Issue Number 1276 (Items 476 - 593 &IssMueRN3u9m- bMeRr 14256)8 (E-BLN 48 PAGES) 4 Mar 2017
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)
Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from members;7a2n8i6n7te7rnational section is also available.
Opinions herein are not necessarily those of the Compilers or the Society.
BLN 1277 is dated Sat 18 Mar andSoaclilectyo.nStorciibeutyt.ions must be received by Wed 8 Mar
476] Southern/BLS Class 442 Farewell Sun 12 Mar: A short notice charity tour for 'Embrace' (for special
needs and disabled children) and Keech Hospice (north of Leagrave in Bedfordshire) for adults and
children. London Victoria (10.30) - Battersea Reversible - Clapham Jn - West Norwood - Beckenham Jn
P1 (break) - West Norwood - Streatham Hill Up Siding - Clapham Junction - London Victoria (break) -
East Croydon - Three Bridges Down Sidings - Brighton (lunch break) - Preston Park Sidings (rev) -
Hove Yard (rev) - Brighton - Lovers Walk T&RSMD Carriage Road 1 - Preston Park Sidings (rev) -
Brighton (break) - Three Bridges Depot Up Reception Road - East Croydon - New Cross Gate - Up Sussex
Loop - London Bridge (18.23 break) - new Bermondsey Diveunder - Down Fast - Norwood Jn - Selhurst
Fork Arrival (rev) - Victoria (19.43) - Down Chatham - Wandsworth Road Signal VS84 (rev) - Stewarts
Lane Jn (rev) - Stewarts Lane T&RSMD throat (rev) - Battersea Reversible - Victoria (21.09). Standard
class £44.20 - no first class (members/non-members) accompanied under 18s £39.20 no unaccompanied
under 18s. Cheque payee Branch Line Society or CPA (BLS website) with names of all booking and email
address/SAE: Jill Everitt, Fixtures Team, BLS, 4 Barnside Way, Moulton, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 8PT.
Date Event Details BLN Lead Status
Fri 10/3/17 1275 KA OPEN
Sun 12/3/17 North Norfolk Railway 11.00 Tour & lunch update below 1276 JE *NEW*
Southern Class 442 Farewell charity tour: 10.30 Victoria - 1273 KA
Sun 12/3/17 CLOSED
Sat 18/3/17 Depots & rare track - London Bridge 18.23 - Victoria (above)
Sun 9/4/17 Bodmin & Wenford Rly Postponed to a future date TBA
Wed 19/4/17 'Bound for Craigy', track & traction, East Coast HST tour 1273 JE OPEN
Sat 22/4/17 Chiltern Heritage DMU railtour…date for your diary TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 6/5/17 Ashover Light Railway 14.00-17.00 Guided walk 1273 JC OPEN
Sun 7/5/17 Y Triongl Gogledd Cymru, railtour **UPDATE BELOW** 1274 KA OPEN
Sun 14/5/17 Scunthorpe Steel Works 09.30-18.30 internal railtour 1275 PS OPEN
Sun 14/5/17 The Vallum Hadriani Tracker, 09.00 Circular tour with TPE 1276 JE *OPEN*
Moreton Park Railway 11.00 Track & Traction Tour 1276 SP *OPEN*
Titley Junction Railway Afternoon Track & Traction 1276 SP *OPEN*
10 to 15/5/17 Jordan Hejaz Railway **UPDATE BELOW** 1272 IS OPEN
18 to 21/5/17 Long weekend - Dublin / Republic of Ireland 'mixed' gauges 1265 KA Notify
Wed 14/6/17 Rudyard Lake Railway 10.30 Track tour - new layout 1276 JC *OPEN*
Thur 15/6/17 Stafford - Liverpool DRS loco hauled NW mini-railtour TBA TBA Claimed
Sun 25/6/17 Teesside area industrial Track & Traction tour see below: TBA TBA Claimed
Wed 28/6/17 Kennet Service Train Tracker, Guided group day out 1275 TG OPEN
27 to 30/7/17 Scottish Minor Railways Contact Terry Velvick (TV) 1272 TV Notify
TG-Tom Gilby, SP-Stephen Phillips, PS-Paul Stewart, KA-Kev Adlam, JC-John Cameron, JE-Jill Everitt, IS-Iain Scotchman.
477] North Norfolk Railway Fri 10 Mar
11.00-16.30: Our steam-hauled tour of
this delightful railway is now open to
non-members, fare £35 (no premium)
including lunch, details per BLN 1275.
A further repeat tour is not envisaged.
478] Y Triongl Gogledd Cymru, 22 Apr:
.ENHANCEMENTS. We are delighted
to advise that at Holyhead, as well as
P3 on the east side (for a leg stretch),
arrangements have kindly been made
with ATW to include the west side
Carriage Sidings Wash Road. Between
Stafford and Preston in the evening,
from Walton Old Jn to the Warrington
Down Slow Line (the most westward
running line which is not electrified)
the train is now booked via Warrington
Grid Iron Feeding Jn, under the Helsby
line, then 'THE HOLE' south of Bank
Quay station. This has tight clearances
and dives under the West Coast Main
Line from the Up to the Down side.
It is DBC infrastructure and the route is
kindly being specially cleared with
seven sets of hand points secured.
It will be only the second train with
passenger stock to use the route.
BLN 1274 or our website has a booking
form. LEFT: Map by Martyn Brailsford.
479] The Vallum Hadriani Tracker, Sun
7 May: A good value circular daylight
tour, Manchester Piccadilly (09.00/
18.49), via Durham Coast, Newcastle,
Hexham, Carlisle and the WCML; our
SIXTH tour with TPE, (Class 185 DMU).
The rarely used Carlisle Goods Lines
and other unusual moves are included. A booking form is enclosed (or a download with e-BLN).
480] Moreton Park Railway X, Sun 14 May starting 11.00: (Arrive 10.30 or after) off the A49 between
Hereford and Leominster, near Moreton-on-Lugg, HR4 8DS (SO 5029 4644). Thanks to local member
Stephen Phillips and the D2578 Locomotive Group, our 10th visit has been arranged in conjunction with
'wwrail'. Note the last one two years ago rapidly filled. At participants' own risk, it covers all safely
available track on this delightful 1m 22ch standard gauge former military railway branch, including the
stone terminal and up to the mainline connection on the Hereford to Leominster line. See TRACKmaps
Vol.3 p27E Aug 2010 or http://goo.gl/yc3zNK with previous photos and information. Haulage: D2302,
D2578 and/or 03145 (subject to availability) with an open wagon plus van or 'Shark' brakevan,
bring an umbrella and a folding chair if needed! Photo stops (not near the main line) including any loco
not running. Advanced booking is required; £15 adult, cash only pay on the day. Please specify names
of all participants (for site security), NB: BLS MEMBERS ONLY due to the limit on numbers, to Stephen:
[email protected] (preferred) or write (with SAE) to: 'The Lakes Cottage,' Whitestone, Hereford.
HR1 3NE; 01432 850572. All bookings will be confirmed (ring if this is not received after two weeks).
481] Titley Junction, 'Kingfisher Line', Sun 14 May, 14.00: (23 miles/45minutes from Moreton Park):
http://goo.gl/YlRN74 HR5 3RX, (SO328581). Again thanks to Stephen Phillips; Herefordshire's longest
standard gauge heritage line (¾ mile) on the ex-Leominster to Kington railway (CP 1959; CG 1964).
Various diesel locos; participants riding in a DMU trailer and/or brakevans over the full length of the
line and safely available track. All stock will be available for viewing; lineside access (own risk) should
be possible to agreed areas for photography - please bring a hi-viz vest for this. There is much of
interest at this beautifully restored junction station formerly for four rural routes. £15 per person, cash
only on the day, includes all train rides, tea, coffee and the famous delicious Titley homemade cakes.
Advanced booking is required, all as previous entry, NB: BLS MEMBERS ONLY due to number limit.
482] Jordan, 10-15 May: Iain Scotchman [email protected] is pleased to advise that the tour is a
'runner' now that permission has been given to traverse Aqaba Railway Corporation route to Aqaba
Port. Hotel and ancillary arrangements are in progress; flights and transfers from Amman Airport to
the hotel can now be booked. If anyone else wishes to join (the more that go, the cheaper per head),
please advise Iain There will be 'familiar faces' and participants who have travelled in Jordan before.
483] Rudyard Lake Railway, Wed 14 Jun, 10.30-16.30: (MR p23) Rudyard station, Rudyard Rd (B5331),
ST13 8PF (SJ956579). The day before our DRS mainline tour from Crewe. All available track including
running lines, loops and depot roads on this 1½ mile long 10¼" gauge railway. It is on the track bed of
the North Staffordshire Railway Churnet Valley Line alongside the very scenic Rudyard Lake. The depot
has been extended over the winter, so track never done before is available. Steam and diesel locos
with photo stops. £25 Members, £30 non-members (includes a hot drink on arrival and a sandwich,
crisps, scone, cake and hot drink for lunch). Cheques 'Branch Line Society' or CPA (CVV not needed) to
John Cameron, 10 Friar Gate Court, Derby, DE1 1HE with e-mail address or SAE (two for confirmation).
Enquiries: [email protected] or 07581178759. See item in East Midland section also.
X.22] PRESS RELEASE: 25 June BLS/PLEG Teesside Industrial Event, Date For Your Diary: AV Dawson
Ltd, a truly multimodal logistics provider offering freight logistics services across road, rail, land and
sea is delighted to announce a rail enthusiast diesel gala on Sunday 25 June 2017. This will be a rare
opportunity for members of Branch Line Society and Preserved Locomotive Enthusiast Group (PLEG) to
visit the business 100-acre freight terminal and get up close to the Middlesbrough based company's
Class 08 locomotives and enjoy a journey around the rail connected elements of the site. The highlight
for enthusiasts will be use of Class 08 08600 and Class 08 08774. For those interested in the journey
itself, the charter is expected to visit the purpose built Automotive Steel terminal, North Sea Supply
Base Wharf, Ayrton Dry Bulk Terminal, Tees Riverside Intermodal Park and the Network Rail
boundary at Metz Bridge. Visitors will enjoy a short presentation about the fascinating company, with
the opportunity to purchase light refreshments before receiving an important safety briefing. A fare of
£50 per person will apply, with all profits donated to good causes nominated by AV Dawson. Kev
Adlam, Fixtures Team Leader of Branch Line Society said: We expect to be able to carry a maximum of
250 passengers throughout the day, which will be a strictly advance purchase ticket event. Final
preparations are now under way and we intend to open the event for bookings late March. (Please do
not email etc to try to book before then.) Charlie Nettle, Head of Marketing and Business Development
at AV Dawson added: We are delighted to welcome members of the rail enthusiast community and
look forward to show casing our capabilities whilst raising what looks set be a fantastic sum of money
for our nominated charity. (See item 534 for more about the location and a couple of pictures.)
484] WANTED! (BLN 1270.3228) Jeff Vintner (of Railway Ramblers) is publishing his much expanded
and updated Railway Gazetteer next month. Members can obtain one post free at a special price -
see next BLN (1277). It is a detailed guide to all known publicly accessible walkable trackbeds in the
British Isles over two miles long - plenty of great ideas! If any member with local knowledge would
like to conduct a BLS walk/s possibly linked to other Society fixture/s, please contact your Editor.
485] SWT Franchise: The final day is Sat 19 Aug (in the middle of the partial Waterloo station closure!)
Please note that anyone who has won free tickets in our raffles will need to have used them by then.
486] Payments by Card: With new industry rules the 3/4-digit security number on the back of the card
(CVV) is no longer required for Card Payment Authorities; therefore it is omitted from our latest forms.
1276 HEAD LINES
487] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) End (incl) Location (exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]
1251.334 9 Feb 16 31 Mar 17 (Carlisle) - (Armathwaite)
1266.1930 24 Mar 17 31 Mar 17 (Chester) - (Wrexham General)
1275.362 14 Apr 17 17 Apr 17 *London Cannon Street - (London Bridge) - (Charlton)
1275.363 14 Apr 17 17 Apr 17 * Bristol East Jn/Dr Day's Jn - Bradford South Jn/Thingley Jn
1266.1928 3 Jan 17 29 May 17 ( +/- Birkenhead North) - Liverpool Loop - ( +/- Hamilton Square)
1274.243 8 Jul 17 16 Jul 17 Wootton Bassett Jn - Bathampton Jn/Bradford South Jn
1275.365 11 Nov 17 26 Jan 18 * Preston, Fylde Jn - Kirkham North Jn - Blackpool South
1275.366 11 Nov 17 18 Mar 18 *Kirkham North Jn - Blackpool North
1222.1799 20 Dec 14 Jan 2018 (London Blackfriars) - (London Bridge) Thameslink work
1222.1799 20 Dec 14 Jan 2018 (London Bridge), Spa Road - Bricklayers Arms Jn
488] Sankey Jn - Padgate Jn (Cheshire Lines Committee Warrington Avoiding Line): (BLN 1248.59):
All booked freight was diverted from 20 May 1968; four trains used the line after (including the final
railtour, the LCGB (NW) Two Cities Limited on 23 Jun 1968), prior to definitive closure from 22 Jul 1968.
489] Bristol Harbour Railway, CREATE Centre platform (incl.) - Vauxhall Bridge (ST 5758 7213):
amends (BLNs 1246.2158 & 1275.353) CP/CA after public running on Bank Holiday Mon 31 Aug 2015.
No passenger trains operated west of Vauxhall Bridge in 2015 due to the River Avon New Cut river wall
showing signs of collapse and MetroBus work. This shortened the end of line by about 780 yards.
490] Peak Rail, Matlock Riverside station: NRU; two locos have been regularly available for passenger
trains to/from Matlock (NR) station P2 and there is no planned Gala use. Available for contingency use.
491] Kirkby (Merseyside), Knowsley Rail Waste Loading Transfer Station: (BLN 1259.1184) TCG since
before Christmas (see next item), the rubbish was sent to local landfill instead; ROG Fri 17 Feb 2017.
492] Lackenby; Shell Jn - SITA Sembcorp UK, Wilton 11, Energy from Waste Incinerator, (NZ565218):
(BLN 1269.2211) TCG since before Christmas; damage to the rubbish container unloading equipment
made it unusable. Before then the plant was working below capacity due to the waste compactors at
Knowsley transfer terminal not operating as intended (so the Wilton plant is still in 'commissioning'
mode). ROG Sat 18 Feb 2017, 66021 with a 02.09 arrival (the 17.34 from Knowsley the day before).
493] LU, Bakerloo Line, Lambeth North station: (BLN 1260.1281) ROP Mon 13 Feb 2017 (five days
later than planned) after TCP from 13 Jul 2016, for replacement of the two 30 year old lifts.
494] Limerick Junction (Keane's Points) - Waterford (76m 50ch) & four intermediate stations: TCP/A
Wed 22 Feb until Sat 4 Mar 2017 (incl) for engineering work - there is no Sunday passenger service.
495] Manchester Metrolink, Second City Crossing; Exchange Square (*0.42km) - St Peter's Square
(*1.29km the new junction with existing line) both excl: (BLN 1271.3132) OP Sunday 26 February 2017.
*Distances south from Victoria stop. (See e-BLN 1268 BLS LRT/Tram Diagrams.)
A series of pictures taken by Angus McDougall on the Second City Crossing opening day, Sun 26 Feb.
ABOVE: Albert Square. BELOW: Cross Street approaching Exchange Square stop from the south.
ABOVE TOP: Lower Mosley Street, approaching the new double island St Peter's Square stop from the
south, the Second City Crossing goes off to the left and the Piccadilly/Market Street line to the right.
ABOVE LOWER: East Didsbury terminus. The new Metrolink service pattern now that 2CC is open:
Altrincham - Bury (via Market Street). MediaCityUK - Piccadilly.
Altrincham - Etihad Campus. Manchester Airport - Deansgate-Castlefield#.
Bury - Piccadilly. East Didsbury - Rochdale Town (via 2CC).
Ashton-under-Lyne - Eccles. East Didsbury - Shaw & Crompton (via 2CC).
(# Due to be extended via 2CC to Victoria stop, when the middle line is commissioned, later in 2017.)
A training video https://goo.gl/4FsBm6 with extra information, and a couple of videos of the new line
https://goo.gl/vLZWAa and https://goo.gl/BuBB7V (both perfect for our armchair members!).
496] Albrighton station: TCP Sat 8 to Sun 23 Apr 2017 (incl) connected with replacement of the life-
expired Grade II listed bridge, built around 1880 and partly replaced 80 years ago, over Station Road
(itself closed 20 Mar until 28 Apr inclusive). The cast iron parapets are being retained and refurbished.
497] Wolverhampton North Jn - Telford Central (excl) and five intermediate stations: TCP 15-17 Apr
2017 [TCA Oxley Depot - Telford Central]; an Easter bridge replacement at Albrighton (previous item).
498] Low Moor: OP is expected on (or before) Sun 21 May 2017; Bradford Interchange to Halifax line.
499] Forres, (former) East Jn - (former) West Jn via original direct 'avoiding line': OP Tue 17 Oct 2017
(expected) with OP of a new two-platform station on an extended 'dynamic loop' near the original
(1858-63) passenger station site. The present (1863) Forres station is due to CP from Sat 7 Oct 2017.
A member asks if the procedures required to close the existing line and station have been invoked?
If not how is Transport Scotland able to act like this without invoking the closure procedures?
500] Inverness, Welsh's Bridge Jn - Keith (excl) also Nairn and Elgin stations: TCP due Sat 7 until Mon
16 Oct 2017 (incl) for resignalling, remodelling and commissioning. The new Forres layout, station and
dynamic loop; 100ft extensions to platforms at Elgin and a dynamic loop of nearly a mile are included.
This is part of a project to cut the Aberdeen to Inverness 108¼ mile journey by 25 minutes to 2 hours.
1276 BLN GENERAL
501] Points & Slips: ●BLN 1275.457] On 29 Dec 2016 the
09.41 Cardiff Central to Aberdare was the first to use the
new P8 and ran via the Up Llandaf line in the Down
direction, (Cardiff Central to Queen Street). ●292] The Great
Central Railway London extension (1899) was built to a
more generous loading gauge than usual (but not
continental Berne gauge). It is said that one reason for the
characteristic central island platforms was so that the track
could be moved out to increase the gauge if necessary;
another is for fast lines to be added outside later! The island
platforms avoided duplication of facilities (and staffing at
larger stations) as opposed to Up and Down outer platforms.
●436] Lisahally loop closed 14 Oct 1976 (rather than 1987).
●443] Bridgeton Central (Glasgow) was one of the few
places in the UK where semaphore signals controlled AC
electric lines. The Walton-on-the-Naze branch retained
semaphores initially with electrification in Mar 1959. Our 25
Apr 2015 visit to Clacton-on-Sea signal box noted there what
was said to be the last full sized working semaphore on an
AC electrified NR line. LEFT: Milngavie also had semaphore
signals while electrified (Angus McDougall 29 Aug 1982).
ABOVE: A train arriving at Bridgetown Central in official passenger days. (Greg Beecroft Mar 1978).
BELOW: BLS members at the station when used for stabling (Angus McDougall 29 Aug 1982).
502] EMT/VTEC: East Midlands Trains, with about 2,100 employees, has been named as one of the
UK's top employers; one of just 78 in the country to be so certificated by the 'Top Employees Institute'.
Virgin Trains East Coast is the only other TOC so certified. This worldwide award is based on employee
conditions, and the development and nurture of talent throughout all levels of an organisation.
503] Time Ticks by for TOCs: To avoid needless expense for new operators, the DfT has ruled that TOC
brands must no longer identify the owning group. TPE's new branding omits reference to 'First', and
Abellio Greater Anglia has reverted to 'Greater Anglia'. Scotland will always have the 'ScotRail' logo.
1276 EAST MIDLANDS (INCLUDES SOUTH HUMBERSIDE)
504] Rudyard Lake Railways: Rudyard lake has some of the most dramatic scenery in the Staffordshire
Moorlands. It was created as a reservoir in 1797 when a dam was built, to supply local canals including
the Cauldon and Trent & Mersey Canals, which it still does. The lake is over 2½ miles long and covers
168 acres; its name originates from being the place where Rudyard Kipling's parents first met.
The North Staffordshire Railway (NSR) Churnet Valley Line between Uttoxeter and North Roade south
of Macclesfield opened in 1849. The railway went to great efforts to boost tourism by train to the lake,
having acquired it when they took over the Trent & Mersey Canal. The Rudyard Hotel was purchased
and expanded; special events were promoted. A small halt 'Rudyard Lake' OP 1905 at the north end;
it was renamed 'Cliffe Park' in 1926, the suffix 'Halt' added in 1936. Caddies met golfers to help them
'tee' off round the golf course on the western shore. Captain Webb, the first channel swimmer,
showed off his skills here and 'Blondin' (Carlos Trower) amazed the crowds 30m above the lake on a
tightrope. Rudyard Lake became known as the Blackpool of the Potteries [the ultimate accolade - Ed.].
In the 20th Century traffic declined. The golf course closed in 1926 (is that 'CG'?); the local stations
CP 1960; north of Leek CA 1964. The current 10¼" gauge railway dates from 1985. It was built by Peter
Hanton of Congleton, largely on his own, between 1985 and 1993. In Oct 2000 he sold the railway to
the Rudyard Lake Steam Railway Ltd who continued to develop it. Trains are generally steam hauled.
The railway runs for 1½ miles from the present Rudyard* station (note south of the lake) to the dam
then alongside the lake to Hunthouse Wood. This is about a mile south of the former Cliffe Park Halt.
The Railway was purchased by the Leek & Rudyard Railway on 18 Dec 2015. This company owns the
assets of the former Isle of Mull Railway (mostly now at Rudyard) and has plans to combine the two
railways at Rudyard. Some track from Mull is being laid this winter, to extend the depot and carriage
shed. [*OP 1851 Rudyard Lake; renamed Rudyard (Horton) in 1905 when the halt opened at the north
end - above; then Rudyard in 1923 and Rudyard Lake in 1926 when the halt became just 'Cliffe Park'.]
The trackbed is a pleasant, maintained walkway south from Rudyard miniature railway station, a mile
to the outskirts of Leek with road access at Oakwood Road (SJ971568). A little further can be walked to
the edge of new housing, protected by secure fencing on a high earth embankment. From Oakwood
Road 5½ miles of trackbed can be walked north to Rushton Spencer (SJ930634) beyond the railway.
505] RIDC Melton Test Track: (Formerly 'Old Dalby'). From 3 Jan additional sections of overhead line
were energised including re-energisation (supply transfer) of Asfordby Test Centre Roads 1, 2 & 3.
506] HS2: The proposed HS2 station at Toton includes four platforms for high speed services with two
fast lines between and four platforms for 'classic' services to Nottingham, Leicester and Derby.
507] Northampton: At the National Training Academy for Rail in Gladstone Road, virtual trains and
'augmented reality' are being used to 'train' apprentices in a 'safe yet practical environment.' Virtual
train tracks can teach engineers how to deal with problems safely before they face the real thing.
508] Scunthorpe: British Steel and Freightliner issued a press release about the 'streamlined and more
efficient delivery of raw materials' (iron ore and coal) to the steel works since Freightliner took over in
2016. [Nothing like blowing your own train horn!] The train plan ensures that enough ore is delivered
at the right times for large ore beds to be made, ensuring good quality sinter, for steel making.
Past erratic supplies resulted in ore beds that were were sometimes too small with poor quality sinter.
Scunthorpe has supplied 2,334 tonnes of steel rail for the upgrade of the Tyne & Wear metro system.
509] Leicester: Humberstone station, Uppingham Rd, was on the Great Northern Railway's Leicester
branch. Humberstone Road station OP 1875 (Midland Counties Railway); CP 1968 on what became the
Midland Mainline, between the present Leicester and Syston stations. After closure the building
remained empty for many years and became derelict. BR planned to demolish it until 1988 when it
was Grade II listed. In 1992, the building was purchased by Leicestershire County Council (LCC) for £1
(plus 15p VAT). It was moved and rebuilt, brick by brick, to Shenton station on the Battlefield Line and
earned the property department at LCC a national 1997 Civic Trust Award. Today, the station is a
creative home for an internationally renowned glassmaker, Richard Golding, of 'Station Glass'.
Syston station building was also moved (with the site being redeveloped for housing) and rebuilt brick-
by-brick in 2009. It now stands at Swanwick Junction on the Midland Railway, Butterley.
510] The Ilkeston Experiment: An official notice in the Times Newspaper of 16 Feb advises that all train
services calling at Ilkeston station are designated as 'experimental' for a period of five years.
The notice is under the Railways Act 2005 and is on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport.
511] Stamford: NR has completed £1M worth of improvements to the Grade II listed station over six
months. The roof was refurbished with traditional Collyweston stone, a £150k new canopy installed
with a grant from the Railway Heritage Trust and 'the platform' (note singular) has been resurfaced.
512] The Lowdown on Lowdham and Fiskerton: (BLN 1275.375) At Fiskerton OP Aug 1846, Midland
Railway (MR), the station house is a private dwelling. On 14 Feb the now redundant box was in situ.
It appears very rickety leaning to one side! A home-made sign 'Goodbye from Fiskerton' was displayed.
BELOW: Please do not adjust your set! This is the actual angle at which the former 'Fiskerton Station
Ground Frame' gate box leans. A Leicester to Lincoln train approaches (all by John Cameron 14 Feb).
At Lowdham (ABOVE) OP Aug 1846 (MR), the original Grade II listed building (also the stationmaster's
house) remains with many period features, such as MR signage, lamps and fire buckets. It is now a
private residence, as is the nearby weighbridge building. The bay platform or cattle dock is still in situ,
with a van body on it. There is still some track in situ, although this is disconnected. The signal box is
much more perpendicular, but also sports a home-made sign in the window, this time reading '1846 -
2016'. BELOW LEFT: Lowdham Up platform with the new signal half way along the platform; a Newark
Castle to Matlock service. The crossing is behind the camera. BELOW RIGHT: The closed signal box.
[BLN 1276] ABOVE: The Down dock at Lowdham (trackless on Aug 2013 TRACKmaps) facing Newark.
With resignalling, the signals on the Up line at Lowdham and Fiskerton have been moved down the
platform, to accommodate the new remotely controlled level crossings. The platforms are being
extended as only the front door is now opened. There are 5/7 car stop signs, presumably for Meridian
trains. Lowdham has one train to St Pancras International in the morning and a return service the
evening (SuX) from/to Lincoln. These otherwise call at Newark Castle and Collingham on the line.
513] Derby: Major remodelling of the station layout is to be undertaken. The 'Pre-work' stage is from
Dec 2017 until 21 Jul 2018. Initially various sections of track will be removed including the Goods Lines
east and south of Derby station (on the Birmingham line) - the latter at least is permanent -
the Carriage Sidings next to the current P6 and the sidings next to the Pilot Line. Construction of a
new P6 starts after Christmas 2017. This means that all freight must be routed through the platforms
('W10' containers are banned). Three freight services are to be diverted via the Erewash Valley line and
some test train moves merged to reduce the number of paths required. There will be minor passenger
service retimings. Access to/from Litchurch Lane will be between 00.01 and 04.00 only via a temporary
unsignalled connection to the Pilot Line, requiring 30 minutes to complete and, very appropriately,
a pilotman. A total closure of Derby station is planned for 80 days starting on Sun 22 July 2018!
ABOVE: From a NR customer presentation, red is the track being removed at Derby in Dec 2017.
514] Grimsby: Work began last month improving the footpath between Garden St and the station to
make it more open and attractive. It is being re-tarmaced; damaged fencing is also being replaced.
515] Kettering: (BLN 1274.25) In Phase 7 of the remodelling on 27 Feb, the newly laid bi-directional
line to the east of the previous single reversible Up & Down Slow at Kettering North Jn (73m 60ch) to
Kettering Station (72m 18ch), was to be brought into use and designated the 'Up & Down Slow' (a new
alignment to be red-penned). The previous Up & Down Slow, from Kettering North Jn (73m 64ch) to
Kettering Station Jn (72m 20ch), was due to be re-designated the 'Down Slow' and taken OOU.
The OOU facing crossover (73m 60ch) was due to be commissioned and the previous crossover
(73m 70ch) recovered. A new facing crossover will be installed and commissioned at 72m 18ch.
516] Barrow upon Soar: (BLN 1266 1945) The partially collapsed bridge over the Midland Main Line is
to reopen to road traffic on 27 March. Work has included removing 200 tonnes of debris, restoring the
brick parapet wall, reconnecting gas and water mains which run via the bridge and road resurfacing.
1276 GREATER LONDON
517] Hall Farm Curve: (BLN 1273.167) Hall Farm North Jn - Lea Bridge Jn OP 26 Apr 1870 and
CP 4 Oct 1914. Passenger services resumed 1 Jun 1923, a summer-only North Woolwich to Chingford
service, reduced to SSuO from 1931; SuO from 1932, and finally ran on 28 Aug 1939. A member has a
distinct recollection of a regular football service during the early 1960s and probably before, but can
find no documentary evidence to support this. Can anyone supply details or the club involved please?
518] 05.30 SO Liverpool Street - Enfield Town: (BLN 1275.361) A post in 'Gensheet' indicates that the
OHLE in the South Tottenham area has been dismantled and is being replaced as part of the T&H line
electrification project. This will preclude this service from operating over its 'PSUL' route at present.
519] Barking - Gospel Oak: (BLN 1275.385) According to a posting on the 'London Reconnections'
website, Crouch Hill 'Plan A' was to lower the track and platforms, but this was conditional on being
able to deal with a sewer under the tracks on the opposite side of the bridge to the station that is very
close to the surface. This wasn't possible so NR is going for 'Plan B' instead and will raise the bridge.
520] Bakerloo Line Extension: (BLN 1248.48) TfL is consulting until 21 Apr on the location of some of
the stations and ventilation shafts. Details at https://goo.gl/gvVYMP with maps. It is planned to
complete the extension in 2028/29 to align with the timetable for the upgrade of the existing line.
521] Crossrail: (BLN 1274.258) From 26 Feb the crossover between the Up and Down Relief Lines at
Southall East Jn was to have been brought back into use. However OHLE work is not complete and
movements through the crossover will remain blocked to electric traction until further notice.
522] Northern City Line: The four stations between Highbury & Islington and Moorgate still all have
plenty of Network SouthEast signage, over 20 years after that organisation ceased to exist.
523] Northern Line Extension: (BLN 1274.268) TfL has released images https://goo.gl/pIiEbe of the
first Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) being lowered into a shaft at Battersea.
524] Snow Hill Tunnel: A 1954 photograph of a freight train emerging from the south end of the
tunnel shows that both lines were third rail electrified. Can anyone confirm the reason for this please?
[Your regional editor suggests it may have been to give access to Smithfield sidings for EMUs.]
525] South Greenford: (BLN 1256.896) The street level signs do not carry the 'West Perivale' suffix.
526] Tottenham Court Road: (BLN 1247.2320) The final part of the station upgrade has now been
completed, with six new lifts providing step-free access to both the Central and Northern Line
platforms. The station now has four entrances and a ticket hall five times larger than the original.
ABOVE: Network SouthEast branding at Essex Road station in February (Stuart Hicks).
527] Waterloo: (BLN 1275.390) During the partial closure from 5 to 28 Aug, Earlsfield will also not be
served between 16.30 and 19.30 SSuX. Regarding Norbiton, no trains will run between Kingston and
New Malden, with all Shepperton and Kingston line trains running via Twickenham. Additionally,
South Western Trains will not operate to Dorking.
1276 NORTHERN GENERAL
528] December 2017 Timetable Aims: ●To take advantage of electrification accelerating some services
(Manchester to Preston via Bolton). ●Cascade released DMUs to other services. ●Services over the
new Ordsall Chord (between Manchester Victoria, Oxford Road, Piccadilly and Manchester Airport).
●Extra services on a few self contained routes not affecting other lines. ●Long term sustainability (not
requiring significant alteration in May 2018 when more substantial timetable changes are planned).
529] Proposed Northern .Weekday. Service Enhancements, Dec 2017 Timetable:
Leeds/Bradford via Calder Valley off peak to Oxford Road hourly (to Airport from May 2018).
Some additional peak services Victoria - Rochdale bay P4.
Bishop Auckland - Darlington: service doubled to hourly (including Sundays).
Sheffield - Worksop/Retford: Two trains per hour, an all stations to Retford and a fast to Lincoln.
Improved journey times between Sheffield and Lincoln (1 hour 13 minutes, now 1 hour 23 minutes).
Harrogate - Leeds: Four trains per hour, two all stations; the additional two just call at Horsforth.
Proposed Northern .Sunday Service Enhancements, Dec 2017 Timetable:
●Morpeth - Newcastle: More trains, also serving Manors & Cramlington, most to/from Metrocentre.
●Newcastle - Carlisle: Extended hours (two extra trains each way) with more standardised calls.
●Bishop Auckland - Darlington: Hourly Sunday services, most to Middlesbrough and Saltburn.
●Middlesbrough - Whitby: Roughly hourly to Nunthorpe and four to/from Whitby throughout the
….year, most to/from Newcastle via Sunderland, continuing after the end of the 2017 summer season.
●Skipton/Ilkley - Bradford Forster Square: Increased to hourly.
●Knaresborough/Harrogate - Leeds: Half-hourly with an earlier start.
●Lincoln - Sheffield: Hourly 08.40 to 21.40.
●Wigan - Manchester: Two trains per hour via Atherton 09.00 to 18.00, then hourly until 22.00.
●Wigan - Liverpool: Half-hourly 09.30 to 19.00.
●Preston - Colne: Hourly (to Blackpool South when ROP) 09.00 to 20.00.
530] Future Plans: Northern is 'reviewing' possible Boxing Day services. The main problem is the high
cost of specially opening multiple signal boxes, but suggestions (with supporting evidence and
justification) are invited - now is your chance! From May 2018 enhancements are anticipated between
Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge. From Dec 2018 there is a phased introduction of new rolling
stock and in Dec 2019 'Northern Connect', a new network of longer distance faster services, is to start.
1276 NORTH EAST
531] Middlesbrough (1): (BLN 1274.274) The station rebuilding after the 1942 bombing, particularly
the concrete roof over the south side concourse, created an access problem for maintenance of the
older remaining inner facing slate roofs, associated plumbing and timber work. This was particularly if
replacement slates, copper, or timber was needed. This was solved initially by ensuring that at least
one of the glass panels immediately under the new concrete roof was removable, though the only one
our member ever saw open (temporarily removed) was at the south-west corner on the long (south)
side. To reach the opening a specially built long heavy single span ladder was provided; some 3ft wide
at the base tapering to about 1ft at the top. To raise the ladder the traditional method was used: one
man 'walking' it from the horizontal to a near vertical position while another person stood on the
bottom rung to hold the ladder firm, though the ladder was so heavy it was preferable to be close to
the foot of a wall in case of any slippage. This has been superseded by hoists, 'cherry pickers' etc.
BLN 1274 reminded our member of two questions to which he never found out the answers at the
time (late 1950s); perhaps BLS members can enlighten us. First, how did the first person reach the roof
to be able to open the glass panel? He or she could either be allowed to reach the older roofs from
inside the building, or have used ladders from the station forecourt, and slater's roof ladders to climb
over the ridge. Second, what happened to that old ladder - perhaps it was chopped up for firewood?
Replacement roofing slates were brought to Middlesbrough by train and stored in a van parked in the
'banana bay' [hopefully not reached via a slip?] at the eastern end of the westbound platform.
532] Middlesbrough (2): Our 17 Feb signal box visits revealed that a third platform may be provided.
This would improve flexibility; TPE arrivals have to shunt for their layover into the West End Dock
(as did our Nov 2016 TPE tour!). P2 would need widening in part and the present Up Goods used as the
platform line. This would not be a problem as a single track would suffice for the goods line. East end
bay P3, once for Whitby branch services, was taken out when the East Signal Box closed in the 1960s.
Northern used to stable units overnight in the station but this has ceased. It was not a hindrance to
traffic as freight could use the goods lines. An ECS now arrives from Heaton depot 06.16 and there are
empty workings from/to Darlington at the beginning and end of the day. On the Old Town branch, the
line over Depot Road Level Crossing, east of the AV Dawson automotive steel distribution centre (BLN
1275.393), the original 1830 S&DR line is rusty. Various lumps of metal are dumped on the track on the
north side of the LC, which leads to the quayside. Clearly it has not seen any use for a long time.
Three types of freight are being handled at Old Town: steel, aggregate and Polyhalite (see next item).
533] Boulby branch: Europe's richest Potash mine, which has had geological difficulties leading to a
planned switch to producing Polysulphate fertilizer instead, also suffered a flood on 21 Dec 2016,
which appears to have affected output. Only one or two trains now run daily (SuX) instead of the usual
six (or more). Boulby became the world's first (and only) Polyhalite mine after reaching a seam in 2010
over 1,000m underground and has been mining it since. It is a superior, effective and organic fertilizer
that just requires mining, crushing, screening and bagging as 'Polysulphate' (trade name). There are no
chemical processes involved; it has a very low Carbon footprint and a beneficial high Sulphur content.
There is also normally a daily (SSuX) train of steel from Tees New Yard to the British Steel Special
Profiles works at Skinningrove. As its name implies, it rolls specialised sections such as track shoes for
caterpillar tracks. Saltburn West Jn may be realigned in favour of Boulby, with the stub to Saltburn
station as the branch. This is to reduce wear on the junction points as heavy freights use the branch
whereas mostly lightweight Pacer DMUs go to Saltburn (although they are all due to be replaced!).
534] Grangetown/Tees Dock: Iron ore is being sent by rail from Redcar Ore Terminal to Scunthorpe.
It is likely to be imported rather than surplus stock left after Lackenby closed in 2015. In its last
18 months of existence Sahaviriya Steel Industries UK (SSI) there held very low stocks, so it would be
surprising if any were left. It has been suggested that, when SSI was in business, Tata Steel considered
unloading half the cargo of ships bound for Immingham at Redcar to maximise the load carried.
It is thought that British Steel has acquired Tata's share of 'Redcar Bulk Terminals'; perhaps ships are
now serving both? Imported limestone is being sent from Redcar Mineral Terminal to Margam by rail.
BELOW: On the morning of our Teesside signal box visits, Fri 17 Feb there was shunting taking place in
Middlesbrough Goods. This train appeared to be carrying grey/black powder (in what were probably
re-used former coal hoppers?) presumably aggregate of some kind judging by the destination of Leeds
Hunslet? (Nick Jones and below on the same date).
NEXT PAGE: The location of our 25 June track and traction Industrial Event with PLEG (see item X.22 on
page 3 above). The thriving Middlesbrough Goods with four locos at once and three different types of
traffic (steel, aggregate and polyhalite)! Straight ahead the large clad building is A V Dawson's
specialist Automotive (steel) Depot (visited by Pathfinder 18 Oct 2016 'Tees & Durham Freighter' tour).
1276 NORTH WEST
535] TPE: £500M is being invested in three new train fleets for 2018/19 delivery. ●19 Class 802 5-car
bi-modes, for ECML Newcastle and Edinburgh services. ●12 CAF Class 397 5-car Civity EMUs (WCML).
●13 sets of 5-car Class 68 loco-hauled CAF Mark 5 carriages. Starting 2018, the Class 185 fleet is to be
refurbished and a new service begins from Newcastle to Manchester Airport via Ordsall Lane Chord.
'Drastically improved' catering is to be available 7 days a week. TPE is determined to meet its franchise
commitments by 2020. From 2019, there will be a consistent 7-day timetable due to weekend travel
growth. New routes are under investigation for the early 2020s and (as at Northern) Boxing Day trains.
536] A day out with a difference? A local rail users group article suggested Barrow to London, with
12 changes and 10 different classes of DMU/EMU belonging to seven different operators! Leaving
Barrow at 08.06 (SSuX) to Lancaster then changing at Preston, Wigan, Manchester Oxford Road and
Piccadilly, Stockport, Stafford, Wolverhampton, Birmingham New Street, Coventry, Milton Keynes
and Watford Junction, to arrive Euston at 16.49, sampling Classes 150, 156, 158, 220, 221, 313, 319,
321, 350 & 390. The 13 single fares almost exactly total the £103.40 end to end walk-on fare.
537] Which wich? The Mid-Cheshire Rail Link business proposal to reopen Northwich to Middlewich
and Sandbach featured in Rail magazine 814. By rail, the nine-mile (as the crow flies) journey takes
1hr 27mins via Crewe and Chester, or 2hr 18mins, with a one hour connection at Stockport!
538] Navigation Road: On Sun 5 Mar engineering work should include the replacement of the points,
enabling double track working to resume to Altrincham (worked as a single line since late Oct 2016).
539] Mid-Cheshire Line: The 2tph timetable each way (SuX) has been deferred from Dec 2017 until
May 2018. Delays with Great Western electrification have held up the cascade of Class 150 DMUs.
X.23] ABOVE TOP: (BLN 1274.282 with map) Deepdale Junction, May 1991; Deepdale is off to the left
over the level crossing, right is to the West Coast Main line; behind the photographer is the headshunt.
ABOVE LOWER: 31 Dec 1981, the windows are covered in wire netting (Angus McDougall).
540] Journey Planner: TfGM website https://goo.gl/5uocWm enables selection of just one operator's
trains via 'Advanced Options'; select 'None' for 'Service Operators' and afterwards just the required
operator. At least one end of the journey must be in Greater Manchester. This facility appears to be
available on the National Rail website but it does not work properly, producing very strange results.
541] Stockport: The annual 'Stockport Rail Day' will take place on Sunday 13 August this year.
542] Metrolink: KeolisAmey take over from RATP in July; the new operator plans to recruit 300 more
staff to increase their presence on the network. Only Rochdale/Shaw & Crompton to East Didsbury
services initially run via the Second City Crossing. The Altrincham to Piccadilly station service again is
extended to Etihad Campus. Manchester Airport trams were extended from Cornbrook to Deansgate-
Castlefield and run to Victoria later in 2017 when the middle platform there has been commissioned.
543] Warrington West: (BLN 1238.1456) Warrington Borough Council has begun a public consultation
on the £18M updated plans for the new station before a DfT funding decision (worth £4M). The DfT's
New Stations Fund allocations are expected to be announced in April. The council review was due to
cost increases but timetable changes now mean that the station will be served by more trains than
originally envisaged; a semi-fast and two stopping services hourly to both Manchester and Liverpool.
Sankey for Penketh station will retain a peak hour stopping service rather than being closed.
544] Blackburn: (BLN 1274.277) The refurbished reversibly signalled 'Down Through Siding' loop is to
be renamed 'King Street Siding'. A trailing point at its east end will form a single track which splits to a
loop to the new King Street DMU Depot, under construction. Left is the unidirectional 'Arrival Siding'
and, unsurprisingly, right is a 'Departure Siding'; the latter with a full wash plant at the depot end.
There are then six dead end 'service sidings' numbered 1 to 6 right (east) to left (west). The interesting
thing is that only 1-3 can be accessed from the arrival siding via a diamond crossover. Entry to sidings
4-6 will require reversal in one of Sidings 1-3 back into the Departure Siding, then reverse again to
cross the other arm of the Diamond for Sidings 4-6 (longer than 1-3). However, it will be possible to
run directly out of any of the six sidings via the departure line. This suggests Sidings 4-6 would be filled
first by stabling stock, or at least one of Roads 1-3 kept clear for shunting until 4-6 are filled.
545] Ordsall Chord: (BLN 1275.370) The UK's first asymmetric 'network arch' bridge over the River
Irwell was lifted into place on Tue 21 Feb with two cranes. The large 600 tonne, 89m long 'weathered
steel' [rust?] bowstring bridge is a low curve with a 'squashed tennis racket' style lattice. It combines
diagonal splayed wires (allowing the arch to be flatter) and an asymmetrical steel arch, rather than the
more usual symmetrical arch with vertical suspension wires. The width of the arch beams narrows
from 2m x 1.2m at the widest Trinity Way end down to 0.75m x 0.6M where it joins to George
Stephenson's 1830 Grade I listed bridge, the first railway bridge in the world. This reportedly gives the
bridge a more delicate join with Stephenson's and adds to the ribbon-like flow of the design.
BELOW: Tue 21 Feb and our local BLN reporter Ian Mortimer is on the spot to kindly record the events.
TOP: A close up from Trinity Way.
SECOND: Also on Trinity Way, the Victoria end of Ordsall Chord. According to a NR man on site, the
span connecting this to the bowstring bridge is due to be put in at Easter.
THIRD PICTURE: From a similar location to previous picture.
FINAL (4th) PICTURE: The River Irwell (which the bowstring bridge spans) from Irwell Street bridge.
LEFT: If only it was! There are still one
or two signs like this alongside the
Barton Dock Road. All pictures by Ian
Mortimer in Dec 2016.
546] Trafford Park: (BLN 1176.17)
The final intermodal train service ran
to Containerbase (Barton Dock Estate)
on 28 Dec 2012 from Felixstowe South
Side. Traffic ceased due to a weak
bridge, which was not repaired, and
transferred to the nearby Trafford
Park Freightliner Terminal. The branch
is NR property to 0m 57ch then
former Manchester Ship Canal railway
to 2m 0ch and was mostly lifted last
summer. Trafford Park, was the
World's first industrial estate and is
the biggest in Europe at 1,200 acres.
ABOVE: The railway bridge over the Bridgwater Canal at the start of the Containerbase branch. This is
thought to be the weak bridge that caused the closure, although there is also a bridge over Moss Road.
BELOW TOP: One of the most iconic factories in the Trafford Park estate is Kelloggs (on the right
behind the bridge). This view also shows a road sign still warning drivers about slow moving trains -
another if only! The Containerbase branch crossed the road on the level just beyond the traffic lights.
BELOW LOWER: View from the road junction in the picture above it (the big red pole on the right of
picture above it is on the left of this picture); the trackbed looking towards Trafford Park Sidings.
ABOVE: The same location, looking the other way along Barton Dock Rd. BELOW: The signal (left
foreground) protects the level crossing along Barton Dock Road. The posts were for the crossing signs.
ABOVE: Approaching Containerbase the line curved away on its own separate alignment. The 'W' sign
in the foreground protected a foot crossing (indicated by the green post) at the end of St Modwyn Rd.
1276 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
547] Croxley: (BLN 1258.1118) The elected mayor of Watford has confirmed that Affinity Water has
stopped work on the Met Line extension; design work continues. The Secretary of State for Transport
has given assurances that the extension is a TfL contractual obligation (but there are funding issues).
548] Ipswich - Lowestoft: The East Suffolk Travellers' Association wants an even-interval service from
05.30 to 22.30 from Dec 2019, not possible on weekdays now because of a path for a Sizewell freight;
Greater Anglia will question the continuing need for that path. NR wants to relocate Westerfield
station, and is no longer seeking commercial gain from this. More controversially, NR would (again)
like to create more Felixstowe branch freight paths by replacing the passenger service with buses!
549] Shenfield: (BLN 1272.77) During a further full weekend possession on Sat 18 Feb at midday,
High Street was jammed with buses, as regularly occurs during these works. The new Brentwood end
of the station layout was nearly complete; the Down Electric has been relaid into P5 and connections
for the new P6 were completed by Tue 21 Feb; Oct 2016 Eastern TRACKmaps shows these changes.
There was no OHL on the Electric lines but on P1 new gantries for the overhead were being installed.
550] Reading: During February the north station entrance was equipped with a row of 30 cylindrical
metal bollards to deter and prevent malicious attempts to drive vehicles into the station structure.
NEXT PAGE TOP: A load of bollards that Sir Winston Churchill would even have been proud of!
The new security protection at the north entrance to Reading station (Stuart Hicks, Feb 2017).
551] Electrification: (BLN 1275.412) The GW main line is a 'Trans-European Networks' route despite
TGVs or AGVs being unlikely to ever appear at Paddington! It was determined that the scheme should
comply with European Technical Specifications for Interoperability. This requires higher tension in the
overhead contact wire than previously in the UK (for two such units to be coupled with pantographs
raised on both) and partly explains the substantial steelwork. The scheme received modest EU funding
but this has not turned out to be enough to cover the extra costs involved.
1276 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH
552] Newbury: West Berkshire Council, via the Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership has been
provisionally awarded £6M to revamp the station facilities. The scheme, in partnership with GWR, will
also improve connections between rail and walking, cycling and public transport, making the station a
gateway to the town and helping to ensure future travel demand is met while encouraging sustainable
transport. Detailed planning, feasibility work and a business case are needed to confirm the funding.
553] Folkestone Harbour: (BLN 1272.82) Work on station renovation has started, part of planned
seafront regeneration. This follows successful renovation of the Harbour Arm in 2015/16. Designs have
been released by the Folkestone Harbour Company, which is overseeing the multi-million pound
project to redevelop the town and extend the publically accessible areas. The railway viaduct will
become a pedestrian walkway; work started in Feb after repairs. The aim is to provide a direct route
between the town and the Harbour Arm, via the former station platforms, and ultimately link with a
boardwalk along the beachfront towards the Leas Coastal Park. Repairs to the viaduct are almost
complete and the area will shortly be landscaped, with new railings added. A staircase and lift will be
constructed to provide access between the viaduct and Harbour Square, adjacent to the fountains.
The former station will be renovated to a high standard, surviving features such as the glass canopies
will be restored, and the site's heritage as a marine railway terminus will be recognised. Wouldn't it be
good if Folkestone Leas Cliff Railway (BLN1275.MR37) could be reopened as part of the scheme?
554] Gosport: (BLN 1275.369) Although there is no open railway station here, the town centre is only
half a mile from Portsmouth Harbour station, linked by a ferry that operates every 15 minutes 05.30
to midnight, and every 7½ minutes at peaks. There is no guided busway to Gosport, but there is a Bus
Rapid Transit, a reserved road running along the former railway! When it was opened some journey
times increased! So perhaps to be safe it should be called a non-guided busway, a glorified bus lane!
X.24] BELOW: Virgina Water, 66848 fitted with infra red loading gauge measuring equipment, there is
no truth in the rumour that it was designed by the Heath Robinson Institute (Stuart Hicks Feb 2017).
555] Fareham Ups & Downs: (BLN 1275.411) A member's understanding is that LSWR stations, with
the notable exceptions of Basingstoke and Waterloo, tend to have P1 as the 'Up-most' platform
(is there a better way to say this?), rather than the platform that has the main entrance. Salisbury is an
example (although an LSWR/GWR joint station, it was largely LSWR operated), or Swaythling. Both
have their primary entrances on high-numbered platforms (with plenty of other examples too).
The original Fareham line was the LSWR to London via Eastleigh (then to Gosport for Portsmouth),
so the 'Up-most' platform would be the current island P1, rather than P3 which is the 'Down-most'!
556] Redhill: (BLN 1270.3082) At the London end the Down side Post Office siding (behind P3a) and
the Down Siding to the north were to be abolished from 27 Feb and three points removed. Work
continues (it is thought!) on the new P0 loop west of the station behind very high solid hoardings.
557] Rainham - Newington: From 23 Jan trial sections of Brecknell Willis aluminium conductor rail
have been energised and are in operational use from 40m 13ch to 41m 45ch on the Down Main line.
The rail is on the opposite side of each track to the existing steel conductor rail, which will be left in
situ, meaning there will be two separate conductor rails in place for the duration of the trial period.
1276 SOUTH WEST
X.24]: ABOVE: (BLN 1275.418) A Barry Railway coach at Hemyock 27 Sep 1961; trains were sometimes
mixed with milk tanks from Hemyock dairy (or could be taken without milk) (Angus McDougall).
558] Credit On Okehampton Plans: Central Devon MP Mel Stride met with Secretary of State for
Transport Chris Grayling MP to discuss Government investment in a regular rail service between
Okehampton, Crediton and Exeter. This would be a huge boost to local economies and provide a
valuable service to many West Devon residents now up to 20 miles from their nearest station.
Mr Stride... was heartened that the Secretary of State was open to the possibility of establishing a
regular service between Okehampton and Exeter and that his department will look seriously at an early
trial service, before the current franchise is due for renewal in 2020. A successful trial would strengthen
the case for a full service as part of the new Franchise agreement.
Devon County Councillor Kevin Ball is helping organise a Sat 18 Mar 'Spring Special' HST from
Okehampton (07.45/21.15), Crediton and Exeter St David's to Paddington (11.00/18.05), to promote
a permanent service. Adults from £47.50 https://goo.gl/XZFW3P return. He said: With minimal
investment a trial could be undertaken, which I have no doubt would be a big success. Combined with
the strong demand for the train to London on the 18 March and the success of our busy Sunday Rover
service, hopefully the case for a regular service will be very strong. The DfT is considering the Peninsula
Rail Task Force 20-year plan 'Closing the Gap', which argues that the Okehampton area population
growth and the Barnstaple line (the nearest comparator) passenger growth of 100% shows the need
for, and benefits of, Government investment.
Your correspondents consider that the benefits of trains may not suit many current bus users, enjoying
low-floor, easy-access vehicles. This is an hourly, unsubsidised Stagecoach bus between Exeter Bus
Station and Okehampton, calling at Exeter St David's. Alternately express and stopping, it takes about
50 minutes and just over an hour respectively, mostly to/from Bude via Holsworthy. The express takes
a few minutes longer than the summer Sunday trains but, as Okehampton station is unfortunately at
the top of a long steep hill, its town centre bus stops may win out. If adequate parking is provided, a
train service might attract those who now drive to Exeter or Tiverton Parkway. However, any
reduction in bus use could result in the operator withdrawing it as no longer viable, or running only
from Bude to Okehampton. An earlier scheme with Devon & Cornwall Railways involved construction
of a new Okehampton Parkway station where the line crosses the main road east of the town.
This was to be for a service to Exeter St. David's with some continuing to Central and St James Park.
The Minister agreeing to 'look into' this proposal may only indicate it is not an incredibly ill-conceived
concept. A solution could be to request an Okehampton service as an individually costed option when
franchise bids are invited. With the possibility of Plymouth to Tavistock rail services too, one from
Okehampton to Exeter would appear to increase the viability of an alternative route to the Dawlish
sea wall via Meldon. There have already been instances in 2017 where CrossCountry have terminated
at Exeter, concerned that sea spray will affect their Voyager units' roof-based electrical equipment.
559] Four-track Filton: NR has confirmed the £33M Filton bank re-quadrupling project is on track for
completion in Dec 2019, despite electrification plans being 'paused'. This is for civil engineering work
only and excludes signalling, train haulage, rail, sleepers and ballast, road closure fees, land access,
possession costs and additional works for the bridges! Your correspondent wonders what it does buy
then, the cost of all those essential 'ancillaries' and how that will be funded. He notes much evidence
of preparation between Filton and Dr Day's Jn, ranging from a new bridge over a stream to allow road
vehicle access, removal of much of the original Up Horfield station platform to fencing off colonies of
Rosebay Willowherb. With their seeds easily spread and complex roots, specialist action is needed.
560] Bristol TM: The Up Through Siding stables the 'Torbay Express' stock during its summer sojourn
when not in use. It was suggested as a stabling point for new GWR Class 387 EMUs until the Thames
Valley electrification is complete. It appears this idea was shelved as the Bristol public are somewhat
aggrieved at electrification to Bristol being at best delayed - and may not react kindly to seeing brand
new EMUs every day, even though there were no plans for local electric suburban services!
561] Pilning's Burning Issues: The closure (last train 10 Sep 2016) of the Down platform, to avoid the
cost of a new footbridge for electrification, for just 34 passengers a year has happened and, despite
flaming anger from locals, burnt itself out. A more significant hot potato is that the embankment on
the Up side east of the station appears to be combusting internally. The scorched top surface and
smoky plumes seem at first to be the result of rubbish being burnt off, with Keltbray Rail's site nearby.
However, the plumes actually appear to be steam, generated by the heat of internal spontaneous
combustion from ground moisture whether sunny or covered in frost. Perhaps the embankment was
built with materials including coal that, under pressure, is combusting within? For many years, the
embankment approaching Landore viaduct smouldered similarly but appears now quenched.
1276 WEST MIDLANDS
562] Shrewsbury: (BLN 1262.1542) Through P3 is bidirectional from/to the Hereford line but only
signalled for arrivals from Wolverhampton. At the north end it is only available for Down departures
to the Wrexham line. (So trains can arrive from either south line, reverse then depart to Welshpool/
Church Stretton or run through north to Gobowen.) Now used by more passenger trains, P3 has had
all its extensive buildings and awnings painted in Arriva Trains Wales colours and looks very smart.
The OOU south end section past the buildings (the mostly prefabricated section over the River Severn)
has largely been removed. This includes the disused (trackless) adjacent two west bays (P1 & 2) used
by Bridgnorth/Severn Valley trains. It reduces the weight on the bridge, the walls of which had been
bowing until repaired last summer. There is still a narrow walkway down the very far west side over
the Severn bridge to where the Hereford line comes in and the model railway can still be accessed!
From Sat 5 Feb the red 'STOP' signs (present on the day before) had been removed at the extremities
of the 'Down Main' (the unidirectional, northbound, centre line between P3 and P4). It and both its
north continuations (to the Crewe and Chester lines) have been used by freight trains, according to
ATW platform staff, from Mon 13 Feb. The line had been OOU for three years while the station bridge
over the River Severn was investigated and last year eventually rebuilt and strengthened. A new
ground disc has been installed to the left of this line looking towards the Wolverhampton/Hereford
end of the station (interesting as the line is still shown as unidirectional in the other direction on the
new 25 Feb 2017 Sectional Appendix update - unless it is for non-passenger trains to reverse behind.)
563] Norton Jn: (BLN 1272.91) The final NR working semaphore distant signal in Worcestershire bit the
dust on Sun 5 Feb at Norton Jn. Until the 7 Nov 2016 resignalling it was controlled from Gloucester
Power Signal Box, 25 miles away (but fortunately for the signaller was motorised!). The Up side
junction bracket signal has been replaced by a 3-aspect (!) modular plug-in LED type with a 'position 4'
(top right) route indicator (OK, 'feathers') lit for trains from Worcester Shrub Hill taking the curve to
Abbotswood Jn and Cheltenham. Just the forlorn looking posts remained afterwards. Its preceding Up
Main distant signal was replaced with an LED at the same time, 400m closer to Worcester Shrub Hill.
564] Henwick: From Sun 12 Feb Down Main semaphore 'HK21' was replaced with a 2-aspect modular
LED signal able to display red and green (we think they mean red OR green) 321m nearer Henwick box.
565] New Street: Phase 5 of New Street re-signalling is due to be commissioned on Wed 27 Dec 2017:
From Duddeston (excl) to Hamstead and Stechford North Jn (excl) to Aston South Jn. Control will be
transferred to the new Proof House workstation at the West Midlands Signalling Centre, Saltley.
Phase 4 of the re-signalling plan is scheduled for commissioning on 3 Jan 2018:
Soho South Jn to Tipton and Soho South Jn/Soho North Jn to Soho East Jn and Perry Barr West Jn.
Control transfers to the new Stour Valley work station at the West Midlands Signalling Centre.
566] Princes End: (BLN 1275.423) A local member with a close and personal interest in the fortunes of
Walsall Football Club, recalls travelling on a special to Stoke-on-Trent to an FA Cup tie on 22 Jan 1966.
However, on leaving Walsall at Pleck Jn it emerged that a wagon in a goods train ahead had shed its
load. After a relatively short delay to enable those concerned to consider their options, the train
proceeded instead to Wednesbury (Town) and, after adding a steam loco pilot to assist the EE diesel
loco, the train went on to the quite challenging Ocker Hill line. The pilot was detached in the vicinity of
Princes End and the train continued via the Tipton Curve Jn to Bloomfield Jn - the 'other' side of the
triangle at Tipton described in BLN 1275 - then to Wolverhampton (High Level). This was the only
occasion when our member travelled on this line, and it proved even more joyous as lowly Walsall FC
went on to defeat their highest level (then First Division) opponents, Stoke City, by two goals to nil!
LEFT: 1959 OS One-inch
7th Series map of the
Ocker Hill / Princes End
line, running through the
'Black Country', top right
Wednesbury (Town) to
bottom left, the Tipton
triangle at. The still open
Tiption station is shown
bottom left next to the
'B' road level crossing.
ABOVE: The steam pilot and the EE
diesel on front of the train on the Ocker
Hill line. ABOVE RIGHT: Approaching
Tipton Curve Jn; round to the left is the
curve to Tipton station / Birmingham,
double track then. The train took the
right curve to Bloomfield Jn and on to
Wolverhampton. RIGHT: Stanier 2-8-0
No. 48366 is passed (not the detached
pilot loco which, from the first picture,
was running chimney first). Presumably
this was on a siding, or the football
special was running 'wrong line'.
(All David Bathurst 22 Jan 1966.)
567] Dorridge: The Up & Down Dorridge Goods Loop is OOU until further notice, for lengthening work.
568] Norton Bridge: On 18 Feb the 11.02 LM Crewe to Euston stopped for a couple of minutes at the
east platform of the station coming off the bidirectional single track Norton Bridge East chord from
Stone. Needless to say, the doors were not released! Given the signal position, our member on board
believes that this may be a regular occurrence. The DfT station closure consultation 'closed' on 3 Feb.
569] Railway Flyovers? A correspondent asked in BLN 812 (18 Oct 1997) if there was an instance on
mainland Britain where a hastily-constructed airfield runway (presumably for wartime use) was
extended across an existing railway track? Airfields at Filton (Bristol) and Hamble near Southampton
were mentioned as answers where trains crossed either a runway or an adjacent taxiway. BLN 816 of
13 Dec 1997 mentioned that Atherstone airfield, near Stratford-upon-Avon, had signals controlling
trains on the Stratford-on-Avon & Midland Junction Railway. Although not actually bisecting the
runway, the line was considered close enough to justify halting trains for the passage of aircraft.
The airfield was used for flying from 1941 to 1945. One runway ended just 120yd from the railway and
another was 270yd away. It is not known how the signals were controlled. The nearest signal box
would have been Clifford Siding, a little under half a mile towards Stratford. The next box to the east
would have been Ettington station, almost 3 miles from the airfield. Possibly the signals were
operated by the airfield control tower after checking with the signalman by telephone whether there
was a train in section? However, it might seem that these signals were not as effective as perhaps they
should have been. The following incident is recorded (Aviation Archaeology):
8 Dec 1944 Wellington LN845-C of No11 Operational Training Unit RAF overshot a forced landing and
ran on to the railway at the end of the runway. The aircraft was only slightly damaged until it was hit
by a train. There was a similar incident on 19 Oct 1945 when a Wellington of the Signals Flying Unit
overshot its landing and ran into the railway embankment. Presumably it stopped short of the track.
1276 YORKSHIRE (INCLUDES NORTH HUMBERSIDE)
570] A Paragon of Virtue? (BLN 1260.1334) At the UK City of Culture 2017 (Hull) work has begun on a
TPE funded £1.4M upgrade to the Grade II listed station. A glass fronted waiting room, extending out
from the front of the existing building, will be constructed. The old 'Pumpkin' café will be converted
into new toilets (hopefully not glass fronted). Ticket office improvements include removing the
counter screens to make it easier for passengers to talk to staff. Four new 'high quality' retail units will
then be constructed. A new customer information point will be created in part of the station that is
currently redundant and there is to be a new arrivals and departures board.
571] Low Moor: (BLN 1262.1551) The new station and car park are progressing well. The main car park
and station entrances are complete as are the footbridge, lift towers and (mostly) the two platforms.
Carriageway and footpath works on New Works Rd are scheduled for Feb and Mar. If no further issues
are encountered the station will OP Sun 21 May 2017 or sooner if construction continues at the
current pace and the necessary authority to operate is granted. The schedules show generally hourly
calls by Selby or Leeds to Huddersfield via Brighouse trains; in the other direction from Huddersfield
and Brighouse to Leeds. All Grand Central trains call (to London King's Cross and Bradford Exchange).
On Sundays Low Moor is generally served by these and Northern's Leeds to Halifax shuttle service.
1276 IRELAND Please send contributions to Martin Baumann (back page).
572] Irish Rail: Among the items being considered are upgrading Dublin to Belfast services to hourly
but no timescale has been given yet. Mullingar bay platform has been signed OOU since 31 Oct 2016.
Killarney: On 22 Feb 2017 the main platform (P1) buffers were temporarily moved 133m towards
Mallow to allow for work on the station canopy. Drivers are instructed to stop 6m away from the
temporary buffers. The run-round and siding will be OOU for the duration of the works.
573] Abandon hope all ye who need these lines… IR has applied to formally abandon the following
closed lines, saving about €3M per year on basic maintenance which would no longer be necessary:
● Ballingrane Jn to Foynes* ● Tralee to Ballingrane Jn and Limerick***
● Waterford Bellview to Rosslare Strand ● Claremorris to Athenry
● Waterford Abbey Jn to New Ross ● Claremorris to Collooney
● Midleton to Youghal ● Mullingar to Athlone
● Tralee to Fenit** ● Navan, Tara Jn to Kingscourt
* Foynes branch: presumably the proposed upgrade and reopening (BLN 1246.2247) is not happening?
**Tralee to Fenit: Final movement on the line was an inspection car to Fenit 28 Jan 1987 (Ken Fox).
***Tralee to Limerick: Final train movement over the whole line was an inspection car on 11 Jan 1988;
the line was disconnected at Ballingrane Junction the next day (Ken Fox). Some of the lines are lifted!
574] Valentia Harbour: Famously the most westerly railway station in Europe. The 39¼ mile branch
from Farranfore Jn CA 1 Feb 1960 (last services the day before). The final train was a goods hauled by
C227 which later became B227 then NIR 106. After withdrawal it went on display on the branch at
Caherciveen, for some reason falsely painted C202, but had to be removed due to repeated vandalism.
ABOVE: C227 on the last train from Valentia Harbour at Caherciveen, (the penultimate station on this
long branch) Saturday 30 January 1960 (Collection of Tom Ryan, original photographer unknown).
575] Mossend North Curve: With thanks to 'Gensheet' https://goo.gl/gPUJ9y of 21 Feb, there is rare
booked passenger use of Mossend North Jn to East Jn, thought to be for the first time since some pre-
Christmas ScotRail specials used it from 2005 to 2010. On Sun 2 Apr the 21.44 sleeper from Glasgow
Central is booked via the Whifflet line, then the curve in the Up direction (note that the Down line is
reversible) with a booked call at Carstairs P2 (22.23 to 22.25). It then runs via the East Coast Main Line
reversing at Wembley European Freight Operations Centre to reach London Euston 07.46. Fri 14 Apr
the 23.50 sleeper from Euston (calling Carstairs P1 from 06.21 to 06.37 Saturday and detaching an
Edinburgh portion) is then booked via Wishaw, Holytown, Mossend Down North Curve and Whifflet.
On 16 Apr the 21.39 Euston to Glasgow Central sleeper is also booked via the curve (ECML, Edinburgh
Waverley P11 05.39/06.27 and Shotts); similarly in the reverse direction the 21.44 from Glasgow.
576] Ballater: (BLN 1272.109) A ceremony has marked the start of work (until December) to rebuild
the station which was destroyed by fire in May 2015. It was used by the Royal Family when visiting
Balmoral. A visitor information centre, 'enhanced' exhibition space, restaurant and library will feature.
577] Forres: New points were to be installed by 27 Feb, but will be secured OOU until 17 Oct 2017.
578] Linlithgow: This is one of the few places where the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway was
constructed through a built up area. The way the line is fitted through the town still reflects how the
Victorian engineers managed this. It is contained within stone walls, particularly to the west of the
station, which were very low. These have had to be raised to meet electrification standards and the
work has been done by stonemasons to an excellent standard. The original round-topped coping
stones were removed and the walls raised, using stone rubble or blockwork, as appropriate to match
the original. Then the copings have been reapplied. In most locations where the wall height changes,
it has been possible to do this by means of graceful curves. The new stonework looks very bright and
clean by comparison with the old, but the Scottish climate should have it matching before too many
years have passed! Stone cladding is being applied to the new brickwork on the Down platform
extension. Overall, this is a model example of sympathetic alterations to meet modern standards.
X.26] ABOVE: (BLN 1275.446) The former Caledonian Railway River Tweed bridge west of Peebles.
BELOW: Although closed to regular passenger services Jun 1950 'Lyne Station' name lives on. (Both
Angus McDougall Feb 2005). NEXT PAGE TOP: 1926 One-inch (Scottish) 'Popular' Edition map showing
the route of the 'Upper Tweed Railway Path' on the former Caledonian Railway Symington (off left on
the West Coast Main Line) to Peebles (right) branch.
The River Tweed bridge (above) is also known as
'Neidpath Viaduct' and is west of the 600yd Neidpath
Tunnel. Lyne station is middle left. The other
passenger station shown in Peebles (top right) - was
on the North British Railway.
579] Exhibition Centre: (BLN 1274.317) As indicated, the
station name is not being changed to match the venue's
new name, the 'Scottish Event Campus'. NR rarely
changes station names, as this can cost a six-figure sum
due to many factors. These include updating nationwide
computerised booking, timetabling and signalling
systems, staff manuals, the Sectional Appendix as well as
more localised costs such as new signage, network maps
and re-recording announcements in-station/on-train.
When originally built in 1894, the station was called
Stobcross. It closed in 1959 and, after a 20-year absence,
reopened in 1979 as Finnieston, and was renamed (!!)
Exhibition Centre in 1986. (LEFT: Mike McCabe.)
'All Our Yesterdays', 80 years ago, LMS Sectional Appendix (Scotland) 1937 (4):
580] Whiteinch Tramway: All trains must stop 10yd clear of the level crossings formed at various
points by the Whiteinch* Tramway and the LNER tramway, when two trains are approaching any of
the crossings about the same time, the one which has come first to a stand will proceed first over the
crossing. When two trains approach any of the crossings at the same moment, they must be brought
to a stand until the men in charge consult with each other, and arrange which train is to have
precedence. [Not a 'Glasgow kiss', we trust.] *West of Partick, Glasgow; north bank of the River Clyde.
581] Maryhill (1937): In cases where two engines (one in the coal road or goods yard and the other in
the loop) are waiting the signal, the passenger engine must get preference, but the drivers must come
to an understanding as to who will take the signal.
582] Craig-na-Cailleach: Between Callander and Strathyrne (Callander & Oban Railway). Automatic
boulder fall signals, similar to the Pass of Brander were installed here. There was one in each direction.
583] Porthcawl: (BLN1275.461) The branch began at Cefn Jn and the trackbed is a public footpath,
marked by a plaque showing the 'Duffryn Lllynfi & Porth Cawl Railway' coat of arms. In Kenfig village,
a cul-de-sac (Heol yr Orsaf) leads from Station Road to the station site, of which nothing remains.
At Bryn Du the standard GWR style crossing-keeper's house survives still in residential occupation.
584] Welsh Coal: The last coal train from Tower Open Cast Disposal Point to Aberthaw 'B' Power
Station ran on Fri 24 Feb. This summer the plant is modifying its boilers to burn less environmentally-
damaging normal coal to be imported from Russia via Avonmouth rather than Welsh Low Volatile Coal
(harder to burn) which it has burnt since opening in 1971. Almost uniquely in Europe it was designed
specially to burn this. The change is to meet new emission limits. Aberthaw 'B' is said to be the 'dirtiest
power station in the European Union' [somewhere always is!] and will be on 'standby' after 1 April.
Coal production at Tower is expected to end in March and backfilling of the site has already started,
although stockpiles will allow a weekly train to Earles Sidings (Hope Cement Works) until probably
19 or 26 May. This 18 HTA train is shorter and does not require a complicated run round manœuvre
(E-BLN 1256.X60). A tour is due to run on 30 July (see 'Connections'), but otherwise the 4-mile section
north of Aberdare station will be OOU. It is likely to be protected for possible South Wales Metro use.
Coal trains from Cwmbargoed to Aberthaw, down to four per week, are similarly expected to cease in
March, but DB Cargo will continue to run trains to Earles and Port Talbot Grange (Steel Works).
585] Port Penrhyn: The Penrhyn Railway (PR) loco shed is amongst buildings surviving at the harbour,
which is in intermittent commercial use. A tarmac cycle route begins here, then beneath an overbridge
leads to the Penrhyn Estate and offices. The 1' 10¾" PR and standard gauge LNWR branch trackbeds
run side-by-side, before crossing the Afon Cegin by an iron girder bridge (on stone pillars). Nearby
stands an earlier three-arch stone bridge, built in 1798 for the Llandegai Tramway, incorporated into
the Penrhyn from 1801. After passing under the A5, the lines diverge. The PR continues at river level,
but the LNWR branch climbs through a stone-walled cutting, through a dense wood, and then another
deep cutting behind the Llandegai Industrial Estate. Beyond this another path follows the line toward
the main line junction at Penrhyn Siding, adjacent to the west end of Llandegai Tunnel. Regular traffic
on the LNWR branch ceased 4 Mar 1963, with official closure 24 Jul 1964 (Rear suggests 30 Jun 1965).
1276 MINOR RAILWAYS
MR39] South Devon Railway, Devon (MR p6): The railway seems to have had a good season in 2016 -
with final passenger figures hitting 103,906 - breaching the magical 100,000 mark. Fares income was
8.4% higher compared to 2015. Footfall was about 6.5% higher. The main area of growth has been in
the '3 Great Attractions, 1 Amazing Day' and group travel tickets, which were up an impressive 149%.
The Buckfastleigh site development continues - Phase 1a (New Yard Sidings) saw contractor, KGJ Price,
commissioned to fabricate and install a new 3-way point and relocate the existing turnouts to provide
the connection to the New Yard. In February half-term, it was not possible to provide public access to
the workshop viewing gallery or the Lee Moor Tramway shed. The road surface will be reinstated over
the approach track to the New Yard after half-term so that public access is due to be reinstated by
Easter at the latest. This will also allow the vehicle rally and other field events to take place as normal.
MR40] Swanage Railway, Dorset (MR p6): A trip was made on Saturday 4 February 2017. At Harmans
Cross the signalling has been disconnected at the Swanage end. Trains in both directions are using the
platform on the loop - the timetable leaflet does not show a two train service until 11 April. The work
is the resiting of signals, principally the Up Home nearer to Swanage as a preliminary to relaying the
loop entrance turnout for a higher speed. It is currently speed restricted to 10mph (entering Corfe
Castle loop is restricted to 15mph) and apparently necessitates application of power before coming to
a stand in the platform, which makes driving unnecessarily difficult. Replacement of the turnout is not
programmed to follow immediately. No mention was made to your correspondent about a train length
limit of five coaches and if the present position of the turnout has any effect. At Corfe Castle trains
now use both platform tracks; the Down does not permit passenger departures in the Up direction.
MR41] Mid Suffolk Light Railway, Suffolk (MR p8) (BLN 1267.MR202): The Railway is planning to
extend eastwards by some 394yd using the former trackbed and to construct Wilby Halt, a small
platform where trains will terminate. However, Wetheringsett cum Brockford Parish Council urged Mid
Suffolk planners to refuse the application, having withdrawn its backing for the proposals after extra
information came forward. The Parish Council said it was concerned over the impact of the project on
the nearest property, Potash Cottage, through noise, smoke and smut; interference with a public
footpath. It also believed Wilby Halt was too extensive and there was no need for it, as it does not
replace an existing structure. A report to the District Council's planning committee - recommending to
approval - said experts consulted did not believe the line extension would have an adverse impact on
Potash Cottage. Ian Ward, Senior Planning Officer, said:
With regard to the public footpath which crosses the proposed extended line, it is understood that
under the provisions of light railway legislation the operators are required to have the crossing manned
at all times while trains are running. The Middy is a valued regional tourist facility which is identified as
an opportunity for enhancement in the Babergh and Mid Suffolk Visitor Destination Plan. This modest
extension of the line will enable that enhanced offer. The proposed extension has been carefully
considered with regard to the effect on neighbouring amenity and, from the original submission, the
eastern end of the line has been moved away from Potash Cottage, the nearest residential property.
Mid Suffolk District Council's planning committee duly approved the application on 25 January 2017.
MR42] Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, Derbyshire (MR p8) (BLN 1270.3091): A change of plan means
the former Oddingley level crossing box will be installed at Gorsey Bank crossing just South of
Wirksworth, initially as a gatekeeper's shelter - as opposed to at Shottle to signal the passing loop.
MR43] Welsh Highland Railway, Gwynedd (MR p29) (BLN 1274.MR22): The S&T Department has
commissioned a new ground frame at Hafod y Llyn (Hafod y Llyn South Ground Frame). It was required
in time for the winter Porthmadog to Hafod y Llyn service (two return trains a day), which began on
Wednesday 2 November 2016. The ground frame is a Tyers design and is believed to be of Cambrian
Railway origin as it was originally designed to be locked by a single line tablet. The frame is interlocked
with the Beddgerlert - Pont Croesor token and is unlocked by a brass key end attached to the token.
X.27] BELOW: An unusual view of the 3ft gauge Southend-on-Sea Pier Railway (MR p17), from this it is
hard to believe that it is 2,180yd long - catch it while you can (see BLN 1275.MR33). (Ian Mortimer)
ABOVE: 1952/61 One-inch OS 7th Series map showing the pier and railway.
MR44] Mid Hants Miniature Railway, Hampshire (MR p18) (BLN 1234.MR70): Since the end of the
2016 operating season this 10¼" gauge railway has started several projects. This report comes from
the Mid Hants Railway web site in early February. Firstly, rebuilding of the new replacement coaches is
well under way. These were originally two redundant 3-car articulated sets purchased from the Ferry
Meadows Miniature Railway (MR p13). They were in poor condition, but the best three frames were
selected and rebuilding commenced to suit the railway. Amazingly, all the frames were different
widths so it was required to modify them to all be 32" wide. The centre coach was the only one that
was this width with one being wider and the other narrower! Secondly, work has started installing a
pitched roof onto the shed/container, the idea being to clad it so that it looks more like a wooden
building and blends in better. Thirdly is the track extension work. The first stage of trench works is well
underway and the first four track panels have already been roughly laid out. The Mid Hants Railway
Preservation Society has kindly funded the provision of the crushed concrete, which is needed to
provide a firm base for the track. Surveying for the route has created a smooth alignment and all the
levels have been worked out throughout the entire 200m length of the extension.
MR45] Garstang and Knott End Light Railway Group, Lancashire: The newly formed Garstang and
Knott End Light Railway Group is hoping to reopen part of the former line between 'Garstang and
Catterall' and Knott End. The 30 member volunteer group has identified a section of the route from
Preesall to Knott End as the stretch where they believe a new railway would boost tourism in the area.
A formal launch of the project is planned within the next few months, but fundraising to pay for a
feasibility study, rails, sleepers and other infrastructure has already begun. The proposed route would
initially link Park Lane Bridge, near Preesall Bowling Club, to the Hackensall Crossing area, a distance of
just under a mile. A longer term aim would see track continuing to Knott End at a point near the old
railway station (now the Knott End café) and ferry slipway. The group has decided on a gauge of 2ft,
so the countryside corridor can be used by both trains and walkers. However, members recognise they
have a tough challenge ahead with the project. Preesall Town Council, which is keen to learn more
about the project, has invited group officials to speak at its next meeting. The group will apply for
charitable status and hope that the project could boost the threatened Knott End to Fleetwood ferry.
1276 FIXTURES REPORTS: 586] The Barrow Hill Roundabout II, Sun 15 Jan: The current refurbishment
work at Barrow Hill Roundhouse Museum provided an ideal opportunity to get around to sampling
some exceedingly rare track; Roads 1 to 11 were clear for the first time in many years so a visit was in
order. 19 members gathered on a damp and gloomy morning. Donations made, ticket and map issued
by a 'well known face' ready for a short but very enjoyable visit (quality rather than quantity).
03066 propelled a brake van from Roundhouse Halt P2
and along the running line towards the gated crossing.
That well known face opened the gates and whilst we
progressed up the Springwell branch he proceeded to
clip points. Progress along the branch was halted by a
jogger; once he had gathered his two four-legged
friends his apology for getting in the way (he was
clearly surprised to see a train running) was accepted.
Having reached the end of the branch, the train
reversed and proceeded into the roundhouse via the
Coal Road. All 11 planned roads were clear, except for
No4 where two volunteers were removing years of
grime; a request, (or was it an order?), and they vacated the pit. Then the fun began…. a reversal from
the turntable onto Road 1 and the train ran to the buffers; hang on a minute there are no buffers - but
we were safely supervised from ground level. Cleverly the brakevan was at the end of line (the loco
at the turntable end) and it was chosen as one with a verandah right up to its extremity.
A further reversal obviously saw us return to the turntable. One down, 10 to go! 23 reversals later saw
all remaining roads fully covered. Yes, I know the maths do not add up, and I will buy a pint for
whoever can tell me why (participants on the visit excluded). A 180o turn on the turntable saw us exit
the roundhouse via the ash pit road and another reversal returned the group to P2.
And so ended the visit - no, don't be silly there is always a bonus and the metal gates were opened and
we reached the buffers on the loading pad line in the car park. One more reversal back to P2 and that
was the end of the tour. Many thanks to our driver on the day and the two volunteers who vacated
Road 4 so as to not spoil our fun. A special thanks to the well known face without whose effort all of
this would not have been possible - that well known face was the one and only……Martyn Brailsford!
587] Crossrail Old Oak Common Depot visit 16 Feb: In 1901, the Great Western Railway acquired a
site north of the main line and south of the Grand Union Canal at South Acton for a new loco and
carriage depot which opened fully in 1906. Fast forward 111 years to a bright sunny February
afternoon and3 12 members visited another new depot almost ready for commissioning on the same
site. It will provide facilities for the maintenance and servicing of the 66 strong Crossrail fleet of 9-car
Class 345 'Aventra' EMUs being built by Bombardier at Derby. Running at up to 90 mph, each 200m
long train can carry 1,500 passengers. There will be 80 maintenance jobs at Old Oak Common Depot.
Bombardier Transport UK awarded Taylor Woodrow the £142M 'design and build' contract for the
9-road Crossrail depot. The shed can be extended west to take 10-car trains. Energy is generated and
stored using a hybrid renewable system including roof solar panels, solar heated water, and ground
heat pumps using the 15,000m3 of concrete depot foundations with 150m deep bore holes. 11,000
tonnes of ballast will be used and 19km of Overhead Line Electric wire with 249 supporting structures.
ABOVE TOP: Inside the massive 'new' Old Oak Common Crossrail shed looking east (Mike Schmidt).
ABOVE LOWER: Looking towards London, the GWR and Heathrow Express Depots (the latter is moving
to Langley sidings) are on the right with the Hitachi IEP depot the other side of the GW main line. The
red railway overbridge, background left, carries the West London line (Stuart Hicks all on 16 Feb 2017).
ABOVE: The London end of the enormous new building with bogie turntable pits (and turntables behind).
ABOVE: Some of the participants
on the roof (the HS2 station will in
the background) (Mike Schmidt).
LEFT: Participants were able to
walk through No9 Shed Road pit,
now awaiting rails. (Stuart Hicks)
The EMUs are specified to be
washed alternate days so there is
a two-road train wash able to take
12 trains an hour with 70% of the
water used recycled. The offices,
train simulator, and control room
are all sited on the first floor
above the maintenance part of the
train shed. The control room has
an excellent panoramic view to
the east and over the approach
roads to the shed and stabling
Our interesting tour was led by
Fred Garner, Director (Rail) at
Taylor Woodrow, part of VINCI
Construction UK. First, we saw the
inside of the 9-road depot building
with facilities for light and heavy
maintenance with underbody
cleaning and access. At one end
there is a double headed wheel
lathe. One road has synchronised
lifting jacks and another has a
bogie-swap facility with bogie
turntables where complete bogies can be extracted from a train and replaced very quickly. Ilford
depot is supporting the introduction of the new fleet in its current 7-car formation. However, Old Oak
Common depot will be ready to receive trains in September as planned, for the start of dynamic
testing on Crossrail surface lines in November before operation through central London in Dec 2018.
Next stop was the roof of the new building. In addition to seeing the railway layout in the area and
trains of many operators, what metaphorically hit the eye were the many solar panels installed as part
of the system which will deliver over 30% of energy consumed in the depot from renewable sources.
As somebody remarked, with the sun shining all we needed were deck chairs and binoculars to record
some numbers. There were certainly plenty of trains whizzing by on the Great Western Main Line.
The site of the new HS2 station was pointed out, provisionally named 'New Queens Park', and how it
shoehorns into the area. The current 'old' Old Oak Common Depot will be demolished and rebuilt to
serve HS2 from London Euston to Birmingham. The new station will be a major interchange with other
main line and commuter services, including Crossrail and the GWML. HS2 will be in a tunnel here, with
the GWML and Crossrail tracks on the surface. Looking further ahead, future residential tower blocks
and offices are planned over most if not the whole of the site, which in turn may well lead to some
very prestigious developments. Old Oak Common could well become a very sought after location.
ABOVE: From the roof: The HS2 station site; Hull Trains Class 180 DMUs are maintained at Old Oak
common with the GWR fleet. The GW line is behind and then North Pole IEP Depot. (Stuart Hicks).
BELOW: (Old) Old Oak Common Depot shunter seen from the roof of the new depot. (Stuart Hicks).
ABOVE: The GWR Depot Manager's Warship - not visible from the GW main line (Stuart Hicks).
Our visit concluded at the future depot control room with a panoramic view over the arrival and
departure roads then an introduction to a Building Information Modelling system over a cup of tea.
Our thanks for a most interesting, different and informative visit were given to Fred Garner. It enabled
members to gain a greater insight into the vastness of the whole project of Crossrail let alone future
developments planned for the enormous site. Brunel would be very proud of what is being achieved,
especially as the location was a very important GWR depot in steam days.
X.28] E-BLN 1275 Guess the Location: ABOVE: (e-BLN 1275.X20) Pictures by Ian Mortimer. The railway
is actually standard gauge, even though it looks wider. The visit took place on 6 Jul 1992, the second of
two that year. The 2½ mile long system was only built in 1987 and is electrified with third and fourth
rails both situated inside the running lines. The Lulworth Range Multi-Path Railway System (as it was
called at the time) is normally used by electric powered self propelled wagons carrying targets for
Lulworth Army Range. The current OS map shows it well (it is east of East Lulworth BELOW).
Somehow 10 BLS members managed to clamber onto the diesel powered vehicle shown in the
pictures! The electric was switched off and there was no firing, so the main danger, the group was told
were told, was from the numerous adders that inhabited the lineside (although no adders were seen)!
The extensive target railway layout is visible (when the road is open) from the ridge along the Creech
to Lulworth road. Also, when open, there is a target railway close to the path from Tyneham to
Worbarrow Bay. A couple of others are nearby, visible from the cliff walk back to Tyneham
X.29] The Cotton Spinner LCGB (NW)
Railtour: (BLN 1275.462) Credits have
emerged for the pictures:
(1): p35, the 'Cotton Spinner' double-
headed at Royton: Richard Greenwood.
(2): p36, '82003' at Glossop was thanks
to Jeremy Suter Railway Photographs.
(3): p37, '82003' at Marple was by
permission of Paul Shackcloth of the
Manchester Locomotive Society.
(4): p38, '47202' at Manchester
Piccadilly was by Richard Greenwood.
(5): p39, '82003' at Knott Mill and
Deansgate and (X19): p47, '82003' at
Hayfield were both thanks to Jeremy
Suter Railway Photographs.
X.30] Higginshaw (Royton Junction)
LEFT: Taken during the tour (Angus
McDougall, another of our members
who was on the it - Sat 16 Apr 1966).
X.31] Guess the Location BLN 1276: ABOVE: (Answer in BLN 1277), and before anyone asks, the
participants on this BLS medical visit did have a railtour of the short lived industrial railway with this
haulage riding in the wagon that had been brought in specially for the purpose thanks to British Rail….
X.32] Storm Doris, Thur 23 Feb 2017: Or why there were blanket 50mph speed restrictions on some
lines (fortunately it was Storm Doris Day that breezed in and not two or more days)... BELOW LEFT:
With the reduced speed the driver was able to stop in time - on the Trent Valley Line. Note the trees
bending in the wind background right (NR). BELOW RIGHT: The driver of 142021, the 12.21 Southport
to Manchester Airport and a relief driver move a fallen tree near Westhoughton (John Cameron).
Most of the passengers had been diverted as the Victoria to Wigan train ran via Atherton with Bolton
passengers advised to change at Hindley. The Clifton line was blocked in one direction by another tree.
Please mention the BLS when booking or enquiring. .1276 CONNECTIONS… .Details must be checked with organisers.
588] LUL Private Visits, Fri 17 Mar: The day before our HST tour from King's Cross. 10.00 or 10.30:
LUL Control Centre, The Palestra Building, 197 Blackfriars Road, (opposite Southwark Underground
station) two conducted tours by Steve Butcher, Network Service Control Manager. 11.00 Phil O'Hare
(General Manager Jubilee line) and Ian Stephenson (Performance Manager Trains) to Stratford
station to meet Area Manager Gary Ashe for a station tour and discuss the operational challenges
there. 12.00-13.30: Stratford Market Depot tour (details to be confirmed) and see Jubilee Line sets
being refurbished. Bookings with cheque for £50 (all going to Railway Children) payee 'K Adlam' to
Kev as below, please advise email address (or send an SAE), shoe size and Hi-Viz size (S, M, L or XL).
589] GWR Driver Simulator, Reading, Wed 5 Apr, 13.30: RCTS Thames Valley, thanks to Stuart Hicks.
A charity collection applies; details sent out nearer the date. Apply [email protected] or post (SAE):
2 Queen Anne's Gate, Caversham, Reading RG4 5DU with membership number and mention the BLS.
590] Downs Light Railway, Reopening Railway Exhibition & Steam Gala, Sun 30 Apr/Mon 1 May:
10.00-16.00 (BLN 1275.472) https://goo.gl/p3TDMK (Map), Hoyland Down, Brockhill Rd, Colwall
(950yd walk from station) WR13 6EY, (SO759433). 'The world's oldest private miniature railway' and a
very unusual 9½" gauge. £5 adult, Child £2.50, family ticket available (includes 3 rides per person).
Pay on the day (child not required!). Exhibition on the history of the Downs Light Railway; 'Templeford'
vintage 'O' gauge model railway. Monday: School open day and 90th Anniversary Ceremony, visiting
locos, the railway may not run 11.45-14.00 for the ceremony (12.00) and VIP lunch. Free parking.
591] Severn Valley Railway, Highley Brake Van Trips, 17-19 Mar, Steam Gala: From the cattle dock
(platform), then up and down one of the through sidings, Fri/Sat No813 (13.00-16.20); Sunday No7714
(11.00-12.30 & 14.15-15.30). 18-20 May, Diesel Gala: with Ruston D2961. See SVR Website/Facebook.
592] The Valley Legend, Sun 30 Jul: UK Railtours, this could well be the final tour to the Tower branch
beyond Aberdare. Open cast coal production is to cease this month with the final coal train due to run
on 19 or 26 May. London Paddington 08.50/21.50, Slough, Reading, Bristol Parkway & Newport
(11.45/18.55) Gaer Jn - Park Jn - Ebbw Vale Town - Cardiff Central - Radyr - Aberdare - Tower - Queen
St - Cardiff Central (18.30) (rev) and as outward. £84.50 standard class via website or 01438 715050.
593] Railway Herald: This production is unusual, if not unique, in being a
digital-only independent magazine 47 weeks of the year, generally
released on a Wednesday covering the operational and enthusiasts'
aspects railways in the British Isles, Europe and Worldwide. Railway Herald
is well illustrated and topical (one Wednesday your Editor went to
Worcester to see the Queen and Prince Phillip arrive on the Royal Train,
then five hours later a picture of that train appeared in Railway Herald!) It
is readable as a digital edition on any Windows or Mac computer or on
mobile devices such as an iPad or smart phone and can be downloaded as
a PDF and printed. A small group of enthusiasts work six days a week
producing it. The £20 annual subscription https://goo.gl/S1UxQq is only
38p per edition. See https://goo.gl/HM2tjs and https://goo.gl/GDSGEr
Paper BLN problems: Dave Monger, 6 Underhill Close, GODALMING, GU7 1NU. [email protected] OR RING EDITOR.
SALES: Mark Gomm, 84 Mornington Road, STOKE-ON-TRENT, ST1 6EL. [email protected] 01782 769960 (daytime).
Fixtures Secretary: Kev Adlam, 53 Kemble Close, Wistaston, CREWE CW2 6XN. [email protected] Twitter: @BLSGeneralSec
Branch Line Email Service: Nick Garnham, [email protected] Subscribe: [email protected]
NEWS TEAM: Wales: Paul Jeffries, 54 Heol Erwin, CARDIFF, CF14 6QR. [email protected]
South East England & East Anglia: Julian James, 58 Nelson Road, WORTHING, BN12 6EN. [email protected]
London: Geoff Brockett, 155 Onslow Gardens, South Woodford, LONDON, E18 1NA. [email protected]
West Midlands: Brian Schindler, 15 Sudeley, Dosthill, TAMWORTH, B77 1JR. [email protected]
East Midlands: John Cameron, 10 Friar Gate Court, Friar Gate, Derby, DE1 1HE. [email protected]
South West: PLEASE SENT TO EDITOR, PAUL STEWART AS BELOW…
North East England: Geoff Blyth, 26 Trafalgar Way, Queens Park, BILLERICAY, CM12 0UT. [email protected]
Scotland: Mike McCabe, Lawrenceholme Barn, Oulton, WIGTON, CA7 0PH. NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: [email protected]
North West, Yorkshire, Humberside, & IOM: Graeme Jolley, 3 Laurel Cottages, Rencell Hill, LAXEY, IOM, IM4 7BJ. [email protected]
Ireland: Martin Baumann: 42 Northland Road, Londonderry, BT48 7ND. [email protected]
Minor Railways (British Isles): Peter Scott, 93 Josephine Court, Southcote Rd, READING, RG30 2DQ. [email protected]
Editor/Head Lines: Paul Stewart, 4 Clarence Close, MALVERN, WR14 3HX [email protected] 01684562862 07790652351.
Printed by: Willow Printing & Design Ltd, 75/79 Back Cross Lane, Newton-le-Willows, WA12 9YE. [email protected]
01925222449 https://goo.gl/X6aQBA Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Road, Stoke Gifford, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947.