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Published by membersonly, 2019-03-21 19:51:49


23rd March 2019

Number 1325 (Items 642 - 768 & MR 43 - MR 47) (E-BLN 70 PAGES) 23 Mar 2019


…………… Respice in praeteritum, praesens et futurum
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society - founded 1955

Membership Enquiries, Alan Welsh [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677

British Isles news from member7s2; 8a6n7i7nternational section is available.
Opinions herein are not necessaarivlyaitlahbolsee. of the Compilers or the Society.

BLN 1326 is dated Sat 6 Apr; please send contributions by Wed 27 Mar.

642] E-BLN PLEASE PASS IT ON! is a special link to e-BLN 1322 (as a sample);

to improve the quality and definition it is best downloaded (click on the arrow pointing down to the
tray top right). Please forward it to anycineotyn.-Smoceiemtyb.ers who might be interested, or members who

take paper BLN, have emails but have never looked at e-BLN (they can have it at no extra charge).

Date Event and details  = Please Book Online BLN Lead Status

Sat 23 Mar The Marching Crompton II, Class 33; update in BLN 1323 1320 MG OPEN

Sat 23 Mar The Weymouth Walkabout to Weymouth Quay etc 1320 TG OPEN

Sat 23 Mar Weymouth Rio Grande Rly cancelled (family bereavement) 1322 MG OPEN

Sun 24 Mar The Ruby Vampire - The Second Bite; update in BLN 1323 1320 MG FULL

Sat 30 Mar 14.00 St Michael's 7¼" miniature railway - Tenbury Wells 1324 MG OPEN

Sat 13 Apr 10.00-13.45: Rossington branch Track & traction trips Below MG OPEN

Sun 14 Apr Weston, Nantwich Methodist Church & Willaston Railways 1324 NL OPEN

Fri 26 Apr The Bo'ness Bonus (Bo'ness etc to Crewe single journey) 1322 MG OPEN

Sat 27 Apr The Gourock Growler; Track & Traction tour from Crewe 1322 MG OPEN

Sun 28 Apr The Sunday Shed (single journey Crewe to Polmont etc) 1322 MG OPEN

Sat 4 May K&ESR The Andrew Wilson (Brillo) Memorial Charter 1322 MG OPEN

16-18 May Island of Ireland IV; first 3 days (can be booked separately) 1324 MG OPEN

Sun 19 May Cork - Dublin Heuston (for evening flights), Rare Track tour TBA TBA Claimed

Sun 9 Jun The Sunday Yicker Crewe 09.30-19.10 NW Class 31/33 tour Below MG OPEN

Wed 12 Jun *NEW* All day Lime Street Saveaway Tracker (Tom Gilby) TBA TG Claimed

Thur 13 Jun The Conwy Cat Track & Traction tour Crewe to Chester Below MG OPEN

7 and 8 Jul Sun and Mon; save the dates for Devon service train tracker TBA TBA Claimed

Sat 20 Jul *NEW* Class 37 hauled main line unusual lines railtour TBA TBA Claimed

Sat 27 Jul The return of Thunder Vac 50008 (D408), circular tour 1323 MG OPEN

Sun 28 Jul The Steel City Special, Sheffield Supertram WAITING LIST Below MG APPLY

26 - 28 Jul Society rare track tour in south Austria; NOW CONFIRMED 1318 PG OPEN

Sat 14 Sep Save the date; provisional track tour to East Anglia re-dated TBA TBA Claimed

15 - 17 Nov Provisional, Barrow Hill AGM weekend with Sunday railtour TBA TBA Claimed

MG = Mark Gomm; NL = Neil Lewis; PG = Paul Griffin; TG = Tom Gilby; Contacts: See back page.

643] :St Michael's Meander;:Sat 30 Mar 14.00-16.00:: St Michael's PRIVATE 7¼" Railway, near Tenbury
Wells, a half dumbbell layout several hundred yards long, in private grounds, we do not expect to repeat
this visit. Tea/Coffee available. £10 Members, £14 Non-Members; lifts available. Booking details per next
item. Please indicate if you can provide/would like a lift/s from/back to Leominster station (7 miles).

644] :The Rossington Recycler Sat 13 Apr:: (TRACKmaps Book 2, p17C - Oct 2016) With PLEG, a special
visit to ECO Power Environmental in Doncaster (the former Rossington Colliery site). Class 08 08527
will haul our mess van 'Molly' on four trips (at 10.00, 11.15, 12.30 & 13.45, each about 45 mins) to cover
all available lines at the facility, the branch and both sides of the run round loop next to the (Down)
East Coast Mainline to the ends of line. All profits will be donated to local good causes nominated by
ECO Power Environmental. This is strictly a non smoking site; limited toilet facilities will be available.
A mobile catering vehicle providing hot drinks and refreshments is being investigated. IMPORTANT:
Due to the cost of transporting 'Molly', this should be regarded as an unrepeatable chance to do a rare
significant branch not used by a passenger train for years; please give it maximum support & publicity.

A complimentary bus shuttle is planned from Doncaster station to the site and return, with our friends
from Black Prince Buses. £55 Adult, U18s (must be accompanied by an adult) £27.50, no surcharge for
non members, who are very welcome. Please book at our website or ask someone to do this for you -
they will need your full name and if applicable BLS membership number(s), or post with membership
number(s), an email address or SAE to Mark Gomm (back page). All queries to Mark, email preferred.

645] :The Sunday Yicker - Sun 9 Jun:: An unusual short formed loco hauled railtour of uncommon lines
in the North West, with 11 reversals and a break/photo stop at Liverpool Lime Street. It is operated by
West Coast Railways (WCR), raising money for 'Rethink Mental Illness'. Only three Standard Class
coaches and one Brake Composite will be available, hauled by a WCR Class 33 operating in 'top & tail'
formation with Class 31 31128. As usual, there will be an on train raffle, as always 100% of the money
goes to the good cause. There will be a buffet service of hot/cold drinks and light snacks in the brake
van. Max 216; BLS MEMBERS ONLY, bookings as above, Standard Class £89, Compartment Class £129;
U18s must be accompanied by an adult, £45 reduction. Crewe Diesel Depot Open Day 09.30-16.30
(BLN 1321.233) is the previous day, limited numbers advance bookings only.

Validated, bid, provisional route and timings: Crewe 09.30 (PU P1) - Crewe Shunt Neck (rev) - Crewe
P2 (rev) - Stoke-on-Trent P1 10.18 (PU) - Stone Jn facing crossover (rev) - Sideway DPL - Stoke-on-
Trent - Alsager Up & Dn loop (with facing and trailing crossovers) - Crewe - Middlewich - Hartford Jn -
Warrington BQ - Dallam Royal Mail P3, a short, south facing bay (rev) - Dallam Jn (rev) - Winwick Jn -
Bamfurlong Jn - Springs Branch (rev) - Haydock Jn - Haydock Branch (rev) - Hanson Kelbit Sidings†
(rev) - Haydock Branch (rev) - Ince Moss Curve - St Helens Central - Roby - Liverpool Lime Street P1
(break/rev) - Allerton East Jn - Garston Jn (rev) - Speke Jn - Ditton Reception Sidings - Runcorn -
Winsford - Crewe 19.10 (SD P12). †Final approval is awaited from Hanson at time of going to print.

646] :The Conwy Cat - Thur 13 Jun:: After the success of our 'Cat & Dock' and 'Nosey Peaker' tours, we
are delighted to announce an exciting loco hauled tour with Railway Children, operated by Direct Rail
Services (DRS), on the scenic North Wales coast, with a short break/photo stop at Blaenau Ffestiniog
and a photo stop at Llandudno. There is an option to alight at Betws-y-Coed for about an hour where
it is planned to visit the adjacent railway museum and miniature railway. Our tour is the first passenger
train to use the new bidirectional Up Mostyn Goods Loop and in both directions. It passes through
Ellesmere Port from east to west (a strategic connection of rare track) and traverses the Frodsham
Single line from Halton Jn to Frodsham Jn with the associated new facing and trailing crossovers.

Validated, bid, provisional route and timings: Crewe 07.30 (PU) - Acton Bridge Dn Slow - Weaver Jn -
Ditton Reception Sdgs - Liverpool Lime Street 08.25 (PU/rev) - Halewood Reception No1 - Runcorn -
Halton Jn - Frodsham Jn - Helsby - Ellesmere Port - Hooton Long Siding (rev) - Chester Up & Down
Fork - Dn Slow - Roodee Jn - Up Mostyn Goods Loop (sic) - Rhyl Dn Main - Llandudno Jn P1 (rev) -
Betws-y-Coed (SD) - Blaenau Ffestiniog (rev) - Betws-y-Coed (PU) - Llandudno Jn P1 - Llandudno
(rev) - Llandudno JunctionP3 - Up Mostyn Goods Loop - Roodee Jn - Up Slow - Chester 16.00 (SD).

Just five First Class open coaches are available for use; a TPE liveried Class 68 operates 'top & tail' with
a DRS Class 66 (subject to availability). As usual, there will be an on train raffle with 100% of the ticket

sales donated to Railway Children. There will be a buffet service of hot/cold drinks and light snacks,
and the opportunity to purchase hot breakfast rolls. Note the service terminates at Chester (so it can
be cleaned before use on the annual 'Three Peaks by Rail Challenge').Capacity 210; All First Class, fares
include a complimentary hot drink and snack. Members £59; U18s (must be accompanied by an adult),
£30 reduction; non-members surcharge £2 each all fares. Bookings as in item 644 above please.

647] :Carinthia Explorer; 26-28 Jul:: (BLN 1324.516) BLN 1318.2553 of 8 Dec 2018 had details of our
southern Austria tour. We are delighted to report a high level of bookings; participants can now make
accommodation and transport arrangements. It is now open to non-members so anyone who might be
interested but has not yet booked is advised to do so ASAP. Please supply the information requested.
If you can't access our website and don't know someone who can, apply to Mark Gomm as above.

648] :The Steel City Special; Sun 28 Jul:: With huge thanks to Stagecoach Supertram, we are delighted
to announce a charity railtour to areas not normally accessible to the public, including the tracks with
limited use at 'The Delta' in both directions. This charter, raising money for Railway Benefit Fund and
Railway Children, includes a visit to the recently opened Rotherham Parkgate Tram Train extension.
There will be a raffle with some fantastic prizes to increase the total we raise for charity. Only 86 seats,
BLS MEMBERS ONLY £50; U18s (must be accompanied by an adult) £25. FULL APPLY WAITING LIST.

Starting 09.00 at Cricket Inn Road stop in a Siemens-Duewag tram, we will head to Herdings Park
and Halfway covering all the crossovers and overrun sections except the out of use Spring Lane
crossover. There will be a comfort break at Crystal Peaks. We then head to Shalesmoor to reverse.
We cannot proceed beyond due to track renewal works. Next is Nunnery Depot; Road 5 or 6 has
been requested with the Turning Loop and Road 8. Then there is a break at Meadowhall (the non
preferred platform) while our tram is replaced with a Vossloh/Stadler Citylink Tram Train. Leaving
the preferred platform, we cover the Parkgate extension and also do the crossovers at Olympic
Legacy Park, Hyde Park and Cathedral, making a second run through Nunnery Depot but from east
to west, with Road 7 (carriage wash) requested. Our tour terminates at Cricket Inn Road at 16.00.

X.31] :The Gourock Growler; Sat 27 Apr:: (See website or BLN 1322.239 for details) Track & Traction
tour from Crewe. As well as the interesting route with unusual track, with thanks to DRS a further
enhancement to this charity charter has been agreed in relation to our proposed traction. As before a
DRS Class 88 will haul us to Mossend Yard, where two Class 37s take over to haul us to Gourock.
Then a DRS Class 68 instead of the Class 88 will return us to Shields Jn before we proceed back to
Carlisle. At Carlisle a different Class 88 will lead us back to Crewe. This means in total there will be two
additional locos working. We are extremely grateful to DRS for these additional attractions.

1325 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
649] Lewes (incl) - Polegate (excl) rather than Willingdon Jn: (BLN 1324.518 REVISED) TCP 7 to 10 Mar
2019 (incl) for aborted resignalling and recontrol work (item 721). Trains ran from Eastbourne (etc) to/
from Polegate with an ECS shunt over the west end trailing crossover. Other lines were TCP as shown.

650] Crich Tramway Village, Wakebridge (excl) - Glory Mine: (See MR 47) TCP Sat 16 Mar 2019 (first
day of season) expected to the end of the month due to overrunning engineering works at Glory Mine.

651] West Somerset Railway: (BLN 1317.2441) All TCP 2 Jan for infrastructure & procedural upgrades;
ROP is now phased: Bishops Lydeard - Watchet (incl) Sat 30 Mar; Watchet - Minehead Sat 6 Apr 2019.
30 Mar to 6 Apr there will be steam trains Bishops Lydeard - Williton with a DMU Williton - Watchet.

X.32] UPDATE TO PAPER BLN 1325; West Somerset Railway: (BLN 1317.2441) All TCP Wed 2 Jan for
infrastructure and procedural upgrades; ROP is now phased: Bishops Lydeard - Watchet (both incl) on
Sat 30 Mar; Watchet - Minehead Fri 19 Apr 2019. In 30 Mar - 18 Apr 'emergency timetable' services
are now 'Top & Tail' Bishops Lydeard - Watchet with steam haulage to Watchet and diesel on return.

THIS PAGE (ALL): Damage on the Blaenau Ffestiniog branch after the recent 15/16 Mar storms - one
fears this may become a more common problem on the network generally with climate change. (NR.)

652] Tunbridge Wells - Robertsbridge (both excl) with four stations: TCP Wed 13 Mar after passage of
the 13.15 Charing Cross to Hastings (Robertsbridge 14.17 - 44 min late) due to a cutting embankment
and trees slipping at Wadhurst. A Hastings - Robertsbridge shuttle ran. ROP after 06.00 Mon 18 Mar.

653] Llandudno Jn - Blaenau Ffestiniog (incl) & nine intermediate stations: TCP after normal service
on Fri 15 Mar 2019. On Sat 16th the DMU was required elsewhere and a bus was provided. On the
same day and the next one, this 27 mile branch was (again) severely damaged by flooding in multiple
locations and is closed until further notice for repairs. This is expected to be for several weeks.

654] Bidston East Jn - West Kirby and 5 stations: (BLN 1311.1736 REVISED) TCP 7 to 14 Apr 2019 for
platform remodelling and track realignment Phase 8 ready for the introduction of new Merseyrail
EMUs. In a change of plan, Bidston station remains open for TfW DMUs to/from Wrexham Central.

655] Reedham Jn - Berney Arms - Yarmouth (excl) (BLN 1324.574 REVISED) TCP 20 Oct 2018 with the
Reedham Jn remodelling; ROP expected May 2020 (project delay and a shortage of signalling testers).

656] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered

BLN Start (incl) Reopens Location (stations exclusive when bracketed) bold=closed now

1322.242 28 Sep 18 Unknown CairnGorm Mountain Railway, 'Base Station' - Ptarmigan

1311.1736 2 Mar 19 23 Mar 19 *(Rock Ferry) - (Hooton)

1324.574 23 Mar 19 1 Apr 19 *Whitlingham Jn - Lowestoft - (Oulton Broad S)/Acle - Yarmouth
1311.1736 25 Mar 19 3 Apr 19 (Hooton) - (Chester P7)

1325.651 2 Jan 19 by 6 Apr 19 *West Somerset Railway; Bishops Lydeard - Minehead

1325.654 7 Apr 19 15 Apr 19 *Bidston East Jn - West Kirby, (Wrexham - Bidston not affected)
1311.1736 15 Apr 19 23 Apr 19 (Bidston) - West Kirby

1323.380 31 Mar 19 6 May 19 Cromer Jn - West Runton - Sheringham (Network Rail)

1316.2303 2 Jan 19 Late Jul 19 Mid Hants Railway; Alton P3 - (Medstead & Four Marks)
1325.655 20 Oct 18 May 2020? *Reedham Jn - Berney Arms request stop - (Great Yarmouth)

1325 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
657] 2018 BLN Index: Many thanks to our member Greg Beecroft for his considerable time and effort
on this. The 2018 index (60 pages, about 2,600 entries) is available with e-BLN as an A4 Anyflip format,
also A4 and A5 (booklet) formats. It can be printed on 15 pages of A4 paper in booklet format and will
be filed in our website document archive. The entire index can be searched electronically with the
search box on the viewing page. The index is very clear and well laid out; it is a good idea to look
through to see how it works. Members taking paper BLN can have a free copy (printed to order, it
comes on unfolded A4 paper in A5 booklet format); send an A4 SAE (no smaller please) with a LARGE
LETTER STAMP to member Andrew Murray, Flat 7, The Hawthorns, Meadow Road, Hadleigh, SS7 2DP.

658] REMINDER Tyne & Wear Metro CHARITY AUCTION: Visit the T&W Metro Control Centre by
South Gosforth stop. It controls communications, signalling, OHLE, 600 CCTV cameras, help points,
electric supply - in fact everything! A most interesting visit. For up to 4 over 18s (date & time, to be
mutually agreed). NO RESERVE, all bids to John Cameron (back page) by 1 Apr, please be generous!

659] 'Baker' Rail Atlas of Great Britain & Ireland NEW 15th EDITION: The definitive
guide for many. After delays due to illness, the revised updated 15th Edition is in
preparation and expected to be out in June. Invaluable to all who are interested in
current railways in the British Isles, see what bits of track you now need to do if
you are a 'Baker' person. [Rolleston to Cobham via Breadsall?] RRP at least £20, it
will be available to members via Graeme Jolley, your Sales Officer, at a significant
discount. (Possibly about £16, with P&P; less on a railtour). We expect the Atlas to
be very popular, so please notify Graeme (back page) by email, text or post if you
are interested to gauge demand but please don't send any money at this stage!

660] My First Railway Memories (2): By Robert Darlaston. My earliest memories of rail transport are
of travel on the wonderful 3'6" gauge Birmingham tram system, on which I was regularly taken as a
toddler and on which I travelled daily to school from age 6. Treats were to ride on the open balcony of
any surviving pre-WWI car which might turn up and also watching the trolley pole swing to one side of
the car under the low bridges at Aston and Selly Oak stations. As a child, I was devoted to the city's
trams and when I was given a Brownie Box camera for my 13th birthday, just a week before the final
closure (4 Jul 1953), my first film was of the trams. These are at including
more recent photos of preserved car 395, plus assorted press cuttings and other items/information.

[Birmingham first had trams in 1872; Birmingham Corporation Tramways operated from 4 Jan 1904
until 4 Jul 1953. It was the largest narrow-gauge (3' 6") tramway network in the UK and the fourth
largest tramway network after London, Glasgow and Manchester. The gauge was unusual and gave
the trams a slim elegant appearance. There were 843 trams (with as many as 825 in service at a time),
20 depots and 45 main routes with 80½ route miles. Birmingham Corporation built the tramways and
initially leased the track to various companies to operate them. It was a pioneer in the development of
reserved track ways which served the suburban areas as the city grew in the 1920s and 1930s - Ed.]

My first remembered encounters with 'real' railways during the years of WWII included gazing up at
the vast grimy roof over the L&NWR side of New Street, sadly war damaged and later demolished
despite its historic claim as the world's largest single span arch, 15 years before St Pancras was built.
There was also war damage in evidence at Snow Hill station where the approach to the Down side
platforms (1-6) involved passing through an area of timber and tarpaulin where the building had
suffered a direct bomb hit in April 1941. But those were mere impressions. My first encounter with the
railway to give me a real interest in the subject occurred at Water Orton station, on the former
Midland line from Derby to Birmingham. My father took my cousin and me there one morning about
1945 (when I was five years of age) to watch the trains. A freight was stationary in the platform and
the driver invited my cousin and me onto the footplate. I was thrilled and was on the loco as quick as a
flash, although my cousin (he was six!) declined - clearly convinced that he would be whisked away to
the unknown. I can't pretend to remember much about the layout of the cab, other than seeing the
fire. I suspect the loco was an LMS 4F 0-6-0, although it might have been a 3F, both common at the
time on Midland lines around Birmingham. But that experience and the kindly action of that LMS
driver undoubtedly led to the development of an interest which continues over 70 years later!

Another very early memory, soon after the end of the war, arose when my father took us for a rare
trip out in the car - don't ask how he got the petrol! We drove through Welshpool and encountered a
GWR freight heading for Llanfair Caereinion. Dad stopped the car so I could watch the train with 822
or 823 slogging up Golfa Bank and, needless to say, there was much enthusiastic waving on my part to
which the driver genially responded. Thus was I hooked by the charms of the narrow gauge!

My very first railway trip in 1940 would have been memorable, but as I was just a tiny babe-in-arms
I can, alas, claim no memory of the event. That first journey was, unusually for one of my generation,
with diesel power, travelling from Birmingham Snow Hill to South Wales in one of the GWR's splendid
express diesel railcars, introduced in 1934. An added feature of the journey (so I was subsequently
told) was that there had been an air raid at Cardiff General station, so we were required to alight from
the train short of the platform. My father was reportedly most impressed with the railcar, but, alas,
the experience did not register with me. [More first railway memories welcome please - Ed.]

661] ........................................TWO Charity Auctions: All money goes to the Railway Benefit Fund.
The Society is fortunate to have been exclusively invited to take part in this unusual chance to raise
funds for this worthy charity that provides emotional, practical and financial support to railway
employees and their families who have fallen on hard times. ①The winner and a companion will be
accompanied by the EMT Operations Director or a team member for HST cab rides at up to 125mph.

A once in a lifetime chance that money can't normally buy, or the ultimate present for a friend. Date
to be mutually agreed with the route, time, location and services (can include rare track, ECS moves
Depots, sidings etc). You may never have another chance like this again! ②A 2-hour introduction to
train driving on the ..................................... .....HST simulator for one or two people. A full cab desk
with state of the art computer generated images. The facilitator will tailor the session to your
understanding of signalling (from complete novice to expert). Various scenarios test your skills and
photos will be provided after. Min age 8 (children must be well behaved and accompanied by an
adult) for both lots. All bids to John Cameron (back page) by 30 Apr please be generous, no reserve!

662] Points & Slips: ●●BLN 1324.565] The proposed five extra London Euston Virgin Trains services
each way are SuX. ●●577] (Flirting with bimodes) it seems that another issue has arisen with the new
Class 755 FLIRTs. The doors are near enough in the middle of the vehicles so, on curved platforms, the
gap to the platform will be maximised. ●●593] There were sporadic Paddington - Worcester HSTs after
8 Mar but, subject to any unforeseen late changes the final North Cotswold line HST is on Sun 31 Mar:
13.37 London Paddington to Worcester Foregate Street and 16.27 return. ●●600] The TfW local
Sunday service between Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton is every two hours at present, from 19 May
when West Midlands Railway takes over, as well as extending to New Street it will double to hourly.

1325 EAST MIDLANDS (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
663] Wellingborough: From 11 Mar on the Up Fast (64m 14ch) a new trailing 'half crossover' was to be
installed OOU. It is part of the new Wellingborough South Jn due to be commissioned in Jan 2020.

664] News flash: NR has been asked to plan electrification of nine miles from Kettering North Jn to
Market Harborough as a cheaper option than running a high tension cable south from a new National
Grid substation (designed to supply the Midland Main Line electrification) at Braybrooke near Market
Harborough. Work on this substation starts in May for completion in Dec 2020 when electric trains are
due to run to Corby. Question: Will the overhead to Kettering North Jn actually be there/live by then?

BELOW: New footbridge and platforms under construction at Market Harborough recently, showing
the extent of the realignment. This was always planned to precede electrification. (NR Press Release.)

[BLN 1325]
665] Market Harborough - Northampton: (BLN 1324.530) Regarding the reproduced original BLN 232
report of 22 Aug 1973: 'Northampton No1' was south of that station and in 1973 the junction for
Market Harborough was 'Northampton No4' (No5 box at the junction itself had closed in 1965).

#1): As mentioned, from 7 May 1973 timetable change until CP 27 Aug 1973, the passenger 'service'
was the 00.10 (actually MX) parcels train, Northampton to Leicester via Market Harborough. One day
(or rather one night) during this time, our Chairman and his wife on a 14-day All Line Rover alighted at
Northampton P1 from a southbound service shortly before midnight to catch it. After checking the
station departure board they went over to P3 to await the arrival of the train. However, 00.05 found
them sitting on one of the benches on the otherwise totally deserted Northampton P2 & 3, wondering
when something was going to happen (and of course, no station announcements at that time of night).

At that point the Station Foreman emerged from his office on P1 and shouted over to enquire what
they were waiting for. On hearing that they wanted the 00.10 to Leicester his reply was that they
needed to be on Parcels Bay No3, over on his side of the station to the northeast of P1 where the
rebuilt current north bays P4 & 5, presently little used, and the 'Horse Dock' are now situated.

That was the cue for the noise of a Class 25 starting to move to be heard from the direction in which
he was pointing. The Foreman shouted "He's going early!" and as our dynamic duo scurried over the
bridge to join him on P1 he grabbed the phone by his office. By the time they joined the clearly angry
Foreman, he had concluded his phone call, which he explained had been to the signal box at the north
end. On his instructions, signals had been thrown to danger in front of the departing train and the train
crew was instructed to set back into Parcels Bay 3 to collect their two passengers, which they duly did.

The Foreman escorted John and Jenny round to Parcels Bay 3. They didn't hear what he had to say to
the Guard and Driver, but the Guard seemed extremely sheepish when he came back from the loco to
unlock the brake second for them (there were, of course, no other passengers). Discretion being the
better part of valour, the Guard left them in the splendid isolation of the coach and went back to join
the driver on the loco. They then set off for an uneventful and unheated run to Leicester, where they
alighted on arrival and exchanged cheery waves with the loco crew. There followed a few nocturnal
hours in a waiting room Leicester (as you could in those days) before the next move on another PSUL
working, a stupid o'clock DMU heading south via the Sharnbrook Goods Lines (there were two then).

#2): Another member keen to do the line in daylight, and having not made the effort to do the 00.10,
heard that British Rail was running a Sheffield to Kensington Olympia 'Merrymaker' excursion for the
Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition on Wed 16 Mar 1977 which was expected to run Market Harborough
- Northampton both ways. This was not 'ideal' as he lived in Birmingham, but he knew this lengthy
double track line had a poor prognosis. Most BLS members at the time considered the line had to be
done in both directions because there were two quite long tunnels, both twin bore with 'significant'
separation including on their approaches (it is now possible to walk through one bore of each and
nearly all of the trackbed). He had arranged his ticket for the excursion by post (£4.50 return including
a compulsory admission ticket to the exhibition at 65p, a special rate for BR, on the door it was £1). He
was also armed with a £3.63p day return - clearly pre-CrossCountry days - (with a Student Railcard as
they were then; and, yes, you had to be a full time student to have one) from Birmingham New Street
to Sheffield. He woke at 02.35 to catch the 03.30 night service bus (hourly all night) into Birmingham.

At New Street the 04.15 to Newcastle (from Plymouth) was reported two hours late due to flooding
on Dawlish sea wall - nothing is new - but it wasn't cancelled (BR days remember). In fact it was only
90 mins late but Sheffield was reached 07.38, gaining 15 mins and in good time for the 08.00 excursion
which left 08.32! This was with loco 47174 and 12 quite full coaches, most reserved for school parties.

Heading south the direct route was taken to .... Birmingham (!) where at Saltley (crew change) it was
straight on at Landor St Jn to St Andrews Jn, Didcot station (crew change) then right at Old Oak East
Jn (as you could then) to Kensington Olympia at 12.57 (53 mins late). They couldn't actually force you

to visit the exhibition so the chance was taken to do the then required Kensington Olympia branch
with a return to New Cross Gate (70p; a single was 50p) on the Underground. The ticket was non-
specific; valid to a range of destinations and it was perfect timing for the first evening Whitechapel to
Shoreditch (CP 11 Jun 2006) train at 15.52. This branch of the (Metropolitan) East London Line section
only had trains in the weekday peaks then. Its New Cross Gate branch was also new track for our
member as was beyond New Cross Depot (visited on a tour and CA 23 Dec 2007) to New Cross station.

Having done four London Underground sections for the first time, it was back to Olympia where the
return excursion left on time at 18.17, again with 47174 retracing the route via Didcot to Birmingham
reaching Sheffield 22.17 (five down). This was in good time for the 23.22 back to Birmingham (01.26)
for the 02.00 night service bus (leaving people behind at some stops it was so busy - never mind, it
would be back in an hour). Home was reached 23 hours after setting out. Although not achieving the
main objective it was an enjoyable trip and good value for the time (£7.48 for 565 miles). On reflection
perhaps the 00.10 from Northampton (not via Birmingham) wouldn't have been so bad after all. These
modern gricers with Realtime Trains, live signalling diagrams and such like have never had it so good!

666] Cleethorpes: On the single line just outside the station, NR is closing Suggitt's Lane level crossing
which connects the lane to the promenade. The NR briefing states that over 50 passenger and freight
trains travel over the crossing daily. Surely it has been many years since the last freight train ran?

667] Leicester: (BLN 1309.1610) On the former West Bridge branch, the mile long Glenfield railway
tunnel is open for occasional limited conducted tours over 110yd to the first ventilation shaft at the
west end. However, Leicester City Council owns the 1829 built tunnel and it could provide a safe
walking and cycle route from Stephenson Court, at the Glenfield end, to Copeland Ave, near Gilroes
Cemetery (the bricked up east entrance). It runs under the ridge on which Glenfield Hospital stands.

668] Bennerley viaduct: (BLN 1301.572) Subject to planning and listed building consent, work to
revamp this iconic viaduct with a new walkway could finally start later this year, requiring £690k of
funding. The impressive disused Grade II* listed structure straddles the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire
border and is a landmark above the Erewash Valley line north of Ilkeston station towards Langley Mill.
It once carried the double track Great Northern Railway Derby Friargate to Nottingham line (opened
Jan 1878; CP 7 Sep 1964; CA 6 May 1968). Railway Paths Ltd (RPL) who own the structure and the
Friends of Bennerley Viaduct recently made a joint announcement that they had secured about £485k
of funding, enough to start work. RPL estimates the project will take about 18 months with completion
by the end of 2020. It is 484yd long and 61ft high at its maximum and was built in the lighter weight
lattice wrought ironwork rather than the usual heavier brick used then as it was in a coal mining area
with subsidence. The viaduct was nearly demolished years ago for expansion of open cast coal mining.

1325 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]
669] HS2: (BLN 1324.537) Bechtel has lodged a High Court claim after losing out on a £1.3bn contract
to build Old Oak Common station, awarded to the Balfour Beatty and Vinci team in Feb. Mace and
Dragados won a separate contract to rebuild Euston. Bechtel pulled out of Euston bidding to focus on
Old Oak Common and is believed to be arguing that the scoring process was unfair. ('Sunday Times')

Three of the large iconic yellow cranes in Willesden Euro Terminal have now been dismantled; the
fourth will stay. 16 freight trains a day are expected to serve the planned Rail Logistics Hub, delivering
equipment and construction materials and taking out 6M tonnes of material excavated by the TBMs.

Transfer of signalling control of the Park Royal area to Greenford signal box was delayed until 2 Mar

670] Royal Oak: Property company Grosvenor, the freeholders of Victoria Coach Station, want to
redevelop the site when TfL's lease expires. One new site being considered is ex-railway land by Royal
Oak station, with development over the station also possible. However, local campaigners NIMBYs
claim that the land had originally been gifted to the community in recognition of the disruption caused
by Crossrail work and are also protesting about potential air pollution. ('Evening Standard.')

671] Waterloo - Point Pleasant Jn - East Putney - Wimbledon: (BLN 1324.526) The Southern Railway
withdrew passenger services with effect from Mon 5 May 1941 (not 4th). However, there is a question
as to whether the service ceased earlier - possibly temporarily - due to air raid damage to Durnsford
Road Power Station. According to 'Steaming to Victory: How Britain's Railways Won the War' by
Michael Williams, the damage was on 14 Oct 1940, reducing the electricity supply by half for 127 days.

The route was used again by regularly scheduled passenger service after WWII but on a limited basis.
For example, in 1960 some summer 'dated' trains were booked this way: 10.10 SuO Clapham Junction
- Portsmouth Harbour excursion‡; 12.30 SO Aldershot - Waterloo; 12.55 SO Farnham - Waterloo and
14.24 SO Alton - Waterloo. ‡The equivalent summer Sunday excursion was last booked to run on
25 Aug 1963; the Saturday trains ceased using the route by 1963 (it is not clear when they last ran).

From 8 May 1978 regular unadvertised use by 23.24 SuX Waterloo to Wimbledon staff train started
but this ended from 17 May 1993. The flying Up line between East Putney and Point Pleasant Jn was
taken out of use (unsafe viaduct) 4 Aug 1987 so the route was only available in the Down direction,
until the Down line became bidirectional (11 Feb 1991). The start of the current PSUL use was when
the route regained two public trains from 21 May 2001 (mainly for train crew knowledge retention).

672] Barking: (BLN 1317.2455) c2c has applied for planning permission for a £5M plan to renovate the
Grade II listed station. The shops in the concourse will be removed and windows uncovered to open up
views of the 'flying canopy' roof. The station's design is said to be based on Roma Termini in Italy.

673] Barking - Gospel Oak: (BLN 1322.264) The worst issues with the software on the Class 710 EMUs
have now been resolved, enabling initial training of London Overground drivers to begin. However
further refinement of the software (currently on version 30!) is needed to allow full training to take
place and it appears that no units have yet achieved 2,000 miles fault-free operation. The last Class
172 DMUs went off lease after use on 15 Mar. As a result from 16 Mar services were reduced to every
30 minutes using the higher capacity three 4-car Class 378s. With no spare units, maintenance will
presumably be carried out overnight. SSuX services are supplemented at some stations by buses
between Gospel Oak and Finsbury Park and Walthamstow Central and Leytonstone (Central Line).

BELOW: The entrance to Roma Termini Barking station. (Angus McDougall 6 Apr 2025.)

674] Beam Park: (BLN 1289.1932) Formal consent has been granted for a 3,000 home development by
L&Q and Countryside on the site of the former Fords plant in Dagenham, now owned by the Greater
London Authority (GLA). As part of the development, a new station will be built halfway between
Dagenham Dock (10m 45ch) and Rainham (12m 54ch) stations. The Development Agreement includes
an obligation for Countryside to provide a station building to a 'shell and core' specification. £9.6M has
been allocated to the initial phase of station development, with the fit out being provided by NR.

There is a funding gap at the moment between the costs and the amount available, but the GLA has
put in a request to the government's Housing Infrastructure Fund for the rest, with a decision due in
May. Station construction is currently expected to start in the autumn, with the core of the station due
to be completed by next summer and opening in May 2022. ('Ian Visits' website.)

675] Cricklewood: (BLN 1322.269) The former Down side recess sidings are now known as the CAT
Sidings (Cricklewood Aggregate Terminal). Rail connection from the Down Hendon is currently at the
north end only but a connection at the south end is due to be completed by Jun. From 16 Mar at the
south end of the depot, a new set of single ended trailing points were to be installed in the Up
Departure Line to access a new Tamper siding as part of the Cricklewood regeneration. They are
clipped and padlocked OOU with the key held by Cricklewood Depot signaller (in case you wondered).

BELOW: Cricklewood Down side, looking towards London, just south of Brent Curve Jn; the Midland
Main Line is on the left. The former Down Recess Sidings have been transformed into Cricklewood
Aggregate Terminal (CAT). This is the trailing north end connection in the Down Hendon clipped out
of use. The two lines far right are the 'Brent Curve' between Brent Curve Jn (behind the photographer)
and Dudding Hill Jn, round the corner to the right. NEXT PAGE TOP: Work in progress on the stone
terminal itself. It is due to be reconnected at the south end (north of Cricklewood Curve Jn) by June.

BELOW: The ever so slightly out of use south end connection with the signal looking a bit blank.
Pointing south towards London, right Cricklewood Curve can just be seen between Cricklewood Curve
Jn - ahead - and Dudding Hill Jn. (These three pictures by our member Robin Morel Sat 4 Mar 2019.)

ABOVE: (TRACKmaps Book 4, p8B - Dec 2018) Cricklewood No12 siding, the shunt neck beyond
Jericho's private (open) level crossing is now in regular use again and leased to GBRf. Looking north
with the elevated North Circular Road running across. BELOW: Looking south on the Up (east) side of
Cricklewood station with P1 & 2 right; the shiny track is the bidirectional Cricklewood Depot Exit
Road, recent devegetation has unearthed the South Shunt Neck (left) which is still out of use for now.

ABOVE: Some visitors from the Great Northern route are in warm storage at Cricklewood pending
acceptance by the customer from the manufacturer. (All these pictures by our member Robin Morel.)
BELOW: Hammersmith Signal Box frame (H&C/Circle line terminus); 16 Mar 2011. (Angus McDougall.)

ABOVE: Hammersmith H&C again, looking towards Paddington, the LUL signal box is first left with the
former Great Western Railway Box a bit further along the line. (Angus McDougall 26 Sep 1971.)

676] LUL Sub-Surface Lines Resignalling: (BLN 1317.2465) After successful test operation on 2/3 Mar,
the much-delayed Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling was finally commissioned
over the weekend of 16/17 Mar. Trains ran empty between Paddington and Hammersmith, switching
from the existing signalling to CBTC at Latimer Road; public service began 14.00 on Sun 17 Mar. The
new Hammersmith Service Control Centre (SCC) controls the new signalling between Latimer Road
and Hammersmith, and Hammersmith Signal Box has closed. The SCC will also control movements
within Hammersmith depot, now officially 'sidings', the depot shunter cabin also closed with Ground
Shunters no longer employed. The next area of commissioning is due to be Latimer Road/Finchley
Road to Euston Square in July (hopefully 2019), subject to successful testing between now and then.

677] Crossrail: (BLN 1324.533) ●Lifts serving all platforms have opened at Maryland, Forest Gate
Manor Park & Seven Kings. In addition Maryland and Manor Park ticket halls have been refurbished.
●From Wed 13 Mar the 'Back Line' to the Crossrail Old Oak Common depot was brought into use.

678] Croydon Tramlink: ASLEF has called a one day strike on Thur 28 Mar (00.01 to 23.59) over pay,
following rejection of a 3.2% annual pay rise per year for staff over the next three years. This coincides
with a possible 48 hour DLR strike called from 04.00 on Wed 28 Mar until 03.59 on Fri 30 Mar.

1325 NORTH EAST & YORKSHIRE (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
679] Trans Pennine Upgrade: The Department for Transport (DfT) has specified their High-Level
Strategic Outputs for the Trans Pennine Route Upgrade in the Client Development Remit (CDR) to NR.
The CDR for GRIP4 is under development, but will include the following high level outputs:
>Manchester Victoria to Leeds target journey time of 41½ minutes with one stop.
>Leeds to Manchester Victoria 43½ minutes with one stop.
>Manchester Victoria to York 67 minutes with two stops.
>York to Manchester Victoria 66½ minutes with two stops.
>'Selective electrification' between Stalybridge, Guide Bridge and Manchester Victoria; Huddersfield -
..Leeds and Church Fenton - Colton Jn. (This implies not between Stalybridge and Huddersfield.)

In addition to this 'selective electrification', the programme currently includes:
●Line Speed Improvements Manchester Victoria - Stalybridge, with remodelling at Miles Platting.
●Stalybridge remodelling (again! - a £20M scheme with resignalling was only completed in 2012).
●Huddersfield, and Huddersfield - Dewsbury capacity improvements.
●Speed improvements: (i) Morley - relocated. (ii) Leeds east end. (iii) Church Fenton and to York.
●Resignalling (i) Stalybridge (again). (ii) Neville Hill - Marsh Lane.(both are conventional schemes).
...(iii) Stalybridge - Cottingley, European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS).

NR proposes to deliver the Trans Pennine Upgrade in a series of projects (W = West, E = East):
 W1A: Manchester Victoria - Miles Platting realignment etc followed by electrification in W1B.
 W1B: Manchester Victoria - Stalybridge and Guide Bridge - Stalybridge electrification.
 W2A: Stalybridge remodelling and resignalling.
 W2B: Stalybridge - Huddersfield asset replacement without material change to train operation.
 W3: Huddersfield - Dewsbury major infrastructure work, including remodelling Huddersfield,
....(re)/quadrupling, line speed improvements and new stations at Deighton, Ravensthorpe & Mirfield.
 W4: Ravensthorpe - Morley and Cottingley - Leeds (some overlap with W3 & W5) mainly asset
....replacement but without material change to train operation.
 W5: Morley - Cottingley remodelling and relocation of Morley, to ease the tight curve and deliver
....early speed improvements; future electrification provision; resignalling & relocking for later ERTMS.

 E1: Church Fenton - York realignment of Leeds Lines; electrification of all four lines to Colton Jn; as
... HS2 (all electric, no bimodes!) Phase 2b is proposed to join the line north of Church Fenton station.
 E2: Leeds - Cross Gates realignment.
 E3: Cross Gates - Micklefield asset replacement with no change to train operation.
 E4: Micklefield - Church Fenton asset replacement with track work through Church Fenton.

The next main steps: Tranche ❶: Formal issue of G7 Notice(s) - a NR proposal under the Complex
Projects Procedure - Jun 2019; works planned to commence late 2019 for completion in summer 2022.
Tranche ❷: Formal issue of G7 Notice(s) late 2019; works commence 2022 for completion late 2026.

Our Regional editor feels that is a very disappointing project, with signs of offering the minimum that
could claim to be a significant investment. One suspects the Treasury has been at work paring it down.
A former railway commentator makes the point that the project has been reduced from that originally
intended (as investment in roads is increasing). He points out that the Manchester - Leeds proposals
(an unimpressive 61.5 mph going east and 58.5 mph west) are 2 min slower than originally planned
and Manchester - York 5 min slower. In Sep 2018 Transport for the North (TfN) stated that it expected
NR to deliver its aspirations in full, including 40 min for Leeds - Manchester (Victoria) and 62 min for
Manchester - York. TfN also want six long distance trains per hour in each direction while allowing the
same frequency of local trains, longer trains for greater capacity, the highest reliability levels of any
long distance service in Britain and provision for freight, with the option to transport containers by rail
(not currently possible). There may well be more discussions between TfN and the Secretary of State.

It seems strange to wire the four tracks north of Church Fenton but not fill the short 8¼ mile OHLE gap
to Neville Hill Depot, for which little engineering would be required. Most importantly, the actual
trans pennine Stalybridge - Huddersfield section is not being electrified - the part which would benefit
most due to the gradients and curvature. There is no plan to ease the 45mph restriction at Marsden,
which separates two considerably faster sections. In addition it will be impossible to increase the
hourly local service over this section as there is no provision for any additional tracks in the plans.

680] Wensley: (BLN 1324.540) There was only one platform at this station (south of the Wensleydale
line) and the passing loop was later removed. Apparently, rail traffic at Wensley and Leeming Bar was
insufficient to justify motor operation of the level crossing boom gates so they were always pushed by
hand. They were fitted with key locks, attached to the old gate stops lever. There is no sign of motors
ever having been installed; 'handlebars' were provided above the wheels to assist with the pushing.

PREVIOUS PAGE TOP: Prudhoe looking east; the 08.46 arrival from Chathill approaches the trailing
crossover used on departure after reversal in the platform - the associated shunt signal is visible.

PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: The train turning back in Prudhoe P2. (All Simon Mortimer 23 Feb 2019.)

ABOVE: 158859 at Prudhoe P2 forming the 08.52 to Morpeth. Those with very good eyesight, a large
screen and a magnifying glass will see that the Newcastle end trailing crossover points are set and the
shunt signal is cleared for departure. From Mon 20 May this train is extended to/from Hexham.

681] Prudhoe: This station has an unusual terminating service (07.10 SuX ex-Chathill) which arrives at
08.46 and returns at 08.52 to Morpeth critically over the Newcastle end trailing crossover in service.
The train was to have been extended to Hexham at the Dec timetable change but the moratorium on
timetable changes has postponed this until Mon 20 May. Talking to the guard on Sat 23 Feb there was
once a similar late night arrival but, because the crossover is controlled by a shunt signal, it ran ECS to
Wylam before picking up passengers. He said this service now has a dispensation to use the crossover
as it runs 10 minutes behind the previous service towards Newcastle calling at all stops and is a PiXC
(Passengers in Excess of capacity) buster at least on a weekday, but on Saturdays there is nothing to
bust! It enables Northern to avoid breaching a franchise commitment of loadings not to exceed 120%
of capacity. Anyone needing the crossover has until 18 May before it ceases to be used regularly again.

682] Azumas: (BLN 1324.542) The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has now approved LNER bimode
Class 800 trains entering service. Just to be different from GWR, the 13 x 9-car sets are Class 800/1 and
the 10 x 5-cars are Class 800/2. [GWR has 36 x 5-Car 800/0 and will have21 x 9-car 800/3s.] There have
been concerns over the jumper cables between vehicles being used as a 'ladder' to reach the high
voltage equipment and OHLE but also use of automatic Selective Door Opening on the ECML.

[BLN 1325]
It seems that the cables are not being repositioned but the ORR said the manufacturer, Hitachi Rail,
and LNER need to reach an agreement on minimising these risks before any Azumas go into service
(all rather vague), subject to the completion of final testing. LNER is continuing driver training with
over 40 passed out and hopes to announce a date (April?) for the first sets to enter passenger service
to Leeds and Hull. Meanwhile 800210 has been fitted with systems to reduce the powerful
electromagnetic effects, which interfere with the older lineside signals to the north of Colton Jn and
cause them to fail. This is to test NR's upgrade work on the signalling and it is understood that it looks
promising. Trains are not allowed to run on electric north of York currently due to this interference.

683] Stalking Mules: (BLN 1320.57) Following our Teesside box visits, two members were horsing
around (but not making as ass of themselves) in North Blyth on 9 Feb, looking for mules. There were
no trains - or hinnies for that matter. A Hinny is the offspring of a female donkey and a male horse,
the opposite of a mule, and is also a general Geordie term of endearment. They must like their mules!

The object of their quest was the Alcan loading terminal, sited here to serve Lynemouth aluminium
smelters (just up the line) and Fort William. Alumina (aluminium oxide, Al2O3) is shipped here from
Aughinish, near Foynes in Ireland, the largest bauxite processing plant in Europe. Aluminium smelters
require copious supplies of cheap electricity. At Lynemouth a new coal fired power station was built,
served directly by the adjacent Ellington and Lynemouth collieries. The power station and smelter
were brought into operation in Mar 1972. Fort William smelter is supplied by its hydro-electric
generating station, thanks to 70" of rain per year; a 15 mile tunnel carries water from Loch Treig,
alongside the West Highland line between Corrour and Tulloch. Lynemouth once had two Alumina
trains a day from North Blyth (formerly regular freight traffic Winning Jn -Marchey's House Jn now not
regularly used) and Fort William now usually has one train a day. Ellington and Lynemouth collieries
closed in 2005 but coal came from overseas or UK mines. Lynemouth smelter ceased production on
29 Mar 2012 and closed in May 2012. Alcan cited rising energy costs caused by emerging European
environmental legislation. This resulted in the rather ridiculous situation, on the face of it, of alumina
being shipped from the west coast of Ireland, past the west coast of Scotland to North East England,
and then by train to ... the west coast of Scotland. It is understood that this is preferable to building a
new loading terminal near Fort William (Corpach was considered) and good from the railway point of
view. However, this traffic is now the only freight on the West Highland line north of Glen Douglas.

Our members had a good (public) view of the loading terminal; the mule runs on its own separate
narrow-gauge tracks within the 4-foot. Answering BLN 1321.217, it is a mule and not just a ropeway.
There is a ramp so it can be stored at a lower level, presumably clear of contact with wagons.
The narrow gauge track runs for only a short distance through the loader and then a few yards outside.

Therefore, unlike the standard-gauge mules (such as in Edinburgh at Powderhall), this mule can only
move one or two wagons through the loader at a time. It must therefore make multiple 'round trips' to
load a whole train (a real pack horse). As our members didn't see a train, it is not clear how the mule
attaches to the wagons, and whether it pulls the wagons from the front, pushes them from behind or
drags them by making contact with some attachment underneath the wagon. Presumably the last
option would be the most convenient as it would avoid splitting the train. [Any ideas anyone please?]

NEXT PAGE TOP: Unbelievable as it might seem now, this was North Blyth on 26 Apr 1986 looking
south. Although a slightly dark photo, it is full of interest. West Blyth Staiths are prominent and in use
(to ship coal out not in!), the high level lines on the left are for outward loaded wagons and the low
level lines (right) are for returning empty wagons. The coal fired Cambois (or Blyth) 'A' Power Station
is prominent on the right, it generated from 1958 until 2001 and, like the 'B' station, off picture further
right, has been demolished. People are wandering around as if there was a railtour in town, and
indeed there was, the 'Chevy Chase' was a private half-day railtour from
Newcastle and was advertised in BLN at the time. (Ian Mortimer.)

BELOW: The entrance to North Blyth Terminal (the area is not visible on the 1986 picture above, it
was off far left) The NR boundary is at the ground frame (3m 22ch) before North Blyth loop, behind
the photographer. (All pictures were taken from public places/crossings by Nick Jones on 9 Feb 2019.)

ABOVE: The disused coke terminal is first after the gate. Right is some storage for Alumina, its loading
terminal is in the distance on the left. BELOW: A close up of North Blyth Alumina rail loading facility.

ABOVE: The dual gauge track and chains ('cable') beneath the Alumina rail wagon loading hopper.
BELOW: Mule and the ramp in close up. Presumably Fort William terminal has a similar arrangement?

ABOVE: The motor for the mule cable/chain is on the left. BELOW: The end of the line in the terminal.

[BLN 1325]
684] Permissive Block: Regarding use of Starbeck North Signal Box - Northallerton South Jn as an
emergency diversionary route (northbound only) on 1 Aug 1967, BLN 1322.280 stated that men were
found to work the boxes on 12 hour shifts, and the line ran under Permissive Block until the ECML
reopened the next day. A knowledgeable member doubts that very much, stating that running
passenger trains under Permissive Block (other than for short distances within station limits) is
prohibited. Your Regional Editor confesses to reading this on a website, probably written by someone
who did not know much about signalling. Our member has explained the different working methods:

(1) Telephone Block: This is Absolute Block working without block instruments and bells; only one
train at a time would be in the block section. As a special train took batteries and accumulators out to
the boxes before the diversions started, this is almost certainly the working method that was adopted.

(2) Time Interval Working: The time interval between successive trains is designed to prevent more
than one train at a time being in the block section, although there is no guarantee this won't occur.

(3) Permissive Block: In this case more than one train at a time is allowed into the block section; the
signaller tells the driver whether the section ahead is clear or occupied. If a passenger train is operated
over a line on which Permissive Block is normally in use, Absolute Block working must be instituted.

The first two methods would be implemented only in an emergency situation, such as the diversion.

685] Wi-Fi: This is now free on LNER trains. Sign in is with email address/password, no booking code is
needed - or register if it is the first time [although it's not Virgin Trains now].

686] Newsham North Jn - Blyth (Newsham Bates Staiths): Northumberland County Council (NCC) is
developing plans for a Blyth relief road costing up to £25M. Five options are under consideration, one
uses a mile of this now lifted branch from NZ 302 795 to NZ 299 814. NCC advises that an advantage of
this route is that it would end repeated fly tipping on the trackbed! (Railway Ramblers.)

687] Leeds: Northern was originally due to introduce longer trains (6-car instead of 3) on services in
and out of the bay platforms at the west end of Leeds at the Dec timetable change. Although new
trains will be phased in from this spring, they will still be only 3-cars. 6-car trains will now not enter
service until late 2021, two years late, because alterations to P1-6, including lengthening and the
addition of the new P0 (in the present car park), will not be completed until then. This work is part of a
£160M upgrade to Leeds station. However, 6-car services will run from the end of this year on other
Northern services and the life expired Pacers will be withdrawn by the end of this year.

688] Knottingley: Trains from Leeds/Pontefract Monkhill to Knottingley have four possible routes:

①Arrive P2 and wait there before departing back.

②Arrive P2, ECS to Knottingley East Jn (reverse) then via the Up Goods Line to P1 to depart west.

③Arrive P2 and continue to Goole, that is the 17.58 (SuX) Leeds to Goole, Knottingley dep 18.36.

④Take the facing crossover at Knottingley West Jn to arrive in P1 in service, before departing west
......from there such as the 06.58 (SuX) Leeds to Knottingley - this is the rare move.

Our member has been trying unsuccessfully to achieve the fourth option. He thinks there may be a
local arrangement where, unless there is a passing westbound freight (sadly rare now), these trains are
sent into P2 to save passengers having to use the footbridge. This shows consideration for 'normals'
but is frustrating for gricers! Grand Central Pontefract Monkhill to Doncaster trains use the crossover
but the attraction of the Knottingley train is a brief piece of the Up Goole line in the wrong direction.

689] Bowesfield: (BLN 1322.284) This box was rescheduled to be re-controlled to York ROC from 05.00
on 11 Mar, two weeks earlier than originally planned. The 23/34 Mar diversions of Grand Central trains
via the main lines avoiding Darlington and via Gateshead (BLN 1322.285) may be cancelled, check first

690] Tyne Valley: To meet franchise commitments for Northern to Station Plat Old New
run longer trains from the May timetable, NR is lengthening the
platforms at some stations as shown, distances are in yards. Dunston Up P1 93 102
(RIGHT: Up is towards Carlisle and Down is to Newcastle.) Dn P2 94 103

691] Northallerton: (BLN 1324.549) From 18 Mar at Longlands Jn, Prudhoe Dn P2 90 107
the Down Fast to Down Slow crossover (28m 68ch) was clipped
OOU. As it is part of a four week programme, crossover gricers will Riding Mill Dn P2 99 103
need to wait a further two weeks to do them again.
Bardon Mill Dn P2 96 104

Wetheral Dn P2 81 104

1325 NORTH WEST (John Cameron) [email protected]
692] Cumbria non-stop: HS2 Phase 2b is due to join the West Coast Main line from the southeast
direction just south of Bamfurlong Jn. However, on the WCML itself, the high capacity lengthy trains
are due to run non-stop (no doubt with many empty seats) between Preston and Carstairs where they
will split/join for Glasgow and Edinburgh. Passengers to/from Lancaster, Oxenholme, Penrith or
Carlisle are expected to change at Preston. Cumbria Chamber of Commerce has been lobbying HS2
and ministers to change this plan. Of 141 Cumbrian companies who completed a survey about HS2,
65% said that their prospects would be harmed if HS2 London trains do not stop at Cumbrian stations.

The Chamber of Commerce reports that there are signs that HS2 might be flexible and split Glasgow
and Edinburgh services at Carlisle instead of Carstairs, which would provide a passenger stop there.
[HS2 trains will be long and it would be expensive and may not even be possible to lengthen platforms
but surely they will have Selective Door Operation, for example it may well be needed at Sheffield?]

693] Cheadle North: OP 1 Feb 1866 by the Stockport, Timperley & Altrincham Jn Railway as Cheadle
(on the former Stockport Tiviot Dale - Altrincham line); renamed Cheadle North 1 Jul 1950; CP 30 Nov
1964. 'The Cheshire Line Tavern' opened in the typical Cheshire Lines Committee style building in 2007.

BELOW: The former Cheadle North station building on 23 Dec 2010. (Angus McDougall.)

694] Secret Head 'codes': (BLN 1324.561) The unusual practice of a rear portion headcode continuing,
rather than the leading portion, used to happen at Crewe when the 18.10 Euston to Wrexham and
Holyhead split. However, this changed to the conventional practice with the new Dec 2018 timetable.

695] WCML: Six access points on 70 miles of the WCML in North Lancashire and Cumbria are being
upgraded at the cost of £300k. They are Kendal Sidings, Hollins Lane, Elmsfield, Shap Beck, Plumpton
and Birkthwaite Farm. Each will be permanently fitted with 'road-to-rail' platforms (between and
either side of the tracks at rail level, looking a bit like level crossings) which will allow maintenance
teams to use road rail vehicles more often and quickly, speeding up maintenance and repairs.

696] Crewe (1): (BLN 1321.185) Posters have appeared on several P6 pillars giving directions to P9 and
P10 bays. Our correspondent feels this is about 20 years too late as he has been regularly pointing
confused passengers towards those platforms for at least that long! Apparently some passengers still
wait for Chester trains at P9 although P10 is generally used in the new timetable as shown by screens.

697] Crewe (2): Changes are being made at the diesel depot. The newly built lifting shop has had track
laid [not lifted then?] into it on one side. This is separated from the other side by a fence, presumably
to allow road vehicles to enter the shop on that side. One of the two GUVs (General Utility Van)
formerly at the Heritage Centre appears to have been moved into the diesel depot, presumably to
move stores between the various sheds. Does anyone know how and when it moved?

698] Buxton (1): When seen from a passing train on 10 Mar, track re-laying of the run round sidings
(which are being lengthened) was much in evidence. A new footbridge over them is partially complete.
(2): There is a life-size statue made out of parts of mostly signalling equipment on Buxton P2.

BELOW: The 'statue on Buxton P2 (Angus McDougall 6 Sep 2017.)

699] Goostrey: There is major restoration work in
progress on the main (Down side P1) building, a
L&NWR timber structure dating from the opening
of the station in Sep 1891. The station was staffed
until 1994 and was maintained in a very smart
condition. At one time the gardens were beautifully
kept with a neatly mown lawn and colourful flower
beds. The station was often highly placed in the
London Midland Region annual 'Best Kept Stations'
competition. But with privatisation no maintenance
was carried out on the building which soon started
to deteriorate badly and it seemed that demolition
would become inevitable, despite efforts by local
support group, the Friends of Goostrey Station.

Happily, the station was not goosed and in 2018 the
Railway Heritage Trust awarded a £40k grant
towards restoration of the structure provided the
work also received support from Northern Rail and
NR, and on condition that the village took
responsibility for restoring the interior of the
building for which tenants will be sought. Some
preliminary structural work took place towards the
end of 2018, with major work being scheduled from
Mar to May 2019. It is possible to walk from
Goostrey station (46,250 passengers in 2017-18) to
the nearby Jodrell Bank radio telescope/space
Discovery Centre.

700] Ditton: A feasibility study into the reopening of the station has been carried out by Arup and
Merseytravel. Halton Council says that the cost would be around £10M, with parking and road
improvements also needed. If the scheme is deemed feasible, the council will look at a number of
investment sources - including the Liverpool City Region Single Investment Fund which promotes
economic growth. Ditton Junction station was OP 1 May 1871 by the L&NWR. It was renamed Ditton
on 7 May 1973, was CP 29 May 1994 and famously inspired Paul Simon's hit song 'Homeward Bound'.

701] Liverpool: Ditton is one of several potential new stations in Liverpool identified by Merseytravel
in their Long Term Rail Strategy. Others include: ●St James between Liverpool Central and Brunswick
(OP 1874; CP 1917). ●Sefton Park (OP 1892; CP 1960) between Edge Hill and Mossley Hill. ●Speke (OP
1852; CP 1930) between Liverpool South Parkway and Runcorn. ●Edge Lane with Walton & Anfield
(both OP 1870; CP 1948) and Tue Brook (OP 1866; CP 1948); all three are on the Bootle branch which,
of course, has no passenger service. ●Carr Mill (OP 1896 CP 1917) between St Helens and Garswood.

702] Blackpool Trams (1): Track welding took place from Mon 4 to Thur 7 Mar between Bispham and
Fleetwood in both directions. A tram replacement bus service was provided. (2): In the week before
Easter, rail grinding work is scheduled 22.00 - 06.00, six nights a week. Tram services are not affected.

703] Ashton-under-Lyne: (BLN 1322.292) The previously non-preferred (left on arrival) Metrolink
platform is used regularly when the service is every six minutes, but there are now no double trams!

704] Knott End-on-Sea: (BLN 1324.570) Despite threats to close it, the Fleetwood passenger ferry
continues, though the railway CP 29 Mar 1930. See for the (tidal) timetable.

705] Clitheroe - Hellifield: (BLN 1322.289) The SuO 'DalesRail' services were cancelled again on 10 & 17
Mar. Since 29 Jul 2018 they only ran on 20 Jan, 3 & 10 Feb; now attributed to a lack of available crew.

706] Liverpool South Parkway: Although due to be bidirectional from the Jan 2019 resignalling, the
Sectional Appendix of that date shows P1 (Up Ditton Fast) as unidirectional in the Up direction for now.

707] Hooton: (BLN 1324.560) On 4 Mar with the line closed to Rock Ferry for platform works in
connection with the new rolling stock, the Chester end trailing crossover out of P3 was in use. A spare
EMU was stabled in bay P1; the Ellesmere Port shuttle ran in and out on top. The unnumbered non-
electrified platform (a debatable P0), although showing 'BLOC' on the signalling diagram, had a sleeper
stop block opposite that on P1, protecting a track machine beyond, so possibly could have been used.

708] Bolton: (BLN 1324.562) A member points out that TPE trains did have Bolton stops when first
uploaded. The fact that these have since been removed makes him wonder if 100mph running is not a
foregone conclusion and the option of the services being re-routed via Wigan NW is being left open?

709] Platform extensions: These are planned for Flowery Field & Godley on the Glossop/Hadfield line
as well as Mills Hill, Smithy Bridge, Littleborough, Walsden, Todmorden, Burnley Manchester Road,
Hindley, Daisy Hill, Hagfold, Atherton, Swinton, Bescar Lane and New Lane stations.

1325 SOUTH EAST - NORTH & EAST ANGLIA (Julian James) [email protected]
710] Norwich - Great Yarmouth/Lowestoft: (BLN 1224.574) Unfortunately Wherry Line rationalisation
and resignalling seems to be in trouble. It is understood that the 23 to 30 Mar closure with remodelling
of Brundall Jn is going ahead. Its five sets of point and a diamond are being simplified to three sets of
points (a turnout to Yarmouth via Acle and a trailing Down to Up crossover from Acle/Yarmouth).

However, resignalling and recontrol to Colchester box of even the reduced Brundall - Reedham Swing
Bridge section will NOT now happen from 1 Apr. There are reportedly problems (as on the Shepperton
branch; item 718) with the new ElectroLogIXS interlocking system. Temporary arrangements (probably
until May 2020) are apparently being made to keep the trains running after 1 Apr. Brundall Junction
box is retained with its gates and Cantley is downgraded to a gate box. Cantley starters and second

Down home signals are abolished. This leaves a distant and home in each direction protecting the
gates so the famous Cantley co-acting Down first home signals lives to fight another day for now and
presumably provides enough signalling overlap with the gates. [Can a gate box, as opposed to a signal
box, have more than one home on each line on double track?] From our 2012 visit there, Cantley
doesn't seem to have a switch to close it, so changing it to a gate box would involve some work.

It seems that Reedham box is abolished and the Absolute Block section becomes Brundall - Reedham
Swing Bridge (7m 16ch). In the week there are trains from Norwich to Lowestoft at 06.27, 06.45 and
an ECS at 07.00 but otherwise one each hour (as there are no trains via Berney Arms now, of course).
From Lowestoft there are 07.35 and 07.47 trains. It will be interesting to see if services are amended
or cancelled due to this new longer signalling section. Reedham Swing Bridge is to control a new two
aspect Down direction distant signal (11m 62ch) before Reedham followed by a new Down semaphore
(it may be a recycled one, of course) at 12m 51ch, actually on the Reedham Jn former 'RJ6' signal post.

A member visiting on 11 Mar noted a lot of new track panels piled up at Brundall Jn for remodelling
but no work appeared to have been done at all on Brundall crossing and very little at Cantley crossing.

711] Slough: (BLN 1322.311) The platform extensions are all at the London end and by 2 Mar the
signals had been moved to accommodate them. Down Relief P4 appears almost complete, probably to
12-cars but not yet open. Up Relief P5 is being extended nearer to London across from the former P6
bay - now partly filled in. The two main line platform extensions P2 and P3 still only have foundations.

712] Didcot: (BLN 1315.2237) The P2 London end extension appears to be open, but part of P2 further
west is OOU, possibly to be raised. Trains now stop nearer London - how about a fares reduction then?

713] Cambridge - King's Lynn: (BLN 1324.573) The scheme has been specified by, and funded by, the
DfT as a short 'term quick fix' to enhance peak hour (only) capacity so that 8-car EMUs can run to
King's Lynn. This followed the Hendy review deferring the Ely North Jn enhancement scheme.

Additional to BLN 1324 the £27M scheme includes permanent closure of Littleport barrow crossing
(76m 5ch); a new ramp and steps will allow pedestrian access to Up P1 from Lynn Road. There will also
be two disabled car parking spaces and new drop off area alongside the new access ramp. An existing
maintenance compound will be enlarged. At King's Lynn the new 8-car siding for Class 387 EMUs will
be on the Up side of the main line in the 'V' of King's Lynn Jn where the Middleton Towers branch
joins the line from Ely. To Down movements it will trail in (right) before the facing turnout to the King's
Lynn Yard line so that ECS from/to the station will not have to reverse. There will be a drivers' walking
route from the new siding to King's Lynn station which will extend around the siding for drivers to
perform their preparation duties, illuminated with bollard type lighting. Some level crossing and minor
signalling alterations are necessary, moving some OHLE masts, associated bonding and OHLE changes
as well as CCTV and Driver Only Operation alterations with two new Selective Door Operation beacons.

Regarding the OHLE power supply, this has already been upgraded. At present no more than five EMUs
are allowed to be in the section between Milton neutral section (58m 71ch) just north of Cambridge
North, and Littleport neutral section (77m 11ch) on the single track north of that station and between
there and King's Lynn at any one time. Since the West Anglia Outer Power Supply Upgrade Project was
completed, there is now sufficient power for this restriction to be removed.

714] Soham: (BLN 1322.309) Around 550 people attended the two public information events about
the new station on 26 & 27 Feb. Platforms will be 111yd long but with only one initially. While £3.2M
has been allocated to the present phase of scheme development, an additional £20M has been
allocated in the Combined Authority budget to deliver the station through to detailed design,
construction and final handover. As part of the overall sum, around £7M will be ring-fenced for the
upgrade with the second platform. A report is due to be put to the Combined Authority Board in
autumn 2019 to approve the funding for the remaining phases of work, which includes construction
and handover ready for use. The project will also support the delivery of 1,655 new homes in Soham
by 2031 as well as supporting its economic growth and attracting further investment. (Ely Standard.)

Our local member left the 'event' feeling somewhat confused. The prior understanding was that an
allocation of £20M has been made in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority's budget,
but actually spending the money is still subject to Authority approval which isn't due to happen until
after the autumn 2019 report. (Budget provision is distinct from funds in the bank, clearly dependent
on anticipated income occurring. Release of those funds at the time required will require authorisation
too - Regional Editor.) At the event there was no completion date, nor any cost forthcoming.

The Combined Authority has been in dispute with NR over how long it should all take, with NR saying
2022 and the Authority believing it could be ready for 2021 if NR were to get their finger out (they
have been accused of apathy). The answer to the question our member asked in regard to completion
was 2022, with construction not starting until 2021. Overall the 'event' was disappointing - it consisted
of four posters stuck on the wall (one of which outlined the history of the former station, and another
was solely concerned with the diversion of a footpath that will be necessary), and a 'movie' projected
onto another wall. It was possible to just about make out two bus shelters. 'Provision' is made for a
second platform, in terms of the two track span footbridge, which is needed to maintain the public
right of way. The response to his question on this was that re-doubling was 'postponed indefinitely, as
the business case didn't stack up'. When questioned, the proposed hourly service between Ipswich
and Peterborough, he was told, was still an aspiration, but is not dependent on the redoubling.
Again no date was forthcoming. Although the footbridge has provision to include lifts in the future (if a
second platform ever materialises), in the meantime the stairs will be the only way of crossing the line.

715] Ely: (BLN 1324.578) Just north of the station, the underbridge which has only 9' 0" clearance
adjacent to the now closed Ely Station North level crossing had been shut since Nov while work was
carried out to improve access for pedestrians and cyclists. On 4 Mar, just four days after reopening
with new warning signs, a Turners of Soham (very local too) lorry struck and severely damaged the
bridge. While recovery vehicles removed the lorry from the scene, traffic officers from the road
policing unit tweeted pictures of the lorry with the caption 'How? Clearly new signage not clear
enough in Ely. Driver prosecuted'. A NR spokesperson said: 'Today's incident prompted us to reiterate
the "wise up, size up" message to drivers of all high vehicles'. Since 2009 the bridge - crowned the UK's
most bashed bridge in an informal annual competition - has now been struck over 120 times. Last year
it was revealed that despite numerous warning signs, HGV drivers continue to overestimate the height
of the bridge causing delays for rail passengers. NR says it has spent more than £100k in the past five
years on repairs. (Ely Standard). Another lorry repeated the exercise a few days later to achieve
national newspaper stardom. Your Regional Editor was surprised that his OS maps as late as 1969
show no level crossing, just the underbridge; it is on the 1:25,000 map (1951) and current metric maps.

716] Hertford North - Stevenage: (BLN 1324.585 construction work; 1314.2116 services) On 11 Mar
NR confirmed that the problem with establishing (confirming) the network change had been overcome
(BLN 1323.439). The rail replacement road service between Watton-at-Stone and Stevenage starts on
20 May. There will be one bus per hour in each direction between Watton-at-Stone and Stevenage and
two buses per hour direct between Hertford North and Stevenage. With the exception of journeys that
are starting or finishing at Watton-at-Stone, the majority of passengers are expected to use the
Hertford North bus service with a faster overall journey time. Train services to the south from Watton-
at-Stone will not be affected, and a weekend train service between Stevenage and Watton-at-Stone
will continue to operate. is a dedicated, detailed web page. A reminder that this
is happening because the increased Thameslink weekday frequency through Stevenage means that
there is no capacity to accommodate the Hertford North services until the fifth (bay) platform is built.

1325 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]
717] The 01.05 Waterloo to Southampton (Separating the Men from the Boys): This service is often a
'victim' of engineering works, regularly producing unusual moves. A member has caught it five times
over the years, producing various crossovers that are otherwise very difficult or impossible to do.

On the first occasion, Thur 16 Apr 2015, our member and a companion (keeping each other awake)
joined it at Woking at 01.49. From P5, the train travelled Down Slow to Winchfield where it was
booked to leave Down P2, cross to the Down Fast, reverse and take the trailing crossover to the Up
Fast back towards London, then reverse again to cross to the Up Slow. It didn't disappoint, resulting in
three new crossovers. The service then ran Up Slow in the Down direction (Single Line Working as it is
not bidirectional) to Basingstoke London end where it crossed to the Up Fast, the Down Fast, and
Down Slow to call at Basingstoke P1 where they alighted. Although common in the Up direction, the
first two crossovers used at Basingstoke London end would interest members who are bidirectional.

Two weeks later on Thu 30 Apr 2015, our member and his companion caught the train from Waterloo.
Arriving there with over an hour to spare, it was gratifying to find there was still a coffee shop open
where they could wait out of the cold. The 01.05 often runs via East Putney, and they were hoping for
this to give a crossover at Wimbledon London end as it was booked to cross to run through P7 (Down
Fast). Unfortunately, the previous night's train went straight down the main line, and with the train
switched from Waterloo P1 to P17 they were not hopeful. However, the driver did say that the
incoming service had run via East Putney and crossed right over to the high-numbered platform.

This raised hope that it would still go via East Putney, and also give new crossovers at Nine Elms, but it
was not to be - it went main line! The route (as booked) was Down Slow to Weybridge P3, then across
to the Up Chertsey to reverse back into Weybridge P2, reverse again and proceed on the Up Slow in
the Down direction to call at Farnborough P1. At the country end of that station, it crossed from the
Up Slow to the Up Fast (in the 'wrong' direction), then the Down Fast, resulting in two new crossovers.
Here it reversed over the crossover onto the Down Slow which is common in the other direction. After
another reversal in Farnborough P2, it took the Down Slow to Basingstoke P1 where they alighted.

Returning for more on Wed 6 May 2015, the 01.05 was booked to run Up Slow in the Down direction
from Weybridge to Woking P1 and cross to the Down Fast at the country-end. Unfortunately, things
didn't go as planned as the service failed to run into Woking P1; instead, it crossed before the station
and went into P5. There was some consolation though, as the train had earlier crossed from the Down
Main Fast to the Down Windsor at Nine Elms because of a possession on the Windsor lines. The full
routing was Waterloo P11, Down Main Fast, Vauxhall P6, Nine Elms, facing crossover to Up Main
Fast, to Down Windsor, Clapham Junction P6, Point Pleasant Jn, East Putney, Wimbledon P5, to Up
Fast, to Down Fast, to Down Slow, Weybridge P3, Up Chertsey, (rev), Weybridge P2, (rev), Up Slow, in
the Down direction, West Byfleet P1, Woking London end, crossovers to Down Slow, Woking P5.

Earlier that night, our duo had caught the 23.12 Waterloo to Basingstoke (to Surbiton), as they were
advised that was a good bet for routing via East Putney and it did produce the Wimbledon London-
end crossover from the Up Slow to the Down Fast to run through P7. Thus, despite the 'failure' of the
01.05 itself, three new crossovers were still achieved through this particular moonlighting episode!

The fourth jaunt was Wed 24 Jun 2015 travelling alone; our member's objective was the Down Fast to
the Up Fast facing crossover at Woking London-end. Again routed via East Putney, the service ran
through Wimbledon P7, again giving the unusual Up Slow to the Down Fast London end crossover.

After Wimbledon, it crossed to the Down Slow to the London-end of Woking then over to the Down
Fast, and then importantly to the Up Fast (bidirectional), before crossing again to the also bidirectional
Up Slow to call at Woking P1. Instead of driving home to a welcome sleep, our stoic member returned
to Wimbledon for the 05.53 Wimbledon to Waterloo, one of a few to make an early morning call at
Durnsford Road Staff Halt and therefore use the unusual crossover from the Up Slow to the Up Fast
(6m 73ch) that avoids Wimbledon Flyover. Two more crossovers were thus added to the total.

The fifth occasion on the 01.05 was almost four years after the fourth, again alone. Youngsters these
days don't seem to have the stamina of the older microgricers. As advised in the email sent out to
UT Tracker subscribers, the 01.05 on Mon 11 Mar 2019 was booked Up Slow/Up Southampton in the

Down direction between Basingstoke and Micheldever producing the London-end trailing crossover at
Micheldever. After a very long and very cold wait at Waterloo, it was finally time to board the 01.05.

After a day of disruption caused by over-running engineering work and the day's strong winds, the
01.05 eventually left at 01.18, but crucially didn't disappoint. It was routed via Staines, Virginia Water
and the Down Byfleet Curve, crossing to the Down Fast at Byfleet & New Haw country end. Staying on
the Down Fast, it crossed to the Up Slow at Basingstoke London end via the unusual Down Fast to Up
Fast crossover. From Basingstoke P4, it duly ran Up Slow/Up Southampton to Micheldever, then went
over to the Down Southampton just before the station. Another new crossover by moonlighting.

This 01.05 service regularly does an unusual crossover or three, and repeats of these instances can be
expected. Tue 12 to Fri 15 Mar it was again booked to do the Winchfield shuffle. Tue 19 to Fri 22 Mar,
the train was booked Up Slow in the Down direction from Weybridge to Woking. From 26 to 29 Mar,
confirmed details of possessions, when available, will warrant close inspection as the schedule shows
the service running on the Down Slow from Basingstoke, but with an (as yet undefined) operational
activity at Micheldever - use of the facing crossover maybe, though that is possibly wishful thinking‽

From 9 to 12 Apr, the 01.05 is booked to do the double reversal at Farnborough from the Down Slow
to the Up Slow. From 16 to 18 Apr, the current schedules are intriguing in that they show the service
calling at Weybridge P3 (on the Down Slow) but then, straight after, using the Up Slow from Byfleet &
New Haw which is not possible without reversing on the Up Chertsey (which is not shown!). Another
one to watch, but as the schedules also show use of Farnborough Down platform sandwiched
between the use of the Up platforms at Woking and Basingstoke, one starts to question the schedule.
From 30 Apr to 3 May, the schedules again show the use of Farnborough Down platform between use
of Woking and Basingstoke Up platforms. Possibly a case of the planner(s) just forgetting to change
Farnborough platform numbers? Micheldever crossover is due to be in use again from 10 to 13 Sep.

It looks like we all need season tickets, and to think that 'Normals' sleep through all this excitement! will have details of these and other opportunities, where identified.

718] Shepperton: (BLN 1310.1643) In January the Shepperton branch should have been resignalled
with ElectroLogIXS with control moving from Feltham to Basingstoke ROC (the first use of this
expensive office complex for signalling - about three years late and counting) but that didn't happen
due to problems with the ElectroLogIXS. There is no new commissioning date at present.

719] Gillingham (Kent): During the early hours of Fri 8/Sat 9 Mar multiple cables were stolen affecting
many axle counters and up to 27 points, preventing correct signal operation over a wide area including
Longfield and Strood to Faversham and Sittingbourne to Sheerness. There were also some
cancellations between Strood and Maidstone West. Service resumption was around 12.00 on 9 Mar.

720] West Worthing: (BLN 1311.1776) GTR 6-car Class 717 units are being stored in the three 12-car
Up sidings, restored for the previous Southern stock changeover but hardly ever used. The first unit
arrived early on 27 Feb but by 15 Mar there was still only one. Security personnel patrol 24/7!

721] Lewes (1): (BLN 1324.518) Resignalling and recontrol, scheduled to be operational from 11 Mar
was postponed just a few days before it was due to take place as it was not ready. The four day line
closure at Lewes to Keymer Jn, Falmer, Seaford and Polegate (rather than Willingdon Jn) still went
ahead as it was 'too late to cancel it'. Lewes, Newhaven Town and Harbour boxes remain open. The
Sectional Appendix needed to be re-amended; as at 20 Mar it still showed the aborted arrangements.

A local member visiting the Seaford branch on 15 Mar confirms that these three signal boxes remain
open. The only positive news to report is that Seaford station building buffet has reopened as the
Steamworks bake house and bar with access from platform and street (there are no ticket gates). This
may be of interest to members who enjoy a beer. Hours of opening are refreshingly 06.30 to 23.00
Mondays to Thursdays, 06.30 to 23.59 Fridays, 09.30 to 23.59 Saturdays and 12.00 to 22.00 Sundays.

722] Lewes (2): (BLN 1323.443) Richard Maund has kindly sent the following comments (edited),
derived from primary sources such as contemporary newspapers (13 pages on file). Railway
Magazine's Jan 1950 issue includes the author's comment that Lewes railway history "… baffled a
number of able historians (including the late Mr G A Sekon…)" Sekon - an anagram of Nokes (his real
name) was author of the 1946 article! It seems reasonable that where the two articles differ, the 1950
article supersedes the 1946 one. Taking BLN 1323.443 in chronological order (and see BLN 1323 plans).

●27 Jun 1846: The Pin Well was a name simply used by Nokes/Sekon and/or Lee as an unofficial way
of 'naming' the first point of railway junction. 'Lee' was Charles E Lee, author of the 1950 Railway
Magazine article, [Your BLN Editor apologises for not realising this but he did not have a copy of the
magazine and misinterpreted the supplied text.] The second sentence should read: The name 'Pinwell'
was used by G A Nokes (writing as Sekon) and CE Lee as an unofficial means of 'naming' the first point
of junction. There is debate over whether Ham or Southover platform (singular) was ever a passenger
facility - rather than just a ticket check platform - its short length was commented on in the local press.

●8 Dec 1847: Amend to Southerham Jn - Newhaven OP Mon 6 Dec 1847; interestingly with only one
passenger train each way (per day one presumes) in winter (previously OG per the 1 Oct 1847 item).

●Circa Jan 1848: Charles Lee (Railway Magazine Jan 1950 p49) is saying that Ham or Southover (CA)
had no or little credible claim to be considered as a passenger (as opposed to a ticket check) platform.

●3 Aug 1868: Only Uckfield - Groombridge opened, and nothing closed. The new Lewes - Hamsey via
Lewes Viaduct was not quite ready so the existing line (from Uckfield Jn on the line to Keymer Jn)
remained in use. Incidentally, when the leaves are off the trees it is still possible to make out the site
of Uckfield Jn from a passing train and the low embankment curving away east towards Hamsey.
●3 Aug 1868 or 1 Oct 1868: In view of the previous item, 3 Aug 1868 is clearly the incorrect date.
Uckfield Jn - Hamsey CA and Lewes Main Jn via Lewes Viaduct - Hamsey OA Thur 1 Oct 1968.

●17 Jun 1889: The current 1889 Lewes station was (unsurprisingly) opened in two phases:

❶4 Mar 1889: The Brighton line new platforms, the new line (the present-day route) from Lewes
South to (then new) Lewes East Jn box via (new) Lewes Main Jn, and the new line from (new) Lewes
Main Jn to High Street bridge opened. The 1858 line (see BLN 1323 landscape plan) to High Street
bridge closed to passengers and was severed at the north end but otherwise retained as part of Friars
Walk goods depot. The former Brighton line platforms closed (to build the new London line platforms
over their site). London line trains continued to use the 1857 platforms and 1846 line to Lewes East Jn.

❷17 Jun 1889: The London line new platforms opened; Lewes West box to Lewes East Jn (via 1846
line) closed to passengers but was retained for goods. There is a photo of the first train to use the new
London platforms on 17 Jun 1889 ('Railway Magazine' Jan 1950, p37) - this latter date represented the
'with effect from' closure date of the last element of the previous 1857 station and completion of new
facilities. The aforementioned goods lines closed per BLN 1323 but their low embankment trackbed at
the former Lewes East Jn, is now part of a public footpath and visible from passing trains.

●6 Jan 1969: Lewes East Yard (excl) - Lewes East Jn ('C' Box at the time of closure) CA, this information
also came from the same Divisional Manager's letter referred to at 3 Oct 1966, via Richard Maund.

In the 'Simplifier', third arrow point delete '?' in (Oct 1889?); in the fourth 'Aug 1886' is now 'Oct 1868'.

723] Lewes (3): On 3 Nov 1960, after 14 days and nights of continuous rain (early eight inches in total),
severe flooding affected the station with water almost up to platform height. Services were worked by
steam locos and Hastings units until 6 Nov and the line to Keymer Jn was closed for some time. Legend
has it that the Borough Surveyor requested the London platforms to be blown up to allow flood water
to escape along the railway track bed - British Railway's Civil Engineer (very politely of course) refused.

724] Wadhurst: On the early afternoon of Wed 13 Mar, a tree fell onto the line near Wadhurst,
bringing some 60 tonnes of embankment with it. A traveller on the 12.31 Hastings to Charing Cross

interviewed on local television reported that the train had scraped alongside it. The train terminated
at Tonbridge at 13.22 and was the last Up service. Down trains continued until 13.15 Charing Cross to
Hastings. After this passed the site at about 15.01, Grove Jn - Robertsbridge London end crossover
TCA, including Frant, Wadhurst, Stonegate and Etchingham stations. The estimate for reopening was
'several days'. Another interviewee said 'It doesn't look too bad to me; I can't see why they are having
to close the line'. Whether he was a civil engineer intending to offer his services to Network Rail was
not reported but it looked as though he was about to board a replacement bus instead.

Most Hastings trains were cancelled throughout on Wed, Thu and Fri (but a half-hourly shuttle ran
to/from Robertsbridge), the Mountfield gypsum trains were also cancelled. On the Sat and Sun, trains
ran south of Robertsbridge and north of Tunbridge Wells, the latter via Redhill (as booked on Sat).
Although the work to clear and stabilise the landslide with the removal of nine trees in total, was
completed on Sun afternoon, a further slip occurred ¾ mile away. Reopening was Mon 18 Mar with a
route proving train and ECSs from Tonbridge. AGll ran much later than planned; first passenger train
was 05.38 Hastings to Cannon Street. A couple of early morning trains from Hastings didn't run.

Over the years there have been quite a few landslips and problems like this on the Hastings line, a
local Society member comments: 'Given how cheaply it was built, it's a miracle it's lasted this long'.

1325 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon) [email protected]
725] Yeovil Pen Mill: An eagled-eyed member has spotted that the National Rail Journey Planner
website station map here shows two tracks between P1 and the former, now disused P2. In fact there
is only one, and only room for one. Unsurprisingly the station photographs show the correct situation.

726] Westbury: The car park extension from 240 to 400 spaces on the former training building site is
nearly complete. Delays to paperwork have twice postponed the official opening (go paperless then...)

727] Bristol TM: A member reports that NR is planning an intensive programme of engineering works
to remodel the east end of the station which will last from the 2019 Christmas period including 2020
Christmas in particular and finishing in early 2021. A total of eight weeks of 'blockades' will be required
although reduced from the originally anticipated 12 weeks. PREVIOUS TOP: Present layout, generally
the dashed lines are non-passenger (except the Barrow Road branch). BOTTOM: Final layout (green
dashed lines are removed track, dashed black is existing non-passenger track unchanged, bright red
solid track is new, black solid track is unchanged passenger track). The vertical line at right angles to,
and over the tracks is Bristol East signalling gantry (118m 10ch). Between it and Lawrence Hill station,
above the tracks is Barton Hill depot. At Lawrence Hill station the access to the Barrow Road branch
shown is actually disconnected and the point plain lined. Kingsland Road Sidings are bottom right.

728] Bristol TM (2): The HM Revenue &
Customs new regional centre building
'3 Glass Wharf' (LEFT) alongside the
London end of Temple Meads station,
on the Up side, is nearing completion
giving a great view of the lines. It will be
a perfect place for those interested in
railways to work and features some
notable artwork on the side facing the
tracks. This is a series of decorative
broad coloured interconnecting lines,
reflecting the maze of lines and
crossovers on the railway below. (Plan
your own shunt to get from one to
another as you wait outside the station
for your platform to become available.) Has Spiderman done it all? With the forthcoming Bristol East
Jn remodelling, will the building will also need remodelling?

729] Merehead West (4m 57ch) - Cranmore (5m 48ch): This rarely traversed connection to the East
Somerset Railway (last used by a lightly loaded 2-car First Great Western Class 150 tour from Bristol
TM run by East Somerset Models on 13 Sep 2014) had become extremely overgrown of late. However,
last Sep UK Railtours (UKRT) gave NR six months notice that they wished to use the line and NR duly
undertook radical devegetation at the end of Jan with major tree clearance. The Sat 16 March UKRT
'Somerset Strimmer' didn't actually have to do any strimming! A route proving/refreshing light engine
ran from Westbury (10.40/13.20) to Cranmore (11.36/12.24) on Thu 7 Mar. The East Somerset Railway
has also been devegetated, seemingly at a similar time to the connection, opening up the views.

BELOW: For those who have not seen this already. Views from the road overbridge at the east end of
Cranmore station along the NR line towards Merehead West before and after the recent clearance.
The stop board is the same on in both (NR). The Society was well represented on 16 Mar UKRT railtour.

ABOVE: Another view from the bridge at Cranmore; newly refurbished 150261 (a brave choice in view
of the forestry) on the 'Mendip Sprinter' railtour the previous train to use the
connection (13 Sep 2014). It waits ECS behind the same stop board seen earlier to return to Cranmore
for the passengers to rejoin, note how rusty the track is. This ecellent tour did the unusual Down and
Up Westbury Reception Lines in each direction respectively and various loops as well. (Ian Mortimer.)

ABOVE: Axminster Level Crossing - the former gate box is now a PW 'hut'
BELOW: Axe level crossing - the former crossing keeper's hut. (Both Angus McDougall 9 Aug 2000.)

730] Axminster: A member visited three former gated crossings (now each with half barriers) here.
The former 'Axminster Gates,' now Axminster Crossing, (144m 15ch) is unusual. Since the gate keeper
duty was abolished and half barriers installed, the gates are CCTV monitored from the station where
the senior rail staff operate them from what used to be the parcels office! A treadle sounds a bell at
the station to call attention. Now that signalling control is from Basingstoke Area Signalling Centre, the
previous small gate box has been replaced by modern container size sheds (probably containing
equipment and a local control facility as it is remotely controlled and possibly even a standby
generator). Axe Crossing (141m 56ch) retains its former gate box which looks as though it is now used
by PW gangs. A series of culverts were installed nearby last year to reduce the flooding risk. Broom
Crossing (141m 14ch) didn't have a gate box because the crossing keeper lived in the adjacent cottage.
It was converted to automatic half barriers along with Axe. The cottage is now privately owned.

731] New Timetable: South Western Railway is enhancing West of England services from 19 May.
There are over 300 extra trains per week, many implemented after consultation with stakeholders.
More off-peak services are extended at Salisbury to/from Yeovil Junction. The summer Saturday
Weymouth via Yeovil trains run again, extended to to/from Waterloo as well as running throughout
the year. There are also extra services between Castle Cary, Bruton, Frome, Westbury, Trowbridge,
Warminster, Keynsham, Oldfield Park, Bath Spa, Bristol Temple Meads, Salisbury, Clapham Junction
and Waterloo. There is no mention of trains to Corfe Castle (where summer Saturday services were
affected by industrial action in 2018) but UK Railtours plans to run some London to Swanage specials.

1325 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]
732] New Street: (BLN 1323.454) Engine Siding 2, recently taken out of use, has had a track section
removed for a concrete base (supporting an electrification mast) to be extended across the trackbed.

733] New Stations: On 28 Feb plans were unveiled for the Walsall - Wolverhampton direct line new
stations at Darlaston and Willenhall. The original stations CP 18 Jan 1965 and direct services (no
intermediate calls) resumed 24 May 1998 but were reduced to the weekly PSUL (currently 06.38 SO
Wolverhampton to Walsall) from 13 Dec 2008. The preliminary station designs went out to public
consultation online and, until 26 Mar, with drop in sessions. Willenhall will be on the site of the
previous Willenhall Bilston Street station by the eponymous bridge near the town centre. Darlaston
will be on derelict land by Kendricks Road bridge. Both include two 6-car platforms, a footbridge with
stairs and lifts, ticket machines, customer information systems, pick-up/drop off areas and secure cycle
storage. Long-stay car parks will have 300 spaces at Darlaston and 150 at Willenhall.

The plans were drawn up by the West Midlands Rail Executive and Transport for West Midlands with
most of the funding from the region's HS2 Connectivity Fund. They are being developed with West
Midlands Railway, the City of Wolverhampton Council, Walsall Council and NR. It is anticipated there
will initially be an hourly Wolverhampton to Walsall services requiring one train and an hourly New
Street to Wolverhampton via Bescot. After consultation, the formal planning applications will be
submitted and it is hoped work can start on site at the end of next year with trains running by 2022.

734] Worcester Shrub Hill: The short London end Up side bay (P3), signalled for passenger departures
only (arrivals are ECS), is booked to be used by one train a week, SuO 11.38 to Bristol Temple Meads.
However, our member Mr UT Tracker advises that it has not left from P3 any Sunday since 9 Dec 2018
timetable change, using P2A instead. This becomes 'official' in the new May timetable from 19 May.

735] Honeybourne, Geographical Dyslexia or... Don't bother to take your compass: A pre-WWII Great
Western Railway streamlined railcar diagram that would have been interesting to do was the 2.33pm
from Worcester Shrub Hill. It ran to Honeybourne then at Honeybourne Station South Jn (naturally
the most westerly junction) took the curve to West Loop Jn (the most southerly of the seven junctions
- with two at the station) and terminated at Broadway. It then formed the 3.45pm to Stratford-upon-
Avon (via Honeybourne West Loop Jn to East Loop Jn - more north than east of West Loop Jn.

(NEXT PAGE: Honeybourne Junctions, thanks to our Cartographer in residence, Martyn Brailsford.)

The next part of the diagram was to Oxford via Honeybourne East Loop Jn (that's the north most
junction, of course) to South Loop Jn (the east most junction) before returning to Worcester via
Honeybourne South Loop Jn to Station South Jn and this section is part of the (North) Cotswold main
line of course. That would just leave East Loop Jn to North Loop Jn - part of the Long Marston branch
now so no rush! Just so that you know, North Loop Jn was between Station South Jn and East Loop Jn.

Honeybourne is considered to be the last major junction complex to be opened signalled by several
individual manual signal boxes; there were six (opened between 1904 and 1907). The station had two
(Station North and Station South), with one each end of the 'West Loop' (which ran north then west
from West Loop Jn on the Cheltenham line to North Loop Jn on the Worcester line) and one each end
of the 'South Loop' which ran south, then east from East Loop Jn on the Stratford line to South Loop
Jn on the Oxford line. The loop names and their historical development go some way to explaining the
junction names and lack of geographical correlation.

The six signal boxes closed: North Loop Mar 1933; Station North 4 Apr 1965; South Loop 12 Oct 1965;
East Loop 3 Nov 1970; West Loop 24 Mar 1980 & Station South 17 Mar 1983 (control to Evesham).

736] Dorridge: (BLN 1322.328) After the weekend works the extended Up & Down Dorridge
Passenger Loop (246yd Up direction; 856yd Down direction) along with the Up & Down Dorridge
Goods Loop (572yd Up direction; 583yd Down direction) were commissioned on 28 Jan, both 20mph
restricted. The Down Dorridge from Dorridge South Jn to Dorridge P2 has also been raised and slued.

737] Fenny Compton: (BLN 1320.93) The main line was closed all weekend of 16/17 Mar. The Down
Fenny Compton Goods Loop points at Fenny Compton South Jn were renewed and repositioned 44yd
south towards Banbury. A new overrun line was installed beyond the points with a new friction buffer
stop. The Down Cherwell Valley line points were renewed and moved 11yd north, away from Banbury.

738] Portobello Jn: Although the track access application implied that the extra West Midlands
Railway New Street to Shrewsbury services would run via Portobello Jn hourly, in fact only one
weekday and three Saturday trains do according to the new online schedules. An oddity is the 06.04
(SO) Northampton to Crewe service which runs direct from Portobello Jn to Bushbury Jn, presumably
for route knowledge retention! The normal XX.20 from New St is taken by the 07.21 (SO) New Street
to Blackpool North, the only Virgin Trains (new) Blackpool service which our reporter has seen with
more than a few passengers, and is understood to be the only one booked for an 11-car Pendolino.

739] Longbridge: Phase 2 of the £1.7M refurbishment began on 8 Mar. A new fully accessible ticket
counter with better booking office ventilation, an accessible toilet and new flooring opens on 31 Mar.

740] Nuneaton: Bridge 40, which until 15 Feb 1992 carried the former Midland Railway 'Abbey Line,'
(the Nuneaton avoider), over the A47 Hinckley road, claimed its latest over height victim on 1 Mar.
An Eddie Stobart lorry ended up on its side [a 'high profile' accident then]. The only other surviving
features of the Abbey Jn to Midland Jn bypass line is the crumbling River Anker viaduct and, of course,
the reinstated 'rocker bridge' taking the Birmingham line over the WCML to Nuneaton P6 & 7.

741] Stechford: Ground work is taking place in advance of installation of lifts, ramps and a footbridge
at the station in a £3.9M scheme to provide step free access to all three platforms for the first time.
P3 on the Up Grand Junction line from Aston is not currently used by stopping passenger services.
[In the early 1970s there was one through EMU daily SSuX from Walsall about 07.00 all stations to
Aston then Stechford P3 to Coventry with no corresponding return train. Your then north Birmingham
based BLN Editor caught it once out of interest - there were 7 passengers.] Completion is due by the
end of the year and those members interested in temporary footbridges should visit before then.

742] HS2: DB Cargo's Washwood Heath Up Side Yard ('Up' to Derby) traversed by Pathfinder's Festive
Frolic railtour on 22 Dec 2018, has been disused for years now other than to store redundant wagons.
These were mainly covered steel (coil) wagons and a few bogie hoppers. By 5 Mar the yard had been
almost cleared. The wagons appear to have been cut up on site with only about half a dozen steel
wagons and a couple of hopper wagons then left. The remains of a steel wagon could be seen along
with a pile of scrap metal. [Elementary my dear Watson!]. This is in preparation for the yard to become
a ballast stockpile site for HS2 construction. At Curzon Street, some new buildings which were student
accommodation on the site of the former Castle Cement terminal are being demolished, as they are at
the throat of the HS2 station. They are the largest buildings needing demolition from here to Euston.

743] West Midlands Metro: (1): During 2018 there were 7.3M passenger journeys, an increase of
1.1M from 2017. The previous record was 6.6M in 2016 dropping to 6.2M in 2017 due to the six month
Priestfield to Wolverhampton St George's closure for track replacement. West Midlands Combined
Authority believes that patronage will increase with the new extensions. The first is Birmingham
Westside Stage 1 to Centenary Square due to open at the end of 2019, Wolverhampton station
extension in 2020 with the rest of Birmingham Westside (Stage 2) to Hagley Road in 2021. A further
extension from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill is awaiting council approval (costs have risen by 25%).

(2) On Sun 10 Mar there were overhead problems between Priestfield and Wednesbury Parkway; a
shuttle tram service operated between Grand Central - Wednesbury Parkway (usual frequency); also
between Wednesbury Parkway - Priestfield (reduced service with single line working) and thirdly
Priestfield - Wolverhampton St George's. Then at 20.00 the service finished between Wednesbury
Parkway and Wolverhampton for repairs to be made. Normal service resumed next morning.

X.33] Ledbury (NEXT PAGE) West Midlands Railway Class 150 150109 in London Midland livery on the
14.50 Birmingham New Street to Hereford traverses the Grade II listed 30-arch viaduct after the
station. This is a regular weekday off peak Class 150 diagram. (Rob Pritchard Tue 19 Mar 2019.)


1325 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]
744] Londonderry line: The 12.38 Belfast Great Victoria Street (GVS) - at least its name is unchanged -
to Londonderry crossed the 13.10 Londonderry to GVS (which was looped) at Magherabeg on 6 Mar.
From 25 Mar until 13 Apr (incl) the 21.10 GVS to Londonderry (every day) and 06.10 (SX), 06.38 (SO)
Londonderry to GVS is a bus to/from Coleraine as will be all services on this section on 30 & 31 Mar.
On 13 Apr 21.38 ex-Londonderry and 20.10 and 21.10 ex-GVS will also be buses to/from Coleraine.

ABOVE: No prizes for guessing that this is Foynes; The ramp of the onetime
passenger platform is far right. BELOW: Looking towards the end of the branch, the former passenger
station and overall roof - see item on next page. (We know where Ian Mortimer was on 18 May 1991!)

745] Dublin Heuston P10: The following are booked to call in passenger service (via the bidirectional
Down Branch loop through P10) but for a driver change only: 09.11, 10.31, 14.30, 18.00, 19.11, 20.30
& 21.30 Grand Canal Dock to Hazelhatch and 13.30 & 18.17 Grand Canal Dock to Newbridge. These
are all SSuX (there are no weekend services over the Phoenix Park route yet) and may be of particular
interest to those participating in our long weekend in Ireland (16-19 May) who missed our 'Fairview
Fáilte' tour on Sun 6 May 2018 with Irish Rail which ran through Heuston P10 (amongst other things...).

746] Foynes: (BLN 1246.2247) On the 26m 58ch disused branch from Limerick, Irish Rail has submitted
a planning application to Limerick Country Council to replace the River Shannon Bridge, Robertstown
Viaduct (25m 00ch), at Churchfield near Foynes. From the Irish Rail Dec 2005 working timetable, locos
have been prohibited from travelling past Ballingrane (17m 26ch) due to the condition of the viaduct.

The application is for the present three spans to be replaced with a new single span with a steel truss
superstructure and piled abutments. The intermediate piers are to remain but will not be load bearing.
The project is 'to facilitate the potential future reintroduction of freight traffic on the Foynes branch'
(currently disconnected at the Limerick end). However, our Regional Editor advises that it will need a
complete relay and other work to permit Class '071' and/or '201' locos, neither of which were passed
when it was open. This represents a change of fortunes though as BLN 1297.573 (of Jan 2017) advised
Irish Rail had then formally applied to abandon the line. The last train to Foynes was on 30 Oct 2000.

747] Lisduff - Thurles: On Sat 23 Mar single line working on the Up line results in timetable changes.

1325 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
748] Howstrake: On 13 Mar Manx Electric Railway tram '7' and a trailer were outside the Derby Castle
depot with a few staff on board. An engineering possession had been removed from the seaward side
track north of Douglas. Just before Groudle engineers have been realigning the track at Howstrake
(1m 52ch). It looks as though they have introduced some superelevation with extra ballast! ['cant' be
true?] They were working on the landward side track earlier that day, though both sides have received
attention recently. During 2017 there were various incidents here and at least one tram was derailed.
Significant work was carried out in 2017 and early 2018 to improve this area (especially the seaward
side track). Before these repairs motormen were always very cautious driving at Howstrake.

749] Douglas Bay Horse Tramway: (BLN 1323.466) This is due to operate from 25 Apr until 3 Nov this
year. It will, subject to any unavoidable changes due to Promenade roadworks, run between Broadway
and Strathallan. There is a proposal to erect a marquee on the old Summerland site, to 'stable' six
horse trams (currently stored in the MER sheds). A new section of track would be laid from Strathallan
to the marquee. The permanent new horse tram depot for 13 trams, designed to look like the original
1902 depot, is due to be completed by Mar 2020. By 13 Mar at the northern end of the promenade
work was progressing preparing a long section of concrete base for the new tram track to be laid on.
Separately, a section of track has been dug up from the bottom of Victoria St north towards Regent St.

750] The Cabbage: (BLN 1303.886) Having not turned a wheel in years, the IOM's newest and most
troublesome locomotive could at last be running again later this year. Green diesel No21, unkindly
dubbed 'The Cabbage', has been dogged with technical problems ever since delivery in 2013 and has
not operated since Jun 2015. Some £246k had been spent on repairs so far on top of the £420k to
purchase it new from the USA. In Apr last year, No21's bogies arrived back on the island after repairs in
the UK. A test run didn't get far before it had to be towed back to the depot. Then last Oct, the diesel
was craned off its chassis so its wheels could be sent back to the UK again for adjustments. The bogies
recently returned and were reunited with the loco. However, Ian Longworth, who has stepped down
as Public Transport Director this year but continues to manage some of the major capital projects,
said: 'It will have to wait for available time in the workshop to reconnect the two halves - electrical
cables for the motors, air pipes for the brakes and chains for the hand brake. The workshop is busy at
present preparing for the railways to open. We will then commission the diesel'. Adjustments will be
needed such as suspension heights and items such as bearings need the loco assembled to be tested.

751] Investment: It is difficult to extract meaningful budget figures in relation to railway expenditure.
However, a recent flyer said that investment in the IOM's heritage railways is scheduled to be over
£24M during the next five years. IOM Government spending for the coming year for infrastructure,
(including roads, ports, social housing, buses, trains and trams) is given as £124.6M (up £5.4M). The
Horse Tramway Depot has been allocated £1.5M, of which £427k is expected to be spent by Apr 2019.

752] Laxey: On 14 Mar Glen Roy Viaduct, south of Laxey on the Manx Electric Railway, was still under
complete possession for ongoing work. There was no track on the inland side of the bridge, and
'Otter'. a little grey diesel brought some track lengths on a wagon. Services did start for the season two
days later! (PREVIOUS PAGE TOP on 14 Mar and BOTTOM on 18 Mar 2019 - both Jenny Williamson.)

However, at about 09.35 on Mon 18 Mar at the viaduct, the seaward side of the track was occupied by
'Otter' and a wagon load of sleepers with the landward side still devoid of track. Once the works train
has left there must be single line working Laxey Car Shed - Laxey stop. [March MER service is MFX.]

1325 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe) [email protected]
753] Dunbar: (BLN 1319.2811) The Railway Heritage Trust tweeted 'While a second, accessible
platform here is highly desirable, and NR has followed all the planning procedures to gain Listed
Building Consent, we can't help but be saddened at the loss of the listed goods shed, and regret how
the new bridge dominates the station.' However this is from the design plans not the actual bridge.

754] And another one bites the dust (signalling project NOT signal box!): (BLN 1305.1106). Fri 15 Mar
was a beautiful clear night at Newtonhill Signal Box (230m 59CH), the first south of Aberdeen, so,
after checking the previous day that recontrol was proceeding to plan, our peripatetic keen member
managed to film the last train at just past midnight... Except... the Newtonhill closure didn't happen,
despite engineers thinking it would only 36 hours earlier! There is no revised planned date yet. This is
one of four such reports from different parts of the country in this BLN. Pitlochry was still expected to
close after service on Fri 22 Mar, but there is no news of Aviemore closing which should be the same.

[From every BLN Masthead: Opinions herein are not necessarily those of the Compilers or the Society.]

755] Line Out of Use? - It's plain (lined) for all to see: A member comments that for a long time now in
Scotland at least, siding connections which are no longer used are being plain lined by the Permanent
Way Department. A short cut used by the S&T is to reconfigure the track circuit bonding leaving the
Ground Frame (GF) and its circuitry intact as removing the interlocking involves much design work.
A typical example is the Chief Civil Engineer's Siding off Prestonpans Up Passenger Loop. This has long
gone (for at least the eight years our member has stayed there) but the ground frame is still in position
trackside, with its wiring back to the interlocking in the relay room, despite the latter being less than
110yd away! There are a considerable number of similar instances scattered around the zone. If this is
done without a Network Change, NR is surely in breach of their license and it creates a legacy of
confusion? No wonder their asset knowledge is so bad - as time goes on, how can they hope to have
an overall picture of what is there and what is not, if locally bits are being taken away on the quiet?

British Rail closed infrastructure all the time but they properly recorded it in the Weekly Operating
Notices (WON), either abolishing it or at least noting it was secured Out Of Use. Everyone at local level
knew changes had to be submitted as a WON item. The problem now is there is no official note of the
actions, so the wider railway is oblivious to the fact that certain infrastructure is no longer available
and may organise work/contract traffic assuming it is accessible, finding out the hard way it is not! NR
cannot now remove infrastructure without consulting with Train and Freight Operating Companies via
the Network Change process (or a Short Term Change). Any changes also must be briefed out via a
WON item and it is the responsibility of anyone doing such work to submit a WON item. Our member
feels we are reaching the stage now where the Sectional Appendix is a work of fiction and you need to
ring up every signal box on a line of route before arranging an unusual move to check that all the
infrastructure shown extant is indeed available. It is probably the case that the enthusiast community
has more idea about the real state of the network than NR themselves!

ABOVE: Work in progress on the footpath and viewing area near Glenfinnan Viaduct taken by our
local (?) - well, sometimes at least - member on a lovely February day. (All Nick Jones 17 Feb 2019.)
BELOW: The viewing point over Loch Shiel; the Fort William (left) to Mallaig (right) line is bottom left.

ABOVE: A completed section of the restored path.

756] Newton: (BLN 1324.609) Inevitably after BLN 1324 closed, the Glasgow TPE services began to
appear online and those shown Suns 31 Mar to 28 Apr use the Newton South Connecting Line.

757] Possibly Possil: (BLN 1324.611) A member comments that 10d (just over 4p) for a day return
from Glasgow Central was really worth something in those days (especially when compared with a
starting salary of £363 per annum...). According to the 1956 Railway Clearing House 'Hand-book of
Stations' (which always appeared with a hyphen in its title) only the Caledonian goods depot acquired
a 'North' suffix in Jan 1954. A 1960s photograph of a passenger station running in board shows 'Possil'
(only), as did the tickets, although railway chronologists regard the public timetable name as definitive.
A member's June 1963 'Passenger Services Scotland' timetable (Table 15) shows the suffix-less Possil
station with its vestigial passenger service. This includes one SSuX round trip to Clydebank Riverside
via Partick North Jn - Partick West Jn PSUL curve. The station building (477-479, Balmore Rd, Possil) is
'High Risk' on the Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland, unsurprising from the e-BLN 1324 pictures.

758] Glenfinnan: West Highland Community Rail Partnership (WHCRP), Glenfinnan Station Museum,
ScotRail, the Glenfinnan Estate, NR and Transport Scotland are upgrading a footpath and viewing areas
at Glenfinnan Viaduct to improve facilities for tourists and encourage visitors to arrive by train. 'We
need to promote the best possible viaduct experience; cross the viaduct by train, then view it from a
hillside vantage point, taking away the hassle of finding a parking space first', said WHCRP Secretary
Hege Hernæs. Work started from the station a few weeks ago, patching or upgrading many sections of
footpath, working towards the viaduct. Probably the most difficult section is right next to the viaduct.
This area has the most foot traffic and visitors tend to spread out to wait for the steam train, causing a
quagmire over quite a large area. Hopefully it will be a great improvement when it's finished! The
sheer number of visitors has caused significant erosion damage of the footpath and surrounding areas.

1325 WALES & THE MARCHES (Chris Parker) [email protected]
759] Sudbrook: (BLN 1323.484) Section 36 of RA Cooke's GWR Track Layout Diagrams shows that the
remaining track beyond 0m 73ch was removed in Feb 1976. As indicated in BLN 1323, the branch had
extended to 1m 1ch, a headshunt for another pumping station. This made a gated end on connection
with Walkers shipbuilding yard private sidings until their removal sometime between 1919 and 1947.

ABOVE: The Society's Cotswold Lion (don't ask) tour from Paddington (08.55/
21.30 in a DMU!) slightly outside the Cotswolds at Glascoed (British Rail boundary) on 22 Jun 1985.
The question is how many Society members do you recognise? Terry Velvick is standing in front of the
train; note the red 'BLS' little headboard. Bottom right, pointing with outstretched arm, is that Dave
Cromarty? Middle left of the '15' sign chatting to a member of British Rail staff in an orange jacket the
group includes Peter Deacon, Dave Wilkinson and (with his back to us) Chris Tennant. (Ian Mortimer.)

760] Glascoed & Tidenham branches: 'Steam Railway' reports that recovery of the remaining track
materials has commenced, although presumably the stub used as a tamper siding at Little Mill Jn on
the former will remain. The 1¾ mile Tidenham branch, last train 21 Dec 1981, underwent a Sectional
Appendicectomy being deleted from the Sectional Appendix from 22 Jul 1995. Wye Valley Jn itself was
removed (plain lined) over the weekend of 21/22 Jun 2008. Completion of track lifting is expected this
summer. The work is being managed by, and is at the expense of, the Dean Forest Railway Society
(DFRS) to whom NR has donated the materials. The DFRS believes that the vast majority is reusable.

At about three miles long it is theoretically enough to complete Stage 1 of the Railway's proposed
northern extension to Speech House Road, (the ultimate aim is Cinderford), though in practice some
of it will be used for routine replacements on the existing Lydney Junction to Parkend running line.

NEXT PAGE TOP: Our 26 Mar 1988 'Usk & Severn Rambler' railtour at
Tidenham with a different colour little BLS headboard - they were repainted. (Ian Mortimer.)

BELOW: Tidenham - the tunnel and former Netherhope Halt platform in the early 1970s when the line
still ran to Tintern Quarry. A Sunday walk through the tunnel (don't worry, we won't tell anyone, Ian.)

ABOVE: 66065 takes its train from Margam to Newport Docks off the Up/Down Goods Loop onto the
Courtybella branch to run round. BELOW: Passing on the Courtybella branch, 66065 has now run
round and 66177 is on the loop proper with its Newport Docks to Margam train to then run round.

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