmarnock Jn -
Barassie Jn: (BLN 1311.1803) TCP; in both cases after the 21.03 Stranraer to Kilmarnock (Ayr 22.24) on
Mon 27 Aug 2017. Townhead EMU Sidings south of Ayr on the Up side TCA Tue 28 Aug after departure
of the 22.57 ECS working to Glasgow Central. This was all due to (quote): external trees, building or
objects encroaching onto Network Rail infrastructure (not due to weather or vandalism). The exclusion
zone around the dangerous Ayr Station Hotel was extended preventing trains from running through
Ayr and reducing all four platforms effectively to 4-car north end bays. Complete closure of the station
had been considered from Mon 3 Sep with services curtailed to Newton-on-Ayr and/or Prestwick Town
but this was overruled by Transport for Scotland. Some trains from Glasgow terminate at Prestwick
Town so they can run as 8-car EMUs. Ayr station had 1.6M passengers 2016-17 (up 5.1% on 2015-16).
1831] Belfast Central: (BLN 1311.1798) 'Officially' renamed Belfast Lanyon Place from Sun 1 Sep 2018.
The actual change has been gradual, online and paper timetables from 22 Jul 2018 (with 'formerly
Belfast Central' as a footnote), platform names, but not all signs, in Aug, buses from 2 Sep, but at 7 Sep
most train passenger information displays and automatic announcements were still for Belfast Central.
(PREVIOUS PAGE: Martin Baumann)
1832] Bristol, Ashton Avenue Swing
Bridge: (BLN 1283.1303) OP Mon 3
Sep 2018 in the form of the M2
guided busway route. It was built in
1906 as part of the former Bristol
Harbour Railway and latterly used
for domestic coal traffic to Wapping
Wharf by rail until 1985 (the final
train ran 11 May 1987). The grade II
listed structure is now available
for use by pedestrians, cyclists and
Metrobuses in service.
ABOVE: RCTS 'Bristol Avon' railtour of 12 May 1973 leaving the bridge on its way to Wapping Wharf.
This was an excellent tour costing £3.45p from Birmingham New Street (10.00/21.12) - with your
current BLN Editor on board - and included Stratford-upon-Avon to Cheltenham Spa, Bradford North Jn
to West Jn (after the route had been reset from the incorrect Bradford North to South Jn - which is still
open of course), Radstock West (the 'new' 1966 connection to the Somerset & Dorset Railway),
Writhlington Colliery - which closed not long after - Wapping Wharf, Tytherington and Gloucester
Eastgate (then open). Of note the couplings of the DMU had to be loosened on the Wapping Wharf
branch due to the tight curvature. The upper deck of the bridge had already been removed by then
(Ian Mortimer). BELOW: The Wapping Wharf (harbour) side of the bridge over the River Avon through
the windscreen of the Coal Concentration Depot locomotive, - what better way to see the branch?
(Angus McDougall 9 May 1980 - an excellent Society trip arranged by a certain Mr Ian Mortimer.)
1833] Crewkerne (excl) - Exmouth Jn and six intermediate stations: TCP 15 to 23 Sep 2018 for flood
defence work. The £9M project includes installation of two 550-tonne underground culverts.
1834] Llangollen Railway, Dwyrain Corwen (Corwen East): (BLN 1307.1265) CP of this 'temporary'
station is expected after the last train of the main season, the 15.50 to Llangollen on Sun 4 Nov 2018.
The new Corwen Central station OP date (in 2019, two years later than planned) is not yet confirmed.
1835] (Worcester), Norton Jn - Moreton-in-March (excl) with Pershore, Evesham & Honeybourne,
TCP Sat 17 to Fri 23 Nov 2018 (incl). This is for platform lengthening to 6/7 (x28m) cars at Pershore &
Honeybourne so that 10-car IETs can run. There is to be a further phase over Christmas/ New Year.
1312 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
1836] Blue Moon BLN: This inauspiciously numbered BLN 1313 is, unusually, the third in the same month.
1837] HS2b or not 2b, that is the question… Legislation to allow HS2 Phase 2b (Crewe - Manchester
and through the East Midlands to South Yorkshire and Leeds) has been postponed by 12 months.
The official reason given by the Government is that this will allow HS2 to link better with the Liverpool
- Manchester - Leeds ('HS3') route upgrade now in the early planning stage. The Government claims
that HS2 Phase 2b will still be delivered on time in 2033. However, the managing director of Phase 2b
resigned on the day of the announcement. Phase 1, London to Birmingham, has already received
Royal Assent and the Phase 2a Birmingham to Crewe legislation is already passing through Parliament.
1838] Synonymic Signal Boxes: Regarding Norton-on-Tees (item 1858) still with its four mechanical
boxes, a knowledgeable member was unable to think offhand of any other place names currently with
four - or even three signal boxes. Indeed he could only think of a few with two signal boxes: Crewe,
Edgeley Jn, Maidstone, March, New Mills, Shrewsbury, Sleaford, Stirling, Stockport, Willesden Carriage
Shed, Worcester and Workington. Can members contribute any more to this list?
1839] Welcome to all our recently joined members! With all the renewals in we now have over 1,600
members (we are always pleased to welcome more if you know of anyone who might be interested).
1840] AGM Bookings: Members are thanked for using the online facility for almost all bookings. If you
have not yet booked, please do so via our website if you can. There is no charge for the AGM itself and
no credit card details etc. are necessary; please therefore ignore any reference to pay on the day.
1841] AGM Update: (BLN 1311.1722) After five years service in post, Helen Cromarty is not seeking
re-election at the 2018 AGM, but has kindly agreed to continue to advise your Committee over
Governance matters and whether we should incorporate. There is now a vacancy for an elected
Society ordinary Committee member. This position has no specific duties but the person is expected
to assist with issues such as the review of the Society's structure and business, development of
items for the website (eg new fixtures), posting these online and providing general administrative
assistance. A Committee meeting is held at least annually with business managed electronically if
possible. If interested, please contact the General Secretary [email protected] Tim
Wallis for details, an informal discussion or to answer any questions and supply a nomination form.
Two elected Society Officer vacancies have also arisen at short notice, with Ian Delgado (Website
Officer) and Jill Everitt (Bookings Officer) now opting to stand down. Both have served the Society
diligently with many hours of effort, smoothing the introduction of our dramatically modernised
website and booking arrangements. Their work has helped the Society nearly double in size in the
past seven years, making matters easier and better for members and committee volunteers alike.
Volunteers are now required to carry on their good work. The Bookings Officer role ideally requires
customer service skills, good attention to detail, ability to deal with figures and create reports while
being flexible and responsive. The ideal skills and abilities of the Website Officer are knowledge of
website protocol/structure, an ability to program and problem solve in an online environment.
There will, of course, be the opportunity to learn processes and develop these skills 'on the job' to
some extent and possibly attend courses (sponsored or part-sponsored) to enhance skills. Please
contact the General Secretary, Tim Wallis for details, an informal discussion and a nomination form.
For the Bookings Officer role you may also wish to contact Jill at [email protected]
directly, or speak to her or Tim, on a fixture, of course. The Society, on behalf of all our members
and the Committee, greatly thanks the three volunteers standing down for the enormous efforts
and time investment they have made to help the Society modernise and flourish in recent years.
X.133] PREVIOUS PAGE: During the lunch break
in a recent Committee meeting the opportunity
was taken to check out a venue for a future
Society fixture - specifically here the lengthy
shed branch of the Lancashire Mining Museum,
at the former Astley Green Colliery. Committee
meetings are usually held at interesting places -
and if possible support a heritage railway,
museum or suchlike - they are very good social
occasions too. As the photographer said: "Happy
people and branches on each side makes it a
branch line ;-)" (Jenny Williamson 1 Sep 2018)
ABOVE: Committee meeting group at the platform with HE8909 4wDHF 1979 'Lionheart' No3. ('Jacqui')
1842] Points & Slips: ●●1287.1805] & 1306.MR110] On Bank Holiday Mon27 Aug at the Garw Valley
Railway, (while many members were on our 'Marching Crompton' railtour and visiting Cynheidre) the
short 10¼" gauge miniature railway at Pontycymer unfortunately did not operate due the theft of a
vital locomotive component. ●●1307.1345] On our 28 Apr Inverclyde First Aider Railtour, approaching
Barassie Jn a diverted Daventry to Mossend Intermodal was passed. With thanks to DRS it has been
concluded that 66434 was leading, piloting, almost certainly 88005 dead, which had hauled the train
between Daventry and Carlisle (rather than 68006 mentioned in the report). ●●BLN 1310.1625] All
four Class 56s locos and the six barrier vans used by the Rail Operations Group were in fact
hauled from 'Leicester Loco Inspection Point' to Castle Donington by 37601 on Wed 8 Aug and
thought to be the first use of the railway at East Midlands Distribution Centre.
●●1665] A couple of 'points' at Princes Risborough P4 on the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway:
The south end point lever was reinstated in early Aug so it is fully operational and is no longer clipped.
The north end crossover is without point rodding (and interlocking) but not missing point levers; they
are all present and correct in the signal box and there will be no track side levers there. On Sat 2 Sep
the railway ran an evening steam-hauled 'Gin and Cheese' special (making several trips) for over 18s
only! The fare included three types of Gin and three cheeses. This was a new one on our member who
has been round the stop blocks a few times and, as he said, no rare track but you might not care :-)
●●BLN 1311.1726] Chesterfield Market Place was the correct name of the LD&EC terminal station.
●●1742] The Fairbourne Railway item, with map, was in the middle of 'Points & Slips' (item 1741), the
second section of item 1742 continues after it - is this a 'double slip'? ●●1743] A member wonders if,
at the once very well rail served Chester Golf Club, any players forgetting their clubs could borrow a
'driver' from a passing train? Note: in e-BLN this should have been item 1743] not 1742]. Tickets were
issued to Birkenhead Junction Golf Platform (Bidston end of the triangle) - at least one member has
one (but does he have a hole in one?) and Chester Junction Golf Platform (Chester Northgate end).
Tickets were not issued from them or to/from Chester Golf Club Halt (Wrexham end of the triangle).
●●1800] Rosslare Europort station had a ticket machine as described in 2015, although our member
was making a very tight connection from a late running ferry and didn't have time to use it.
1312 EAST MIDLANDS (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
1843] Lenton Curve: On Fri 31 Aug the 11.29 Sheffield to London St Pancras appears to have run via
Lenton North - South Jn due to a points failure at Toton. On time at Langley Mill it was next reported
15 mins late at Trowell Jn then went 'Off route' and at Trent South Jn (on route) was 26 mins late.
1844] Derby: (BLN 1311.1745; track plans https://goo.gl/wbp1Zy - BLN 1308) The first remodelling
and resignalling stage was commissioned as planned from Mon 3 Sep when a member made a return
trip from Long Eaton to Burton-on-Trent.
This covered the new connections into Derby P3 &4, the 'scissors' and Up and Down Tamworth Slow
Lines which are the upgraded former Goods Lines. A trip to Tutbury & Hatton and back was from P1,
(NB some have used P2 with P1 used by ballast trains for north of Derby) then bearing left by London
Road Jn over the new trailing crossover from the Up to the Down Tamworth Fast. Although allowing
P1 turnbacks from the south, this crossover has no regular use after 7 Oct. London trains generally
turned back in P6 and Newark Castle locals in P5 so both crossovers (trailing and facing) at Way &
Works Jn are used. P7 (no further booked passenger use reportedly due to signal overlaps) was
occupied by engineering trains - its last passenger train was on Sat 1 Sep; lines to the north of Derby
were all under Possession (indeed lifted beyond new P 6 & 7). As shown in Martyn Brailsford's BLN
plans Ramsline Halt is trackless and all the points at Spondon are disconnected and plain lined.
BELOW: 43384+43457 enter P4 from the Long Eaton direction (on the 07.00 CrossCountry Edinburgh
to Plymouth service) to reverse then head south to Birmingham. Note new south end signal gantry.
NEXT PAGE TOP: Looking north at what will be the rare northern approaches - with two sleepers
across - from line 'C' to Derby P3 left & 4 right (behind photographer). Lines 'A' and 'B' (new names) to
P1 & 2 are extreme left. Lines 'C' and 'D' to P5, 6 & 7 are on the far right. (All Tom Gilby 3 Sep 2018)
NEXT PAGE LOWER: Left is the straightened line (Line 'A') north from P1, right is Line 'B' from P2.
1845] Long Eaton, itching to buy a ticket: Not for the first time your reporter found the booking office
closed but luckily he had a self-dated by 'scratch-off' pre-purchased Derbyshire Wayfarer ticket to
hand (available from tourist information centres, public libraries/outlets etc per leaflet/website).
Potential track scratchers are reminded these excellent tickets are available in advance but not sold on
trains. Bus drivers/stations sell them on the day (also from Nottingham/Beeston with a supplement).
1846] Nottingham: (BLN 1298.227) The serious 12 Jan 2018 fire at the station caused much damage
and NR engineers have been on site since carrying out repair work. From 3 Sep direct access was
restored to P7 from the concourse, instead of having to use the footbridge halfway down the
platforms. Step free access however remains via Queens Road. Although most repairs are now
complete, final work includes the PA system and the removal of hoardings. It is expected that the
repaired toilets in the southern concourse, where the fire started, will reopen in the next few weeks.
1847] NET Nottingham. (BLN 1310.1627) According to associated posters, the recent replacement of
some rails between Wilkinson Street and The Forest was the first work required in 14 years of service.
1848] Killingholme: (BLN 1285.1474) A recent article in the local and industry press highlighted gauge
enhancement works now being undertaken in South Humberside. Apart from the usual discussions
about costs (£15.5M), and how 'vital' it is to connecting the nation, there was not much of great
significance until looking at the route map (showing the route being upgraded to take high cube
containers). The section starts west of Doncaster on the Sheffield line at Hexthorpe Jn to Bentley Jn
via the Doncaster avoiding line, then through to Barnetby, Immingham and perhaps surprisingly
Killingholme! After a burst of activity with more inward spoil trains from the Kellingley Colliery site to
raise ground levels then trains of spent ballast and stone to top it, that branch is now quiet again.
1312 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]
X.134] BELOW: The complex trackwork at 'Lewisham Crossover Jns' west of the station. St Johns and
London Bridge is off to the right, while the line left rises to Lewisham Vale Jn (for the so called Tanners
Hill 'Flydown' and the Nunhead line). Bottom left is to Lewisham P1 & 2, Courthill Loop Jn North for
the Mid-Kent line and Courthill Loop Jn South on to the Hither Green Line. Bottom right is to Lewisham
P3 & 4, the North Kent and Bexleyheath lines. Our photographer did wonder if a weedkilling train
might be due. (Martin Baumann, 17 Aug 2018)
1849] Paddington: (BLN 1311.1752) The Epping Ongar Railway is interested in using both sets of out of
use 1916 Ransome & Rapier (not 'Napier'!) buffer stops now available from Paddington P11/12.
1850] Aldwych: (BLN 1311.1746) The unit returned from Northfields Depot on 4 Jul. (Underground News)
1851] Bethnal Green: On 9 Sep the Up Fast line from Bethnal Green North Jn (1m 30ch) to Bethnal
Green East Jn (1m 14ch from Liverpool Street) was very rusty and had been out of use for some time.
All trains have been crossing from the Up Fast to the Up Suburban line at the former junction and the
frog had been removed at the latter but a new replacement one was lying on the ground nearby.
1852] Crossrail, Testing Times: (BLN 1311.1747) Crossrail Ltd has announced that opening of the first
section, Paddington - Abbey Wood, has been postponed from Dec to autumn 2019. The architectural
fit-out of the new stations is nearing completion, but the time available for testing has been reduced
by contractors needing more time to complete work in the central tunnels and the development of
railway systems software. Testing has started but further time is required to complete the full range of
integrated tests to ensure safe and reliable operation. 'Railway Herald' (5 Sep) reports that there are
particular problems with the signalling systems on the central core, similar to those still affecting
Heathrow Tunnels (hence retention of the Class 360s rather than using the new Class 345s).
Initial operation in autumn 2019 is still intended to be as three unconnected sections: ❶Heathrow
(Terminals 2, 3 & 4) - Paddington (main line); ❷Paddington (Elizabeth line platforms) - Abbey Wood
❸Liverpool Street (main line) - Shenfield. The last, at a later stage, running through from Heathrow.
NR has announced plans for remodelling Liverpool Street. This will be funded by Rail for London as it
will enable 9-car Class 345 EMUs to operate residual peak services into the main line platforms and
provide a diversionary location if the core tunnels are inaccessible. P16/17 (now 8-car) will be
extended at the country end. P18 will be closed, with the track slewed over to the site of P17 buffers
and P17 built out to the new alignment. Possessions had been arranged for Jun 2019 to change OHLE
isolation arrangements and Aug for remodelling. However this was based on the Shenfield service
being diverted into the Crossrail core in May, so the remodelling at least will have to be postponed.
1853] St Pancras: (BELOW) J D Wetherspoon is due to open 'The Barrel Vault' on 25 Sep. It will have 'a
large painted mural across one wall, depicting the station in the 19th/20th century, before its modern
extension'. The pub will be opposite the foot of the ground-floor HS1 escalators, with access also from
'Pancras Rd' (NB: no saintly prefix) - and adjacent to one of the magnificent displays relating to the
station's 150th anniversary (NEXT PAGE TOP). Especially interesting about the latter is the coloured
1862 map without St Pancras itself! (Both recent pictures by Don Kennedy.)
1854] TfL Fares Map: A Freedom of Information request has revealed a map https://goo.gl/xqNWBu
used by TfL staff. It has the fare scale on each line with Out of Station Interchanges (wrongly shown as
Outer Station Interchanges) and pink
Oyster Card reader locations to
validate routes avoiding Zone 1.
1855] Barking - Gospel Oak: (BLN
1308.1408) Despite initial plans,
Junction Road Jn - Carlton Road Jn
line has not been electrified, apart
from the usual overrun section on
the Down Tottenham Line at
Junction Road Jn. The Up Reception
Line at Upper Holloway is wired.
However Harringay Jn (0m 3ch) to
Harringay Park Jn (0m 25ch), the
'Harringay Curve', was due to open
to electric trains from Sat 8 Sep.
1312 NORTH EAST (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
1856] Lines West of Consett (Part 2): (BLN 1310.1647 with maps) Amending BLN 1310: It is thought
that the LNER retained the Consett North/East/Hownes Gill 'triangular' layout, in spite of the
complications it posed, mainly for loco turning (rather than 'turntable') as Consett shed had no
turntable. It also enabled ammunition trains to run directly to and from Saltersgate Ministry of
Supplies Depot. A member has kindly supplied line distances from NER line diagrams dated 1920.
Distances from Bishop Auckland Weatherhill branch
Tow Law 21m 54ch. Burnhill Jn 0m 00ch.
Blackfield SB 22m 42ch. Red House siding 0m 73ch.
Saltersgate (Siding) Ground Frame. 26m 00ch. Waskerley 1m 11ch.
Burnhill SB 26m 67ch. Hilton Stone Co siding 1m 61ch.
Burnhill station 27m 13ch. Meeting Slacks siding 2m 38ch.
Whitehall Jn 29m 59ch. Black Cabin siding (water board) 3m 43ch.
Rowley station 30m 07ch. Rookhope Railway junction 4m 67ch.
Hownes Gill viaduct west end 31m 00ch. Parkhead goods station 4m 77ch.
Hownes Gill viaduct east end 31m 11ch. Weatherhill Engine top of incline. 5m 45ch.
Hownes Gill Jn 31m 13ch. Crawley Bank Top Engine House 6m 52ch.
Consett South SB 31m 42ch. ●top of Crawleyside tunnel 6m 60ch.
Lanchester Valley line‡ ●bottom of Crawleyside tunnel 6m 65ch.
Relly Mill Jn (south of Durham). 0m 00ch. ●bottom of incline 6m 69ch.
Consett South SB 11m 69ch. Ashes branch junction 6m 71ch.
Consett North SB 12m 00ch. Crawley Lime Kiln (NER limit) 7m 15ch.
Stanhope & Tyne 'main line'‡ Consett, third side of 'triangle'
Ouston Jn (south of Tyne Yard) 0m 00ch. Consett East SB 0m 00ch.
Consett North SB 13m 57ch. Hownes Gill Jn 0m 29ch.
Blackhill station 13m 04ch. ‡ intermediate locations are not shown
The 30ch Ashes branch Jn to Ashes Quarry branch CA in Nov 1949 and the line beyond Weatherhill
Engine (the inclines and the line to the lime kiln) 28 Apr 1951; the official date (presumably of legal
abandonment) was 18 Jun 1951. https://goo.gl/nAQrBk has some interesting pictures of Crawleyside
tunnel (also known as Hog Hill tunnel), although some of the dates should be treated with caution.
Another very senior member has suggested that the provision of buffer stops at Saltersgate Siding and
Blackfield SB didn't necessarily prevent the line between them being reinstated as an emergency
access to Saltersgate Ministry of Supplies depot if Hownes Gill viaduct had been destroyed or severely
damaged (it wasn't). It could be that the line wasn't in fact lifted until after the war, in spite of the
wartime drive for scrap metal, for this reason; in this case the buffer stops could be lifted out if
required. [He cites the similar example of Thorneywood - Trent Lane Jn on the Nottingham Suburban
line, which was left intact after bomb damage near Trent Lane Jn on 8 May 1941.]
The series of rare pictures below of these obscure remote railway lines dates from 1968/69 and was
kindly supplied by the original photographer, Roy Lambeth especially for use in BLN.
BELOW TOP: Burnhill Jn (track plan BLN 1310.1647); the Ministry of Supplies transhipment platform
from the standard gauge side with the narrow gauge n the right and typical MoD security fencing.
BELOW LOWER: View from the narrow gauge side; note the derelict signal box left background.
BELOW: By 1968 Burnhill Signal Box (out of use for 30 years from 20 Jan 1938) had seen better days…
ABOVE: Burnhill Jn looking north, the singled former double line (right) is to Rowley and Consett; that
to the left is to Waskerley, Weatherhill, and originally Stanhope. Note the single slip off to the right is
spiked and chocked out of use with a significantly much worse degree of rust than the other tracks.
BELOW: Waskerley and the RCTS (West Riding and North East Branches) 'North Eastern No2 Rail Tour'
on 10 Apr 1965 https://goo.gl/tE1VgP the DMU was used from Consett to Waskerley and return.
ABOVE: Looking east from Waskerley towards Burnhill Jn in 1969 after closure to freight traffic.
BELOW: In the same direction but from further back; the former curve off to the left in the Goods Yard
was one end of the former Nanny Mayor's Incline (sometimes referred to as Nanny Mayer's Incline).
ABOVE: Waskerley, the other direction, looking east towards Parkhead and Weatherhill; track lifting is
in progress. BELOW: More track lifting west of Waskerley at the delightfully named 'Meeting Slack'.
ABOVE: The junction at Parkhead. The fishplates bottom right only have one bolt each end!
BELOW: Weatherhill Loop (1).
ABOVE: Weatherhill Loop (2) from the other direction. BELOW: Weatherhill - the end of line with,
according to our consultant rustologist in residence, Grade 7 rust/bird droppings = well disused.
1857] Bowesfield Signal Box: NR intends to transfer control to York ROC in 2019, earlier than was once
planned. The 1905 built box has three Individual Function Switch panels which were installed in:
1969 (Eaglescliffe), 1986 (Stockton, from North Shore box) & 1989 (Hartburn which was on the
Eaglescliffe panel from 1973 to 1989), Stockton Cut and Bowesfield itself. The box interfaces with:
ABOVE: Bowesfield Signal Box is now on a limited prognosis. (Angus McDougall 8 Oct 2016)
●Urlay Nook Interlocking (this is not the box which is a gate box) with Tyneside IECC (Darlington South
Interlocking) between Dinsdale and Teesside Airport stations.
●Eaglescliffe Interlocking with (Northallerton) Low Gates SB (Picton Interlocking) south of Eaglescliffe.
●Bishopton Lane Interlocking with Norton-on-Tees South SB north of Stockton station. Bishopton Lane
Signal Box was the mechanical box which once controlled the south end of Stockton station.
●Bowesfield Interlocking with Tees SB (Tees Yard Interlocking) west of Thornaby.
1858] Durham Coast: NR has also consulted about plans to re-control the following lines to York ROC:
●Bowesfield SB fringe, south of Norton-on-Tees South SB (60m 60ch) to Tyneside IECC fringe, north of
Ryhope Grange SB (88m 60ch).
●Billingham SB (0m 0ch) to just short of the former North Tees AOCL (4m 15ch) ex-Seal Sands branch.
●Norton-on-Tees South SB (0m 0ch) via Stillington branch (0m 28ch) to Ferryhill South Jn (10m 72ch).
●Norton-on-Tees West SB (0m 0ch) to Norton-on-Tees East SB (0m 28ch) - third side of the triangle.
●Ryhope Grange SB (0m 0ch) to Hendon Branch, Port of Sunderland Authority boundary (2m 2ch).
These projects will result in the closure of: Bowesfield, Norton-on-Tees South, Norton-on-Tees West,
Norton-on-Tees East, Norton-on-Tees [was Station], Billingham-on-Tees, Greatham, Ryhope Grange,
Belasis Lane and Ferryhill (was Ferryhill No2) signal boxes. It is interesting that Norton-on-Tees East to
Norton-on-Tees West is included as this side of the triangle sees little use. The only freight needing to
use it would be occasional steel pipes from Hartlepool (the Tata Steel 20" mill and Liberty Steel 42"
and 84" mills) to locations further north, which of course depend on contracts from mainly the oil and
gas industry. This traffic could alternatively run via Darlington without having to reverse. Your Regional
Ed believes that Norton-on-Tees is the only place in the country with four signal boxes to its name.
Sleaford had North, South, East and West signal boxes until October 2014. Resignalling of the Joint
Line (Peterborough to Spalding and Lincoln) then left just East and West boxes on the Skegness line.
1312 NORTH WEST (John Cameron) [email protected]
1859] Windermere: The branch has fewer through trains nowadays but it is still possible to cover the
main line connection. On to the branch it takes the relatively new Down route from Oxenholme South
Jn (18m 49ch) with its 40mph turnout, via what used to be the Down Goods Loop (now the 'Down
Windermere') and the link to the branch under the left hand overbridge arch (previously trackless),
bypassing Oxenholme North Jn, to P3 at the station. The trains are (SuX) Lancaster 05.40 and Preston
09.29 (interestingly booked to run through Lancaster P5), 12.17, 14.10, 18.20 and on Sundays just
Preston 09.38, all to Windermere. This could be done on Sat 8 Dec after our special trains at
Carnforth; the minimum journey is Lancaster to Oxenholme. In the other direction the connection to
Oxenholme North Jn and its trailing crossover is booked to be used by (SSuX) 09.34, 14.25, 18.30 &
22.45 Windermere to Preston, 12.32 to Lancaster and on Sundays just 21.44 to Preston. However, if
there is Northern industrious inaction there are no through trains, just a reduced hours branch shuttle.
1860] Merseyrail Closures: (BLN 1311.1736) Further details have kindly been supplied on the likely use
of crossovers during the extensive forthcoming regauging and realignment work (20 Oct 2018 to
15 Jun 2019) for the new EMUs. None is yet confirmed and may be subject to change nearer the time.
>Phase 1: 29 Oct to 9 Nov: Ormskirk (excl) to Old Roan closed (crossover north of Aintree ECS shunt).
>Phase 3: 24 Dec to 1 Jan 2019: Wirral loop line (likely ECS shunt at Birkenhead North).
>Phase 5: 21 to 25 Jan: Brunswick - Hunts Cross TCP. On 19/20 & 26/27 Jan Liverpool Central is TCP,
then services use both lines bidirectionally to turnback at Moorfields via Leeds St Jn crossovers.
>Phase 6: 2 to 10 Feb: Southport - Hall Road TCP (Formby daytime ECS shunt until evening then Hall
Road crossover in service). 11 to 24 Feb: Formby - Sandhills Jn TCP (Formby crossover used in service).
>Phase 7: 2 to 22 Mar: Rock Ferry - Hooton TCP (use of Rock Ferry bays and crossovers at Hooton).
25 Mar to 2 Apr: Hooton to Chester closed (use of Hooton crossovers).
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Kirkby, Sat 1 Sep late afternoon; this may become a through station again if
the proposed extension of the Merseyrail electrics to Skelmersdale takes place. (John Cameron)
1861] Wigan Wallgate: Bay P3 is in regular use (even on strike days) all day Saturdays only until 3 Nov
(incl). This is due to the Bolton line electrification closure, when a shuttle service runs between P3 and
Kirkby. On strike days there are 8 services each way with some two hour gaps, if these are avoided a
return trip takes under an hour (or less from Pemberton to Wigan). There is no Sunday service.
A single trip from Pemberton to Wigan would also cover the facing crossover before Wigan Wallgate
Jn to access the bay - which is not accessible from the Southport line. During electrification weekend
closures, a Southport - Wigan Wallgate shuttle arrives at the latter in P2 and then shunts ECS via the
carriage sidings to return in service from P1. The service is reduced on strike days (for which Saturday
is the currently favoured day). Wigan Wallgate bay P3 is normally used by the 10.49 (SSuX), 11.48 (SO)
& 18.52 (SSuX) ex-Kirkby (other trains run to/from Manchester Victoria via Walkden) with no booked
passenger departures (no track is missed unless you are bidirectional) - all other use is ECS.
1862] Bolton line: With the recent 9 day possession NR has completed 78 of 98 overhead wire runs on
the Salford - Bolton - Euxton Jn line. Work will be completed at weekends and weekday evenings. NR
has issued a community statement that the wires along the whole route will be live from Fri 28 Sep.
1863] Rail Value, Carnforth - Lancaster just 10p return! The Off-peak Day Return between Lancaster
and Oxenholme is £9.80 (railcard £6.45); however Carnforth to/from Oxenholme is £9.90/£6.55. As all
good students of our railway system know, the latter has to be, and is indeed valid, via Lancaster
giving Carnforth to Lancaster return (almost 13 miles) for 10p - QED. In the interests of 'fareness' TPE
also do a Lancaster - Oxenholme ticket for £7.70/£5.20 valid only on (surprise, surprise) TPE services…
1864] Manchester Metrolink: (BLN 1310.1651) Between 28 Jul and 10 Aug no trams ran between
Cornbrook and Eccles for construction of the new junction with the Trafford Park line at Pomona.
The work was completed on time allowing Metrolink services to resume as planned. Additionally other
significant sections are under construction. One big project was the steel work for the bridge over the
Bridgewater Canal alongside Park Way in Trafford Park lifted into place over the 8/9 Sep weekend.
1865] Liverpool - Preston: On 24 Aug a longstanding (or should that be longsitting - see later?) local
member took exactly 100 minutes to travel 27½ miles from Moorfields to Preston via Ormskirk. This
was due to the Ormskirk to Preston replacement bus calling at the intermediate three stations taking
60 minutes - the train takes about half as long. This was very bad luck; only his 12.01 from Ormskirk is
a bus now (and then SX)! The alternative recently AC electrified Lime Street to Preston via Wigan NW
route takes 51 minutes for 35m 26ch even with only five stops. Exactly 50 years earlier in Aug 1968 our
member joined the 21.25 Preston to Liverpool Exchange train through Ormskirk when it was still a
main line - journey time 30 minutes! There is some hope though as TPE is to introduce through
Liverpool Lime Street - Glasgow/Edinburgh services, which should be rather faster to Preston…
1866] Maghull North (BLN 1310.1655) On Sat 1 Sep a member found this station, OP 18 Jun 2018, to
be well used, with good numbers of passengers boarding and alighting trains both ways. It features a
modern pedestrian overbridge linking the platforms and station exits. It has information screens and
waiting shelters on both platforms, as well as information boards about the local area and its history.
1867] … and a rare crossover to boot: On Merseyrail during the afternoon of 10 Sep there were brief
problems with the power supply between Moorfields and Sandhills. Ormskirk services were to turn
back at Walton, Kirkby at Rice Lane and Southport at Bank Hall respectively. The last of these would
have seen passenger use of the electrified Bootle Jn crossover (2m 31ch) going north from Bank Hall.
NEXT PAGE: Maghull North station on the afternoon of Sat 1 Sep and John Cameron
is on the next leg(s) of his journey of exploration; look at the train Mr A!
1868] 'Craven gaffes' at Ravenglass: (BLN 1311.1761) The frame at this very tall signal box is not
original. The box was a Furness Railway Company Type 1 design opened in 1873. A 16 lever Railway
Signal Company frame replaced the original one in 1882 and was later extended to 18 levers. The box
closed 13 Feb 1965 when the Goods Yard closed and the absolute block section was extended to
between Bootle and Drigg signal boxes. The frame was removed and the box used as a library by the
Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway but fell into disuse. Restored during the 1990s, it reopened as an office
in 1999. A 17 lever Stevens & Sons Knee frame installed in 2000 was possibly ex-Southern Region.
1312 SOUTH EAST - NORTH & EAST ANGLIA (Julian James) [email protected]
1869] Bicester Village - Bletchley: (BLN 1310.1661) NR's detailed signalling and track layout drawings
for this £1bn section of East West Rail Phase 2 show the layouts to be provided, with the running line
to Bletchley identified as the Down Bletchley (currently the single Down & Up Main) and to Bicester as
the Up Bletchley (and on to Oxford, as now). Permissible speeds are generally 70mph with 40mph
divergences, including loop access. 'Hand' of crossovers, facing or trailing, is given below in relation to
normal left hand running, though the object of the crossovers is of course to provide additional routes.
East of Gavray Jn, which is unaltered, the protecting signal on the Up Bletchley will permit westbound
passenger moves to both platforms at Bicester Village via the facing crossover that forms part of
Gavray Jn, presently taking all Oxford to Princes Risborough trains to Bicester South Jn. (Trains from
Princes Risborough can already reach both platforms at Bicester Village, although that on the Down
Bletchley is reached by taking the Up Bicester South West Chord all the way from Bicester South Jn.)
Claydon L&NE Jn moves east about 220yd. Its site will be plain double track. At the new junction,
Claydon West Jn, double track from Aylesbury will join as the Down Claydon (from Aylesbury) and Up
Claydon at a four point junction - two facing turnouts on the Up Bletchley with a trailing crossover in
between. The latter trails into the Down Bletchley on the alignment of the present Up Loop - Up Goods
Loop in TRACKmaps Book 3 (Aug 2010) and will be followed immediately by a new Claydon Loop which
will have leads into and from the HS2 Calvert Construction Railhead beyond the NR boundary.
This will have seven sidings, 1 and 2 being termed 'Transfer Sidings' and all double ended except 6 and
7 termed 'Ballast Sidings'. Steeple Claydon village is immediately north. Beyond Claydon Loop there
will be a facing crossover just west of Claydon level crossing for access from the east. This will be
known as Claydon East Jn. The remains of Claydon's eastbound platform are beyond.
The new Winslow station will be over a ¼ mile west of the previous, with two side platforms and
located between Furze Lane and Buckingham Road overbridges, long enough to take 4x24m cars.
It will have a footbridge at the east end. There will be a new 934yd Down loop at Newton Longville.
A new trailing crossover (Bletchley West Jn Up) will be just east of the present single to double track
Bletchley Flyover Jn, but before the flyover begins. New Bletchley High Level P7 (eastbound) and P8 -
again for 4x24m cars, will obliterate Flyover Jn with P7 signalled for east to west turnbacks. This takes
a curving alignment such that the new Flyover Summit Jn beyond, a conventional double junction, will
diverge to right. Double track on this divergence ends before the existing Flyover Single Jn (Flyover
Single Line Jn in TRACKmaps Book 4 (Aug 2013), this double track being the Down Bletchley Chord and
Up Bletchley Chord. On the straight route at Flyover Summit Jn the Down Bletchley and Up Bletchley
return to the existing alignment where the Down Vale and Up Vale pass underneath. Thus a significant
new alignment will exist between Flyover Jn and this convergence. Denbigh Hall South Jn is unaltered.
1870] Sandy - Cambridge: Residents/Nimbys of Gamlingay, Potton and Sutton, three villages lying
north to south to the east of Sandy, are mobilising to campaign against this being one of the possible
East West Rail routes on which the government is expected to decide in early 2019. Gamlingay and
Potton had their own stations on the former line at a position where this mainly east to west line ran
nearly south to north but residents are advocating an additional route option closer to the A428 road
running from St Neots to north of Cambridge. On this alignment there is rapid development nearer
Cambridge (such as Cambourne and Northstowe). Phase 1 alone of the latter new town, on the guided
busway, has 10,000 dwellings and was a factor in building nearby Cambridge North station. Some will
welcome the railway where others do not but considering further options may only lead to delay.
1871] Twyford: (BLN 1307.1301) By 28 Aug the Down Main platform country end extension and the
island platform extensions (two separate side platforms, not full width) at the London end were open.
1872] Tilehurst: (BLN 1311.1770) Platform extension work has progressed, on 26 Aug the Up Relief
and Down Main had the ground dug out for foundations at the country end. On the centre island
(Down Relief/Up Main) concrete longitudinal beams were installed on the Up Main at the London end.
1873] Oxford: (BLN 1311.1767) All references to the former Up Main or Down Main should have been
to their new names of Up Oxford or Down Oxford as shown on TRACKmaps Book 3 (Jun 2018) P14A.
Names not shown on this are: ●Oxford Station North Jn (63m 57ch) just north of the Scissors
crossover itself north of P2/3; ●The Oxford Bay Approach (the bidirectional easternmost running line
from the Up Oxford Relief, clear of the north ladder, to P1&2). ●Oxford Station South Jn (63m 27ch).
Regarding the 16.34 Paddington to Great Malvern on Sun 26 Aug crossing right from the Down Oxford
to the Up Oxford at Hinksey North Jn then back to the Down Oxford via Oxford Station South Jn new
trailing crossover, this should happen each time with this train (subject to all trains being on time) due
to Automatic Route Setting. Does anyone know why? Further reports regarding this train welcomed.
1312 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]
1874] Basingstoke: Those who have been at or through recently may have noticed from a train or
from P3 that the brick faced section of Up Slow P4, under the canopy between Café Destino west to
the country end, has been roughly cut back about half a brick revealing the original brick colour at
courses below the top one. This once vertical brick faced section of this platform is understood to date
from the original 1854 station, as is part of the building range Café Destino occupies. Note there is also
a Pumpkin Café on P2/3 - does it perhaps turn into a Desiro coach at midnight? The P4 platform level
itself, under the canopy, is certainly much lower than the other operating platforms resulting in more
vociferous on-train announcements about the step down - particularly arriving CrossCountry trains
from Winchester going north. The work is reported to increase clearances for the new SWR units.
1875] Wokingham: The Wokingham Society has installed a blue plaque celebrating the footbridge:
'SE&CR, Railway, FOOTBRIDGE, made with re-used rails, 1886'. Unusually it has an upper string of a
single curved profile of one large radius over the full span of the bridge, including the stepped parts.
Wokingham Virtual Museum records that the railway then was the South Eastern Railway (SER),
becoming the South Eastern and Chatham Railway Company in 1898. A number of such designs were
built at that time but few, if any, survive and (it) is therefore possibly unique to Wokingham.
The bridge is Grade II listed, originally made from double headed rails¶, with sleepers for the steps.
Some sleepers and rails were replaced by BR in the 1980s (in the latter case by bull-head rails) during
maintenance. The footbridge, a braced bowstring supported on piers, is independent of the station.
The arch of the bowstring girders continues down to ground level. It is a Wokingham landmark and
regarded as one of the foremost examples of innovative industrial archaeology remaining in the town.
Due to its contribution to Wokingham's heritage, the Railway Footbridge is No1 on Wokingham
Society's Blue Plaque Trail https://goo.gl/SFFVJE also available on Wokingham Town History App.
A paper leaflet can be obtained from Wokingham Town Hall Information Centre and Wokingham
Library. See also https://goo.gl/PBZXBk (¶Double head rails soon went out of favour as wear of the
running surface was accompanied by corrosion of the under surface where the rail was on the
chairs. Thus, when it became time to turn the rails top to bottom, the surface which it was hoped
would double the life of the rail had become stepped beyond a usable condition - Regional Editor.)
BELOW: The attractive Grade II Wokingham level crossing footbridge. (Angus McDougall 26 Sep 2013)
1312 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon) [email protected]
1876] Westbury North Jn: (109m 55ch) The pointwork, which is all life expired, is to be relaid on a like
for like basis in Dec (which will require a line closure). There will be some repositioning of up to 21.2m
in one case (those closest to P1 at the London end No1 Line). This particular crossover will also require
a 30mph speed restriction (40mph now). This is because the current trackwork position and
permissible speed does not comply with modern standards without reducing the useable length of P1.
1877] West Somerset Railway: RailMagazine (Issue 857) reports GWR has indicated that it will have
sufficient rolling stock to extend Cardiff to Taunton services through to Bishops Lydeard next year for
interchange with the West Somerset Railway. The period of, or frequency of, service is not mentioned
but it shows that GWR is prepared to allocate and train crew, compile instructions and rosters etc.
1878] Plymouth: The first significant steps are being taken towards a £100M revamp of the city's
station with plans to upgrade the concourse and demolish buildings to make way for a new car park.
Plymouth City Council's Cabinet were to be asked to approve a £26M funding package on 11 Sep to
facilitate a phased upgrade to the concourse and customer facilities. Participants in our recent 'Cornish
Tracker' trip did feel that this major station looked a bit tired and run down. 'Intercity House', built by
British Rail between 1956 and 1962 and the tallest building in Plymouth is to have a makeover too.
1879] Chippenham: (BLN 1311.1772) East of the town NR intends to install similar equipment to that
at Swindon allowing Class 80X IETs to automatically switch from AC to diesel mode (and vice versa)
using track mounted yellow Eurobalises. The OHLE has been cut back to stop at Thingley Jn.
1880] Live News: From 13 Oct more OHLE is due to go live (although elsewhere there have often been
postponement/s to these dates). It extends from the existing electrification limit (107m 24ch) on the
Up and Down Badminton Lines to the Up and Down Filton lines (112m 33ch), the single track Up and
Down Avonmouth Line (112m 04ch), the Up and Down Tunnel Lines (112m 55ch) and Stoke Gifford
Depot (112m 04ch) to (112m 58ch). It includes the Up Bristol Parkway Passenger Loop, Bristol Parkway
P4, Down Bristol Parkway Passenger Loop, Down Bristol Parkway Relief and the Bristol Parkway Goods
Loop. This work is the reason for the Bristol Parkway 15 Sep to 7 Oct closure. In summary, it is from
just west of Westerleigh Jn to Stoke Gifford Jns, inclusive, but short of Filton Jns and Patchway Jns.
Note that Stoke Gifford Hitachi IET Depot west end connection (112m 63ch) to the Down Tunnel is not
yet commissioned. It is still clipped and padlocked with a sleeper across the track. The east end Arrival
Road is off the Up & Down Avonmouth (112m 09ch) and there is a bidirectional connection from the
Depot Exit Line in the Down Tunnel line (112m 11ch) line with an associated trailing crossover.
1881] Portway Park & Ride: (BLN 1288.1870) NR has formally proposed this new single platform
station (8m 04ch - 8m 10ch) on the north side of the single track with associated station facilities. It is
about 460yd northwest of Shirehampton station towards Avonmouth on the Severn Beach branch at
the existing local authority operated Park & Ride (P&R) site on the A4 Portway near J18 of the M5 and
M49. Facilities will include a 5-car platform, waiting shelter, help point and ticket machine. CCTV and
lighting will be provided with walkways from the car park. The final design will be consulted through
the Station Change process. Construction is due to begin in Aug 2019 for completion by Feb 2020.
1882] South Cotswold Line: A member has observed that both platform extensions at Stonehouse
London end appear substantially complete but are not yet open. Kemble (country end) Up platform
has also been extended and is available for use. Stonehouse came close to closure in the early 1970s.
1883] West Somerset Railway: RailMagazine (Issue 857) reports GWR has indicated that it will have
sufficient rolling stock to extend Cardiff to Taunton services through to Bishops Lydeard next year for
interchange with the West Somerset Railway. The period of, or frequency of, service is not mentioned
but it shows that GWR is prepared to allocate and train crew, compile instructions and rosters etc.
1884] And Finally…. a 'potential' problem: On 23 Aug the driver of 18.34 Churchyard Sidings to
Whatley Quarry reported that SY73 signal on the Up Westbury line between Wilton Jn and Warminster
had reverted to red as the train approached. The driver was unable to stop and passed the signal at
red. The reversion was caused by a track circuit voltage issue….
1312 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]
1885] Long Marston: West Midlands Trains has now signed a contract with Vivarail for three 2-car
class 230 DMUs converted at Long Marston to operate the Bedford - Bletchley service from Dec this
year. They will be maintained at Bletchley Depot. Autumn 'Railway Ramblings' (the excellent magazine
of 'Railway Ramblers') reports that the 3m 49ch Long Marston branch, recently temporarily closed for
urgent track repairs, is now being relaid with concrete sleepers and welded rail (BLN 1311.1731).
1886] Wolverhampton: (BLN 1310.1660) 9-car Pendolinos can be accommodated in P3 but not 11-car.
1887] Dudley: (BLN 1298.273) NR has confirmed that the Very Light Rail Innovation Centre will have no
material effect on the network or its operation. NR is therefore proposing a formal Network Change
for the section of the Round Oak - Walsall/Bescot line required by Dudley Council for the scheme.
This effectively gives the go ahead for the project and land acquisition as funding has been secured.
1888] West Midlands Metro: There has been use of the Grand Central trailing crossover recently by
trams reversing in service at (arrival) P1. This occurs to maintain the frequency when tram/s are
missing, during late running or special events. If crowds crossing to New Street station during events,
(such as at the German Christmas Market) are excessive, trams can reverse in P1 for safety reasons.
1312 YORKSHIRE & NORTH HUMBERSIDE (Graeme Jolley; Geoff Blyth for North & East Yorks)
1889] Derwent Valley Railway: (BLNs 1304.981 & 1305.1080) https://goo.gl/tqPDmh (3¾ mins) is a
colour film trip along the line from York Layerthorpe to Cliff Common - the next best thing to riding.
1890] British Steel Redcar (BSR): (BLN 1260.1306) On 14 Aug a member boarded the 16.55* service to
Bishop Auckland at Redcar Central and asked the conductor: Does this train definitely stop at British
Steel Redcar? The timetable shows mandatory stops rather than stopping on request. Officially 50
passengers are recorded as using the station in 2016-17 or less than one per week on average. With 24
trains per week serving the station on average 26 trains have to stop for one recorded passenger to
board or alight. 740 passengers used it the year before - the latter similar to the 1997/98 figure of 704,
which could just be two regular commuters. [*Running time then 3 minutes for the 2m 8ch.]
Conductors on this line are probably used to such travellers as he perceptively and correctly replied:
That's the only reason you are here! The train duly stopped at the station and our member was able to
nip off, take a couple of photos and reboard. Curiously the platforms, footbridge and shelters are of
much better quality than some in regular use such as at the neighbouring South Bank station.
The current service is (SuX) 07.57 & 16.58 to Bishop Auckland, 08.24 & 18.17 to Saltburn. The 08.24
departure is actually a through train from Hexham (06.09). At one time there was an hourly service
with extra trains in the peaks. Our member had considered waiting there for the eastbound 18.17
return departure but, given that one eastbound train had already been cancelled that day, there was a
risk of being stranded until the next morning so he said 'tata' to that idea. He was informed that NR
has recently blocked off the steelworks/public entrance to the station so that the only access or egress
is now by train! The station facilities page on the National Rail website has some relevant notes:
Redcar British Steel station is located within the Tata Steel complex. This station has an extremely
limited service of just one train a day in each direction†; Onward travel information - Information to
plan your onward journey is available https://goo.gl/8bW8Ka in a printable format.
This link is to a local map showing bus stops and taxi services which presumably no longer apply.
Is this now the only truly inaccessible NR station in the country other than Smallbrook Junction, which
is an exchange station, of course? Thinking of other candidates, the 'Lympstone Exton Cycle Path' runs
right past Lympstone Commando (a private station for access only to those on pre-arranged business
with the Commando Camp) between it and the camp. There is a footpath to Dovey Junction - once
Glandovey Junction. (No road access to station. Use un-named footpath to reach a bus stop on the
A487 approx 1 mile away). This footpath joins the A487 road at the former Glandyfi (once Glandovey)
station CP 14 Jun 1965. There is a large new sign indicating it is the way in to Dovey Junction station.
There is nothing on the website to say that IBM (Wemyss Bay branch) is not a public station and a
footpath appears to run nearby. [†Not so! - See earlier above, it's two each way SuX of course!]
ABOVE: The then rather shorter Aberystwyth line platform at Dovey Junction on 14 Aug 1962, the ¾
mile foot path to Glandyfi station (then open) is left of the fence beyond the platform. A train from
Aberystwyth is entering the bidirectional loop which did not have a platform (the loop was later
removed) to cross a Down Aberystwyth train which will run via the platform line. (Angus McDougall)
1891] Whitby: From 6 Apr 2007 North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) through services shared the
only platform (P1) at Whitby with Northern. This seriously restricted the level of service that could be
operated. To overcome this, the NYMR built a second platform (P2)# adjacent to the Co-op store, with
a run round loop which could be operated independently (within station limits) from Northern's trains,
even though both had to share the line, to Grosmont Ground Frame (in the Glaisdale token section).
P2 was commissioned on 24 July 2014, there was an ECS test train on 4 Aug and public trains began
12 Aug 2014. In the 2018 peak service Whitby P2 has NYMR trains from 09.45-10.00, 11.05-12.45,
13.45-14.00, 14.55-16.40 and 17.45-18.00. During the same period Northern has services in P1 at
11.51-11.58 and 15.36-15.59. Thus there is an overlap twice each day. NYMR services arrive tender/
bunker first and depart smokebox first so as to be best able to attack the severe 1 in 49 gradient
between Grosmont and Goathland. At Grosmont a train for Whitby draws forward then stops while
the token is brought from the signal box along a path, newly fenced off from the running lines.
On Thur 30 Aug a points problem at Whitby meant that NYMR and Northern services unusually had to
share P1 (which has permissive working for passenger trains). In the absence of the run-round loop
NYMR trains were 'top & tailed', with a diesel at the Grosmont end. There remain two very rusty
sidings at Whitby, once for trains to recess such as a rare charter to the seaside but these are most
unlikely to have been used during the points failure as (impressively) all trains ran to time. On our Jul
2017 'Pickering Paxman' tour the local advice was that they are effectively out of use. (#Whitby used to
have four platforms, with two shorter bays on the east side, now obliterated by the Co-op store.)
1892] Calderdale: Growing road congestion and increasing use of rail mean that more stations will be
needed. The council is planning a new station at Elland and considering others such as Hipperholme.
Passenger numbers have increased at most stations between 2010 and 2017: Halifax 10%, Sowerby
Bridge 9%, Hebden Bridge 8%, Todmorden 13% and Walsden 7%. However, Brighouse has led the
way, with a 49% increase, probably due to the service introduced in 2012 from the upper valley
through Brighouse to Mirfield, Dewsbury and Leeds, with a connection to Huddersfield. The focus up
to now has been on enhancing rolling stock and making improvements to services and timetabling.
However, recent poor reliability has had a negative effect on the borough's community and economic
performance. The main objectives include better connections between principal stations including
faster and more frequent trains, more capacity to help those commuting to Manchester or Leeds and
aligning development, land use and wider transport plans to make best use of the railway and
strengthen rail demand. But anecdotal evidence suggests poor reliability is now reducing confidence in
the service and leads to people using alternative transport, usually their cars.
1893] Sheffield: Engineering consultant Atkins has been appointed to lead a consortium developing a
masterplan by April 2019 to consider what needs to be done to ensure Sheffield Midland station
provides a suitable environment for HS2. It will include the City's growth strategy, looking at what can
be done to release development potential of the surrounding area over the next 20 years and consider
possible actions to improve connections. These are for rail, tram and bus users as well as pedestrians
and cyclists. HS2 services are expected to begin in 2033 and will reduce London journey times by
40 minutes [depending where you want to go exactly in London!] The improved station could also
support more frequent and faster rail services to Manchester, Leeds and other northern cities.
1894] Biomess! At 07.00 on 13 Aug the Wakefield Kirkgate signaller reported six wrong side track
circuit failures on the Up Goole line at Pontefract Monkhill after the 06.39 Knottingley to Leeds had
passed through. Modified working was introduced from Pontefract Monkhill to Crofton East Jn;
a Mobile Operations Manager (MOM) and S&T staff attended. At 07.14 the driver reported that all
eight wheelsets had been contaminated with 'white powder'. The following 07.02 Knottingley to Leeds
operated all the track circuits correctly. The MOM advised that the Up Goole line was contaminated
with biomass pellets. This was cleaned up and the track circuits observed to operate correctly, with
modified working withdrawn at 16.07. The wheelsets discoloured by Biomass dust were also cleaned.
1895] Chapeltown Central: https://goo.gl/NPcsgX This former station 'unrestored with many original
features' near Sheffield was sold at auction for £395k on 4 Sep (guide price £250k+). Described as a
'unique restoration project' part had already been converted into a family home. With three bedrooms
and almost an acre of land, it still has the original ticket office, first, second and third-class waiting
rooms as well as canopies and an overgrown platform.
It was on the former South Yorkshire Railway Blackburn Valley line, later the Great Central route
between Sheffield and Barnsley, which ran closely parallel to the current former Midland Railway line.
The line OA 4 Sep 1854 between Blackburn Jn (later Blackburn Valley Jn), on the Midland Railway
north of Sheffield, and Aldam Jn on the Doncaster to Barnsley line. Chapeltown station was enlarged
in 1877. It was renamed Chapeltown & Thorncliffe in Jun 1895 then, after nationalisation, Chapeltown
Central from 18 Jun 1951, but CP from 7 Dec 1953 on withdrawal of passenger service over the route.
The line closed completely in sections; through Chapeltown CA 7 Mar 1966 (for M1 construction) from
Rockingham South (SE 350 007) - (SK 363 958) 'Smithy Wood' Colliery. The colliery closed in 1972 but
rail traffic remained to/from 'Smithywood' (sic) Coking Plant as a branch from the south until at least
Sep 1973. As an aside, coke trains unusually ran to Scunthorpe on a Sunday morning (a pair of Class
20s and a good way to do the branch and beyond with a friendly train crew, as most were).
https://goo.gl/LxrCwq has a video of Chapeltown Central.
NEXT PAGE TOP: Chapeltown Central, the front drive that passengers would have walked up.
LOWER: The platform side of the building. (Both from https://goo.gl/w3jBU9 which has 38 pictures.)
ABOVE: Little Weighton station; considering it was a rural backwater with few passenger trains it was
hardy a little station! BELOW: Every garden should have one…! (Quick & Clarke)
ABOVE: Little Weighton once had double track with two platforms. (Angus McDougall 24 May 1979)
1896] Little Weighton: https://goo.gl/xrXVTV This impressive 3,500ft2 former station (SE 982 335)
with some original features in the Yorkshire Wolds near Hull has been sold subject to contract; guide
price £850k. Set in 1½ acres, it has 5 beds, 6 reception rooms, a converted ticket office, waiting room
and station master's office. The station was on the ex-Hull, Barnsley & West Riding Junction Railway
and Dock Company, OA 20 Jul 1885. However, the line never reached Barnsley, stopping a few miles
short at Stairfoot. The name was changed to the Hull & Barnsley Railway (H&BR) in 1905 which was
absorbed by the North Eastern Railway (NER) on1 Apr 1922, before Grouping. The Springbank North
Jn - Walton St Jn chord enabled the H&BR Cannon Street station in Hull to CP 14 Jul 1924 on diversion
of services to the NER Hull Paragon. The line CP west of South Howden (SE 750 286) 1 Jan 1932; Hull -
South Howden (with Little Weighton) CP 1 Aug 1955. West of Little Weighton officially CA 6 Apr 1959
to Gowdall Jn (SE 612 226 south west of Drax), although Little Weighton - South Howden was used by
timber traffic to the end of Jul 1959. Springhead, Locomotive Jn (Hull) - Little Weighton CA 6 Jul 1964.
1312 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]
1897] Belfast Hub: This proposed new station, more or less on the site of the Great Northern Railway
(Ireland) Grosvenor Street Goods station, has been indefinitely delayed, unfortunate news for
members who didn't do it as a goods station. This is due to the lack of a devolved Northern Ireland
administration whose responsibility it is to approve the project. A recent court case established that
civil servants do not have the authority to approve projects in the absence of devolved ministers.
1898] Mass Transit: (BLN 1310.1693) Extra services for the Papal Mass Mon 26 Aug included a rare
Londonderry to Connolly through train (a pair of Class 3000 DMUs) - with a long walk to Phoenix Park.
1899] IR Driver Shortages: (BLN 1311.1794) As well as the Nenagh line and Cork commuter branches
continuing to be affected at times, on Thur 6 Sep half of the Limerick Junction to Waterford services
were buses not trains (specifically 07.20 Waterford to Limerick Junction, arr 09.08, and 09.40 return).
1900] South Wexford Line: (BLN 1311.1795) Clearly aiming for a record number of mentions in BLN,
according to the Weekly Circulars, there were indeed two separate eastbound (Waterford to Rosslare
Strand) workings last month. An Inspection Car ran on 15 Aug and, presumably having confirmed the
line was still there, then the Track Recording Car on 21 Aug. https://goo.gl/LxxnHz (16 mins) is a very
interesting video of Car No723 working westbound on 19 Jun 2018 and Track Recording Vehicle EM50,
on 26 Jun. This latter working had previously escaped the BLN net. As well as these interesting vehicles
it shows the current (remarkably good) state of the line some eight years after closure to passengers.
1901] Racecourse: The €300M, 7.5km LUAS Green line extension from Sandyford to Brides Glen
OP 16 Oct 2010. Stops at Racecourse, 2.82km from Brides Glen end of line and Brennanstown
(1.86km) were completed but not opened due to lack of the planned development and infrastructure.
Racecourse is a 'substantial' distance from Leopardstown Racecourse and Horse Racing Ireland has
never provided access from it. However, it was used for one day, Sun 26 Aug 2018, for the Pope's visit.
1902] Irish Rail: A new timetable started Sun 9 Sep. The changes are mainly on the Connolly side to
accommodate a 10 minute interval DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) service but withdrawal of some
DMU stops at some outer suburban stations has left many passengers unhappy. Portmarnock will
have 9 trains instead of 12 to Dublin between 06.30 and 09.30 in the week for example, and these are
now 'all stations' DART services running every 20 minutes. The changes can be summarised as follows:
♣DART: Frequency improved to every 10 minutes in both directions (06.50 to 20.00 approx, SSuX) Bray
- Howth Junction, alternating between Howth and Malahide. Greystones frequency remains every 30
minutes. However, trains are expected to be 4-car rather than 6/8. When DART started on 23 Jul 1984
it took 60 minutes for the 23 miles from Bray to Howth, although to be fair AA route planner shows
around 58 minutes for 36 miles by road. However, DART is now 75 minutes but with two more stops.
On the first evening four DART services were cancelled/curtailed ('operational reasons' - no driver??).
♣Maynooth & M3 Parkway: Minor departure time changes throughout the day, including some earlier
departure times. Some off-peak weekday services and all weekend services will operate from/to
Dublin Connolly and Maynooth only, instead of Dublin Pearse. ♣Drogheda/Dundalk: Minor departure
time changes throughout the day, including some earlier departure times. Howth Junction, Clongriffin
and Portmarnock will be served by fewer weekday Northern Commuter services due to the increased
DART frequency. 17.13 Pearse to Newry now serves Donabate. Some off-peak weekday services and
all weekend services operate between Connolly and Drogheda/Dundalk only, instead of Pearse. The
weekend changes are ready for the possessions required to repair Pearse station roof (BLN 1296.71).
♣Sligo Line: Minor departure time changes throughout the day, some are earlier. 11.00, 13.00, 15.00
& 19.15 Connolly to Sligo and 07.05, 09.05, 11.05, 13.05, 15.05 & 18.00 Sligo to Connolly now also call
at Drumcondra. This means that all long distance services now call there to Dublin, and all from Dublin
Connolly including Sundays, except 08.00 SuX (PSUL via Newcomen Jn); 17.10 (SuX) & 18.15 (SSuX).
♣Rosslare: Some minor revisions and 18.00 (SSuX) Rosslare to Connolly now leaves 17.30 [connects
with 13.10 ferry from Fishguard arriving 16.25!]; 10.25 (SuO) Connolly to Rosslare now leaves 09.45.
♣Newbridge/Hazelhatch - Grand Canal Dock and Heuston Commuter Services: Minor changes all day.
♣Waterford: 07.10 to Heuston is advanced to 07.05 to additionally serve Bagenalstown. Other lines:
no changes but all pdf timetables https://goo.gl/XDDWTT except Dublin - Cork have been re-issued.
An IR spokesperson said 'After the early weeks of operation, we will review this to establish if we are
adequately catering for demand from all stations in the revised schedule (both DART and Northern
Commuter), and we will advise … if there are any further changes arising ... Longer term, as population
grows, we will be investing in this route over the coming years, including electrification to Drogheda, a
new fleet of 300 carriages for Greater Dublin area services generally, and other measures to allow us
to increase the frequency and capacity of the service.' Further timetable revisions are expected 9 Dec.
1312 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
X.135] ABOVE: IOM Director of Transport Ian Longworth (he gets about a bit… and all the best jobs)
taking 'William' and Car 12 into the tram shed after the end of the horse tram cavalcade on the final
day of the Manx Electric Railway 125th anniversary celebrations. (Jenny Williamson 8 Sep 2018)
1312 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe) [email protected]
1903] Aberdeen - Kittybrewster: As part of the Aberdeen to Inverness (East) Project, two new
sections of track were installed during the line closure between 12 May and 19 Aug 2018. They are
from 0m 1628yds to 1m 290yds and 1m 571yds to 6m 0yds (Dyce). They remain out of operational use
until commissioning next year with a view to the all day half-hourly Aberdeen to Inverurie service
starting 8 Dec 2019. Kittybrewster also has a new run round loop for the Aberdeen Waterloo branch.
1904] East Linton: (BLN 1265.1888) (CP 4 May 1964; CA 25 Jan 1965) This is now a substantial small
town; the station was well sited close to the centre. The Scottish Government plans to re-open it, on a
site just to the west of the original, which survives almost intact. The substantial Down side buildings
are in typical North British Railway style, though probably do not date from the opening of the line.
What is assumed to be the station house, in the courtyard, is impressive. It is in a baronial style with
two storeys, five windows upstairs and two by two downstairs either side of the front door, with faux
battlements at the roof line. A short section of platform remains on the Down side on the bridge over
the town's main street. The whole is best viewed from the public footbridge which spans the site.
NEXT PAGE: The remains of East Linton station (Down side) on the East Coast Main Line
between Dunbar and Drem. (Angus McDougall 14 Aug 2016)
1905] Hunterston High Level: (BLN 1309.1581) On 31 Aug the coal loader was being stripped down
and demolished. The final loaded coal train left on Thur 6 Apr 2017 at 19.33 for Drax Power Station
worked by GBRf (arriving there 06.30 next morning). The empty wagons had arrived at 16.48 from the
Port of Tyne (leaving there 09.34). The last railtour was our 'BLS Hunterston Tracker' on 13 Oct 2012.
1906] Edinburgh Trams: During the 2018 Edinburgh Festival over 600,000 passenger journeys (up 7%
on 2017) were made and £1.3M revenue recorded. Services ran as often as every three minutes, seven
days a week including the all night service on Saturdays. Additional customer service and ticket selling
was available at key locations such as Edinburgh Airport, Ingliston Park & Ride and Princes Street.
A final decision is expected on the extension to Newhaven via Leith Walk in the next few months.
1907] Kintore: (BLN 1271.3212) (CP 7 Dec 1964) It has been confirmed that a two platform station is to
be built (13m 29ch) between Dyce and Inverurie on the north side of the town beside the B987 and
Northern Road. Estimated opening is 8 Dec 2019. The first new station in North East Scotland since
Lawrencekirk in 2009, it will have a footbridge, a 168 space car park and two electric charging points.
1908] Kyle of Lochalsh: The 'Friends of the Kyle Line' plan to regenerate the terminus. This involves
improving circulation space, provision of heating and insulation at the Museum for winter opening,
with a local history section that focuses on rail/marine/fishing. Upgrading the railway museum would
allow better presentation of exhibits, including the original double faced station clock. Removal of
partition walls and cladding would show the original fabric of the building and allow a local market on
the platform (Dumfries style!). More parking, public art features and a play area for children is also
planned. The model railway in the signal box (rather remote from the station and not accessible by
wheelchair) could hopefully be moved to the station. Readers can join the 'Friends' of the Kyle Line
http://www.kylerailway.co.uk/ to help to support them for only £10 (minimum) annual subscription.
'Now & Then' - an occasional feature: ABOVE: Kyle of Lochalsh on 6 Aug 2018 (you want to see it in
winter!) - the day after our sunny visit to Invergarry station - the DMU is at the end of line in the
'preferred' platform. BELOW: 13 Sep 1977 with quite a few wagons, but no freight. (Ian Mortimer)
1909] Attadale: On the Kyle line falling rocks are an ongoing problem here; there is a rail 'rock shelter'
from 48m 22ch to 19m 34ch. A permanent solution needs to be found for the road though. Serious
falls in 2011 and 2012 resulted in the A890 road being closed for many months with a 130 mile detour!
Of particular concern is that two buses pass with school children between the north side of
Loch Carron and the school in Plockton, on the south side. Options include bypassing the area with a
new road, costing around £100M+. Three proposals involve the line. One would be the road sharing
the railway route controlled by signals for both modes of transport. The second would be to convert
the section to tramway operation, with the train driver using 'line of sight' as with trams. The third
would be to convert the whole Dingwall to Kyle of Lochalsh route to a tramway, possibly extended to
Inverness using tram/train style vehicles. The Friends of the Kyle Line support the retention of the
railway, as there are many excursions (including steam-hauled), and for possible future freight use.
1910] St Fort: The ground frame (54m 00ch), OOU since 2015, served Linkswood fuel facility for RAF
Leuchars. This is now closed, and there is no need for the sidings. It has been agreed to retain the
ground frame as now for at least three years. It can be brought back into use with four months notice.
1911] Perth: Arnold Clark has sold its St Leonards Bank showroom in the city centre to NR for £950k.
This is to create a new maintenance depot as presently staff are scattered across several locations.
1312 WALES (Chris Parker) [email protected]
1912] Wide to gauge trap points: (BLN 1309.1592) Two sets of these exist at the slightly unfortunately
named Cae Pawb$ Cambrian Coast Line/Welsh Highland Railway flat crossing east of Porthmadog NR
station. They are north and south of this crossing on the narrow gauge only. ($ Translates as 'Everyone's
Field' in English whereas the objective of the signalling system is of course to prevent it becoming so!)
1913] North Wales De-quadrupling: (BLN 1309.1595) Thanks to Mike Addison, this summarises past
BLN information (BLN 1275.460 starts the back reference trail) concerning the closure of the slow lines
on the North Wales Coast route, in the Down direction. Dn = Down; DF = Down Fast; DS = Down Slow;
US = Up Slow; UM = Up Main; Sdg/s = Siding/s; → = became/renamed & DPL Down Passenger Loop.
Line Dn Slow Up Slow North Wales Coast Slow Lines Closures in Down Direction
Chester No6 - Chester No 6 closed 05/05/1984, junction renamed Chester South Jn. DS starts there
Roodee Jn (inside Windmill Lane Tunnel), US is part of three track section to Chester station.
Roodee Jn - Physical connection removed at Saltney Jn 03/12/1972 then DS became the Up
Saltney Jn Wrexham, US became Dn Wrexham from Chester No6 Roodee Jn (east end of bridge).
DM closed 21/10/1979. UM closed 23/10/1979; the former slow lines were
redesignated Main Lines with two tracks from Chester to Saltney Jn for Wrexham.
Saltney Jn - 23/09/1979 03/12/1972 Sandycroft - Mold Jn No4 became the Up Reception, US
20/09/1987 20/07/1995 → Up Goods & rest of US to Saltney Jn closed 03/12/1972.
Mold Jn Up Goods closed 20/07/1995. Down Slow closed 23/9/1979
Mold Jn No4 -
Sandycroft No2 - DS stop blocked 235yd Flint side of Sandycroft. US stop
Connahs Quay 09/11/1966 06/11/1966 blocked 220yd Flint side of Dundas Sdg to form a siding.
Dundas Sdg box closed; surviving points hand operated.
Muspratts Sdgs - 20/03/1965 20/03/1965 DS was severed Chester side of Bagillt to form a siding.
Bagillt - Holywell 14/03/1965 07/05/1967 US part retained at Holywell to form the 70 wagon Up
Goods (towards Chester) and Courtaulds connections.
Four tracks were retained at Holywell as the Up Goods Loop and the Down Goods Loop until 23/03/2018.
Holywell No2 - 27/10/1966 DS stop blocked 378yd on the Talacre side of Holywell.
Line Dn Slow Up Slow North Wales Coast Slow Lines Closures in Down Direction
DS severed 645yd Rhyl side of Mostyn, became the Down
Mostyn No2 - 19/03/1967 26/03/1967 Sdg. New connection at Prestatyn DF/DS 180yd Holywell
Prestatyn No1 side. US severed 520yd Holywell side of Prestatyn to
525yd short of Mostyn → Up Sdg 1 (Sdgs 1-4 → Sdgs 2-5).
Prestatyn Dn PL 25/10/1992
25/03/1990 16/02/1969 Rhyl Down Main & Down Loop were retained.
Prestatyn No2 - 11/10/1987
Rhyl No1 US severed 196yd Chester side of Foryd to 196yd Foryd
28/01/1990 side of Abergele (sidings removed) and US formed the
Rhyl No1 - No2, 14/01/1973 Up Loop platform. (Up Sdg at Foryd connected with UM.)
Dn Pass Loop Through UM slued into Up Platform line.
Rhyl No 2 - No1, 31/05/1970 Down Loop closed 07/01/2017 for widening of P2 out
Up Fast to align with the Down Main.
Rhyl No2 -
Rhyl No2 - Foryd
Foryd - 23/04/1967
Abergele, Up 11/12/1988
Abergele Down Main and Down Loop
were retained at 11/12/1988
Abergele (West) - 14/03/1965 14/03/1965
31/07/1967 DS retained to a stop block (405yd Llandudno Jn side of
Colwyn Bay) → DPL & 45 wagon yard headshunt. DS Marl
Colwyn Bay No1 - Sdg - Llandudno Jn became an Engineer's Sdg 31/07/1967.
DPL severed at Chester end to form Down Sdg 14/09/1980.
Llandudno Jn Dn Sdg headshunt (= rest of DS) abolished 14/05/1982.
US closed from 222m 62ch, rest formed UPL at Llandudno
03/07/1967 Jn 03/07/1967. Colwyn Bay Up Loop abolished 09/10/1983.
Formation altered (Mochdre) - roadworks 01/1984. Small
section of UPL restored (Colwyn Bay P3 Museum) 1988.
1914] Bishton Crossing: This GWR Type 12a signal box (152m 01ch) built in 1941 during quadrupling
between Severn Tunnel Jn and Newport was visited by our much travelled signalling specialist on
11 Aug. It was downgraded to a ground frame, initially released by Magor Signal Box, when Stage 1 of
the Newport Multiple Aspect Signalling scheme https://goo.gl/DixWTB was implemented over the
weekend of 15/17 Apr 1961. The frame was then reduced from 38 levers to 3 (former 36-38, of which
one is a space). There is also a 2-lever frame for the wicket pedestrian gates, now out of use.
ABOVE & BELOW: Bishton Crossing Gate Box and the gates is a bit of an anachronism on the 4-track
South Wales main line which is 'currently' being electrified. (All pictures by Nick Jones on 11 Aug 2018.)
The Bishton Flyover (152m 29ch) just east of the crossing, was brought into use at the same time, part
of the rearrangement of Main and Relief lines for the opening of Llanwern Steel Works. The box
houses one of the few remaining functioning NR gate wheels but its use is rare as the alternative road
under the railway is closed to HGVs and the crossing is only available to other vehicles which are too
tall to pass beneath this underbridge - headroom 5'6" - and then only between 06.00 and 22.00 (06.00-
23.00 SX Jun-Aug)! [It sounds as though a special Society trip is required in a vehicle that meets all the
criteria.] The gates are normally closed across the road which is, of course, much narrower than the
four track railway and the pedestrian wicket gates are long out of use. Remarkably the crossing keeper
advised that these arrangements are expected to remain unaffected by the (to the layman, somewhat
haphazard) present electrification work and that the box is likely to survive until at least 2024!
1916] Newport/Swindon non-stop: On 31 Aug, the 09.29 Swansea to Paddington HST left 31 minutes
late and was announced at Cardiff as missing out its booked Newport and Swindon stops to make up
time. (Connections were available on the 10.56 Cardiff to Paddington IET service, regulated behind the
09.29). The HST crossed Up Main to Up Relief at Gaer Jn (nicely complementing the reverse move on
our 'Marching Crompton' tour four days earlier) before taking the Up Relief Line (one of the middle
lines) through Newport station (a first for the correspondent on a service train - maybe its OHLE will
see occasional use‽) before crossing straight over to the Up Main. A speedy approach preceded
routing via the Up Main (the middle platformless line) at Swindon station, available on diverted non-
stop services but uncommon on South Wales to London trains. Despite the missed stops, arrival into
London was 39 mins late losing a further 8 mins and the regulated 10.56 arrived 19 mins late!
On Thur 6 Sep the 09.15 Paddington to Cardiff HST was delayed over 30 mins for safety checks.
The Newport stop was removed to try to achieve its booked 11.56 return from Cardiff but it simply
proceeded non-stop along Newport P2 at reduced speed. Just before Cardiff Central the train did
unusually cross from Down Main to Up Main so it was in the right platform for return to London.
1917] And (almost) finally…debranding (BLN 1311.1809): Seen from our 'Marching Crompton' railtour
on 27 Aug, one Pacer unit then still with Arriva branding was 143609 'Sir Tom Jones'. Its paintwork
appeared particularly shabby to your Regional Ed but a fellow passenger who deserves to remain
nameless (and not a raffle team member, surprisingly) quickly assured him that it's not unusual…
1915] Bala - Blaenau F(f)estiniog Central: Despite being full to capacity in early May, the subsequent
record hot dry summer this year has seen Llyn Celyn reservoir fall to its lowest level for several years
revealing much of the normally submerged section of this branch. A 'Daily Post' 20 Aug report includes
some excellent photos and a video https://goo.gl/6pjWcD (2 mins). In anticipation of the water level
falling still further, or at least not rising, during the early autumn, a Railway Ramblers exploration
including any remains of Capel Celyn village revealed is provisionally planned for Wed 16 Oct and it
may be possible to include Railway Ramblers non-members. Contact your Wales Regional Editor to
register interest. The Bala to Blaenau F(f)estiniog section CP from Mon 4 Jan 1960; the last railtour
was on Sun 22 Jan 1961 and the final freight train ran on Fri 27 Jan 1961. Work started on building the
reservoir that year to supply Liverpool and by 1965 it had flooded part of the branch along with Capel
Celyn village. The reservoir was first proposed in 1956 along with, originally, a deviation to the branch.
In 1996 Liverpool CITY Council issued anapology for destroying the village and flooding the valley.
NEXT TWO PAGES: A series of recent pictures of the exposed Bala to Blaeneau F(f)estiniog (Central)
branch trackbed between Capel Celyn and Tyddyn Bridge. (All Chris Parker, who's feet stayed dry.)
ABOVE & BELOW: 'Now and Then (2)', showing the reservoir when full (above) and below a composite
(unfortunately you can spot the join quite easily) comparative one-inch map of the same area in 1953.
1312 MINOR RAILWAYS (Peter Scott) [email protected]
MR168] Eden Valley Railway, Cumbria (MR p9) (e-BLN 1308.X104): A visit was made here on a rather
damp Tuesday 24 July. This railway has relatively few opening days, mainly Sundays, but in the school
holidays it runs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays as well. That said, it was disappointing that the very
welcoming and accommodating staff only had 4 passengers for the 11.00 departure from Warcop and
none for the noon train, much to the obvious disappointment of the driver. A Day Rover was £6, for
the just over 2 mile journey towards Appleby and back, with small bright green card tickets issued.
Stock was 3-car 'Hampshire' DEMU 205009. Externally, it is in BR carmine and cream, but internally is
unchanged from its battered ex-Southern Region state complete with etched windows. The return trip
takes some 25 minutes. The rather cramped and full storage tracks at Warcop contained numerous
ex-Southern 4 CEP vehicles and battery luggage vans, together with loco 47799 and various industrial
diesel locos. Warcop station has a single platform on the northeast side of the track and a preserved
signalbox that offered good cover on the wet day. Our reporter was told that the line's ambitions to
extend further towards Appleby are not proving easy and the trackbed is owned by Sustrans.
ABOVE: Warcop station on 25 Jul 2017. (Angus McDougall)
MR169] Steeple Grange Light Railway (SGLR), Derbyshire (MR p14) (BLN 1307.MR120): Good summer
weather and volunteer availability has enabled better progress on levelling, packing and aligning of the
track on the final extension into Middleton than was expected. Sunday passenger services are already
able to proceed a further 100 yards beyond Sandy Hill level crossing. It is now anticipated that the line
into the new Middleton terminus will be traversable by Railway Ramblers (RR) 27 September special
trains, probably including the new siding and loading dock layout there. Arrangements may be made
for additional passenger workings on that day for persons who are not SGLR or RR members, either
mid-morning or later in the afternoon with applications via Railway Ramblers. In the past our Society
has also had several very good all line trips at this friendly railway and we hope to do more in future.
MR170] Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills Railway, Essex (MR p16) (BLN 1296.MR7): A new
2' 6" gauge railway is rather unusual! The WARGM Railway has been under construction by a small
group in the grounds of the Royal Gunpowder Mills at Waltham Abbey for the last few years. Very
limited passenger trains ran in 2017 and early 2018, but regular advertised passenger trains began on
Wednesday 25 July 2018 as part of the Royal Gunpowder Mills school summer holiday events. These
ran on Wednesdays only until early September (carrying a total of 150 passengers according to the
Railway). The line is an 'E' run of 700 yards, with a station at each end - although currently only the
southern end station has passenger access. Also on site is the 7¼" gauge Bangs Galore & Gunpowder
Creek Railway (formerly known as 'Uncle John's Railway'). This is now 320 yards in length and its
northern end station is close to the southern end station on the 2' 6" gauge line. A dedicated member
visited on Wednesday 8 August for the two railways that both ran Wednesdays only in the summer
school holidays. The railway tickets are on sale once the admission price of £10.50 has been paid - the
miniature is £1 per trip and narrow gauge £2 per trip. On the narrow gauge, trains ran at 12.15, 14.00
and 15.00. These were hauled by 4wDH DH888 (BD3755/ 1981) in yellow livery. There is no access/
egress to the northern station - which is near the railway's shed, works and yard but passengers were
allowed to alight to watch the run-round move. The Society had superb visits to both railways on
Sunday 9 September, the most likely running days are in school holidays but as always check first.
MR171] Isle Abbots Railway, Somerset (MR p23): On the weekend of 9/10 June, this private 7¼"
gauge railway (BELOW) was advertised running as part of the village Open Gardens weekend. A visit on
the Sunday afternoon, however, found it not in use. According to staff in the village hall tearoom there
had been 'an incident' the previous day. Our member was not enlightened as to what had gone wrong.
On Sunday 19 August in what appears to be a world first, David Henshaw of 'Miniature Railway'
magazine, and ten-year-old son Orlando set a human-powered endurance (unofficial) record for a
miniature. The 12-hour marathon took place between 08.20 and 20.20 at the railway. Riding their
'Greenspeed X4' recumbent in shifts of 10 to 40 minutes, they completed 325.7 circuits, a total of
117.4 miles, at an average of 9.78mph. https://goo.gl/xbQ1dc has details, a video, plans and pictures.
ABOVE: Hythe Pier Tramway - the pier head end. (Angus McDougall Sat 21 Jul 1979; this visit was an
optional part of the RCTS 'Marchwood Volunteer No2 Railtour' for the Marchwood Port open day.
It was not compulsory to participate in this tour; but those that did traversed some interesting track.
MR172] Hythe Pier Railway, Hampshire (MR p18) (BLN 1287.MR160): On 30 June 2018, when our
roving reporter attended, the ferry service was operated by 'Jenny Blue'. On the 2ft gauge railway, the
train was formed of the locomotive, coaches 1, 2 & 3 and the 4-wheel luggage trolley. The fuel truck
was stabled at the pier head. The second locomotive and the fourth coach were at the landward end
of the pier. Our reporter was invited to take a closer look at the two locos, but warned to 'mind the
conductor rail' - something he has been doing since 1956! In Southampton, a bus service connects
Central Station and Town Quay, from where the ferry sails; otherwise it is a 20 minute one mile walk.
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Springy's Railroad - having just departed from the station, the locomotive -
now with a steam outline body - passes a model church. (Peter Scott 11 Aug 2018)
MR173] Springfields Miniature Railway, Lincolnshire (MR p20) (BLN 1301.MR54): This 7¼" gauge
railway opened on 24 July 2014, running in a circuit of 180 yards, around woodland adjacent to the
Festival Gardens at the large Springfields Outlet Shopping & Leisure Centre on the eastern side of
Spalding. Over the early spring of this year, Springfields constructed a new 'Adventure Land' attraction,
which encompassed the railway and added various outside attractions, aimed at children. Adventure
Land opened on Saturday 30 June at which time the railway reopened as 'Springy's Railroad'.
A visit on Saturday 11 August found the railway little changed. The only station is now called 'Springy's
station' and trains still pass around the circuit in the same clockwise direction. However, there has
been a minor realignment to the northwest corner of the circuit, where the curve has been evened
out. Otherwise, the track layout is unchanged. Inside the circuit, part of the woodland has become the
'Tree Top Village' climbing attraction. Despite the web site stating it is a 'steam railway' the same
internal combustion locomotive (but now a steam outline body) and two sit-in open coaches are used.
The website suggests that entrance tickets have to be purchased to gain access to Adventure Land and
then buy a ticket for the railway. But our reporter was told separate entrance tickets were not
required and only a ticket for the train was needed. This was £2 (a till roll receipt) for which one circuit
is given. The way the site has been set up would seem to indicate it is/was intended to charge
admission to Adventure Land. Access to the station and Tree Top Village is over a level crossing
protected by automatic gates, monitored by a member of staff. A separate gate and level crossing
from outside Adventure Land leads into the remaining woodland and gardens around which the
railway operates. Parking at Springfields is chargeable, but free parking is available nearby or in
Spalding and is recommended as the parking and roads in Springfields can become chaotic!
Stagecoach's 505 bus between Spalding and King's Lynn runs into the car park. Adventure Land and the
railway are open daily all year from 10.00 to 16.00, 17.00 or 18.00 depending on the time of year.
MR174] Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway, Lincolnshire (MR p20) (BLN 1301.MR52): Our reporter
visited this 15" gauge railway for the 70th Anniversary Celebrations held on the weekend of 14/15 July -
choosing the Saturday for reasons of travel to and from Cleethorpes. A £15 day rover covered the
normal services, plus a shuttle between Lakeside and Kingsway. Also included in the price was a small
booklet detailing the history of the line and which showed some of the plans for the new extension to
the line beyond Humberston North Sea Lane, over the Buck Beck to Thorpe Park. Apart from the
resident locos, 'Sian' (sic) from the Siân (sic) Project Group, 'Smokey Joe' from the Sherwood Forest
Railway and 'Katie' from the Kirklees Light Railway all came to visit over the weekend and pulled
services, 'Smokey Joe' was top & tailing with the resident 'Effie' on a two coach shuttle.
All the platforms on the railway were in use, incidentally, and shuttles between Lakeside and Kingsway
ran from the little used P1 at Lakeside. Normal trains ran via P3 with P2 being used to stable an
engine, which was not allocated to a duty and swapped round a few times. Stalls, model railways and
food tents all seem to have been concentrated on Lakeside due to the ease of parking for people
attending. Resident loco '24' was in use for a few early trips before it remained at Humberston for use
in 'Driver for a Fiver' - an offer our reporter took up twice with the second occasion having him and the
driver instructor wait at Humberston loops. During the afternoon, '24' came back from her duties to
stand guard over a cake alongside 'Effie', which was cut after a speech made by both of the owners
(Peter Bryant and John Kerr) detailing the history of the line, what they planned to do, as well as a
speech from the Lord Mayor of North East Lincs Council. As the day ended, there was time for a last
full length run in a glorious bit of late afternoon sun before heading back to Cleethorpes station.
NEXT PAGE TOP: Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway - Co-owners, Peter Bryant (left) and John Kerr
(right), preside as the Mayor of North Lincolnshire Council cuts a cake to celebrate the railway's 70th
birthday. (Robert Sharpe 14 Jul 2018).
MR175] Clyde Valley Express, Crossford, South Lanarkshire: This is a new 2ft gauge railway at Clyde
Valley Family Park - the site of the former Valley International Park at Crossford near Carluke. Some of
the trackbed of the previous 2ft gauge railway (closed in 2014) has been utilised, but the entire track
has been relaid, mostly at a slightly higher level. The rails came from Eastriggs MoD, with trackwork
being undertaken by Alan Keef Ltd. The Park and railway opened on Tuesday 24 July 2018. The line is
now a circuit of 1,000 yards, with one station (Clyde Valley) and a one road shed. The new owners also
own East Links Park at Dunbar and are redeveloping the whole area. A huge amount of hard work has
taken place to get the Park open with 44,000 tonnes of rubbish removed. A dedicated member made a
visit on 29 July. The shed housed AK49 from East Links. The new train set is from Germany, a 4-4-0 BE
steam outline in smart green livery. The entrance to the Park is £10, which includes unlimited riding on
the railway. The former Chance 4-2-4 locomotive and coaches in use here are stored at a local farm.
NEXT PAGE BOTTOM: Clyde Valley Express - The new train set makes its way back to the station,
watched by Highland cattle. (Rod Bryant 29 Jul 2018)
MR176] Silloth Miniature Railway, Cumbria (MR p14) (BLN 1310.MR155): It has been confirmed the
locomotive and coaches are still stored in the railway's shed (a container).
MR177] Fairbourne Railway, Gwynedd (MR p29) (BLNs 1266.MR196 & 1311.1742; latter with map):
This well-known 12¼" gauge railway was visited for the 28/29 July 'Steam Gala' weekend and our
member attended on the Saturday. He found a 30 minute frequency service running the length of the
line, between which a 15" gauge shuttle ran out and back from Fairbourne utilising the extended outer
rail for about 450 yards to just short of Beach Road Level Crossing. This train was top and tailed by
'Rachel' from the Windmill Farm Railway and 'St Egwin' from Evesham Vale Light Railway.