Number 1318 (Items 2551 - 2688 & MR 233 - MR 244) (E-BLN 73 PAGES) 8 Dec 2018
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Respice in praeteritum, praesens et futurum
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society - founded 1955
WEBSITE ADDRESS: branchline.uk
Membership Enquiries, Alan Welsh [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from member7s2; 8a6n7i7nternational section is available.
Opinions herein are not necessaarivlyaitlahbolsee. of the Compilers or the Society.
BLN 1319 is dated Sat 22 DeSco;cipeltey.aSsoecsieetny.d all contributions in by Wed 12 Dec.
Date Event and details = Please Book Online BLN Lead Status
Sat 8 Dec Carnforth Charity Cracker FULL WITH FULL WAITING LIST 1312 MG FULL
Sat 5 Jan 19 09.30 to dark Scunthorpe FULL WITH FULL WAITING LIST 1314 MG FULL
Sat 26 Jan Charity tour West/South Yorkshire, highly sought after lines TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 2 Feb The Positioning Move Lancaster to Bristol TM (one way) 1317 MG OPEN
Sun 3 Feb The Looe Brush Tour; 16 PLACES LEFT, FIRST CLASS FULL 1317 MG OPEN
Sat 23 Feb 17.00 Woodhorn Narrow Gauge Railway, Ashington BELOW MG OPEN
Sun 24 Feb Tyne & Wear Metro tour, 08.40-16.05; WAITING LIST 1317 MG *FULL*
Wed 27 Feb The Swanage Shunters, track & traction brakevan tour BELOW MG OPEN
Sat 23 Mar Save the date, railtour via the Marches line to Weymouth TBA TBA Claimed
Sun 24 Mar Save the date, tentative date for the Ruby Vampire rerun TBA TBA Claimed
30/31 Mar Save the date, North Wales narrow gauge weekend TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 6 Apr Save the date, provisional track railtour to East Anglia TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 13 Apr Weston, Nantwich Methodist Church & Willaston Railways TBA TBA Claimed
16-19 May Island of Ireland IV (2019) - reserve the dates TBA TBA Claimed
Thur 13 Jun Save the date, annual Pre-Peaks Challenge Railtour TBA TBA Claimed
7 and 8 Jul Sun and Mon; save the dates for Devon service train tracker TBA TBA Claimed
26 - 28 Jul Provisional Society railtour in southern Austria (Carinthia) BELOW PG *NOTIFY*
15-17 Nov Provisional, Barrow Hill AGM weekend with Sunday railtour TBA TBA Claimed
MG = Our new Bookings Officer, Mark Gomm - for contact details please see back page; PG = Paul Griffin
2551] :Woodhorn Wanderer, Sat 23 Feb:: With thanks to John Cameron, a limited numbers visit
starting at 17.00 to the 1,000yd long, 2ft gauge Woodhorn Narrow Gauge Railway, QEII Country Park,
Ashington, NE63 9YF at the former Woodhorn Colliery, now a museum. Railtouring in three man riding
vehicles from Vane Tempest Colliery, it is hoped to have two different locos operating; the round trip
takes 20 minutes. Members only £6, U18 (must be accompanied) £3; book on our website or if that is
not possible via Mark Gomm (back page) with membership number/s and an email address or SAE.
2552] :The Swanage Shunters - Wed 27 Feb:: With 08436 & 08476 in top 'n tail formation and two
Queen Mary Brake Vans, our unusual lines charter reaches parts of the Swanage Railway that other
charters cannot reach and is strictly limited to 50 participants. The draft plan, subject to availability
and operational constraints on the day: Harmans Cross (free parking) 08.00 - Corfe Castle - Norden
Sidings - Eldon's Siding - Woodpecker Siding - Furzebrook Ground Frame then 'fast' to Swanage
(lunch break) - Station Loop - Turntable/Loco Shed - Carriage Sidings - Herston Halt Siding - Harmans
Cross Sidings - Harmans Cross (17.30) (BLS Members only). £26; U18 £13 (must be accompanied by
an adult). Book via website or Mark Gomm with membership number/s and an email address/SAE.
ABOVE: A two car passenger train at Swanage in Oct 1971; the branch CP 3 Jan 1972. (Ian Mortimer.)
2553] :Carinthia Explorer, proposed Society tour; 26-28 Jul 2019:: Negotiations/arrangements for a
3-day visit to the Carinthia area of southern Austria are at an advanced stage. To gauge interest and
assist with organisation and pricing, expressions of interest (with no obligation) are requested as
soon as possible please. Help, advice and familiar faces will be available. Planned itinerary:
●Day 1 Fri 26 Jul: Motive power steam engine 93.1332. Klagenfurt - Weizelsdorf for museum
railway to Ferlach and heritage tram or railcar to Historama, the second largest transport museum
in Austria. Ferlach - Klagenfurt - St Veit an de Glan - Launsdorf for the 17km freight only line to
Eberstein and Klein St Paul. Return to Klagenfurt for an evening visit by coach to ride the
●Day 2 Sat 27 Jul: Motive power ex-OBB electric loco 1245.05. Klagenfurt - St Veit an der Glan
avoiding line (freight only) - Feldkirchen - Villach high level line - Villach avoiding line - Villach
Westbahnhof, then complete circuit(s) of the enormous Villach Süd Yard, including all the freight
curves and connections. Return via Villach (set down) to Klagenfurt by the main line.
●Day 3 Sun 28 Jul: Motive power probably steam at both sites. Coach from Klagenfurt to the
Gurktalbahn heritage railway (Triebach-Althofen to Pöckstein Zwischenwässern) for a return
charter train, then by coach to Mauterndorf for the Taurachbahn heritage railway; 14.00 departure
to St Andra, specially extended to Tamsweg over a little used 2.1km connecting line. Return to
Mauterndorf for coach to Klagenfurt, or wait at Tamsweg for a service train to Unzmarkt for
mainline connections.Days can be booked individually, or as a 3-day package (possibly discounted).
Participants organise their own flights/hotels. To express interest, (no commitment) email Paul
Griffin [email protected] and say which days are of interest or 7 School Bell
Meadows, Church Lane, Stoneleigh, Coventry, CV8 3ZZ.
1318 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
2554] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) Reopens Location (stations exclusive where bracketed) bold = closed now
1316.2434 5 Aug 18 Unknown (Clitheroe) - Hellifield South Jn [SuO PSUL service]
1316.2435 25 Aug 18 Unknown Heaton Norris Jn - Guide Bridge Station Jn [SO PSUL service]
1318.2558 25 Aug 18 Unknown *Gainsborough Trent East Jn - Wrawby Jn [SO service]
1314.2066 28 Sep 18 Unknown CairnGorm Mountain Railway, 'Base Station' - Ptarmigan
1311.1736 12 Nov 18 17 Dec 18 Bank Hall station (back reference has the Merseyrail closures)
1314.2070 6 Oct 18 late Dec 18 Woolwich Ferry; North Woolwich - Woolwich
1299.337 Greenford West Jn - Greenford East Jn - Park Royal - Old Oak Common West CP 10 Dec 18
1315.2209 25 Dec 18 1 Jan 19 Severn Tunnel Jn - Stoke Gifford No1 Jn
1315.2210 23 Dec 18 3 Jan 19 Westbury - Heywood Rd Jn/Fairwood Jn/Trowbridge/Warminster
1316.2303 2 Jan 19 Late Jul 19 *Mid Hants Railway Alton P3 - (Medstead & Four Marks)
1317.2441 2 Jan 19 1 Apr 19 West Somerset Railway, Bishops Lydeard - Minehead
1313.1945 20 Oct 18 XX Apr19 Reedham Jn - Berney Arms request stop - (Great Yarmouth)
2555] Bournemouth, East Cliff Railway/Lift: (BLN 1256.876) (MR p34) CP during 23 Apr 2016 due to
cracks appearing in the cliffs to the east followed by a major landslip next morning. Now 'indefinite';
Bournemouth Borough Council say they are unable to afford the considerable cost of cliff stabilisation.
2556] Northallerton East Jn - Boroughbridge Road Crossing - Longlands Jn: ROP 20 May 2018; PSUL
(SuO) 14.48 Middlesbrough to Manchester Airport and 14.47 Manchester Airport to Middlesbrough.
Both TPE services; it is thought this is probably for route knowledge purposes. (See NE section.)
2557] New Cumnock, Bank Jn - (Greenburn Jn) - Kier Mining Greenburn Open Cast Loading Point:
Traffic is reported to have ceased permanently on this 2m 71ch branch (can anyone confirm please?)
which has had significant periods of dormancy before. The last train ran Fri 3 Aug 2018, the empty
wagons from Doncaster arrived 10.45 and, after loading 1,600 tonnes of coal, left 13.56 via the Settle
& Carlisle line to Cottam Power Station (03.03 Sat). The former 2m 18ch colliery railway to Greenburn
beyond the onetime Greenburn Jn was upgraded with a £3.9M grant and originally ROG 28 Jun 2004.
It has never been railtoured; its Scottish Light Railway Act specifically prohibits any passenger trains.
Killoch (open cast) with very variable traffic is now the final location loading coal in Scotland.
2558] Gainsborough Trent East Jn - Wrawby Jn with Gainsborough Central, Kirton Lindsey & Brigg
stations: Last ran Sat 18 Aug 2018. Sheffield to Cleethorpes via Brigg service (runs SO) suspended, due
to industrial action. It was cut from SuX to three return trips (SO) from Mon 2 Oct 1993 - the last time
the national timetable changed on a Monday (subsequently Sunday). The planned hourly Sheffield -
Gainsborough Central service due to start on Mon 10 Dec (BLNs 1303.826 & 1304.940) is deferred to
20 May 2019 due to the DfT moratorium on Northern 'major' timetable changes and DMU shortages.
Since Sat 3 Nov the full Saturday only service has been running as empty coaching stock Class '5' trains
- arriving at Cleethorpes or Sheffield up to 20 minutes early! It is thought that these are driver only
operated to maintain route knowledge; it is the guards who are striking on Saturdays not the drivers.
2559] Llandudno Jn - Blaenau Ffestiniog (incl) and 9 intermediate stations: (BLN 1317.2534) Last ran
'properly' Wed 14 Nov 2018, service then cancelled or replaced by buses (until further notice due to
Transport for Wales's severe DMU shortage exacerbated by fire/storm damage and wheel flats.) On
RTT etc the following trains (only) are shown to have run: Mon 19 Nov 16.28 Llandudno Junction to
Blaenau Ffestiniog and Tue 20th 20.23 Blaenau Ffestiniog to Llandudno. Presumably the balancing
workings were very short notice schedules? There are no Sunday services anyway at this time of year.
2560] Preston, Farington Curve Jn - Ormskirk (excl) and three stations: TCP Sat 17 until Sat 25 Nov
(incl) - due to a Northern DMU shortage from wheel flats in the leaf fall season. Saturday services have
not run since Sat 18 Aug due to the Northern weekly strikes; there are no Sunday services on the line.
ABOVE: Tytherington, our 2 Apr 1982 Bristol & Gloucestershire Railtour. (Ian Mortimer.)
2561] Theale (excl) - Heywood Road Jn - Westbury (excl)/Fairwood Jn & 9 stations: (BLN 1300.441)
TCP 19-22 Nov 2018 for electrification was not needed, the line closed 22.00-05.00 each night instead.
2562] (Worcester), Norton Jn - Moreton-in-March (excl) with Pershore, Evesham & Honeybourne
stations REVISED: (BLN 1312.1835) TCP Sat 17 to Sun 25 Nov 2018 (incl) for platform lengthening,
including Moreton-in-Marsh Up P2 (with passenger services turning back in Down P1) so that 10-car
IETs can run. Progress was impressive and there is due to be a further phase over Christmas/New Year.
2563] Yate Middle Jn - Tytherington, Grovesend Quarry: (BLN 1317.2439) ROG Thur 29 Nov 2018;
04.46 Tytherington to Appleford Sidings with 2,000 tonnes of aggregate (after unloading it went on to
Whatley Quarry). The empty wagons arrived 22.45 the day before (as 17.11 from Appleford Sidings).
2564] Frodsham Jn - Halton Jn: (BLN 1314.1723) The first Transport for Wales (TfW) test train/route
learning special ran Sun 2 Dec, with TfW DMU 175002 on the 09.57 Chester DMU Depot to Liverpool
Lime Street. A trip to Chester and back was made before returning from Lime Street to Chester DMU
Depot (14.03). It should be pointed out that there were no planned passenger cancellations this day
and Sunday is probably the only day they have a spare DMU with the current TfW rolling stock crisis.
2565] IBM* station: (BLN 1317.2440) CP Sun 9 Dec 2018; local people requested 'cessation of calls' by
ScotRail and this was supported by the British Transport Police as local 'yobs' were using the station for
'antisocial and criminal behaviour'. Branchton (1m 14ch north east) or Inverkip (2½ miles south west)
are given as alternatives - inadvertently worded by ScotRail to make it appear that this is for 'antisocial
and criminal behaviour' rather than genuine passengers! There are about two fare paying passengers
daily on average; the station will be maintained and the situation reviewed next year. It may reopen if
planned housing development materialises. So the station is not 'closed', they are just not going to
stop trains there! OP 8 May 1978 IBM Halt was originally an unadvertised peak hour only private stop
when 4,000 people worked at the site. There were 123,000 passengers in 2012-13 (but only 800 in
2017-18). It was renamed 'IBM' from 16 May 1983 becoming a member of that select group of stations
whose three letter code is their full name (Ash, Ayr, Ely, Lee, Lye, Ore, Par, Rye, Wem and Wye before
you ask). It was publically advertised from 12 May 1986. [*IBM = International Business Machines.]
2566] Old Oak Common Depot: (BLN 1311.1750) The GWR depot closes permanently from 23.00 Sun
9 Dec 2018; the connection to South Side '8' siding from the Back Line will be secured OOU. Remaining
shed roads 1 to 6, South Side 8 and the Carriage Washer line will be taken OOU. The associated signal
routes from SN139 (the Carriage Line) and SN143 (Engine & Carriage line) will be decommissioned.
2567] Inverness, Rose Street Jn - Welsh's Bridge Jn: From Mon 10 Dec 2018 this PSUL is reduced to
17.13 (SO) Kyle of Lochalsh to Elgin, reversing in Inverness P3 (19.57/20.05). SSuX it then runs to
Inverness (P6) only, with a different train forming the connecting 20.03 Inverness to Elgin from P4.
1318 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
2568] Website: Our 'Forum' page has given advanced notice of quite a few interesting moves recently
and is well worth checking regularly - make sure you are logged in as a member to see everything.
2569] Points & Slips: ●●BLN 1317.2447] Our Porth correspondent reports that the milk van tail traffic
ran until the Joseph James dairy there closed; he is not sure of the exact date but it was after 1978.
●●2456] Studying the proposals for the Selhurst area prompts a member to wonder how many other
national rail locations have tracks on three levels, assuming these plans come to fruition? [Between
Sydenham and Penge West there are three distinct levels - PAS.] ●2471] To clarify, the new Azuma
trains are not allowed to run in electric mode north of York as they then interfere with the signalling;
they can run in diesel mode along the whole East Coast Main Line. ●●MR233] With apologies to Peter
Scott, regarding Burghclere Miniature Railway, Hampshire (2018 Supplement 2), as well as the Bank
Holiday Mon 28 May 2018 and the 6 & 7 Oct public events, as described, there was public running
during another event on Mon 27 Aug (Bank Holiday) and public running without an event on 8 Sep.
2570] National Rail Enquiries website again: (BLN 1317.2446) Another member notes that the list of
station names is out of date; although claiming to be last updated on 4 Apr 2018. [This may just be
when the last change was made rather than a complete review - PAS.] It still has IBM as IBM Halt
(which it ceased to be from 16 May 1983 - above). Ilkeston (OP 2 Apr 2017) is missing as is Cambridge
North (OP 21 May 2017) and Low Moor (OP 2 Apr 2017) although 2016 opened stations are included.
Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3 is shown by its previous name of Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 & 3; Kenilworth
(but OP 30 Apr 2018) is missing as is Maghull North (OP 18 Jun 2018). These stations are all present
and correct in the online planner/station facilities (but without maps/photos for the new ones).
2571] Volunteers Wanted: With all the tours our esteemed Fixtures Secretary is running we are
now looking for people to assist with compiling, proof reading and checking the geographical and
historical tour notes. These printed booklets (available to all members via e-BLN and our website)
are much valued by tour participants, other members, rail staff and the companies we work with.
The present small team would appreciate any assistance. It is a great way of researching, learning
about and remembering interesting information about the lines concerned. Anyone who is able to
help (in specific areas or otherwise) please contact David Palmer: [email protected]
2572] Signal Box Quiz II - Part 1: With thanks to Angus McDougall, name the location of these signal
boxes whose names give little or no clues as to where they were situated (answers in BLN 1319)...
(1): Atlantic Dock Junction (8): Coal Shoots (15): Fell
(2): Bank Top (9): Coke Ovens Junction (16): Foreshore
(3): Black Lion (10): Copper Works Junction (17): Gas Factory Junction
(4): Branches Fork Junction (11): Decoy (18): Granary
(5): Bridge Junction (12): Eastern Junction (19): Grand Junction
(6): Cemetery (13): Exhibition Junction (20): Grove Junction
(7): Charity (14): Factory Junction (21): Iron Gates Crossing
2574] All Our Yesterdays: (BLN 1317.2447/8) Dated 6 Feb 1965 next page is a list of tail traffic in the
North West. Similar lists were published in each area; tail traffic (by specific trains) was widespread.
ABOVE: Our Society representative at this year's charity Railway Ball on 30 Nov at which it was
announced that our donations to Railway children (used in the UK) now exceed £200,000. (Kev Adlam.)
2573] Thank You: Angus McDougall, our well known member since 1967, our Society Chairman from
the 1969 until 1989 AGMs and current avid BLN contributor and proof reader, would like to thank
everyone for their kind cards, messages, good wishes and visits after his recent emergency operation
and stay in hospital. Happily Angus is back home and now recovering well.
£ per head/year All Local Rail 2575] Regional Funding: The Transport Select Committee
looked into rail infrastructure investment and reported on
North East £291 £19 £110 28 Jun 2018 about: (i): Funding gaps between London and
North West £370 £36 £175 England's regions needing economic regeneration. (ii): The
Yorks/Humberside £335 £22 £137 electrification debate. (iii): Control Period 6 (1 Apr 2019 -
East Midlands £220 £19 31 Mar 2024) funding and processes. The report criticised
West Midlands £314 £15 £70 the Secretary of State's 'less than candid' approach to
East of England £333 £12 £150 cancellation of three rail electrification schemes in the
Greater London £944 £115 £144 Midlands, South Wales and Lake District (Windermere), to
South East £370 £12 £773 be followed only four days later by the announcement in
South West £305 £23 £201 principle to fund Crossrail 2 in London.[This may change!]
England average £425 £35 £136
ABOVE: Investment per head in 2016/17. 'All' transport includes roads; 'Local' is public transport.
The report stated that this cancellation of electrification unsurprisingly reignited the debate about
disparities in rail infrastructure investment between London and other regions and continued: We are
disappointed [the Secretary of State] did not engage more openly with our scrutiny of his decision.
The Government should have been more honest with Parliament and the public about the real reason
for the decision. An announcement made by Written Statement on the last day before the summer
recess offered limited opportunity for debate and scrutiny. The decision to cancel had been made in
Mar 2017 but the announcement was made only in July. This meant that it would be only in Oct 2017
that the issue could be raised in Parliament - a classic government ploy for trying to 'bury' bad news.
The report concluded that current transport scheme appraisal methods favour London as they are
weighted towards reducing congestion and journey times, actively disadvantaging less economically
buoyant regions and work against the Government's intention to 'rebalance the economy'. Treasury
data shows that spending per head in London 2016/17 was more than eleven times that of the East
Midlands. Chair Lilian Greenwood MP said while we accept that annual snapshots of comparative
regional investment can be problematic, and that investment in one area can lead to benefits in
another, some regions have faced decades of under-investment in ... the rail network. Regional
economies will never be able to catch up with London while such inequalities exist. The Northern
Powerhouse and Midlands Engine will struggle to live up to their names without tangible change.
Documents: https://goo.gl/Wr31Po 'Regions short-changed on rail spending need increased support'.
1318 EAST MIDLANDS (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
2576] Chesterfield: Spanish train manufacturer Talgo has named Longannet as its preferred location
for a new facility to build trains for HS2. However, a second Chesterfield site would be an Innovation
Centre [there seems to be a lot of these about now], chosen because of its central position.
2577] Kettering Engineering Sidings: These are accessed from the Up Slow at the south end of P1, the
connection faces London. From Sun 10 Dec the hand points from Siding 1 to Siding 2 are due to be
removed and plain lined; Siding 2 will be out of use. A new set of facing points will be provided, 115m
from the original points, clipped and scotched to allow access to Siding 1. There will be a temporary
line provided within the siding, giving access to the Kettering Depot construction area.
2578] Wellingborough: Between Sat 22 Dec and Wed 2 Jan, over 100 NR staff will relay the layout
north of the station replacing 10 point ends. Although there are considerable alterations with early
morning and late evening buses some days, the only dates with no trains are 24, (25 & 26 of course)
Dec and 1 & 2 Jan. On 24 & 31 Dec plus 1 Jan there is an hourly through service from Sheffield and
Nottingham reversing at Kettering (buses to Bedford) to/from Corby. A half-hourly fast EMT service
connects Bedford - St Pancras. On 27/28 Dec there are three through trains per hour to/from London.
2579] Kidsgrove: NR has started work on a £5M 'Access for All' upgrade. It includes three new lifts on
P1, P2&3 and P4 with a new footbridge linking them. The DfT's 'Access for All' programme is funding it.
BELOW: Angel Trains Power Car switched with National Rail Museum's prototype Power Car 41001 at
Great Central (Nottingham) (GCR-N) Ruddington Fields; a lineup of most of the BLS/EMT team. (EMT)
2580] East Midlands Trains (EMT) PRESS RELEASE: 'The Screaming Valentas' railtour to the Great
Central Railway, Nottingham was deemed a great success and raised over £21,000 for charity...
On Sat 17 Nov EMT took one of its newly refurbished 'Angel' 2+6 HST sets [ex-Grand Central] from
Derby to Ruddington on the Great Central Railway, Nottingham, where one of the Power Cars was
switched for the National Rail Museum's prototype Power Car '41001'. Although this wasn't the first
time the train operator has taken an HST to the GCR-N, it was the first time EMT had marketed it to
the public as a fully fledged charity tour. Having partnered with Branch Line Society as their ticketing
agent and 125 Group who are custodians of the HST Prototype, the GCR-N were very open to the idea.
Within eight weeks of the idea being posted, all 292 tickets were sold and the scene was set for a fun
filled sell-out tour to remember. Fully crewed by EMT volunteers, the tour commenced from Derby
and took in a few non-passenger lines for the BLS fraternity en-route to Loughborough where it joined
the GCR-N. On arrival at Ruddington, Power Car 43467 was removed and 41001 attached - with all
shunting duties being undertaken by Stagecoach Rail Managing Director, Tim Shoveller. The original
Valenta power unit performed faultlessly as both Leading and Trailing power car for several jaunts
along the GCR-N infrastructure, taking in bits of track not normally utilised for passenger services.
Sir Kenneth Grange - the person behind the iconic design of the HST - was invited as a special guest,
[and even joined the train at Rushcliffe Halt bay platform! - PAS.] spending his time chatting with
passengers as well as signing books and memorabilia throughout the day. Not forgetting to pose for a
few photographs along the way. When it was time to head back, 43467 was reattached and returned
via some interesting goods lines (which seemed to quite excite a number of our BLS customers) and
they arrived back at Derby on time. Having counted up the ticket revenue, raffle, silent auction and
other fundraising efforts, the money raised amounted to £21,143.21. With catering and sales stands
profits this is nearly a quarter of the money required to build the undercover facilities 125 Group plan.
Darren Ward - EMT Head of Drivers said: The stars of the show were the cross functional group of
willing volunteers who worked tirelessly and seamlessly with colleagues from the Branch Line Society,
125 Group and GCR-N to make this possible. The Railtour was a great team building exercise that has
also led to a significant social media presence, providing universal praise and enhancing East Midlands
Trains reputation within the industry.
Gary Heelas, 125 Group Chairman said: We are immensely and sincerely grateful to all of the
volunteers and staff teams from East Midlands Trains, Branch Line Society, Great Central Railway
(Nottingham) and Network Rail for their fantastic efforts and support which made this railtour happen.
Hours of preparation and detailed planning through to hard graft delivering the service on the day,
giving up their own time to raise over £21,000 for our 125 Group HST Depot Appeal. Huge thanks also
to those who donated and bid for some very special auction and raffle prizes, and to everyone who
bought tickets to ride 'The Screaming Valentas'.
Kev Adlam, Fixtures Secretary for Branch Line Society said: We were honoured and privileged to
support East Midlands Trains and 125 Group with this fund raising adventure, where rail enthusiasts
from many different aspects of the hobby travelled together to support a very worthy objective.
The most rewarding part of the whole experience was the great sense of teamwork we achieved, with
many organisations working together to give a fantastic experience for the passengers.
https://www.125group.org.uk/depot/ has more about 125 Group's Depot Project.
2581] Barnetby: From 09.15 Sun 9 Dec until 23.50 Sat 9 Feb, P2 &3 (which are the usual passenger
train platforms), are blocked as part of the gauge enhancement work on the line. All Down passenger
services can only call at the rarer P4 and Up services can only call at the rarer P1. Down freight trains
will use the Down Cleethorpes Slow or Down Cleethorpes Goods Lines. Up freight will travel over the
corresponding Up lines. The Down Cleethorpes Goods line is being kept available for through traffic.
1318 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]
2582] Park Royal: (BLN 1317.2453) A member's first trip over the line was a day out in the late 1950s
to Oswestry, to do the shed and works, with school friends. The steam locos were Kings, Paddington
to/from Wolverhampton Low Level, Castles for Gobowen and a 14xx on the Auto train to/from
Oswestry. It was 'Hitherto' his first sighting of 2' 6" gauge 'The Earl' and 'The Countess', No1 and No2
from the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway which were then kept in store at Oswestry Works.
For the duration of the new timetable from 10 Dec 2018 conditional 'Q' paths (runs as required) have
been shown in online systems for Chiltern workings via Park Royal from South Ruislip to Paddington
and back to High Wycombe but as ECS in the timings of the previous passenger workings. This was
only because Chiltern were still waiting for formal notification of the line closure from Network Rail
(NR) which subsequently arrived. After 7 Dec there will be no more Chiltern workings of any type to
Paddington due to the ultimate frequency of Crossrail services on the Relief Lines and most of the
crews don't sign West Ealing to Old Oak Common West Jn anyway (and won't be route learning it).
A member asks why are they are running the PSUL to West Ealing? Essentially this maintains crew
route knowledge in case Northolt Jn to Marylebone is closed for any reason - including short notice
problems or planned engineering diversions. It is thought that this would involve cancellation of the
West Ealing - Greenford shuttle (although it doesn't run on Sundays, of course). Birmingham trains
(two per hour) would run to West Ealing with Oxford etc services terminating and connecting at West
or South Ruislip (also for the Central line). Also the HS2 hybrid parliamentary bill only allowed for
passenger closure (without following the normal procedures) of Greenford West Jn - East Jn - Old Oak
Common West Jn, but Northolt Jn to Greenford West Jn was not included and the two trains are also
a franchise specification. At West Ealing Chiltern passengers would change to/from Crossrail services.
2583] Barking Eurohub: This relatively new terminal (OG 15 Jan 2016) has a single track access, facing
London, off the Down Through Siding between Dagenham Docks East Jn (9m 20ch) and Stora Ground
Switch Panel (9m 54ch). It crosses Box Lane Level Crossing then splits into two 400m long sidings.
North is a large concrete apron with dual markings for cars and lorries. A few car carrying test trains
ran in Jan 2016 (BLN 1250.225). In Jan 2017 an intermodal test train ran from China (BLN 1273.163).
It is marked as 'h' on TRACKmaps Book 2 p4A (top left) Oct 2016 but is not on the Sep 2006 edition.
X.168] ABOVE: 56103 in the new DC Rail Freight livery approaches Tottenham Hale on the 08.24
Willesden DCR Sidings to Dereham wagon move. To the left work is proceeding on laying the extra
Meridian Water to Lea Bridge track - there used to four tracks here. (Geoff Brockett 26 Sep 2018.)
2584] Bow Goods: Incoming sand from Burngullow to the East Yard has resumed, with the first arrival
on 31 Oct, but from 10 Dec spoil to Calvert will be loaded at Barking Eurohub (above) instead of Bow.
2585] Free Tickets! Special free of charge card tickets are now issued by staff by hand to work the
barriers at Heathrow Terminal 2&3, 4 and 5 stations. They are the same shape and size as standard
national tickets but light blue, rather than tangerine, with a background of multiple silhouettes of
presumably Heathrow Express trains, also in light blue. On the back they are endorsed 'Free transfer
trains' with a simple plan showing the terminals and have the usual magnetic strip. They are machine
dated (will they be issued on 25/26 Dec when the shuttle runs between the terminals only;
presumably the gates could be left open?). Are they reusable or do they only allow one journey?
(PREVIOUS PAGE BOTTOM: Stuart Hicks.)
2586] Barking Riverside: (BLN 1314.2092) An NR Proposed Network Change gives details of the new
branch layout. The overall project includes remodelling of the east end of Ripple Lane Yard, but
funding for this element is not yet in place. Four trains per hour will operate, generally at 15 minute
intervals, but with some variations to accommodate c2c and freight trains. Running time between
Barking and Barking Riverside will be 4½ minutes. A new line, the Up Riverside will be created from
the existing crossover at 7m 65ch. The Up Tilbury Goods (renamed Up Departure) will be shortened
slightly with a new connection into the Up Riverside Line. The Up Riverside will utilise free space as far
as the existing crossover just short of Alfred's Way overbridge at 8m 40ch. The crossover will be
resited further east and from here the present Down Goods will become the Up Riverside, with a
connection into a new Down Goods Line. Prior to the Renwick Road overbridge a new Down Riverside
will diverge from the Down Tilbury. There is then passive provision for a new Renwick Road station at
with a 110m long island platform. Close to the overbridge the track will change from ballasted to slab
and west of the bridge the line will run on a concrete viaduct to Barking Riverside station. This will
have a scissors crossover outside and a 110m long island platform. Work is due to start on 4 Jan, with
the branch and station completed on 31 Mar 2021 for services to begin from 16 May 2021 timetable.
2587] HS2: (BLN 1317.2454) On 21 Nov work was underway to demolish the large yellow cranes in
Willesden Euro Terminal, which site HS2 has had access to since 15 Mar 2018. ('SE Gen'.)
2588] Kentish Town: A revised Thameslink timetable will operate from 23 Dec to 1 Jan inclusive while
NR upgrades concrete slab track. https://goo.gl/dFGz7W is a speeded up film of similar work in 2017.
2589] Romford Electrical Control: This was scheduled to move from the Romford Electrical Control
Room in Jutsums Lane to the nearby Anglia Rail Operating Centre from 4 Dec.
1318 NORTHERN GENERAL (Geoff Blyth)
(This is not about a former bus company in the Northeast or a Sheffield hospital of that name!)
2590] North of England Platform Extension Programme: As part of the allegedly 'Great North Rail
Project', NR is extending platforms at over 70 stations in the north of England. Announced so far are:
Phase 1 - May 2018: Marsden & Slaithwaite.
Phase 2 - Dec 2018: Hebden Bridge, Ravensthorpe, Sowerby Bridge, Smithy Bridge, Mytholmroyd,
Walsden, Brighouse, Morley, South Milford, Mills Hill, Cottingley, Mirfield, Littleborough, Deighton,
Godley, Burnley Manchester Road, Staveley Flowery Fields, Todmorden and Yarm.
Phase 3 - Feb 2019: Castleford, Featherstone, Knottingley, Pontefract Monkhill, Pontefract Tanshelf,
Streethouse, Normanton [which ironically had very long platforms years ago!] and Woodlesford.
Phase 4 - Apr 2019: Bardon Mill, Dunston, Prudhoe, Riding Mill, Wetheral, Atherton, Bescar Lane,
Daisy Hill, Hagfold, Hindley, New Lane and Swinton.
Phase 5 - Nov 2019: Berry Brow, Bredbury, Brinnington, Brockholes, Clitheroe, Darwen, Grindleford,
Hall-i'-th'-Wood, Hathersage, Honley, Hope, Huddersfield, Humphrey Park, Langho, Mouldsworth,
Orrell, Rainford, Ramsgreave and Wilpshire, Ryder Brow, Shepley, Upholland, Whalley and Lockwood.
1318 NORTH EAST & YORKSGIRE (Geoff Blyth)
2591] Ferriby - Gilberdyke: (BLN 1317.2475) One of our six Hull
members travelled on the final train to run under semaphore signals,
the 22.46 York - Hull on 23 Nov, with unit 155345. (PREVIOUS PAGE) It
left 3 min late and arrived in Hull 7 min late at 00.08. Although that was
the result of other trains running late, our member (LEFT: At Hull) likes
to think it was a last act of defiance by the boxes! Many a glass was
raised in their honour (a fine old BLS tradition) as the train passed. The
(lady) guard was very sad to be working the last train and upset to hear
that most of the boxes would be demolished. She was faintly amused by
our member coming out just to do that service - many of us have
encountered that in the past! A final twist to the tale is that the
commissioning works overran, so on Mon 26 Nov no trains left Hull
along the resignalled line for three hours until 08.30 and the first arrival
was not until 09.47 (normally 07.23). This resulted in 35 trains being
cancelled (including ECS workings); the Scarborough line ran normally.
2592] Calder Valley: (BLN 1315.2257) Line name changes from 23 Oct 2018 with resignalling:
●East of New Pudsey (4m 20ch) - Mill Lane Jn (191m 78ch): Up/Down Branch Up/Down Bradford.
●(Bradford) Mill Lane Jn (39m 70ch) - Milner Royd Jn (29m 20ch): Up/Down Main Up/Down Halifax.
●West of Hebden Bridge (22m 64ch) - Milner Royd Jn (29m 20ch): Up Main Up Lancashire &
...Yorkshire; Down Main Down Lancashire & Yorkshire. :New Junctions::
Lilly Lane Jn (32m 15ch): Crossovers south of Halifax station.
Beacon Hill Jn (32m 32ch): Crossovers north of Halifax station.
Ripley Jn (39m 65ch): start of three tracks from the Halifax direction north to Bradford Interchange.
Laisterdyke Jn (190m 41ch): Junction for Laisterdyke Yard (European Metal Recycling scrap yard).
Hammerton Street Jn (191m 15ch): Facing crossover for bidirectional running on Up Bradford.
https://goo.gl/v83PZQ is an interesting time lapse video of new track being installed at Bradford.
PREVIOUS PAGE BOTTOM: South Shields station 28 Sep 1963, 0-8-0 Loco 63460 runs round during the
famous Stephenson Locomotive Society/RCTS 'North Eastern Railtour' https://goo.gl/FESHBv which
lasted five days! ABOVE: End of line and turntable pit 18 Jul 1975. BELOW: Views beyond the
passenger station the same day; it CP 1 Jun 1981 for conversion to T&W Metro. (Angus McDougall.)
2593] South Shields: (BLN 1316.2330) T&W services resumed on Sun 4 Nov, after the latest stage of
works for the £21M new transport interchange, due to open in Aug 2019. All services terminated at
Chichester ('Chai-Chester') for the previous five weeks, where the crossover was not in use to the
disappointment of a local member. Since reopening and until the interchange opens, trains run non-
stop through Chichester P2 due to signalling constraints. Passengers have to use P1 there for all
journeys and double back. During the closure the track was realigned and singled to well before the
new South Shields interchange platform (now built south of Keppel St underbridge on the east side of
the track where the Royal Mail depot once was, alongside William St). The single - double track points,
formerly on Keppel St bridge are now further south towards Chichester. https://goo.gl/WWpkBE is a
time lapse video. Trains serve South Shields' old platform, north of this bridge, until the interchange
opens. The yard, beyond the station, the site of the former British Rail station (CP 1 Jun 1981) and the
location of the new Metro Maintenance and Renewals Skills Centre, is currently closed to all traffic.
X.169] ABOVE: A Lynemouth train at Port of Tyne Biomass Terminal. (Ian Hughes 30 Nov 2018.)
2594] Northallerton: A new PSUL from 20 May 2018 seems to have slipped under the radar until now.
Thanks to our indefatigable PSUL compiler for spotting it. The 14.47 (SuO) Manchester Airport TPE to
Middlesbrough is booked via Longlands Jn - Boroughbridge Road - Northallerton East Jn and has
actually been running that way, as has the 14.48 from Middlesbrough in the other direction.
They run non-stop between Thirsk and Yarm and it is possible to make a return journey on both from
Middlesbrough to York (but not the other way round) to do the substantial grade separated Longlands
Jn both ways. As there is only one train a week in each direction and with no obvious conflicts at
Northallerton (compared with other services, especially on weekdays), it is likely to be for route
knowledge retention purposes. Years ago these lines were sometimes booked for tours but often not
done as the two level crossing boxes had to be staffed (which they were not normally on a Saturday).
The only regular booked passenger use since PSUL started in 1963 was seasonal; last ran 2 Sep 1967
then restored from 8 Jan to 12 Feb 1978, for engineering diversions only and again from 14 Jan 2006
(SO one train), which ceased 7 Sep 2008. Pre-PSUL the Tees-Thames Express (Saltburn - King's Cross)
used the route from Nov 1959 to Sep 1961. Our NE Regional Editor, then a youthful Middlesbrough
resident, remembers having tea and buttered teacake as his train descended the grade from
Longlands Jn. It was a few years before he did the 'normal' curve from the north into Northallerton!
The 'Tees - Thames Link' was a DMU put on about 1958-59 for Teesside (Middlesbrough) businessmen
to have an earlier London arrival; it ran to Doncaster to connect with an express. In Nov 1959 Teesside
gained its own London train, The Tees-Thames Express, 7.05am Saltburn to King's Cross returning at
2pm. It was discontinued from 10 Sep 1962 due to lack of patronage. Hard to believe now, but in the
late 1950s the first Up day train from Darlington did not reach King's Cross until 1.05 pm. From Sep
1961 the Deltics reduced this to 12.05pm. [The 05.17 ex-Darlington now reaches King's Cross 08.10.]
X.170] ABOVE: The then new Aldwarke Jn panel on Thur 18 Mar 1965, a Westinghouse official photo
showing the new double scissors layout (part of which is visible through the window). By modern
standards the box controlled a small area (it extends north further than shown). (Andy Overton.)
2595] One of the world's most historically important railway artefacts: A document described as such
by NR has been rediscovered in their York archives. The notebook contains a survey by George
Stephenson (often referred to as the 'Father of Railways') of fellow engineer George Overton's 1821
plan‡ for the Stockton & Darlington Railway, and the improvements Stephenson recommended to it.
It outlines Stephenson's redesign of and budget for that railway, the blueprint for subsequent railways.
The 12" x 12" notebook is bound in its original form, written in ink with pencil annotations and was
signed by 'G Stephenson' at Killingworth Colliery on 18 Jan 1822. Discovered in the deeds room, which
has about 20,000 documents, in April, the notebook had not been seen since the 1950s. As it is an
historical document it would never have been loaned out or requested because it didn't impact the
running of the railway. It had sat on a shelf since then, unnoticed amongst hundreds of other packets.
The NRM opened a display (admission free) of the notebook on 27 Sep, the 193rd anniversary of the
S&DR ceremonial opening. The display continues until 28 Dec as part of the museum's Highlights
Exhibition in the Great Hall. The exhibition features paintings, medals, handcrafted models and other
significant artefacts, many of which are on display for the first time. [‡At the time of Overton's original
survey in 1818, it hadn't even been decided whether a railway or a canal should be constructed!]
2596] Welsh power grab‽ On 25 Nov the BBC travel news on Ceefax (remember that?) carried the
news that Northern services were delayed by a signal failure between 'Central' (sic) presumably
Newcastle … (but perhaps not?) and Sunderland. Tickets were being accepted on ... Stagecoach, Go
North (buses) and Transport for Wales! Well it would be a very good value journey via Cardiff Central.
Alternatively there might be a more prosaic explanation of franchise confusion, or the BBC doesn't
realise that Arriva has/had more than one UK franchise and that TfW isn't the successor to all of them.
2597] Thornaby: From 17 Nov the trailing points (12m 62ch) connecting the former Thornaby Motive
Power Depot (MPD) - closed 2009 - to Up Goods No1 were permanently plain lined. The associated
signalling from the MPD and on Loco Outlet No3 and Loco Outlet No4 lines has also been recovered.
2598] Goole: (BLN 1300.637) TfL's new train order for the Piccadilly line (BLN 1317.2458) is a
significant step forward in Siemens Mobility's plans to build a new rail connected factory here.
2599] Marsden: NR is currently upgrading Tunnel End (Standedge) Aqueduct which carries water from
Tunnel End Reservoir over the Transpennine line at the eastern end of Standedge tunnel and into the
nearby River Colne. During the 1950s, the spillway failed with water pouring on to the railway below,
causing significant damage. In 2010 the
structure was lined, a temporary repair
anticipating the current work. Since April NR
has been replacing the aqueduct's bridge deck
with a modern and reliable fibre reinforced
polymer structure, which also allows for future
electrification. Heritage organisations and the
local authority are involved to ensure the new
structure is as attractive as its predecessor.
In June the existing deck was dismantled, the
spillway steps lifted and the watercourse
diverted over a temporary scaffold structure.
In July the first new deck was lifted into
position during an overnight possession; the
second deck followed in mid-August. The work
was expected to be completed by Dec. LEFT:
The collapse of the aqueduct in the 1950s.
2600] Leeds (1): The station is to join the 'Platform Zero club', a £161M investment will increase the
number of platforms from 17 to 18, (P8, 11 & 12 even have 'A', 'B', 'C' and 'D' sections) the most in
England outside London. The outdoor long stay 400-space Princes Square car park gradually disappears
during construction of the new P0 on the north side of the station (appropriately by P1) and closes
completely from May. The 750 space multi-storey car park will remain. Work begins this month (Dec)
for 2021 completion when the long stay car park will reopen. Leeds P1-6 are also to be lengthened
with the approach tracks realigned. There will be a major signalling upgrade. A new transparent roof
above the main concourse will be a 'clear' improvement; work started on this in late Nov.
2601] Leeds (2): Councillors are upset that the Dec timetable removes through services between
stations east of Leeds and destinations to the west such as Bradford and Halifax. The leader of Leeds
City Council is dismayed by the lack of consultation and is taking this up with Transport for the North
and Northern Rail. She is already leading a review into the rail service disruption in the north earlier
this year. The Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority, leader of Bradford City Council, claimed
the train timetable across the north isn't working and disruption is costing businesses over £1M a day.
2602] Barnsley: Due to a DMU shortage from wheel flats in the leaf fall season from 19 to 24 Nov, the
Penistone line service generally ran between Barnsley and Huddersfield only. During the Northern
weekly Saturday strikes it has sometimes been reduced in frequency and operating hours. Of note on
Sundays it is booked to (normally) run to/from Lincoln Central. The full almost 85 mile through trip
with 22 stops can be done to Lincoln in some 2¾ hours, with a 15 minute break at Sheffield during the
reversal, or from Lincoln in about 2½ hours with just three minutes for the Sheffield reversal. Advance
tickets on these trains are available, only £10.50 (£6.95 railcard) - there are faster routes by changing.
ABOVE: Vane Tempest Colliery 16 Apr 1983 with two internal National Coal Board locos in view.
The colliery closed 10 years later, on the right is Dr Angus McDougall for scale. (Ian Mortimer.)
1318 NORTH WEST (John Cameron) [email protected]
2603] Garston: From 19.00 on Sun 9 Dec ready for the forthcoming Weaver - Wavertree Re-Signalling
Project, Garston Intermodal Hand Points 'A' at the terminal-end of the Arrival Line, will be converted
to Clamp Locks motor operated points. They will be hand operated until commissioning on 2 Jan 2019.
2604] Mid Cheshire line: The line's rail users association is dismayed that the Northern franchise
commitment to a minimum of two trains per hour between Manchester and Greenbank from 07.00 to
19.00 from Dec appears to have been dropped (after being delayed twice due to the DMU shortage).
As reported in BLN, Northern have not been able to bid for the second Greenbank to Manchester train
due to pathing issues between Stockport and Manchester and have instead bid to provide a second
train per hour between Altrincham (with Metrolink connections) and Chester. The association says
this is no substitute as it is slower and loses the significant rail connections at Stockport. We also know
that Northern is one of eight train operating companies that are not allowed to make 'major' changes
this Dec and the necessary DMUs are not available until the Bolton electrification goes live anyway.
2605] Anglo-Scottish news: On 5 Nov the 18.10 Manchester Airport to Edinburgh Waverley hit two
horses just north of Mossband Jn severely damaging the train. Single Line Working over the Up Main
was implemented from Mossband Jn to Quintinshill. This was used by the 18.30 Euston to Glasgow
arr 02.34 (205 mins late) and the 21.05 Manchester Airport to Glasgow arr 02.46 (115 mins late).
2606] Cumbrian Coast: (1): Moorside NuGeneration (BLN 1264.1742), the nuclear plant that was to
generate 7% of our electricity has been cancelled by Toshiba. This is a commercial decision; it has cost
them £400M with a further £125M loss involved. They tried to 'sell' the project but there was no
buyer. Mirehouse station, lengthening of St Bees loop and a line into the site will not now happen.
(2): Not previously noted in BLN, Millom to Whitehaven has had a Sunday train service from 20 May.
There are 6 trains Barrow/Lancaster to Carlisle and one to Sellafield. Interestingly in the opposite
direction there are 10 trains, one of which is the return of the Sellafield short working. The 15.10 (SuO)
from Carlisle via the coast runs to Preston (19.25) with 31 stops - some by request. (3): The line is
closed from Millom to Whitehaven for six Sundays from 6 Jan until 10 Feb (inclusive) for relaying.
The rail replacement buses take nearly an hour longer than the train and they don't serve Braystones
or Netherton. (4): Class 156 DMUs, initially 2-coach sets, are to replace loco hauled trains on the line.
2607] Manchester Victoria: STORM (Support The Oldham Rochdale Manchester lines) has written to
the Manchester Evening News regarding the state of the station. P4, 5 & 6 in particular are dark and
dingy; the walls are stained with a dirty oil film from exhaust fumes, as the extractors are ineffective.
There are also problems with the lifts, the public address system abd a lack of seating especially on P6.
The main footbridge needs an information screen above each platform and an escalator from the P3
circulating area. There are no toilets or refreshment facilities after passing through the ticket barriers.
2608] Blackburn: (TRACKmaps Book 4 p33A, Aug 2013) On 23 Nov a member passed Bolton Road,
'Galbraith Trainstore Ltd' on a service train. At both extreme ends of the (through) Warehouse Road,
that is before the Cripple Road (Blackburn station end) and also at the junction with the Run Round
Road (Blackburn Bolton Branch Jn end), there are sleepers chained across the track with stop boards.
2609] Non-electrification: The final Bolton line OHLE planned energisation on Sun 18 Nov did not
happen. At very short notice all four Bolton routes with Wigan Wallgate - Walkden - Manchester
Victoria closed Sats 24 Nov & 1/8 Dec for NR to 'complete' electrification of Manchester - Euxton Jn.
These additional closures were to make final adjustments to new OHLE and complete installation of a
new power supply. By way of compensation Northern ran a non-stop hourly EMU service between
Wigan NW and Manchester Victoria instead via Eccles, taking 30 mins for the 21½ miles. Of note an all
day service ran on the routes on the respective
Sundays, other than Bolton - Clitheroe which was
affected by unrelated work until 17.00. It is
wondered if NR is taking advantage of the fact
that the weekly Saturday strikes greatly reduce
the passenger services (and the numbers
travelling) that day now. Will the medical services
be on standby when/if the first train actually runs
through Bolton on electric traction in case the
shock is too much for the local population...?
2610] Metrolink: (BLN 1313.1978) MediaCityUK -
Etihad Campus services are to be permanently
extended to Ashton-under-Lyne in early 2019,
after the trials earlier this year. Trams will run
every six mins instead of the current 12 mins
beyond Etihad Campus with use of the rarer
2611] Stockport: A plaque on P0 marks the 150th anniversary, on 9 Jun 2007, of the Stockport, Disley
& Whaley Bridge Railway, (PREVIOUS PAGE) while a plaque on P2 is in memory of Private Wilfred
Wood VC. (ABOVE - both John Cameron.) He was born in Stockport where he worked as a shed cleaner
for the London & North Western Railway. After enlisting in 1916 he served in Italy and was awarded
the Victoria Cross for 'conspicuous valour and initiative in the face of intense gun fire'. After WWI he
became an L&NWR fireman and later driver. In 1922 a Claughton locomotive was named after him as
was a new Hazel Grove public house in 2010.
2612] Mersey Christmas everybody! Merseyrail is running two late night trains over the two
weekends before Christmas (Fri/Sat 14/15 & 21/22 Dec). A train will leave Liverpool Central at 01.30
only setting down at Waterloo, Formby and Southport (02.03). On the Wirral Line a train leaves
Liverpool Central (LL) 01.30, setting down only at Birkenhead Central, Bebington, Bromborough and
Hooton (01.49). The late night single fare is £3 (Hooton is normally £4.20 and Southport £6.50).
Returns and Day Saver tickets will be valid even though the journey times are in the early hours of the
following day. Railpass, Saveaway, Trio and Concessionary passes are also valid on these services.
2613] Lostock Hall: On 18 Oct a member visited the former Motive Power Depot (MPD) site, opened in
1882 and one of the last British Railways steam sheds, closing in 1968. The area was being cleared of
general debris and a new boundary fence was being erected. By 23 Nov the fence was completed with
just a little work still to be done on the entrance gates. A mound of stones and a larger heap of general
waste/spoil were all that was left to be removed from the newly enclosed area. The outline of the
entire MPD building is now clearly visible as was its former track layout. The outline of rooms/offices,
at the rear of the Ormskirk/Preston (westbound) platform of the previous Lostock Hall station
(CP 6 Oct 1969), is also readily apparent. It is west of, and visible from, the B5254 Watkin Lane;
(see 1960 map ABOVE). The adjacent current Lostock Hall station (OP 14 May 1984) station is east of
this road bridge over the railway. Apart from the MPD there used to be many sidings filling the triangle
between the Preston - Blackburn line and 'Farrington Old Curve' (lower line above; the West Coast
Main line is on the left). By 30 Nov there were about 20 caravans present (retail and not gypsies!).
There are several caravan companies in the area and it may just be for storage but if it becomes a
retail site they could find that quite a few railway enthusiasts suddenly develop an interest in caravans.
PREVIOUS PAGE TOP: A larger, less magnified area of the same map showing the complex of lines in
1960. The red spot is the previous Lostock Hall Station with the MPD beneath it. It was possible to
leave/arrive in either direction to/from Preston station which is top left (off map). Bamber Bridge
station ('sta') is far right middle on the line to Blackburn. The Preston to Ormskirk (then through to
Liverpool Exchange) is bottom left and the West Coast Main line runs top left down in a straight line.
2614] Warrington West: (BLN 1310.1653) Work started on the new station in Jan this year and is
progressing well. The car park is nearly complete with the booking hall structure erected, the track
realigned, platform walls built and sheet piling is progressing. Construction should be complete by
early summer 2019. The building echoes local history with a design based on an 'aircraft hanger'. The
station will be staffed and three trains per hour each way are planned to call, one limited stop and two
stoppers. There will be secure and convenient cycle parking and good interchange with bus services.
The £19M station is part funded by Local Growth Deal (£6.53M) and New Station Fund 2 (£4.23M).
1318 SOUTH EAST - NORTH & EAST ANGLIA (Julian James) [email protected]
2615] East West Rail, Bletchley: (BLN 1312.1869) Tracks on Bletchley Viaduct (0m 68ch) at Flyover Jn
Summit (per Sectional Appendix and shown as 'Summit of Flyover Jn' on TRACKmaps Book 4, p9B Aug
2013 and not at Bletchley Flyover Jn either which is west of the flyover at 0m 66ch!) are to be
removed and replaced by two sidings. These will be accessed from the Down Bletchley south of the
exit from the Up Yard with a new set of points facing to moves from the north. Three buffer stops will
first be placed on the Down Bletchley, Up Bletchley and Up and Down Bletchley Chord, expected from
27 Jan 2019. These will be at respectively 1m 15ch, 1m 19ch and 1m 26ch. Note that in TRACKmaps
the latter will be between the divergence from the Up and Down Vale at Fenny Stratford Jn (1m 48ch)
on diagram 9C and the Flyover Single Line Jn (1m 23ch) on diagram 9B. The new turnout will be 400m
clear of the buffer stops on the Down Bletchley. Other tracks south of these buffer stops will be
removed, though how far is not clear. The sidings are for engineering trains to recover existing assets
and later a track laying train for the new Up Bletchley and Down Bletchley lines on the Oxford Branch.
2616] Manningtree: Near the P2 café, there is an A4 size notice: 'Changes affecting passengers using
the Harwich Branch' enclosed in the bottom right hand corner of an advertising wall panel.
It continues: As from Tuesday 3 April 2018 all Harwich branch services booked to depart Manningtree
between 15.59 and 20.59 - Monday to Friday will no longer be held for any late running trains.
Passengers who miss their intended connection will be instructed to wait for their next service and, if
appropriate, be advised to make use of Delay Repay. Services outside of these times will run in
accordance with the existing holding times. [Unspecified, any ideas?] Anyone wishing to comment on
these changes should address them to Greater Anglia or any other appropriate organisation.
The connections are about 7 minutes from Norwich (cross platform) and 5 minutes from Liverpool
Street (via the subway) with a broadly hourly service, two an hour in the peaks. Of note Harwich
connections are typically 3 minutes to Liverpool Street (advertised and cross platform - although 5
minutes is given as the minimum connectional time at Manningtree!) with another slower Ipswich
starter 9 mins later. To Norwich there are 5 minute connections via the subway. The 11¼ miles branch
is booked to take about 22 mins each way, generally with a 6 minute turnaround at Harwich Town and
10 minutes at Manningtree using one EMU off-peak. There is a service from/to Liverpool Street (SSuX
connects at Harwich International with the Hook of Holland boat - and a few to/from Colchester.
2617] Stevenage: (BLN 1301.608) Network Rail (NR) has detailed the project to provide a separate
independent bi-directional running line as an extension of the Down Hertford at Langley Jn to run
parallel with the East Coast Main Line (ECML) to Stevenage where it will terminate. 6-car Class 717
EMUs will use it. A new bay P5 will be provided on the west side of the new track and station, reached
on foot via the public right of way off the station and a new footbridge to new steps with a lift.
Station facilities, including Customer Information Systems, public address, CCTV, ticket gateline,
waiting shelters and lighting, will be provided and integrated with existing facilities. Services to/from
the Hertford Loop via the ECML Down Slow leading to Stevenage P4 will continue to operate and will
not be affected by the introduction of the new turnback. Work on site is expected from Mar 2019.
The project will not provide a direct connection from the Down Slow to new P5 or a connection to the
Down Slow north of the station, nor will there be any passive provisions made. Work will include:
Approximately 2km of plain line from Langley Jn to Stevenage station, and a crossover.
Additional earthworks to the existing embankment and track drainage.
Relocation of a GSM-R mast due to the installation of the plain line.
Modifications to two existing overbridge structures (Broadhall Bridge and Six Hills Bridge).
A single face platform 127m in length (minimum) constructed using a riser wall and fill.
2618] Reedham: (BLN 1317.2489) The wide gap between the tracks through the station previously
accommodated a single island platform. There is a photograph in the Middleton Press book 'Branch
Lines East of Norwich' taken around 1880. The mechanical detonator placers (still in 'place') on the
approach to the swing bridge from Lowestoft only are still needed since the introduction of Train
Protection and Warning System because this is for Permanent Speed Restriction enforcement, not
SPAD protection. They will be abolished with the resignalling. In the Down direction it is prohibited to
accept trains whilst the bridge is open to river traffic. Similar arrangements apply at Somerleyton.
2619] Felixstowe: (BLN 1315.2235) The works to provide increased capacity run from 10 Nov 2018
until 29 Jul 2019. The additional running line will be between Thorpe Lane level crossing (81m 41ch)
and Trimley station (82m 64ch). At the latter there will be gauge clearance work to the former Up
platform. The new equestrian overbridge will be at the former Gun Lane level crossing (82m 01ch).
2620] St Margarets: On the Hertford East branch Greater Anglia is advertising the disused signal box
for community group use. It needs restoration 'to bring this building back to life'. Rent will depend on
the use, funding, nature of works and market rental value as well as the lease duration, on the end use
and the nature of the works to be done. It sounds like a flexible approach to your Regional Editor. The
tenant is responsible for all costs of preparing the lease, also the utilities, business rates and insurance.
1318 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]
2621] Chatham: A £1.4M station regeneration project has secured £700k from the government's Local
Growth Fund through the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) with NR match-funding this
through its National Station Improvement Programme. It includes a complete remodelling and
makeover of the station forecourt and roads around the station, pavements and walkways resurfacing,
new taxi and drop-off bays and new public art. The improvement, part of Medway Council's Chatham
'placemaking' initiative, will enhance connectivity between the town's key transport and commercial
centres and improve passenger experience through investments in public spaces around the station.
2622] Wateringbury: The level crossing at the signal box is to be converted from a Manually Operated
Gated crossing to a Manually Operated Barrier type crossing with control remaining at Wateringbury
Signal Box. The work is programmed from 23.00 on 7 Dec to 03.15 on 17 Dec with a road closure.
NEXT PAGE TOP: Wateringbury level crossing and signal box on 16 Jun 1999 (Angus McDougall).
623] Brighton Line: (BLN 1314.2127) The signal repositioning due to take place at Balcombe Tunnel Jn
from 20 Oct has been reprogrammed to the Feb 2019 line closure because signal testing resources
have been redeployed to another project. The new layout is due to enter service on 25 Feb 2019.
ABOVE: Seaford at a time when the box was only open occasionally, P1 is on the left of the platform
and a train in P2 can just be seen in the distance, middle far left. (Angus McDougall 23 Aug 1998.)
2624] Seaford - final answer! (BLN 1317.2502) A rapid reply from a contact who worked here at the
time and who meticulously kept a detailed written record has provided additional information. Prior to
reduction to just a single track at P2, there was a siding alongside that track and also the track in P1.
Seaford drivers' depot closed 29 May 1994 with the spring timetable change, (the first occasion the
timetable changed on a Sunday). Up until then the box was operated fully on two shifts. The first was
'Earlys', 05.30 to 13.30 Mon to Sat. Two trains were berthed overnight at Seaford, one in the bay and
one in the siding. These formed the 05.45 departure from P1 and the 07.20, shunted from the siding.
The box then closed out at 08.10 for the rest of the morning, for the signalman to undertake lamping
duties at Seaford, Newhaven Town and Newhaven Harbour. These were done on different days.
Late turn was 15.30 to 23.30 on Sun to Sat. The signalbox opened around 15.30 until around 19.30,
shunting one terminating train to the siding. Then the signalman would perform carriage cleaning
duties. He then reopened the box around 22.45 to enable the 22.35 from Brighton to terminate and
berth in P1 at 23.15. Having Seaford box open also eased problems with late running or crew problems
but the moves stated were clearly made only on the days of operation of the trains. With the drivers'
depot closing, the timetable was changed and no stock was berthed at Seaford. This made the box
redundant; it was de-staffed then only opened by relief staff for 'T3' blocks for engineering work etc
and S&T maintenance. This continued until 1996; our member's contact's final shift was 2 Mar 1996.
The signal arms were then fixed in their relevant positions and left until Mar 1999 when all signal arms
were removed. The box was finally abolished and removed on 18 Jan 2002.
2625] Plumpton: A local member asks when trains last called at the single Racecourse platform
(on the Up side north of the passenger station)? As it was not a separate station information is scarce
(it's not shown on Colonel Cobb, for instance) and there is little on the Internet. The current Sectional
Appendix still shows the 'Race Platform', marked OOU. The Middleton Press book Haywards Heath to
Seaford published 1986 and reprinted in 2005 includes: 'About 1910, an additional footbridge and Up
platform were built a few yards west of the original, for use on race days'. BLN 333 reported (the only
BLN mention) that the platform was only used on race days when the XX.48 trains from Victoria
stopped specially (at Down P2) and the XX.20 trains from Ore or Hastings called at the Race Platform.
X.171] BELOW: On 7 Sep 2018 DMU 159022 leaves Yeovil Pen Mill with the 15.44 to Waterloo. The
signal is off for the connecting spur to Yeovil Junction where the train reverses. (Geoff Brockett).
2626] Southampton Eastern Docks: The Rail Accident Investigation Branch report into the 5 Nov 2016
derailment of UK Railtour's Andover Fist on this branch states that it happened at 10.17. Our member
recorded the time of coming to a stand as 10.10 (give or take 7½ seconds). [Our loyal Members on our
East Kent Railway AGM trip then certainly heard about it directly from participants before 10.17.]
A public address 3½ mins later on the tour announced that a derailment had occurred. Many digital
photos taken by participants will show a time prior to 10.17.These RAIB reports are a resource for
future historians and meant to be as accurate as possible. So where did the time of 10.17 come from?
2627] Wallers Ash: (BLN 1316.2356) A member distinctly recalls travelling by in the early 1980s when
the loops were being shortened, he thinks either in 1983 or 1984. He asked the guard what was going
on and received the same explanation as in item 2356. By then container traffic from Southampton
was quite well developed and shortening both loops may well have caused some operating difficulties.
BLN 455.32a (2 Dec 1982) records completion of this work, giving the bridge number as 164.
1318 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon) [email protected]
2628] Bristol Parkway: On Thur 29 Nov a points failure effectively closed P2 and at the same time gave
rise to some interesting gricing opportunities. All services towards South Wales used P1 then the rarely
used facing crossover right at the western end of the station to the Down Tunnel line. Flexibility was
further restricted by westbound services not using P4 and those services booked to terminate in P4
and reverse back towards Filton were cancelled. This is due to ongoing points failure at the west end
of Parkway with the route westbound from P4 having 5mph indicators (over the points). RTT suggests
the cancelled services from the Bristol TM direction terminated at Filton Abbey Wood instead on
29 Nov with an ECS shunt to depart southward from their booked platform right time. By next day the
terminators were running to Parkway again. P2 remained out of use until Sun 2 Dec when normal
working resumed following repairs and the 5mph restriction signs were removed.
2629] Ashley Hill: Plans show that passive provision has been made here in the recent Filton bank
re-quadrupling for a potential four platform station (2m 42ch) between Stapleton Road and Filton
Abbey Wood stations with a central island and two outer platforms. The facing crossover at Ashley Hill
shown from the Down to up Filton Relief lines in TRACKmaps Book 3, p18C (Jun 2018) does not exist.
2630] Westbury (BLNs 1313.1997 & 1315.2210) Readers will know that five rail routes radiate from
this important junction. During the 12-day Christmas and New Year complete closure of the station,
(with increased use of Westbury avoiding line) Westbury North Jn is being replaced. Dating from the
1970s it is life expired with temporary speed restrictions in place. Additionally in preparation for 10-car
IET services as well as P2 & P3 extension works, the platform edging is to be adjusted to reduce the
stepping distance and signalling upgrades made. This is only one of over 330 projects costing 148M
that NR is carrying out nationally during the festive season, involving a workforce of 25,000.
2631] Cornwall: (BLN 1315.2252) NR has completed the main line signalling upgrade to increase
capacity and reliability; it came in at £30M - budget £18M (the initial total resignalling plan was costed
at £330M). 21 extra signals were installed and seven level crossings upgraded. From May, subject to
confirmation of the new timetable, Plymouth - Penzance services increase to 'half-hourly'. Roskear
Junction signal box (313m 19ch) at Camborne gained three new signal sections. A member asked if
they are new semaphores or LEDs; the answer is LEDs - the box controls 17 miles (but without a single
point) from about 301m 54ch to 318m 67ch; the wire pulls could be interesting to say the least!
2632] Electrification - 'inch by inch' (BLN 1317.2507) NR reports that a further segment of the Up and
Down Avonmouth Dock line will be energised from 26 Dec 2018 (no it's not in Box Tunnel) - from
structure SWB 180/336/HD as far as Structure SWB 180/446/HD - as you all will know, a total of 6ch!
2633] Pilning: (BLN 1314.2140) NR demolished the footbridge in Nov 2016 for electrification and thus
only eastbound trains can call - but not after dark, as the station is unlit. They are booked (SO) at 08.34
and 15.35 so unless there is a total eclipse at the time they should be able to stop. To mark the second
anniversary, a new song, based on 'Imagine', and with lines like 'Imagine there's a footbridge / And
platform lighting too' can be found on https://goo.gl/EfxrUj the interesting Pilning Station Action
Group website. GWR declines to make any extra calls (although admits the timetable would allow it) as
they lose money on each stop already and NR declines to reinstate a footbridge (even second hand).
A member at Bridgwater station recently was surprised a recorded announcements advised changing
at Severn Tunnel Junction for Pilning, fortunately it was a Saturday or there would be a very long wait!
2634] Bath Spa: The ever popular Christmas Market runs from 22 Nov until 9 Dec and on Sat 24th GWR
says it ran a train every 4½ mins, 16.00-19.00, (as usual!). A queuing system operates at peak times.
1318 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]
2635] Coventry: (BLN 1317.2515) The station upgrade does include a new bay platform (next to the
Birmingham end of P1, so it may join the P0 brigade) allowing the Nuneaton service to be increased to
twice an hour - one of these is intended to run through Coventry via Kenilworth to Leamington Spa
X.171] Malvern Link: BELOW A meeting of HSTs seen from the Hereford end of Malvern Link station
on Fri 30 Nov at 13.17, both running late. The number of diagrams for full length HSTs is diminishing
and they are expected to finish on GWR soon but can still appear unexpectedly on occasions. The
Stationmaster's House is top right and the road bridge carries the A449 Worcester Road. (David Guy.)
2636] Wolverhampton, Oxley Chord: (BLN 1247.2287) The double track Oxley chord OA 7 Aug 1983.
Previously coal trains between the Staffordshire Coal Field and Ironbridge Power Station and return
empties had to run round and reverse at Cannock Road Jn, northwest of Wolverhampton Low Level
station. Your Editor did this when working down the road at Wolverhampton New Cross Hospital in
1982 having chatted up the shunter based at the junction. (The Wednesfield Road Goods Class 08 loco
used to trundle past the hospital regularly throughout the day to Wednesfield Tubes, on the former
Midland Railway line to Walsall, but that's another story!) Biomass traffic via the chord from Liverpool
Bulk Terminal to Ironbridge Power Station ended in Nov 2015 with the closure of the Power Station.
However, it continues to be used in the Down direction (Shrewsbury to Stafford) by unloaded timber
trains. Originating from Carlisle Kingmoor Yard Timber Loading Sidings and sometimes Ribblehead
Down Sidings, they now run via Warrington BQ and Chester to Chirk, then propel into Kronospan
sidings. After unloading, the wagons are returned via Shrewsbury and the Down Oxley Chord then
north to Stafford (generally a daily train SX). On Friday nights there is an optional alternative path for
the empties to Shrewsbury Up Main line (23.46 Fri - 00.27 Sat) where the loco runs round to return
directly to Crewe. Interestingly the 21.50 SuO ECS Shrewsbury to Crewe Virgin Trains Voyager DMU
reverses in Wolverhampton station (22.27/22.34); it is understandable that Pendolino ECS workings
reverse in both directions at the station as the Chord is not electrified, of course! There is no regular
traffic on the Up Oxley Chord which is on the route of our 'Positioning Move' trip from Lancaster and
selected stations to Stafford to Bristol Temple Meads on Sat 2 Feb for only £40 (BLN 1317.2429).
2637] Abbey Foregate Loop: Forming a double tracked 'third side of the triangle' avoiding Shrewsbury
station, occasional traffic is booked in the Up direction (Church Stretton to Wellington) including from
Neath Abbey Wharf to Leeds Stourton, Coleham Depot to Derby Railway Technical Centre and ECS
DMUs from Machynlleth to Abbey Foregate Depot. There are no regular workings on the Down Loop
but it is on the route of our 'Positioning Move' single trip mentioned in the previous item.
2638] Telford International Railfreight Terminal (Donnington branch): There is a SSuX path Crewe
Basford Hall Sorting Sidings (05.59) via Shrewsbury arriving 07.39 and returning 15.28 to reach Crewe
17.00. Since 21 May it has run on 22 & 24 May, 12, 19 & 21 Jun, 5, 12, 16, 24 & 26 Jul & 14 Nov. TTho
an Arpley (07.46/13.15) to Donnington (10.00/15.48) has run on 2 Aug, 13 Sep, 13 Nov and 22 Nov.
2639] Hartlebury: Prior to 8 Dec 2013 timetable change, seven Up and six Down trains (SuX with one
less each way SO) called in the peaks and 21,700 passengers were recorded in 2011-12. Roughly hourly
services with extra peak calls were then introduced (SuX) 06.30-19.00 to Birmingham and Worcester;
extended on 18 May 2014 to all day (SuX). Over 1,000 passengers a week now use Hartlebury station.
2640] Barton South Jn: The Central Rivers Depot south access. On Tue 20 Nov a major electrical
problem due to water ingress at a location cabinet affected signals and points. No trains could run
Burton-on-Trent to/from Tamworth during the evening peak. Some were diverted via Leicester such
as the 17.49 Birmingham New Street to Nottingham which only called at Beeston and Nottingham.
2641] Camp Hill Line: The public is invited to comment at a series of exhibitions of the initial designs
for the planned Moseley, Kings Heath and Hazelwell stations or by taking part in a brief online survey
https://goo.gl/nid4KF (until 14 Dec) - go on, show some interest. This is the latest step in moves to
re-open the Camp Hill line to local passenger trains. Transport for West Midlands says feedback from
local residents and commuters will help shape the final designs submitted to Birmingham City Council
for planning permission. Construction could start in 2020 with a view to the stations opening by the
end of 2021 for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. The initial service is expected to be
two trains an hour into Birmingham New Street with journey times of around 15 minutes.
NEXT PAGE: Leek Brook Jn; two Class 25s approaching the signal box (where the photographer is) with
empty wagons to Oakamoor. They arrived on the line left from Stoke-on-Trent (quite possibly from
Crewe Sorting Sidings via North Staffs Curve to reach Stoke) then ran round on the remains of the Leek
line straight ahead. The outward traffic was sand for glass making. (Ian Mortimer 8 Sep 1983.)
2642] Leek: (BLN 1301.MR56) The cost of
connecting the Churnet Valley Railway (CVR) (MR
p8) to Leek will be £810,000 according to a council
report. [An absolute bargain which might just about
buy a couple of signals on NR.] The CVR will be
entirely responsible for fundraising for the ¾ mile
long line north from Leekbrook Junction (where the
restored waiting rooms reopened in Oct) to a new
Leek station in the Cornhill area, about a quarter of
a mile south of the original station. The CVR has
been invited to apply to the European Agricultural
Fund for Rural Development. The work will take 18
months and only begin when funding is secured.
Planning permission for the line has already been
granted by the local council which owns the former
double track route and will lease it to the CVR. LEFT:
1953 map, top left is Leek tunnel, next down is the
original passenger station, CP 4 Jan 1965 (now the
site of a Morrison's supermarket). A little further is
the location of the proposed new CVR station;
bottom centre is Leekbrook Junction station (single
platform on the west of the line). The Ipstones
branch (formerly to Caldon Low/e) goes off bottom
right and the line to Stoke-on-Trent bottom left.
Cheddleton (CVR) is off bottom centre. Leekbrook Jn - Leek CA 7 Jul 1970 but traffic ceased some
while before. The third side of the triangle, Leekbrook North Jn - Leekbrook East Jn, trackbed shown,
CA 30 Sep 1935 (well done if you did it). On the Leekbrook Jn - Cheddleton, North Staffs Mental
Hospital branch, the standard gauge Cheddleton Asylum Railway, (return tickets to the Asylum were
very hard to obtain); bottom left. Rail traffic ended 16 Dec 1954 and the railway, which went round the
bend to reach the asylum, was finally sold for demolition in Apr 1960.
2643] Going round the bend/'Censored' news: Alvecote Lane runs alongside the Up side of the West
Coast Main Line 2¼ miles south of Tamworth station before the M42 overbridge. At the Tamworth
end Alvecote Lane curves northwest away from the line. There is a road sign warning of this bend to
the right and just past it is a sensor governed warning sign that lights up reinforcing the same. Not only
do speeding road vehicles trigger the sensor warning but also most Down trains on the Down Trent
Valley Slow, the Down Trent Valley Fast and Down trains on the bi-directional Up Trent Valley Fast!
BLN learning point: 'Going round the bend' is an expression thought to be of Victorian origin, they built
a large number of mental 'asylums' and the approach drives off the road were deliberately curved so
that passing 'normals' couldn't see the entrance or any of the inmates. Some had their own branch
lines, usually to bring coal to the boilers and other supplies rather than customers. (Previous item.)
2644] North Cotswold Line: (BLN 1316.2373): A member travelled from Paddington to Pershore on
17 Nov, the first day of the closure for platform extension works at Pershore, Evesham, Honeybourne
and the Up platform at Moreton-in-Marsh. The 06.22 and a bus from Moreton-in-Marsh took him
there shortly after 09.00. At Evesham and Pershore all the platform nosing stones had already been
removed and stacked. It appeared that, as well as the expected platform lengthening, the platform rail
alignment was to be adjusted due to some unacceptable clearance issue with the IETs. At Evesham a
(road) vehicle crossing had been placed across both tracks between the platforms at platform surface
level for plant to cross between platforms. Much work was achieved during the 9 day closure.
2645] Birmingham New Street: Nearly ¾ million-people passed through the station between Thur 15
and Sun 18 Nov when the German Christmas market opened. On 'Black Friday' last year over 242,000
people used the station which is 70,000 more than a usual Friday. The combination of the German
Market and an Aston Villa home football match could see the daily passenger record broken (likely to
be on a Saturday rather than in the week) and exceed 250,000. A notable addition to the concourse
here, for a Christmas appeal, is a life size Lego model of Noddy Holder (of Wolverhampton band 'Slade'
Fame) made from over 48,000 bricks. It doesn't sing unfortunately/fortunately (delete as required!).
2646] Roade: (BLN 1316.2370) Resubmitted amended plans for the proposed 600 acre rail freight
Interchange here to be known as Rail Central were recently accepted by the Government Planning
Inspectorate and will now be subject to scrutiny prior to a decision on granting planning permission.
2647] HS2: Four contractors are due to be shortlisted in the spring for the £435M Curzon Street
station design and build contract to be awarded in 2020 ahead of the arrival of HS2 in Birmingham in
2026 (allegedly). Early works/ground works contractors are now on 'site', an interesting 'sight' on the
left leaving by the London end of New Street. The original Grade I listed 1838 Curzon Street station
entrance (the only surviving part of the first station) is being restored as a visitor and heritage centre.
Birmingham Interchange (BLN 1316.2368) construction contracts follow in 2021 (hopefully). Separate
contractors, appointed last year, will build the tunnels and viaducts here for the new 225mph trains.
1318 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]
2648] NIR Timetable: In the 9 Dec timetable Londonderry and Dublin services are unchanged. On the
Larne line several Up morning peak trains are slowed, presumably to improve punctuality figures. The
22.25 (SO) Larne Harbour - Belfast Central/Lanyon Place (LP) continues to Great Victoria Street (GVS).
SSuX: A new 06.00 Belfast Central/LP - Portadown train avoids GVS; so a chance to travel from City Jn
to Central Jn by DMU. The 06.30 Portadown - Bangor is replaced by 06.20 Portadown - Carrickfergus.
An additional 06.40 Portadown - Bangor all stations to Holywood then Bangor West arrives Bangor
08.05. The 07.30 GVS - Bangor semi fast is replaced by 07.20 GVS - Bangor calling at all stations.
SO: 07.00 Portadown - Newry now runs 25 mins earlier. 07.50 Newry - Bangor starts at Portadown.
An additional 07.05 Newry - GVS calls at Poyntzpass, Scarva, Portadown, Lurgan, Moira and Lisburn.
22.27 Bangor - Portadown terminates at Lisburn. Additional 23.22 Belfast Central/LP - Portadown,
fast GVS to Lisburn. SuO: Additional 17.29 Belfast Central/LP to Portadown all stations.
Additional to previous NIR unusual track: GVS P2
towards Lisburn, add 21.27 SuO Bangor -
Portadown. LEFT: On the southeast side of the
station, Bangor bay P1 is possibly the most
difficult platform to do on NIR, they seem
reluctant to use it. P2 is the preferred platform
here. (Martin Baumann 30 Nov 2018)
2649] South Wexford Line: An Inspection Car is
due to operate from Waterford to Rosslare
Europort on 5 Dec operating under an absolute
possession. (Some of these workings are just
taking a short cut!)
2650] Limerick - Ennis: The 'Limerick Leader' has
reported that various organisations have
committed to action to 'resolve the problem' of
chronic flooding of the railway. At the 28 Nov
meeting of the Joint Committee on Rural and
Community Development, leaders from Irish
Rail, the Office of Public Works and Clare County
Council signed a letter committing their
organisations to pursue a joint programme of
action to resolve the problem of groundwater
flooding on the railway at Ballycar. Engineering
and planning consultancy RPS has been contracted to provide a report proposing a solution by spring
2019, including measures to mitigate any potential impacts in the River Shannon catchment area. The
Geological Survey of Ireland participated in the meeting and will provide technical input. Our Ireland
Editor says that they have been talking about the problem for years and need to get on with raising the
trackbed further (it was built up 60cm about 10 years ago but the rails have been under 50cm of water
at times since). Previously the different groups disputed who would be responsible for the expensive
works to resolve the flooding. Irish Rail has made it clear that it cannot afford to fund the works itself.
2651] Trains are late in Dublin: Not to be outdone by Merseyrail, on 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 & 22 Dec there are
trains from Pearse at 00.40 & 01.40 to Dundalk; 00.20 & 01.55 to Maynooth; 00.30 & 01.30 to Howth
and 23.50 & 01.50 via Phoenix Park to Kildare; also Connolly at 00.30 & 01.30 to Greystones.
1318 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
2652] Douglas Bay Horse Tramway: Tynwald, the IOM Government, has voted for the reconstruction
of Strathallan Depot to a condition closely replicating the original 1902 building. At the same debate an
amendment was approved for the Department of Infrastructure (DOI) to continue to operate the line
from 2019 and beyond; seemingly securing the future of the tramway. Once approval and funding was
confirmed, some historic fixtures and fittings were removed from the depot for safe storage including
the Art Deco window glass and some of the doors which will be reused. All the trams were moved out
for winter storage to Derby Castle, Manx Electric Railway (MER) Depot and other locations on the IOM.
Demolition of the previous Strathallan Depot, due to its poor condition, began on Mon 26 Nov, there
wasn't much left by 3 Dec. In the new depot, two thirds of the ground floor will house 13 horse trams
along with staff facilities and office accommodation to replace the 'temporary permanent way depot'
(!!) at Derby Castle. The staff facilities cost an extra £483,108 from the direct DOI budget (not part of
the Tynwald agreement). The site is surrounded by hoardings and even our experienced local agents
had difficulty taking photos. Also on 26 Nov, following the Tynwald vote, road works began between
Strathallan and the first road junction south. Much of the tram track has been removed on this section.
Construction of the new depot begins in 2019; completion is targeted for Feb 2020 for use during the
2020 season. Currently the trams are homeless for the 2019 season (which despite the promenade
reconstruction works should have limited horse tram operation) but there is still a planning application
for a temporary building on the Summerland site, which may be able to be utilised during 2019?
PREVIOUS PAGE: Track lifting and demolition on Mon 3 Dec 2018. (All IOM photos Jenny Williamson)
2653] MER: (MR p12) Wickham 22, with a small wagon attached, was recently seen heading north
from Douglas and may have been at Laxey, where the bridge by the MER stop has been closed to rail
traffic. By 3 Dec it was back at Douglas. On Thu 22 Nov Tram 33 was parked north of Groudle; just
south of it the tower wagon was in use for wiring work. Tram 5 and Trailer 59 were in Derby Castle on
Sat 24 Nov, with a group of people who appeared to be receiving training in shunting manœuvres.
2654] Groudle Glen Railway: (MR p12) 'Sea Lion', the railway's oldest and only original loco was found
to need urgent repairs to her boiler at the end of the 2017 summer season. The damage was thought
to be due to the water supply quality, and although chemical treatments were added to lessen the
corrosion, it worsened and the damage became irreversible. The boiler was sent to the UK for repair. It
was hoped that Sea Lion would be back on track for Easter but further issues were discovered and the
loco had to be transported to the UK for a complete overhaul and repair. A substantial amount of work
was undertaken with installation of new parts and repairs to worn parts. Restored to her original 1896
livery, with her name is in gold leaf letters and she has had steam tests ready for the Christmas service.
BELOW: Tram 33 parked north of Groudle, just south was the tower wagon for work on the wiring.
ABOVE: The actual rewiring work in progress at Groudle. BELOW: Shunting lessons at Derby Castle -
we wonder how many are there actually in the hope of doing some rare track?
1318 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe) [email protected]
2655] Perth: On 8 & 15 Nov a member passing the OOU Perth 'New' Yard (152m 32ch) north of the
station noted the site had been devegetated. At the north and south ends clusters of points remained
with a line possibly connecting the two on the westernmost side (furthest from the running line).
The Sectional Appendix shows that the yard is still connected at the south end where, incidentally, the
turntable pit was clearly visible. Our member wonders if the work might be for rolling stock storage
which will be big business soon with many older trains being withdrawn. Any ideas please anyone?
2656] Kingussie: A member recently saw the wall mounted postbox on P1 of the station being
emptied. There use to be many postboxes on stations and it was very touching to be reminded of what
was once a regular activity all over the network in days gone by. Are there others? Kidderminster
Severn Valley Railway station has a post box in use as well as the special one to write to Santa! Later in
this BLN is a report of a signal box recently visited by the Society with a postbox still in use in its wall.
2657] Blackford: (BLN 1315.2270) In connection with the new Highland Spring Rail Freight Facility the
Up Refuge Siding was removed on 18 Nov. The trailing crossover between the Up and Down main lines
was secured out of use from 25 Nov temporarily reducing the layout to just Up and Down Main lines.
There is to be a new facing crossover so that freight doesn't have to go north to Perth to run round.
2658] Cryptic Clue time: Down train, not all left (at) Uphall: There was an unusual incident on 26 Nov
involving the 17.20 Edinburgh to Helensburgh formed of two 3-car Class 334 EMUs. On arrival at
Livingston North the driver discovered that only half of the train was present, the rear three cars were
still in Uphall P2! They had not been aware that the train had separated and neither had the ticket
examiner who was also in the front unit. The 180 passengers in the rear set at Uphall eventually
twigged what had happened and used the emergency door handles to egress. Both sets continued to
Bathgate Depot separately for examination, the second from Uphall with a relief driver arrived 18.27.
2659] A mixture of trains: BLN 1317 posed the question: 'Does anybody know when the final mixed
traffic trains ran nationally?' Scotland was suggested as the last location and a member agrees. His
hunch is that, on the West Highland Line the tanks for the oil terminal at Mallaig (supplying the trawler
fleet) were added to Fort William - Mallaig passenger trains all the way through to 1989 sprinterisation
[NR's word creators would be proud of that one - BLN 1317.2503]. This appears to be validated by the
excellent Rail Express 'Train Formations Handbook' (Mortons Media 2018) which has an item on West
Highland Freight including a sub section 'mixed to Mallaig.' This suggests that the oil tanks were
recoded from 'TTF' to 'TTG' as they had a through air pipe fitted to be compatible with passenger stock
and ran until the demise of loco hauled passenger workings on the West Highland Line from 1989.
Interestingly after sprinterisation the tanks ran as separate trains until the flow was lost to rail in 1993.
The item also mentions fish traffic in 1987 using refrigerated Interfrigo vans between Mallaig and
Fort William. [That's a fishy 'tail' traffic.] When Mallaig harbour wall was reconstructed in 1984-5,
bogie bolster wagons loaded with steel were apparently added to passenger trains between Fort
William and Mallaig. Transit between Fort William and the south was always in dedicated Speedlink
freight workings. Our member has seen many photos of the oil tanks on the end of passenger trains on
the West Highland extension and indeed the first time he travelled to Mallaig in 1979 he remembers a
couple of tanks being added but he has never seen a photo of the bogie bolsters or the Interfrigo vans.
So he suggests the prize goes to the Mallaig oil traffic in 1989 with special commendation to Aberdeen
- Inverness and Far North trains in the 1980s. https://goo.gl/HDfhMY is a 19 Sep 1984 picture of a
Class 47 at Inverness on the 12.35 to Aberdeen. Described as a 'mixed' train there is a container on a
freightliner flat between the engine and coaches which then ran between Aberdeen and Thurso.
2660] Aberdeen - Inverurie: As at 18 Nov from Aberdeen to Dyce a single line is still in use (and will
remain so through the tunnels) between Aberdeen and Berryden Jn. From the latter, where access to
the Waterloo Goods branch will be, the existing single line now uses the Down side (to Dyce) of the
formation and will become the Down Elgin. The future Up Elgin line is in place and appears complete
from Berryden Jn to about three chains short of the crossover at 6m 03ch approaching Dyce station.
On the Inverurie side of Dyce, from about 1½ miles to three miles, there are extensive embankment
works taking place on both sides (it is now 50 years since the line was singled by British Rail).
The (single) running line from Dyce to Inverurie largely uses the centre of the formation to enable
higher speeds. It is expected that it will all be slewed (probably continuing on the Down side) during
the 2019 Dyce - Inverurie blockade. 16 miles of track is being redoubled from just beyond the city
centre tunnels (1,500 yd from Aberdeen station) to the loop at Inverurie station (16 miles 1,580 yd),
taking in the existing loop at Dyce station (6 miles 242 yd to 7 miles 106 yd). A turnback facility is also
to be installed beyond Inverurie station extending to 17 miles 1,100 yd.
2661] Alloa & Dunblane: The first train powered from the OHLE (EMU 380004) ran on 27 Nov after
normal passenger services. Leaving Shields Depot at 23.15 it ran via Glasgow Central, Motherwell,
Cumbernauld and Stirling to Dunblane (01.35/01.36, Wed 28 Nov; they don't hang about in the early
hours). The train reversed at Camelon to reach Alloa at 02.50, then again in Stirling P9 (yes please!) to
reappear at Dunblane (03.53/03.55). A return trip to Greenhill Lower Jn followed (Dunblane for the
third time 04.48/04.51) before retreating to Shields Depot (06.27) via Motherwell and Glasgow
Central. The reason so many trips were made was to test out all the various routes through Stirling.
2662] Edinburgh Waverley: On 7 Nov and work was continuing to extend P5 & 6. The tracks were not
connected to the network but must have been once as there were about seven engineer's wagons at
P6. The point (eventually) connecting it to the network is in place and a stub of track towards P5 & P6
with a stop board. There are then six sleepers with rails cut and placed in the four foot. The trackwork
restarts followed by the point for the platforms. P5 track was in place to the station roof end with a
road/rail vehicle working. P6 track is some 50yd shorter with the aforementioned rail wagons on it.
2663] Longannet: Talgo have chosen the power station site to build a new train construction factory as
it has easy access to ports at Grangemouth and Rosyth. This assists in possible exports to Europe.
The factory is mainly to help the company's bid to supply stock for HS2, but will reportedly be built
regardless of being awarded the contract. [Don't get too excited about the possibility of the Rosyth
branch reviving as most of the stock built for export (and some for HS2) would be out of GB gauge.]
2664] Semaphore Signals: The excellent Scot-rail.co.uk https://goo.gl/213h51 reports that as at Oct
2018 there are 47 signal boxes and one ground frame in Scotland that operate signals with semaphore
arms. The link has details of what exactly can be seen at each location and links to photos. Locations:
●Annbank Jn GF ●Craigo ●Glenwhilly ●Kilkerran ●New Cumnock
●Arbroath ●Cupar ●Greenloaning ●Kingussie ●Newtonhill
●Auchterarder ●Dalwhinnie ●Hilton Jn ●Kirkconnel ●Pitlochry
●Aviemore ●Dunblane ●Holywood ●Laurencekirk ●Stanley Jn
●Barnhill ●Dunkeld ●Huntly ●Leuchars ●Stirling North
●Barrhill ●Dunragit ●Insch ●Longannet ●Stonehaven
●Blackford ●Errol ●Inverkeilor ●Longforgan ●Stranraer
●Blair Atholl ●Fort William Jn ●Inverurie ●Lugton ●Thornhill
●Carmont ●Fouldubs Jn ●Keith ●Mauchline
●Carnoustie ●Girvan ●Kennethmont ●Montrose North
There also 32 automatic 'Stone Signals' on the Oban Line to detect rock falls in the Pass of Brander.
2665] Far North Line: Perhaps so called as it is the furthest north from Milton Keynes? In drawing up
the Scotland Dec timetables the NR timetablers don't seem to have considered Inverness connections.
On 30 Oct the Friends of the Far North Line (FoFNL) discovered that there would be many broken
connections at Inverness particularly going south in the evening. Rapid communication with ScotRail
followed who kept them fully in the loop about what had happened and what was being done to fix it.
One problem could not be solved; the 16.00 SSuX Wick to Inverness will arrive later at 20.13, with the
Glasgow train leaving at 20.15. The booking system will not sell tickets allowing that as a 'connection'.
The other unavoidable side-effect of the 'fixes' is that the Beauly stop on the 18.31 Inverness to Wick
is being omitted for now (the 'least worst' option). FoFNL feels that praise is due to all involved for fast
work to make the best compromises possible but also that had NR Scotland Route been devolved to
Scotland and therefore timetabling handled there, this crisis would probably not have arisen.
Prior to 9 Dec there was a five minutes connection out of the 16.00, but this is officially recognised. It
is not known how long staff are permitted to delay the Glasgow departure, but RTT shows that arrival
from Wick on 29 Nov was not until 20.17 and the Glasgow train did not depart until 20.19. No doubt,
Inverness staff will do their best to assist passengers in making a two minutes connection, but it will
not be possible to buy any discounted through ticket which requires mandatory reservations.
The 16.00 from Wick is scheduled 3 minutes later into Inverness from 9 Dec because of a shunt move
from P6 to the depot, which reverses at Rose Street 20.01 to 20.06. The 16.00 is scheduled to stop for
a minute at Clunes to wait for the line to clear. The obvious solution would seem to be to retime the
ECS, the stock off the 17.13 from Kyle of Lochalsh. That used to run through to Elgin, but from 9 Dec
will only do so on Saturdays. Possibly this is not obvious to the far south Buckinghamshire timetablers.
1318 WALES & THE MARCHES (Chris Parker) [email protected]
2666] TfW (Lack of) Services: Transport for Wales' (TfW) timetable is planned around 80% availability
of its 127 trains some 105, with other sets being maintained. During Nov this was not achieved, with
significant pre-planned cancellations as well as on the day issues. This included cancellation of the
extra Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury trains; all Blaenau Ffestiniog branch trains have been replaced by a
bus; Wrexham Central to Bidston reduced to 2-hourly; Swansea services to Pembroke Dock, Milford
Haven and Fishguard and the Central Wales Line disrupted and reduced services on Cardiff Valleys
lines. TfW and NR took out full page advertisements in regional newspapers apologising to passengers.
2667] The Blame Game: Welsh Assembly Cabinet Secretary for Transport Ken Skates blamed Arriva
Trains Wales (ATW), noting that 'full and proper access' was not given before TfW took over. Questions
in the Welsh Assembly revealed more information and were particularly critical of contracts signed
with ATW 15 years ago. Some DMUs have sustained significant fire damage and other storm damage.
Ken Skates stated that services would return to normal within a few weeks - over 10% of the trains
were brought back into use within a week, with trains sent to other parts of the UK for repair. Depot
repair equipment (particularly wheel lathes) has been running 24/7 with staff working 1,000 hours of
overtime through the night. TfW inherited a fleet of very poorly maintained trains from ATW without
appreciating this, many over 30 years old. No trains operate with wheel-slide protection, as a
consequence of a decision taken in 2016 across the UK to stop applying sand to rails, with resulting
wheel flats during leaf fall. He highlighted the 'dreadful underinvestment in our rail network over the
past 15 years' with ATW contract standards, including maintenance, far too low.
TfW had no leverage to require improvements and ATW had no commercial incentive to invest in
maintenance above what was legally essential. Furthermore, TfW were not given full and proper
access to the entire fleet to be able to gauge its condition other than ensure that there were enough
wheel sets in place (!), albeit with serious wheelflats. New wheel sets were ordered but can only be
fitted with trains out of service. Monitoring of ATW did take place and, based on the performance
matrix, ATW reached an acceptable standard, but that standard was lower than necessary. [Now we
know, perhaps, why ATW pulled out of the franchise bidding race - they knew something we didn't‽]
ATW said that it invested £30M more than its franchise required and cooperated with the handover.
2668] Railbuses: Beleaguered Valleys users have, from 26 Nov 'until further notice', the benefit of
supplementary SuX bus services provided by TfW from Taffs Well every 15 minutes, (calling at Radyr
or Llandaff), Caerphilly (up to 8 per hour, half via Llanishen the others via Lisvane & Thornhill and
Heath High Level) and Dinas Powys into Cardiff Central every 20 minutes all in the mornings (times
vary but Saturdays it is 09.00-14.00). Then in the opposite direction, but as far as Barry and Pontypridd
they run out of Cardiff from 15.30-19.30. The problem is that with the reduced train services and short
formations it has been physically impossible for any more passengers to cram onboard at these inner
suburban stations. Taffs Well to Central is 30-40 mins by bus (train 24 mins with 4 intermediate stops).
2669] Taffs Well Crossover may not be well: The only Valley Lines change from 9 Dec is that the 06.31
SuX Cardiff Central to Taffs Well (and 06.53 return) is curtailed to turn back at Radyr SSuX. Our
previous BLN Wales Regional Editor introduced this when working in ATW Train Planning to discourage
NR from taking out Walnut Tree facing crossover (7m 10ch), which has no other booked working!
Naturally he was thinking of our members who might want to do it and still can on Saturdays (only).
2670] Welsh Rail Freight: A member who contributes to the Wales 'Railfuture' newsletter has kindly
allowed us this recent extract. (Issue 65 also considers TfW's Keolis/Amey franchise award criticising
the new Hybrid Trams planned for some Welsh Valley lines which have no toilets. However, by then all
stations are expected to have toilets. As a convenience, TfW have announced that last trains will take a
halfway break but how long does it take for a trainload of Welsh sporting fans returning from an event
at the Principality Stadium to do the necessary, one wonders? Delay attribution could be interesting!)
In Wales DB Cargo (DBC) work most rail freight but four other companies have rail freight contracts:
>Colas work Aberthaw to Westbury and Moorswater cement trains and the Bridgend Fords to
Dagenham car component service (from Bridgend SuTThO and Dagenham MWFO). However, the
Cemex gritstone flows from Neath Abbey Wharf to Washwood Heath and Stourton have been lost,
appearing to each run monthly. Colas continues to work the TThO timber train from Baglan Bay to
Chirk Kronospan and the NR infrastructure inspection, weed spray and Sandite/water cannon trains.
>Freightliner has its long-standing Southampton - Wentloog service and chemicals from Dow Corning
Barry to Tilbury MWO and Southampton TThO; loadings have increased. Their MO coal train from
Onllwyn to British Steel at Scunthorpe has ceased but the daily SX train from Cwmbargoed to Port
Talbot Grange siding continues. There is also a twice weekly coal train from North Blyth to Port Talbot
Grange but the short term weekly contract from Killoch in Scotland has ended. Two Freightliner coal
trains have restarted from Portbury to Ferrybridge via Shrewsbury, empty wagons stable in Newport
East Usk yard at weekends. Coal from Cwmbargoed to Aberthaw is expected this winter [Though the
power station advises that 'boilers' have been converted to use Russian instead of Welsh coal - PAS.]
Freightliner works all steel traffic from Port Talbot/Llanwern to Dee Marsh Shotton, usually daily.
>GBRf works a weekly fuel train from Port Clarence to Cardiff Docks Greenenergy, the tinplate flow
from Trostre to Tilbury and steel flow from Port Talbot and Llanwern to Thamesport at Grain, both
once or twice weekly. GBRf has worked limestone trains as required from Neath Abbey Wharf and
took over gritstone flows to Washwood Heath and Stourton for CEMEX. (The jumbo train from Cardiff
Docks, mainly for Day's Aggregates, has ceased since GBRf took over the CEMEX contract from DBC.)
This consists of two weekly trains to Acton and one to Crawley from Cardiff Docks carrying stone from
Wenvoe Quarry and a new traffic of Cardiff Incinerator ash for Days at Brentford. GBRf works loaded
cement trains from Clitheroe to Avonmouth. This increase in GBRf activity in South Wales can see up
to four GBRf locomotives stabled near the CELSA weighbridge alongside Rover Way in Cardiff.
>Direct Rail Services works trains to Valley in North Wales with nuclear flasks to and from Sellafield
and also the daily container train for Tesco from Daventry to Wentloog booked seven days a week.
>DBC Aggregates: Gritstone traffic from Machen Quarry has increased with an SO train often running
It recesses at Westbury working on to several South East destinations, including Dagenham and
Allington. Welsh igneous and gritstone from Dolyhir Quarry, (ironically rail served until CG 9 Jun 1958;
on the New Radnor branch), continues to be taken by road to Moreton-on-Lugg loading point with
trains to Elstow, Hayes, Hothfield and Radlett. There is a regular twice weekly train of containerised
limestone from Hardendale to CELSA at Port Talbot. The movement of incinerator ash commenced on
Tuesdays from Cardiff Docks to Avonmouth replacing the flow to Brentford. The movement of electric
arc furnace slag from CELSA to Rotherham recently restarted. There has been a considerable increase
in the movement of blast furnace slag from Port Talbot Grange following the introduction of a new
crusher with up to four weekly trains running. The usual destination is Acton with most trains going
forward to Hayes but some to Bow, Hothfield and West Drayton and occasionally to Kennet.
>DBC Petroleum: Five trains a week run from Robeston to Westerleigh and two run to Theale.
>DBC Scrap: Regular traffic to CELSA runs from Kingsbury WO, Rotherham MWFSO and Swindon FO.
Scrap from Saltley, Birmingham has ceased and there have been no recent movements from Beeston
to Newport Docks. There is a regular weekly Sunday train from Trostre to Port Talbot Grange siding.
>DBC Steel: Most movements are for Tata Steel from Margam and Llanwern. Inter works traffic
continues with hot rolled steel from Margam to Corby, Hartlepool, Llanwern and Trostre. In covered
wagons cold rolled steel runs to Birdport (Newport), Dee Marsh (Freightliner), Grain (GBRf), Newport
Docks, Llanwern and Middlesbrough Dawsons. The Tuesday only train of steel bar from CELSA to
Rotherham continues with a new twice weekly flow of wire coil to Burton-on-Trent. The movement of
coil and bar to Mossend appears to have ceased, including traffic from British Steel at Scunthorpe to
Birdport and to CELSA. There have been two trains of slab from Scunthorpe to Port Talbot.
>DBC Iron Ore: There has been recently a weekly movement of iron ore from Redcar to Port Talbot.
>DBC Coal: The main flows are now worked by Freightliner but DBC continues to work the Onllwyn to
Immingham briquette factory flow and an occasional one from Cwmbargoed. There is usually a weekly
train from Cwmbargoed to British Steel Scunthorpe as well as the usually weekly train to Hope
Cement works. The movement of wagon load containerised coal from Onllwyn to Mossend continues.
>DBC Tar: Up to four consignments (containerised) weekly, Port Talbot to Dawsons Middlesbrough.
2671] Bridges ending and not at Bridgend either: (BLN 1313.2046) It has been confirmed that the
Haverfordwest to Milford Haven line is closed in 58/59 hour weekend possessions over 18-21 Jan and
15-18 Feb respectively for removal and replacement of the bridges. They are described by NR as
'carrying the South Wales Mainline' (and we thought that went to Fishguard and originally Neyland).
2672] TfW don't seem to know which way is Up! During recent cancellations, TfW initially advised
passengers for the nonexistent 20.49 Shrewsbury-Wrexham to use the 21.38 Wrexham-Shrewsbury,
(just a 49 minute delay) then corrected this. Instead they advised those wanting the 20.23 Crewe to
Chester to travel in the opposite direction. Quote: "The 20.23 Crewe to Chester will be cancelled.
Customers should travel on 20.48 Chester to Crewe. The 20.49 Wrexham General to Shrewsbury will
be cancelled. Customers should travel on 21.38 Wrexham General to Birmingham New Street."
2673] Llanwern Loop (BLN 1314.2185): The detailed planning application clarifies that the proposed
development involves 1.6km of new railway to stable trains during major events and to form part of
the wider South Wales Metro Scheme. The proposed single loop runs within and along an area of land
currently made up of scrubland and woodland to the north of the Tata Steel Service lines§. A Flood Risk
assessment is required, with swamp and reed beds around 'Monks Ditch'. TfW investment could
include a new station with Park & Ride facility as part of the Glan Llyn Regeneration Site, 600 acres
formerly Llanwern Steelworks owned by St Modwen. This has outline consent for housing, commercial,
leisure and industrial space, schools, community centres, a local centre, open parkland space with two
new lakes and the station, envisaged for completion circa 2026-28. §The Steel Service lines were once
'regular' in the Up direction for tours in the area but for some time the various steelworks operators
have not looked favourably on such usage. The proposed loop may not require their permission and be
available for railtours as long as no events at the Principality Stadium etc require additional trains!
1318 MINOR RAILWAYS (Peter Scott) [email protected]
MR234] Bluebell Railway, East Sussex (MR p6): A portable 7¼" gauge railway ran at Kingscote as part
of the popular Model Railway Weekend on 23/24 June. Plans are in place, subject to ratification from
all concerned, for a permanently laid line here to run the length of the eastern picnic field boundary.
MR233] MINOR RAILWAYS - 30th EDITION - 2018 M R46] ………….
SUPPLEMENT No.3 REVISED* © Peter Scott November 2018
(Supplement No. 2 at BLN 1310.MR149; No.1 at BLN 1305.MR93)
Dunhams Wood Light Railway, Rodham Road, March
7¼" B 700yds TL443975 § 01354 661997
(Line reopened Sunday 14/08/16 (per YouTube video), with approximately 5 open days a year)
135 Milton Keynes Light Railway Amend to: 07564 208003
148 Steeple Grange Light Railway (Killer's Branch) Amend length to: 780yds (Extension to Middleton
…….. opened 16/06/18 (rather than 19/09/18 which was a typing error)
17 Sutton Hall Railway Amend to: 01702 622057
20 Springfields Miniature Railway Amend to: 01775 723909
23 Wortley Forge Miniature Railway Amend to: 0114 288 7576
25 Brooklands Miniature Railway Delete entry (Line closed. Last ran 23/09/18)
29 Corris Railway Amend length to: 1,200yds (Maespoeth South platform extension opened 04/04/17)
S2 .Burghclere Miniature Railway Amend length to 200yds (Extension actually opened by 07/10/18 in fact
....... ..not on 08/10/18)
*The transcriber would like to apologise to Peter Scott for the inadvertent transcription errors.
MR235] Lynton & Barnstaple Railway, Devon (MR p15) (BLN 1315.MR210): The railway has received a
£60,000 LEADER 5 Rural Development fund grant to help repair/rebuild Bridges 54 & 55, within the
North Devon Council controlled area, not Exmoor National Park. Work is expected to start in January.
MR236] Poole Park Railway, Dorset (MR p15) (BLN 1314.MR196): The following text was placed on
the Borough of Poole web site on 2 November 2018: Following a Place Overview and Scrutiny
recommendation, proposals for the Council to run the miniature railway in-house, together with
funding and management arrangements, have been approved securing the long term future of the
railway. The operation of the much loved railway, which has been operating in Poole since 1949, was
suspended in the summer following a number of derailments and personnel issues with the operators.
Since the closure, Borough of Poole has been investigating potential ways to ensure the future of the
miniature railway in Poole Park in an effective, safe and sustainable way. Now the railway will see an
investment of £350,000, spent on a number of features which will enhance the service for residents and
visitors of Poole; a new, safe track; more stable carriages with improved access for pushchairs and
wheelchair users; improvements to the train shed and storage compound and a brand new engine.
To ensure the sustainable delivery of Poole Park miniature railway, the Council will also be working
with dedicated, professional staff as well as seeking the support of local, voluntary enthusiasts who
wish to be involved in the attraction. Cllr John Rampton, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Environmental
Services, Borough of Poole, said: I am delighted that the Place Overview and Scrutiny Committee has
looked at the proposals in depth and have voted to support them. I believe the proposals offer an
exciting and well thought out solution, putting the long-term future and safety of Poole Park miniature
railway first, and allowing us to provide a reliable, first-class service of a much loved feature of Poole's
premier park. I would like to thank all those involved for their hard work to get these proposals on
track, now it is full steam ahead! The aim of the Council is to reopen the miniature railway during 2019.
MR237] West Parley Miniature Railway, Dorset (MR p15) (BLN 1303.MR76): The former Plowmans
Garden Centre changed hands in September this year and a telephone enquiry there in November
about the railway received the reply that it had 'now gone'. Therefore, it seems the last passenger
trains ran towards the end of 2017 - the railway does not appear to have opened for the 2018 season.
NEXT PAGE: Plowmans Garden Centre - the West Parley Miniature Railway here appears to have
closed. Roanoke 082002RS3S0 rests amongst displays near the entrance. (Peter Scott 11 Apr 2009.)
MR238] Tinkers Park, East Sussex (MR p16) (BLN 1294.MR233): The Autumn Open Day here was held
on Saturday 29 September and our Roving Reporter duly attended. A connecting bus service was laid
on from Uckfield and Buxted. On the 2ft gauge Great Bush Railway 0-6-0WT 'Sao Domingos' (OK11784
/1928) was in use with one open coach. At the upper station the loco runs-round, but at the lower end
a layover loco is provided - being diesels 4wDM 'R J Brown' (RH382820/1955) and 4wDM 'Wolf'
(MR7469/1940). Two trains were running, so one gets steam and/or diesel haulage. There is now a
passing loop, with green and red tokens used for each section. On the 7¼" gauge Miniature Railway
0-4-0T 'James' (TMA/1976) was operating with one sit-astride bogie coach. Various buses and traction
engines were also present. The entrance fee was £6 adult and £2 child.
MR239] Bentley Miniature Railway, East Sussex (MR p16) (BLN 1161.MR77): This extensive 7¼" gauge
railway operates in the grounds of Bentley Wildfowl & Motor Museum at Halland near Uckfield.
The Wildfowl & Motor Museum seems to have closed, as the lessee has decided not to renew their
lease. The Museum website (when checked on 12 November) carries the message Please Note! As of
27th October 2018 Bentley Wildfowl will be closed to the public for the winter and until further notice.
The closure does not affect the railway, which is continuing to run as normal. The railway's website
states From Saturday 27th October 2018, visitors to Bentley Miniature Railway can now access the train
through our new temporary entrance, or from our station at Glyndebourne Wood near Branching Out
Adventures, while the Park is closed. [Before a separate entrance fee was usually payable to access the
railway, extensively visited by the Society on 9 Jun 2018, presumably this is no longer the case - PAS?]
MR240] Revack Railway, Highland (BLNs 1291.MR201 & 1316.2402): On 25 October a member drove
past the site of the Grantown-on-Spey East station and called in for a look. The finishing touches were
being put to the station renovation and the 7¼" gauge Revack Railway, ready for the grand opening.
The following week he returned for the
grand opening on 2 November 2018.
A decent crowd (he estimates at around
300 people) attended the ceremony -
probably mainly locals from what he
could tell. The aim was to recreate the
passage of the last train, exactly 50 years
earlier (to the minute!) with a locomotive
on the miniature line.
LEFT: Plan thanks to Dave Cromarty and
Nick Jones, of the current and proposed
miniature railway (with two points already installed for extensions and extensive earthworks have
been completed for them) showing the relationship to the former standard gauge line. Grantown-on-
Spey East station is off plan, left. [GNSR = Great North of Scotland Railway, Boat of Garten to
Craigellachie line, also known as 'The Speyside' line.]
After the customary speeches, a piper piped up and the miniature train approached the station. At
exactly 13.28 the ceremonial ribbon was cut and the train entered the station, the driver being handed
a 'token' by former signalman James Telfer (age 94) who had signalled the final train in 1968. The
ceremonial train left the station at 13.32 (with VIP passengers) and after a couple of photographic
runs, public rides were offered (free of charge). The railway consists of a 450m single circuit - part of
which does in fact run along the old trackbed - with a branch to a single-road engine shed. There is one
station (on the old trackbed section) with a single platform and a loop line. Two additional connections
have been laid in with about a metre of track on each - presumably intended for future expansion.
There is also a tunnel made from an old shipping container. The normal direction of running is anti-
clockwise which means that all points outside the station are trailing. Two locos were running - one
steam 'Lady Susan' and one diesel or petrol 'The Auto Trolley'. Each loco pulled one coach, which could
accommodate about 4-5 adults. Rides lasting 4 minutes were free on opening day then '£2.50 per
person'. The website states the railway runs daily from 10.30 to 15.30 and the extension will extend
the run to 900m.
The former station building is now a 'Craft Centre' selling a range of railway-related craft-style
merchandise (fairly pricey). There are also some interactive terminals displaying historical information,
photos and video. There is also what our
reporter believes is the original station clock,
(RIGHT) not working yet. Outside one can
walk along the platforms to the 'Dining Car', a
pair of former Southern Region 4 CEP trailer
coaches (fixed on standard gauge track)
connected to form a restaurant specializing in
pizzas and home-baked bread. Unsurprisingly,
he had to wait over an hour for a table but
this shouldn't be a problem on a normal day
and the food was excellent! There is also a
large grassed area where cabers were being
tossed (!) and a marquee with music and
Scottish dancing. (Presumably these were all
one-offs for the grand opening!).
www.grantowneast.com has more details.
ABOVE: Grantown-On-Spey East opening of the new miniature railway at 13.28 on 2 Nov 2018.
BELOW: On the curve round to the station and loop, some slightly self conscious passengers;
with a limp wave. (BLS Members are not like that, of course!) All pictures in this item by Nick Jones.
ABOVE: The heavily engineered cutting with obligatory 'tunnel', made out of an old shipping container.
BELOW: The typical appearances of a newly constructed miniature (but it will soon change...).
ABOVE & BELOW: Entering the station.
ABOVE: One of 'Dining Cars' (fixed) on standard gauge track at the former Grantown-on-Spey East
station (original building in background, station clock to right). BELOW: The site - the former station is
off left, a building is just visible. The miniature railway station is behind the fence to the right.
MR241] Wirksworth Miniature Railway, Derbyshire: This new 7¼" gauge railway has escaped
attention so far. It is located at the south end of Wirksworth station (off the end of platform 1) on the
Ecclesbourne Valley Railway and started life on that site as a ground level 5" gauge railway. It was still
extant as such in May 2017, but reopened as a 7¼" gauge railway on 1 July 2017. Then it was only an
'E' run of 70 yards, but has since been extended to a length of 170 yards. Another, and apparently
final, extension is now under construction to make a total length of 250 yards. Operating dates are said
to be 'most' Saturdays from July to October and during special events on the Ecclesbourne Valley
Railway. There is a web site at www.wmrailway.co.uk and a supporting Facebook page.
MR242] Ayrshire Railway Preservation Group, East Ayrshire (MR p10): On Sunday 12 August, the
Group extended their brake van rides along the line towards Chalmerston. This line has not seen a
train since the last coal movement departed on 10 July 2012. Formerly owned by Scottish Coal, it is
now owned by Hargraves. With their agreement the Group has cleared vegetation from around a half
mile of the line, such as to make it safely usable by their regular summer Sunday steam service.
MR243] Volk's Electric Railway, East Sussex (MR p16) (BLN 1305.MR99): Sunday 4 November saw our
Roving Reporter at Brighton for the Historic Commercial Vehicle Society run from London. In previous
years the Electric Railway operating season had finished before the event. However, this year a well
patronised service was in operation with two train working - Cars 4 & 9. Normal fares applied. Santa is
expected in December and pre-booking is available on 01273 294478 (this is not the normal railway
number). The railway was being operated with separate single line tokens, being yellow and blue.
MR244] University of Birmingham: The 10¼" gauge Hydrogen powered locomotive built by the
University of Birmingham was operating and giving rides at Kings Heath Depot in Northampton for the
open day there on Saturday 13 October. This was a joint event by Siemens and the modern London
Northwestern Railway [not London & North Western Railway - PAS.]. The locomotive, named
'Hydrogen Hero', was running on a temporary line with two bogie coaches. Both our Roving Reporter
and our Dedicated Member were in attendance. Entry was free, but prebooking was required by email.
1318 FIXTURES REPORTS (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
2674] The Nosey Peaker Railtour, Thur 14 Jun 2018: (Miles & tickets thanks to Jim Sellens)
FROM TO LEAD MILES
Stafford P3 (12.00) Crewe P12 37558 & 37407 24m 24ch
Crewe P12 Gresty Green PAD Road 2 EOL 37401 1m 23ch
Gresty Green PAD Road 2 EOL 66m 53ch
Manchester Victoria P4 Hindlow Branch, clear of Sig BN27 37558 & 37407 32m 14ch
Hindlow Branch, Clear of Sig BN27 Buxton URS, Run Round EOL 37401 0m 29ch
Buxton URS, Run Round EOL Crewe P1 37558 & 37407 58m 29ch
(By Malcolm Rose.) My arrival at Stafford for our tour to Crewe (!) had been on the first Virgin Euston
to Liverpool South Parkway service of the day (Lime Street was closed). There were already a good
number of tour participants, mostly familiar faces, waiting on the platform for the arrival of the empty
stock from Nemesis Rail's base at Burton-on-Trent.
After a platform change announcement, the tour ECS arrived in P3 double headed by 'Growlers' (Class
37s) 37424 & 37407, the former masquerading as 37558, the fleet number of the last airworthy former
RAF Avro Vulcan bomber aircraft, which I saw during its last operational year at the Clacton Air Show.
As is usual with this event some of the carriages remained empty (actually packed full of food and
drink which our Stewards had helped to load in the short time available at Crewe) for later in the day
when the stock formed the set for the annual three-day Three Peaks by Rail Challenge charity event.
We were soon accommodated in the rear portion of the all First Class train and set off a little late
(08.00) via the Down Slow to Crewe Basford Hall Yard with 37401 bringing up the rear.
From Basford Hall we ran to Crewe P12 via the Down Fast Independent to 157m 16ch to access the
route past the DRS Coal Sidings (nuclear flasks) and the South Yard outlets to the Up Nantwich line just
south of Crewe station. Leaving P12 we were able to access Crewe PAD (Pre-Assembly Depot) Siding
No2, making up for last year's tour when it was occupied by an OTM (on track machine).
As is normal on BLS trips, we reached Denton station for an operational stop (originally a photo stop
but late running prevented that) via some very esoteric moves, the highlight for your reporter, and
others, being the use of the Down Fast to Down Slow crossover (182m 28ch) before Edgeley No1 box.
Also of note there was a freight train, inert spoil to
Roxby, in Collyhurst Street Sidings (once the start of
the Oldham Road Goods branch) at the top of Miles
Platting bank with the now resident shunter 09009 in
operation instead of parked at the buffer stop. Some
participants wondered if that had been arranged!
Members of 'Friends of Reddish South Station'
boarded handing out leaflets about reinstatement of
a regular service over that line. They have had a
100% increase in timetabled trains since 20 May as
the DMU makes a return trip from Stalybridge to Stockport, but now Saturdays only - an off peak fare
instead of the peak fare that applied on the previous Friday train in the other direction. [Sadly they
have not run since 18 Aug due to strike action!] After some more esoteric moves in the Stockport area,
approaching Buxton we were informed that we could not reach the reversing sidings* via the station
as a shunt move had not taken place so P2 was occupied. (*'Up Relief' or 'XYZ Sidings' in TRACKmaps -
even though there are only two now; they are currently being extended to take longer trains.) Instead
we were routed onto the Hindlow branch to reverse and gain access to said sidings. Some on the train
were pleased by this change but lineside photographers waiting in the wrong place were not! We then
took the attractive Peak Forest line, noting very busy freight activities there as we passed. Following
traversal of the Down Cheadle Loop there was a leg stretch and photo stop at Altrincham. Our route
back was via Northwich and Middlewich Up Loop to Sandbach, terminating Crewe P1 at 16.23.
A very enjoyable tour with plenty of unusual moves for track people and noise for the Growler fans to
savour and all the raffle prize winners really were in First Class this time! Later I learnt that the tour
(along with the well attended Class 37 photographic event at Crewe Heritage Centre the night before)
raised £16,293.87 for Railway Children, the highest amount in the tour's history. Well done to Kev and
team, DRS train planners, NR and many others for their efforts, but most of all to the tour participants
for supporting our Stafford to Crewe railtour. [Route by Paul Stewart & Martyn Brailsford.]
Stafford P3 - Down Slow - Basford Hall Jn - Down Fast Independent - 157m 16ch - Shrewsbury Line Jn -
Crewe P12 (rev) - Shrewsbury Line Jn - Up Nantwich (NB: new names in this area) - Down Nantwich -
Gresty Lane Jn - Gresty Lane Down Through Siding - Crewe Pre-Assembly Depot (PAD) Line 2 (end of line)
- Gresty Lane Down Through Siding - Down Nantwich - Down Salop Independent - Salop Good Jn - Down
Manchester Independent - Sandbach South Jn - Down Wilmslow - Down Chelford Loop - Cheadle Hume
North Jn - Down Main - Adswood Road - Down Fast - (182m 28ch) - Down Slow - Stockport P4 - Down
Fast - Heaton Norris Jn - Down Slow - Manchester Piccadilly P14 - Oxford Road P1 - Deansgate P2 -
Castlefield Jn - Water Street Jn - Irwell Street Jn - Salford Central P2 - Up Salford Slow - Manchester
Victoria P4 - Down Rochdale Slow - Down Ashton - Ashton Moss Jn (new layout) - Up Crowthorne -
Denton Jn - Denton P1 - Ash Bridge Jn - Up Goods Loop - Up Fast - Stockport P2 - Up Slow - Hazel Grove
P1 - Buxton No1 Jn - Hindlow Branch Sig BN27 - Engine Run Round Road and end of Single Line Access
Road (rev) - Up & Down Great Rocks - Up Goods - Chinley North Jn - Down Hope Valley - (177m 09ch) -
Down Cheadle Loop - Northenden Jn - Skelton Jn - Deansgate Jn - Altrincham P4 (break) - Northwich East
Jn - Up Middlewich Loop - Sandbach South Jn - Up Wilmslow - Up Manchester Loop - Crewe P1.
ABOVE: The tour in Crewe PAD (Pre-Assembly Depot) Road 2 (taken by accredited rail staff). BELOW:
Passing DRS Gresty Road Depot and illustrating why some coaches were not used with three days of
supplies stored for participants in 'The Three Peaks Challenge by Rail'. (All by 'our' Geoff Plumb.)
ABOVE: An on train route conference. BELOW: The winner of the cab ride is about to have his bank
balance reduced - no wonder Mr A is looking so pleased with himself!