Issue Number 1286 (Items 1577 - 1711Is&suMe NRu1m33be-rM1R261845) (BLN 55 PAGES) 12 Aug 2017
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded
Website: www19.b5r5an) chline.org.uk
Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from memb7e2r8s6;7a7n international section is also
Opinions herein are not necessaarivlyaitlahbolsee. of the Compilers or the Society.
……………….BLN 1287 is dated Sat 26 AuSgo;cCieotny.trSiobcuiettiyo.ns must be received by 16 Aug
Date Event and details BLN Lead Status
Monday? TBA *NEW* Saltmarshe - Ferriby, Melton Lane signal box visits 1286 NJ *OPEN*
Sun 20/8/17 Yorkshire Minor Railways; 09.00 Wolds Way Lavender etc 1284 AS OPEN
Sat 2/9/17 The 565 Special, NW England - SW Wales Update BLN 1281 1280 KA OPEN
Sun 3/9/17 Wolverhampton MES 11.00 & Staffordshire MES 14.00 1286 SM *OPEN*
Sat 9/9/17 Greendale Rocket; Heartlands Park SIDINGS/PRDC etc 1282 JE OPEN
Sun 10/9/17 Lunchtime visit Sandiway Miniature Railway followed by… 1286 JC *OPEN*
Sun 10/9/17 …Sandbach - Alsager railway afternoon walk - see below 1286 JC *OPEN*
Fri 22/9/17 Swindon & Cricklade Railway 11.00 & 14.00 railtours 1286 KA *OPEN*
Fri 22/9/17 Guided signal box visit at Liverpool Lime Street 1285 BC Enquire
Sat 23/9/17 Southeastern Metrolander; 07.30 - 20.00 with SE Trains 1283 JE OPEN
Thu 28/9/17 South Wales Valley new track Service Train Tracker III 1285 DC OPEN
Sat 30/9/17 Birmingham New Street PSB visits & possibly other boxes 1286 JE *OPEN*
7 & 8/10/17 Minor Railways weekend Beds, Bucks and Northampton 1286 JE *OPEN*
Sat 14/10/17 Statfold Barn Railway, Tamworth, BLS private railtour 1286 JE *OPEN*
Sat 21/10/17 Heaton Park Tramway, Manchester - tour with new track TBA TBA Claimed
Wed 25/10/17 Morning & afternoon guided Ashover Light Railway walks TBA TBA Claimed
17 to 19/11/17 AGM fixtures - Liverpool Area weekend UPDATE BELOW TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 2/12/17 Virgin Trains railtour - save the date in your diary TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 6/1/2018 *NEW* Scunthorpe Steel Works railtour 09.30 until dark TBA TBA Claimed
AS-Alan Sheppard, BC-Barney Clark, DC-David Clark, JC-John Cameron, JE-Jill Everitt, KA-Kev Adlam,
NJ-Nick Jones, SM-Simon Mortimer.
1577] Committee Meeting: Your Committee's next meeting is on 10 Sep. If any member wishes to
bring anything to the Committee's attention please contact the General Secretary per back page ASAP.
1578] Saltmarshe - Melton Lane (Ferriby): (BLN 1253.602) This line is being resignalled for Mar 2018
commissioning. A short notice visit (likely a Monday this autumn) to some or even all of the 10 signal/
gate boxes is in hand. Expressions of interest to Nick Jones [email protected] (note two
underscores) or (with SAE) to 57 Blar Mhor Rd, Caol, Fort William, PH33 7HR. Please advise if you are
arriving by car (and how many lifts you can give) or train - we may well need to minimise car usage.
BLS Members only, Hi-Viz orange jackets are required, an on the day cash charity donation applies.
1579] Wolverhampton & District Model Engineering Society, Sun 3 Sep, 11.00: (MR p23) 5"/7¼"
Baggeridge Country Park, Wombourne, DY3 4HB, (SO 899 930). A comprehensive visit to cover
the new (OP 28 May 2017) and much amended layout see https://goo.gl/y3rth4 therefore even
of interest to those who have visited before. There is now 1,400ft of ground level 5"/7¼" track
and 400ft of 3½"/5" elevated track. The former includes a new tunnel route, flat crossings and
curves not previously in passenger service. It is hoped to cover other 'non-passenger' lines such as
bay platforms and various shed roads as practicable. Unusual motive power (and more than one
loco) requested! Then Staffordshire Model Engineers, 14.00: (MR p24) Agricultural Show Ground,
Stafford, ST18 0BD (SJ 957 256). Aiming for comprehensive coverage of the 7¼" gauge lines with
the new 700yd loop extension (total 1,250yd run), steam traction (max 24, preference given to
those attending both events). Each visit is £10 adults, £5 child; pay on the day in cash. Expressions
of interest/queries to Simon Mortimer [email protected] (preferred) or 07835 739940.
1580] Sandiway Miniature Railway, Sun 10 Sep 13.00-14.00: (MR p13) (E-BLN 1280.MR 74 picture)
Mid-Cheshire Society of Model Engineers, Sandiway Wood, behind Blakemere Craft Centre, Northwich,
CW8 2EB, (SJ 599 703). Public services are being operated that day and our wishes for 'unusual track'
will be considered within these on the day. We had a very comprehensive visit to their previous site at
Pettypool. Must be booked: John Cameron, (per back page); £5 cash pay on the day. Followed by…
1581] Wheelock Rail Trail & Salt Line Way; Sandbach - Alsager railway walk (4½ miles): Meet about
14.40 near Sandbach (35 mins drive from the Sandiway Miniature) for a 'car shuffle' to the Alsager end
(15 mins drive). Details will be supplied. Then a guided walk of three miles of the North Staffordshire
Railway Sandbach to Lawton Jn line (some station remains to see) with a deviation via the Trent &
Mersey Canal 'round' a golf course. Local passenger services finished 1930 and the line CA in the early
1970s. Notifications (required) to John Cameron; please indicate if you can offer or require transport.
1582] Swindon & Cricklade Railway, Fri 22 Sep 11.00/14.00: (MR p6) (BLN 1221.1662 - report of a
previous visit with track plan) Blunsdon Station, Tadpole Lane, Blunsdon, SN25 2DA (SU 109898).
Thanks to our member Rod Bryant, two identical two-hour 'all available track' railtours with lines not
covered on our previous visits, with the extension past South Meadow Lane level crossing towards
Cricklade; (an original Midland & South Western Junction Railway route not done by public workings);
each trip is for 20 participants. Intended locos: ex-PWM shunter and D3261. The new 5"/7¼" gauge
miniature at Blunsdon is under investigation. Members £22, non-members £27, cheques 'Branch Line
Society' to Kev Adlam (per back page) with an email address or SAE (two for an acknowledgement).
1583] Birmingham New Street PSB, Sat 30 Sep: Thanks to John Cowburn, a rare visit to the interesting
and rather cramped Grade II listed box before further sections of the panel close over Christmas.
Max 20 (5 groups of 4), BLS members only; provisionally 10.00 start and aiming for at least half an hour
each. Two other West Midlands boxes MAY be possible. An on the day charity cash donation applies;
orange Hi-Viz jackets required. Bookings: Jill Everitt (back page) with an email address or SAE (two for
acknowledgement) indicating where you expect to be travelling from and if coming by train or car.
If the latter please advise how many lifts you could give. Please provide a mobile number, if possible,
for on the day contact. The finish time is flexible; purchasing of 'Advance' rail tickets is not advisable.
1584] BLS Animal Tracker, Sat 7 Oct: Thanks to Bill Davis, a day of minor railway visits; all available
track tours of the Great Whipsnade Railway (09.00 at the zoo), Caldecotte Miniature Railway (Milton
Keynes MES) and the Lavendon Narrow Gauge Railway. £28 (non-members £35) includes Whipsnade
admission, all tours & refreshments at Lavendon. Bookings to Jill Everitt (back page) and see next item.
1585] Along Lilliput Lines, Sun 8 Oct: Another day of visits for miniature men, thanks to Bill Davis;
all available track tours of Gulliver's Railroad (Milton Keynes 09.00), Willen Miniature Railway (Milton
Keynes) and the Northampton Society of Model Engineers system at Park, Northampton. £12
(non-members £15) includes all tours and refreshments at Northampton SME. Bookings: Jill Everitt.
NB: FOR BOTH DAYS: Please indicate if you can offer lifts (and number) or require them between sites.
.1586] Payment for BLS Fixtures: *IMPORTANT* please send a *separate* cheque for EACH fixture..
1587] Statfold Barn Railway, Sat 14 Oct, 10.00-16.00: (MR p24) (BLN 181.MR87) The Grain Store,
Ashby Road, Tamworth, B79 OBU (SK 241 064) https://goo.gl/wBgMxJ With thanks to Gary Lonsdale,
a private BLS visit to this extensive (over three miles of track in total!) and interesting multi-gauge
location that has changed much since our 30 Mar 2014 visit. BLN 1267.MR209 (2 Oct 2016) had a then
recent full track plan. Using diesel traction, the standard 'open day' 2ft gauge route/s with unusual
track is expected. Free parking on site; no catering available. £17.50 (£22.50 for non-BLS members)
cheques 'Branch Line Society'. Bookings/queries with email address or SAE to Jill Everitt (back page).
1588] 2017 AGM: This will be held at a central Liverpool location on Saturday afternoon 18 Nov 2017,
accessible from central Liverpool stations. It is intended to be compatible with train services on the
day from many major stations. Fixtures are under investigation for all day Fri 17th and the morning of
Sat 18th. On the Saturday evening there will be an illustrated cine presentation of BLS railtours and
other activities by our well known Jersey member, Chris Totty, with a good quality buffet. It is intended
to operate a Society Merseyrail railtour on Sun 19 Nov. Bookings are not yet open for any of these.
1286 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart)
['Significant' route infrastructure and service changes, past and proposed; openings and closures.]
1589] Tanfield Railway (MR p9), Causey Arch (5m 17ch)* exclusive - East Tanfield (6m 09ch)* incl:
(BLN 1222.1785) ROP 16 Nov 2014 (a gauging train ran on 14th) after TCP since running on 24 Dec 2012
for extensive relaying, bridge re-decking etc. To conclude: Top & Tail working ended 1 Mar 2015 with
opening of the run-round loop and beyond the station to the headshunt. *Miles from Redheugh.
1590] Strathspey Steam Railway, Broomhill run round loop (92m 79ch) (excl) - River Dulnain bridge
(NJ 0023 2420): NRU since 1 Jan 2016; ROP 16 Jul 2014 with special dispensation for 'occasional' use in
2014 & 2015 only. The heritage DMU trains have run between Aviemore and Broomhill only since.
1591] Dudley, 'Black Country Living Museum' Tramway, Museum Entrance - Village: (BLN 1266.1918)
ROP 18 Feb 2017 after TCP since 'early' Jul 2016 (essential tram maintenance). TCP again after public
running on 26 Jun 2017 due to a suspected white-metal axle bearing failure (occasional ECS test runs
were made until 26 Jul). ROP expected late Aug 2017. The museum aims to run trams 2-3 days per
week most months of the year but the line closes from time to time for tram maintenance (check first).
1592] Scottish Vintage Bus Museum; Shed 47 Railway Restoration Group: (MR p10) (BLN 1242.1827)
At the former Royal Naval Armaments Depot, Lathalmond the standard gauge public brake van trips
were partly extended from Sun 21 May 2017 and by a total of 150yd from Sun 11 Jun to the boundary
fence (NT 090 916) - the final extent in that direction (south west). This is just before the embankment
and bridge abutments of the Gask Colliery branch (its connection to Lathalmond RNAD CG 5 Jul 1971).
At the other northeast end of the 400yd line (NT 092 919) beyond the boarding point, the track prior
to the buffer stops has been relaid to ease the curvature. The railway will be running on demand by
donation on 19 & 20 Aug 10.00-17.00 (free vintage bus service from Dunfermline bus station half-
hourly 10.30-16.30). It also runs Sun 3 Sep from 11.00 to 17.00 (but no connecting buses) the same day
Wester Pickston MES has its final 2017 public running day (11.30 to 16.00). The associated nearby 2ft
gauge West of Fife Munitions Railway (BLN 1280.MR81) using track from MoD Eastriggs is now 300yd
long, from a buffer stop at NT 0902 9173 to NT 0915 9188 with a headshunt off midway towards the
adjacent shed for a siding. Most will not be used by the future public run towards the site entrance.
1593] Penrhyn Quarry Railway, Coed-y-Parc - St Ann's Hill: (BLN 1285.1456) (MR p30) This historical
Heritage 2ft gauge railway CP after last running for the public on Sat 24 Jun 2017 (OP 24 Jul 2012).
BELOW: Our 'Fife Railtour' of 30 Aug 1969 https://goo.gl/CbBV7h reached some choice locations
including the line of the Gask branch to Lathalmond RNAD. As can be seen there had been no traffic
recently then! (Angus McDougall)
ABOVE: Two 'box Brownie' shots to show what a ride on the original (real!) Penrhyn Railway was like -
an open bogie carriage was added (so you wished for a fine day!). The Up journey towards the Quarry
at Bethesda was about 45 minutes, the Down to Port Penrhyn, Bangor about 35 minutes. These shots
were taken on a Down (loaded) train hauled by LINDA on 19 Aug 1958. The chap standing was the
brakeman. In the left picture note the OOU passing loop to the left of the train. (Richard Maund)
BELOW TOP: (Challenge Martyn!) The old layout at London Waterloo. BELOW BOTTOM: The new
layout from 29 Aug 2017; P20-24 were remodelled between 25 Dec 2015 and 2 Jul 2017 with P1-8
between 5 and 28 Aug 2017. These plans are thanks to Society Cartographer Martyn Brailsford.
1594] London Waterloo P20 to 24 - International Jn (0m 40ch): (BLN 1284.1377) The 'International'
platforms 20-24 were recommissioned 3 Jul 2017 (P21-24 had TCA 24 Dec 2015; P20 TCA 15 Feb 2016).
They are shown as in passenger use from 5 to 28 Aug (when P1 to 10 all are TCP). From 29 Aug until
2 Sep P21 is in use for diverted Southeastern services. (Reminder: via Linford Street Jn - Nine Elms Jn
TROP.) Then P20-24 tracks are to be shortened by 60m at the London end to enlarge the concourse.
1595] New Malden Jn - Norbiton (incl) - Kingston (excl): TCP 5 to 28 Aug 2017 with the temporary
timetable for the reduction of available platforms at Waterloo. Kingston Down bay platform will be in
regular use and some services run Waterloo to/from Shepperton via Kingston (bay P1 or P2) reverse.
8-car sets are generally running to Shepperton so reach the end of platform (which 4-car sets do not).
1596] Motspur Park Jn - Chessington South & three stations: TCP 5 to 28 Aug 2017 (Waterloo works).
1597] Chessington North/South, Tolworth, Malden Manor, Norbiton & Queenstown Road: TCP 5-28 Aug.
1598] Heald Green North Jn - Heald Green South Jn: (BLN 1284.1353) ROP Tue 18 Jul (and regularly
used for freight) in both directions after TCP Mon 22 May 2017 due to a points failure at the former.
1599] Marchwood (86m 10ch) - Esso Fawley Oil Refinery (92m 12ch): (BLN 1265.1814) DB Cargo
(DBC) is removing about 92 oil tank wagons it owns from Fawley. The first train of 18 TTA (air braked
tank type 'T') on 19 Jul 2017 ran to Bescot Yard for Long Marston where they will be cleaned of oil for
scrapping. Most were purchased by DBC after fuel deliveries by rail to GWR depots ended in Oct 2013.
1600] South Tynedale Railway, Lintley Halt (excl) - Slaggyford station (incl): (BLN 1285.1461) After
rapid progress since the e-BLN 1285 pictures, a single track has been laid in to Slaggyford platform.
The first test train ran on Sat 22 July (top & tailed). There was a ceremonial opening special train
(invited guests only) with HRH The Duke of Gloucester on 24 Jul but there is no public running as yet.
1601] Bromley Jn - Birkbeck (incl) - Beckenham Junction (excl): (BLN 1285.1358) Normal service
(which is SuX) resumed on Sat 22 Jul 2017 following suspension of the ASLEF Southern overtime ban.
1602] Tulse Hill Jn - Leigham Jn, 'Leigham Spur': (BLN 1285.1459) ROP Mon 24 Jul (TCP 29 Jun 2017)-
ASLEF overtime ban. (The only booked train is 10.01 (SSuX) London Bridge to Streatham Hill PSUL.)
1603] Westerfield Jn - Halesworth (excl) and five stations: TCP/A 29 Jul to 6 Aug 2017 - track relaying.
1604] Beighton Jn - Westthorpe Run-round & shunt loop: CG/CA Sun 30 Jul 2017 (clipped OOU for
removal). An ex-Great Central Railway route used by Midland Railway (MR) passenger trains between
Sheffield Midland and Mansfield Midland via the Sheffield District line, Beighton Jn (MR) and Langwith
Jn (withdrawn 11 Sep 1939). CA beyond Spink Hill 9 Jan 1967 and remained to Westthorpe Colliery
there as a branch until 12 Oct 1984. Then the residual half-mile line was used for rounding MGR trains
reversing at Beighton Jn. The final train was 26 Mar 2016, Pathfinder Tours 'The Generating Finale'.
BELOW TOP: The north end of the 501yd Spink Hill tunnel and end of line (looking towards Langwith
Jn and Mansfield Midland). Empty MGR wagons have arrived in the headshunt from Beighton Jn to
propel into Westthorpe Colliery (behind photographer). After loading and rounding the train propelled
out of the colliery into the headshunt to reverse for Beighton Jn. (Angus McDougall 15 Apr 1982)
BELOW LOWER: By 22 Sep 1990 the branch - once part of the Lancashire Derbushire & East Coast
Railway was reduced to a run-round loop (end of line looking towards Beighton Jn. (Angus McDougall)
1605] Annbank Jn - Drongan Jn - Killoch Washery (open cast disposal point): (BLN 1285.1453) Coal
traffic restarted 31 Jul to restock Eggborough Power Station for the winter (first arrival there 1 Aug
05.48 - no rail traffic for a while also); up to two paths daily and an occasional one to Drax (ran 4 Aug).
1606] Lincoln, Pelham Street Jn - Wrawby Jn & Market Rasen station: TCP 5 to 13 Aug (engineering).
1607] Glasgow, Hyndland North Jn - Hyndland West Jn: TROP Sundays 13 Aug until 3 Sep 2017 (incl);
this bidirectional electrified single track curve is unusually booked to be in passenger use by EMUs
between Milngavie (pronounced 'Mill-guy') and Balloch all day for 4 Sundays due to engineering work.
X.116] Tyne & Wear Metro, South Gosforth (excl) - Four Lanes End (excl until 11 Aug) & Longbenton:
TCP 31 Jul to 2 Sep 2017 (next entry); Four Lanes End trailing crossover is in use arriving from the east.
X.117] T&W Metro, Four Lanes End (incl) - Shiremoor (excl) & three stops: TCP 11 Aug to 2 Sep 2017.
Shiremoor trailing crossover should be in passenger use arriving from the east (check may be buses at
weekends). This £20M scheme, part of the £350M upgrade, includes track relaying between South
Gosforth and Shiremoor, work at Northumberland Park stop, embankment strengthening and (costing
£5.5M) replacing the wrought iron Killingworth Road underbridge at Gosforth with a wider steel one.
1608] Barking P1 - Gospel Oak Jn: TCA is expected 17 Sep until 22 Oct and 27 Nov until 14 Jan 2018.
1609] Seaton Tramway, Riverside Loop south end (4m 01ch) - Seaton (4m 57ch) (BLN 1277.MR51)
(MR p32) TCP is expected from 1 Oct 2017 (with ROP Good Friday 30 Mar 2018) for construction of a
new terminus (anyone needing the present one has been advised!). A 'vintage' shuttle bus will connect
Seaton with Riverside Depot, the temporary tram terminus. It is not clear if trams will carry passengers
off the normal running line here but a 'behind the scenes' depot tour will be included in the fare.
1610] Up Ordsall Chord; Deal Street Jn, (Chat Moss Lines), (31m 18ch/0m 32ch†) - Water Street Jn*
(190m 07ch) and Down Ordsall Chord; Water Street Jn* (190m 07ch) - Irwell Street Jn†† (30m 68ch):
(BLN 1280.970 with trackplan which makes it clearer) Both bidirectional electrified Ordsall Chord Lines
are due to be commissioned 04.00 Mon 2 Oct 2017; with OP expected Sun 10 Dec 2017. †Between
Manchester Victoria/Salford Central (the notice gives 0m 43ch but that is Deal Street Jn on the Salford
Lines). *Between Deansgate and Ordsall Lane Jn. ††Between Salford Central and Ordsall lane Jn.
1611] Bluebell Railway, East Grinstead - Sheffield Park (both incl) and Horsted Keynes station: TCP of
the whole line is expected 6 to 24 Nov 2017 (incl) for engineering works (dates etc to be confirmed).
1612] Derby station: TCP expected Sun 22 Jul to 7 Oct 2018 (said to be 79 days but your Editor makes
it 78!) for a £200M major remodelling with a new through east side P6 and resignalling; CrossCountry
services will be diverted (presumably via Castle Donington) with a temporary timetable (due out in
2018) also affecting EMT services to London, Sheffield, Nottingham Matlock and Crewe.
1613] Wakefield Europort - Up Midland line (186m 05ch) near Altofts Jn: It has been reported that
this intermodal rail terminal (OG 8 Jan 1996) is to close due to poor loadings, with the end of its
services to Thames Gateway, Felixstowe South Terminal and Southampton Western Docks. It was
visited by the Pathfinder 'Don & Went' tour of 6 Jun 2015 which reached the headshunt buffer stops.
1614] New Stations Fund: Successful bids (total £16M*) for the second round announced on 28 Jul:
1: Horden Peterlee (BLN 1257.2052) between Hartlepool and Seaham, £4.4M (cost £10.55M).
2: Warrington West (BLN 1276.543) between Warrington Central and Sankey £4.23M (£17.2M).
3: Reading Green Park (BLN 1275.410) between Reading West and Mortimer £2.3 (£16.5M).
4: Bow Street (BLN 1272.1150) between Borth and Aberystwyth £3.945M (£6.76M).
5: Portway Parkway (BLN 1285.1516) between Shirehampton and Avonmouth £1.672M (£2.23M).
They are all due to be completed by Mar 2020. *Initially the DfT promised £20M. The first round
funding assisted construction of Newcourt, Lea Bridge, Pye Corner, Ilkeston and Kenilworth stations.
1286 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart)
[National material, non-geographical or covering multiple areas.]
1615] Master Cutler: 2017 is the 70th anniversary of this famous
train. LEFT: EMT has produced a limited edition 2.5cm square
enamel badge to mark the event (the lettering is sharp). They
were only available to staff and are almost sold out, but thanks
to EMT and Kev Adlam some, which are to be carried on the 17
Aug Master Cutler, are secured for members. First come first
served £25 each; all proceeds to https://goo.gl/JRK5UZ the
Mistress Cutler charity. Cheques 'Branch Line Society' to Kev.
1616] Post early for Christmas! The Railway Children's railway
themed Christmas leaflet is enclosed with BLN and as a download
with e-BLN; orders can be made by post, phone or (from mid-
Aug) online. The Railway Benefit Fund also sells similar high
quality railway themed Christmas items (see website later).
1617] Points & Slips: ●BLN 1285.1445] Our Diamond Jubilee Headboard Charity Auction raised a
pleasing £330 for the Chairman's nominated charity, the Welshpool & Llanfair Railway Preservation
Society. ●1452] The Helston Railway normal passenger run is now 6m 00ch to 7m 00ch; of this the
16 Mar 2017 extension was 6m 72ch to 7m 00ch. ●1453 & 1454] Padeswood Hall Cement Works is at
Penyffordd. The trailing crossover was removed from 28 May 2016 so freight trains would have to run
to Dee Marsh North Jn to run-round, although that is only six miles north.
●1462] The independent 'Chichester, Selsey and Hundred of Manhood Tramway' [great name!] was
referred to as 'The Selsey Bumper'. The 'Port Carlisle Dandy' ran on that branch from Drumburgh (See
Item 1689 map later). Incidentally, the short Delph branch (junction north of Greenfield) had trains to/
from Oldham referred to locally as 'The Delph Donkey' - there is no evidence that one was used!
●1468] Thomas Edmondson (two 'ds') invented the eponymous card ticket. ●1526] 'Portacabin' was
just a temporary mistake and should have been Portakabin ©. ●1528] The 24 hour clock public and
working timetables were introduced by BR from 14 Jun 1965 (except the Western Region used 24 hour
clock public timetables from 15 Jun 1964).
●MR122] The Evergreens Miniature Railway, Lincolnshire (MR p20) closed after final public running
on 29 Jul 2017, there are no more running days (website was to be updated). Track lifting (of the
separate 5"and 7¼" lines) began 30 Jul and was completed on 2 Aug it is initially going into storage; the
railway has had various offers of new running locations.
●1576] The 'Explore Cardiff & the Valleys' Day Ranger is for ATW SERVICES ONLY; Cardiff Central to
Bridgend is available via all three routes (main line, Ninian Park/Leckwith Loop & Vale of Galmorgan).
ABOVE: Tickets please! Our 22 Jul evening 'Rothly Rodder' track and traction tour with PLEG from
Loughborough (GCR) to Mountsorrel included haulage with three different Class 08s and significant
rare track not available on the public runs as well as the option of a GCR all day rover ticket for only
£10. On the north end of Nunckley Hill station platform stands our souvenir ticket designer and printer
Jim Sellens supporting the FS, Private Kev Adlam! There were 140 participants. (Philip Cartwright)
1618] Unusual Track Snippets: With thanks to Ian Delgado of https://goo.gl/tvib6F his website…
Bo'ness Down Passenger Loop: 14 Oct, 12.32 & 18.35 Edinburgh to Glasgow Queen Street.
Cadder Up Passenger Loop: 15 & 22 Oct, 18.06 Glasgow Queen Street to Edinburgh.
Gartshore Up Passenger Loop: Until 10 Sep, FSSuX 21.07 (SO 21.15) Glasgow Queen St to Croy.
……………………………… …… … On Sat 14 Oct, hourly trains Glasgow Queen Street to Edinburgh.
Gartshore Down Passenger Loop: Until 10 Sep FSSuX 22.15 & 23.13 Croy to Glasgow Queen Street.
Moorthorpe Down Goods Loop: SuO 27 Aug until 15 Oct (except 10 Sep) 17.36 Sheffield to Leeds.
1619] Please Resume Your Seats (4): (BLN
1285.1470 &1556): The 17.49 (SSuX) from
Liskeard runs advertised to Gunnislake
(19.09) via Plymouth (reverse 18.18/23). It is
possible to alight at 18.10 at St Budeaux
Ferry Road and rejoin the train at St Budeaux
Victoria Road (18.33), with time for a swift
half at the Trelawney Arms. Platform to
platform they are 91yd apart - opposite sides
of Wolseley Rd overbridge. The only available
fare shown for this journey on the solitary
through train is £13 for a Ride Cornwall Day
Ranger! Changing at Keyham and buying
singles to/from there brings the cost down to
£3.40, although a 'St Budeaux stations' to
Plymouth off peak day return at £2.50 would
do the job! LEFT: 1961 7th Series One-Inch
map showing how close the two stations are.
About 10 years ago a member was on a very strange service from Poland into the Ukraine. It was,
he thinks, advertised as a direct train from Warsaw to Kiev, calling at Kraków Główny and Lviv (his
destination), but with a stop of several hours scheduled at Kraków Główny. The train actually called at
one of the other main stations in Krakow (not Glowny) where nearly all the passengers alighted [they
obviously knew something]. It then went a short distance to a shunting yard where the Polish carriages
were detached, leaving only the one Ukrainian sleeping car, where he had a compartment booked.
Passengers in the sleeping car were then 'encouraged' to leave the train although he thinks they could
actually have stayed on. This was about 14.30 with the train not due to depart from Kraków Główny
until 22.30 that evening. Not wanting to sit for 8 hours in the middle of a shunting yard on a baking hot
summer's day, he took all his valuables with him (leaving the rest of his luggage behind), made his way
cautiously through the shunting yard to the exit (with no concerns from railway staff about health and
safety or wearing hi-vis clothing!) and went off to explore Krakow and have a meal. Shortly after 22.00
at Kraków Główny, bang on time, the train appeared in the platform with a couple of Polish coaches
(which would be detached at Przemysl) and the sleeping carriage for Ukraine with the luggage still
inside the compartment! A scheduled end to end journey on a normal service train but a several hour
break in the middle, rejoining the train at a different location in the same city! Can anyone beat that?
X.118] BELOW: BLN aims to (sometimes) inform and educate our readers. It is interesting how this
tube style map of Roman Roads shows similarities with the rail system - now work out all the modern
location names (if applicable) and which roads have survived as such! (Sasha Trubetskoy/Bill Davis)
1620] Britain's Most Overcrowded Trains: The latest official 'Top 10' for most bottoms off s ts…
1: 07.16 East Grinstead to London Bridge (640 capacity; 1,366 passengers, 213% on busiest section).
2: 07.55 Cambridge to London King's Cross (202 capacity; 426 passengers, 211% of seat capacity).
3: 17.08 Sutton to St Albans City (391 capacity; 758 passengers, 194%).
4: 18.57 Brighton to Bedford (630 capacity; 1,215 passengers, 193%).
5: 16.00 Manchester Airport to Edinburgh (191 capacity; 357 passengers, 187%).
6: 07.27 Reigate to London Bridge (669 capacity; 1,233 passengers, 184%).
7: 17.18 London Paddington to Oxford (242 capacity; 445 passengers, 184%).
8: 04.22 Glasgow Central to Manchester Airport (191 capacity; 344 passengers, 180%).
9: 16.26 Bedford to Brighton (372 capacity; 669 passengers, 180%).
10: 18.13 London Euston Virgin Trains to Birmingham New St (412 capacity; 729 passengers, 177%).
Like Britain's oldest man and oldest woman, there will always be 'busiest trains' no matter what, and
the trains are only full on certain sections. For example, the 07.16 ex-East Grinstead is only that full
from East Croydon and the 04.22 ex-Glasgow Central from Wigan NW to Manchester Oxford Road.
For more details and methodology see https://goo.gl/ANqWCF which includes validity warnings. The
Southern dispute is blamed for a 1.9% drop in Govia Thameslink Railway 2016-17 passenger numbers.
1621] Moving Tram Stops! Following a member's very moving request for information: Sheffield
Station/Sheffield Hallam University original Supertram stop (OP 22 Aug 1994) was moved about 170m
south from 27 Oct 2002 to be by the remodelled main station's new footbridge which extends out to
the stop. 'Nottingham Station Street' NET tram stop was moved 140m south from 28 Jul 2015
(and also renamed 'Nottingham Station') as part of the system's southern extensions to give better
interchange with the station, requiring installation of a significant bridge above it to take the tramway.
BELOW: Flying Scotsman approaching Park Drain between Doncaster and Gainsborough on the
Joint Line heading for London via Lincoln and Spalding. (Martin Crompton 24 Jun 2017)
1286 EAST MIDLANDS (John Cameron)
[Derbyshire (except Buxton and the Hope Valley), Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire
(includes South Humberside), Northamptonshire, Leicestershire & Rutland.]
1622] Derby: From 7 Aug Engine Sidings No1 Ground Frame (127m 75ch) and 'Slums Sidings' were to
be taken OOU and the facing points it controls clipped and locked OOU, pending removal.
1623] East Midlands Parkway: (BLN 1283.1287) East Midlands Airport has called for improved rail
services at the station and better public transport links between it and the airport. The Airport has
pledged £2.5M to the new East Midlands franchise operator, if they agree to make the changes they
want. Proposals include more frequent services and an end to train 'bunching' that now results in no
trains calling for 45 minutes each hour with both services to London departing within 7 minutes of
each other. They also want the proposed 'new' Birmingham - Coventry - Nuneaton - Nottingham
service to stop at East Midlands Parkway, as well as extension of the Derby - Stoke services there.
Finally a change of name to East Midlands Airport Parkway is also suggested by the airport.
1624] Nottingham: A local member reports that the City Council has severely restricted parking
outside the station, effectively preventing cars from dropping off or collecting passengers. This forces
them to park in the station car park, considerably further away from the station entrance.
1625] Duffield: The large formerly barren island platform now has over 300 colourful shrubs and herbs
in 12 Mediterranean style planters set within three large sections of decking. The work was carried out
in one day by 20 staff and volunteers from the Derwent Valley Line Community Rail Partnership
working with Duffield Parish Council, East Midlands Trains, Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, Friends of the
Derwent Valley Line and NR [all hands on deck then]. Parts of the station were given a facelift including
painting the brickwork and sides of the footbridge, also wooden fencing was stained.
1626] Grantham & Newark North Gate: The ticket barriers at these stations have been removed to
save on staffing costs. Apparently these were higher than the revenue gained by having the barriers.
1627] East Midlands Trains: On 22 Jul the franchise (which began 11 Nov 2007) was extended from
4 Mar 2018 until 3 Mar 2019 with the intention of an agreement further extending it until Aug 2019.
With the cancellation of electrification beyond Kettering to Sheffield, it's back to the drawing board
and bi-modal trains will be the 'order of the day'! A new public consultation https://goo.gl/1sRXdh
runs until 10 Oct - any member or others interested in the future services can make representations.
1628] Mansfield: NR invited residents to attend a public consultation event to find out more about its
plans for Kings Mill No1 level crossing. This illustrated what is involved in closing a crossing. The plan is
to divert the existing bridleway on the level crossing of the railway to a new, adjacent ramped bridge.
Town and Country Planning Act 1990 planning permission is needed to build the bridge. NR will also
require powers to divert the bridleway and close the crossing under the Highways Act 1980 or the
Transport and Works Act 1992. The latter enables land to be secured for constructing the new bridge.
1286 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett)
1629] Tower Hill: (BLN 1283.1273) The final remodelling stage took place over the 1/2 Jul weekend;
centre bay P2 was connected to the westbound line east end of the station. This also remains OOU
until resignalling (then P2 becomes a through platform so both eastbound and westbound trains can
terminate) and will replace Aldgate East crossover. It will also be possible to reverse (west to east) a
longer S8 Met Line train in the centre road if it is routed via the Outer Rail platform at Aldgate in error.
Special arrangements have to be implemented at Aldgate if this happens now. ('Underground News')
1630] Bakerloo Line Extension: (BLN 1276.520) Https://goo.gl/vdVbGn has the results of the latest
consultation. A new Bakerloo Line Elephant & Castle station is preferred near to the existing Northern
Line entrance and the shopping centre, for easy interchange with the Northern Line and National Rail
services. The preferred locations for the two stations on Old Kent Road are near the junction of
Old Kent Road with Dunton Road and near the junction of Asylum Road with Old Kent Road.
1631] Finsbury Park LUL: An unusual continuous train stop is installed on the northbound connection
from the Piccadilly to the Victoria Line in the form of a long length of raised wood or metal at track
level in the alignment of a train stop head. Should a manually driven train enter the Victoria Line from
the Piccadilly Line and the trip arm be operated by the train stop then, in any distance within which
the train is brought to a stand, the continuous train stop will foul the raised trip arm and prevent any
attempt at resetting the trip to permit the train to go further on the line. The Victoria/Piccadilly line
connection was last (and finally) used by passengers on Sun 15 May 2011 (the 1967 Victoria Line stock
farewell tour). This is no longer possible due to signalling incompatibility now between the two lines.
1632] Southwark: TfL wishes to develop the area in and around the station and concerns have been
raised that this could involve demolition of the award-winning circular glass ticket hall. Additionally a
winter garden could be built at North Greenwich station. ('Evening Standard')
1633] Rayners Lane: Two road/rail cranes were on track in the former goods yard on 17 Jul. Though no
drivers were in the cabs, they can only have reached their positions by moving along the sidings and
thus were the first rail movements for many years on these roads, which are no longer connected to
the running lines. Junction work components, including a set of switches on concrete bearers, were
newly delivered to site, though the future installation location is not clear. A road crane in the adjacent
car park, also on the former goods yard site, was delivering other materials to the area with tracks.
These two roads once permitted coal trains to and from South Harrow Gas Works to be run round,
see: https://goo.gl/stQMF1 coming in via Harrow-on-the-Hill, necessitating reversal at Rayners Lane.
1634] Barking - Gospel Oak: (BLN 1283.1269) Weekend closures for electrification work will continue
from 29 Jul to 10 Sep. Discussions are ongoing to finalise further weekend closures in the autumn and
two longer closures. The latter are proposed for 17 Sep to 22 Oct and 27 Nov to 14 Jan 2018, but could
be subject to change. Driver training and testing of the new EMUs will commence in Jan 2018, with
entry into passenger service scheduled for spring 2018.
1635] Crossrail: (BLN 1283.1263] (1) GWML: Platform extension work is progressing slowly. In most
cases land has been cleared, foundations provided and work is underway on the basic concrete
structure of the extensions. The position in late July (along the whole GWML) was:
●Acton Main Line: Country end. ●Iver: No work.
●Ealing Broadway: London end. ●Langley: No work.
●West Ealing: Country end. ●Slough: London end signals moved.
●Hanwell: No work. ●Burnham: No Work.
●Southall: London end. ●Taplow: Relief part of old footbridge gone.
●Hayes & Harlington: London end. ●Maidenhead: No work.
●West Drayton: London end. ●Twyford: No work.
(2) General: Photos https://goo.gl/ZLi91r of the new stations. From 1 Oct OLE from Pudding Mill Lane
to the east of Whitechapel and from Stepney Green Jn to Abbey Wood station is due to be energised.
1636] Paddington: (BLN 1285.1492) In late July it was noted that the two OOU Royal Oak sidings (P1
side) had been lifted and were being replaced by a single track alongside the main lines. Work on the
platform and canopy where P12 has been extended over the site of the former P13 is now complete.
1637] Free (Bus) Travel on DLR: On the 15/16 Jul weekend the eastern part of the system was closed
for engineering work, with a replacement bus service running between Bank and All Saints. Most
unusually, described as a trial, the TfL website stated that passengers would need to present a paper
ticket or touch in with an Oyster or contactless card on the buses, but cards would not be charged!
1638] Camden Road: Camden Town Unlimited is proposing the construction of the 'Camden Highline',
https://goo.gl/FpaVRQ a linear green walking and cycling route via the viaducts and bridges formerly
carrying the northern pair of tracks between Camden Road West and East Jns. However if built part of
this might eventually have to be removed as there is a possibility that Watford Junction London
Overground services might be diverted via Primrose Hill to Camden Road to free up space at Euston.
1639] Waterloo: (BLN 1285.1490) Although P1-4 are being lengthened to take 10-car trains during the
Aug closure, P5-8 will be shortened for the new track layout. The South Siding initially remains OOU.
More trains are booked to be diverted via East Putney and RTT is showing 05.38 and 06.23 departures
from 'Wimbledon LUL', so presumably the bay platforms, to Waterloo on Sun 13 Aug. NR's database
that feeds RTT has not been updated to reflect that P10 at Waterloo is not available during the
forthcoming blockade. It is not expected to be and a method of working without P10 has been devised
locally. Data is largely correct west of Queenstown Road, so trains shown as running via East Putney
(mainly some Epsom and Basingstoke peaks) should do so. It is expected that most Up trains via the
Windsor lines will use the reversible line, outside Linford Street flyover. P20-24 are confirmed in use.
1640] Crossrail 2: (BLN 1278.722) The Transport Secretary has announced that he supports the
project, subject to discussions with the Mayor of London on funding prior to the autumn budget.
1286 NORTH EAST (Geoff Blyth)
[Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, County Durham & Teesside]
1641] Saltburn West Jn: (BLN 1276.533) The revised layout favouring the Boulby line, was brought
into use on Tue 1 Aug. The previous junction (TRACKmaps Vol 2 p48A - Oct 2016) was recovered,
realigned and relaid with new speeds throughout. At 27m 0ch a new set of trailing points between Up
Main and Down Main lines was provided. At 27m 06ch a new left hand turnout was provided, the
normal direction is towards the Down Branch Goods to Crag Hall. This turnout provides bi-directional
access to Saltburn station. At 27m 20ch a new left hand turnout with trap point is provided for west
end access to No2 Siding from the Up Down Main. Summary: The junction has been reduced from four
points to three with a single lead to the (Saltburn) Up Main Down, which Saltburn No2 Siding now
comes off rather than at the junction itself. Saltburn No1 Siding and the run-round loop are unchanged.
Microgricers will have revised routes to/from Boulby and Saltburn (with Saltburn No2 Siding) to do!
1642] Oldest wooden railway in the world? (BLN 1264.1738) https://goo.gl/1mcpnM with pictures.
There was a chance to see wooden rails dating from the 1790s from the Willington 'Waggonway' (as
spelt then) at the Stephenson Railway Museum on 4 Aug. After excavation in 2013 during a dig at the
former Walker Neptune shipyard site, the timbers went to York Archaeological Trust for conservation,
a process which can take 24 to 36 months. It involved soaking them in vats of polyethylene glycol wax
then freeze drying to remove remaining moisture. 87 timbers have been treated and are at Beamish
Regional Museum Store, where they will be analysed and construction techniques investigated.
1286 NORTH WEST (Graeme Jolley)
[Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Buxton & the Hope Valley]
1643] Manchester Piccadilly: Hopefully a glitch with the new PA, but our member did worry when he
heard ' The Next train on Platform 9 does not stop here'. It's a dead end! Clearly a terminal problem.
1644] FO to Stalybridge: On 28 Jul there were 6 passengers from Stockport on the weekly 09.22 train
to Stalybridge, three joined at Reddish South and another two at Denton. All three from Reddish
South (including our member) also left at Denton; read in to that what you will! [Perhaps they 'needed'
both stations?] He asks why the Reddish South information poster clearly shows two rail replacement
bus stops; one towards Guide Bridge and one towards Stockport? When did the last rail replacement
bus run from Reddish South to Stockport? He wonders why Reddish to Denton single is £3.60 when
Reddish to Guide Bridge is only £2.30 and Stockport to Denton £2.10! The guard didn't come through
to issue tickets so a few more journeys were unrecorded. Fairly recently a member was able to buy an
Anytime day return at Crewe ticket office from Crewe to Denton even though there was no way back.
1645] Huyton: (BLN 1285.1465) The first part of the Lime Street blockade (30 Sep-9 Oct) does indeed
extend to St Helens Central and Junction so that the Huyton re-quadrupling can be completed.
The third track was commissioned 14 Jul 2014, Huyton then being the first section to be controlled
from Manchester ROC. The fourth track was always scheduled to be completed in 2017 and is
expected to be commissioned on 9 Oct into the existing Liverpool Workstation at Manchester ROC.
1646] Liverpool Lime Street: The 2 Sep to 22 Sep blockade work is on the new Crown Street crossover
ladder, new/remodelled P7 & 8, recovery of 'A' Siding and redundant switches & crossovers in the
station throat. The stageworks include a new crossover between P1 and P2 lines close to the former
No94 points previously giving access to 'A' Siding using the same lever. This leads traffic from both
platforms onto the Up Slow line, which becomes bi-directional to allow for the limited service to
operate into the station from 30 Sep to 9 Oct; 06.00 to 20.00 SSuX - but it will be done by all trains
then. It is NOT part of the final layout so this interim period of working will be the only opportunity to
do this connection. Lime Street signal box does not close this year; that is with final remodelling in the
2018 blockade and control transferring to Manchester ROC. Edge Hill signal box then (temporarily) will
become an 'island' of control within the Manchester ROC on the Lime Street to Huyton lines.
1647] Ditton: (BLNs 1284.1385 & 1285.1469) The new Alstom Train Care Centre trackwork and
signalling was finally commissioned on Sun 30 Jul 2017 (rather than 23 Jul or the original 18 Jun date!).
1648] Mystery Ticket: On 27 Jul a member on the 12.29 Buxton to Manchester Piccadilly found a
ticket lying on the table. Nothing unusual you might think, except that this was the return half of a
Glasgow to Coatbridge Sunnyside anytime day return, printed (presumably in Glasgow) at 05.58 that
morning (not in advance). How it got there he has no idea because to reach Buxton by 12.29 it would
have to have left Glasgow Central on the 07.09 to Manchester Piccadilly. Glasgow Queen Street to
Coatbridge Sunnyside and back before then and a quick sprint to Central is possible but is unlikely.
Either way it seemed to be having a good day as our member transferred it to a Liverpool to Norwich
service so it could continue its travels; he wonders if it made it to East Anglia or its original purchaser
ever experienced the sunny side of the day, on his way? [Could it have flown to Manchester Airport, or
maybe there was a change of plan and it never reached Coatbridge. Of course ticket offices, train staff
and some machines can issue tickets from almost anywhere to anywhere. Sadly it might just have been
a fraud for the purchaser to pass through the barrier at Glasgow and not go to Coatbridge at all.]
1649] New Mills Newtown: The station has been without a ticket office, CCTV, public address and
digital train information displays for over a year, after the ticket office and waiting room were
destroyed by arson in June 2016. Northern have said that they are working with NR to make the
necessary repairs, but that, due to the extent of the damage this may be 'a long process'.
1650] Manchester Central, the Final Passenger Trains: (By Angus McDougall) We had decided during
the last part of the 'Manchester Terminals Farewell' railtour on Saturday 3 May 1969 that a fitting way
of ending the day would be to have a last drink in the refreshment room at Manchester Central, take
the last train to Urmston and then the final one back again. Central was technically closing from
Monday 5 May 1969, but it had already been made clear that there would be no trains on the Sunday.
So about 9 or half past I set out from home and entered the refreshment room. Here I received a
shock; none of the group was there and moreover there was no beer either. Evidently the place was
also closing that night and no more supplies would ever come. I found out later that everyone had
gone across the road to Cox's Bar, but I was not aware of that so hung around the station until near
the time for the last departure, when the others appeared. The trains were quite busy - the usual
Saturday night traffic and nothing to do with the impending closure, I think. The inbound train to form
the last departure was, as I recall, somewhat late because someone had thrown a stone through a
window of the DMU. As we waited various items of station furniture disappeared, but eventually we
were able to board it, in the pouring rain. We departed sufficiently late that there seemed some risk
that we would cross the last arrival somewhere between Manchester Central and Urmston (neither
was to call at Trafford Park) and would have to return rather ignominiously by bus or probably taxi.
We set off down the viaduct using one of the southern pair of tracks (the 'A' Lines) since apparently
the northern pair (the 'B' Lines) had been taken out of use earlier in the week to permit preliminary
work on the new connection at Cornbrook. We slowed approaching the site of the junction and a
crane was seen to be at work on the track alterations. Although there had been a direct connection
from the Oxford Road direction to the CLC lines, this was to be replaced by a straighter one more
suitable for fast running. It was difficult to see exactly what was taking place, but clearly the inbound
track to Central had already been lifted and only a single line remained. The carriage sidings at
Cornbrook seemed to be empty and presumably somewhere in that vicinity we crossed over to the
Liverpool line, the Chorlton route having already seen its last passenger working.
The remaining part of the journey to Urmston was uneventful (we did not pass the ingoing working)
and indeed we had a while to wait there before the last DMU appeared. It set off, rather late, and ran
very fast eastwards through the pouring rain. I became a little worried at the pace of the train, since
I remembered that not very far ahead the track was missing. But then the driver braked heavily and we
screeched to a standstill somewhere near Cornbrook Sidings box, reversed over the crossover and
then, after a further reversal, ran wrong line I think all the way to Central! The crane was still there and
a diesel locomotive was in attendance on the Central side of the work, but on the disconnected track.
When we reached Manchester Central that really was the end. The DMU was about to set off again,
empty to presumably Longsight or Newton Heath, and several of us tried to persuade the guard
(or possibly the driver, but I think the guard) to let us ride on the train on this final departure. But this
was not permitted, and we stood and watched the DMU leave and the starting signal change back
from green to red, probably for the last time. I say probably because the loco we had seen at
Cornbrook would have to run up to the station to gain the surviving track to escape.
The next day there were no trains at Central, the station appeared already closed, the signals were
unlit and evidently the power signalbox had been switched off. On Monday all trains from the CLC
Liverpool and Chester lines ran to the extended station at Oxford Road or beyond. Tracks remained on
the massive approach viaducts for a long time, disconnected, and although they were eventually lifted,
a new double track is now in use by Metrolink - a development quite undreamt of back in 1969.
BELOW: Manchester Central looking very run down in Jan 1975 approaching six years after closure.
NEXT PAGE UPPER: The undisturbed Rose Bay Willow Herb (commonly seen by railways and disused
railways) is taking over in Aug 1976 - the platform end. (This item all pictures by Angus McDougall.)
NEXT PAGE LOWER: Inside the former train shed in Oct 1977.
NEXT PAGE TOP: After renovation; now Manchester Central is an exhibition/conference centre venue.
1651] Bolton (BLN 1283.1247) The 21 Jul 'Bolton News' reported that P4 will temporarily close after
the partial station closure (12 to 27 Aug) when P5 is reinstated and 1,100m of track is being relaid.
Only Bolton to Clitheroe via Blackburn trains run (SSuX) then and are shown using P3 (a connection
once very rusty) rather than the usual P1. Presumably the P4 closure means running through P5
northbound from 28 Aug, but it is also possible to do this via bidirectional P3. In early August platform
numbers were yet to be updated online. The new P5 will allow fast trains to overtake local ones.
1652] Manchester Water Street Jn: (see Head Lines) From 10 Jul trailing points were provided (OOU)
in the Up Bolton line at 190m 07ch. They will provide a connection from the Up Ordsall Chord (under
construction). A fixed diamond was also provided in the Up Bolton line at 190m 09ch, part of the
future connection between the Down Bolton line and the Down Ordsall Chord.
1653] Halton Curve: Work has started on the now £18.74M project funded by the Government's
Growth Deal with Liverpool City Region. Initially an hourly service should begin on 9 Dec 2018 between
Liverpool Lime Street and Chester serving Liverpool South Parkway, Runcorn, Frodsham and Helsby.
Question: During the work will PSUL 07.53 Chester - Runcorn unidirectional SO service be able to run?
1654] Middlewich: There has been recent weekend diversionary use of this line (with its 20mph line
speed; in places 10mph) by some Virgin Trains services between Crewe and Chester and ad hoc on Thu
27 Jul following a fatality on the direct line. Typically there are one or two freights (total) daily - SSuX.
1286 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA) (Julian James)
[Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Bucks, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire & Essex]
1655] Reading: (BLN 1285.1506) Wires reach Oxford Road Jn from all directions north, but none is
visible to Southcote Jn. On the 'Berks & Hant' masts only become prolific approaching Theale station.
BELOW: Shenfield Country End layout from P5 looking northeast (TRACKmaps Vol 2 p5B - Oct 2016).
Left foreground is the Up Electric (P5) and on its tight the Down Electric (P4) - both bidirectional. They
briefly join then spilt at Shenfield Country End Jn where (right of the fence) is the bidirectional
remodelled Southend Loop off straight. Going right is the bidirectional connection to the Down and Up
Mains. The three new Crossrail stabling sidings are far left of picture. (Iain Scotchman 18 Jul 2017)
1656] Southend Victoria: (BLN 1285.1502) This 21¼ mile branch has had three previous overhead
electrification systems as work continues on the fourth. The first was 1,500V dc, commissioned in 1956
(Liverpool Street to Shenfield was commissioned in 1949). In the 1960s the line was converted to
6.25kV, 50Hz as part of the decision to adopt 25kV 50Hz electrification as the standard system for
which there were inadequate clearances at bridges. In 1979, it was converted for a second time to
25kV following research into the permissible clearances to structures. The present £46M scheme is
intended to improve reliability; in particular the new more tensioned wires will not sag in hot weather.
The current challenge facing new UK electrification schemes in general is the ORR's insistence on
changing the 60-year application of a 2.75m minimum between platform and live equipment to 3.5m,
required in the European Technical Specification for Interoperability. Over the 60 years an estimated
15bn passengers have used stations on electrified routes with no recorded incident of an electric
shock. The RSSB safety risk model puts the probability of a 25kV electric shock fatality at a station as
1 in 300 years. Spending money on this reduces investment elsewhere and on areas of greater risk.
1657] Sandy: (BLN 1275.400) A report commissioned by Central Bedfordshire Council - inspired by the
East West Rail project - assesses the Local Plan and growth of the Sandy area in relation to the rail
scheme. A proposal has been made to close Sandy station in favour of a new interchange station near
Tempsford. The report reads: Scenarios have been explored based on a EWR interchange station
(replacing the existing station) north of Sandy. The house price uplift estimated to be generated by the
EWR station is up to 20% above baseline/business as usual growth. The analysis suggests the potential
for stronger relative growth in Sandy compared to other locations. If this plan goes ahead it could
mean residents will be forced to travel almost four miles for rail transport; some feel this proposal is
being made to 'justify' a surge in housing in the area. This comes as the Central Bedfordshire Local Plan
proposes around 7,000 new homes in a new market town near Tempsford - where the new rail hub is
expected to be situated. An Independent local councillor said: Shutting Sandy station is a ludicrous
idea. CBC only paid for this report to justify huge amounts of house building in Sandy and Tempsford.
1658] Oxford: (BLN 1284.1392) From 31 Jul new sets of switches were installed between the Down
Main and Up Main on the Didcot side of Oxford Station at 63m 22ch, part of the Oxford Corridor
Capacity Improvements Phase 1 works. Also, points 236 (south of Oxford station P4) from the former
West Midlands Sidings have been recovered.
X.119 ABOVE TOP: On an utterly foul morning, Chiltern's 68015 stands in the pouring rain at Oxford P4
with set AL05, the 'slam-door set' of loco hauled carriages, with DVT 82305 on the other end. It had
arrived on the 07.40 from Marylebone, normally a DMU. However, during the blockade between
Oxford and Didcot Chiltern were running augmented services as no GWR services ran south of Oxford.
The train has stopped short of the temporary stop blocks on P4 during the blockade. It returned as
09.05 to Marylebone. The slam-door set normally only works the morning and evening peak services
between Bicester North and Marylebone; it had worked to Oxford Parkway previously for extra
services to and from Wembley events. This week was the first time it had worked to Oxford. GWR unit
166209 stands in P3 between duties. (Geoff Plumb, Wed 26 Jul 2017) ABOVE LOWER: P3 at Oxford
looking south towards Didcot with an arrival from Worcester Shrub Hill (an hourly 'standard class only'
DMU shuttle during the blockade) at the other temporary stop blocks. (John Beale 22 Jul 2017)
X.120] BELOW: Another 'plumb' photograph. The MoD stores train from Bicester COD is normally a
fairly short trip working to Didcot Yard, but on 24 Jul 2017 was more of a route march due to the
engineering blockade at Oxford. It ran as 6S01, 11.53 from Bicester MoD GBRf sidings to Glen Douglas
MoD GBRf, where it was scheduled to arrive at 08.49 the following morning! It was routed via reversal
at Claydon Loop to Aylesbury, Princes Risborough, Greenford, Acton Main Line, Acton Canal Wharf
and Willesden No7 then down the WCML. 66737 'Lesia' is running round its train at Claydon Loop…
…(not th g t s on th 'mothb d' continu tion of th in to Bletchley). The track was rather rusty
and weed-strewn! It is thought to be the first train to use Claydon Loop since our 'Bubble & Squeak'
railtour on 9 April. The track was lowered under certain bridges north of Aylesbury prior to the Oxford
to Bicester upgrade to provide clearance for these trains. (Geoff Plumb https://goo.gl/59KRda )
1659] Flitwick - Bedford: 'Bedfordshire on Sunday' reports that Gallagher Estates undertook to build a
station at Wixams, 5km south of Bedford, more than a decade ago but, so far, this has failed to
materialise. Despite NR pulling funding for the project last year, Gallagher Estates has promised the
station is still on the cards. In mid July an Elstow parish councillor stated he had been told the station
was now earmarked for Elstow instead. Specifically it would be located behind the motel south of the
crossing of the A421 under the railway, about 800m south of the passage of the Bedford to Bletchley
line under the MML. Elstow is a village 1km east and Wixams further south on the A6. The location
appears to make sense as it is where the track is expected to cross the proposed East West rail line.
1660] Bletchley: Book 1 of the summer LM timetable series helpfully indicates to intending Bedford
line passengers which trains are formed of single cars and which of two, and which platform they use
at Bletchley. (P5 has step free access while P6 does not, having 36 steps from the footbridge to access
it.) Oddly a couple of trains use P5 until 7 Oct and then move to using the less accessible P6. If staff
know in advance that someone is travelling with mobility problems, they will move the service to P5.
[The obvious question, to which there is no doubt an obvious answer: why don't they all use P5?]
BELOW: (TRACKmaps Vol 2 p4A - Oct 2016) On 25 Jul 2017 Colas 70802 propels loaded PCAs forming
the previous day's 6L44 22.41 MWO from Oxwellmains Cement Works into the Cemex (former
Lafarge) Marine Terminal at West Thurrock. It is accessed off the Purfleet Long Siding and is beneath
the HS-1 viaduct, the M25 QE2 bridge is just out of shot to the right. (Iain Scotchman)
1661] Wolverton: (BLN 1263.1630) Following
the granting of outline planning permission in
2016 to redevelop Wolverton Works, site
clearance has started. A new Lidl is to be built
on the 1861 wagon works site. St Modwen and
Knorr-Bremse are reportedly planning further
demolition and construction of a smaller
railway workshop for which planning
permission is needed. Dating from 1838,
Wolverton is now the oldest continuously
open operational railway workshops, on the
same site, in the world. LEFT: Wolverton
Works 31 May 1993 from our 'Thames &
Chiltern Ramber II' tour https://goo.gl/316ugK
which covered some interesting lines inside the works (and elsewhere besides). Augus McDougall.
1662] Ipswich - Needham Market: On an Aug 2016 walk via the towpath of the Ipswich & Stowmarket
Navigation, for 40 years leased by the Eastern Counties Railway and then the GER, minor diversions
took our member to the site of Bramford station where two station houses exist but all trace of the
station has gone. At Claydon there are only disused sidings at the goods yard, the station buildings
having gone, but much new housing is nearby. Needham Market station is a magnificent baronial pile,
presiding over its little square. Near Ipswich the towpath intertwines with the Bacon Factory Curve,
offering some striking new photo opportunities, particularly of long container trains overhead.
1286 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James)
[Hampshire, Surrey, Kent, West Sussex, East Sussex & IOW - more contributions appreciated]
BELOW: Deal, one of the places where Javelins are signalled by semaphores. (Martin Crompton 2 Aug 2017)
1663] Ascot: Station work has finished with platform extensions at the London end complete and a
new footbridge with lifts installed and open and all repainted prior to the recent races, but the
signalling is currently rather varied. At the London end all signals have been replaced by single aspect
models. At the country end the signal on P3 (Down Passenger Loop) is still a three aspect, but a new
one. The Down signals on P1 and P2 are original. The London end extensions and all of P2 now have
new edging stones, clipped down ones, with a wide bright yellow rumble bobble strip behind.
The other platforms have rather older dark yellow strips still with a thin yellow painted line behind.
The P1 side of P2 has been fenced off to render it out of use but only some of the edging stones have
been removed and looks rather a mess. (The Up Main line used to have platform faces both sides.)
As is often the case now, the location of the new footbridge involves significantly more walking to
reach the other platforms. This is particularly the case to reach P3 and Aldershot trains which use the
west end of the platform where the canopy is. However it is of note that the subway, which remains in
use, runs from outside the station forecourt to steps up to P2 and, separately, P3. Passengers arriving
on those platforms could, and still can, exit the station without passing through the booking hall.
1286 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon)
[Gloucestershire, Avon, Somerset, Wiltshire, Devon, Lundy, Dorset, Channel Islands & Cornwall.]
1664] Bruton: (BLN 1285.1512) The original box, with 25 levers, off the Down platform country end
was demolished after closure on 7 Dec 1983. The building wrongly thought to be the box is a very
smart replica https://goo.gl/exomAV built c2012 along with the offices mentioned in a similar style.
1665] Newquay: (BLN 1285.1513) Due credit to GWR; a member has reported seeing full sized posters
at Paddington advertising the Boardmaster's event and consequential strengthening of DMUs to HSTs.
1666] ...and more credit where it is due: GWR is now promoting (again, using full sized posters) its
Customer & Communities Improvement Fund; £750,000 for customer supported schemes that is open
to the end of Aug 2017. Over 50 stations have received grants with £70,000 for Westbury to improve
access and £35,000 to South Wales Local Authorities to educate youngsters about travelling by train.
Your SW editor is particularly grateful to a member for sharing this wonderful piece of nostalgia…
1667] The Railtour that did not go to Weymouth Quay: (By Angus McDougall) https://goo.gl/pW8svp
I had always wanted to visit Weymouth Quay by train; all those photographs in the magazines of
trains proceeding along urban streets dwarfing passing cars and even buses intrigued me and gave me
the desire to see for myself and to travel over this interesting line.
Consequently an advertisement for a tour in September 1971 starting from Bournemouth and visiting
various places of interest including Weymouth Quay attracted my attention. Two of us made bookings
and arranged to spend the night before the tour in Bournemouth. It was a long way to travel from
Manchester and it would be an expensive weekend but I thought worth it; not only would we go to
Weymouth Quay but also to Hamworthy Goods, the original station in Poole. The tour also was to
visit Swanage, Yeovil, Wimborne and Bournemouth West but I had been to all those places before.
The first hint that things might not be as I had hoped was the wording on the tour ticket, received a
few days before the trip; there was no mention of Weymouth Quay but Weymouth Town appeared.
I should have realised then what had happened. As all organisers of this kind of tour know, objections
were frequently raised by British Railways for operating or engineering reasons about trains travelling
over certain sections of line which may have special restrictions, and apparently this is exactly what
had happened in this case. Quite soon after the train started from Bournemouth Central (a four coach
'4TC' with D6528, latterly 33111, that worked push/pull on the then non-electrified Bournemouth to
Weymouth line) it was made clear to us that we were heading for the Town station and not the Quay.
It seemed that traffic reasons had caused the Southern Region to decline to allow our train to traverse
the line through the streets. A group of us who had all come more or less specifically to visit the Quay
line tackled the organiser, since it seemed clear that Weymouth Quay had been cut out well before the
day of the tour. The resulting altercation led to at least two of us becoming personae non gratae with
that tour organisation, being banned from ever darkening their running boards again - though this
proved hardly much of a privation in the event, since I believe they never organised another tour!
However, six of us who were particularly aggrieved felt that we must visit Weymouth Quay that day,
come what may. Study of the timetable revealed that if we abandoned the tour at Hamworthy Goods,
and took a taxi to Weymouth, we would have a sporting chance of catching the afternoon boat train
from the Quay, which conveniently called at Bournemouth Central.
The first problem was to organise the taxi; preliminary investigations at Maiden Newton proved
unhelpful, but the telephone box outside the station at Swanage was more productive. Unfortunately
while one of the group was organising the taxi, the rest of us were trying to ensure that the tour train
did not leave without him. This proved impossible since the tour also conveyed ordinary passengers on
the branch, who had missed their service train due to late running of a train from Waterloo. So three
(I think) of the group were left behind. I remember that, very unfairly, we told those genuine
passengers standing in the taxi queue outside the station that our need was greater than theirs, and
we seized the first car arriving, telling the driver to take us to Wareham (the main line junction). The
car must, I think, have been one of the least powerful and poorest performing cars on the Dorset roads
and we reached the station at Wareham after the tour had left. This was despite overtaking vehicles in
Wareham High Street at such a slow pace that we presented a considerable hazard to cars coming the
other way, probably the second of the many incidents that took years off our lives that day.
This happening posed a further problem, since it was clear that we could not reach Hamworthy
Junction before the tour and thus, unless we went straight on to Hamworthy Goods, those of us in the
taxi would miss that branch. The others of course were on the tour and would, we assumed, realise
that the taxi ordered at Swanage would pick them up at Hamworthy Goods. So we commanded the
taxi to take us to Hamworthy Goods, which it did. There was a quick exchange of information,
incomplete, as it turned out, with the other members of the group: they left the tour train and we
boarded it for the short trip back to the junction. It was fortunate that the rules were less strict in
those days about boarding and leaving trains at locations other than passenger stations! We now OK
and confidently believed that the second taxi (the one ordered at Swanage) would pick us up at
Hamworthy Junction for a speedy trip to Weymouth Quay. However we did not know of the troubles
that the others in our group were experiencing. It transpired that they waited for some time and no
taxi arrived; they then realised that they had no idea (because we hadn't told them) what the name of
the taxi firm was, and hence no means of finding out what had happened to it. Naturally the nearest
telephone box, moreover, had no telephone directories in it (in those days there would normally have
been a reasonable chance even of finding a classified directory). [No internet, smart phones etc then!]
Very fortunately for all concerned the taxi eventually appeared; it seems that the driver had not
known what we had meant by 'Hamworthy Goods' and had been waiting for them somewhere else!
So those with me alighted at Hamworthy Junction and were picked up by an offensively confident
driver in an only slightly less decrepit motorcar. His offensive confidence manifested itself in
repeatedly telling us that there would be 'no problem' in catching the train we wanted. Nowadays I
think we would have given a false time for the train concerned, perhaps ten or so minutes before the
real departure time, but we were all idealistic about these things - possibly naïve - then, and did not do
so. Our group were all so keyed up by the situation and so desperately afraid we would miss the boat
train that conversation in the car was extremely limited, I seem to remember.
As we drove on to the long promenade at Weymouth from the east, we could clearly see the quay
station in the distance, and as we approached, the desired train. But then, while we were still some
way away, the train started to move, and we knew all was lost. However, no one dared to mention this
and we continued to drive onwards. When we arrived at the Quay, it seemed hardly credible that
there was another train still in the station - a relief train for Waterloo. There was plenty of time to pay
off the driver (who told us that he knew we would catch the train, in an even more offensively
complacent manner), to buy tickets to Bournemouth Central (in spite of some prophet of doom who
had told me some weeks before that one could only buy tickets to London at Weymouth Quay, even
with the booked stop at Bournemouth) and board the train. It was so lightly loaded that we had at
least one and possibly more carriages for each of us, and plenty of opportunity for photography on the
Quay tramway. What a relief, but what horrors we had gone through on the way!
A lesson that I have kept in my mind for similar situations ever since was that one should never give up
until everything is really proved to have been lost.
1668] Bath put out to Graze: On 3 Aug 2017 the lift exit from Up P2 was OOU. Passengers were
directed through the normally locked western-end gate to GRAZE restaurant, whose lift to ground
level was made available in both directions. Signage was only that shown on the station lift, suggesting
a recent problem. However as limited to 4 people, multiple trips were needed off busier trains with
luggage. The Pumpkin Café (P1) was also closed due to illness. [A couple of problems to plug at Bath.]
1286 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler)
[Staffordshire, Shropshire, West Midlands, Herefordshire, Worcestershire & Warwickshire]
ABOVE: 66558 with six wagons at Malvern Wells (the Down Loop is on the right); 08.13 on Sun 6 Aug.
The train had left Westbury at 20.40 the previous evening running via Melksham, Oxford and Evesham
loaded with ballast which was dropped at Henwick. Work has been progressing over recent weeks on
the Henwick Turn Back Facility (essentially reinstating part of the Up Refuge Sidings at 121m 72ch
shown on TRACKmaps). The returned to Westbury was via Malvern, Hereford, the Severn Tunnel and
Bath Spa with three of the wagons loaded with spoil. The new facility will allow an enhanced service
between Worcester Foregate Street (with more flexibility there) and Birmingham. (Phil Blann)
ABOVE: An unusual view, (taken through a glass window) along Stephenson Street, Birmingham, of the
end of the Midland Metro headshunt at Grand Central stop with a tram reversing. The two lines
shown will become through running lines with the extension to Centenary Square and then Five Ways.
New Street station is on the right past the brick building with the Rotunda straight ahead. Note the
location of the Birmingham Ian Allan book and model shop bottom left. (Kev Adlam 1 Aug 2017)
1669] Norton Bridge: (BLN 1268.2113 & 2182) Following the DfT consultation begun in Oct 2016, the
government has decided that closure of Norton Bridge station should proceed subject to maintaining
part funding for rail replacement bus services until the end of Mar 2019. The DfT remains confident in
its economic appraisal that the closure proposal should be submitted to the ORR for ratification.
Train services were temporarily suspended in 2004 during WCML modernisation. The proposed closure
date is 15 Oct 2017 or four weeks after ratification by the ORR, whichever is the later. At a preliminary
meeting about the new Norton Bridge flyover and its alignment, a participant asked if the station was
to be closed. He was told no; it would cost too much and was not part of that Project's remit. So the
Up Fast line curves past the disused Norton Bridge platform when it could have been much straighter.
1670] Penkridge: (BLN 1256.935) Four Ashes Ltd is applying for a Development Consent Order for the
rail freight West Midlands Interchange https://goo.gl/PTrZMq with warehousing and highway works,
on land west of the M6 Jn12, just south of the A5. This is on the Up side of the line between Penkridge
and Four Ashes loop. The proposal includes an intermodal freight terminal connected to the main line
able to accommodate up to 10 trains of 775m length daily and associated facilities including for HGVs
and 'up to' (which includes none) 743,200m2 of rail served warehousing. Interested parties, including
the public, have until 30 Aug to comment. It is wondered where this leaves the similar nearby proposal
(BLN 1237.1379) at the former Mid-Cannock Coal Disposal Point 4½ miles east along the A5. 14 miles
to the west is the NRU Telford (Donnington) rail facility. Previous such projects never seem to achieve
their potential in terms of rail services and rail served warehouses - although the road components do!
1671] Chase Line: Masts are up from Cannock to East Cannock Jn and Gorse Moors towards Rugeley.
1672] Kenilworth: The station, due to open 10 Dec 2017, has taken some concrete steps [great quote]
towards completion. In early July the new footbridge and lift shafts were installed, using a 500 tonne
mobile crane, during overnight line closures.
1673] Soho Depot: The Down Through Goods line adjacent to the carriage washer line is very rusty.
1674] Midland Metro: The management has confirmed its intention to run a through service between
Birmingham (unspecified) and Brierley Hill; the new junction at Wednesbury will be a delta as will the
Eastside extension junction in central Birmingham. The Wolverhampton station extension switches
will be installed during the current closure of the line for relaying between Priestfield and The Royal.
1675] HS2: The Government has opted to move the construction railhead, and infrastructure
maintenance facility for the Northwest section of HS2, from Basford near Crewe to near Stone. This is
midway along the Phase 2a route so can support construction north and south simultaneously.
1286 YORKSHIRE & NORTH HUMBERSIDE (Graeme Jolley; Geoff Blyth for North & East Yorks)
1676] Barnsley: On Sun 18 Jun planned engineering works closed the line south of Barnsley; services
from Huddersfield and Leeds turned back there, with rail replacement buses to Sheffield, Meadowhall
and intermediate stations. Some Leeds trains turned back in P1 (southbound) taking the trailing
crossover north of Barnsley Station Jn on departure in service. Some trains from Huddersfield ran to
Barnsley P2 via the facing crossover north of the station. The same day Sheffield - Doncaster trains ran
via Woodburn Jn, Tinsley South Jn and Rotherham Central Jn due to work in the Meadowhall area.
BELOW: The 15.37 Barnsley to Leeds, formed of 158855 waiting to depart P1 on the left next to
the 16.01 to Huddersfield in P2, both will head north. (John Cameron 18 Jun 2017.)
1677] Hull: (BLN 1284.1379) The caption to the e-BLN King George Dock Junction signal box picture
mentions a Society brake van trip (not a tour) for 15 members on 27 Oct 1972 from Hull East End Yard
to Saltend and return. In those days it was sometimes possible to obtain brake van permits to travel
on certain freight services (particularly in Scotland). Often an accompanying Inspector would be
required and a charge was made to cover costs (handwritten tickets or letters were usually issued).
There was always a risk that the trip would not run (sometimes they ran just for the passengers!).
Occasionally an extra brake van would be attached. Details of our official BR brake van trips (the last
27 Aug 1991) are in our 1995 'Forty Year Book' (out of print) summarising BLS activities since
foundation in 1955. Brake van specials were more common in the 1960s, particularly for lines
unsuitable for normal passenger stock.
ABOVE: A brakevan trip on a normal freight working at Fakenham East in Sep 1974. The trip from
Norwich to Fakenham used to take so long (due to the distance, numerous manually operated level
crossing gates and frequent shunting) that one crew took the train out and another brought it back -
the crew change was effected by taxi at Fakenham. (Ian Mortimer)
ABOVE: A Wirral Railway Circle brake van tour at Minera, a quarry branch west of Wrexham with Class
24 loco, 24 May 1969. This branch, then from Brymbo West Crossing, CG 1 Jan 1972 (Angus
McDougall) [Could that be our member Dave Groves bottom right?]
1678] Pilmoor - Gilling - Malton (- Driffield); the sequel: (BLN 1285.1528) Dr Who was first shown on
23 Nov 1963 and seems to have some involvement in the timings given for the Ampleforth College
specials on 21 Jan 1964; 1Z02 Scarborough Road Jn (reverse) should read 5.56/6.00, not 6.56/7.00,
and 1F75 arrived at Gilling at 6.52, not 4.52. Freight trains to Husthwaite Gate propelled from
Coxwold with the loco leading on return in the absence of any run-round facilities at the former.
Further information has come to light concerning the use (or not) of the north facing Pilmoor curve.
This was down to one round trip a day from Pickering to Pilmoor by 1920, and still so in 1927. From an
unknown date between Jul 1933 and Sept 1936 it ran instead to Alne, with all year-round branch trains
via the south curve. In summer 1937 a Scarborough - Pickering (reverse) - Gilling railmotor ran to
Pilmoor and back, for one season only, though summer holiday trains to/from Scarborough still used
the north curve and last ran on 9 Sep 1939. The north curve again had a passenger service from an
unknown date between Oct 1941 and 4 May 1942, just one train a day each way - one via each curve.
From 5 Oct 1942 both ran via the south curve again and the north curve went out of passenger use
until the summer SO trains resumed in 1947. It never saw any further regular local passenger trains.
The first holiday train by this route in the 1932 public timetable was the 11.20 dated summer Saturday
Scarborough to Glasgow Queen Street on 23 July. There was nothing this way in the reverse direction.
This, of course, brought passenger trains back to the Scarborough Road Jn - Gilling section.
In the following summer the Gilling route increased to 1½ summer Saturday round trips; an Edinburgh
round trip plus one southbound from Glasgow. This remained the pattern until 1938, when a dated
summer Saturday evening train to Newcastle appeared. The last such trains ran on 9 Sep 1939.
The first advertised summer holiday train to run after the war was a Newcastle to Filey Holiday Camp
service on 21 June 1947. This certainly ran via Pilmoor - Gilling - Scarborough Road Jn in 1948, so is
almost certain to have also gone that way in 1947. A member is researching trains between
Middlesbrough and via Gilling as there are doubts that there were actually three a day.
Before the war, all such trains were allowed only 2 minutes at both Malton and Scarborough Road Jn
for reversal, so might have propelled round the curve and not used a pilot locomotive. At that time
train crews would have been accustomed to propelling passenger trains over that short distance as the
Malton - Gilling local trains (though much shorter in length) had only recently ceased. However, the
LNER 1947 Sectional Appendix makes no mention of Malton - Scarborough Road Jn in Table L
(Propelling of Trains or Vehicles) but does list it in Table K (Trains Drawn by Pilot Engine with Train
Engine in Rear), with a note 'Slip Couplings at Malton Loco Shed for Passenger trains given a start from
Scarborough Road' - ie being banked up the gradient towards Gilling. Propelling was definitely not
permitted by the time of the 1960 Sectional Appendix. Table F (Propelling of Trains or Vehicles) lists
Malton East - Scarborough Road, but only for up to 6 wagons in daylight to the Yorkshire Bacon
Factory Siding at the latter. Table J (Locomotives Assisting in Rear of Trains Rule 133) has much the
same wording as the 1947 Table K, but with a Note K ('The rear locomotive must NOT ssist….').
Trains from Scarborough etc arrived at Malton, where the local pilot was attached to the rear and
pulled it to Scarborough Road Jn where it unhooked and then banked the train up the gradient for
about half a mile towards Gilling (there were strict instructions that the loco must not go beyond the
bridge over the Scarborough line) before returning to Scarborough Road. In the opposite direction the
light engine stood at Scarborough Road and, when the train arrived, it attached to the stock but then
detached at Malton to allow the train to continue its journey to Scarborough etc. For the Ampleforth
College special from/to King's Cross, the train engine from King's Cross was detached at Scarborough
Road Jn, another loco attached to the rear and then worked forward to Gilling. It returned with the
empty stock, which was then hauled by the train engine. After Malton Shed closed, a light engine had
to be sent from York to Scarborough Road to act as pilot.
It is thought that after 1955 the Ampleforth College specials ran to Gilling via Pilmoor (reverse) but
from Gilling via the south curve until that was taken OOU in 1959. Thereafter, with the simplification
of the layout at Pilmoor, loco hauled trains ran via Malton although DMUs were still able to reverse at
Pilmoor. They all ran via Malton after the Sep 1962 Pilmoor to Husthwaite Gate line closure of course.
Gilling was suffixed 'for Ampleforth College' in the public timetable (if not on the station nameboard),
no doubt for the benefit of those unfamiliar with the area, who would otherwise travel to the less
convenient Ampleforth. The unfortunate Prime Minister of Belgium, who did not speak English, had
probably never seen the timetable. He and his wife alighted from the train in a hurry at Ampleforth in
terrible weather one night in 1940, when his government was in exile in England, to visit their sons at
the College. The stationmaster took some time to work out their predicament and contact the college.
Trains passing Sunbeck box (5 Feb - 5 Oct 1962) Up = From Coxwold; Down (Dn) = to Coxwold Dn Up
Summer Saturday trains to/from the East Coast in the public timetable 26 32
Special holiday train not in the public timetable 10
Sunday ramblers' excursion (DMU) 11
Officers' special 26 May; out via Pilmoor return via Malton 10
Route learning DMU; Darlington - Pilmoor - Malton - Sunbeck - Malton - Pilmoor - Darlington 18 18
Charters/Excursion and associated empty coaching stock 44
Empty DMU for the Helmsley to Scarborough annual Sunday School excursion 11
Totals (in the 8 months) - an average of 13-14 trains passed Sunbeck Signal Box each month! 52 56
The 1962 Summer Saturday holiday trains: ●07.40 Filey Hol Camp-Edinburgh (14 Jul-18 Aug)
●10.50 Newcastle-Scarborough (18 Jun-25 Aug) ●08.35 Scarborough-Glasgow (14 Jul-11 Aug)
●08.05 Glasgow-Scarborough (30 Jun-28 Jul) ●10.25 Scarborough-Glasgow (18 Jun-1 Sep)
●09.20 Glasgow-Scarborough (18 Jun-25 Aug) ●10.50 Scarborough-Newcastle (18 Jun-1 Sep)
The Filey Holiday Camp to Edinburgh train accounts for the unbalanced workings as the Newcastle to
Filey Holiday Camp train ran via York and Bridlington. The 18 route learning specials ran daily 7 to 11
and 14 to 17 May 1952, for Darlington etc train crews who were to work the Summer Saturday trains.
With no regular services passing Sunbeck, they had no other means of refreshing/learning the road.
With only three levers and no points in its last few years, Sunbeck must have been one of the smallest
block posts in the country. Two examples of a block post on a single line with no crossing facility
survive today: Midge Hall box on the Ormskirk line and Pyewipe Road on the Grimsby District Light
Railway (to Immingham). Do members know of any others?
Midge Hall has interlocking to prevent the signaller inadvertently creating a 'Mexican standoff' by
accepting trains from both directions at the same time. It is not known if Sunbeck had any such
interlocking but in the 1960s a signaller would probably have got the sack if he managed to create such
a ridiculous situation! More reliance was placed on common sense and the timetable then! There were
fairly tight timings for the holiday trains in 1962: the 10.50 Scarborough to Newcastle was booked to
pass Sunbeck at 12.33 and the 10.50 Newcastle to Scarborough at 12.40, so they 'crossed' at Pilmoor.
Presumably the signaller had to establish where the train from Scarborough was before deciding to
accept the train from Newcastle!
BELOW: (BLN 1280.64) Leeds, Hunslet Lane Goods 24 Mar 1979, typical of many similar run down
goods depots throughout the country then - it is perhaps surprising that it survived another four years;
a North Midland Railway passenger terminus 1849 to 1851 it CG 30 Apr 1983. (Angus McDougall)
ABOVE: 37611 at Doncaster. BELOW: …. nd 37608. (Both Martin Crompton)
1286 IRELAND (Martin Baumann)
1679] Portrush: Translink intend to demolish and replace the current passenger station facilities.
This is basically a small concrete hut near the buffers; the actual station building is no longer in railway
ownership and is listed. The existing platforms will have new canopies. This is all subject to planning
permission; it is intended to have the work done for the Open Golf Championship (18 to 21 Jul 2019).
Portrush signalbox is unusually switched in for RPSI steam trains on: 31 Jul, 6, 13, 20 & 27 Aug.
The steam workings will use P3 which has a run-round loop. To provide a path for the RPSI the 12.20 &
14.20 from Coleraine and 12.21 & 14.31 ex-Portrush service trains are cancelled on these dates.
1680] Templepatrick: The 12.38 ex-Londonderry crossed the 14.10 ex-Great Victoria Street on 25 Jul.
1681] Dublin Pearse: From 31 Jul SSuX the 15.30 Malahide to Greystones and 16.02 Connolly to Dun
Laoghaire run via the Down loop. The 15.10 (SSuX) from Newbridge now terminates at Pearse rather
than Grand Canal Dock; it is not clear why as it then still runs to Grand Canal Dock anyway but as ECS!
1682] Green Line: All platforms between Stillorgan and St Stephen's Green terminus are being
extended from 40m to 53m to accommodate longer cars due this year. The platforms are already 53m
between Stillorgan and Bride's Glen. The new ones under construction are being built at that length.
1683] South Wexford Line: Irish Rail's track recording car ran from Waterford to Rosslare Strand on
18 Jul before continuing to Rosslare Harbour and then running to Greystones via Wexford.
1684] Limerick: Continuous Automatic Warning System cab signalling was commissioned between
Killonan Jn and Limerick on 23 Jul. It also extends to milepost 2½ on the Ennis line.
1685] Littleton: Bord na Mona (Irish Turf Board) is to close this County Tipperary peat briquette plant
in Apr 2018 with the loss of 125 jobs and close the associated narrow gauge railway (see Baker's Atlas
14th Edition p67 & 70). Sales have fallen 50% and it is losing money as peat briquettes are subject to a
carbon tax of €20/tonn of carbon emitted, increasing the cost of peat briquettes by €0.52 per bale.
1286 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley)
[Isle of Man Steam, Manx Electric & Snaefell Mountain Railways and Douglas Bay Horse Tramway]
ABOVE: During the recent Manx Heritage Transport Festival Weekend at the end of July our member
Gary Lonsdale is snapped enjoying the end of line (sea line?), one of the two red buffer stops can be
seen to the right, on the 2ft gauge Groudle Glen Railway at Sea Lion Rocks terminus. (Stuart Hicks)
1686] Updates: Ian Longworth, IOM Director of Public Transport, spoke to a large group at Douglas
station at a photographic session and hog roast, part of the IOM July Transport Festival weekend.
A member noted: Steam Railway: Coaches F15 & F62 should be restored to the fleet and Caledonia
should be back in service next year. Diesel 21 should be back in service by Sep for the dining train.
Douglas station renovation work has been successful with improved shop, buffet and restaurant
takings. Manx Electric Railway (MER): Work on car '14' reveals that it was probably built as a trailer.
Some testing is underway. Trailer '54' should run next year. Snaefell Mountain Railway: Car '4' is
test running and Car '6' will be overhauled next. Horse trams: Trams '27' and '36' should emerge
soon. Carryings have doubled since they took over from Douglas Corporation. New works starting
autumn 2018 will result in a single-track line to the sea terminal from east of the Broadway junction
(which will become a roundabout) with a passing loop near the war memorial. Initial works should last
30 weeks, so avoiding the summer season. There will be temporary stables on the Summerland site.
1687] More Updates: The former Summerland site has recently been graded to provide a hard
surface in connection with developments above. A traverser is now being considered at Derby Castle
(and pilot holes have been dug) to transfer horse trams to/from the MER for overhaul. The Horse
T mw y nd MER both 3ft g ug [… nd w h v k n oc m mb s to ange the first tour!]
BELOW: At Derby Castle; Ian is wondering what all the fuss is about. A Manx Electric Railway car is
seen on the right. Someone has put their foot in it bottom ft… (J m s B , 26 Ju 2017).
1688] Douglas Bay Horse Tramway: It is wonderful how modern trams have sophisticated diagnostic
systems which can communicate with the train crew. A member was on the 10.20 service from the
Sea Terminal to Derby Castle on Wed 26 Jul. As the tram passed the casino the motive power unit, Ian,
gave the driver what can only be described as 'a look'. The driver affected an unscheduled stop, had a
quick look at the problem and then used the public address system (hand cupped to mouth) to contact
the conductor. 'We've lost a shoe!' he yelled. Fortunately the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway is not third
rail electrified, so losing a shoe does not prevent the tram from moving. Thinking on the hoof, once the
conductor had retrieved said shoe from the carriageway the tram proceeded at reduced power to
Derby Castle. A curiosity of this type of self-fuelling hay-burning motive power is that, on full or
reduced power, it is always one horsepower. But the shoeless hoof was observed slipping badly on the
wet rails. Ian is not equipped with sanding equipment (but can produce materials suitable for greasing
rails on sharp curves). Arrival at Derby Castle was five minutes late, so our member missed the 10.40
Ramsey tram. However, he was in time to see it depart from Derby Castle 'bay platform' and that the
conductor had to lower the trolley pole through the points on to the normal line; presumably there is a
problem with the frog (not a good year for IoM animals then!) on the trolley wire here.
1286 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe)
X.121] A Brake Van trip without a Brake Van! BELOW: August 1978 on the delightful Markinch to
Auchmuty (paper) Mills branch. Although brakevan permits were issued for the trip by BR Glasgow,
HQ they were seemingly not aware that one was not taken and in Scotland inspectors were not
required on brakevan trips. There was no alternative but to ride in the loco cab, were the participants
were made most welcome and from which this view is taken. The chap on the left was paid to wagon
spot; the shunter taking the numbers for TOPS (Total Operations Processing System). (Ian Mortimer)
1689] Oban: (BLN 1260.1351) On Sun 23 Jul a member finally achieved the elusive non-preferred
platform (whichever number it is!); the right one on arrival. The 08.08 (SuO 25 Jun to 27 Aug 2017
summer dated) service from Edinburgh arrived on time in the normal (left) platform at 12.06 then the
12.11 to Glasgow Queen Street departed from the rarer platform on the right. It seemed that the
station ground staff then handed the Ground Frame key to the crew of the 12.11 to Glasgow as the
train had stopped again and both driver and guard alighted. At 12.30 the Edinburgh arrival shunted
ECS (Oban Ground Frame reverse 12.32/12.37) as booked to reach the right platform at 12.39.
A member of, presumably, station staff travelled on the ECS to unlock the ground frame and change
the points. The ECS then went over to the other (rare) platform. There is another arrival before the
next departure, and a further later shunt is timetabled so it would be surprising if the ground frame
key is carried by the train crew, unless there is another one. Presumably the ground staff returns to
the station on foot? It is unknown if there is a 'station limits' (as defined by a board) token for shunting
or the shunt from the right to left platform requires the whole section to be clear to Connel Ferry.
Any definitive information please anyone? Finally since the Dec 2007 TRACKmaps Vol 1 p21C,
nowadays there is only one 'shut in' facility at Oban which is just for the Down sidings.
BELOW: 1925 Scottish 'Popular' one-inch series showing the Solway Viaduct. Annan is top left - the
'other' (top) station is Annan Shawhill (Caledonian) which survived for passenger traffic as a branch
from Kirtlebridge on the West Coast Main Line until Apr 1931. Goods traffic continued until Feb 1955,
after 1951 accessed only by the west to south curve from the G&SWR. Note the 'Boiler Works' branch
top left and Eastriggs station (with a connection to the military establishment line) top right. Bottom
right is the Port Carlisle branch terminus. Bowness station shown open to passenger south of the
viaduct CP 1921 with the viaduct (further south off the map this line is shown as a 'Disused Railway').
ABOVE: The Glasgow to Carlisle line shown (top) was on the Glasgow & South Western Railway, the
Silloth to Carlisle line (and Port Carlisle branch off it) were part of the North British Railway.
The Maryport and Carlisle line was bottom, left of centre. The other lines (Kirtlebridge - Kirkbride Jn,
spur to Annan and Abbey Holme - Brayton Jn were the Caledonian worked Solway Junction Railway
1690] Solway Viaduct: (See RCH 1903 Map above) There is a signposted footpath of just under a mile
on the trackbed of the former Solway Junction Railway, from Seafield Rd, on the south side of Annan
(NY 202 658), to the end of the embankment out into the Solway Firth. Where the embankment
stretches out into the Firth it is faced with sandstone blocks (NEXT PAGE UPPER). The viaduct across
the Firth to Bowness (the station served Bowness-on-Solway) was an iron trestle structure.
BELOW: The site of the Solway Viaduct, from the Scottish side (embankment to the left)
looking across to England (embankment to the right on the far side of the water).
An information board at the end of the far embankment includes the following: The Solway Railway
Viaduct was designed by Sir James Brunlees and was opened in 1869. The viaduct was built to carry
iron ore from the Cumberland mines to the Lanarkshire steel works and was 1,783m (5,850ft) long.
During a thaw following the severe winter of 1880/81 sheets of ice 1.82m thick and 23m2 in area were
driven against the cast iron bridge pillars by the fast flowing tide. Two sections of the viaduct
collapsed, one gap was 280m wide and another 46m. After extensive repairs the railway reopened in
1884. After the 1914-18 War, when the viaduct was of strategic importance, further expensive repairs
were required but it was closed to all rail traffic in 1921. Dismantling the viaduct started in 1934 and
took 19 months to complete. Three workmen were drowned when their boat was swept away in the
fast flowing tide.
ABOVE: The Scottish end of the Solway Viaduct embankment in the Solway Firth (the pipe seen carried
non-radioactive 'warmed cooling water' from Chapelcross Nuclear power station for discharge). The
English side is across the water slightly to the right. (All pictures in this section are by Greg Beecroft.)
BELOW: The pipe from Chapelcross, on the former Solway Junction Railway track bed.
Davis Ross's Caledonian Railway history records that the viaduct had 193 cast iron pillars carrying the
wrought iron bridge deck, OG 13 Sep 1869; OP Aug 1870. The Solway Junction Railway was worked by
the Caledonian, which acquired the section between Kirtlebridge and Annan in 1873. It took over the
rest of the line to Brayton in 1895 - the most southerly point reached by the Caledonian. Exactly when
the line closed is uncertain, the 'official date' was 1 Sep 1921 but it had been 'declared unsafe' on
20 May 1921. Matters were complicated by cuts to services due to a miners' strike earlier in the year.
Following closure, possibly before, it was popular for local men to walk over the viaduct on Sundays to
escape the dry Scottish Sabbath and reach the public houses of Bowness-on-Solway. The trackbed on
the Scottish side gained a new purpose in 1959, when a pipeline was laid along it. This pipe was used
to discharge cooling water from Chapelcross nuclear power station into the Solway Firth. The outlet, at
the end of the embankment, was an attraction for local children [if they were caught they were in hot
water]. The pipe is insulated, to prevent freezing, so the water came out warm. Chapelcross ceased
generating in 2004 and is in course of being demolished, but the pipeline is still there. It continues
through Annan along a section of trackbed not open to the public, which is becoming increasingly
overgrown. A timber yard and a large house occupy the site of the former curve from the Solway
Junction Railway to the Glasgow & South Western line.
1691] Perth: Signal P6 on the Up Main to Hilton Jn is unusual. It has two signal heads, a conventional
three-aspect one and a two-aspect one to the left (as seen by the train driver approaching it). The two-
aspect one can show green (lower) or yellow (upper) and is as an advance route indicator for Hilton Jn.
●'Stop' is indicated by the three-aspect head showing red. Other aspects: ●Both heads yellow - Hilton
Jn signal is at danger. ●Two aspect yellow, three aspect green - route set for the Stirling line (right) at
Hilton Jn. ●Two aspect green, three aspect yellow - Route set for the Ladybank line (left) at Hilton Jn.
1692] Glasgow Subway: (BLN 1253.609) Station refurbishment is complete at Buchanan Street, Ibrox,
Cessnock, Kelvinhall, Govan, Hillhead, Partick and St Enoch. At Kelvinbridge work is well-advanced;
a contract for refurbishment of Bridge Street and Shields Road was let at
the end of June. Escalators have been replaced at all stations. Design work
for refurbishment of St George's Cross (which includes dealing with
significant water ingress), Cowcaddens, Kinning Park, and West Street
stations is under way. Tunnel lining renovation is expected to be
completed this autumn dealing with water ingress. The pumping stations
have all been replaced. The new trains should enter service from 2020.
When the old ones have all gone, platform screen doors will be installed
and unattended train operation introduced.
1693] Edinburgh Waverley: (BLN 1275.448) The closure of west end bay
P12 (OOU since 11 Dec 2016) for works relating to the station's Capacity
Improvements Project has been extended to 10 Dec 2017.
1694] Fort Augustus: (BLN 1285.1538) Appropriate for an 'august' BLN,
the school is on the main station site - a residual platform ramp pokes out
past the school fence, seen on our Jun 2015 visit to the area. The former
Fort Augustus Pier Station site has 'Old Pier House B&B' and Loch Ness
(log) Cabins' (locked up we trust?) but no school.
X.122] Greenburn Branch: (LEFT & BELOW) Our member Nick Jones just
happened to be passing Boig Road Level Crossing on Wed 5 Jul when the
16.34 coal train to Cottam Power Station crosssed. As Nick said, it's good
to see gates done the 'old fashioned way'. There has been one, sometimes
two co t ins (SSuX) on th b nch g n y c nt y (SSuX)…
1286 WALES (Paul Jeffries)
[Plus: Chester - Shrewsbury - Hereford - Newport, with flexibility to most appropriately place any item]
1695] Festiniog & Blaenau Railway: (BLN 1284.1430) Clarifying the previous reference, the present
Blaenau Ffestiniog station overlaps, but is not precisely on the site of, the former GWR Central station,
having been built largely upon the former Festiniog Railway trackbed and station site. The GWR
Chester Division report for 1931 confirms Teigl Halt opening date as 14 Sep 1931, with supporting
information that 1,097 passengers were dealt with during the remainder of that year, generating
revenue of £13-12s-11d. It was too late for inclusion in GWR's Winter timetable and, as no
supplements are bound with that edition at Kew, its first appearance is in the next issue of 18 Jul 1932.
This may also account for the delay (referred to in Quick's Chronology) in its appearance in Bradshaw.
The surviving Llan Festiniog platform is the GWR station not the original F&B terminus.
1696] Blaenau Festiniog (Central) branch: (BLN 1285.1559) The site of Capel Celyn Halt is actually
around 20ft above the high water mark of Llyn Celyn reservoir (SH 857 398), although today all that is
recognisable is the site of its access gate, complete with concrete lamp base. Local recollection is that,
during a 1989 drought about 75% of the normally submerged section of trackbed became walkable.
1697] Non-electric trains: In a further twist to the painful electrification saga, £1.9M from the Welsh
Government and £1.0M from Arriva (DB) has been approved to acquire five 4-car Thameslink Class 319
EMUs, to be retrofitted with diesel engines and made available to the Wales & Borders franchise 'until
at least 2021'. The spin extols the 'extra capacity' thus obtained, although in the same statement it is
acknowledged that the prime reason is to facilitate withdrawal of the 30 two-car Pacer units, which
cannot be adapted to meet post-2019 Persons with Reduced Mobility regulations, and also meantime
to allow the 36 Class 150/2 units to be released for necessary adaptations to be made. All of which
leaves us wondering quite when and where the 'extra capacity' will …
1698] Another shot in the foot…: (BLN 1285.1561) Following on from the Welsh Government's
announcement of free weekend bus travel on competing routes, the UK government has dealt a
further blow to Welsh railways with simultaneous announcements (a) cancelling electrification of the
South Wales Main Line west of Cardiff, and (b) abolishing tolls on the two Severn Bridges from 2018.
There can be no doubt that the £6.70 toll has been a major deterrent to car commuting in the Bristol -
Newport - Cardiff corridor; abolition will inevitably bring an increase in traffic on the M4 motorway.
This will conveniently strengthen the case for building the parallel Gwent Levels motorway, the subject
of a current public inquiry. Rail fares through the Severn Tunnel are higher to allow for its high
maintenance and running costs. There is local concern that the case for completing the long-delayed
new station at Brackla (east of Bridgend) will have been weakened, as timetabling plans here assumed
the better acceleration of electric trains. The local authority owns all the necessary land, and even
completed the putative station car park last year, although it remains fenced off.
1699] On the plus side: Plans for a privately-funded £25M new Cardiff Parkway station at St Mellons,
between Newport and Cardiff Central, have attracted support from the Welsh and UK governments.
Envisaged as part of a grandiose business, retail and leisure complex, this has an (optimistic?) target
opening date of 'February 2020'. The developers have asked for assurance that at least four trains per
hour each way will be mandated in the new 'Wales & Borders' franchise specification.
1700] Machen Quarry (BLN 1285.1558) This item recalled our Sun 20 Feb 1983 internal quarry railway
visit. At the time our now Chairman and his wife, John and Jenny Williamson, lived in a house backing
onto the Quarry sidings. Jenny had walked round to the Quarry to make the headline arrangements
with the Quarry Manager (as you do). He was content to leave the details to Ivor the Engine Driver,
who gave a comprehensive tour of everything he was authorised to cover by cab rides on his internal
shunter. John and Jenny hosted a BLS Committee meeting following the visit. There was another visit
on 21 Jul 1988 arranged by a different organiser. The loco now is actually 08787 renumbered 08296.
1701] Seeing red on the Blue Dragon: The Machen trip had complemented our 'Blue Dragon' railtour
the day before https://goo.gl/Sv8eTY organised by John Williamson. This successfully visited Machen
and beyond to Trethomas, Colliers Arms (30ch past Oakdale Colliery), Coegnant Colliery (Nantyfyllon
buffer stops) north of Maesteg then to Margam Yard, Coed Ely and Cwm Colliery returning to Cardiff
via Leckwith Jn, Ninian Park and Penarth Curve North Jn. It was also the first railtour on the then new
2,850yd long Bridgend Fords branch (OG 15 Jan 1980). Here the 'Blue Dragon' was a classic of the best
laid railtour plans going wrong. We were supposed to go over the A48 level crossing into Fords (freight
ran at night) and all the third party clearances (Fords, the Glamorgan County Surveyor's Department
and the Police) had been secured and cross-referenced, but there was a very late decision (after the
tour had been timed) that we could not do this. That left us with spare time to wait on the branch just
before the level crossing (14.05/14.37), which only heightened the frustration of some participants….
1702] (Another) Welsh Assembly: Spanish train builder CAF has announced plans for a 46,000m2 train
assembly plant, on part of the Llanwern Tata steelworks site with a rail connection. To the best of your
Regional-Ed's knowledge, the last items of mainline traction to be assembled in Wales comprised the
final two members of the Taff Vale Railway Class O1 (letter 'O') steam locos, released to traffic from
that company's Cardiff West Yard Works in Oct 1897, although passenger rolling stock continued to be
manufactured at Cathays Works until 1915, and at the Rhymney Railway's Caerphilly Works until 1921.
1286 MINOR RAILWAYS (Peter Scott)
[Those meeting the criteria for Peter Scott's annual MR publication, except IOM electric, steam & horse.
Generally not British/Irish National Networks or the Local Authority, Light Rail and Tramway Systems.
Pre-heritage (historical) items about Heritage Railways usually go in the regional sections.]
MR133] Steeple Grange Light Railway, Derbyshire (MR p14) (BLN 1283.MR102): A member kindly
points out that while it is true that the Killers branch was private, not BR, it should be clarified that it
was LNWR built in 1884, and only went into 'private' ownership in August 1907 on its sale to
Hoptonwood Stone Firms Ltd. Even then it was worked by main line locos until closure in April 1967.
MR134] Gloucestershire Warwickshire (Steam) Railway, Gloucestershire (MR p7): From railway's
'Summer 2017' [mid July] newsletter. Cheltenham Race Course station Platform 2 was used for the
first time at the Late May Bank Holiday Steam Gala, providing extra interest and increased flexibility.
Hayles Abbey Halt is a new request stop for DMUs only. It faithfully reproduces the halt, which stood
here (CP 7 March 1960). Already very popular with walkers and those who wish to visit the nearby
National Trust/English Heritage site of Hailes Abbey. On the Broadway extension, tracklaying was just
north of Childswickham bridge, alongside the Caravan Club site, about 400 yards from the station. The
DMU now runs almost to Peasebrook Farm on its northern run. Track will now be laid on the sidings
north of the station and work backwards to join the main line. At Broadway station the heritage-style
structure for the roof is now complete, with the roof sheeting to be added. Some signal posts have
also appeared. All is on course to have public trains running to here by Good Friday, 30 March 2018.
If the main station building is not complete, temporary arrangements will be made. For 2018, the
railway will be running 8 coach trains, including the superbly restored First Open, which is just about to
enter service following very extensive work by the Carriage and Wagon department at Winchcombe.
MR135] Severn Valley Railway, Shropshire (MR p7): A member visited here on 14 July and enjoyed
haulage behind all the three working locomotives: GWR 0-6-0s 1501 and 7714, with Class 50 50049.
The railway was operating a three train, six trips each way, timetable; one of few preserved railways in
the heart of England running on a Friday. 1501 was capable motive power on the 12.30 from
Kidderminster, taken to Highley, for the diesel working south to Bewdley, followed by 7714 to
Bridgnorth and the 16.05 back. The Engine House visitor centre at Highley (free to customers with full
line tickets) has an interesting exhibition of the aftermath of the severe floods that hit the railway
10 years ago. There are lots of large colour pictures of missing sections of embankments and other
damage that was caused in many places along the route. A useful memory of the damage that nature
can cause to preserved railways and the national network, and which may become more prevalent.
MR136] Leighton Buzzard Railway, Bedfordshire (MR p12) (BLN 1284.MR117): The railway's Executive
Committee has decided to push ahead with plans to extend the railway north towards Double Arches
(past Stonehenge, partly used for wagon storage). Sand extraction means that it is not possible to
reach Double Arches now, but the opportunity can be taken to extend the line by almost ¾ mile to a
new temporary terminus just past Munday's Hill. In time it is hoped that it will be possible to extend
further to Double Arches itself. The new section, being in open countryside, will help offset the impact
of the new housing developments along the Vandyke Road section. It is estimated that materials and
plant hire for the extension will cost around £150,000. No time scale was given for the work.
MR137] Volks Electric Railway, East Sussex (MR p16) (BLN 1279.MR65): A member recalls that Peter
Pan's Playground shut down several years ago and the intermediate station here reverted to an earlier
name, Half-Way. It will be interesting to see if this name is retained when the railway re-opens. The
only leisure facility in the vicinity now is the beach volley ball court (by the 2006 railway realignment).
MR138] Wellington Country Park Railway, Hampshire (MR p18) (BLN 880.MR160): Running inside the
Country Park, this 7¼" gauge railway was rebuilt and re-gauged over the winter of 2016/2017 and
reopened as a 12¼" gauge line on 5 April 2017. The work was undertaken by Alan Keef Ltd of Ross-on-
Wye and included complete relaying, a new two road shed and brand new locomotive and coaches.
A visit on Sunday 23 July found the railway running on demand - virtually continuously on this mostly
cloudy day. In use was steam outline 0-6-0DH 'Arthur' (AK100 of 2017) in red livery with three covered
bogie coaches in green livery. These are named 'Darcy', 'Mae' and 'Alfred'. The loco proudly displays
the company's milestone number on its buffer beam. The original tunnel has been replaced with a new
one and another of same design has been added nearby. As far as can be seen the new line follows the
old alignment very closely. The turntable pit remains, but the track running over it to the two road
shed is bolted in place. A ride is £1.50 for all - tickets can be purchased at the entrance desk or from
the driver ('Henry' on this day according to a board at the station). Park entrance is £11 for adults.
ABOVE: Wellington Country Park Railway - Alan Keef Limited's No100 waits in the station for the next
load of passengers on the newly re-gauged line. (Peter Scott. 23 Jul 2017)
MR139] Payton Heights Railway, Margate, Kent (BLN 1175.MR240): Margate has had a number of
miniature railways over the years, but the Payton Heights Railway was probably the least well-known.
This private 10¼" gauge railway was located between Margate and Ramsgate at Northdown and ran
round the home of Arthur Pay. In 1975 he bought the complete railway from Margate Pier (the Iron
Jetty, not the stone pier by the harbour) and this formed the nucleus of his railway at Northdown.
It was a circuit of around 200 yards and first ran for the public in 1976 - the line opening for charity
from time to time. Initial motive power was a Curwen Class 52 'Western', which had transferred from
Margate Pier and was named 'Sonia' by Arthur Pay after his wife. This was joined in 1977 by 0-6-0
steam locomotive called 'Marie'. Open days seemed to have ceased around 1990 and the whole line
was sold in 2003, initially all locomotives and stock were moved to the Royal Victoria Railway at Netley
A third locomotive had also been owned by Arthur Pay, although it is not known if it ever saw service
during a public open day. This was a steam outline 4-4-0 of American appearance named 'General
Shirley', built by K J Hemingway in 1972. It was acquired around 1980 from a railway called the Kent
Country Nurseries Railroad at Challock near Ashford in Kent. When it arrived on the Payton Heights
Railway it was somewhat run down, but was rebuilt by Arthur Pay and numbered No3. From Payton
Heights 'General Shirley' ran for a very short time at Netley, but was found to be under powered for
this line and it was sold to the Knebworth Miniature Railway at Knebworth House. From there the
locomotive moved to Thurleigh Farm Centre in Bedfordshire. Here it ran on a short straight 'E' line
between October 2010 and September 2015. The Farm Centre closed on 27 September 2015 and the
wandering 4-4-0 moved again, this time to an Adventure Park in Hampshire.
BELOW: Teifi Valley Railway: The Ruston at Henllan station, the site of the former standard gauge
station on the Pencader to Newcastle Emlyn branch. (Rod Bryant 5 Jul 2017)
MR140] Teifi Valley Railway, Ceredigion (MR p29) (BLN 1260.1267): On Wednesday 5 July a visit was
made in glorious hot weather. After the terrible events regarding track lifting after sudden closure by
HMRI on 10 June 2014 it is being relaid and now extends 200 yards past the Forest Halt. At Henllan,
the former station has been removed along with the passing loop. Motive power was a blue liveried
Ruston with a large cab and two coaches operating in push pull mode. The staff are very friendly here
and deserve support from enthusiasts. The Land Train has been removed from site possibly for scrap
and the site is generally tidy with loco shed visits on request. The 7¼" gauge miniature was running on
demand to the slightly extended top station in Pixie Wood. The train was formed with one coach in
push-pull formation - the driver was very enthusiastic regarding where the pixies might be hiding!
MR141] Stevington & Turvey Light Railway, Bedfordshire (BLN 950.MR163): This private 2ft gauge
railway was laid along the trackbed of the Midland Railway's Bedford to Northampton line, to the east
of the missing bridge over the A428. First opening around 1983, it eventually extended to 600 yards.
There was a BLS visit by 22 members on 15 June 1991. In later years the railway suffered vandalism
and metal theft and last ran on 6 July 2014, although a visit in April 2013 found the line already being
dismantled and things packed up ready for a move to a new site (believed to be a private location).
A visit on Sunday 16 July 2017 found that the line had been fully lifted and the trackbed is now partly
included in a new private deer park. However, much of the undergrowth has been removed and the
embankment section is open and clear. One (locked) shed and a brick PW cabin is all that remains,
although there are a number of piles of redundant sleepers along part of the route.
MR142] Watford Miniature Railway, Hertfordshire (MR p18) (BLN 1273.MR15): This 10¼" gauge
railway, located in Cassiobury Park, has recently changed hands. The new owner http://minirail.co.uk
is Southern Miniature Railways. The first trains under the new ownership ran on Saturday 1 July 2017.
MR143] South Somerset Model Engineers, Somerset (MR p23): Apparently not reported in BLN
before, this society operates a short (150 yards) 5"/7¼" gauge 'E' line at Haselbury Mill, near
Crewkerne. A senior member visited on Saturday 15 July as their website states they run for the public
the Saturday after the second Monday of the month, which it was. The site was completely deserted,
with no notices up to give any information. There was a small locked shed on site. However, the track
did show signs of recent use. A later email enquiry produced the reply that the society was having
track and loco issues, combined with falling numbers, which made running difficult.
MR144] Brighouse & Halifax Model Engineers, West Yorkshire (MR p25) (BLN 1215.MR135): Over the
winter the Society has significantly realigned part of its ground level 7¼" gauge railway. The line
previously passed under the entrance road in a tunnel - this has now been turned into a shed - the end
away from the station being bricked up. Instead, the running line has been realigned slightly further to
the west and now passes through a brand new tunnel (Kitson Tunnel 2017) under the toilet block.
It now runs further to the north - right against the northern boundary, below the adjacent road. The
original alignment is regained just before the points leading to the 2014 extension. This now means
ground level and elevated lines are well separated. The new alignment came into use on the first open
day of the season - Sunday 9 April. A visit was made on Sunday 9 July, the site opened at 13.20 before
the official start time of 13.30. However, the first ground level train did not depart until exactly 13.30 -
hauled by a battery electric Class 25 D5181 in green livery. Passengers numbered just three - two BLS
members and one other enthusiast! However, by the time our reporter left the site an hour or so later
large queues had built up for both ground level and elevated rides. All rides are free once the site
admission fee of £3 has been paid. There is a club house, which serves hot drinks, filled rolls and cakes
MR145] Exmouth Express, Devon (MR p15) (BLN 1266.MR192): This historic 10¼" gauge line has been
under threat of closure for sometime due to East Devon District Council's (EDDC) plans to redevelop
the seafront. EDDC has now announced that the tenancy of the Exmouth Fun Park (owned by Chris
Wright) in which the railway runs, will end on 31 August this year. EDDC has previously taken back
possession of the previous site of the Jungle Fun and Arnold Palmer Golf attraction, the former site of
Exmouth Model Railway and the Carriage Café, and DJ's Café. If you need this railway visit now!