Number 1333 (Items 1876 - 1984 & MR 136 - MR 149) (E-BLN 85 PAGES) 10 Aug 2019
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Respice in praeteritum, praesens et futurum
Published 24 times a year by the Branch Line Society; founded 1955.
Membership Enquiries, Alan Welsh [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from member7s2; 8a6n7i7nternational section is available.
Opinions are not necessarily athvaoislaebolef .the Compilers or the Society.
BLN 1334 is dated Sat 24 August; contributions by Wed 14 August please
Date Event and details = Please Book Online BLN Lead Status
Sat 10 Aug Crewe - Portsmouth; inccliuedtye.sSoCcoievteyn. try North Yard 1332 MG OPEN
Sat 10 Aug The Cosham Completer, Cl 37 Portsmouth - Eastleigh: website bookings only now
Sun 11 Aug The Tri County Triple Tractor; Crewe - Lancaster 3 x Cl 37s 1329 MG OPEN
Mon 26 Aug 09.30-18.30 Scunthorpe Steeler No19 APPLY WAITING LIST 1328 MG APPLY
Sat 14 Sep The Bow Bells tour; First Class full, UPDATE BELOW Below MG OPEN
Sat 21 Sep The Brickies Lament, South Hampshire Minor Railways (1) Below MG OPEN
Sun 22 Sep The Hayling Taxi, South Hampshire Minor Railways (2) Below MG OPEN
Sun 22 Sep Birmingham Balti Bash Class 20 tour with Vintage Trains Below MG OPEN
Sun 6 Oct Farwelio â Phacer Cymoedd Caerdydd (UPDATE BELOW) Below MG OPEN
Sat 12 Oct Save the date - main line tour in South East England TBA MG Claimed
Sat 26 Oct 10.00: Lavender Line Track & Traction Event (NOW OPEN) 1332 MG OPEN
Sat 26 Oct 15.30: Eastbourne Miniature Magical Mystery (tour) Below MG OPEN
Sat 2 Nov The BLS Madrid Circumnavigator NEW UPDATE BELOW Below IS Claimed
15 - 17 Nov Provisional, Barrow Hill AGM with fixtures, talk & Sun tour TBA TBA Claimed
IS = Iain Scotchman; MG = Mark Gomm; TBA = To be advised; Contacts details: see back page.
1876] :The Bow Bells; Sat 14 Sep:; Provisional validated route/timings submitted (bold = station calls):
Nottingham P7 (06.40/21.30) - Line 'A' - Up Nott'ham Slow - East Midlands Parkway (06.55/21.10) -
Loughborough (07.10/20.55) - Syston Curve - Melton Mowbray (07.30/20.35) - Melton Mowbray
UGL - Oakham Up Goods Line - New England North Arr/Dep Line 1 or 2 - Construction Arr/Dep Line -
Peterborough P5 (09.00/19.55) - March Up Goods - Ely West Curve - Brandon Dn Goods Loop (rev) -
Brandon DB Cargo (rev) - Eccles Road Exchange Sidings (rev) - Johnston Logistics Terminal branch
(rev) - Norwich (45 min break) - Thorpe Jn 'D' line (rev) - Carriage Sidings Line '9' (rev) - Riverside
Freight Depot Cemex Pad (rev) - Carriage Sidings Line '9' (rev) - Thorpe Jn 'D' line (rev) - Norwich -
Trowse Down & Up Loop - Ely Through Siding - Cambridge North Jn - Reception Loop - Cambridge
No4 Reception Siding (first tour to do the new 12 May 2019 layout not shown on TRACKmaps or the
Sectional Appendix) - Cambridge South Jn - Great Chesterford Up Goods Loop - Bishops Stortford P3
- Up Passenger Loop - Harlow Mill Run-round Loop - Harlow Town P1 - Broxbourne Up Goods Loop -
Lea Bridge - Temple Mills (Orient Way) Reception Road - Olympia Park Jn - Down Temple Mills -
Stratford P12 - Down Temple Mills - Bow (Midland) Plasmor Terminal (rev) - Carpenters Road S Jn -
Up Channelsea Loop - Lea Jn - Canonbury West Jn - Highbury Vale Jn - Finsbury Park Down Goods -
Dn Slow No2 - Welwyn Garden City P4 - Dn Slow - Stevenage P4 - Dn Slow - Hitchin - Peterborough
(19.55) - Oakham Dn Goods - Melton Mowbray DGL - Melton Mowbray (20.35) - Loughborough
(20.55) - East Midlands Parkway (21.10) - Dn Nottingham Slow - Line 'B' - Nottingham P1 (21.30).
It has not been possible to increase the First Class accommodation on this BLS 'Classic' DBS Class 66
loco-hauled track tour from Nottingham to Norwich but there are more seats available in Standard
Class. It includes some requested freight branches, many not done before, and a remarkable amount
of rare track all day. At Bow Depot Jn (TRACKmaps 2 p2B Oct 2016) it is the Plasmor side of the freight
terminal that is booked which is the former Midland Railway Goods Depot branch, rather than Bow
East (formerly Bow Olympic) which was covered by Pathfinder's Gateway Freighter on 29 Mar 2014.
Standard Class £94; Non-members £12 extra; U18s (must be accompanied by a fare-paying adult) £47
reduction. Please state where you intend to join/alight (for stewarding and 'on the day' contact in case
of any problems) - it can be changed. Please book online or ask someone to do this for you to help us.
Otherwise post to Mark Gomm (back page) with membership No/s and email address or at least a 'C5'
size SAE First Class stamped - this only entitles recipients to receive a printed ticket with joining details.
BELOW: Map of our 22 Sep Birmingham Balti Bash railtour route (Stephen Phillips) - see next page.
1877] :Birmingham Balti Bash; Sun 22 Sep:: With Vintage Trains, using 20142 (ABOVE) & 20189 'top &
tail'; the fare includes a genuine Birmingham Balti Curry & Naan Bread for all on the return trip.
Breakfast rolls (ordering advised via Comments Box) plus all day tea, coffee, sandwiches, snacks, wine
and beers including 'Cobra' & 'Bathams' Best Bitter available to purchase from the buffet. Vegetarian
curry/breakfast rolls available but order via Comments Box. First Class Check website; Standard £75.
U18 (must have a fare paying adult with them) £37.50; no alcohol included! Bookings as previous item.
Provisional route/times (stops in bold): Solihull P1 (09.53/20.55) - Up & Dn Dorridge Passenger Loop,
Dorridge P3 (10.02/20.45) - Warwick P2 (rev) (10.26/20.17) - Warwick trailing X/O (108m 15ch) - Dn
Hatton Gds Loop - Hatton P3 (10.46/20.29) - Up & Dn Dorridge Gds Lp (recently lengthened) - Up &
Dn Tyseley Chord - Tyseley Sth Jn - Tyseley Dn Through Sdg - Small Heath Sth Jn - Dn Bordesley Gds Lp
- St Andrews Jn - Up Derby Slow - Sutton Park - Walsall P2 (12.24) - Darlaston Jn - Bushbury Jn Dn Gds
Lp (rev) - Bushbury Jn trailing X/O - Oxley Chord - Dn Cosford Gds Lp - Ironbridge (operational limit) -
Madeley Jn (rev) - Down Wellington* - Shrewsbury (break 14.27/17.30) - Up Wellington* - Up Cosford
Gds Lp - Oxley Chord - Dn Bushbury Gds Lp (rev) - Bushbury Jn trailing X/O - Bescot Up Gds Lp - Perry
Barr N Jn - Soho E Jn - Galton Jn - Smethwick Jn - Down Rowley Regis Gds Lp - facing X/O to Stourbridge
Junction P2 (rev) - Stourbridge Dn Goods Lp - Up Rood End Goods Lp - Birmingham Snow Hill (19.36) -
Moor Street (19.42) - Up & Dn Small Heath Gds (ECS line) - Tyseley Up Through Siding - Warwick P2
(20.17) - Warwick trailing X/O - Dorridge (20.45) - Solihull (20.55). [*Middle non-platform lines.]
1878] :Farwelio â Phacer Cymoedd Caerdydd (Cardiff Valleys Pacer Farewell); Sun 6 Oct:: With TfW,
raising funds for the British Heart Foundation, including an on train raffle. Our charter with two Class
143 'Pacer' DMUs features unusual lines in the area; highlights are Canton Depot, Treherbert and
Rhymney Sidings, with many sought after crossovers and connections. Non-passenger facilities are,
as usual, subject to availability and operational matters on the day. Standard Class Members £65; Non-
members £12 extra. U18s (must be accompanied by a fare-paying adult) £32.50 reduction all fares.
Bookings per first item above. Provisional timings and route validated by TfW and accepted by NR:
:UPDATED:: Cardiff Central P0 (08.13/20.33) - :*Canton Depot*: - Cardiff Central P3 (rev/PU 08.43)
- Ninian Park P2 (rev) - Cogan DPL - Barry P3 (rev) - Cogan UPL - Ninian Park P1 (rev) - Cardiff Central
P0 (rev) - Ninian Park P2 - Radyr P2 - Taffs Well (rev) - Radyr P2 - Llandaf - Cardiff Queen Street P3 -
Cardiff Central P4A - Ninian Park P2 - Radyr P3 - Pontypridd P3 (rev) - Radyr P2 (rev) - Pontypridd P2
- Treherbert North Ground Frame (rev) - Treherbert Sidings (rev) - Treherbert North Ground Frame
(rev) - Pontypridd P2 (rev) - Aberdare (rev) - Abercwmboi DPL - Stormstown Loop - Pontypridd P2 -
Radyr P2 (rev) - Pontypridd P1 - Radyr P2 - Ninian Park - Cardiff Central - Cardiff Queen Street P4 -
Caerphilly P1 (rev) - Cardiff Queen Street P2 - Cardiff Central P8 (RM) - Cardiff Queen Street P5 -
Bargoed P1 - Rhymney North Ground Frame (rev) - Rhymney DMU Sidings (rev) - Rhymney North
Ground Frame (rev) - Bargoed P2 (rev) - Bargoed Viaduct Sidings (rev) - Caerphilly P2 - Cardiff Queen
Street P2 - Cardiff Bay (rev) - Cardiff Queen Street P4 - Ystrad Mynach (rev) - Dn Rhymney Loop -
Cardiff Queen Street P3 - Cardiff Central P4 - Brickyard Siding (rev) - Cardiff Central P0 (20.33).
1879] :*OPEN* The Isfield Investigator; Sat 26 Oct:: 10.00, BLN 1332.1695 had details of this track &
traction event which is thanks to Simon Mortimer. BLS Members £35 (includes lunch and drinks); non-
members £40; U18s (must be adult accompanied; £17.50 reduction). Miniature railway by donations.
1880] :The Eastbourne Miniature Magical Mystery (tour); Sat 26 Oct: 15.30 a visit to the 7¼" gauge
Eastbourne Miniature Steam Railway (MR p16), Lottbridge Drove, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN23 6QJ,
(TQ 613 012). Expected to last about 1½ hours. The Railway (public run 880yd) has offered a chance to
travel over the long and rarely used (inner) P2, behind the steam locomotive in use on the day. Extra
sections may be available after public running finishes. Lifts should be available from our Isfield fixture
(previous item) and to a suitable station (please advise if you can help/would like one). Members; £8;
Non-members £10; All U18s: £7 (must be accompanied by a fare paying adult). Bookings per first item.
1881] :The Madrid Circumnavigator; Sat 2 Nov UPDATE:: (BLN 1332.1696) E-BLN 1332 had a detailed
route explanation which is highlighted in yellow on the Madrid extract of the European Rail Atlas
(previous page). This is also available as PDF with this e-BLN (thanks to Mike Ball). Following feedback
and further negotiations we hope to be able to reduce the cost of the tour to about £159 per head.
IMPORTANT NOTE: No trains have run over the two Algodor routes since Nov 2018 so this could be
the final chance. The next day, Sunday 3 November, the Madrid Steam Railway http://bit.ly/2YvFMp2
is running http://bit.ly/2ORY2nU trains. Departing from La Poveda 10.00, 11.00, 12.00 & 13.00 to
Laguna del Campillo and returning at 10.25, 11.25, 12.25 & 13.25. Iain will try to organise a group visit
at cost, using the metro (station adjacent). Obviously without enough bookings the main tour will not
run, but the more who book the cheaper it will be per head. Any more firm expressions of interest are
requested urgently please: [email protected] or 102 Shenfield Place, BRENTWOOD,
CM15 9AJ with 'C5' SAE. A document is being drawn up of interesting things that participants could do
on an extended visit to Madrid, both rail and cultural - suitable for, partners, wives and girlfriends!
1333 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
1882] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) Reopens Location (stations exclusive when bracketed) bold = closed now
1332.1710 5 Aug 19 19 Aug 19 *Nottingham Trams (The Forest) - (Old Market Square)
1328.1332 4 May 19 19 Aug 19 (Dyce) - (Inverurie)/Inverurie from 15 Jun 19 (next entry...)
1328.1133 15 Jun 19 19 Aug 19 Inverurie - (Huntly)
1332.1711 27 Jul 19 24 Aug 19 (Moira SSuX) - (Portadown) REVISED from (Lisburn) - (Portadown)
1333.1888 17 Aug 19 31 Aug 19 *Hillsborough - Malin Bridge/Middlewood; from 24th - (Cathedral)
1331.1539 2 Jan 19 Aug/Sep 19 Mid Hants Railway; Alton P3 - (Medstead & Four Marks)
1333.1189 21 Sep 19 *West Kirby - (Hoylake)
1330.1399 †4 Nov 18 30 Sep 19 Llangollen Railway, (Carrog) - site of former Corwen East
1329.1254 26 Oct 19 1 Oct 19 Havant Jn - (Chichester) [†Line above: Date of last public service]
1328.1196 9 Nov 19 4 Nov 19 Cowley Bridge Jn - (Taunton); Cogload Jn - Worle Jn/Weston-S-M
1325.655 20 Oct 18 Reedham Jn - Berney Arms request stop - (Great Yarmouth)
1332.1699 28 Sep 18 16 Nov 19 CairnGorm Mountain Railway, 'Base Station' - Ptarmigan
1883] Llandudno Jn - Blaenau Ffestiniog: (BLN 1332.1708 & 1709) ROP from Thur 18 Jul 2019 was to
Llanrwst (not just North Llanrwst) where there was a temporary stop board south of the platform until
ROP to Blaenau Ffestiniog Wed 24 Jul. Finally, (after no word about it) at 14.22 on 31 Jul TfW's website
posted that Dolgarrog station would close from 17.02 on 30 Jul 2019 to further notice due to flooding.
Of course, it has been closed since Sat 16 Feb 2019, so what is the significance of that time and date? It
could be a coincidence but this was the date and approximate time that our Regional Editor asked the
NR representative at the Whittington Crossing event (item 1971) about Dolgarrog - that's on the level!
1884] Fords Jn (17m 78ch) - Ford Motor Co Bridgend: (BLN 1332.1849) The final train, Colas worked,
left at 23.00 Thur 24 Jul 2019 (the light engine arrived from Canton Sidings 21.25), to clear out the rest
of the IVA (International Vehicles Airbraked) wagons, moving them to Barry Island Colas Rail. On 31 Jul
they were stabled through P4 and the run round including at Plymouth Road platform. More were at
the Gladstone Bridge and Woodham Halt area, effectively stopping movements on the Barry Tourist
Railway. At 13.07 on Fri 2 Aug an empty wagon working left for Crewe Basford Hall Sorting Sidings
Middle (arr 17.58). However, the service code showed it was operated by Freightliner Heavy Haul and
recent Facebook pictures showed some of their disused coal wagons in store at Barry just before then.
The IVAs may have then been moved to the Barry Tourist Railway sidings previously occupied by the
coal wagons. Please can any local members confirm? Passenger services ran on 3 & 4 Aug as booked.
1885] Sheffield Supertram; Hillsborough and 2 stops - Middlewood/Malin Bridge (Area 4): (Updating
BLN 1332.1707) TCP Mon 22 Jul; Hillsborough - Middlewood ROP Sun 4 Aug; Hillsborough - Malin
Bridge ROP Mon 5 Aug. All Supertram lines then run normally until both routes TCP 21.00 Sat 17 Aug
until Fri 23 Aug (incl); (Area 4a) which extends though to Cathedral (excl) from Sat 24 until Fri 30 Aug
2019 (Area 5) with 11 intermediate stops. This is the final 2019 phase of replacing worn 1990s rails.
1886] Hazel Grove (excl) - Buxton (incl) & 7 intermediate stations: TCP/A from 14.53 Thur 1 Aug 2019
due to the threat of Toddbrook Reservoir dam bursting and causing catastrophic flooding at Whaley
Bridge. The 14.08 Manchester Piccadilly to Buxton terminated at Furness Vale as did the 14.34 from
Buxton. Parts of Whaley Bridge town were evacuated from mid-afternoon as was Furness Vale Signal
Box at 19.53. Due to road closures it was not possible to provide road transport. ROP Wed 7 Aug (just
about), with the 23.11 Manchester Piccadilly to Hazel Grove DMU which, instead of returning to
Piccadilly at 23.32 (this working was replaced by a bus), was extended to Buxton in passenger service
arriving there 00.04. Earlier on Wed 7 Aug a Freightliner Heavy Haul light engine 'route proving run'
ran at 14.40 from Buxton to Hazel Grove (15.13) and return, it came the scenic route from Earles
Sidings (Hope) via Peak Forest and Buxton Reversing sidings returning via Peak Forest to Guide Bridge.
1887] Hazel Grove East Jn - Hazel Grove High Level Jn - New Mills South Jn - Dore West Jn - Dore
Station Jn. Also Marple (excl) - New Mills South Jn. Total 8 stations: TCP 22.00 Thur 1 Aug 2019 due to
the flood threat to railway infrastructure (previous item). Northenden Jn - Hazel Grove High Level Jn/
Marple - New Mills South Jn - Chinley East Jn/Chinley South Jn: TCA 22.00 Thur 1 Aug 2019 (at first
Peak Forest traffic could not run due to flooding in Dove Holes Tunnel). TPE Manchester - Sheffield
services that were not cancelled ran via Huddersfield, Wakefield Kirkgate and Moorthorpe with a
considerable time penalty; there are a few regular TPE workings this way in the timetable to maintain
route knowledge for such an eventuality. There was widespread ticket acceptance. The TCG routes all
ROG at 22.00 Tue 6 Aug and the TCP lines ROP with start of service on Wed 7 Aug.
1888] Metrolink, Shudehill stop: TCP Thur 29 Aug to Fri 13 Sep (incl) to install new lighting, CCTV and
equipment, new shelters and a foot crossing. Trams will run through without calling. [Cornbrook closes
for platform weather protection and canopy extension work but only on 22 & 23 Aug plus 28 & 29 Sep.]
1889] West Kirby (incl) - Hoylake (excl): TCP/A Sat 21 until Sun 29 Sep 2019 both inclusive (platform
and clearance work to accommodate the new rolling stock at West Kirby). It appears that trains
turnback in Hoylake P2 from 23 to 29 Sep with passenger use of the trailing crossover on departure.
1333 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
1890] Membership Secretary's Report: Our Membership Secretary Alan Welsh has taken the decision
not to put his name forward for re-election in that role at our November 2019 Annual General Meeting
scheduled to be held at Barrow Hill. Alan was elected to office on 21 Dec 2002 and will therefore have
served in office for nearly 17 years. He considers that the Society needs a younger person who is more
computer savvy etc, and indeed a Society member has already been identified as a potential successor.
The role, of course, is open for an election if there is more than one candidate at the AGM.
1891] Shunting Puzzle or Pitlochry again? (BLN 1332.1846) A long passenger train is heading east on a
single line and a loco with 3 goods wagons is heading west. They meet in the vicinity of a very short
siding which has a capacity of 2 items of rolling stock with facing entry for the passenger train. How
can they pass? Ignore all normal constraints of signalling/line occupancy, etc. Answer in BLN 1334.
1892] Bradshaw's auto-complete (predictive texting), 1938-style: The 09.10 train from Marsden to
Huddersfield is shown as having connections to Wakefield and Normanton under footnote 'Z.' This
reads 'Via Huddersfield and Brighton', which seems rather extreme. It should be 'Via Huddersfield and
Brighouse'. No doubt Bradshaw kept preformed blocks for station names and the compositor picked
the wrong one from an adjacent tray but it shows that there is nothing new under the sun! In fact for a
very large publication produced under extreme time pressures, Bradshaw had few errors of any sort.
1893] Borderline Stations: (BLN 1332.1753) Hay-on-Wye station (CP 31 Dec 1962) was in England
(Herefordshire) and the town itself is across a stream in Wales, similar to Knighton. Interestingly the
Welsh Assembly Government treats Knighton station as 'Welsh' for the purposes of concessionary
pass rail usage; otherwise Knighton residents would be disadvantaged. Carham station (CP 4 Jul 1955)
was in Scotland on the Tweedmouth - St Boswells line, but the village is in England. Of note, the 2011
Census indicates it is the place in England with the greatest proportion (⅓) of Scottish born population.
1895] Points & Slips: BLN 1332.1740] This item should have been headed 'Leeds'. ●●1740] The new
T&W Metro temporary depot is at Howdon not Howden (which is west of Hull) although the 100 mile
or so extension of the system to the latter could have been interesting. ●●1755] At Redcar Central a
train can depart westwards from Up P1 (rather than P2) as a signalled move. ●●1807] A member
suggests that the Saltash cat temporarily stranded on the Royal Albert Bridge was clearly trying to
reach Cattewater... and maybe wanted some fish and chips (well fish at least) at Friary? ●●1835] The
18 Jul trail intermodal working to Georgemas Junction was postponed. ●●1848] Cambrian Heritage
Railways owns Gobowen lock, stock and one dripping milk tank, and have done for about two years.
The tank was recently at the brewery end which had to be cleared to make way for development.
1894] My First Railway Memories (10):
By Angus McDougall. I was born in West
Bridgford, just south of Nottingham;
within sound if not sight of the Midland
Railway (MR) line to Melton Mowbray
(now, of course, long closed but most is
still in use south of Edwalton as Melton
test track). In fact by craning my head
out of the window of the bedroom I
shared with my older brother I could
just about see the railway and trains
going past. However, later we moved
into a larger house round the corner
which backed onto the railway
embankment and gave a much more
relaxed view of the trains.
The custom grew up that when anyone
we knew was going to London we
expected them to wave from a train
window on passing and we would stand
in the garden and wave back. We never
did it for their return journeys, however.
LEFT: 1960 1" OS map, Edwalton station
(CP 28 Jul 1941) is bottom right on the
MR Melton Mowbray line. Nottingham
Midland is upper middle, 'Lenton Curve'
is far left and the ex-Great Central line
heads south from Nottingham Victoria
station (top middle). The upper black spot is the McDougall's first family home; the lower is the second.
In these early days my railway interest was mostly collecting locomotive numbers, but there were
none of the lists of engines which are commonplace today, and certainly no shed allocations as later
became available. My brother had bought a copy of the RCTS Locomotive Stock Book for 1937, and this
gave us some idea of what the various classes were, but all became much clearer when Ian Allan
started his famous ABCs, but the first to be published was the SR one, hardly of much interest to us.
Trains passing on the Melton line included expresses from London St Pancras, mostly bound for
Bradford Forster Square, with some to Manchester Central via Derby and to Edinburgh via the Settle
and Carlisle line and the Waverley route with, of course, return workings. There were also local
passenger trains running to Melton, with a few beyond; for example the late afternoon service (about
16.15 from Nottingham) ran to King's Lynn via Spalding and the Midland & Great Northern Joint line,
normally hauled by a Midland 2P 4-4-0. Other locals were hauled by 2-6-4Ts or sometimes 2-6-2Ts.
We had a car in prewar days and therefore I had little opportunity for railway travel when I was small.
During the war all forms of travel were discouraged, so most of my interesting railway experiences
date from about 1946 onwards. In particular about that time my father, who had been recently
"demobbed" from the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, had, for some administrative reason not known
to me, to take a day trip from Nottingham to Northampton and I accompanied him. We took a London
train by the direct route south as far as Wellingborough and then a local from there. We returned by a
through train via Market Harborough and the Great Northern & London North Western Joint Railway
line, via Melton Mowbray North. Whether this was my idea or my father's I do not know, but I like to
think it was my first excursion into the habit of ''doing rare track'', which has continued to this day.
My first railtour was, I think, on 11 May 1952, http://bit.ly/30Xsy14 when the RCTS South Yorkshire
No1 started from Sheffield Wicker - perhaps the only tour ever to have done so - and visited other
lines no longer known to us, including parts of the Hull & Barnsley main line and the South Yorkshire
Junction Railway. We also covered most of the South Yorkshire Joint line, though this is, of course, still
in use today. From then on, I expanded my track coverage, and extended my activity to foreign lands
later on, having now ridden in trains in 45 countries. In two or three more I have only ridden in what
are essentially metro systems, and indeed I have added urban travel of this sort (including tramways)
in more than 35 countries to my collection.
1333 EAST MIDLANDS (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
1896] Franchise (1): The new Abellio UK East Midlands Railway (EMR) franchise, not East Midlands
Trains (RIP) any more, initially runs from 18 Aug 2019 to 21 Aug 2027 and now includes Cleethorpes to
Barton-on-Humber services, taken over from Northern. Abellio is using a 'distinctive' purple and white
livery said to reflect the heritage of the East Midlands. Services will be divided into three 'segments':
EMR Intercity: From St Pancras. EMR Regional: Local services. EMR Electrics: St Pancras - Corby.
EMR has awarded a contract for a new fleet of Intercity trains to Hitachi, Newton Aycliffe (item 1910).
1897] Franchise (2): On 19 Jul the Competition & Markets Authority (C&MA) raised concerns about the
new East Midlands franchise. http://bit.ly/2KpNiYI is a detailed 23 page document, actually quite
interesting, regarding rail fare competition in general. It concluded that Norwich - Ely line passengers
could face higher fares as the Dutch state owned Abellio Company would run all timetabled passenger
services. Abellio East Midlands Ltd, Abellio and Greater Anglia (Abellio has a 60% share of the latter)
have offered to cap fares on the Norwich - Ely and Thetford - Ely flows (only) and not reduce the
availability of advance tickets. http://bit.ly/2YozqYr is the undertaking (interesting for its meticulous
detail and methodology). If you thought train fares were complicated this is the formula for how the
maximum relevant Advance Fares would be calculated each year: Fr,j,t = Fr,j,t −1 * (RPIt + kt /100)
For an explanation of the letters etc see the original document! The C&MA then invited interested
parties (with algebra degrees) to submit any views on this by 9 Aug and will give its decision by 30 Sep.
1898] Leicester: Leicester City Council is bidding for Government cash to fulfil a long-held ambition of
'pivoting' the station, leading to the entrance being moved from London Road to Station Street.
BELOW: Leicester London Road, the present entrance as it was on 25 Jul 1986. (Angus McDougall.)
1333 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]
1899] Cannon Street: The bridge over the Thames outside the station, along with three other bridges,
has been lit up for a period of 10 years as part of the 'Illuminated River' project. This will eventually
encompass 15 bridges, including Blackfriars station bridge, Grosvenor Bridge outside Victoria, plus the
Golden Jubilee footbridges that run either side of Hungerford Bridge outside Charing Cross.
1900]: Old Street - Welham Green/Watton-at-Stone: Once the Class 717 EMUs are fully introduced,
DOO equipment will no longer be needed at stations, as these trains have on-board cameras.
Accordingly, NR proposes to remove DOO mirrors and monitors from various stations on the routes.
1901] King's Cross: (BLN 1331.1575) From 21 Jul, the East Sidings were taken OOU (out of use) and the
OHLE (overhead line electrification) removed. From 28 Jul, the sidings and associated signals were
removed to clear the site for relaying track through the eastern bore of Gasworks Tunnel.
1902] HS2: (BLN 1332.1736) Demolition of the former GWR shed at Old Oak Common, along with the
Heavy Maintenance and Wheel Lathe sheds, has been completed. Surplus track has been donated to
heritage railways around the UK and the train wash has been moved to Penzance. The former HST
Maintenance Shed will be demolished in the autumn. NR is consulting on proposals to further reduce
facilities at Old Oak Common to allow for construction of the new station there. From Jun 2020 the
Heathrow Express depot will be decommissioned with the exception of Reception Line 1. It is proposed
to decommission this line from Dec 2020, although the west end pointwork and a short length of line
would remain to provide a railhead for HS2 construction work. The removal of this line will impact on
moves in and out of the Crossrail depot from the west. Until Dec 2024, when a new Relief Lines layout
is commissioned, special signalling arrangements will be needed to deal with the more complicated
routeing for depot access and efforts will be made to reduce the number of such moves.
X.89] District Line Heritage Trains: (BLN 1332.1733) Two photos from the District Line 150 heritage
train on 22 Jun 2019 from our member Mark Arnold. THIS PAGE ABOVE: The train with Sarah Siddons
leading, passing Stamford Brook station on the first working, delayed apparently due to damage to
one of the loco's collector shoes when departing Acton Depot. PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: 'Met 1'
leading, about to depart Kensington High Street on the second working of the day.
1903] LUL Sub-Surface Lines: (BLN 1327.975) Software problems have arisen during test operation of
the next sections for conversion and the intended date for resignalling has slipped to 31 Aug/1 Sep.
The delays mean that the proposed timetable enhancements (BLN 1320.44) will also be delayed.
X.90] NEXT PAGE: Cricklewood; an unusual power car working took place on Wed 31 Jul with 4500hp!
'Locomotive' formed 43467 & 43468 (UPPER PICTURE) ran from Derby to Cricklewood to collect an
HST set for Leeds Neville Hill as '5Z03' 43076 - NL14 - 43047. LOWER PICTURE: The triple-header is
ready to leave Cricklewood for Leeds. (Robin Morel.)
1333 NORTHERN GENERAL (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
1904] TPE Dec Timetable: Longer turn round times for TPE services were introduced in Dec 2018 at
Manchester Airport and in May 2019 at Scarborough, as they had previously proved to be too tight.
Presumably for crewing reasons, the early morning and late evening turnarounds at Scarborough
remained tight. The original Scarborough and Middlesbrough timetables required 6 sets each. 13 sets
and a spare driving trailer were ordered, but they now will require seven sets for each route.
To resolve the impact of this on Manchester Airport platform occupancy, the paths used by incoming
trains from Newcastle and Middlesbrough will be swapped. Newcastle trains arrive XX.07 now, then
depart XX.47 to Middlesbrough. Middlesbrough trains arrive XX.35, then depart XX.17 to Newcastle.
This interworking will not be an option when the Newcastle services are worked by Class 802 bimodes
and the Redcar trains (extended from Middlesbrough) by loco hauled Mk5 sets. The extension to
Redcar and the longer turn round at Manchester Airport than originally envisaged requires an extra
set, which cannot be met from the Mk5 fleet. It has been suggested that there would be a Class 802
working to Middlesbrough/Redcar. However, 10 sets will be required for Liverpool - Newcastle -
Edinburgh and 7 for Manchester Airport - Newcastle, leaving only one of the 19 sets for maintenance.
It would appear therefore that two diagrams will need to continue to use Class 185 DMUs.
In the draft Dec timetable, Newcastle trains arrive at Manchester Airport XX.38 and return at XX.10.
Alternate services call at Chester-le-Street; these leave Newcastle 4 minutes earlier southbound and
arrive 3 minutes later northbound. Northallerton is served by these services rather than Liverpool -
Newcastle - Edinburgh trains. Redcar trains (XX.07) reach Airport XX.11/XX.14 and return at XX.40.
Liverpool - Newcastle services are extended to Edinburgh, calling at Morpeth but not Alnmouth,
Berwick or Dunbar. These are shown in RTT as booked for diesel haulage from Liverpool and electric
haulage from Edinburgh! This seems odd as they will presumably run on electric west of Manchester
Victoria but may have to use diesel north of Newcastle if the power supply has not been upgraded.
Manchester Piccadilly - Hull peak services (both directions) call all stations Stalybridge - Huddersfield.
They depart Piccadilly XX.30 and Hull at times varying between XX.03 and XX.08. Off-peak services
leave Manchester XX.35 and Hull XX.08 but cease calling at Mossley, Dewsbury and Garforth.
Manchester Piccadilly - Huddersfield trains call additionally at Mossley and generally P3 or P4 at
Stalybridge in the Down direction. Trains between Liverpool and Scarborough call additionally at
Stalybridge and, in lieu of the Hull service, Garforth. This results in an almost precisely 15-min interval
Leeds - Manchester Victoria service from 05.45 to 21.00 and 05.46 to 21.15 in the opposite direction.
1905] Trans Pennine ETCS: NR has started the procurement process to supply and maintain European
Train Control System (ETCS) Level 2 between Stalybridge and Cottingley as part of the Trans Pennine
Route Upgrade. In 2018 the route was designated a priority project for NR's digital railway strategy.
The high level strategic outcomes set by the DfT require the line to support a Leeds - Manchester
Victoria journey time of 44 minutes with one stop and a York - Manchester Victoria journey time of 67
minutes with two stops. The route must be able to accommodate Inter-City trains comprising eight
24m long vehicles, and local services formed of up to six 24m vehicles.
In an Official Journal of the European Union notice, NR says the contractor would maintain the ETCS
equipment over its 30-year service life, upgrade GSM-R systems and provide maintenance during a
two-year defects and liability period. It must be compatible with civil engineering, track and system
enhancements on the route, which are being designed by the 'Transpire' alliance under the West of
Leeds Alliance contract awarded in Apr 2017. Interlocking and trackside equipment would be provided
by other suppliers but the balises and signage will be in the ETCS contract. The contract, expected to
be worth around £200M, may also include provision for Automatic Train Operation (ATO) at Grade of
Automation level 2, with trains starting and stopping automatically under the supervision of a driver.
1333 NORTH EAST & YORKSHIRE (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
1906] Goathland: During a long day on the NYMR a member walked the original 1836 route of the
Whitby & Pickering Railway from Grosmont to Goathland. The path has been much improved in recent
years, [We'd be 'inclined' to agree.] with new footbridges over three becks - one replacing stepping
stones. Beck Hole station (NZ 820 022) is marked by a NER notice. Adjacent is small plaque that reads:
This is the site of the old Beck Hole railway station. It was closed in 1865 following the building of a new
railway between Goathland and Grosmont. However since the rails were left in place it was temporarily
re-opened from 1908 to 1914 to serve an autocar service during the summer from Whitby to Beck Hole.
Grosmont - Pickering OP 26 May 1836, a rope worked incline on an average gradient of 1:15 ran from
Beck Hole to Goathland (original station). Various accidents occurred, including on 10 Feb 1864 when
the rope broke, killing two passengers and injuring 13. On 1 Jul 1865 the Beck Hole route was replaced
by a deviation, the present North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR), from Deviation Jn Signal Box (SB),
just south of Grosmont tunnel, to just north of Goathland Summit SB, with a ruling gradient of 1 in 49.
The original line closed to all traffic south of Beck Hole but the incline was relaid in 1872 to test locos
for export. The track south of the incline was lifted as late as 1941, when scrap metal was needed for
WWII urgently. The Beck Hole passenger service was reintroduced 1 Jul 1908 but was withdrawn from
21 Sep 1914 after the outbreak of WWI. It ran SuX, so the last train would have been on 19 Sep 2014.
This was probably also complete closure of the line to Beck Hole. However, 1m 69ch of line south from
Grosmont, Deviation Junction SB to Dowson Garth Siding at the hamlet of Esk Valley, (NZ 822 044)
remained in use for freight to serve the cottages here which had no road access. Deviation Jn was
converted to a ground frame in 1930 and referred to as just 'Deviation' in the 1947 Sectional Appendix.
Trains from Grosmont were allowed to propel on the Down line (it was double track then) to the
ground frame. This would have been in the wrong direction although this move was not listed in the
Sectional Appendix Table 'E' (working in the wrong direction) probably as the signalling was within
Grosmont SB station limits. The line CA 1 Oct 1951 when a new road opened; last train 18 Sep 1951.
Stone houses adjacent to the line at both 'Incline Foot' and 'Incline Top' are inhabited and presumably
date from the opening of the line. South of Bank Top, the original Goathland station (actually south of
the incline top) is on the road west of the present station. The trackbed south from that original
station to Moorgates, where it meets the present North line, is not a public right of way.
1907] South Shields: (BLN 1331.1549 The smart £21M modern transport interchange, incorporating
the relocated Metro station, OP on Sun 4 Aug as scheduled with 4018 & 4076 on the first working. The
building, clad in striking copper shingles, has been under construction since Apr 2018. Its completion is
a major milestone in the £100M South Shields regeneration plan. Used by 7½M passengers a year, in
Sep it will handle thousands of runners for The Great North Run, which ends in South Shields. This is
the world's largest half marathon event - 57,000 runners from over 130 countries. Unfortunately, the
original plan for a two platform station could not be justified so it will be under immense pressure.
Http://bit.ly/2MteOHl has pictures and a video of the new facility. As well as the Metro single
platform and bus station below, the interchange has a Nexus Travelshop, café, two lifts, escalators and
stairs. 462 Metro trains arrive and depart daily (fewer at weekends); the building is clad with 3,857
gold panels and has over 35,000 interior wall tiles. It required 101,585 hours to build, 1,200 tonnes of
ballast, 400 sleepers, 220m of new track, 43 tonnes of rail, 8km of signalling cable, 6 overhead line
masts, and 1km of overhead wires. [Wot, no partridge in a pear tree?] Demolition of the old Metro
station and further work will now take place. The rest of the branch is to be doubled where it is now
single track, this will allow six trains per hour to run each way; at present the maximum capacity is five.
NEXT: South Shields Interchange main entrance and bus side nearing completion recently. (Phil Logie.)
ABOVE: Rotherham Holmes Jn looking towards Masborough. Left is Masborough Down Goods Loop
which has recently been devegetated and is to be abandoned (item 1911 - below); next to it are the
main lines to Swinton. Far right is the bidirectional Holmes Chord to Rotherham Central but of
particular interest between the two is the Booths Scrapyard internal loco making a brief appearance
on the former Rotherham Westgate branch. It has running powers to the trap point for shunting.
(All ©Andy Overton who happened to be in the right place at the right time on Fri 2 Aug 2019.)
ABOVE: The Goods Loop continues, left, past Rotherham Masborough station (CP 3 Oct 1988) where
our Publications Officer and Society Cartographer cut his train spotting teeth. Old photos show that
there was always a fence along the far left platform edge so it was not available for passenger use.
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Looking towards Holmes Jn from Rotherham Masborough showing the
extent of devegetation and the loop on the right. One wonders if the establishment upper right of
centre sells alcohol and soft drinks as well?
1908] Middleton-in-Teesdale: (BLN 1332.1743) A member packing to move house came across this
conundrum. Yes, the packing is taking a long time! The OS One-inch ('New Popular') 6th Series, Sheet
84 'Teesdale', Full revision 1920 published with corrections in 1947 has Romaldkirk and Cotherstone
stations as open to passengers (red spots) but Mickleton and Middleton-in-Teesdale are shown closed
to passengers (white spots). Is this just a mistake (as on The National Library of Scotland's and your
Editor's copies) or is there a more sinister reason? Our member is confident that someone will know!
1909] Azumas: (BLN 1329.1282) Hitachi has confirmed that work undertaken by NR to modify the
electronics in its lineside cabinets has successfully resolved the electromagnetic interference issues
that affected IET Class 80x sets operating on electric power north of Colton Jn. Electric mode testing is
now in progress on the whole London - Edinburgh route. Hitachi will also make changes to IET
electronics to reduce interference. Work on the LNER sets is in progress. However, Class 800/801/802
Bimodes in 5-car formations are prohibited by NR north of Newcastle Central to Scotland's Railway
(quote) regional border in electric mode except for test trains locally managed. This implies that 9 and
10 car sets may run in electric mode throughout but 5-car Azumas must run on diesel power between
the border and Newcastle but can run on electric between Edinburgh and the border (is this so?).
1910] Newton Aycliffe: Abellio UK, which takes on the new eight year East Midlands Railway franchise
on 18 Aug has awarded a £400M contract to Hitachi Rail to build a new fleet of intercity trains. The 33
five-carriage trains will regularly run as 2x5-car formations. This is welcome news for the Hitachi plant
at Newton Aycliffe on the Bishop Auckland branch, which employs around 700 people in an area of
high unemployment. The plant had no more work after its current contracts run out but the firm
hopes to also win the contract to build new trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro (BLN 1331.1588).
1911] Rotherham: NR proposes to abandon the already out of use (OOU) Masborough Down Goods
Loop (TRACKmaps 2 P28 Oct 2016) at the former Rotherham Masborough station, remove and plain
line the pointwork. The work can be done in standard possessions and should be complete in 2020/21.
1912] Tinsley East Jn: In 2020/21 NR also proposes to remove and plain line the points just west of this
junction, severing access to the already OOU Down Magna Sidings. The sidings must have been
abandoned a long time ago as they do not feature on TRACKmaps 2 p28 Oct 2018. However, they are
visible on satellite photos. They were installed to serve Templeborough Rolling Mills with resignalling
and commissioned 6 Dec 1992 when Woodburn Jn SB took control of the area. However, these rolling
mills closed in 1993 (no precise date available) so it is possible that this connection was never used.
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Tinsley East Jn where the double track singles, looking south west towards
Woodburn Jn. The Dec 1992 connection mentioned above trails in left. The Down Magna Sidings exit
signal (top left corner) is OOU so is hooded over with a white cross. It would have been like this when
installed prior to commissioning, so the pre-commissioning hood may be the one in situ! (©Andy
Overton, 14 Aug 2009; taken with permission during a line blockage on an authorised visit.)
1913] A Fishy Tale: A member recently attended a one day event as part of Rail Safety Week at DB
Cargo UK headquarters, Doncaster. He decided to go First Class with Hull Trains and, booking his
tickets, asked if their HST would run. Their reply was that they were not sure, but it was most unlikely -
so he offered them a bag of fish & chips as an incentive. Lo and behold several hours later it was
announced on twitter that the HST would run on his service to Doncaster. The staff didn't actually
require the piscatorial package but for First Class surely it should have been caviar and French Fries?
1914] Horden: (BLN 1331.1595) After completion of the ground works and site preparation, NR has
awarded an almost £5M 'design and build' contract for the station. It will have two 100m platforms,
with step free access via a footbridge and ramps. The contract includes piling works, signalling, track
realignment, lighting, a PA system, CCTV, customer information system and platform furniture.
1915] The Wrong Trousers: Recently one day the 04.48 Sheffield to Barnsley ECS passed a signal
between Chapeltown and Elsecar displaying a green aspect. However the driver found the next signal
displayed no aspect at all, even though he had
received a bell on the AWS. He contacted the
Barnsley signaller, who told him the signal was
showing a yellow aspect, which changed to
green after the train had passed the following
signal. The signaller declared the signal defective
and cautioned trains. When S&T staff arrived on
site they discovered, in a saga worthy of Wallace
and Gromit*, the signal aspect completely
obscured by a pair of trousers wrapped around
it! This might signal someone was missing some
trousers but from the railway's point of view it
was pants. [*Although Wallace and Gromit live at 62 West Wallaby St, Wigan, Wallace's accent - voiced
by the late Peter Sallis - is from the Holme Valley of West Yorkshire, not a million miles from Barnsley.]
1916] Doncaster: (BLN 1327.989) The new Potteric Carr 25kV OHLE feed is actually at 153m 78ch. It
has four portal/gantry structures over the main lines and an independent structure by the Up Slow at
Sand Bank Jn (155m 32ch). It is due to go live on 25 Aug after trackside connection work is completed.
1917] Mallard's rare move: The world's fastest steam loco, was moved - slowly - for the first time in 30
years from the Railway Museum (formerly the National Railway Museum) - rare track indeed (!) to
York station on 30 Jul. This was to celebrate the launch of LNER's new Azuma service extended north
of Doncaster to Edinburgh on 1 Aug. At York it was pictured next to an Azuma, (hopefully not out for a
duck) which, leaving at lunchtime, was met in Darlington by Mallard's 'sister' loco, 'Flying Scotsman'.
1918] Leeds: (BLN 1310.1686) A new University of Leeds Institute for 'High Speed Rail and System
Integration' is to be created, on Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone at Gateway 45, by M1 Junction 45.
Becoming fully operational in 2021, it will form the early phase of a plan involving local authorities and
businesses to position the city region as a centre for rail engineering. It will investigate rail systems as
an integrated whole; measuring how train, track, power systems and signals interact as a unified
system. The institute will provide a vehicle testing 'rolling road', outdoor infrastructure testing facility
and system integration and innovation centre. It is hoped that these facilities will attract business from
around the world. Capital cost contributions are from the government (£11M), the university and rail
industry partners (£40M) and Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Deal (£13M).
1333 NORTH WEST (John Cameron) [email protected]
1919] Liverpool St James: (BLN 1291.2056) OP 2 Mar 1874; CP 1 Jan 1917 (with many other British
stations and lines that day), the two platforms (0m 62ch) of this former Cheshire Lines Committee
station can be glimpsed between Liverpool Central (high level) and Brunswick between Ashwell St and
Stanhope St - the first gap between tunnels on leaving Central on the Hunts Cross line. They are shown
on TRACKmaps 4 p38A - Dec 2018. Now closed for over a century, there is a plan to reopen the station
at the southwest point of Liverpool's 'Baltic Triangle'. A new Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
Transport Plan (CATP) has recently included the station reopening on a list of potential projects for
funding. It is thought that it would cost £50M. The Baltic Triangle is a popular destination for visitors
and growing, with the new Baltic Market bringing in the crowds to the former Cains brewery nearby.
1920] Picc-Nic replaces Picc-Vic: A new
Train Ready To Start/Right Away box has
been installed on Manchester Piccadilly
P14 to reduce delays. Signs with numbered
'Boarding Zones' have been installed on
island P13 and P14 to assist passengers
boarding Pendolinos/Super Voyagers on
diverted WCML services (such as during
the Acton Grange Jn closure). They call at
Piccadilly and Stockport, but not Oxford
Road. NR has installed a dedicated picnic
area, 'Picnicadilly', with turf, potted plants,
picket fencing and picnic tables left of the
main station entrance. It is not expected to
'hamper' train running. (LEFT: Ian Mortimer
4 Aug 2019, who comments that the new
name is not showing on rail planners yet.)
1921] Wigan: (BLN 1332. 1769) (TRACKmaps 4 p29C Dec 2018) From Sun 11 Aug Springs Branch
Sidings are due to be recommissioned with the following points provided: (PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER)
●Points 640A & B form a southbound connection (5m 20ch) from the Arrival/Departure Road to the
Up Goods line, signalled for use in both directions ●Points 639A & B form a northbound connection
(5m 24ch) from the Arrival/Departure Road to the Up Goods line. ●Points 644A & B (5m 24ch) connect
the Arrival/ Departure Road with the Wash Road. The connection used by our 9 Jun Sunday Yicker
railtour to access Bickershaw Headshunt 1 has since been taken out of use and plain lined!
1922] Hunts Cross: (BLN 1332.1706) The electrical supply problem to the third rail causing services to
be withdrawn between Hunts Cross and Liverpool Central from Thur 18 until Sun 21 Jul (incl) was due
to a fault with the 11kV feeder cable. As it is mostly buried or set in concrete (to prevent theft) it was
not possible to locate the problem so a new cable was rolled out and normal service resumed on 22nd.
1923] Classy DMU: (BLN 1332.1766) After our Luca Pezzulo Express on Sat 20 Jul a member stayed in
Manchester and rode on Northern's new toy, a CAF Class 195 DMU, from Manchester Piccadilly to
Airport. He was impressed with the build quality and layout. The acceleration seemed quick and the
overall journey pleasant. The ride quality was also comfortable but the seats are the hard ironing
board type and, although he didn't sit in the airline style ones to judge space between them, the table
seats seemed fine. Most, but not all, seats line up with windows. The arrangement is 2+2 but they
haven't gone with the trend of gangways between units unlike new stock elsewhere. Air conditioning,
Wi-Fi, sockets for charging devices, carpeted floors throughout, information screens that show all sorts
of things for a suburban and interurban train are all very impressive. A huge step up from Pacers!
ABOVE: For the historic record, interior of 'Pacer' 142046 which has rather better seating than some...
BELOW: Class 195 DMU at Manchester Airport. PREVIOUS: Interior. (Stephen Atkinson 21 Jul 2019.)
X.91] Preston: ABOVE: (BLN 1322.1763) River Ribble Old Tram Bridge (closed) - John Cameron, 5 Jul 2019.
1924] Liverpool Corporation Tramways: After several months of work the final overhead wire poles
have recently been removed from Utting Ave. It has only taken 62 years to get round to this and as far
as is known these were the very last masts from the Corporation Tramways which finished running on
14 Sep 1957! Mossley Hill and Smithdown Road Horse Tram Sheds and Horse Stables survive though.
1925] Fallowfield Loop: (BLN 1332.1762) On 14 May 1964 a member traversed this line on the 09.30
SuX Liverpool Central to Guide Bridge, formed of 3x2-car DMU. About 10 passengers alighted at Guide
Bridge. This train and its return working at 12.45 were extensions of the Cheshire Lines Committee
route Manchester express service and enabled passengers from Liverpool to connect into and out of
the Woodhead route without crossing Manchester from Central to Piccadilly stations. These trains
survived until 1969, along with the 09.30 SuO Liverpool Central to Sheffield Midland and 19.10 return.
The 30 Aug 1996 RCTS Mancunian DMU Railtour ran from Sheffield Midland to Manchester Piccadilly.
Highlights for a member were the Buxton circuit and the Fallowfield Loop, which had to be exited in a
westerly direction with a reversal in Manchester United platform loop to reach Manchester Piccadilly.
X.92] Manchester Oxford Road - three pictures from our North West Regional Editor, on 31 Jul 2019
during the diversions because of the Acton Grange Jn relaying line closure. (John Cameron.)
1926] Southport London Street: The line of the Manchester & Southport Railway - worked by the
Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway (L&Y) - between Wigan and Southport opened Monday 9 Apr 1855.
The section west of Burscough Bridge was joint with, and also used from that date by, the East
Lancashire Railway (ELR), with a link to their main line at Burscough Junction. In reporting these
openings, the 'Manchester Times', 11 Apr 1855 p7 explains that the L&Y trains to and from Wigan
were able to use the existing Chapel Street station of the Liverpool, Crosby & Southport Railway
(LC&S). However, the LC&S declined to allow the ELR to use their station (the ELR was a competitor for
the Liverpool traffic - or perhaps the station was not big enough). Hence, the ELR had to build its own
Southport London Street station - the 'joint' railway therefore only extended as far as the junction
(map below, bottom right). The ELR station was to the east of the existing Chapel Street station and
slightly short of it as shown. (C J Wignall's 'Complete Atlas' significantly misplaces the station site.)
ABOVE: 6" OS map. Chapel Street station is top left with London Street station alongside. London St
itself is the roadway (unnamed on the map) leading from Chapel Street to the 'Warehouse' and ELR
Goods Depot ('Crane'). Note the 'Engine House', 'Tank' and 'Turntable' to the right, that whole area
becoming railway facilities in subsequent editions. Although the plan is dated '1848', it is actually a
revised edition representing the situation from 1855, with surveying and publication data not updated.
The two 1914 excursion platforms (see later maps and text) were in the vicinity of the 'Crane'.
That the LC&S had refused permission to use its station is slightly ironic for that company was
absorbed by the L&Y only two months later, and the L&Y was happy to have the ELR trains use Chapel
Street station from 1 Apr 1857 - resulting in the closure of London Street passenger station that day,
as recorded in the local press. The ELR was merged into the L&Y from Aug 1859 when management of
their goods facilities would doubtless have been combined (probably without any physical changes
initially). Successive OS maps show the ELR passenger station site with description 'Repairing Shed'.
'Railway & Travel Monthly' Apr 1913 reported: [The L&Y] has moved its goods department in
Southport from London Street to the late Central† station of the old West Lancashire Railway in Derby
Road. These premises, which have undergone considerable alteration and improvement, are admirably
adapted for the purposes of the goods department. (†Central station - open for passengers only from
1882 to 1901 - was to the north-east of 'Engine House' on the plan above). Thus, London Street goods
depot (as opposed to the old passenger station) closed in 'early 1913'. The same journal's Jun 1915
edition added: …when it became necessary to alter the name of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway's
goods station at Southport, formerly called London Street, the title Kensington Road was chosen…
The Railway Clearing House 'Hand-book of Stations' shows: ●1890: 'station' (no suffix, no distinction
between passenger and goods). ● 1904: Chapel Street passenger (P) and goods (G) with no mention of
London Street or Central. ●1912: Chapel Street P; London Street G; Central G. ●1915: Chapel Street P;
Kensington Road G (actually part of the former Central, plus activity moved from London Street).
ABOVE: 1909 composite 25" scale maps showing the 'Repairing Shed' and layout before the 1913-18
enlargement of Chapel Street station. The 'Goods Station' is London Street goods (the 'Warehouse' of
the 1855 plan plus the cranes scattered around). It looks very much as though the LC&S had no 'Chapel
Street' goods depot - or certainly not by 1909! The actual London St runs top left corner down to left
of centre to Victoria Footbridge. 'Central Station' (passenger) is '(Disused)' above the 'Engine Shed'.
The former London Street passenger station was demolished for the considerable expansion of Chapel
Street station which began in 1913/14. This involved remodelling the whole area, extra platforms and
resignalling but, possibly due to WWI, was not finally complete until 1918. The expansion absorbed the
part of London Street Goods Depot immediately next to the old ELR running lines for access tracks and
the new Chapel Street No1 and No2 Excursion platforms.
'Bradshaw's Guide' for July 1938 brought this matter to a correspondent's attention, for it shows
summer Saturday trains using Southport 'London Street'. The London, Midland & Scottish Railway
(LMS) public timetable 4 Jul - 25 Sep 1938 shows (by footnote) the following trains - all SO - to use
'London Street': Arrivals: 12.35 from Cross Lane (due 14.00), 13.43 from Bolton Trinity Street (due
14.43) and 13.30 from Nelson (due 14.58). Departures: 20.55 to Colne and 21.35 to Cross Lane.
[The stock of the Cross Lane and Nelson trains are likely to have remained in the excursion platforms
until their return journeys.] That perhaps it was not regarded as 'just' part of Chapel Street station
may be suggested by the specific naming (and also by connections to Birkdale off these trains being
later than for others arriving around that time into Chapel Street, to allow for the rather longer walk
between the platforms). On the other hand, presumably the LMS did not really regard 'London Street'
as a separate station for it is not included in the station index. Indeed, officially known as No1 & No2
Excursion Platforms, other sources suggest they were also referred to as Chapel Street P12 & P13. The
'London Street' name does not signify that the 1914 excursion platforms were on the site of the short
lived 1855-7 station (but they had access from London St). The summer 1939 timetable showed the
same trains (apart from the one-way Bolton train), applicable until 9 Sep 1939. It is not known when
such regularly advertised usage started (it was certainly not there in 1925) but it did not reappear in
1940 and no equivalent timetabled use has been found after WW2 (for example Aug 1948).
The important point is that, for passengers, the 1855 London Street station was not the same place as
Southport London Street referred to in the 1938 timetable (they were something like 350 yards apart).
ABOVE: 25" to the mile 1928 map, the spots top
left and bottom right are the ends of the through
No1 excursion platform (beneath Victoria
Footbridge), its track was called 'Bradford Siding' -
does anyone know why? The third spot between
is the end of line at No2 excursion platform, a
shorter bay. Top left are some of Chapel Street
platform ends. LEFT: 1928 map - same scale - the
station building and shed. For technical reasons
the two maps are not contiguous with each other.
The two excursion platforms would certainly have
been in excursion use from the end of WWI (if not
summer 1914), so for a full understanding of their
use would require study the weekly notices.
It would also be interesting to know when these
excursion platforms were finally used by a loaded
passenger train. [Any ideas please, anyone?].
Chapel Street station was greatly rationalised
(downsized) in the 1970s, the whole ELR side
(passenger and goods) and the two 1914
excursion platforms became a car park.
So there is more history behind the various
London Street stations (note plural) than the
basic entries in 'standard works' of railway
chronology might suggest. For the really keen
members of the Society, do not despair: you can
still drive into and over London Street station and
visit the site; it is Chapel St station NCP car park!
ABOVE: A rather poor (even though it's been 'doctored') anonymous 1965 photograph from Victoria
Footbridge looking to the end of line at Southport Chapel Street terminus. No1 Excursion Platform is
left of this island platform and continued through to an engine release facility alongside Chapel Street
station. Its track was and is known as 'Bradford Siding' - does anyone know why? The dead end of No2
Excursion Platform, a bay, is on the right. A train would have to back out to release the loco. The exit
to London St itself is alongside the houses in Derby Road (the backs of these houses are on the right).
THIS PAGE BELOW: A 2019 view from Victoria Footbridge looking east with Southport Chapel Street
station behind the photographer; the Wigan lines are right, non-electrified of course. The line on the
left is still known as 'Bradford Siding' (TRACKmaps 4 p41A Dec 2016) and the Excursion Platforms
would have been just to the left of it. (All pictures taken recently by our local member Nick Porter.)
NEXT PAGE TOP: Victoria Footbridge looking east (towards Wigan);
the two Excursion platforms were located beneath its left hand side.
ABOVE: Not just another boring car park. London Street itself is far right with Chapel Street station in
the distance, please refer to the maps to decide which bit of the car park you need to park or drive on.
BELOW: Southport station is right; this is the site of the higher number platforms closed in the 1970s
with the original London Street passenger station further on out of sight. London St itself is far left.
1927] Runcorn East: (BLN 1322.296) The trailing crossover between the Down and Up Main lines at
13m 17ch, just east of the station outside Norton Signal Box was to be plain lined from Mon 5 Aug.
ABOVE: Runcorn East station and Norton signal box looking east towards Acton Grange Jns and
Warrington BQ when the trailing crossover was clearly unusable. (Angus McDougall 24 Jan 2003.)
1928] Crumpsall: (BLN 1322.1614) Tram Management System equipment needed to control the new
Metrolink bay platform, to be used by Trafford Park services from early 2020, was installed on 6/7 Jul.
With the Bury line closed (yet again!) the opportunity was taken to replace a set of points at Victoria.
1929] Electrification: On 16 Jul testing began of the new 25kV independent feeder cable between
Heyrod Auto Transformer Feeder Station (ATFS) just north of Stalybridge and Ordsall Lane ATFS.
It follows the line through Manchester Victoria and, as can be imagined, is an impressive sized cable!
1930] Unsettled line to Carlisle: On 30 Jul in torrential rain, the driver of the 15.18 Leeds to Carlisle
reported a landslip affecting the Up line and partially the Down at 251¾ milepost in Shale Cutting,
Arten Gill between Blea Moor and Dent. Water was cascading onto the Down line. The Up and Down
lines were blocked pending examination. At 18.10 it was reported that a Road Rail Vehicle would be
required to remove the debris from the Up line. West Coast Railways 'Dalesman' steam charter 16.43
Carlisle to York, hauled by 35018 was held at Appleby before the loco eventually ran-round, via Kirkby
Stephen (!) and returned the train tender first to Carlisle. It then continued with a Class 57 'top & tail'
from Carnforth reversing twice to run via Bentham to Hellifield and then forward as booked. The trip
reached York at 01.18 - 203 minutes late. Passenger trains ran between Leeds and Ribblehead only
until the whole line reopened about 12.00 on 1 Aug with a near normal service from around 14.00.
1931] Hattersley: A new ticket office and a bigger car park are to be built as part of £750k worth of
improvements. The funding is from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Transport for
Greater Manchester. Passenger numbers increased from 52,000 in 2014/15 to 89,000 in 2017/18.
NEXT PAGE: A Manchester to Hadfield train approaching Hattersley. (John Cameron 25 Jun 2019.)
1932] Blackpool Trams: Fares increased from Sun 4 Aug. Blackpool Transport say that this is a result of
an increase in the cost of diesel (their diesel price was fixed for as long as possible and differs from
that at the pump) plus increases in operational and staffing costs. The trams are not diesel powered, of
course, but the buses are and the fares are coordinated. Blackpool Transport claims the cheapest way
to buy a ticket will still be their Mobile App. [PlusBus may actually be better, particularly with a railcard
in Jul and Aug.] On board (tram or bus) the Adult 24 hour unlimited travel ticket is £6 (formerly £5.50),
3 days £13.50 and 7 days £16.50. The equivalent prices through the app are £5.60, £12.50 & £15.60.
Cheaper child fares are available and for 16-19 year olds. Family and Group 24 hour tickets are sold.
All singles (returns are not available) went up by 10p for adults. Child single fares and one hour tickets
did not increase. Some tickets can be purchased in advance at Market St Customer Centre or local
PayPoint outlets, but some others are only available there and not on trams of buses! Some are no
longer cheaper (as they once were) if bought before boarding a tram or bus - but that is only 'fare'.
1933] Preston Trams: (BLN 1331.1617) It looks as if some work on the ground may actually take place
soon nine years after Preston Trampower was formed. Vegetation clearance on part of the Preston to
Longridge branch trackbed is expected to start next month prior to installation of poles and overhead
wires. [Local members please keep an eye on this.] If work doesn't begin before the end of the year
then planning permission, obtained Nov 2016, will expire. It included planning approval for a depot,
track close to Skeffington Rd and a tram stop by the depot on Deepdale St. It will have a foot/cycle
path alongside. The embankment, accessed by local kids and by drug users, is completely overgrown
with Japanese Knotweed present! Phase 1 is a pilot/trial short demonstration run for the drivers and,
in a new development, will offer free sample rides to the public in advance of a passenger services.
The planned 3½ mile long Phase 2 links employment sites on the edge of Preston with the city centre.
1333 SOUTH EAST - NORTH & EAST ANGLIA (Julian James) [email protected]
1934] Cambridge - King's Lynn: (BLN 1326.857) NR has appointed 'VolkerFitzpatrick' to deliver the
£27M upgrades including two platform extensions at Waterbeach and one at Littleport, to 167m.
Littleport station will also have step free access, and a new stabling siding is to be provided at King's
Lynn. Preparation work is expected to start later this summer with main works starting around Oct.
The work is currently expected to be complete in summer 2020 and it is anticipated Great Northern
will introduce 8-car services at the first available opportunity, with the new timetable of Dec 2020.
1935] Luton Airport Parkway: (BLN 1304.966) When seen on 17 Jul the framework for the new Air-Rail
Transit station adjacent the main line station was nearing completion, unclad, and the substantial
concrete 'T' columns for the viaduct leading away south were in place with shuttering removed.
1936] Slough: (BLN 1325.711) On 31 Jul both island platform London end extensions were almost
complete, but not joined to the current platforms. The two side platforms were much less advanced.
1937] New Stock: The new Bombardier Class 720 and Stadler Flirt Class 745 and 755 trains require
minor change to berthing positions and some platform lengthening; at Shippea Hill (BLN 1332.1783)
this is for a total of 7 trains per week, only one of which uses the Up P2! Others are both platforms at
Westerfield and Salhouse and Dullingham P1 on the Down Loop. At Westerfield the increase is 6m at
the country end to provide clearance to the level crossing and Salhouse 8m for sighting (Down P1) and
clearance (P2) of the barrow crossing. At Dullingham it is 10m for signal sighting. However there and
elsewhere, 295 'Tracklink III' RFID Tags (Radio Frequency Identification) are to be placed at 77 locations
by the top of the platform ramp on a sleeper between the running rails to assist ASDO (Automatic
Selective Door Operation). They are unpowered and passive (drawing power from the on train
readers) RFID tags embedded within a Vortok beam of yellow colour secured at each end by a steel
bracket and two screws. 'Vortok' is the manufacturer's name; the company produces a range of small
items of equipment including a balise mount system. (Their web site is most interesting - Regional Ed.)
1938] Shippea Hill: (BLN 1332.1783) Mention of the station reminded a member that despite the
name it is around sea level (the eponymous 'Hill' 1½ mile to the west is 5m above sea level.) He asks if
there are any stations in the British Isles with 'Hill' in their name below sea level‽ [Gants Hill possibly?]
1939] Watford North Jn: (BLN 1306.1186) This short item indicated regret, by TOCs at least, at the
removal of this junction. The background to the removal of these connections between fast and slow
tracks on the Kings Langley side of the station is made clear in NR'S preliminary moves to consult on
reinstatement. The S&C at Watford North was originally planned to be renewed as part of the Watford
Area Remodelling project in 2015. At the time the work was underway, the Chiltern route was closed
for emergency earthworks being undertaken at Harbury (a serious landslip) and was not available for
diversion of trains or passengers. Because of the likely duration of the works at Harbury, NR took the
decision to cancel the two possessions that were planned to install the new Watford North Jn.
Two sets of S&C that had remained in place were later removed to fully plain line the junction reducing
operational risk and this has remained so. NR has since held workshops with users producing an initial
Junctions Strategy document in Jul 2017. This outlined a number of options for Watford North and for
other junctions on the WCML south. The Strategy document concluded that, based on current and
future timetables, Watford North Jn was not required. However, this was not supported by the wider
industry as the junction was critical in times of disruption. Further analysis was undertaken by NR
during 2018 and it was concluded that the junction should be re-instated as soon as practicably
possible. Current Route Asset plans expect to reinstate the junction at Watford North Jn in 2022.
1940] Shepperton: (BLN 1331.1578) Regarding the 'BEF' prefix on the new signal plates, as far as a
member is aware, 'BE' is for Basingstoke (ROC or whatever it may be called in the future as there is
still no signalling in that building!). This is odd as the current 'new' Basingstoke Area Signalling Centre
controlling the main line (Farnborough/Southcote Jn - Andover area) is 'BE' but other signalling areas
in that building are 'PW' (Poole - Wool) and 'SE' (Salisbury - Exeter; but not covering either extremity!).
The 'F' is for Feltham. Presume the 'BEF' prefix may be used for all of the Feltham and Wokingham
signalling areas which are currently expected to be resignalled to Basingstoke (ROC?) under the
Feltham Resignalling Scheme during the 2020-2025 period. Although, as with all signalling schemes
nowadays, these dates/plans perhaps should be treated with some caution. The workstation covering
the Shepperton branch is actually called (wait for it....) .... the 'Shepperton Workstation'.
1941] Ely: (TRACKmaps 2 p12A Oct 2016) A member was on http://bit.ly/2MAQJOZ Pathfinder's Mid
Norfolk Navigator Crewe to Dereham and Hoe Lane (Mid Norfolk Railway) tour on Sat 8 Mar 2014. Ely
West Curve was only available on the return, so outward it had to reverse at Ely. Heading south the
tour ran east of P3 to reverse on the Soham line then back through P1 to Wymondham. Does anyone
know if it used the Through Siding or the Up & Down Goods Loop please to reach the Soham line?
1942] Iver won't be going up the loop: (BLN 1327.1017) NR advises that the Up Iver Loop remains out
of use until 14 Dec but reinstatement work begins 'over the summer period'. This will include removal
of the entry end trap points which are no longer necessary. Sleepers seen across the track on 31 Jul at
15m 9ch and 14m 35ch prevent access to a length over which the track has been removed for relaying.
1333 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]
1943] Fareham Tunnels - the final answer: (BLN 1322.1792) From R A Williams, The L&SWR, Vol 1
(David & Charles, 1968). The Eastleigh (then Bishopstoke) - Fareham line was advertised to open on
Mon 26 Jul 1841. However, this was delayed as part of the north section of Fareham Tunnel, where it
runs through clay, failed on the morning of 15 Jul as the last section of earth was being dug out. This is
documented in a report to the Directors on 27 Aug 1841. 40 yards of the roof arch brickwork, 3ft thick,
came down; work continued around the clock and was expected to take three weeks. However, the
original slip extended and it was decided to open out the affected part to make a cutting. Heavy rain
caused more delay and the railway did not open until 20 Nov 1841 with TWO tunnels from the outset.
1944] West Worthing: (BLN 1332.1791) The last Class 717 had departed by 26 Jul.
1945] Hurst Castle: South of Lymington, at the southernmost extent of land beyond Keyhaven, Hurst
Castle had an 18" gauge railway. Operational from 1895 to 1956 it was used to move ammunition and
supplies around the castle by hand and donkey haulage (but not mule). Much track still remains in situ.
It is one of 42 British military narrow gauge railways http://bit.ly/2YBKahx tabulated by Wikipedia.
BELOW & NEXT PAGE: Our London Editor tracked these down at Hurst Castle. (Geoff Brockett.)
X.93] BELOW Moreton-in-Marsh, the 17.38 to Paddington, a 9-car IET, leaves P1 on Fri 26 Jul.
With only 689 seats on the train did all the passengers manage to find one? (Stephen Atkinson.)
X.94] TOMTIS: (BLN 1332.1800) LEFT:
A recent example of the new Ticket
Office Machine Ticket Issuing System
ticket. At least it's a proper card ticket
and not a loo roll type. (Stuart Hicks.)
1333 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon) [email protected]
1946] Pinhoe bidirectionality: Engineering work at Exmouth Jn in 2020 will see SWR services from the
east terminate in P2 on the Down Waterloo P2 with single line working. A pilotman (should that be
pilot person?) will join/leave at Honiton; trains will stop at EJ1 signal then run to/from the point of
obstruction in P2. SWR is likely to run a two hourly service, boosted in the peaks, with other paths
used by engineering trains. As the single track to Honiton commences around 20ch east of the station
no crossover is involved in the service reversals. Pinhoe level crossing will be signaller operated.
1947] Looe: More advanced notice, this time for a four day full line closure of the branch (including the
Moorswater branch cement traffic) during the first week of March 2020 for a bridge to be replaced.
This involves the removal of the track, followed by the existing bridge. New sill beams will be installed
followed by a precast concrete deck which will need to be lifted in using a tracked crane. Once the new
deck has been installed the track will be reinstated. These works were originally scheduled to be
undertaken earlier but were postponed on the advice of the Marine Management Organisation so as
not to interfere with a period of high fish migration. It is good to see such investment in the line.
1948] St Erth: (BLN 1332.1802) The first proposal to move St Ives Park & Ride from Lelant Saltings was
in 2011 with a plan to move Penzance heliport to the same site. The heliport was to be sold to a well
known supermarket chain that uses orange colouring in its marketing. It was claimed that it would be
the only Park & Ride heliport in the world. There were mass objections and the scheme was dropped.
British International Helicopters went away altogether, along with the employment that went with it,
but the supermarket was developed as planned. Fixed wing aircraft now serve the Isles of Scilly from
Newquay, Exeter and Land's End airports instead, none rail served; the ferry still uses Penzance.
By 10 Jul Cornwall County Council had failed to remove many of the road signs directing motorists to
Lelant Saltings. Your BLN Editor has emailed them about their website (and St Ives Town Council about
theirs); both emails acknowledged, but the websites still misdirect visitors to the closed Park & Ride.
Also on 10 Jul, when the sun was shining brightly and it was very warm with all the beaches packed,
GWR was only able to run a 2-car Class 150; it's normally 2x2-car. After 10.00 during the summer a
pedestrian circulatory system is in place at St Ives (the heart of the branch?). Arriving passengers exit
the platform next to the buffer stops and departing passengers are directed behind the platform to a
waiting area and gate at the St Erth end (bidirectional members might have difficulties).
1333 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]
1949] HS2 Curzon Street: A search for contractors to construct the half a billion pound station began in
Nov 2018. The intention was to let a 'design and build' contract with bidders expected to be shortlisted
this spring and contracts awarded in 2020. But a recent Official Journal of the European Union notice
stated: Phase 1 stations: Birmingham Curzon Street design and build contract. HS2 Ltd hereby
terminates the whole of this procurement process and will not proceed with the invitation to tender
stage. A subsequent notice announced: HS2 is to host an industry day to re-engage with the market
and launch its revised strategy based on market feedback for the procurement of the station.
It adds: HS2 has recognised the current market conditions are challenging and the increasing concern
regarding risk transfer and wanted to revise our position to provide a better balance and overall
outcome. It continues: The industry day will provide an opportunity to re-engage with the market and
outline our revised strategy which we believe will attract a larger number of bidders, reduce risk and
thereby produce a more competitive process. [Does this mean that it was expected that all bids
received would be unaffordable?] Initial design work for the station has already been undertaken.
1950] Birmingham: There were many problems here, as elsewhere, on Thur 25 Jul due to the extreme
record breaking heat (which melted some roads too and many cars broke down), mainly OHLE related
from lunchtime on. The 13.02 Virgin Trains Crewe to Euston was a particular victim/culprit. Running
right time off Wolverhampton (13.45) it was diverted via Grand Jn due to problems on the Stour Line
since at least 13.15. It then had OHLE problems of its own in the Aston area, finally stopping between
Aston and Duddeston about 14.15. There it stood until 22.50 when it finally left for Oxley via New
Street. Strangely online systems showed it apparently arriving New Street 16.43 (158 mins late) giving
the appearance of taking 3 hours 3 mins to travel from Wolverhampton; is that some sort of record?
In fact two '1Z99's attended; a Virgin Voyager was dispatched to rescue the passengers near Aston.
That arrived around 17.30 on the adjacent line, and after passenger transfer ran into Aston station and
reversed to take the Stechford line at 18.30 to detrain its passengers at Birmingham International at
18.42. It was well worth all the inconvenience for the rare trailing crossover out of Aston P1 though.
A second '1Z99' (Class 57) arrived at Aston from the Bescot direction around 19.10, but in the event
left light engine back north around 22.30. That put paid to the Cross City North, and Walsall local
trains, but there was chaos on most lines anyway, even late into the evening. At 22.30 there were four
trains on the Down Grand Junction line between Darlaston Jn and Portobello Jn; one booked freight
and three diverted passenger trains each over an hour late already. At least one train turned back at
Sandwell & Dudley - a passenger signalled move over Albion Jn trailing crossover (5m 73ch) and one
was to shunt at Watery Lane via Tipton trailing crossover (7m 76ch). Nothing appears to have turned
back at Perry Barr or Smethwick Rolfe Street; all are passenger signalled moves since resignalling.
1951] University: Originally designed for 400,000 passengers a year and opened on Mon 8 May 1978,
our Editor, a final year Medical Student in those days, was the first passenger to join a train at the
station. Growth of the University of Birmingham and the nearby Queen Elizabeth Hospital - now the
largest hospital in Europe - resulted in 3.4M passenger entrances and exits in 2017-18 (more than at
Crewe). Outline plans for a new station were recently unveiled, to cope with 7.2M passenger a year
and targeted to open for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The University is hosting the hockey and
squash. The plans, for public consultation shortly, are led by Transport for West Midlands, funded by
the DfT, NR, West Midlands Railway, Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership,
Birmingham City Council and the University. It includes a new building, with new passenger facilities
and a wide footbridge at the New Street end rather than the country end as now. It will provide direct
access from the station over the road to the hospital and across the canal to the University camp.
1952] Stoke: (BLN 1332.1820) A new crossover has been laid between the two roads of the former
Esso sidings now used by a materials reclamation company. North of the road (north end of the site)
has been cleared of vegetation, several piles of rail and at least two intermodal wagon underframes.
NEXT PAGES: Kidderminster BEST VIEWED IN FULL SCREEN WIDITH Sat 3 Aug, evening, the 1968
building has been demolished. (All Stephen Atkinson.) The unusual landscape view is from the station
footbridge across to the east side of the Severn Valley Railway station with Comberton Hill to the right
leading down the hill to the town centre. Off far left are the main line platforms looking towards
Worcester. Your Editor is responsible for the picture distortion to enhance the detail and fill the page.
1953] Kidderminster: After installation of a two-window temporary ticket office with staff facilities,
work to demolish the previous station building has begun. The replacement structure will be glass
fronted, double the size and much better equipped to handle the nearly two million passengers using
the station each year. It is now the second busiest station in Worcestershire after Worcester Foregate
Street. The small brick building was built in 1968, replacing a large mock Tudor one that had survived
for nearly 100 years before its demise at the hands of dry rot. First opened in 1852, Kidderminster
station was part of the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway's Evesham to Stourbridge
extension. The line was engineered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel originally with mixed broad and
standard gauge and a 371yd long impressive timber viaduct south of Kidderminster station running to
the west of the present brick structure (look for the tall sandstone abutments still there each end).
1954] Tamworth: Your Regional Editor has often wondered why, when the 17.39 New Street to Derby
is cancelled with two packed services crammed on to the 17.49 (often two coaches), CrossCountry has
not stopped the 17.30 New Street to Newcastle at Burton and Tamworth. The 17.39 is the 'Derby
Relief', unusually calling at all stations, a peak fifth train between 17.00 and 18.00 (BLN 1322.326).
Recently for the first time in his many years of commuting, the 17.30 to Newcastle did additionally
stop at Tamworth and Burton - he hopes it wasn't a one off. At Wilnecote the new ticket machine,
hidden next to the shelter on Down (Birmingham) P1 has seen quite a bit of use (including by your Reg
Ed). Vandals have already tried to destroy the power supply junction box which, although badly
battered, was not opened. London Midland signage remains unlike at Tamworth and Water Orton.
X.95] Great Malvern, BELOW: The new West Midlands signs are very clear. (David Guy, 21 Jul 2019.)
1955] Ironbridge: (BLN 1332.1812) On 14 Nov 2009 a member was on the previous steam train to do
the branch. It was a Vintage Trains perambulation around the West Midlands from Tyseley (Warwick
Road station then), double headed with pannier tanks 9466 & 9600. An advertised highlight was to
cross the River Severn on the Albert Edward Bridge into the Power Station complex; obviously a major
attraction. Unfortunately, on the day, participants were informed that the tour could not cross the
bridge and instead would reverse just short at Coalbrookdale. This was not due to any structural or
mechanical problem, but climate change protesters on the far side of the bridge and it was deemed
wise not to provoke them. At the time the plant was coal fired and one of Europe's most polluting.
1956] Wolverhampton: The £150M transport hub hit new heights recently with completion of the roof
on Phase 1 of the new station. It is now watertight; the ground floor and first floor slabs have been
fitted. Work has begun on external cladding, internal partitions and services and the windows are due
to be fitted. There are no changes to the platform areas. The first section of the new building is
expected to be operational later this year, when Phase 2 begins. This is demolition of the rest of the
old building and completing the new build. The new station building will be fully open in summer 2020.
1333 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]
1957] Lisburn - Portadown: (BLN 1332.1711 & 1829) The Moira/Lisburn to Portadown closure started
as booked on Sat 27 Jul with Moira crossover in use as outlined until 23 Aug. Additionally, the Up to
Down trailing crossover for Lisburn P1 departures towards Belfast is in use: (SSuX) 10.08 Lisburn to
Bangor and half-hourly until 15.08 then 15.40, 19.38, 20.08, 20.38, 21.08, 22.08 & 22.58. (SO) 07.08
ex-Lisburn and half-hourly to 09.38 then 10.07 and half-hourly to 18.07 then 18.38, 19.08, 19.38,
20.08, 20.38, 21.08, 22.08 & 22.58. (SuO) 09.08 ex-Lisburn and hourly until 22.08. Also SSuX the
06.30 Newry to Dublin Connolly uses the Down to Up trailing crossover on departure from Newry.
Since the closure started there have been many complaints on social media, some about inadequate
bus provision but mainly that trains from Moira have not been waiting for buses from Portadown and
Lurgan. Departures are hand signalled north from Moira over the crossover (repositioned in Oct 2017).
1958] Londonderry: (BLN 1330.1490 track plan) The new station is progressing slowly. Most of the
new track has been laid but much remains to be done on the platforms and building. The new track
deviates from the existing formation ¼ mile before the current P1 buffer stops. As reported the
Londonderry line will be shortened by 8ch to the new buffer stops or 9ch to the expected stop board.
1959] Portrush: P2 remains the only operational platform of the three. A NIR notice saying that it
would be in use to 27 Jul 2019 has been amended to 'until further notice'. As a result the RPSI Portrush
Flyer steam excursion from Whitehead excursion platform via the 'other' Belfast station is effectively
the Coleraine Flyer. Portrush passengers change to a railcar, but was still fully booked on 4 & 11 Aug.
1960] Coleraine: Further to the NIR microgricing guide with e-BLN 1330 (15 Jun 2019) available on our
website document archive: The (SSuX) 06.05 Great Victoria Street to Londonderry is the only all year
train booked to enter Coleraine P2 from the Belfast end and traverse its whole length. All of P2 is also
done (SSuX) by the 09.50 Belfast to Portrush and 18.30 Portrush to GVS but both until 31 Aug only.
1961] Whitehead: (BLN 1331.1661) A local member advises that (SSuX) the 06.30, 08.45 and 20.15
now depart from P1 for Belfast; the rest use P2. Great Victoria Street to Larne trains use P1 (SSuX)
except the 06.40 & 07.35. From the 15.15 onwards all GVS to Larne trains use P2 except 18.15 (P1).
1962] Belfast Hub: (BLN 1326.891) The new transport facility, near to and replacing Great Victoria
Street, will have eight platforms - four islands each with two faces - as well as 23 bus stands. Tenders
for construction http://bit.ly/2T4kCs5 close 15.00 on 4 Sep. Work is anticipated to start in Mar 2021
and take four years to complete. [Maybe this is a factor in giving Belfast Central that 'other name'?]
NEXT PAGE TOP AND LOWER: The driver of the set in Moira P1 is shown the green flag then departs
over the trailing crossover to return back towards Belfast. (Martin Baumann, 31 Jul 2019.)
1963] Kellswater: The station at 29m 15ch between Antrim and Ballymena had its last timetabled call
Sat 13 Mar 1971 and was closed with effect from Mon 15 Mar 1971. However, on Sat 30 Jun 1979
there was a special at 09.40 to Portrush (ECS from Belfast) and an 18.07 ex-Portrush (ECS to Belfast).
1964] Tanderagee: At 81m 79ch between Portadown and Poyntzpass the last timetabled train called
on Mon 4 Jan 1965; the station closed with effect from 5 Jan. However, it was used by a school party
to Cultra on 19 Jun 1980, in this case by a Portadown service train altered to start and finish there for
the party. (The set first had to run ECS to Poyntzpass to reverse before picking up the party as did the
one which returned to Tanderagee later that day). It is likely that there has been other occasional use
by excursion trains of closed Northern Ireland Railway stations and any discovered will be reported.
1965] Midleton: 30 Jul was the 10th anniversary of the reopening of the line to passengers. It has seen
passenger growth every year during the economic downturn and recovery alike. There have been
3.4M journeys during the last 10 years. 274 trains operate every week on the 14¼ mile run between
Midleton and Cork and they have travelled over 1.8M miles since services began. A record 437,000
journeys were made during 2018, with a further increase of almost 10% in journeys so far this year.
1966] Cork: Single line working was to operate between Cork east end facing crossover and Cobh Jn
trailing crossover (neither rare) 10.00 - 16.00: 29 Jul Down line, 31 Jul Up line, 1 & 2 Aug Down line.
1333 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
1967] Ramsey (1): The Department for Infrastructure recently announced that it is to surface part of
the trackbed to make it accessible for all. This is on the St John's to Ramsey onetime Manx Northern
Railway (the last passenger train ran on Fri 6 Sep 1968) now notable as a wonderful long distance walk
with extensive views of the IOM west coast and well worth doing. It has the added bonus of a parallel
bus route operating at least an hourly service throughout the day! Most of the Douglas to Peel and the
Foxdale to St John's branch are also interesting and pleasant railway walks. A Fri 13 Sep 2013 Society
walk from Foxdale did much of the trackbed towards Ramsey during our latest IOM long weekend.
1968] Ramsey (2): (BLN 1311.1801) A member, on the Island for the recent Transport Festival with his
wheelchair bound mother, booked a Manx Electric Railway return (a special working) to Ramsey on
wheelchair friendly Trailer 56 which was hauled by Car 9. At Ramsey some of the new paling fencing
and one of the 'planter buffers' had been removed. Tram cars could then cross Parsonage Rd Level
Crossing on the seaside track from the present 'temporary' station (17m 62ch) south of the crossing to
the former 'Plaza' terminus (17m 67ch) - last passenger train Sun 30 Oct 2016. This was due to the
busy scheduling, as occasionally cars need to be recessed, as would that morning's service working.
The sleepers in front of the planter box on the landward side are padlocked in place, while those on
the seaward side are moveable, and indeed investigation on 5 Aug showed signs they had been moved
recently. The track just outside the old station building has had a layer of rust removed. The run-round
manœuvre (for car and trailer) is done before a tram is taken across the road into the original station.
Ramsey Plaza site is only used for stabling trams when there is an intensive timetable - during festival
periods. The next expected use is during The Festival of Motorcycling from 17 to 30 Aug.
The special was scheduled to leave Ramsey at 11.20, ahead of the 11.40 service, but a booked nursing
home party in wheelchairs wheeled up early, allowing an earlier departure. They went to the Mines
Tavern at Laxey for lunch (although that could just have been their cover story for sneaking out to do
the Great Laxey Mine Railway). It took a long time to unload the wheelchairs there, as the Douglas
bound one had to be first temporarily offloaded out of the way. By then the 11.40 was close behind.
The Laxey stationmaster told the crew of 9 & 56 to use the car sheds crossover to allow the service car
to pass. So our member and his mother were able to do Laxey Car Shed trailing crossover (6m 67ch)!
9 & 56 rolled up at Laxey again at about 14.30 to return the nursing home escapees back to Ramsey.
Perhaps they might consider investing in 3ft gauge flanged electric wheelchairs with OHLE poles...
PREVIOUS TOP: The 'temporary' (Oct 2016 and counting) Ramsey Manx Electric Railway terminus
looking south towards Laxey & Douglas. The crossover is at 17m 60ch (TRACKmaps 1 p23D Nov 2017).
LOWER: Ramsey, Manx Electric Railway north with the former 'Plaza' terminus in the background,
curving to the right. The chained sleepers, left, are on the landside and the moveable ones, right, are
on the seaside track with evidence of recent use. (Both pictures Jenny Williamson, Mon 5 Aug 2019.)
ABOVE: (Item 1868) Car 56 & 9 trailer pass The Mines Tavern, Laxey northbound. (Jenny Williamson.)
1969] Groudle Glen Railway: (MR p12) (BLN 1327.1070) New build Bagnall 'Brown Bear', a replica of
the railway's original 1905 'Polar Bear' locomotive was delivered to the railway on 8 Jul. Transported
on the overnight Isle of Man Steam Packet Co ferry, it was formally 'launched' along with 'Otter' on
Sun 28 Jul. (E-BLN 113.X.77 has a picture of 'Otter' working on 9 Jun.) Our local reporters duly attended
the 28 Jul 'launch' - an appropriate word with the amount of rain that fell (but it got 'otter later...).
Some names were inspired by animals at the zoo at the sea end of the line in Victorian days. 'Brown
Bear' cost £120k to build, from a fundraising campaign and 'Otter' £70k, from a charitable grant. In fact
they never had Otters at the zoo (which closed down during WWII), and otters are not native to the
IOM, but the name fits the railway's animal theme. 'Otter', was built speculatively in the UK, but not
sold; was an opportunistic purchase by the Groudle Glen Railway. It had already been named "Otter".
The 2ft gauge line OP 1896 and closed in 1962. (Your BLN Editor remembers walking the trackbed in
1964 and being surprised at what artefacts remained. He particularly remembers, a sign on the main
road read, amongst other things, 'numerous attractions', those two words having been struck out as
numerous attractions there were not!) The 1,000yd railway fully ROP (public services) 25 May 1986.
NEXT PAGE TOP: ♫ ♪ If you go down to the woods today (or at least on Sun 28 Jul 2019) you're sure of
a big surprise... ♪ If you go down to the woods today you'd better go in disguise... ♫ Three brown
bears at Llen Coan, the inland terminus. LOWER: Otter & Brown Bear side by side. (Jenny Williamson.)
ABOVE: Plan of the 2ft gauge Groudle Glen railway (the red line) which is 1,000yd long.
X.96] BELOW: The next section of the Horse Tramway to reopen between The Hydro and The Palace
Hotel is complete; the bus stop is Central Promenade 'Palace Hotel'. (Jenny Williamson, 4 Aug 2019.)
1332 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe) [email protected]
X.97] West Highland Line: Due to flood damage at several locations the line was closed between
Arduli and Crianlarich from Mon 5 Aug. (ABOVE) one of these locations; note the metal sleepers (NR).
1333 WALES & THE MARCHES (Chris Parker) [email protected]
1970] Cardiff Central & West Wales Parkway: In one of his last acts as the previous UK Secretary of
State for Transport, Chris Grayling announced that, subject to the usual 'value for money' assurances,
the UK Government would contribute £58M to the estimated £120M cost of a scheme which dates
back to 2013 (BLN 1214.1224) to upgrade Cardiff Central station with longer platforms and better
access. The rest would be from Cardiff Capital Region and the Welsh Government. Also the Secretary
of State for Wales at Westminster declared that plans for a West Wales Parkway station on the (little
used) Swansea District Line close to M4 junction 46 'at Felindre' (the former tinplate works site near
Llangyfelach station site) are to be progressed. This is claimed to cut West Wales journey times by
about 14 mins, but only between Llanelli (and the west) and of Briton Ferry (and the east) of course!
1971] Shrewsbury - Gobowen; WSJ2 187m67ch: (BLN 1332.1861) The Whittington A495 level crossing
upgrade drop in event was well attended by NR including the project manager and a communications
officer but less so by the public. However, your Regional Ed found it most valuable and also gleaned
information about the Conwy Valley repairs [investigative journalism at its best]. http://bit.ly/2KapdpF
is a web page for the Whittington project with FAQ, actually far more interesting than might be
expected (go on, have a look). The usual claim that the work is needed 'to maintain a safe and reliable
railway' is made despite the benefits being almost entirely for road users here. The new surface is
certainly 'high tech'; despite being very hard wearing it compresses under the weight of road vehicles
acting as a cushion or extra pneumatic tyre and fits closely to the rails so will be particularly beneficial
to cyclists. However the only trackwork involved is the replacement of one sleeper; the line here was
completely relaid about nine years ago. Perhaps the claim refers to vehicles or cycles possibly coming
to grief on the existing uneven crossing and causing an obstruction to both road and rail traffic?
1972] Conwy Valley Line: (BLN 1332.1708, 1709 & 1854) On 16 Mar 2019 with Storm Gareth, over 4"
of rain fell at Capel Curig, the highest ever recorded there in one day and was exacerbated by a high
tide causing the flood damage. To reopen the branch six miles of track, 10 level crossings and nine
culverts required major repairs (additional culverts were built). Embankments were reconstructed,
washed out material removed, ballast replaced and crossings refurbished. During the five month line
closure, various unrelated maintenance and renewal activities were also carried out, particularly
vegetation clearance and new fencing. Despite it being emergency work, NR and contractor Griffiths
used local suppliers for everything from steel reinforcing bars and concrete to food suppliers, including
9,500 tonnes of rock armour and 3,000 tonnes of ballast from nearby quarries. Sustainability was a
priority, 91% of the washout material removed was recycled and about 5,000 tonnes of topsoil reused.
All staff were within one hour's travel of the site; vegetation and tree stumps went to a local biomass
facility. NR has advised that Dolgarrog platform, due for refurbishment later this year, was demolished
after the floods as it had moved and effectively floated off its foundations. This might have been rather
more expected at Boat of Garten, Shippea Hill, Keele, Sale, Rock Ferry or Shiplake stations perhaps?
Options for platform reconstruction are being investigated; poor ground conditions make traditional
methods 'very tricky indeed'. The station is closed indefinitely but valid rail tickets are accepted on
'Llew Jones International' 19/X19 bus services. It was Wales' least used station in 2017-18 with 612
passenger entrances and exits in total. The previously unexplained 30mph limit south of Dolgarrog is
now believed to have originated as a temporary restriction following previous flood damage repairs;
it was never lifted through oversight. The ballast train from Basford Hall on 15 Jul is reported to have
been for embankment consolidation to allow the line to reopen without temporary speed restrictions.
From the Dec 2019 timetable RTT shows the Llandudno - Blaenau Ffestiniog Sunday service operating
all year with four round trips instead of three, fulfilling a promise in TfW's launch presentation last Oct.
Meanwhile extra DMU-operated workings to North Llanrwst ran for the nearby National Eisteddfod
from Sat 3 to Fri 9 Aug. TfW is one of the main sponsors of the event. Some splitting from and coupling
to the normal Blaenau services took place at
North Llanrwst to save paths. Sat 3 Aug was an
uncharacteristically busy day on this normally
sleepy branch with 15 passenger arrivals and 14
departures at North Llanrwst including through
trains from/to Holyhead or Bangor. Fortuitously
DMUs were available at the weekend due to the
Acton Grange Jn closure. The normal service is
six trains each way as far as Llandudno or 'The
Junction' only! Trains were very busy and there
was strong BTP presence. Additionally a TfW-
sponsored steam excursion 'Crwydro Conwy'
(The Conwy Quest) from Chester ran to Blaenau on Sat 3 Aug (£75 return) with your BLN editor and
other members on board. TfW, NR & Conwy Valley Rail Partnership representatives were present.
[Our members were advised of the trip in e-BLN 1332 and the associated email.] This was to celebrate
and publicise the branch reopening. It was an impressive sight, double-headed by 'Leander' Jubilee
45690 & LMS Stanier Class 8F 48151 operated excellently by West Coast Railways. The 9-coach train
included a support coach, a First and a Pullman coach for dignitaries, press and other VIPs and then
there was a buffet (staffed by 'Steve', well known on BLN tours) and five Standard Class open coaches.
At Mostyn the Up Mostyn Goods Loop looked as if it hadn't been used since our Conwy Cat tour did it
in both directions on Thur 13 Jun. At Rhyl the Down non-platform though line was used, then at the
15" gauge Rhyl Miniature Railway whistles were exchanged with two of their steam locos positioned
by the lake alongside the main line 'top & tailing' a couple of coaches. On the Conwy Valley branch
itself the considerable amount of work carried out was evident - devegetation has improved the views.