Issue Number 1235 (Items 1125- 1204 and MR 80_90) (E-BLN 27 PAGES) 20 June 2015
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)
Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Ave., Epsom, Surrey, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from members, an international section is also available.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or of the Society.
BLN 1236 is due on 4 July and all contributions must be received by 24 June.
Date Event Visit Type BLN Lead Notes
TBA 2015 Severn Valley Railway Highley, Engine House branch 1230 PS Notify
Sat 20/06/15 Signal Box Visits 09.15 Nairn - Huntly line 1231 NJ Open
Sun 21/06/15 Railway relic tour by car * NEW* Inverness - Glenfinnan 1235 NJ OPEN
Sat 27/06/15 Coventry area visits 10.30 Three minor railways 1231 SM Open
Sun 28/06/15 Millfield Rly. (Shardlow) 10.00 Special BLS railtour 1233 PS OPEN
Sun 28/06/15 Kirkby-in-Ashfield 12.00 Guided railway walk 1227 TG Open
Fri 10/07/15 Whitrope Siding railway 09.00 Standard gauge railtour 1233 PS Open
Fri 10/07/15 Saughtree station tour Late morning train rides 1233 PS Open
Sun 12/07/15 Thameslink Tracker tour 11.50 Bedford - Herne Hill etc. 1234 KA Open
Sun 19/07/15 East Lancashire Railway Comprehensive railtour 1234 KA Open
DEFERRED Ermintrude, Dougal & Carnforth - Cleethorpes loco TBA KA *TO BE*
hauled railtour (see below) REDATED
Sat 25/07/15 Florence Tracker
Thur 30/07/15 Spa Valley Railway 16.00 Track railtour 1231 GW Open
Sat 1/08/15 Signal Box Visits 09.30 Norfolk Broads area 1234 PS Open
Sat 8/08/15 25 mile French branch Whole Sud des Ardennes branch 1234 GB Open
Thur 13/08/15 South Wales Valleys Conducted service train tour 1232 KA FULL
15-16/08/15 SVR signalling weekend Two day practical signals course 1224 NJ FULL
Sun 16/08/15 Rainsbrook Valley Rly. 11.00 Comprehensive railtour 1234 PS Open
Sun 16/08/15 Conducted walk 12.30 Rugby area trackbed walk 1234 PS Open
Fri 4 - 6/09/15 Scottish Railways Track /traction tours with PLEG TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 19/09/15 Scunthorpe AFRPS 10.30 All day railtour, with food TBA PS Claimed
Sun 11/10/15 Comprehensive railtour TBA DG Claimed
Sun 11/10/15 East Kent Railway Comprehensive railtour TBA DG Claimed
Sat 24/10/15 All line railbus railtour TBA JW Claimed
14-15/11/15 Romney H. & D. Railway York NRM and events in area TBA TBA Claimed
Ribble Steam Railway
60th AGM weekend
DG-Darren Garnon, GW-Glen Wells, JW-John Williamson, KA-Kev Adlam, NJ-Nick Jones, PS-Paul Stewart, SM-Simon Mortimer, TG-Tom Gilby.
1125] The Great Glen & Glenfinnan, Sun 21 June: Although short notice and primarily aimed at those
participating in the Inverness to Huntly signal box visits the previous day, this is available to all. Car
sharing from Inverness along the Great Glen on the 'longest day', stopping off to view key locations on
the former Invergarry & Fort Augustus Railway. At Invergarry station, track has recently been relayed
by the fledgling preservation society, (no rides yet!) followed by a walk to the tunnel and all 3 viaducts
(without any steelwork!). Next visit the recently refurbished (but empty!) Spean Bridge signal box.
Finally, to the Glenfinnan Station Museum where the box and lever frame has also been restored. A
simple simulation is available to 'have a go' at signalling some trains on the tablet Instruments and
lever frame. There is a train from Fort William to Glasgow at 16.54 or a bus to Inverness at 18.15.
Booking/queries to Nick Jones email [email protected] or 07768631867.
1126] Fixture's secretary Update: With the events at Snibston and Ketton now under our belt, I am
delighted to report that my team and I have now delivered 72 events with over 3,100 participants in
our Diamond Jubilee. It continues to be a tremendous year for the Society, befitting of our 60th
Anniversary. Our 'Bubble Car' event at the East Lancashire Railway on 19 July is now three quarters
full; do not hesitate to book one of the few remaining places, as this rare lines charter cannot be
strengthened. For the haulage enthusiasts, the pilot locomotive is expected to be Class 09 09024
recently repaired. The previous weekend sees our first project with a new TOC partner, GoVia
Thameslink Railway using a Class 319/4. A visit to Bedford P1A with AC traction is confirmed, this
being the normal bay for Bletchley DMUs. There are some 'not to be missed' metals on this tour and
coordination with the GBRf team who are running a charity tour the same day means our passengers
can alight at Blackfriars to enjoy an engine or two on that train from Finsbury Park to Eastleigh.
Talking of other operators' plans, 25 July was the date reserved for the Ermintrude, Dougal and
Florence Tracker from Carnforth to Cleethorpes and return. However, the decision has now been
made to defer this project to the winter and a new date will be announced once known. A clash of
attractive tours is always difficult and we are very aware that there is considerable interest in the UK
Railtours 'The Coastway Crawler', which has been announced to run on the same date. The route as
validated with our partner West Coast Railway Company is as follows:
Carnforth P1 (PU) – Hellifield Up Goods – Skipton P3 – Shipley (PU) – Kirkstall UPL – Up Shipley Main –
Engine Shed Jn – Turners Lane Jn – Hare Park Jn – Hemsworth UPL – Doncaster (PU) – Up West
Reception – Decoy North Jn – Back Road – St. Catherine's Jn – Firbeck Jn – Worksop Up Departure No1
– Retford (PU) – West Burton Power Station – West Reception Line No1 - Oil line 'K' – Gainsborough –
Barnetby Up Slow – Grimsby Up/Dn Loop – Cleethorpes (leg stretch break) - Brocklesby West Jn Dn
Goods – Barnetby No2 Reception – Gainsborough – West Burton Power Station East Reception Line -
FGD line 'L' - Retford (SD) – Worksop Dn Reception No1 – Sheffield (reverse) – Doncaster (SD) –
Hemsworth DPL – Hare Park Jn – Turners Lane Jn – Engine Shed Jn – Dn Shipley Main – Kirkstall DPL –
Shipley (SD) – Skipton P4 – Hellifield Dn Goods – Carnforth P1. We are indebted to EDF Energy for
permission to access their infrastructure, in return for which a sizeable charity donation will be made.
The fixtures team would like to apologise again for the late cancellation of the Great Eastern Tracker
railtour, after the tickets and details had been issued; unfortunately, there were some major last
minute operating problems that could not be resolved in time. This was a very great disappointment,
to us too after the many hours of work put in by all concerned. We were greatly touched by the level
of members' understanding, acceptance and genuine support. A comprehensive list of loco-hauled
services in the area was emailed for participants to experience, as well as full details of heritage
railway events that were available, kindly compiled at short notice by Tim Wallis. Many made good use
of the information. All who were not on email received a personal 'phone call to explain the situation.
The possibility of a future tour in the area is under investigation but is not anticipated this year.
Finally, a huge thank you to the over 160 passengers on the Ketton Cement branch trips (Sunday 7
June 2015). It was a huge win for the Society to be invited to operate passenger trains on an industrial
railway again. All available lines were covered and nearly £6k was raised for good causes. A full report
will follow. Special mention must be made of our member Gary Pullan, who was pivotal in securing the
consent and in delivering the project with the support from my stewarding team (KA 13 June 2015.)
1127] BLS Sud Ardennes Explorer, FRANCE Sat 8 August: (see map with BLN 1234.1028) The tour is
loading well, so participants should now book their travel and accommodation. The cost per head
should be less than €25 (£18), half the original estimate. Bookings close on 25 July and NO UNBOOKED
PASSENGERS WILL BE ACCOMMODATED. As the trip is running on a cost-sharing basis, deposits must
be regarded as non-returnable after 8 July. The journey will start from the Chemin de Fer Touristique
du Sud des Ardennes (CFTSA) base at Attigny at 09.00 and run east to the current branch terminus at
Challerange (11.00/11.15). It will then return to Attigny (13.30/14.00) for a depot visit and photo
opportunities. On arrival at Amagne-Lucquy CFTSA, the train will run to the stop board - the limit of
their permitted operations - where participants can alight at around 15.00 for the short walk to
Amagne-Lucquy SNCF station in good time to catch the 15.37 to Reims. Those who travel to Attigny by
car can return on the train. A bus has been hired from Reims at 07.45 picking up at Rethel about 08.30
as there is no morning train. The cost for this should be less than €15 (£11) per head.
1128] Unusual Track: These are anticipated but should be re-checked http://goo.gl/atct2m etc.
Slough East Loop: FO 19 June, 10 July & 7 August, 23.30 Windsor & Eton Central to Slough.
Windsor Reversible line, West London Jn to Waterloo: 20 June 17.42 Reading to Waterloo and
half-hourly until 20.12. (Otherwise 17.12 Reading & 22.54 Basingstoke to Waterloo both SSuX )
Llangollen Railway, Carrog Loop: 20 & 21 June 17.00 ex-Llangollen runs via P2 to Corwen.
Luton: 20 & 21 June, EMT services from the north terminate/start in P2 except: SO 05.21 from
Derby, 05.49 from Sheffield & 20.05 from Nottingham; SuO the 07.31 from Derby, 09.25, 13.43,
15.50, 17.36 & 19.28 from Sheffield and the 10.50 from Leeds, which all terminate in P3.
Chelmsford: 21 June, 07.52, 08.30, 08.58, 09.30, 09.58 & 10.30 to Liverpool St. depart from P2.
Battersea Park P2 - Factory Jn 'A': 21 June, Battersea Park - Highbury & Islington all day service.
Winchburgh Jn - Dalmeny Jn, Dalmeny Up Passenger Loop, Dalmeny Down Passenger Loop &
Inverkeithing Up Passenger Loop: In use SuX until 25 July due to Winchburgh tunnel closure.
Bath Spa, west end crossovers: Use is expected 1 to 31 August; engineering blockade east of
the station (BLN 1233.931), also some SO reversible running on the Up Main to Bristol East Jn.
Hitchin Up Yard line No1: Sunday 30 & Monday Bank Holiday 31 August (morning), in use by
trains from King's Lynn and Cambridge on their departure north after turning back in Hitchin P1.
Hereford bay P4: 20.00 SO to Birmingham New St. is the most reliable bet, due to the ATW
19.55 to Manchester using P3 whilst a FGW HST is reversing in Hereford Diesel siding 20.02/12.
The 14.06 & 20.06 SuO to New Street generally depart from P3 and have no reason to use P4.
Crediton - Okehampton: SuO to 4 September, four return journeys from Exeter St. James's Park
at 09.01, 11.01, 14.27 & 16.29 returning at 09.55, 11.58, 15.23 and 17.59. Calls at Exeter Cent.,
Exeter St. Davids, Crediton and (possibly) Sampford Courtney (NB these may not run in 2016).
Stirling P6 to Inverness line (and X/O at 118m 47ch): 08.40 weekdays (08.49 SO) Glasgow to
Dunblane is booked to wait 16 minutes in P6 to be overtaken by the 09.08 Glasgow to Dundee
using P2. This move cannot be made if Stirling North signal box is switched out (most Sundays).
1129] FIXTURES REPORTS: Essex signal box visits, 25 April: (52-54/60) An early start was required for
most of the group to make Clacton-on-Sea see https://flic.kr/s/aHska6S1qF for 08.45; mainly reached
by the 07.18 from Liverpool Street joining at some point in its journey. One keen member had left
home at 02.15 and caught the 04.50 Cambridge to Liverpool Street before that; advanced fare
Cambridge to Clacton via London £5.95 with railcard! Despite the line to the seaside terminus having
been electrified over 50 years ago, and a re-signalling scheme between 2006 and 2009 resulting in the
abolition of all the other boxes on the Walton and Clacton lines, it seems that 'the money ran out' and
the mechanical signal box at Clacton has survived to 2015. The 1891 Great Eastern Railway box has
had UPVC windows and total cladding in recent years. The box, which is at the station throat also
controls the Carriage Servicing Depot (CSD) access, a short distance along the main line. The Depot
closed in the 1990s and reopened after upgrading in September 2010. Units are added to trains in the
morning and dropped off at night. Clacton has the last remaining BR (ER) 'searchlight 'colour-light
signals on NR (installed in 1958 for the 1959 electrification at 25KV) and the last working full size
semaphore on an overhead electrified line. P1, 2 & 3 starting signals are all searchlights (P4 has a very
elderly three-aspect colour light) along with the Up main starting signal. The first Down main home
(lever 26) is also a searchlight, but the box diagram does not differentiate between searchlight and
other colour light signals. All are in regular use. The full size semaphore allows direct access from the
carriage sidings to the Up main, used for two (SSuX) early morning ECS services, the 05.05 to Walton-
on-the-Naze and 05.47 to Thorpe-le-Soken. Its lack of regular use apparently means that it gives
intermittent problems. Most subsidiary signals are mechanical discs and (unusually at a terminus)
there is a yellow distant lever for the first Down main home, part of the final Colchester PSB signal. A
couple of other unusual features:
1) The block diagram shows the first Down main home to have a secondary colour light below and to
the right of the main signal head. This is controlled by lever 13 and gives direct access, via the first
facing crossover, to the carriage sidings. It is suspected that this displays a small single yellow light
when 'off', but no aspect when 'on'; confirmation or otherwise would be welcome.
2) The second Down main home signal (lever 27) and its associated calling-on signal (lever 28) control
access to the four platforms. If the platform is clear, lever 27 will be used, but if a train is already
stabled in the platform, lever 28 will be used. With each signal offering four potential routings, the
route indication presented to the driver is not, as might be imagined, determined by the lie of the
points. Instead, each of the two signals has an associated small (elderly) panel on the block shelf
with four numbered buttons mounted on it. The signaller sets the road and, prior to pulling the
signal lever, presses and holds the button for the appropriate platform to obtain the required
route. Assuming that the route is correctly set, the lever will be electrically released and can be
reversed but, if not, no release will be obtained and the lever will remain locked in the frame.
The Grade 3 box is open 24 hours, seven days a week and the signaller is busy at night as units stabled
in the station area are run on and off the depot for servicing. The box has 44 of its 57 levers in use but
actually has lever numbers 13 to 69, suggesting that a portion of the frame was removed at some time
on the left hand (low numbered) end. All but two of the 14 sets of points are mechanically worked;
three have facing point locks. Unusually, 11 point rods pass out under the end wall of the box furthest
from the buffers. NR advises that the closure of the box has been put back to 2018.
Most of the group then travelled by train to the virtually deserted Harwich International station to
visit the adjacent 1987 Parkeston signal box. See https://flic.kr/s/aHsk7bCTJu The Grade 4 small power
signal box is a modern brick structure; its high level operating floor has windows along the railway side
affording the signaller a good view (and of the level crossing). It is single-manned and open 24/7.
There is a single remarkably large 'NX' entrance-exit panel which controls the branch from between
Bradfield user worked level crossing (UWC) and Wrabness station to Harwich Town terminus, including
access to the disused train ferry berth adjacent to the latter. As well as that crossing, it supervises the
UWC at Copperas and the manually controlled barrier level crossing over an internal port road
adjacent to the box. It was noted that on the panel there are no 'berths' to show train headcodes;
these are displayed on a small VDU screen above it and anything stabled on a running line is noted by
a manually annotated miniature 'collar' placed over the appropriate control, a reminder that the line is
occupied. With the demise of the train ferry, the box is quieter than previously; the basic hourly
branch shuttle service is supplemented by a couple of Liverpool Street 'boat trains' (which once ran
non-stop) and the few 'PSUL' trains to/from Ipswich and beyond. There is freight in the form of the
North Walsham tanks and some GBRf worked engineers' traffic, including at the time of the visit a
high-output ballast cleaner and some weekend EMU stabling. After visiting the box, there was a
chance to see the huge (empty) heated waiting room intended for maritime travellers but available to
rail passengers. Some of our group used the still operational NSE liveried 'permit to travel' machine on
P2&3. There was time for a quick trip to Harwich Town, where the very rusty sidings and what looked
like signals for the former train ferry berth were disappearing beneath undergrowth and piles of
rubble opposite the single platform, before returning to Manningtree and Colchester.
The final visit was to the large scale and extended 1983 Colchester Power Signal Box;
https://flic.kr/s/aHskaKFMjZ now controlling the Great Eastern main line between the Marks Tey area
and Norwich, plus branches. Another large brick-clad structure, it has a large high-level operating floor
and as at Parkeston, has windows running the full length of the side of the building facing the railway.
However, as these are south facing, the signallers leave the blinds closed and keep the lights dimmed.
There are currently five workstations:
1. Norwich NX panel: The station area and GE main line out to the country side of Haughley Jn,
fringing Ipswich panel. It also controls the first section of the Thetford line to fringe with Cambridge
PSB 3 miles before Wymondham. It fringes with Trowse box at Whitlingham Jn.
2. Ipswich NX panel: This controls from Haughley Jn to the country side of Bentley automatic level
crossing on the main line (fringing Colchester desk) and the single track Felixstowe branch. It also
fringes with Bury St. Edmunds box. The Ipswich panel signaller liaises by phone with the Port of
Felixstowe north and south terminals to agree the running of trains.
3. Colchester desk: A VDU operated workstation which has replaced an NX panel since our October
2012 visit. It controls the main line from Bentley Crossing to the London side of Chitts Hill CCTV
operated barrier crossing, just short of Marks Tey, then fringes with Liverpool Street IECC (Witham
workstation). It includes the Clacton line junction then immediately fringes with 'East Gates' desk.
4. East Gates desk: This VDU operated workstation was the result of the 2006/9 resignalling of the
Walton/Clacton lines, which it controls to a point between Alresford and Great Bentley, plus the
Colchester Town branch and all three sides of the triangular junction.
5. Thorpe-le-Soken desk: The final VDU operated workstation controls the Walton-on-the-Naze
branch and junction, plus the Clacton line to beyond Burrs Road CCTV level crossing where it
fringes with Clacton-on-Sea box as above.
As is normal with power signalling installations, the signallers do not control every signal, as stretches
of plain line generally have automatic signals. Instead, their efforts are concentrated in areas where
routing decisions are required. Automatic route setting was provided for the Colchester and
Manningtree areas from 27 April. As at Parkeston, at user worked level crossings signals are only
returned to danger for large or slow moving vehicles; otherwise the signaller agrees with the user on
the phone if time is available for them to cross safely before the arrival of the next train. An interesting
feature on the NX panels is the use of small yellow collars on the appropriate push buttons at the end
of electrified sections to remind the signallers not to send electric trains along that route!
The signallers work 12 hour shifts, three days or nights per week (four if they are due to work Sunday)
splitting each shift between two workstations. There is one signaller per workstation, a meal break
relief and a shift manager, totalling seven staff per shift. Of the five workstations, it seems that the
Ipswich panel is the most difficult to work, due to the less fixed nature of the freight train operations
and the need to regulate trains on and off the busy Felixstowe branch without delaying passenger
services on the single line sections. Although it is possible for trains to follow each other along the
single track sections (i.e. having more than one train between two loops), signallers have to be careful
as two trains following each other in both directions towards the same loop would bring the job to a
stand rather effectively! Whilst on the face of it, the East Gates and Thorpe-le-Soken panels look to be
the easiest to work; each has four CCTV level crossings to take care of which keep the signallers busy.
The party were very grateful to our member Jon King for arranging this interesting and enjoyable day
that resulted in a donation of £140 to the Llangollen Railway Corwen (permanent) station fund. (With
thanks to our member Andrew Gardiner for access to his pictures of the visits via the links in the text.)
1235 HEAD LINES
1130] Bow Depot (Olympics) formerly
Bow Midland: (BLN 1233.917) ROG 2
June 2015, spoil traffic (which had been
stockpiled there, from the Olympic
stadium) to Calvert tip in MBA wagons.
1131] Ebbw Vale Town, Lower - Upper
cable worked 'Inclined Lift': (BLN
1234.1036) OP Wednesday 10 June
2015. It operates Mondays to Fridays
only from 07.00 to 19.00 and is initially
closed at weekends and Bank Holidays
but this is now being reviewed by the
council. The system is free to use,
unstaffed and push button passenger
self operated. Seats are available in the
car that is said to provide 'panoramic
views' of Ebbw Vale! Described as
working on the same principle as a lift,
it was built by Dawnus Construction, a
£2.3M 'design and build' contract over
42 weeks. Running costs are reportedly
around £13k per year. (Pictures: Kev
Adlam. Below: the lower 'station'
showing detail of the cable working.)
1235 BLN GENERAL
1132] RailMiles: The 2015 version http://goo.gl/f0FrhK redeveloped from scratch, is about to go live
and can be used to calculate and log rail journeys by different routes across the world (over 12M miles
of rail travel is already documented). Many new features include RealTime Trains, rail replacement
buses and preserved railway timetables (at a small cost). It can be used on any internet device.
1133] Matters Arising BLN 1234: Item1033]: Loco D2302 was withdrawn by BR on 23 June 1969 and
made its preservation passenger debut at Barrow Hill on 11 July 2004. It moved to Moreton-on-Lugg
on 16 November 2011 and then, after a prolonged period of restoration, its first subsequent passenger
runs there were on our recent tours of 3 May 2015. Titley Junction, despite being so shown on the
1945/47 OS map with e-BLN 1234 (and so called by the various owners in recent years) was originally
just known as 'Titley' (both station and signal box). This is the case in Bradshaw's Guides and Colonel
Cobb for example. 1055] A member believes the distances were measured via Bedford (old) station,
rather than by what was the avoiding line (built in 1890) and since 1978 has been the site of the
present station. 1099] The correct phone number to enquire about the Sunday bus between Stratford-
upon-Avon and Cheltenham Spa is 01242 257714. 1092] At Worcester Shrub Hill, although there are
8 pulley wheels at the Birmingham end (and generally fewer at the London end) of the new signal wire
run, the signals are still worked from Shrub Hill signal box at the London end. Not all the wheels have
wires! The wires seem much slacker than other similar installations when the signals are 'on' but as
usual, become taught when 'off'. Some signals are still worked by old wires running along the platform
edge. By the beginning of June, the technicians had moved onto constructing a new simplified point
rodding run at Worcester Tunnel Junction box which previously had circular cross section point rods
more reminiscent of some Southern Railway/Region practice. This is seen at Woody Bay station, for
example, on the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway. There was quite a stockpile of brand new inverted 'U'
channel rodding by the box at Worcester. 1103] Ballingrane on the Limerick to Tralee line where the
Foynes branch joined, was renamed Ballingrane Junction in 1967.
1134] The IRS: Founded in 1949, the 'Birmingham Locomotive Club - Industrial Locomotive Information
Section' soon evolved into the Industrial Railway Society. The IRS has an extensive document archive,
photographic archive, technical library and lending library available to its members. It also maintains
comprehensive records of all industrial locos that have ever worked in the UK and worldwide with
much material sourced from the builders themselves. The IRS collection of locomotive name and
builders' plates are on display at the Chasewater Railway as noted during our March visit there.
Regular visits are organised to industrial railways at home and overseas. It publishes numerous books
on all aspects of industrial locos, the railways and associated industries. Members receive the
illustrated magazine 'Industrial Railway Record' four times a year, alternate-monthly news bulletins
and regular updates to IRS publications. For news on current activities and membership, details:
www.irsociety.co.uk or contact Mr. S.C. Robinson, 47 Waverley Gardens, London, NW10 7EE.
1135] IRS Discussion Group: A free and easy to use Yahoo! Group which started in May 2000; also
available to non-members to exchange information, and raise queries about any aspects of industrial
railways in the UK and abroad. News of impending events of an industrial nature is particularly
welcome as are loco observations etc. It is easy to receive/send messages using any email address as
well as store photos and files; co-ordinate events etc. Details https://goo.gl/9oz9NA and to join.
1235 ENGLAND – EAST MIDLANDS
1136] Nottingham NET not yet: Originally due to OP 13 December 2014; track finishing and remedial
work was scheduled at Clifton between 14 and 22 June. A NET Spokesperson said: 'The opportunity is
being taken to complete some localised track works in between the extensive driver training and
system testing that is currently taking place on both the new Clifton and Chilwell tram routes. This will
allow the final stages of preparation for passenger services to begin.' The chair of Nottingham Tramlink
said there had not been enough 'risk time ' factored in to deal with problems. He said the opening was
'tantalisingly close' but would not confirm a date. Problems included finding unmapped utility lines
that went on for longer than expected. 'Myths' around the reasons behind the delays included
rumours of the 'wrong type of concrete' being used. The design has caused the concrete to crack in
unexpected ways but is fairly localised and being repaired. Claims that the track had been incorrectly
installed, and that gauging issues as a result were evident on certain corners, are also untrue. The
extension (10 miles of new track and 28 new stops) will more than double the size of NET. There is a
turnback siding at Clifton Centre and off peak trams may reverse there. On 13 June signs (with a tram
symbol) were noticed on the A52 to the south of Nottingham directing motorist to a park and ride stop
(unspecified). Anyone following them would have rather a long wait for a tram!
1137] Lincoln: (BLN 1227.340) Detailed planning approval for the £25M Central Lincoln Transport Hub
is expected by September (outline permission was granted in January) with work taking 2½ years due
to start in 2016. Work is progressing on NR's High Street Bridge Link (BLN 1220.1589).
1138] Stoke Bruern: (BLN 1211.971) The station (named without an 'e' at the end unlike the village)
at this remote location (SP736505) on the former S&MJR is a large red brick structure residence with
a platform. Ironically for a station that had passenger trains for only four months (December 1892 to
March 1893) it is probably the best preserved, most complete S&MJR station and for that reason well
worth seeing according to the correspondent. The adjacent overbridge bears BRB Residuary markings
'SJT3 1 58' and he wonders if the '1 58' means it is 1m 58ch from Roade, which is about right]?
BELOW: 1911 Railway Clearing House map, Stoke Bruern is right of centre and the S&MJR is in blue.
1235 GREATER LONDON
1139] Crossrail: (BLN 1234.1064) (1) Tunnelling: On 26 May TBM Victoria finished the final bore
between Liverpool Street and Farringdon, Elizabeth having completed the other tunnel on 11th.
(2) Abbey Wood: At this station the northernmost Crossrail track will terminate at platform end buffer
stops, but the more southerly one is to continue beyond the platform. Although primarily intended as
a refuge for defective trains, this track will eventually connect with the Down North Kent line to give
access for engineering trains. However to allow access to the tunnel for track-laying trains, one of the
existing sidings at Plumstead is to be extended to make a temporary connection with the Crossrail
route. A route has been safeguarded as far as Ebbsfleet or Hoo Jn for possible future extensions.
1140] Angerstein Wharf: (Picture left thanks
to NR) Following the derailment of three
wagons near Angerstein Jn of the 11.56 to
Pengam on 3 June, the branch reopened at
16.55 on 7th. Initially only loaded trains were
allowed to depart from the terminal, (i.e. no
empty wagon trains) subject to a signalling
restriction against trains coming to a stand
before they had left the branch. Normal
working resumed by 12 June except that
trains were to have a clear run at Charlton Jn.
The terminal is used for both incoming and
outgoing traffic. Like the previous similar
incident in April 2014 (BLN 1207.575) the
Charlton Jn to Blackheath Jn line was TCP
(but for less than two days). One wagon was
found to have a bogie frame twist fault.
1141] Heathrow Express: Following a
successful trial at one platform at Terminal 5,
platform gap fillers were to be installed at all
the Heathrow stations by the end of May to
minimise the risk of passengers falling between the train and platform while boarding and alighting. It
is not clear from the HEX announcement whether they will also be installed at Paddington P6/7.
[Cue the repetitive new on train announcement that passengers no longer need to mind the gap
between the train and the platform?] See: https://goo.gl/62HLtw
1142] Battersea: Planning permission has been granted for a development of 839 homes, a nursery,
shops and public square on the former Battersea gasholder site, located to the north of Battersea Park
station between the Central and South Eastern routes out of Victoria. The development will, subject to
agreement with NR, create new pedestrian routes across the site and on through the railway viaducts
which surround it. The developer is to make a £30M contribution to the cost of the Northern Line
extension to Battersea, with a further £4M for improvements to Battersea Park station, including
building a second entrance and new lifts. (Transport Briefing)
1143] Arnos Grove: Until the 17 May timetable change there was no booked use of the Cockfosters
end of the centre road here by passenger trains. However SSuX westbound train 301 the 05.40 ex-
Cockfosters, is now booked to use the centre road, calling at P3 and then returning to the westbound
line. In the other direction SSuX eastbound train 324, the 23.35 ex-Heathrow, 00.52 ex-Wood Green is
booked to use centre 22 road, calling at P2. This is presumably for 'rusty rail' purposes, as a member
who successfully completed both moves suggested recently.
1144] Leytonstone: A member was recently successful in his attempt to use train 34, the 21.53 ex
Epping, to do the connection from the westbound line into P1. However, his attempt to do the other
half of the scissors crossover on the approach to the station, using train 17, the 19.58 ex Hainault,
which is booked to use P2, was thwarted when the train failed to appear at Wanstead. In any case P2
was occupied firstly by a terminating train from the west that went forward empty and then by a
further terminating train that reversed in the platform. [It sounds as though the service was being
adjusted after late running had built up during the evening peak. P2 is often used to terminate trains
from both directions or to hold trains if the service is being stepped-down, with set identities being
altered. Because of this, moves from the Epping line into P1 are more common than indicated in the
WTT, although they cannot of course be predicted _ Sub-Ed.]
1145] Putney Bridge: (BLN 1210.865) Over the 13/14 June weekend the bay was taken OOU and the
pointwork removed. It is too short for modern passenger trains (the final passenger use was in June
2014), being able to take six cars of 'C stock', but not six cars of 'D stock' or any 'S stock' formation.
1146] Making tracks for the garden? Among the show gardens at the recent event was a rail-mounted
summerhouse (or 'shack' as it is referred-to by the designers) that moved around the garden along a
route that included straight sections of track and two turntables. This enabled the occupants to 'follow
the sun' and appreciate the flowers in different parts of the garden! Gauge was uncertain; propulsion
appeared to be electric (perhaps it should be solar powered?) controlled by a touchscreen inside the
summerhouse. The trackwork was curious, seemingly a mix of flangeway and plateway; there was no
sign of current (nor passenger) pick up. See https://goo.gl/fqbu2N and http://goo.gl/DzN3dG
1147] Croydon Tramlink: Services were suspended between East Croydon station and Reeves Corner
from early afternoon to late evening on Tuesday 2 June to allow safe passage for two cycle races. The
first track block was at the junction of George Street/Crown Hill and North End where the rail is a
couple of inches below the surrounding road surface. To give a smooth passage for the riders, the area
was covered with (probably) nylon sheeting, which had, according to ITV4 coverage, 7.5tons of asphalt
laid and smoothed on top. The second block was at the bottom of Crown Hill, at the junction of Surrey
Street, where the rails are flush with the road surface, so were covered with rubber strips.
1148] Waterloo and S*itty line? Thames Water has completed construction of the Lee Tunnel running
for 4.3miles from Abbey Mills to Beckton at a depth of 75m. To assist with fitting out the 7.8m
diameter tunnel, a narrow gauge railway has been constructed along its length. The tunnel will be
completed around the end of this year or early next year, when the railway will be removed and the
tunnel will become part of London’s sewer network. See https://goo.gl/31HC4k for a video.
1149] TfL Spreads its Wings: From 31 May services from Liverpool Street to Chingford, Enfield Town
and Cheshunt via Seven Sisters plus Romford to Upminster were transferred from Abellio Greater
Anglia (AGA) to London Overground. (At the same time Liverpool Street to Shenfield Metro services
were transferred to Crossrail.) The LO operation will be branded 'TfL Rail' until the new rolling stock is
delivered and will feature a dark blue roundel. Stations will now be staffed throughout traffic hours,
although in the case of Emerson Park this will be achieved by a member of staff travelling on the train
between there and Romford.The new routes will be integrated with TfL's real-time information and
journey planning and all of the stations will be thoroughly cleaned and repaired over the coming
months, with new benches, signage, CCTV, gate lines and modern ticket machines installed. Some
adverse publicity was generated when some of the new signs at Theobalds Grove were found to be
spelt 'Theobolds Grove'! In general the TfL fares structure will apply, with existing lower fares retained,
(but see also South East North section). From 1 June SSuX operating hours on the Romford to
Upminster line were extended by two hours, with the last train leaving Upminster at 21.54. There is
still no service on the branch on Sundays. TfL is keen to add the Southeastern Metro services within
Greater London to the LO network.
1150] London rail map: This has been redrawn and there is some criticism of the changes (including
various deletions) to accommodate the new lines, such as a kink in the Central Line at Bank and the
untidy way certain station interchanges and wording are depicted. The east London part of the new
(iconic) Underground pocket map now looks decidedly crowded with the LO additions shown as the
usual open orange lines and TfL Rail in open dark blue. Being under different ownership, the core
section of Thameslink is still not shown, although it could be a useful addition. A suggested clearer
design for the map with more curves http://goo.gl/t3q7fq has different colours for various LO lines.
1151] London battles: (BLN 1234.1063) In answer to the question posed in the last BLN; Navarino
Road Jn, named after the road, but the road was named after the Battle of Navarino (1827). Then
British, French and Russian ships destroyed the Ottoman fleet during the Greek wars of independence.
1235 NORTH WEST
1152] Green Lane: From 27 May to Mid July, the
station ticket office is closed for refurbishment and
a temporary very rare entrance is in use (Left
picture; the door to the left.) Merseyrail is advising
passengers to buy tickets from other stations or
their destination. 6-car trains (three to Liverpool
and one to Chester; morning peak only) are not able
to call due to scaffolding. There is to be
improvement to the station's passenger areas,
lighting and CCTV.
ABOVE: Green Lane platform view looking south towards Rock Ferry. Both pictures ©Merseyrail.
1153] Middlewich: Cheshire East council is talking to rail bosses about a new rail freight base here. If
the scheme goes ahead, it could transform the Cheshire town into a major logistics hub. Middlewich,
close to junction 18 of the M6 motorway, already has about 2M square feet of warehousing. Now
council leaders say the base (which could be linked to HS2) would make the area a focus for
warehousing and new jobs. The talks follow an agreement with London and Continental Railways.
1154] Mid Cheshire Line: Within the latest MCRUA newsletter was an item concerning timekeeping
indicating that train performance has improved only slightly since the poor November figures. As
before, most trains are 5 to 8 minutes late, enough to miss connections at Chester, Stockport and
Piccadilly. The main reasons for delay are as previously reported:
o High passenger numbers so trains take too long to load and unload, exceeding their planned
station 'dwell times' even though these were increased by 3 minutes in total two years ago.
o The pathing of trains between Edgeley Jn and Manchester Piccadilly is very tight so that even a
train running slightly late causes disruption.
o Awaiting despatch at Stockport station. Virgin Trains only provide one member of staff to
despatch trains on P3 & 4, and it is not possible to despatch the Mid-Cheshire train at 17
minutes past the hour at the same time as another train from P3. This often causes 2 minutes
delay and the train then loses its path across Slade Lane Jn and into Piccadilly.
1155] Manchester Metrolink: (1). Exchange Square: Artist's impressions (below © TfGM 2015) show
the very dramatic design for the stop which is due to open next winter. Foundations are being laid on
Corporation Street outside the Manchester Arndale shopping centre. Construction work will start soon
after TfGM and Manchester City Council agreed a final design that makes the most of limited space in
Exchange Square but keeps plenty of room for pedestrians. Architects Simpson Haugh and Partners'
innovative 'island-style' platform design features a brightly coloured steel and glass shelter with four
'floating' overlapping glazed roof panels. The pavilion style makes the stop visible in long views across
Corporation Street. Fittings, such as information displays and seating will be integrated into polished
concrete columns to give the stop a clean, uncluttered design……
(2). Deansgate-Castlefield: The new outbound platform opened on 2 June for services to Altrincham,
East Didsbury, MediaCityUK and Eccles. Trams to the city centre and on to Ashton-under-Lyne,
Rochdale, and Bury will continue to arrive and depart from the central platform facing Manchester
Central. The third (north side) platform will be for 'Second City Crossing' services. From 8 June the
newly modernised exhibition footbridge linking the stop with the nearby Deansgate station reopened
to passengers, making the stop step-free again. The steps to the exhibition footbridge and Deansgate
station ramp were due to reopen on 16 June.
1156] NW Electrification: The planned electrification of the TPE route between Manchester and York
has been delayed, with no set completion date. Jonathan Reynolds, Labour MP for Stalybridge and
Hyde, had asked the Government for an update on the plans. The project, electrifying the line which
connects Manchester, Leeds and York, was announced in November 2011. Transport Minister Andrew
Jones said NR had found 'more work' was needed than originally proposed. This will allow upgrades
such as higher line speeds and greater line capacity though. Work would be delayed and a completion
date could not yet be set, he added.
1157] Ordsall curve: It is rumoured that a judicial review is being sought regarding the public enquiry
decision. This could delay the start of work. There was originally some opposition to the chosen route.
1158] Halton curve: (BLN 1219.1525) Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) has welcomed the latest
stage in reopening this rail link that was first proposed 10 years ago. Regular passenger services ceased
in May 1975 and transport authority Merseytravel is seeking to re-open it to boost the economy,
leisure and work opportunities. The plan has already received 'in principle' Government funding of
£10.4M, subject to the business case. The proposal is for an hourly direct service between Liverpool
and Chester, via Liverpool South Parkway for LJLA, Runcorn, Frodsham, Helsby and Chester. Services to
Wales would be taken forward in collaboration with the Welsh Government. The outline business case
is now up for consultation and a full business case is expected to be completed in the summer. If
approved work could begin during 2016/17, with services expected to operate from early 2018.
Merseytravel chief executive David Brown said that more than 200,000 new rail journeys a year could
be generated between Liverpool and Chester, with plans to go further into North Wales, prime areas
for LJLA. Currently there is no direct public transport from these areas to the airport or the nearby
Liverpool South Parkway, despite about 250,000 passengers a year from these areas using the airport.
1159] West Lancashire Travels: A correspondent has recently sent in the following notes covering
varied travels in Lancashire during March. His first call was Bamber Bridge station, with the tall,
timber, flat roofed signalbox adjacent to the busy level crossing. The original station buildings here still
exist on the other side of the crossing. Then onto Midge Hall where the platforms and goods shed are
in situ adjacent to the level crossing. At Cocker Bar (a very early station, long closed) the white painted
station house is intact at a gated minor (occupation) crossing but no platforms exist. Northwards from
Southport, all trace of stations at Hesketh Park and at Churchtown for Botanic Gardens have been
obliterated by modern development. Unfortunately, it did not get any better further on with, at
Crossens, new housing on the station site, with just one wall of the nearby infilled humpback bridge
visible. Banks: all trace of the station has gone, although the trackbed is a walkable grassy bank
alongside a land drain. Hundred End: everything has been demolished although the trackbed at the
previous level crossing can be identified as a rough
private track. 'New Station House' is new, and on
the presumed site of the original station house.
Hesketh Bank & Tarleton: the site of the passenger
station is a quiet suburban road (which runs on the
trackbed alignment for a short distance), from the
infilled humpback bridge over the line at Hesketh
Bank. On the north side of the line the site of Alty's
Brickworks siding, adjacent to which today’s West
Lancashire Light Railway operates. The railway
bridge over the River Douglas Navigation has long
gone and was, by a couple of miles, the lowest
crossing point of that river.
The Tarleton branch (map to the right; 1947 OS
'New Popular' edition) was not explored on this
occasion, but when our correspondent last visited
it in June 2007, it was mostly easy going along the
riverbank with many indentations where the
sleepers had been lifted. Unsurprisingly there was
nothing left to see then of either Tarleton Halt or
Boatyard Crossing Halt. The passenger service only
ran from 3 June 1912 to 1 October 1913 and it CG
in 1930. (Ian Allan’s 'Complete Atlas of Railway Station Names' p20, suggests this branch had a triangular
junction. There is no north-facing curve apparent on the ground, OS maps, Colonel Cobb or on the L&YR
system map in Eric Mason's 'The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway in the Twentieth Century', and it is hard
to see where one could have been built because the river is in the way! Presumably a cartographic glitch
in the 'Complete Atlas'). At Hoole, a battered single level crossing gate exists at the vacant station site;
no buildings exist, and only scrubland where the platforms were. Our member cannot remember what
might have been at New Longton & Hutton, but there would have been nothing left, otherwise he
would have photographed it! It may well be under the A59 Penwortham bypass, which has certainly
taken up a couple of miles of the trackbed including obliterating all trace of Penwortham Cop Lane (Cop
Lane Halt). New housing occupies the site of Longton Bridge station, only one bridge abutment exists
from the railway era there.
1235 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
1160] Newport Pagnell: The 4 mile branch (CP 7 September 1964, CG/CA 22 May 1967) is now a
surfaced footpath and cycle way throughout. At Bradwell and Great Linford station sites, each single
platform exists. There is a splendid girder bridge (SP 8473 4227) that carried the branch over the
Grand Union Canal near Great Linford. At Newport Pagnell nothing is left of the station, do any Railway
Workers' Cottages survive? BELOW: Newport Pagnell branch terminus is top right, then the bridge
built for the M1 that opened on 2 November 1959, the canal bridge is towards the centre and the
junction at Wolverton (left) was triangular. The original 1838 route of the London & Birmingham
Railway is west of Wolverton station through the Works. The east deviation and 'new' (actually 3rd)
station were built in 1881 to make space for the Works; Wolverton being half way between London
and Birmingham. The triangle and a headshunt on the first part of the branch remained until 15
October 1973 to access Wolverton coal yard and for stock turning (some use is reported in 1974). Most
of the area around the branch is now built up, now an outer suburb of Milton Keynes.
1161] Shenfield and Brentwood: Although the terminating services at Shenfield transferred to TfL Rail
from 1 June, the station is still served by Abellio Greater Anglia (AGA) and they continue to manage it
and set most of the fares. This includes the pay as you go fares to Zone 1 and beyond, and all through
fares to the rest of the national rail network as before. All non-Zone 1 fares from Shenfield to the rest
of the TfL rail network are to be set by TfL; AGA will no longer set fares to East London including
Docklands and Stratford. Prices will not change for any single or return paper ticket. At Brentwood,
pay as you go fares were set by AGA and the station was outside the TfL fare zones. The train service is
now provided by TfL Rail and to coincide with this, Brentwood has been moved to Zone 9. As a result
the 7 Day Zone 1 Travelcard from there will fall in price from £87.40 to £83.40 in line with current TfL
fares. Pay as you go fares from Brentwood to Zone 1 London Underground stations will also go down.
The peak fare was reduced from £9.70 to £8.20 as was the off-peak fare from £7.60 to £5.30.
As a result of Brentwood moving all TfL stations are included in Zones 1-9.
1162] Windsor & Eton Central: (BLN 1231.758) One train only working with a train staff remained in
use, with some changes to the temporary method of working involving the appointment of a Person in
Charge to deliver (and receive) the train staff to (or from) the driver. Between 8 June and 15 June
connections were to be recovered and replaced with plain line between the Windsor single line and
the East Loop at Bath Road and between P1 and the East Loop at Slough. From 15 June the temporary
arrangements were to finish and new signalling commissioned other than for the Windsor Siding.
1163] Didcot: FGW has been working closely with DfT to secure further funding to provide a new
multi-storey car park on the current Foxhall Road site. This is to replace the off street parking near the
station on sites that are expected to be redeveloped during 2016 adding a further 800 spaces. Work
may start as early as autumn this year, which is expected to take around 12 months.
1164] Oxford: (BLN 1233.1014) On 29 May a small group of BLS and RCTS members was privileged to
have a conducted visit to the rather cramped signalling centre, behind the Down end of P2, which
externally looks like an industrial unit! This was during the late afternoon, giving a chance to see how
trains were kept running in the evening peak. Oxford panel was opened in 1973 and now deals with
about 400 movements a day, about 250 during the day shift (07.00 to 19.00) with two signalmen and
150 at night when it is single manned. This is far more than the layout was designed for and there are
also moves in and out of yards and sidings. It fringes with Banbury South at Heyford and with Thames
Valley SC (Didcot) near Culham. The box also controls the Cotswold Line to almost Charlbury Jn. Train
headcodes are displayed on VDU screens above the panel, which is made of standard green tiles like
its contemporaries. Unlike earlier designs, it has push/pull buttons, rather than one to rotate at the
start of a route being set up and one to press at the end. Communication with the similar panel at
Ascott-under-Wychwood (visited by a BLS party in April 2013) is by block bell to describe the trains
(e.g. 4 rings for an express) and it is fascinating to hear the bells as in a manual box. (Gloucester PSB
fringing with the manual Droitwich box is another example of this.) After this, axle counter block takes
over. The panel also controls the freight branch to Cowley, using no signalman electric tokens. At
Kennington Jn there are two cabins by the two running lines, each containing a token machine, and a
similar set of equipment at the other end of the branch. After telephoning the signaller for release, the
driver has to press a plunger at the same time as the signaller presses a small white button on the
panel, allowing a token to be withdrawn. Oxford interfaced with Claydon L&NE Jn (until upgrading
work started) by tokenless block, though most trains only ran as far east as Bicester. The signalling
allows two passenger trains to be in Oxford's Down P2 at the same time. However, the only current
use of this is for the 17.31 weekday train for Great Malvern providing the solitary Down service to the
minor stations before Kingham. (BLN 1229.555 Cotswold Line 'Halts'.)
1165] Oxford - Bicester: From 3 August, in conjunction with the bringing into use of the double track
chord from Bicester South Jn to Gavray Jn, and reflecting the reversal of Up and Down directions (as
recorded previously in BLN), the names of lines are to be changed as follows:
Denbigh Hall South Jn to Bicester Town is to become part of 'Oxford North Jn (excl.) to Denbigh
Hall South Jn'.
Bicester Eastern Perimeter Road LC (excl) to Oxford North Jn is to be part of 'Oxford North Jn to
Oxford Parkway (excl.)'. (As published by NR, with the lack of overlap between the two!)
From 14 June between Oxford station and Oxford North Jn, the Down Jericho line was to be taken
OOU temporarily and temporary stop blocks provided.
1166] Banbury: A new turnout was to be installed north of Banbury in the Up Main at 87m 30ch on the
weekend of 6 and 7 June, as part of a future facing crossover to be commissioned with resignalling in
July 2016. This is immediately north of the entrance to the Up Goods Loop, the crossover to which, 53
points, was also to be renewed but with removal of the catch points on the loop. From 15 June the
OOU Horse Dock and Milk Dock sidings (visited by our 'Semaphore and Sidings Tracker' railtour with
Chiltern Trains on 2 August 2014) were to have been recovered.
1167] Whitlingham Jn: (Below) Around mid-morning on 1 June a small fibreglass cruising vessel on the
River Yare became stuck under the railway bridge near the Rushcutters public house, Thorpe St.
Andrew (just outside Norwich before the Sheringham branch junction). This disrupted services to
Sheringham, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft whilst a structural bridge assessment was obtained. The
cancellations and delays were out of all proportion to the size of the tiny boat but it was necessary to
ensure that the steel underbridge had not been displaced on its bearings with misalignment of the
running rails. (Picture Lorna Burroughes.)
1235 SOUTH EAST ENGLAND - SOUTH
1168] Haywards Heath: Construction of the multi-storey car park on the station Down side reached
the fourth and uppermost level (the 'third floor'!). The northern part of the site of the previous ground
level car park, nearer the station entrance, will become a new Sainsbury’s with passive provision for a
Bluebell Railway track and platform. (Maybe one day creating Britain's first through Heritage line?)
1169] Ryarsh: The former brickworks (west and south of the centre of Ryarsh village adjacent to the
M20 north west of Maidstone) was acquired and demolished by developer Redrow at the end of last
year to make way for 91 homes and commercial buildings. Excavations into the concrete foundations
have now uncovered remains of the steam engine operated brickworks railway once used to transport
materials. Track and rolling stock have been dug up at the old factory. One resident said: 'Six months
ago, I came upon an old man who used to work at the brickworks peering through the fence. He told
me he was looking to see if any of the things they buried had turned up yet.' When the railway was
electrified in the 1950s, all the redundant machinery and vehicles were just buried on site as they were
too heavy to move! The Roughetts Road facility was built in the 1930s and expanded over the next 60
years until it closed in the mid 1990s. The railway ran for half a mile from the quarry behind The Street,
under a tunnel, part of which remains standing, and to the brickworks. The site, unoccupied since the
closure, was bought by a number of construction companies who kept it in use.
1235 SOUTH WEST ENGLAND
1170] Plymouth: (BLN 1211.961) On 22 May after a long refurbishment programme, the former Laira
rail bridge re-opened completing the Plymstock to Plymouth cycleway and footpath.
1171] Cornish Industrial Locations: Imerys Rocks Dryers: This was visited on 9 May, there being no rail
movements that evening. Loco P405D 'ISAAC' was spare in the sidings near Goonbarrow Jn Box and
P406D 'ALEX' was ready to position CDA wagons for loading on the Monday. Metal Protection Services
St. Agnes: Also on 9 May ex-Devonport Dockyard 4wDM 'YARD No5200' was mounted on a plinth
alongside the main road. T. Ware Scrapyard Carharrack: On 11 May standard gauge 4wDM TO 9362
was sat on a growing pile of scrap to the left at the back of this extensive yard. The owner doubts if
this loco, which last worked on relaying the St. Ives branch line, will survive much longer. Redruth &
Chasewater Railway: On 25 May the iron footbridge across the line at Carharrack was completely
overgrown and has apparently broken in the centre. However, a few yards west along the route, now a
footpath, several lengths of rail and sleepers have been laid and there is a nearby descriptive plaque.
1172] Gloucester: On Sunday 7 June, the 20.55 Gloucester to Plymouth service ran from P1 via the
Down Curve (RH track) and Up Charfield (reversible northbound line) to Tuffley Jn where X/O W16-05
was used to access the normal southbound Down Charfield. This was to allow a late ECS FGW HST
direct from Cheltenham to Bristol St. Phillips Marsh Depot to overtake on the Down Charfield. This
delayed the on-time 20.55 XC departure by 3 minutes. RTT shows this manoeuvre as line 'DCV' (Down
Curve) at Horton Road Jn. and 'UC' (Up Charfield) at Gloucester Yard Jn. Departures from Gloucester P1
towards Standish generally use the X/O from Dn Curve to Up Curve immediately after Horton Rd Jn
(113m 55ch) rather than the one just north of P1 itself (113m 67ch). The local correspondent said that
his experience over the years has been that the other X/O at Tuffley (UC to DC) is used more, but still
infrequently, to route northbound services not via Gloucester on to the then reversible DC. This is
sometimes to avoid conflict with services departing Gloucester from the Up Curve, (and, rather longer
ago, continuing on Down Avoiding to cross to UM at Barnwood Jn).
1235 WEST MIDLANDS
1173] Coventry Arena station: (BLN 1233.929) OP is now expected in September due to delays in
relocating a signal and obtaining equipment. Bermuda Park is almost complete. The next phase will be
to provide a bay platform at Coventry station, which along with additional trains when available will
allow 2tph to run between Coventry and Nuneaton. Bedworth station is having platform extensions.
1174] Midland Metro (1): (BLN 1231.781) Despite Centro previously insisting that the New Street
extension was on schedule for the December 2015 opening date, BBC News West Midlands recently
reported that unsurprisingly the project will be delayed. A new opening date was not given but is
thought likely to be spring 2016. On 8 June progress was better than expected and it is now easier to
note the track which was not in situ! Outbound from Grand Central towards Snow Hill, only the
sections between Fore St. and Cherry St. and Great Western Arcade around the corner to Temple Row
have still to be installed. Concrete track base has been laid on the corner of Corporation St. and Bull St.
On the Inbound line from Snow Hill, only the small section across New St. was trackless. Outside 'One
Snow Hill', track and sleepers were in place most of the way down to the Great Charles St. Bridge. The
final track works involve slewing the existing lines left along the new alignment towards the bridge
when the present single track route to Snow Hill from the end of the double track (after St. Paul's)
closes. (2): On 5 June due to an overhead line problem in the Soho Benson Road area trams operated
from St George's to Handsworth Booth Street (both directions). A single tram shuttled between
Handsworth and Birmingham Snow Hill, passengers changing platforms at the former. On departure
from Handsworth for Wolverhampton, they were using the trailing crossover in service.
1175] Newlands East: On the night of Sunday 7 June the trailing crossover from 126m 23ch to 126m
24ch at this signal box between Malvern Link and Worcester Foregate Street was replaced on a 'like for
like' basis at the same location. The interesting 'point' is that at one time it was being considered for
removal and it is believed that very few (if any) passenger carrying trains have ever used the crossover.
1176] Stafford: (BLN 1234.1087) From 1 September, after a 3-day August Bank Holiday 'blockade' the
area is to be resignalled (Stafford No4 & 5 signal boxes close) with control transferred to Rugby ROC:
Colwich Jn, interface with Stoke-on-Trent Signalling Control Centre (SCC) to Stafford South Jn.
Penkridge (Interface with West Midlands SCC) to Stafford Trent Valley No1 Jn.
Stafford station area.
Stafford North Jn to Norton Bridge South Jn (interfaces with Stoke-on-Trent SCC).
The following enhancements are due to be commissioned with the Stafford area resignalling:
1): A new Stafford Goods Loop (Trent Valley No1 Jn to Stafford North Jn) adjacent to the Down Slow. It
allows permissive working for freight trains and is reversible from Stafford South to North Jns.
2): Several line speed enhancements including 125mph on the Up Fast from 137m 78ch to 134m 05ch.
3): Bi-directional signalling in Stafford station P1, 3, 4 & 5 (P1 was bidirectional but never used as such,
P6 remains bidirectional) and all platforms will have permissive working for passenger trains.
There are many line renamings to give geographically specific names in place of non-specific names.
Signal prefixes: SC Stafford to Crewe, WS Wolverhampton to Stafford, LS Lichfield to Stafford, CH
Stoke-on-Trent SCC Colwich workstation (Down Trent Valley Fast & Slow lines Nuneaton to Colwich Jn).
1235 YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE
1177] Seeing Red: (BLN1230.568) The 'double red' signals at Shaftholme Jn were commissioned over
6/7 June and actually seem to make the Down line seem even more restricted than before! D849
(Doncaster controlled) is the Down line Shaftholme Jn signal and if held at red by the signaller, the
previous one south (D829) then becomes approach controlled. If D849 is set for the Askern 'branch'
towards Knottingley, D829 clears and D849 is approach controlled. If D829, which protects Daw Lane
level crossing, is at danger the next signal south (D827) becomes approach controlled! Peterborough
has had similar arrangements for some while now.
1178] Coleraine - Londonderry: (BLN 1231.787) Contracts to carry out the further upgrade of track and
signalling between Coleraine and Londonderry have been awarded to Babcock and McLaughlin &
Harvey. Works announced by Northern Ireland's Transport Minister Danny Kennedy include
resignalling the route (by Babcock) and installing a new passing loop at Bellarena. Clive Bradberry,
Translink infrastructure executive, said: 'The Derry/Londonderry line is already extremely successful
boosting strong passenger growth; up 12% last year'. Work will begin in the next few weeks and is
expected to be largely completed by the end of 2016. (Global Rail News).
1179] No connection with the firm next door? Whilst ATW continues to advertise the bargain-rate
SailRail fares (see Others' Doings) for travel from England, Wales and Scotland to stations in Ireland,
Iarnród Éireann continues what our member considers a 'frankly absurd timetable'. This seems
specifically designed to avoid connecting with either the Stena Line Fishguard Harbour or Irish Ferries
Pembroke Dock sailings at Rossalare Europort. There is no forward rail connection from the overnight
ferries of either sailing, whilst the 18.35 train to Dublin offers an uncomfortably tight 35 minute*
'connection' from the afternoon Fishguard boat, and just misses the 18.46 arrival from Pembroke
Dock! Eastbound, things are even worse; the evening train from Dublin arrives at Rosslare Europort at
21.15 SuO/21.28 SuX, missing the 20.45 sailing for Pembroke and the 21.15 to Fishguard, requiring an
overnight wait for the morning sailings to either destination. [*Even this 35 minute connection only
applies during the holiday season from 2 June to 31 August and was a 2014 innovation (BLN 1211.982).
Before and after those dates, the train to Dublin leaves Rosslare at 17.55, five minutes before the ferry
arrives from Fishguard. Your editor did make the 35-minute connection (after leaving Fishguard 25
minutes late) last July and hopes to do the same next month, but was the only passenger on the train
from a fully booked boat making the long dash. If the ferry leaves Fishguard late, it does run faster to
make up time (even fully loaded) as the normal crossing is timed to optimize fuel economy.]
1180] Lockerbie Quiz: (BLN 1234.104) The station is unusual in Scotland as it is only served by TPE and
a few Virgin trains (but no ScotRail services). It has quite a good service now, SSuX 17 Up & 16 Down
trains call, SO 14 Up & 13 Down and SuO 9 in each direction. ScotRail is the Station Facilities Owner
(SFO) because Virgin Trains did not want a Scottish station lease for just one station. On the ECML, the
original Great North Eastern Railway took the opposite view and wanted its staff to be responsible for
Dunbar. There are examples of stations where the dominant user is not the SFO (for example Hastings
and St. Leonards Warrior Square, which are run by Southeastern, although Southern runs more of the
trains). Other examples have been given in past BLNs, in particular the stations exclusively served by
Cross Country (who are not SFOs) which are managed by other TOCs such as Water Orton (LM),
Wilnecote (not Wilmcote both LM!), Willington (EMT), Coleshill Parkway (LM) and Stamford (EMT).
1181] Glasgow stations bus link: (BLN 1234.1105) First Group (the previous ScotRail franchisee) still
operates the 398 bus. At the beginning of Abellio's tenure of the latter, there was a notice adjacent to
the door on one of the vehicles that 'ScotRail is now operated by Abellio'.
1182] G&SWR freight: (BLN 1154.170) Observed from a Glasgow to Largs outing on Tuesday 9 June:
Deanside (Cardonald Jn): Rusty, no current schedules.
Elderslie DRS: A small number of containers; no vehicles and not obviously rusty (no trains 4-11 June).
Glengarnock: Ex-BR 'Speedlink' terminal (H. Young transport) rusty sidings and a shed, long disused.
Dalry: DSM, formerly Roche, connecting line to factory becoming overgrown. (CG by September 2012.)
Hunterston: Two FHH and one DB train on hand or en route over a four hour period.
1183] E&G electrification (BLN 1221.1751): Recently various journeys between Newbridge Jn and
Cowlairs (mostly over west of Greenhill Upper Jn) have revealed spasmodic installation of mast bases
and a handful of masts. Notable however is the considerable de-vegetation. Cadder Down Yard has
become an electrification depot; DRS loco 66425 is generally there during the day.
1184] Aberdeen: (BLN 1225.197) The Aberdeen Ferryhill Heritage Trust has recently been clearing
undergrowth and related work to access the turntable. The estimate is '2-3 years to sort the site out'.
1185] Oban: (BLN 1233.935) The former Oil Depot connection (71m 10ch) was plain lined in March.
1186] Islay: The March/April issue of the 'Scottish Islands Explorer' magazine has an article referring to
John McNeill's 1900 'New Guide to Islay'. This writer proposed a transport system for the island which,
having acquired the nickname 'The Queen of the Hebrides', would benefit from such provision to
encourage further tourist traffic. He wrote 'There is no island on the west coast better suited for the
purpose of a light railway than Islay. Such a line, running from Portnahaven to Port Ellen, would
speedily develop and largely benefit the fishing, agricultural and other industries of the island.' McNeill
envisaged no engineering difficulties, and that 'with suitable pier accommodation at Portnahaven and
Bowmore, and an accelerated service of steamers and trains between Islay and Glasgow, the material
prosperity of the island could be vastly increased.' Some local people have stated that there is evidence
of (presumably shallow) embankment work having started parallel to the A846 road between Port
Ellen and Bowmore; has anyone else any knowledge of related activity?
1187] Bordersrail: (BLN 1234.1042) A 3-car Class 170 (414) DMU 'proving train' ran on Sunday 7 June
described as a 'stepping train'; this was not a 'typo' as it was stopping at all stations for measurement
of stepping distances between the train and the platforms! Departing Haymarket Depot at 08.33 and
shown as running to/from Shawfair it disappeared off the radar a few minutes late at Newcraighall at
09.50 then next reappeared there at 19.57 (120 minutes early). Presumably, the automatic train
recording on the new line was not switched on! On 8 June 37601 and 37604 powered a NR test train at
full line speed. 158741 then started the ScotRail route learning, seven return workings running this
day. Initially the driver trainers were being trained themselves (who trains their trainer/s then?)! One
DMU is to be used for the crew training period, averaging four return trips each day (SSuX). Scottish
government transport officials have discussed a feasibility study on extension from Tweedbank to
Hawick and Carlisle; there is confirmed interest south of the border.
1188] Winchburgh tunnel: (BLN 1231.798) There are no Sunday diversions via the Winchburgh Jn to
Dalmeny Jn line throughout the 44 day blockade (which started on Saturday 13 June) for the tunnel
electrification work. The line will have far more trains than normal six days a week until 26 July
1189] Abercwmboi Loop: (BLN 1214.1225) The 05.06 (SSuX) Cardiff Canton Sidings to Aberdare ECS
working is the only train now booked to use the loop from 06.06 to 06.09, which it sometimes does.
BELOW: The former Abercwmboi Phurnacite (for our younger members, that is a smokeless fuel!)
plant in 1989; 37693 with coal that is being unloaded from Merthyr Vale Colliery. The plant mixed and
compressed crushed coal with pitch; after operating 50 years it closed in 1991 (Richard Davies).
1190] Haverfordwest: Only 4 trains are booked to use the Down unidirectional P2: the 04.50 SuX from
Carmarthen, 05.37 SSuX from Cardiff Central and the 09.30 SuO from Newport, all to Milford Haven as
well as the 18.37 SuO Swansea to Haverfordwest (obviously not covering the Country End). Of these,
only the first is booked to cross another train (the 05.00 SSuX Robeston to Westerleigh oil train; this
has recently run 6/7 booked days and been held to time in Haverfordwest P1). Does anyone know if
the others actually use the Down side platform? It has been done by occasional railtours in the past.
1191] Hengoed: Steps lead from the Down platform to the former (High Level) station, on the
Pontypool Road to Neath line (CP 15 June 1964). Parts of both platforms survive, carrying a replica
GWR-style nameboard reading 'Hengoed High Level Change for Cardiff, Caerphilly and Rhymney
Valley'. The platforms are at the west end of the 299-yard Hengoed Viaduct, which today carries a
footpath and cycleway across the river and the former Brecon & Merthyr line, leading to the site of
Maesycwmmer Jn. Beyond, Bryn Tunnel is no more; it was excavated to form the modern A472 road.
1235 MINOR RAILWAYS
MR80] Helston Railway, Cornwall (BLN 1183.573) (MR p6): On Thursday 14 May the train was hauled
by 0-4-0DM 97649 (RH 327974 built in 1954). This operated from Prospidnick Bridge, a temporary
platform near, almost to Truthall Halt. Refreshments and books are on sale in an adjacent part of DMU
50413. Another un-numbered 0-4-0DM (RH395305/1956) was stabled in the siding at Trevarno.
ABOVE: Helston Railway's two locomotives just south of Trevarno station May 2015 (©I Flaxman).
MR81] Bodmin & Wenford Railway, Cornwall (MR 6): On Wednesday 13 May, service trains were
being worked by GWR 0-6-0PT 4612. Bodmin Parkway storage shed held 0-4-0STs 'Alfred' (failed
boiler), 'Judy' (out of ticket), 'Devonport Dockyard No19', 0-4-0DM 'Brian', GWR 2-6-2T 5552 (frames)
and 0-4-0F WB 3121/1957. Bodmin running shed contained 2-8-0T 4247, 0-6-0PT 6435, 2-4-0T 3298,
4-4-0 30120 and 0-4-0DM 'Peter'. Around and in the Works were 50042, 5552 (boiler). 0-6-0ST 2766
and 4wDH P403D 'Denise'. Around the station was 08444, the Firebox Wrapper Plate of 'Caradon' and
LSWR PW Trolley 'Camel'. In the sidings outside the station were D3452, 47306, 33110 and 37142. A
few days later LSWR T9 4-4-0 30120 was moved into Parkway shed.
MR82] Dartmouth Steam Railway, Devon (MR p6): A visit was made to this scenic railway on Tuesday
19 May. The 10.30 from Paignton Queens Park was formed of GWR 2-8-0T 4277 'Hercules' hauling a
seven coach set including ex-DMU centre cars, BR MK1 coaches and the 'Devon Belle' observation
saloon (at the north end of the train). The adult return fare (including one return trip on the railway
ferry to Dartmouth from Kingswear) was £15 (BR 'Privs' are £7.50 return also including the ferry).
Travel in the 'Devon Belle' saloon was £2 per passenger per trip - payable to the guard. The train was
busy with a number of reserved seats for parties (including the Chelmsford & District Fuchsia Society!).
Return was on the 15.15 from Kingswear, with the same locomotive and stock. At Goodrington the
train ran via P1 (the Down platform) in both directions - the track through P2 looked rather rusty. Class
08 D3014 and the other GWR 2-8-0T (5239 'Goliath') were stabled outside the shed at Paignton, whilst
class 25 D7535 was just discernible inside. 7827 'Lydham Manor' and class 03 D2371 (the latter not
long arrived from Rowden Mill station, which location is for sale) were stabled outside the works at
Churston. Class 03 D2192 was at Kingswear and later ran light engine to Churston.
MR83] Morwellham Quay Mine Tramway, Devon (MR p15) (BLN 1192.MR168): A visit was made to
this 2ft gauge railway on Saturday 9 May. The 4wBE locomotive situation was: No4 'Ludo' has had most
of interior parts removed and was plinthed near the village, devoid of identification. Available were
No1 'George', No2 'Bertha' and No7 'Harewood'. In the sidings at New Quay No5 'William' was awaiting
an overhaul, with No3 'Charlotte' and No6 'Mary' stored unworkable. No8 is partly dismantled at the
back end of the curving Workshop siding inside the mine where it is dark. It has never worked here and
never will. This loco is only viewable from the train passing through the mine and can be easily missed
due to the dark. On 22 June 2013, an 'ADASH' all line charter a special stop was made to see it.
MR84] Paignton Zoo Jungle Express, Devon (MR p15) (BLN 1065.MR73): This 10¼" gauge railway runs
inside Paignton Zoo on the outskirts of the town. Opened as long ago as 1947, it is formed of a circuit
of 520yd with one station, around which trains run in a clockwise direction. A visit on Wednesday 20
May found little change since our reporter's last visit in spring 2008. The large class 37 (now in a gaudy
zoo blue and green livery (as are the coaches) and now without number or name) was hauling the five
coach articulated set of covered coaches at half-hourly intervals. The first train departed at 11.00 after
an earlier ECS test run and each run was well filled. The station (previously called Lake View) is now
also without a name. The other locomotive, a class 46 look-alike, was stabled inside the shed under
the walkway. The driver stated it had not been used for at least a year. The small ballast wagon noted
in 2008 is no longer on the railway; despite the driver saying it was very useful! Zoo admission for
adults (including gift aid) is £16.50. Fares on the railway, for one round trip, are 80p for all, tickets
being purchased from a machine by the station. The Zoo is a walk of around 15-20 minutes from the
railway station, or by Stagecoach buses from the bus station opposite the railway station.
MR85] Mortocombe Miniature Railway, Oxfordshire (MR p22) (BLN 1168.MR166): A visit was made to
this 7¼"/10¼" dual gauge railway, running inside the Wyevale Garden Centre at Chilton, on Sunday 17
May. Trains were running the full length of the straight section, as far as the run-round loop at the end
of the line in the field outside the garden centre. In use was 10¼" gauge 2-4-2T 'Phalaenopsis' (Exmoor
Steam Railway 333/2008) - hauling the train out and propelling back. Passenger stock was only one
coach. The 'U' shape curve through the area inside the Garden Centre confines was not being used
because the locomotive could not take the curves. However, by request, they ran a diesel special over
this section for our visiting member! (Hauled by 7¼" gauge 6644 4-4wD Knightley 2084/2003.) All
coaches are 10¼" gauge. Also present was 7¼" gauge 0-4-2T 'Meconopsis' (Stubbs). In the shed was a
7¼" gauge 4w petrol locomotive, a loose model of a Lister, visiting from Devon; the owning gentleman
was driving that day. Normal opening is the third weekend of every month. https://goo.gl/iBHMBv
MR86] Cornwall at War Museum, Davidstow Airfield, Camelford, Cornwall: The 'Davidstow Airfield
and Cornwall at War Museum' (usually known by the shorter title 'Cornwall at War Museum') is
located on part of the old WW2 airfield RAF Davidstow Moor. The museum, which covers about two
acres, officially opened in June 2008 with just a few buildings and artefacts. A visit on Saturday 9 May
found 2ft gauge 4wDM (MR8882/1944) on a section of track together with several vans and open
wagons, viewable from the car park. Plans are to continue the track when rails become available to
form a circuit, crossing the access road. A donation is appreciated to assist the project when viewing.
MR87] East Suffolk Light Railway, Suffolk (MR p24) (BLN 1211.MR90): This 2ft gauge railway runs in
the confines of the East Anglian Transport Museum at Carlton Colville near Lowestoft. A member
visited on Sunday 17 May - the second day of the 1940s gala. The railway was running regular shuttles
between Chapel Road and Woodside stations. These were hauled by Simplex No5 'Orfordness' with the
semi-open bogie coach and refurbished  brake van. The track layout has recently changed and
the engine (and now carriage shed) has moved to a brand new permanent building in the triangle at
the north west corner north of Woodside station. In addition, the Southwold Van (No.14) has gained a
railway style platform canopy
MR88] Crich Tramway Village, Derbyshire (MR p32) (BLN 1231.MR44): A visit was made here, the
home of the National Tramway Museum, on Saturday 30 May. This was the penultimate day of the
'Beside the Seaside' event, which had started on Saturday 23 May. This event had a traditional fair
with a big wheel, 'Punch & Judy' show, brass band and an 'End of Pier Show' as additional attractions.
On this day three ex-Blackpool trams were running a 10-15 minute interval service. In use were: 166
(open toast rack from 1927), 236 (boat 1934) and 762 (rebuilt balloon 1934). The 'Access Tram' 3006
(Berlin 1969) was stabled in the headshunt at Town End Terminus and was booked to run if required
for wheel chair users and the like. The four tram stops, as shown in TRACKmaps are: Town End (the
main terminus), Victoria Park (adjacent to the entrance from the car park), Wakebridge and Glory
Mine - where it is now possible to alight and board cars. An elevated walkway allows views into the
three-road workshop where a number of trams were being worked on. Otherwise, it is possible to walk
around the trams stabled in the extensive depot sheds as well as those in the exhibition hall opposite.
Adult admission was £14 (the normal rate) and everyone is given an old penny or halfpenny to
exchange with the conductor on the tram (driver on 762) for a tram ticket, which allows all day riding.
MR89] Babbacombe Cliff Railway, Devon (MR p34) (BLN 1121.MR199): The railway links Babbacombe
Downs and the cliff top to the small beach some 250ft below. On Wednesday 20 May a frequent
service was operating - in fact as soon a prospective passenger arrived at the top or bottom station.
Fares are: adult return £2/single £1.80, child return £1.40/single £1.30. All tickets are issued and
collected at the top station, where a guide book and postcards are also on sale. Since 2009, the railway
has been operated (on a lease from Torbay Council) by the Babbacombe Cliff Railway Community
Interest Company. There is a visitor centre at the beach - but this was not open on the day of this visit.
Part of the beach has been lost with a large rockfall. The railway can be reached by Stagecoach route
22 from Paignton or Torquay (every 20 minute on weekdays).
MR90] Tamar Belle Heritage Centre, Bere Ferrers Station, Devon: A visit was made here on Friday 8
May. A dinner to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the arrival of the PDSWJR was held on Friday 29
May. Substantially rebuilt, with several custom fittings, is 2ft gauge 4wDM (RH186318/1937), carrying
a 'RapieR' plate on the radiator bonnet. It was planned to be used on Saturday 30 May with two newly
built carriages on the 2ft gauge line in the yard.
1235 OTHERS' DOINGS:
A service to members and details must be checked with the organisers Please mention the Branch line Society when booking/enquiring.
1192] Property section: FOR SALE (1) Rowden Mill Station: Charming 1897 GWR country station, with
a single platform on the ex-Bromyard to Leominster line (CP from 15 September 1952) with standard
gauge track and 2.76 acres (rolling stock by separate negotiation). Three-bed house with permission to
extend (the railway?). Recently reduced from £550K to £495K http://goo.gl/DHUJMm with some great
pictures. 01905 734735 (Andrew Grant Country Homes listed as Rowden Mill Bredenbury). The Class
03 loco here recently moved to Paignton. BELOW: Rowden Mill station in 2014 © Andrew Grant.
(2) West Grinstead Station and House: (CP from 7 March 1966) West Sussex, RH13 8LU
http://goo.gl/i3BW4c £435k agent: 01403253271. (3) Castle Grant: An 'A-listed' former private halt,
north of Grantown-on-Spey (West) http://goo.gl/VZJZpi £335k. OP 1863 on the original Highland main
line from Aviemore to Forres, it was at the overbridge and lodge of Castle Grant gatehouse where the
railway crossed the A939 road (NJ033303). The stop, also known locally as 'Lady Catherine's Halt' was
provided '...in acknowledgement of the great facilities given by the Earl of Seafield in the formation of
the railway through his estates.' The line CP after 18 October 1965, some concrete platform stumps
remain along the trackbed near the lodge in various states. The trackbed is now mostly part of the
Dava Way a 23-mile long-distance path between Grantown and Forres. 4) Denby: (Derbyshire) ex-
station master's house http://goo.gl/bIEmto £370k 01773437137.
1193] The Stables Railway, Little Brickhill Gardens: 27 & 28 June: 14.00-18.00, The Stables, Woburn
Rd. off Watling St, Little Brickhill, MK17 9NA (SP 9112 3255), just off the A5 two miles south of
Bletchley. Biennial public running as part of a local 'open gardens' event. An interesting 5" gauge line in
attractive gardens (and no brick hills in sight). Queries [email protected] or 01525 261 170.
1194] Exceeding Baker's Dozen: The 14th fully updated edition of Stuart Baker's iconic 'Rail Atlas of
Great Britain and Ireland' is due out on 14 August (£20 RRP) with 8 more pages, enlarged typeface and
extra detailed maps. Re-sequencing (where possible) and overlap makes following a long route easier.
1195] Snibston Colliery Railway, final running days: The standard gauge line expects to be operating
public rides on 16, 23, 28 & 30 July. Check on 01530 278444. Thursday 23 July is the final Miners'
Morning monthly talk at 10.30 by Jeffrey Knight: 'William Stenson & George Stephenson; the
grandfathers of Coalville' in the Ellis room. £4 on the door with tea, coffee & biscuits (NB pre-book).
1196] Pleasurewood Hills Theme Park, Corton, Suffolk (MR p24) (BLN 1217.MR155) 10.00-17.00
(18.00; 27 July-31 August) WSSuO to 3 July, then daily to 2 September and SSuO for rest of September.
Admission from £14 (Senior online dated) to £19.50 (adult on the day). The 7¼" line was cut back over
5 years ago; a NEW section approx 100yd long; connects the two severed lines on the furthest point of
the layout, reportedly due to complaints from neighbours about the noise as the train passed!
1197] Royden Park Railway: Frankby, West Kirby, Wirral (MR p20) (BLN 1232.MR58). Public running
throughout the year, except when raining, SuO 13.00-16.00 (elevated and ground level lines). A new
unidirectional chord on the latter (linking the bidirectional line with the unidirectional outbound line)
has been built at an unknown date. Trains from P1 continue to operate as before but those from P2
and P3 now run outbound along the bi-directional section, veer left over the chord and then as before.
1198] Weedon Royal Ordnance Depot Wed 8 July 19.30: (SP627596) The Old Depot, Harmans Way,
Weedon Bec, NN7 4PS. A walk by Northamptonshire Natural History Society, http://goo.gl/yRoLCX
large scale (Napoleonic) historic brick/stone buildings, a unique 53 acre setting, a partially overgrown
canal and former railway branch off the WCML, a nature reserve and some rusty fire engines. Guests
welcome just turn up plenty of parking. Queries [email protected] or 01904 401813.
1199] Broomhill - Dulnain Bridge, Strathspey Railway: (BLN 1217.1362) A reminder that the 2-car
DMU runs from Aviemore (Speyside) at 10.30, 12.30 & 14.45 FO in July (not 24th which is a special
event) and August over this extension.
1200] Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway: (MR p8) Goods trains brakevan rides (two-train running) 27
June, 25 July, 29 Aug & 26 Sep. £5 supplement single trip, on the day from ticket office; first come first
served. 10 trips available, timetable http://goo.gl/hmhJra rover £10 adult, £9 senior 01756 710614.
1201] Severn Valley Railway, 'Peep Behind the Scenes' Sat 18 July: Visit areas not normally open to
the public; shuttle DMU (11.00 to 16.00) expected Bewdley to stubs of Stourport and Tenbury lines.
1202] Alan Keef Ltd. Sat 19 September: Nr Ross-on-Wye annual open day/rides.NOW CANCELLED
1203] Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP), 1/2 October: In connection with the 2015
Community Rail Festival hosted by FGW this year at Torquay station, there is expected to be a station
gala and special train. Proposed route: Torquay - Meldon - Plymouth - Bere Alston - Plymouth - Lipson
Jn - Mount Gould Jn - Plymouth Friary - Laira Speedway Jn - Heathfield - Exeter. Limited space, watch
http://goo.gl/1onKfH email: [email protected] or 01484 548926. ACoRP's slogan is 'Putting
new life into local lines'. It is a federation of over 50 community rail partnerships and rail promotion
groups who aim to be an organisation of 'doers', focused on practical initiatives which add up to a
better and more sustainable local railway. It promotes improved station facilities, better train services
and improved integration with other forms of transport. The Government's Community Rail
Development Strategy provides a framework for partnerships to improve the effectiveness of local
railways in meeting social, environmental and economic objectives. For further details including
events, or to sign up for the newsletter go to the website as above. ACoRP's role and activities:
1. Works with local, regional and national decision-makers to ensure that local rail's important
role is fully recognised.
2. Helps identify innovative solutions for local railways.
3. Disseminates examples of good practice.
4. Works with local stakeholders to develop new partnerships.
5. Supports an expanding membership.
6. Produces a free email newsletter http://goo.gl/ShihvM 'Train on Line' (nice multiple pun!).
7. Encourages people to think outside of their trains.
1204] 'SailRail': Not the Spurn Railway along Spurn Head in the Humber estuary which had some sail
powered bogie wagons! Essentially they are cheap advanced combined train and boat single tickets
which are zonally priced so available from any station on the UK mainland or the IOW. Like all
advanced tickets they are for specific trains with reserved seats (where available) and boats. The
advantage of the boat reservation is that in high summer some ferries can be fully booked (to their
permitted passenger maximum) and any passengers arriving at a port without reservations are turned
away. There are no further railcard discounts. Routes (Stena Line except where shown):
Fishguard to Rosslare
Holyhead to Dublin Ferry Port
Holyhead to Dublin Ferryport (Irish Ferries)
Liverpool to Belfast
Cairnryan to Belfast
Prices vary slightly for time of day but tickets are available on peak trains (due to the restricted boat
schedules) and although tickets are 'limited' and released 12 weeks in advance, they are often
available up to the day before sailing. They can be purchased from ticket offices and some websites
(the LM website does not sell them but ATW, VT, FGW and ScotRail do; the National Rail website
redirects to a provider) for collection at ticket machines. Examples: Wick (06.18) to Rosslare (06.00 the
following day) £46. Penzance (05.05) to Belfast Central (22.45) via Birmingham, Glasgow Central, Ayr
and bus to Cairnryan £53. Paddington (08.45) to Rosslare (18.00) £39, London Euston to Dublin Port
(various options) £44. Berney Arms to Belfast £53, Coombe Junction Halt to Dublin Port £44.
E-BLN Matters Arising, Further West Somerset Railway trips, Williton station loop extension: (E-BLN
1234.1030) The new bridge shown in the picture is to take the re-extension of the Up side of the loop
(not the Down). The Up station platform is on the right of the picture, which is looking back towards
Minehead. Whilst our members positively effervesced over being able to mark off the newly
constructed Norton Triangle on their track plans, the Minehead Branch in fact leaves the main line at
Norton FiTzwarren, rather than Fizzwarren as incorrectly stated in the bridge picture caption and
noted by one member. This typo had historians foaming at the mouth! The bridge over the stream is
actually a replacement for the original that crossed the stream at this point from when the loop was
first extended. The abutments of the old bridge can be seen in the picture although new concrete
strengthening is evident. It is this stream, and the associated Doniford River, which bursts its banks at
time of floods (the latest in 2014) and it is very close to the station. It was partly the condition of the
deck of the original bridge which led to it being condemned and the shortening of the loop by BR in
1966/7. The loop passed under the A39 road bridge (behind the camera) to a point about 150yd south
to where the reinstatement will go. This is why the road bridge is wide enough to accommodate the
re-extended loop. As a matter of interest, the footbridge in the picture is not the original wooden
structure (which was actually removed in the 1920s). The present structure, from Trowbridge
(another original broad gauge station), was installed in 2011 in the same position.
Abellio Greater Anglia e-BLN Quiz answers: with thanks to our member Mike McCabe:
1. The three Norwich railway termini were Thorpe (still open), City and Victoria.
2. The three Great Yarmouth termini were Vauxhall (still open), Beach and South Town.
3. The only M&GNR section in regular passenger use on NR is Cromer to Sheringham.
4. 55% of ticket sales at London Liverpool Street station are by machine.
5. 92 of the 1500V DC 3-car sliding door EMUs were built for electrification to Shenfield.
6. Liverpool Street and Fenchurch St were the two London termini electrified at 1500V DC.
7. Trowse swing bridge crosses over the River Wensum at Norwich.
8. An AGA EMU is called 'Phoenix' as it was rebuilt after an arson attack at Southend Victoria.
9. Colchester Town was previously called St. Botolphs.
10. In the early 1980s Norwich DMUs displayed their next maintenance due date in the cabs.
11. The initial Anglia franchise was unusual as the only one to include InterCity and local services
12. Crewe, Romford, Wimbledon and Penistone are/were all electrical control rooms.
13. Berney Arms is the AGA served station only accessible on foot. by boat or train.
14. Harwich International station used to be called Harwich Parkeston Quay.
15. The royal family used Wolferton on the Hunstanton branch for Sandringham (CP 5 May 1969).
16. Manningtree to Harwich Town is marketed as the 'Mayflower Line'.
17. The Abellio Greater Anglia franchise began on 5 February 2012 , it extends to 15 October 2016
18. AGA is in partnership with Stena Line and Nederlandse Spoorwegen for travel to Holland this is
marketed as the 'Dutchflyer'.
19. Liverpool Street station is served by AGA but not operated by them, NR operate it.
20. Themelthorpe Curve was built by BR in 1960 to greatly shorten the distance for freight trains
between Norwich Thorpe and City stations. Previously trains ran via Melton Constable.
Others's Doings extra: The Hastings DMU 'Warwickshire Wanderer' tour of 4 July is booked to return
from Stratford-upon-Avon P3 and will probably do so from nearer the buffer stops than the occasional
Chiltern train that uses it. It is also booked via Neasden Curve http://goo.gl/Qb5Xyg going out.
Exploring Britain's Lost Railways: By Julian Holland http://goo.gl/GMq3op now available at 'The
Works' for £4 (was £14.99), 304 pages 21 x14.8cm (published by Collins). Formerly known as 'The
Times Exploring Britain's Lost Railways' it looks at 50 former railways with historical and modern
photographs and descriptions of the routes for walking and cycling. One member said 'A good read'.
E-BLN 1235 Guess the Location (below): Answer in e-BLN 1236.
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Minor Railways (British Isles): Peter Scott, 93 Josephine Court, Southcote Rd, READING, RG30 2DQ. [email protected]
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or [email protected] . Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Rd, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947