Issue Number 1258 (Items 1053 - 1165 & MR 97 - MR 106) (E-BLN 58 PAGES) 4 June 2016
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)
Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Ave., Epsom, Surrey, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from members, an international section is also available.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or the Society.
BLN 1259 is dated 18 June, all conStoricbieutyti.ons must be received by 8 June.
Date Event Details BLN Lead Status
1246 TV OPEN
Fri 3-4/6/16 Scottish Minor Railways Aberdeenshire/Perthshire
Fri 10/6/16 Glaschu Tracker Full day on public services 1256 KA OPEN
Sat 11/6/16 Leadhills & Wanlockhead Railway, 2ft gauge 09.00-12.00 1256 JC OPEN
Sat 11/6/16 BLN 1257 has details of events available later in the day 1257 N/A N/A
Sun 12/6/16 Nottingham NET tour 09.00 Newly Extended Tracker II 1255 KA OPEN
Thur 16/6/16 Middleton Railway 18.00 very rare track fixture 1257 KA OPEN
Thur 23/6/16 Achilles Heel Trekker 10.30 Crewe-Watford Junction 1256 KA OPEN
Fri 24/6/16 Guided railway walk 10.30-13.00 Hitchin station 1256 BD BELOW
24-25/6/16 Docklands Explorer *22.00* Friday - 07.32 Saturday 1256 GW OPEN
Sat 2/7/16 Turbo Prop Tracker 18.10-22.12 Manchester area 1255 KA OPEN
Sun 3/7/16 TPE Class 170 farewell 09.25-18.24 to Cleethorpes 1255 KA OPEN
Sat 9/7/16 *REDATED 13 AUGUST* Chiltern Tracker railtour 1258 **REDATED**
Tue 19/7/16 Derby Roundhouse 14.00 Conducted tour & bus to: 1257 JC OPEN
Tue 19/7/16 Egginton Junction to Derby Friargate GNR walk then: 1257 JC OPEN
Tue 19/7/16 DC Rail control visit Derby Friargate, to follow walk 1258 JC *OPEN*
Thur 4/8/16 Spa Valley Explorer III 13.30 Brakevan railtour 1256 GW OPEN
Sat 13/8/16 Wycombe Wanderer Tracker Tour TBA TBA Planned
Mon 29/8/16 Loco hauled main line Tracker railtour - save the date TBA TBA Planned
Fri 30/9/16 Eastleigh Lakeside Railway, afternoon railtour (see below) 1258 JE BELOW
Fri 4-6/11/16 BLS 61st AGM weekend Kent area, long weekend 1257 DG OPEN
10-17/11/16 Jordan Hejaz Railway Provisional new date (enhanced) 1250 IS OPEN
BD-Bill Davis, DG-Darren Garnon, GW-Glen Wells, IS-Iain Scotchman, JC-John Cameron, JE- Jill Everitt,
KA-Kev Adlam, TV-Terry Velvick.
1053] BLN Fixtures Grid: For the benefit of new members, the fourth column 'BLN' shows the edition
to refer back to for the fixture details and booking arrangements. The fifth column 'Lead' is the person
to contact for queries and to book that fixture (the key to the initials is at the bottom of each fixtures
grid). Bookings and queries should not be automatically directed to the Fixtures Secretary unless
specifically indicated please. The final column is the status of the fixture, which may change. 'Planned'
means subject to confirmation and not available to book but gives advance notice of the likely date.
BLN 1258.1054] Leadhills & Wanlockhead Railway, Sat 11 June 09.00-12.00: A reminder of our rare
visit to this interesting remote 2ft gauge railway; more participants can be taken. Extra track is
booked and a repeat is not envisaged. Lifts are available, queries [email protected]
ABOVE: The 7m 24ch Wanlockhead branch 'New Popular' 1926 map with stations wrongly shown as
closed to passengers (CP 31 Dec 1938; CG 2 Jan 1939). Elvanfoot (West Coast Main Line) is top right.
1055] Hitchin Area Guided Railway Walk, Fri 24 Jun 10.30-13.30: The organiser, Bill Davis, is away
from home after 11 June, please then use his mobile number for bookings/queries 07812 145464.
1056] ☆ The Docklands Night Railway ☾ Fri 24 Jun: now starts 22.00 and finishes after the Beckton
Depot visit at 07.32 Saturday, the weekend of maximum daylight. Accommodation now available for
non-members and a repeat trip is not envisaged. Stratford International rare P2 departing 22.00;
covering considerable very rare track on the DLR (not available at any other time). Includes Bank Turn
Back Siding, Stratford Middle Road both ways, Mudchute P3 and Beckton Depot etc. Breaks include
an hour at Beckton (24 hour supermarket with toilets). Cost £40, non-members £50. Bookings, with
names of each person and cheque/CPA payee 'Branch Line Society' to Glen Wells, 48 Eastville Avenue,
Rhyl, LL18 3TN. Advise email address or send sae (two for acknowledgement) if no email. Any queries:
[email protected] if no email: 01745797902. Please help us to fill this unusual railtour
1057] DC Rail (formerly Devon & Cornwall Railways) Control Visit, Thur 19 Jul: To follow our Derby
Roundhouse tour and GNR guided trackbed walk from Egginton Junction to Derby Friargate (where
the historic bridge, four platforms, exceptionally large warehouse (BLN 1236.1242) and other remains
will be seen at this very large site). The DCR Control Office visit, also at Friargate, is thanks to member
Steve Chandler. There will be a collection for http://goo.gl/DK1Gv9 the Friends of Friar Gate Bridge
(BLN 1245.2091), a charity trying to save it. Bookings [email protected] 07581 178759.
1058] 'Wycombe Wanderer' Sat 13 Aug (SAVE THE REVISED DATE): A full day tour is planned from
London Marylebone. There is single line working on the Bicester to Oxford Parkway line on 9 & 10 July
due to engineering work with a half-hourly passenger service so it is not possible to accommodate our
tour then. NB: An alternative Finmere visit to that on 13 August (BLN 1254.744) is under investigation.
1059] Eastleigh Lakeside Railway, Fri 30 Sep: http://goo.gl/AhgCet Lakeside Country Park, Wide
Lane, Eastleigh, SO50 5PE, (SU449175); only 550yd walk from Southampton Airport Parkway station.
Our members Howard and Jill Everitt have secured permission for a half-day BLS railtour of this
extensive (1¼ miles) complex 7¼/10¼" gauge railway the afternoon before the IOW Railway Diesel
Gala. Under investigation is a railtour of the Royal Victoria Railway http://goo.gl/fkPhMx 10¼"
gauge 1,000yd, Royal Victoria Country Park, Netley (station 10 mins walk), SO31 5GA. (SU464079) -
lifts expected. Expressions of interest (no obligation) ASAP and by 30 June please to assess viability
to: [email protected] or (with SAE please) to 4 Barnside Way, Moulton, Northwich, CW9 8PT.
ABOVE: Larne Harbour 2010, looking towards the end of line; left is rare P2 (see below). (Press release)
1060] Unusual Track: Expected but not guaranteed, should be re-checked http://goo.gl/wwSbYv etc.
Beckenham Junction bay P4 - New Beckenham Jn: Sat 4 Jun, 2tph to/from Cannon Street.
Upminster bay P1A: SSuO 4-19 Jun, 2tph to/from Grays with Ockenden Loop (P2) in use.
Battle trailing X/O: Sun 5 Jun, trains to Hastings 09.13 and half-hourly to 23.13 dep from Up P1.
Colchester Goods line, 12 Jun Up: 20.32, 21.32 and 22.32 Liverpool St to Clacton, and 22.02,
23.02 & 00.02 (Mon) to Colchester all via P1. Down: 21.35 Clacton to Liverpool St also via P1.
Pencoed Up Passenger Loop: SO until 18 June (incl) 06.20 Carmarthen to Cardiff Central.
Miskin Down Loop: SuO 12 June to 17 July, 17.34 Newport to Milford Haven.
Oxford Parkway P2 - Bicester Village: 9 & 10 July, single line working ?Down Line.
Stormy Up Passenger Loop: SO 25 Jun to 10 Sep, 06.57 Pembroke Dock, 11.08 & 19.08 Swansea
and 09.00 Shrewsbury; all to Cardiff Central. Plus SO 25 Jun to 16 Jul 09.34 Broome to Newport.
EVR, Shottle Down Loop: Duffield to Idridgehay trains when service is hourly (6 & 7 August).
NIR, Portadown north facing X/O, P2 & south trailing X/O: 09.00 SuO Belfast Central to Dublin
Connolly, P1 and P3 are occupied then. Quite a few originating services depart north from P1.
NIR, Larne Harbour P2: SSuX 17.06 from Belfast Great Victoria Street, 07.32 return (6-car set).
1258 HEAD LINES
1061] Service Suspensions: In order of anticipated ROP; bold letters are closed at the date of this BLN.
* = New Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines above) significant service suspensions: .
BLN Start (incl) End (incl) Location (exclusive where bracketed)
1256.883 Sat 4 Jun Mon 13 Jun *(Worcester Shrub Hill) - (Droitwich Spa) direct route
1265.882 Sat 18 Jun Wed 22 Jun (Hereford) Shelwick Jn - (Great Malvern)
1256.886 Sat 21 May End of Jul *Dublin LUAS (Jervis) - Connolly/The Point
1256.884 Sat 2 Jul Sun 31 Jul *SPT Glasgow Underground (complete closure)
1255.784 Sat 30 Jul Sun 7 Aug (Bicester N)/(Oxford); from 3 Aug Oxford - (Leamington)
1248.79 Wed 3 Aug Sun 7 Aug (Hanborough) - Oxford; Oxford station is TCP for 5 days
1251.334 Sun 20 Mar Sun 7 Aug Glasgow Queen St-(Cowlairs West Jn)/(Sighthill West Jn)
Sat 30 Jul Sun 14 Aug (Didcot)-(Oxford);from 3 Aug Oxford; from 7 Aug (Oxford)
Mon 12 Sep Fri 21 Oct (Patchway) - (Severn Tunnel Jn)
Thu 3 Nov? Tue 22 Nov? (Antrim) - Londonderry & Coleraine - Portrush branch
15 Feb 2013 12 Dec 2016 (Oxford Parkway) - (Oxford) - ROP date to be confirmed
24 Dec 2015 Dec 2016 (Folkestone Central) - (Dover Priory)
Sat 4 Jun Feb 2017 (Barking) - (South Tottenham) *(Gospel Oak) from 24 Sep
9 Feb 2016 Unknown (Carlisle) - (Appleby); still slipping, repairs not started.
1062] Milford Jn - Gascoigne Wood: ROP 16 May 2016 (TCP from Sun 1 Nov 2015 when one SuO train
per week was booked); TPE route knowledge retention 'PSUL' services, also via Castleford: 19.26
(SSuX) Manchester Piccadilly to Hull and 20.18 (SuO) Leeds to Hull, the latter first ran on 22 May.
1063] Darlaston Jn - Walsall Pleck Jn: (1m 01ch) CP after the once weekly unidirectional 'PSUL' LM
train last ran 21 May 2016; the 06.38 SO Wolverhampton to Walsall. ECS moves retain drivers' route
knowledge but it is wondered if the passenger line closure requirements have been complied with.
1064] Soho North Jn - Soho East Jn: OP Sat 28 May 2016, a unidirectional once weekly LM passenger
service with diversion of the 06.38 SO Wolverhampton to Walsall train (previous entry) via Galton
Bridge (low level) and Tame Bridge Parkway. The 19m 37ch are booked to be covered in 35 minutes
non-stop. The Soho North to East curve is used regularly by ECS movements to/from Soho EMU depot.
1065a] Midland Metro, Bull Street (SP 0714 8711) 20.13km (excl) - *Grand Central (SP 0695 8675)
20.62km (incl) and Snow Hill (St. Chad's) (SP 0680 8749) 19.30km Corporation Street stops (SP 0710
8691) 20.43km: (Track plan BLN 1249.178) (BLNs 1256.881 & e-BLN 1257.X71) OP was postponed from
Sun 22 May to Mon 30 May 2016 (first tram booked 07.28 from Wednesbury Parkway arriving Grand
Central 07.55 and departing 08.00. The delayed opening was due to a track geometry fault requiring
rail grinding - the affected rails are expected to need replacement in about two years. Driver training
(with the outbound platform at Bull Street stop in passenger use) began on 23 May. *A long headshunt
for the second crossover extends to the west end of Stephenson St (SP 0682 8677). At Grand Central,
trams set down passengers at the inbound platform (left), shunt ECS beyond, reverse in the headshunt
then pick up passengers at the outbound platform. Ozzy Osbourne's visit (26 May) was not postponed!
1065b] Midland Metro, Snow Hill stop (SP 0680 8749) 19.30km: OP Tue 31 May 2016, postponed
from Mon 30 May reportedly due to 'passenger access problems'. On 30th the stop was mentioned in
announcements on trams but they ran through without calling leaving passengers on the platforms.
The new timetables, issued tickets, publicity (including on the trams and at the stop) and the stop
nameboards all refer to it as 'Snow Hill' and do not mention 'St Chads'. Does anyone have any further
information about this and/or can confirm that no tram stopped for passengers on 30 May? It does
not provide convenient step free access to Snow Hill station (Bull Street, Jewellery Quarter or The
Hawthorns are the advised interchange stops with NR services). The Midland Metro is included in the
Birmingham area 'Plus Bus' ticket add on as far as the M6 Motorway and a £1 single or £2 return 'City
Hop' fare is now available between Grand Central and Jewellery Quarter stops or intermediately.
BELOW: 'Snow Hill' stop was certainly open normally on Tue 31 May as various members attending
our 'Little Hay Railway' evening fixture found out. NEXT PAGE TOP: Corporation Street, outbound
platform, the other one has no shelter at present as it is probably assumed that no 'normal' passengers
would make the very short journey to Grand Central, until the line is extended to Centenary Square.
BLN 1258] BELOW: Grand Central: After setting down passengers in the platform on opposite side of
the road, off picture left); tram 33 has reversed ECS in the headshunt and is crossing to the departures
platform. The 'Birmingham' destination will be changed to 'Wolverhampton'. (All Kev Adlam 31 May)
1066] Gospel Oak turnout for bay P3 Gospel Oak Jn: TCP (expected until Feb 2017) regular timetabled
services, after the 07.59 Woodgrane Park to Willesden Junction Low Level last ran on 3 Jun 2016.
1067] Galton Bridge Jn - Smethwick Jn: (BLN 1257.987) TCP 4 - 13 June 2016 (both incl) due to TCA of
Worcester Tunnel Jn - Shrub Hill Jn. (CrossCountry route knowledge retention 'PSUL' services.)
1068] Metrolink, Deansgate-Castlefield - The Delta West Jn - The Delta South Jn/The Delta North Jn:
TCP expected 26 Jun to 29 Aug 2016 (both incl) for works at St Peter's Square. At 'The Delta', Trams
will only be able to run between Market Street and Piccadilly Gardens. (See North West section.)
1069] Metrolink, Broadway - Harbour City stops (both excl), direct; third side of triangle avoiding
Medial City UK: (BLN 1237.1360) Remains TCP (since 28 Jun 2015) due to Second City Crossing work.
1070] Metrolink, MediaCityUK (incl until early Aug then excl) - Eccles (incl) and four intermediate
stops: TCP expected 26 Jun - 29 Aug 2016 (both incl) for replacement of worn rails (also entry above).
1071] Cornbrook (excl) - Media City UK (incl) & five intermediate stops: TCP 26 Jun - 'Early' Aug 2016.
1072] London Cannon Street (incl) - Borough Market Jn also North East Kent Jn - Charlton Jn and four
intermediate stations via Greenwich: TCP/TCA Sat 27 Aug - Thu 1 Sep 2016 (incl) for Thameslink work.
1073] FIXTURES REPORTS: BLS Wirral Wire Wanderer, Sat 6 Feb: This was a prelude to our second
Merseyrail Tracker the following day. After very welcome hot drinks and biscuits, 35 members, all live
wires, boarded the Merseyside Tram Preservation Society's Tram 69 'George Francis Train' on the
right-hand road of the Wirral Transport Museum & Taylor Street Depot. Along with sister tram 70, of
which more later, this was built in Hong Kong in 1992 to a 1947 design but uniquely to UK standard
gauge. They were shipped to Birkenhead by Port Line for the Museum project, arriving in 1995. The
tram proceeded out of the Museum on the single track, past the normal pick-up stop to cover the next
section of rare track quickly, reversing into 'Old Colonial' siding to slightly short of the 'buffers' just
visible through the earth covering the end of line.
ABOVE: Tram No70 'Thomas Brassey' in 'Old Colonial' siding and behind is green and cream Liverpool
Corporation tramways 'Baby Grand' No245; No69 'George Francis Train' (right) is on the line from the
depot. Tram '245' in action https://goo.gl/nC2BSI leaving Woodside. (Howard Everitt)
On the right was derelict land, once sidings of the surprisingly close Mersey Docks & Harbour Board
Railway (closed) through route between Rock Ferry and Canning Street towards Bidston. Then the
tram ran via Pacific Road loop (right-hand running) for a reversal to the doors of the Pacific Road Arts
Centre. This single track branch is no longer in passenger use, so was very well received. The Arts
Centre has now closed and is partly occupied by a Guitar Workshop. Unfortunately they made a song
and dance about any entry into the building so coverage of the track inside will have to be a string to
someone else's bow.
ABOVE: No69 at the doors of the former Pacific Road depot (Howard Everitt 6 Feb 2016)
After a damp photo opportunity, '69' set off to Woodside Ferry terminus, covering the ordinary
passenger stub and the 'non-preferred' road, to the blocks, following encouragement from the
organisers. This was near the former mainline Birkenhead Woodside station site (CP 5 Nov 1967).
Return was via the other Pacific Road loop, to swap to the 1938 built Liverpool Corporation 'Baby
Grand' 245, voted Tramcar of the Year (Traditional) 2015, for more main running line trips and
coverage of the other Museum road. Members had eyed 69's sister Tram 70 'Thomas Brassey'
throughout, wondering whether a ride on that would also be possible. Initial soundings were not very
promising beacuse the marker light had failed on the end towards Woodside, so it could not carry
passengers in that direction. Your organisers had quiet words with the Museum staff and arranged a
trip in the other direction, from alongside Old Colonial into the Museum, further in on our starting
road now it was vacant! This was thorough tram and track coverage thanks to Howard and Jill Everitt's
organisation and careful prompting on the day as well as all the friendly, enthusiastic and
accommodating Museum staff. The tickets entitled the group to travel on services for the rest of the
day and most members sampled at least one extra trip.
PS: George Francis Train was an 1860s pioneer of horse tramways in Birkenhead, Cork, Darlington and
London. Unfortunately these suffered from a design defect in that the rails were laid on the road
rather than in it. Thomas Brassey had built about a third of Britain's railways by 1847; his local
relevance was designing ways of transporting building materials from his brickworks and stone quarry
to the port by gravity train, returning the wagons back uphill horse-drawn (Ffestiniog Railway style).
15 participants met up again later for a fascinating private visit to the Queensway Mersey Road
Tunnel. Ventilation shafts and fans were explored (operating) but the guides explained these were
hardly necessary nowadays as the air quality in the Tunnel is generally better than in most city centres,
with improvements in car emissions and traffic kept on the move. A chance to stand alongside the
moving traffic (safely on a raised walkway) confirmed this; some were surprised by passing double-
deck buses. Then the highlight for many, the tunnel directly under the road tunnel. Actually built for a
double-deck tram route, opposition from the local railway companies prevented its development. Now
there are emergency escape refuges throughout this lower tunnel, ideal as any fire that might arise in
the road tunnel above would be confined to that level with its separate ventilation. The Mont Blanc
tunnel fire demonstrated that safety refuges at road level, whilst easier to access, are inherently at risk
from fire. The tunnel is well worth exploring see http://goo.gl/k0DwVX for details of public visits etc.
1258 BLN GENERAL
1074] Railway Herald: The Committee and members of the Branch line Society would like to take
this opportunity to send Richard Tuplin, the Editor of Railway Herald (which many members read) our
very best wishes for a full and speedy recovery from his recent illness and brief hospitalisation. For
those unaware, after 11 years with 502 editions this resulted in the first postponement due to illness.
1075] Railway Quiz: With thanks to our Casnewydd member Rhys Ab Elis (answers in BLN 1259):
(1): What is the ultimate southern terminus of the Hedjaz Railway reached in 1908?
(2): What is the anglicised version of the welsh station name at Aberdaugleddau?
(3): Name the two passenger interchange stations in the British Isles without official public access.
(4): Viafier Retica is the name of which European railway undertaking and in which language?
(5): Name the three bi-level pairs of stations in Wales where both parts still have a passenger service.
(6): Which station was suffixed 'for Tintagel & Boscastle' (not a battle cry!)?
(7): Which branch terminus was at milepost 259¼ from London Waterloo?
(8): On the original GWR which main workshops were located at Slough?
(9): Which was the highest passenger station above sea level on the Southern Railway?
(10): Magyar Államvasutak Vezérigazgatósága is the national railway of which European country?
(11): Which standard gauge stations in the British Isles have had 'Victoria' in their name?
(12): Which East Anglia branch had its final timetabled passenger train (loco 65447) on 26 Jul 1952?
(13): Where were/are Britain's three Cannon Street passenger railway stations?
(14): Which city was served by Tucker Street and Priory Road passenger stations?
(15): Which line joined the Mid Wales Railway at Penpontbren Junction?
(16): Toft Tunnel was the only tunnel on which major railway in the pre-Grouping era?
(17): Which was mainland Britain's most extensive narrow gauge railway and what gauge was it?
(18): What is the anglicised version of the Scottish station called Baile Dhubhthaich?
(19): Cross Keys Swing Bridge took the Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway over which waterway?
1076] Points & Slips: BLN 1257.966] In e-BLN 'Ettington' Junction should, of course have been
Egginton Junction as earlier on in the item. Ettington was a station between Stratford-upon-Avon and
Kineton on the Stratford & Midland Junction Railway. 975] Embar(r)assingly, 'Barrassie' Yard should
have been 'Barassie' where the coal train from Hunterston HL reversed. It is the site of Troon (Old) or
Troon Town, the northern section of the former Troon avoiding line. 977] There is a second weekly
train booked via the Longannet line that also rarely runs, the WO 14.49 Linkswood (RAF Leuchars) to
Grangemouth discharged aviation fuel tanks. The outward loaded tanks are routed via Perth and
Dundee (reverse) as access to Linkswood (54m 00ch) south of the Tay Bridge is a trailing connection
into the Up line with no crossover. The loco propels loaded in and hauls discharged out. On 25 May a
19.25 COLAS working from Mossend Yard covered the Longannet line both ways returning at 01.55.
Item 993] Despite Realtime Trains showing all trains using the Up Broadholme Passenger Loop for
eight days 'on line', on the track it was only used for a few hours around lunchtime on 11 May, for
example by the 13.49 Sheffield to St Pancras International. 1043] An interesting website about the
Bexhill West branch http://goo.gl/2FNvlP with many pictures. Engineering blockades are nothing
new; the London to Hastings service ran to Bexhill West and even used the exceedingly rare P3 there
(via the Crowhurst mainline connection) from 17 Nov 1949 to 4 Jun 1950. This was for extensive
repairs to Bopeep Tunnel while that line was closed.
1077] End of an Era: More people may be doing track but they
are not using paper timetable books! From the new timetable
(15 May - 10 Dec 2016), due to falling demand, there is no
longer a printed comprehensive GB timetable. The last (a
descendant from Bradshaw's Railway Guide, the BR Regional
timetables and latter National Timetable taken over by Her
Majesty's Stationery Office) was from Middleton Railway Press.
Now for £9.95 (p&p options start at £1.35) they sell a 'larger
print, lighter weight, better paper and greater accuracy (!)
thinner' 235mm x 170mm size volume. However, it is like
'Thomas Cook's European Rail Time' with only 'principal stations
on the main lines and rural routes'.
Do not despair, the complete electronic National Rail Timetable
produced by NR, with each table as a separate PDF, is easily
downloaded http://goo.gl/514gh and can be printed (with
hours of endless fun finding mistakes). For the real connoisseur
http://goo.gl/77Zcbw is the electronic working timetable.
South West Trains produces its 278-
page network timetable free with a full system map, other operators' services,
bus and ferry connections; available from 12 principal ticket offices or by post
for £1.50 p&p from their Customer Service Centre. GWR produce a similar
book with mileages, reporting numbers and much additional information. The
winter edition with 396 pages was £5 from principal stations. Chiltern, Virgin
East and Virgin West Coast each manage a single booklet for all their
services. ScotRail only produces individual route timetables. It might be
thought that a comprehensive timetable would be worthwhile, given the
number of summer visitors who travel by rail in Scotland but the European
Railway Timetable probably meets most requirements. First Capital Connect
covered all of its services in two booklets, one for Thameslink and one for
Great Northern, with a commendable amount of supplementary information.
Govia Thameslink continues to print these in a similar format.
1078] A Further Plug For Power Stations: (BLN 1257.989) Britain's electricity was supplied without
burning any coal on 10 May and for nearly a third of the subsequent week, for the first time in 133
years (since the first coal fired generator started in 1882). Lynemouth: The original (BLN 1254.672)
report was correct and the new biomass loading hopper on the Port of Tyne branch is to supply
Lynemouth. BELOW: The biomass facility under construction (Ian Hughes, Green Dragon Rail 26 May).
As noted (BLN 1257.989) Drax is already supplied with imported biomass from Liverpool, Hull and
Immingham. Fifoots Point Power Station: This name is still used in railway schedules; members will
know it as Uskmouth 'B' (Uskmouth 'A' was demolished in 2002). Pleasingly it has recently been
receiving regular coal (SSuX) from Avonmouth Silo 2. The schedules are added weekly though. The
plant supplies electricity directly to the nearby Newport Liberty Steel Mill, owned by the same
company as the power station (the SIMEC Group based in Hong Kong).
Aberthaw 'B': There has been a daily train SSuX from Avonmouth Silo 1 SSuX with an occasional train
from Portbury if there is a problem at Avonmouth. Aberthaw is expected to generate regularly until
September when it goes on 'standby'. Rugeley 'B': (BLN 1251.398) French owner 'ENGIE' has recently
confirmed the closure of this 46 year old plant at the end of June with the immediate loss of 120 jobs,
nine months of decommissioning will require 30 staff, then the 1,000MW plant will be demolished,
taking another three years. Drax: Has 6 x 660MW units (around 2,000MW) three have now been
converted to burn biomass. The group Is reviewing the future of its three coal fired units, in the
absence of further government subsidies for biomass conversion. Options include total closure,
mothballing and moving to the 'supplemental reserve' (in practice this means little/no rail traffic).
On the subject of coal flows, there is a weekly train from Gwaun-cae-Gurwen to Onllwyn for blending
(both these, like Tower and Cwmbargoed are, of course open cast coal disposal points rather than
'open cast sites'). The information from Scunthorpe Steel Works that they have had coal from
Cwmbargoed by rail was incorrect; although there has been a test train from Tower and some coal
trains ran from Onllwyn last year. Onllwyn supplies Coal Products at Immingham with a weekly train
and also 4 containers and 2 FCA wagons weekly to Mossend.
1258 GREATER LONDON
1079] No Bull: Where in Greater London can you travel over a section of Bullhead rail on an AC EMU?
1080] Putney Bridge: (BLN 1235.114555) The layout was remodelled over the Spring Bank Holiday
removing the south trailing crossover with, from 31 May, the westbound line rerouted through the old
bay P2 and P3 closed. This should improve service reliability, speed up the arrival and departure of
trains and reduce the gap between train and platform. It will also end the need for the unusual
cantilevered steel structure here (which the westbound running line had previously been moved to on
the east side of an otherwise brick viaduct, so that the track of the middle bay platform could be on
the brick viaduct). Whether or when the steel extension will be removed is not known. The former bay
platform was taken OOU and the associated pointwork and signalling removed over 13/14 Jun 2015. It
could take six cars of 'C stock', but not six cars of 'D stock' or any 'S stock' formation.
BELOW: Putney Bridge as it was, left is P1 eastbound, the centre line was the bay P2 (buffer stops at
this end off the picture) now the westbound, the P3 line on the right has closed. (Anthony Smith).
1081] District Line Micro-Gricing: Since the previous guide (BLN 1036.128, Feb 2007) at West Ham the
through east end siding ('Pocket') has been installed, Whitechapel has lost its two centre roads, the
Gloucester Road connection from P2 to the westbound District and Putney Bridge bay and crossover
have all gone, Olympia has lost most of its SSuX service and Lillie Bridge is used for stabling. The WTT
(No148) is dated 15 May 2016. All running lines, X/Os and platforms are in passenger use all day every
day except the following, for which the booked passenger service is given. It also covers the Circle Line
in the Kensington area. Arriving train running numbers are shown [in square brackets].
•East Putney, Wimbledon Park and Gunnersbury crossovers: NRU (no regular booked use).
•Whitechapel west crossovers: NRU; turn trains back when line is blocked to east.
•Whitechapel east and Embankment crossovers: NRU; turn trains back when line is blocked to west.
•High Street Kensington crossover (Circle side): NRU; turns trains back when line is blocked to north.
•Triangle Sidings, Earl's Court east and West Kensington crossovers: ECS only.
•South Kensington crossover: Booked ECS only; turns trains back when line is blocked to west.
•Upminster P5: SuX throughout; SuO gaps 08.08½ -11.32½, 20.13½ -22.13½.
•Dagenham East bay P3: Reversals arr SSuX 07.10½-09.10½, 17.08½-18.23½, SuO 23.08 , dep ECS.
•Dagenham East crossover: departures from bay. Also turnbacks when line is blocked to east.
•Barking bay P3: District Line reversing east to west; H&C trains (train running numbers [2**]) shunt
ECS P2 to P6. Exceptions arrive P3 SSuX 06.34 , 07.15½ , 21.45½ ; but P2 SSuX 23.28½
, SuO 00.03½ . There are evening gaps SSuX 18.50½-21.45½, SO 20.30-22.10, SuO 23.03-end.
•Plaistow bay P1: Arriving SSuX 23.58 [270SSuX, 275SO], SuO 23.08½ , 23.28½ , 23.48 .
•Plaistow crossover: Departures from bay and turn backs when line is blocked to east.
•West Ham Siding (east end 'Pocket'):
•As a westbound loop: SuX 05.31½ Barking via Embankment to Edgware Road (W Ham arr 05.42½
•As an eastbound loop: NRU.
•As a long facing crossover: ECS only; also turns trains back when line is blocked to west.
•As a long trailing crossover: NRU; turns trains back when line is blocked to west.
•Aldgate East crossover: Eastbound departures from P1 at 06.26½ SuO, 06.46½ SuO.
•Mansion House bay P2: Reversal SSuX arr 06.16  dep 06.30.
•Gloucester Road Circle Line crossover: Gloucester Road P3 dep SuX 05.23.
•High Street Kensington bay P3: Reversals (of which those in italics stable or leave empty) arriving
SSuX several 05.36-07.35 [016, 074, 020, 046, 022, 001, 025], several 19.27½-21.06 [124, 012, 124,
056, 125, 052]; SuMX several 00.05-01.16 [067, 075, 076, 077, 026, 115]; SO 05.36 , 05.43½ ,
06.03 , all 06.14  until 23.27 , 23.57½ ; SuO a few 00.10½-01.13 [074, 075, 001,
002, 065], all 06.58  until 23.32½ , 23.50½ , 23.59 ; MO 00.07½ , 00.20 
except those shown below at P4.
•High Street Kensington bay P4: Reversals (of which those in italics stable or leave empty) arriving
SSuX several 05.18-06.35½ [072, 107, 063, 052, 044, 123, 124], 20.07½ ; SuMX several 00.11-
01.13 [074, 054, 110, 070, 036]; SO several 05.18-07.10½ [072, 040, 043, 062, 051, 114]; SuO several
00.05-01.16 [067, 054, 027, 024, 070, 115], 23.35½ , 23.55½ ; MO 00.04 , 00.15½ .
•Earl's Court: Trains from the High Street Kensington direction can only use P4, but otherwise the
general pattern is P4 towards West Brompton and P3 to other westbound destinations. Trains from
the West Brompton direction can only use P2, so eastbound trains from other routes generally use P1.
(P1 Departures to High Street Kensington are spasmodic not covering any unique track!) Exceptions:
•P4 arrivals from Gloucester Road: Trains towards West Brompton not shown below at P3, plus SSuX
07.41 , 19.19½ , 19.39½ .
•P4 departures towards West Kensington and Olympia: SSuX 05.34½, 05.41½, 05.46½, 06.09½,
06.32½, 07.39, 07.43, 10.59, 19.20, 19.41, 19.44, 20.04½, 20.15, 20.25, 20.55, SuMX 00.19½, 00.40½,
00.43½, 00.56; SO many 05.34½ until 00.56SuO; SuO many 07.00 until 00.14 MO.
•P3 departures towards West Brompton: SSuX 06.46, 07.40½, 07.44½, 19.22, 19.42½; SuMX 00.21,
00.42; SuO 00.23, 00.41½, 07.07, 07.20½, 23.30; MO 00.02½.
•P2 arrivals from West Kensington and Olympia directions: SSux several 05.50½ -06.42 [077k, 061e,
035a, 022k, 124e, 053e, 001k]; SuMX 00.25 [046r]; SO several 05.35½-07.28½ [041a, 077k, 062k,
036r, 012a, 046k, 065a, 040e, 014r, 113k, 061a, 114k], 23.53½ [114k]; SuO several 06.29-08.08½
[022a, 073a, 062e, 022e, 037e, 045e, 114k], 23.28½ [046e]; MO 00.13 [033r].
(From a = Acton Town, e = Ealing Broadway, k = Kensington (Olympia), r = Richmond.)
•Kensington (Olympia): Arrivals SSuX 19.47 , 20.28 ; SO 07.03 until 23.43; SuO 07.58½ until
23.44½. Departures SSuX 05.47, 05.59, 06.15, 06.25, 06.37, 06.45, 07.15, 19.58½, 20.38½; SO 05.48
until 23.50; SuO 07.35 until 23.50½. (Unlisted balancing trips are all ECS to and from Lillie Bridge.)
The SSuX 'exhibition' service for events at Olympia continues to be covered by replacement buses.
•Barons Court (east 'Pocket') - connections to/from Piccadilly Line: Barons Court to Hammersmith
ECS, engineers use as needed, otherwise NRU and no booked District line use east end of Acton Town.
•Wimbledon and Richmond: The WTT does not give platform numbers; it is believed that the usual
practice at both is to bring incoming trains to the most northerly free platform. Richmond trains are on
Realtime Trains with nominal NR allocated headcodes to conform to NR train identification rules.
•Ealing Broadway P9: Reversals (of which those in italics leave empty) arriving SSuX 05.14½ ,
05.47½ , 06.02½ , several 09.19½-11.28 [041, 016, 044, 046, 047, 126, 031], 15.08 ,
15.28 , 18.12 , a few 20.11-21.08 [044, 012, 022, 054], 22.08 , a few 23.59-01.07 SuMX
[063, 045, 050, 003, 200]; SO 06.56½ , 07.17½ , 07.37 , 19.18 , 23.38½ ; SuO
06.33½ , 07.06 , a few 23.38-00.31MO [065, 101, 024, 001, 014].
1082] Piccadilly Line Micro-Gricing: The previous guide was (BLN 1061.204) Mar 2008. The WTT (No56)
is dated 15 May 2016. All running lines, crossovers, slips and platforms are in passenger use all day
every day except the following, for which the booked passenger service is given. West of Rayners Lane
see (BLN 1249.156). Arriving train running numbers are shown in [square brackets]. The line curves
towards Cockfosters but 'eastbound' is always towards Cockfosters whatever the compass says!
•Northfields east crossover: NRU.
•Hyde Park Corner, Hatton Cross (both) and Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3 (trailing) crossovers: NRU;
turn trains back when line is blocked to the west.
•Boston Manor, Hounslow Central and Rayners Lane crossovers: ECS only.
•South Harrow crossovers (both): Booked ECS only & turn trains back when line is blocked to west.
•Cockfosters: All platforms used roughly in rotation all day every day some gaps at beginning and end.
•Oakwood crossover: dep P2 SSuX 05.38; SO 05.37.
•Arnos Grove: Trains terminate eastbound and start westbound in the centre road (P2=P3), or stop en
route at P1 eastbound or P4 westbound. Reversals in P2/3 and exceptions to this:
P2 Eastbound arrivals: SSuX 07.01½-close; SO 08.21½-close; SuO 09.42½-23.44.
P3 Westbound departures: SSuX gap 06.15-07.10, last 23.16; SO 05.24½, 05.34½, 07.16-23.15; SuO
gap 08.25½-09.55. (BLN 1053.879, Oct 2007): Departing trains must use the further crossover (No22)
if a train is approaching P4, but may otherwise use the nearer (less conflicting) one (No20).
P3 Eastbound deps: As trains come out of service in P1. SuX some 23.51½ to close & SuO 22.34-23.44½.
P3 Westbound arrivals: NRU, terminating trains if line is blocked to west.
P4 Eastbound arrivals via facing slip: SuMX 00.41½ ; SuO 00.27½ .
P1 Westbound departures: NRU, but likely to turn some trains back when line is blocked to east.
•King's Cross crossover: departures from P6 SuO 06.57, 07.12.
•Barons Court Siding ('Pocket' east of station):-
As a westbound loop: Hammersmith arr MX 00.05 [242SuMX, 353 SuO].
As an east-to-west turnback: ECS only.
As a long crossover: NRU, but turns trains back when line is blocked to west.
•Hammersmith, connections to and from District Line: Engineers use as required, no other booked
use, but used all day when Piccadilly substitutes for suspended District to call at Chiswick Park etc.
•Acton Town: The Piccadilly Line mostly keeps to its own platforms (P2 and P3), with these variations:-
P1 Departures via Local Line to South Ealing: SSuX 05.59H, 06.11H, 06.42H, 06.56½H, 07.00H, 08.27½,
08.41H, all Northfields terminators (3+ tph) 08.43-17.18½ and 19.02½-22.28½ (except 20.24), 19.50H,
20.26½H, 20.44½H, 21.15H, 22.36H, 22.56H, 23.16H, 23.34, 23.58½; SuMX 00.08½, 00.32, 00.42½,
00.52; SO 05.36H, 07.01H, 07.21H, 07.41H, 08.00½H, all Northfields terminators (3+ tph) 11.25-23.06,
13.36½H, 23.44; SuO 00.08, 00.32½, 00.42, 00.52½, 07.29H, 07.57H, all Northfields terminators (3+
tph) 11.06-19.25½, 23.19 (dep ECS), 23.34H, 23.49½H, 23.54. (H = continues beyond Northfields.)
P1 Departures to Ealing Common: (Same track as District from departure) SSuX 05.38½A, 06.34½A,
07.11½, 08.23½, many 09.00½ until 11.28½, 16.19, 16.46, 17.16½, most 19.00 until 20.00½, 21.38½,
22.48½, 23.08½; SuMX 00.29; SO several 05.48A until 07.48½A, 11.18½, 11.38½, 11.58½, all 12.25½
until 19.26½ (except 13.35½), 19.58½ and every 20min (alternate trains, all to Uxbridge) until 22.18½;
SuO 00.02, 00.17½, 00.29, 09.08½, 09.18½, 09.28½, 19.18½, all 19.58½ until 22.28½, 23.08½, 23.18 (A
= starts at Acton Town.)
P2 Departures to Ealing Common: SSuX gap 10.18½-11.38½; SO gap 12.17-19.37½ except 13.35½;
SuO gap 19.48½-22.38½.
P4 arrivals from Ealing Common: (Same track as District) several terminate at beginning/end of day.
P4 arrivals from Fast Line via No 75 crossover: (Acton Town west) SSuX 22.17 ; SO 21.46½ ;
SuO 23.41½ .
P4 departures to Piccadilly: SSuX 22.18, 23.56; SO 21.47, 23.56; SuO 23.42.
• Boston Manor departures via Local Line to Acton Town P4: SuX 23.47½ [241SSuX, 253SO]; also a
few at end of service SuX terminating at Northfields P4.
• Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3 P2 Westbound arrivals via facing X/O: MX 01.20½ [232SuX, 333 SuO].
• Heathrow T4 Eastbound via Heathrow T1,2,3 P1 & trailing X/O: NRU, occasional service disruptions.
Very special thanks to our member Bill Lynch for the tremendous time and effort that he has put into
producing this valuable information (also for the Victoria and H&C lines in BLN 1257 and Metropolitan
line, BLN 1249). E-BLN items can be 'copied and pasted' into a single document to save or print.
1083] Thameslink: (BLN 1254.669) (1) London Bridge Remodelling: From 31 May a new facing
crossover between the Down Charing Cross line and adjacent OOU line was installed at 2m 3ch, at the
country end of London Bridge station. A new trailing point was installed in the Down Charing Cross
Line between Blue Anchor and North Kent East Jn at 3m 66ch, to form a new crossover with previously
installed points. All are clipped and padlocked OOU until further notice. (2) Platform Information
Screens: By August much more detailed departure screens will be installed at Blackfriars, City
Thameslink, Farringdon and St Pancras Low Level. See http://goo.gl/lqpQEq for more details.
1084] Hornsey: (BLN 1246.2200) From 31 May the crossover between the Hornsey portion of the Up
Carriage Line (now renamed Reception Road 1) and the Up Slow No2 Line was commissioned.
BLN 1258.1085] Lea Bridge: (BLN 1257.1001) The service started
on the evening of Sun 15 May (the line had been closed due to
earlier engineering), though not exactly to plan! The first booked
train was the 19.39 Hertford East to Stratford due 20.18, with a
northbound service, the 20.07 Liverpool Street to Hertford East
due at 20.21. In fact the northbound train arrived and
departed first because the southbound was slightly delayed,
then further so by the crowd boarding what became the second
train to call. (More Leaway needed?) Nearly 31 years ago, a
member on the final DMU from Stratford recalls being allowed
to stay on to Tottenham Hale Reversing Siding (5 Jul 1985) then
returning to Stratford. RIGHT: A sign of the times - from the
original station with modern embellishments. (Don Kennedy)
1086] LUL 24 Hour Service: The all-night Friday and Saturday
service is due to start on the Victoria and Central Lines on 19 Aug. All the Victoria Line will be served
and, in a change to the original plans, the Central Line will operate between Ealing Broadway and
Loughton/Hainault via Newbury Park. RMT members employed by Tube Lines (a subsidiary of LUL
which does not include passenger train operators) have voted in favour of industrial action over its
introduction. The Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly Lines follow in the autumn, possibly in two stages.
Service already ends after midnight so additional all-night Friday and Saturday services are actually in
Saturday and Sunday!
1087] Crossrail: (BLN 1257.995) (1) Custom House: A new DLR station entrance and better access to
the ExCel centre opened in mid-May. It will eventually provide interchange with the Crossrail station
when that is due to open in Dec 2018. (2) Acton Main Line: (BLN 1254.662) Planning permission for
the station upgrade has been granted. (3) West Ealing: (BLN 1255.751) Bay P5 is scheduled to be
commissioned with signalling and a 20mph speed towards the bay, from 5 June. Passenger use starts
from 1 August. SSuX departures: 07.28, 08.28, 17.30, 19.00, 19.30 & 20.27 and from Greenford at
07.13, 07.43, 16.46, 18.16, 19.15 & 19.45. (4) Hayes & Harlington: From 31 May Down Relief P3 was
realigned towards the Up side and a new platform edge constructed to conform to this new alignment.
Bay P5: (BLN 1255.751) Is being extended. Regular timetabled use is now also booked from 1 August,
departing (SSuX) 07.18, 07.48, 19.24 and 19.54. Paddington departures are at 07.15, 17.18, 18.48 and
19.15. (5) Central London stations: Http://goo.gl/p6eo9V has images of the new Crossrail stations.
1088] DLR: On 25 May, due to a defective train making slow progress to Canary Wharf, the 07.42
following from Bank paused at Westferry then took the old route to West India Quay. After a short
stop before the junction, it called at the platform and continued into Canary Wharf outer platform.
1089] London Overground: (BLN 1256.901) From 15 May timetable change SuX services on all four
branches of the East London Line were doubled from 2 to 4tph between 22.00 and 23.30.
1090] 'Out of Station Interchanges': In London it is usually cheaper to use a contactless or Oyster card
(a kind of electronic purse) rather than paper tickets. It does not matter if the services are NR, TfL or
both but it is important to touch in at the start and out at the end of every journey respectively. The
system works out the fare and deducts it from the card. Once the daily 'cap' is reached further
journeys within that cap are free. Fenchurch Street is more complicated when changing from NR to
Underground stations as none is adjacent but there is an easement. After touching out on NR,
touching in again within a reasonable time on entering the local Underground e.g. at Monument, Bank
or Aldgate, then touching out at the far end of the journey 'joins' the two sections so one through fare
is charged. This is known as an 'out of station interchange' (OSI). The full and extensive list of over 180
station pairs (such as Paddington to Paddington and Ickenham to West Ruislip) and the period allowed
(10 to 40 minutes) is at http://goo.gl/ydT6pv updated Jan 2016. There are also 'OSI maps' of timed
walking routes, changes back to September 2010 and much more on this useful independent website.
1091] Willesden Junction: On 15 May the 09.00 SuO to Stratford left from bay P2 instead of P1, the 5-
car train occupied the whole platform. Realtime Trains shows this to be the normal platform in future.
1092] And Finally… The Chelsea Flower Show: BELOW: The Bowdens Floral Garden at this year's show
was set around Belmond British Pullman 'Zena'. Https://goo.gl/uFYge3 has more. (Kate Thompson).
1258 EAST MIDLANDS
1093] Derby: At Bombardier's Litchurch Lane, 66 Class 345 'Aventra' Crossrail 9-car EMUs with 23m
carriages are being constructed. On 13 May 'V' Shop, a testing and commissioning facility was formally
opened. The 10,000m2 building cost £12M, has four 250m tracks and each can take a complete train.
1094] Nottingham NET: Congratulations to our friends at Nottingham Express Tramway for achieving
the highest overall satisfaction rating of any UK tram system in Transport Focus's report of 24 May.
Members who have experienced the trams and/or participated in our railtour last December will not
be a bit surprised that NET scored a 98% overall customer satisfaction rating in the passenger survey.
Detailed latest combined summary and individual system reports http://goo.gl/bpVL6p are available.
1258 NORTH WEST
1095] Rochdale (1257.1005) The Up Rochdale line to Manchester has been resignalled as part of
construction of the new bay P4, with a new starting four aspect LED signal virtually at the end. As
Castleton East Junction box is a manual block, the ordinary display at this signal is expected to be
double yellow until Castleton has accepted the train. Recently there were just a few yards of fencing to
install to complete the bay but NR says that Milkstone Road Bridge requires strengthening. The Down
signal controlling access to the bay from Manchester has a 'theatre' display rather than a 'feather'.
1096] Metrolink (1) St Peter's Square: The last day of single line working (well worth experiencing) is
Sat 25 June, then the line closes completely here until Mon 29 Aug. Altrincham, Manchester Airport
and East Didsbury trams terminate at Deansgate-Castlefield or Cornbrook. Services from Bury, Ashton
and Shaw (peak only) will run into Piccadilly, and services from Rochdale will run to Exchange Square.
(2) Eccles Line Closure: Some sections of rail on the Eccles line are showing signs of significant wear
and need to be replaced. This is being done during the St Peter's Square closure as services are quieter
in the summer. No services will run on the Eccles via MediaCityUK line from 26 June but Deansgate-
Castlefield to MediaCityUK reopens early August and on the rest of the line from August (?29th).
(3) Reopening: The 'First City Crossing' with double track, St Peter's Square and all the Eccles line
reopen after the August Bank Holiday. Manchester Airport to Cornbrook services will be extended to
Deansgate-Castlefield. The new tracks are almost complete at St Peter's Square with a new diamond
close to Princess Street. Pre-cast concrete platform units are in place for the northern platform; these
will be clad in York stone and granite. In the Square itself, the Cenotaph is being relocated and there is
to be a new water feature. St Peter's Square to Exchange Square (2CC) should open in Spring 2017.
(4) The Trafford Centre Extension: (BLN 1222.1807.2) The current cost forecast is £350M funded
primarily from the 'Earn Back' deal (where, as part of devolution some extra tax generated as a result
of investment is returned to the area) and a local capital contribution. The proposed alignment runs
straight ahead after the Pomona stop where the Eccles line first swings sharp right (passive provision
can be seen here in the viaduct). It passes under Trafford Road Bridge then follows Trafford Wharf
Road, Warren Bruce Road, Village Way, Park Way and Barton Dock Road to terminate at the Trafford
Centre. A Transport Works Act Order (TWA) application submitted to the DfT on 11 Nov 2014, received
47 objections. A public inquiry began on 7 July 2015 where objectors were able to give their evidence.
It adjourned on 5 Aug and closed on 8 Dec 2015. Some third party agreements have been signed with
18 objections withdrawn. Land has been purchased as part of this process. Discussions are continuing
with the remaining objectors to reach agreements where possible. Outstanding unresolved objections
will be determined by the Inspector. Following award of the TWA (subject to DfT approval, anticipated
this summer) construction should start later in the year for completion in 2019/20. Note that any
future extension to Port Salford requires separate costing and business case development.
1097] Halton Curve Project: Costs estimates have risen by £3½M to £22M (and could reach nearly
£25M) due to the rails needing replacing, OLE work at Halton Jn and other increased expense as well
as reduced savings anticipated from combining signalling work with the Weaver Jn to Wavertree
resignalling. The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has agreed to extra funding. Work on site is
expected to start in June 2017 for completion in May 2018. If only they had kept the service before!
1098] Chorley: (BLN 1057.1003) The tracks and platforms through the station are to be realigned with
the rebuilding to raise the current 50mph speed restriction. If anyone needs the present alignment…
BLN 1258.1099] Heaton Chapel: At about 13.20 on 4 April, part of the roof suddenly collapsed over
the steps down to the Manchester bound platform. Very fortunately, they were closed off at the time
as it could have been very serious. The station is only staffed in the morning and another platform
entrance is used when the building is locked up. See http://goo.gl/HZxPcO with dramatic pictures.
1100] The Facit Branch (Rochdale - Bacup): (CP 1947; final section CG in 1967) This is now on the
'Disused Stations' website, an index page with maps http://goo.gl/hEO1k1 click on the various station
names at the bottom for over 400 fascinating pictures, some available generally for the first time.
Information has come to light, for example Wardleworth station was originally 'Wardleworth Brow' or
'Rochdale (Yorkshire Street)' in 1870. Extra information and amendments welcomed by the compliers.
ABOVE: A 1958-59 one-inch map showing the 'Facit Branch' between Rochdale and Bacup, the largest
intermediate location was Whitworth. Note that the terminal station at Bacup which had two
platforms, was classed as a 'principal station'. The line heading west went to Rawtenstall (and Bolton
Bury Street); just before it closed (5 Dec 1966) there was a train every 15 minutes Saturday afternoons.
BLN 1258. 1101] Oxenholme: (BLN 1257.1006) From 11.50 on 30 May, after a line closure over most of
the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, new track was provided to connect the ex-Down Goods Loop (now
the 'Down Windermere Line') to P3 with a 20mph speed indicator at MP19. The station layout and new
signalling, with a double flashing yellow signal on the Down Main at 16m 64ch and a single at 17m
36ch was commissioned as previously described (BLN 1256.909) except for the Down Windermere line
and Up Goods Loop which remain temporarily OOU until 18 July. A replacement 15mph emergency
facing crossover was installed (8m 44ch), from the Down to Up Main lines controlled from Carlisle PSB.
Also provided was a new 4-aspect signal at the south end of P2 (replacing a ground position light
signal) allowing Down trains to turnback to the Up Main in P2. Redundant crossovers were removed.
1102] Seaforth: In relation to the new deep water port at Seaforth currently being built by Peel Ports,
the Government Roads Minister, Andrew Jones, visited the port recently and revealed that 'The
government will add a second line on the Bootle to Port (sic) rail link in a bid to ease freight traffic
congesting the nearby roads. The railway upgrade is due to be completed by 2018-19 and will double
the number of trains that can enter the port every day from 24 to 48, or two per hour.' The Bootle
branch is mostly double track already, of course, the only single sections being the Olive Mount Chord
and the dock line at Regent Road crossing and beyond. Does anyone know what may actually happen?
1103] Middlewich: (BLN 1187.886) The Mid Cheshire Rail Link Campaign is campaigning for the return
of passenger trains to the Sandbach to Northwich line, reinstatement of the station at Middlewich
(population over 13,600 and 200,000 rail journeys anticipated per year) and a new station at
Gadbrook Park, where there is severe road congestion. Passenger trains would re-connect Mid
Cheshire to the main line at Crewe (ready for HS2) and greatly improve local transport. The project has
complete political support at all levels and in the local media. It would connect with Metrolink at
Altrincham and there could be direct services via the proposed 'Western Rail Link' from Mobberley to
Manchester Airport. A 2009 study gave a very good cost benefit of 5:1; new funding is available
through the 'Northern Powerhouse' project but councils must be flexible, quick to adapt and separate
it from HS2 to achieve earlier delivery.
1258 NORTH EAST
1104] High on Railways: (BLN 1257.1010) Your Regional Editor queries if the Rattlebrook Tramway
can be considered a 'real' railway as it was mostly horse-operated and the only mechanical power ever
used was a converted petrol lorry in its final days. The Rookhope branch was a real railway and had
Britain's highest standard gauge loco shed (1,690ft), built on to the northern wall of the winding
engine house of the Bolt's Law incline at the end of the branch. A member recalls seeing a photograph
of a Class 37 on the Waskerley Branch on its way to Rookhope Incline engine house to pick up wagons.
1105] Blyth & Tyne: Bedlington station building is still in use by NR as offices. Trains to/from the
Morpeth direction once used Furnaceway sidings south of the station to reverse, but they are now
heavily rusted, with saplings growing through the tracks. North Seaton: Despite the Lynemouth branch
being OOU while the power station is converted from coal to biomass-fired (BLN 1257.537), the signal
box is not boarded up or shuttered. Will it survive until reopening? Ashington: In the absence of any
Lynemouth traffic, the line is heavily rusted. The signal box closed 14 Feb 2010 with the removal of the
main line trailing crossover and was demolished over the weekend of 10/11 Aug 2013. The junction
points with the ex-NCB 'Butterwell South Light Railway' were removed prior to 2010 and a palisade
metal fence erected across the trackbed. However, immediately north of the fence, a short isolated
section of ex-NCB line is in situ but slowly being reclaimed by nature. Most of this line to Potland Burn
Disposal Point is lifted; the latter still has an outward coal train scheduled (MSSuX) to York Yard South,
thought to run rarely if at all now. Butterwell Disposal Point currently has no booked trains.
1106] Jarrow: (BLN 1257.982) The state of the line to the Oil Terminal at Pelaw on 11 and 18 May
suggested resumption of regular traffic. There is an 'as required' working (SuX) between Lindsey Oil
Refinery (sometimes Tyne Yard) and Jarrow with final access over the former Jarrow East End Light
Railway, which appears to date from 1928. The supplement to the 1955 Sectional Appendix refers to
the 'Jarrow East End Light Railway and Mercantile Dry Dock Company' and 'Instructions for dealing
with traffic for the Shell Mex & BP Co Ltd'. BR locos normally worked as only far as Jarrow High Street
Level Crossing, the road now called Church Bank. The line once went north of this road and into the
actual depot; on the basis of OS maps it was cut back sometime between 1966 and 1970.
1107] Hartlepool Docks Branch: (BLN 1250.256) The realigned access to the branch had only recently
opened at the time of our 'Durham Coast' railtour on 12 Aug 2000 and there was hope of a revival in
traffic. Although vanloads of imported pulp ran for a while, no further traffic materialised.
1108] Grangetown, Shell Jn - Wilton: (BLN 1249.142) There are problems at Knowsley and Wilton with
the £340M project to transport rubbish from Merseyside to Teesside and incinerate it so trains have
not started running. At Knowsley (Kirkby) a wall has been built fouling the loading gauge and the
relaid track has defects. The track on the mothballed Wilton branch (last train 14 Nov 2014) is
reportedly unfit for the weight and volume of intended trains, so requires additional expenditure.
1258 SOUTH EAST – NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
1109] Whole Clippers Clipped OOU - The Hole Story? The 26 May 'Daily Telegraph' reported that
Abellio* Greater Anglia is about to stop using ticket clippers after staff complained that clipping
hundreds of tickets hurt their wrists. They will now be using alternative methods of marking checked
tickets. The firm also added that were concerns about the hole punches making a mess. Modern
technology had also contributed to the move as more tickets were on smart phones (difficult to clip!).
Passengers responded with astonishment and said that they found it hard to believe that conductors
might be getting RSI. (*Correctly spelt, apologies for the L of a mess with 'Abelio' in BLN 1257.1001)
1110] Berney Arms: A family with two young children were recently rescued from Berney Arms by
lifeboat on a Sunday (the day of the week the request stop has the most booked trains, five each way,
other days it is two in each direction). The return train they had planned to travel on was diverted via
Acle due to a points failure. Through the 'help point' they were initially told of delays but trains in each
direction failed to arrive. The father phoned the police who called for Hemsby Lifeboat to come to
their rescue. It picked up the family by the Berney Arms windmill and took them across to Burgh
Castle, where a car organised by the lifeboatmen was waiting to take them home. The family reported
sunburn, dehydration and that it was an incredibly frustrating day; a trip they will never do again.
1111] Clacton & Walton: (BLN 1257.1014) At Thorrington there are only vestigial remains of the
platforms adjacent the level crossing. At Thorpe-le-Soken the cross platform interchange between
Clacton and Walton trains was very efficiently managed in both directions (and has the least
connectional time shown in the NR timetable - one minute). At Frinton-on-Sea the new full barrier
crossing gates were noted, these being the subject of recent controversies with the locals, who
wanted to keep the old wooden gates. Walton-on-the-Naze is a very cramped curved one platform
station in which, from most angles, it is very difficult to photograph the train. If you enjoy tales of a
railway photographer's worst nightmare, try this. Our correspondent had just about got into the one
and only position from which he could photograph the train at the buffer stops when through the
station gates should breeze around two dozen luminous pink and electric blue costumed majorettes
and cheerleaders, who then took ages to entrain. Eventually they disappeared from sight (three cheers
for that!), so patience is a virtue. Our correspondent asks whether the change of the station name
from Walton-on-Naze has been recorded. [Yes, from 8 May 2007! (BLNs 1042.423 & 1043.467) - Ed.]
1112] Royal Wootton Bassett: A new bridge was installed at Broad Town Road over 28 to 30 May.
1113] Wantage: A station for Wantage and Grove is not GWR priority but Oxfordshire County Council
is keen. Wantage is 3km south of the railway with Grove in between - how about a connecting tram?
ABOVE: Despite what it says the Wantage Road (SU412914), to Wantage (SU398881) standard gauge
… ..tramway CA 1945 (CP 1925). A video clip http://goo.gl/kTn7zD of the line running.
1114] Oxford: (BLN 1256.884) (1): As part of the preparation for the Hinksey Flood Alleviation
Scheme, the Down Goods Loop between Kennington Jn and Hinksey South Jn is temporarily OOU
between 61m 15ch and 61m 56ch from 22 May to 15 August. On 10 May work had recently started on
access roads, temporary fencing and raising the ground level south of the Abingdon Road overbridge
immediately next to the Up side. (2) Meanwhile at Oxford station (BLN 1257.1012) on 24 May the
renumbered bay P2 (previously North Bay P3) was open again with trains indicated. P2 has been
shortened to three coaches and was lifted near to the former buffer stops to provide access to the
new works. It has a new section of flat bottom track and a more substantial buffer stop further north.
1115] North Cotswold Line: (BLN 1257.1018) There has been significant growth in usage along the
Oxford to Worcester line; the new car park at Kingham was 70% full 6 weeks after opening. Coping
with growth at Hanborough requires more car park space and extension of some trains from London
terminating at Oxford is being sought. Even Combe and Finstock have 30 trips per day based on
passenger counts, which suggests suppressed demand based on the paucity of calls. Roadworks at
Wolvercote roundabout is thought to have boosted rail use. With the help of the Local Enterprise
Partnerships, pragmatic proposals have been put together for achieving the overall aims of reduced
journey times and increased frequencies. It has been concluded that re-doubling all the rest of the
route would not be value for money in view of the technical issues involved and the objectives can be
achieved by re-doubling at the western end between Evesham and Pershore and at the eastern end
between Wolvercote Jn and Hanborough. The latter station would be used as a turn-back for fast
London to Oxford trains, enabling three trains per hour into Oxford. The timing for delivery of these
infrastructure improvements would be in Control Period 6 (2019-2024) at a cost of £275M. (railfuture)
ABOVE: Pangbourne station electrification, relief lines looking towards Didcot. (Both Stuart Hicks mid-May)
BELOW: Taken from Pangbourne station, the relief lines looking towards Reading.
BLN 1258.1116] Reading - Didcot: Double track span masts being erected from Maidenhead towards
Reading over the relief lines only had reached nearly to the first of the three bridges between Twyford
and Ruscombe crossovers by mid-May. The new footbridge (including lifts for Mobility Impaired
People) at Goring (London end of buildings) appears nearly ready, although the lifts require more
work. The entire metal fence along the Didcot avoiding line will have to be replaced with a wooden
fence as it is too close to where the overhead line will go! [The sparks effect?] A large number of the
OLE bases are now in place as far as Swindon. On the embankment sections between Uffington and
Shrivenham, two work sites have been set up (on the Up side at Uffington and at the former site of
Knighton Crossing, MP69) for the installation of cast concrete bases in larger steel tubes on the
embankments and where ground conditions may not be so good. OLE structures are now in place west
to 63m 20ch (just to the east of the former Challow station site), with other OLE posts positioned on
the lineside awaiting erection.
1117] After Crossrail: GWR confirm they will still run local Paddington to Reading services calling at
Ealing Broadway, Slough, Maidenhead and Twyford. Class 365 and 110mph capable Class 387 EMUs
will replace the Class 165 and 166 DMUs. The Henley-on-Thames branch will be electrified but with no
through London services. Marlow will neither be electrified nor have through London trains. Reading -
Basingstoke electrification is now to be part of the Western scheme (due Dec 2018) with a new station
at Reading Green Park and possibly another at Chineham. Originally it was part of the 'electric spine'
scheme now 'paused'. The Reading to Newbury electrification (Dec 2018) will result in an increase in
service from 40 to 52 trains per day. GWR are keen to promote Newbury to Bedwyn electrification
and even to Westbury possibly using battery powered electric units initially.
1118] Croxley - Watford: (BLN 1248.72) BELOW Work has started on construction of the Metropolitan
Line extension to Watford Junction. Details are in an interesting presentation http://goo.gl/o0jKKE
given to a community liaison group. Trees were cleared in January, but the main current activity is the
inevitable utility diversions near the roundabout by the former Croxley Green station. This started on
5 March and involves moving pipes and cables away from where viaduct piers are to be constructed.
1119] Banbury: NEXT PAGE Thanks to member Ian Delgado of 'Unusual Track' http://goo.gl/wwSbYv
the new layout after the 15 August track alterations and resignalling with the new Depot access.
BLN 1258.1120] PSUL Supplement May 2016:
listing regular passenger trains over obscure rail routes in the British Isles
Supplement from May 2016
Compiled by Richard Maund
This supplement is to be read in conjunction with the 2016 edition of PSUL and carries
the information therein through to Saturday 10 December 2016. Amendments are those
which remain in force or came into force at 15/16 May. Prior amendments which expired then are
ignored, as are minor retimings of a few minutes either way. During leaf-fall season (October / November)
local retimings may include earlier departures. Any further amendments will be published in Branch Line
News. Data on the website (from which this version is derived) is updated as corrections and amendments
become available and the most up-to-date information is available through http://snipurl.com/psul-intro
Explanation of references and other general information remains unchanged.
ENGLAND - EAST MIDLANDS
• Trent East Junction - Toton Centre: add: 1V81 0545 SO Sheffield - Reading until 10 September and
2S24 1730 SO Skegness – Derby from 23 July until 10 September
• Allington West Junction - Allington North Junction: 2S11 0955 SuX Nottingham - Skegness does not
run Saturdays 23 July until 10 September; add: Sundays until 11 September: 2S09 0900 Nottingham –
Skegness; 2S14 1227 Skegness – Nottingham; 2A58 1622 Skegness – Derby
• Willesden Suburban Junction - Kensal Green Junction: 2J96 0759 SSuX Woodgrange Park -
Willesden Junction Low Level does not run after 3 June; 2N02 0900 SuO Willesden Junction Low Level –
Stratford terminates Gospel Oak from 5 June
• Earl's Court Junction - Kensington (Olympia): add SSuX departures from Kensington (Olympia) at
0625, 0637 and 0715
• [Junction Road Junction - ] Covered Way west end - Gospel Oak Junction: delete entry after 3 June
• Camden Road Central Junction - Copenhagen Junction: diversion of the following Caledonian
Sleepers via the East Coast route apply Sunday nights/Monday mornings until 19/20 June: 1S25 2028
Euston – Inverness; 1S26 2145 Euston - Glasgow Central; 1M11 2144 Glasgow Central – Euston; 1M16
2026 Inverness - Euston
• Factory Junction - Stewarts Lane Junction - Grosvenor Bridge Junction (south-eastern side): add
2K90 0707 SSuX from Gillingham until 26 August and 2K82 1737 from Rainham
• Battersea Park (platform 2) - Factory Junction: amend service to: Mondays to Fridays:
9O02 0618, 9O69 2303 Battersea Park – Dalston Junction; 9P65 2206 Dalston Junction - Battersea Park;
Sundays: 9P09 0722 Battersea Park – Highbury & Islington
• Seven Sisters Junction - South Tottenham West Junction and South Tottenham East Junction -
Tottenham South Junction: delete entry
• Northumberland Park Depot - Seven Sisters: At the depot, trains normally use no. 60 road, but
occasionally no. 19 road instead ( the latter only generally one tarin a day now).
• Beckenham Junction - New Beckenham: amend service to: 1Y86 0015 MSuX Charing Cross –
Tonbridge/Tunbridge Wells (also Sundays from 28 August); 1Y02 0449 SSuX Tonbridge - Charing Cross
• Add (after Parks Bridge Junction - Ladywell Junction entry): Channelsea North Junction - Stratford
Central Junction West (59) LC02: 2L52 1830 SSuX Clapham Junction - Stratford until 3 June; 2N14
SSuX Richmond – Stratford
• Bickley Junction - Petts Wood Junction (via fast Tonbridge loop): 1Y86 0015 Charing Cross –
Tonbridge runs MX from 30 August; 2M26 1940 SSuX Victoria – Orpington does not run after 26 August;
1Y86 0015 Charing Cross – Tunbridge Wells runs SSuO from 28 August
ENGLAND - NORTH EAST
• King Edward Bridge South Junction - Gateshead High Level Bridge Junction: 1S49 1125 SO
Plymouth - Dundee does not run until 17 September; 1E78 1812 SuO Liverpool Lime Street – Newcastle
starts 1801; delete 1E94 2022 SuO Liverpool Lime Street – Newcastle
ENGLAND - NORTH WEST
• Frodsham Junction - Halton Junction: service confirmed as operating
• Warrington Bank Quay - Walton Old Junction - Acton Grange Junction: Arrivals at Warrington Bank
Quay: 1220 SSuX amended to 1418 SSuX; delete 0605 SO
• Heald Green North Junction - Heald Green South Junction: 1W40 0818 Cardiff Central - Manchester
Piccadilly retimed to 0830
ENGLAND - SOUTH EAST (NORTH)
• Didcot West Curve Junction - Foxhall Junction (via Didcot West Curve): does not apply 1 to 12
• Didcot East Junction - Didcot North Junction (via Didcot Avoiding Line): line closed 30 July until
ENGLAND - SOUTH EAST (SOUTH)
• Reading station, Caversham Road Junction - Oxford Road Junction: Trains booked (in working
timetable) to use the Feeder Lines are: All Up trains from the Newbury line running through to Paddington
(except 1A98 1731 SuO from Penzance); Other arrivals at Reading from Newbury or Basingstoke lines:
Mondays to Fridays: 0026 MX, 0635, 0726, 0806, 0832, 0850, 1144, 1205, 1233, 1634, 2030 (from
Newbury), 2100, 2351; Saturdays: 0026, 0655, 0708, 0718, 0808, 0819, 0908, 1008, 1035, 1208, 1235,
1308, 1408, 1435, 1634, 1835, 1844, 1908, 1920, 2008, 2108, 2331; Sundays: 1004, 1216, 1903, 2316,
2345; Departures from Reading to Newbury or Basingstoke lines: Mondays to Fridays: 0515, 0605, 0613,
1212, 1942, 2306; Saturdays: 0510, 0607, 0612, 0639, 0647, 0711, 0746, 0748, 0946, 1348, 2150, 2250;
Sundays: 1052, 1244, 1952, 2152, 2322. All other trains are booked to use the Westbury Lines.
• Reading East Main Junction, 8421 points - Reading Southern Junction (Reading Low Level line):
2O96 2219 SuO Reading - Gatwick Airport does not apply 18 September until 23 October
• Minster Station and West Junction - Minster South Junction: during line closure between Dover and
Folkestone, emergency timetable applies Mondays to Fridays until further notice: 2R45 1555 Dover
Priory – Ramsgate; 2W25 0742, 2W29 0805 Ramsgate - Dover Priory
ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST
• [Crediton - ] site of Coleford Junction - Sampford Courtenay – Okehampton: service on Sundays
until 11 September: from St. James' Park (Exeter) to Okehampton at 2K02 0901, 2K04 1101, 2K08 1427,
2K10 1629; returning from Okehampton at 2J03 0955, 2J05 1158, 2J09 1523, 2E27 1759 (latter to
Exeter St. Davids only).
• Yeovil Pen Mill Junction - Yeovil Junction: amend service to: Mondays to Fridays: 1L18 0541, 1L58
1544 Yeovil Pen Mill – Waterloo; 2V14 1631, 2V30 2130 Yeovil Pen Mill – Yeovil Junction; 1L39 1350,
1L59 1850 Waterloo – Yeovil Pen Mill; 1064 1648 Yeovil Junction – Yeovil Pen Mill – Salisbury; 1L51 1650,
1L55 1750 Waterloo – Yeovil Junction – Westbury; Saturdays until 3 September: 2V34 1210 Weymouth
– Yeovil Junction; 2O39 1328, 2O43 1355 Yeovil Pen Mill – Yeovil Junction; 1L66 1656 Weymouth –
Waterloo; 1L50 0715 Waterloo – Weymouth; 2V38 1307, 2V42 1345 Yeovil Junction – Yeovil Pen Mill;
2V46 1405 Yeovil Junction – Weymouth
• Westbury East Loop Junction - Hawkeridge Junction: regular service withdrawn
ENGLAND - WEST MIDLANDS
• Little Bridgeford Junction - Lower Heamies: route started 29 March. Delete 1F34 0730 Walsall –
Liverpool Lime Street and 1P05 1846 FO Euston – Preston; add: 9P43 1943 SSuX Euston – Preston, 1F32
0701 SO, 1F40 1101 SO, 1F44 1301 SO Birmingham New Street – Liverpool Lime Street. Also 1D33 2240
SuO Birmingham International – Holyhead from 18 September.
At Stafford, if the signal at the Down end of platforms 1, 3, 4 or 6 shows a "clear" aspect with route
indication "S" (or platform 5 shows a "clear" aspect with no "feather") this indicates use of Down Slow line -
a train running direct to Crewe would then use this route.
• Norton Bridge Junction - Yarnfield Junction (Norton Bridge East Chord): expected to enter service
30 May and to be used by trains from Crewe via Stoke on Trent to Stafford which continue towards the
Trent Valley line (rather than towards Birmingham)
• Wolverhampton Crane Street Junction - Portobello Junction: delete 2J02 0638 SO Wolverhampton -
• Darlaston Junction - Pleck Junction: delete entry
• Soho South Junction - Perry Barr North Junction: delete 2K80 0639 SSuX Rugeley Trent Valley -
Birmingham New Street
• Add (after Soho South Junction - Perry Barr South Junction entry): Soho North Junction - Perry
Barr North Junction (68) CC04: 2J02 0628 SO Wolverhampton – Walsall
ENGLAND - YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE
• Copley Hill East Junction - Copley Hill West Junction (Copley Hill chord): delete 2N45 2345 FO
• Milford Junction - Burton Salmon Junction (site) – Castleford: add: 1K28 1926 SSuX Manchester
Piccadilly – Hull; 1K28 2018 SuO Leeds – Hull. Saturdays service shown until 13 February now resumed
(except that 1V46 0620 York – Plymouth does not restart until 17 September). 1E95 2152 SuO Liverpool
Lime Street - York runs until 19 June and from 28 August.
• Milford Junction - Gascoigne Wood: route restored from 16 May: 1K28 1926 SSuX Manchester
Piccadilly – Hull; 1K28 2018 SuO Leeds – Hull
• Carriganore – Gracedieu Junction: applies only to Gracedieu (adjacent to the toll plaza for the Thomas
Francis Meagher Bridge, just short of former junction; not a joining/alighting point).
• Add (after SCOTLAND sub-heading): Knightswood South Junction - Dawsholm Junction (Anniesland
Single Line) GA12 This connecting line restores the link between the Anniesland branch and the Singer
lines, and until 7 August forms part of a balloon-loop route for trains diverted away from Glasgow Queen
Street high level station. Anniesland branch trains run to and from their terminal bay platform 3, by the
parallel Anniesland Platform Line.
• Maryhill Park Junction - Knightswood North Junction: the only trains between Edinburgh and the
West Highland line are the summer Sunday trains in next entry (Caledonian Sleepers run via Queen Street
• Add: Muirhouse South Junction - Larkfield Junction (222) GA04: Sundays 31 July until 21 August:
Trains between Glasgow Central and East Kilbride and between Glasgow Central and Kilmarnock.
• Cowlairs North Junction - Cowlairs East Junction: Summer Sunday dates are 26 June until 28
August; 1Y29 Edinburgh – Oban starts 0808. Diversionary use during track relaying work in Glasgow
Queen Street high level tunnel until 7 August - Dundee, Perth, Dunblane, Stirling and Alloa trains
diverted to run a clockwise balloon-loop service via Springburn, Glasgow Queen Street low level and
Anniesland except those diverted to and from Glasgow Central; Edinburgh (via Falkirk) trains diverted to
run an anti-clockwise balloon-loop service via Anniesland, Glasgow Queen Street low level and
• Sighthill West Junction - Cowlairs West Junction: Diversionary use during track relaying work in
Glasgow Queen Street high level tunnel until 7 August - Dundee, Perth, Dunblane, Stirling and Alloa
trains diverted to run a clockwise balloon-loop service via Springburn, Glasgow Queen Street low level
and Anniesland except those diverted to and from Glasgow Central; Edinburgh (via Falkirk) trains diverted
to run an anti-clockwise balloon-loop service via Anniesland, Glasgow Queen Street low level and
Springburn. Also weekday services between [Falkirk Grahamston - ] Springburn and Anniesland.
• Add: Coatbridge Junction - Langloan Junction GA11: Diversionary use during track relaying work
in Glasgow Queen Street high level tunnel until 7 August - trains between Aberdeen or Inverness and
Glasgow diverted to and from Glasgow Central - minimum one train an hour in each direction
• Dalmeny Junction - Winchburgh Junction: service suspended until 5 August in consequence of
closure of Glasgow Queen Street high level tunnel.
•Leckwith Loop North Junction - Leckwith Loop South Junction (Leckwith Loop): 1B94 2245 SSuX
Paddington - Swansea does not run this route certain nights 12 September until 20 October
• Add: Newport: Gaer Junction - Park Junction (127) PB08: Saturdays and Sundays from 29/30
October: Trains between Newport and Ebbw Vale Town
• Add: Bishton: Up relief line over flyover / Down relief line outside flyover (132) PB03: Saturdays
and Sundays 25/26 June until 10/11 September: Trains between Newport and Severn Tunnel
Regular but infrequent services
• Briton Ferry, Court Sart Jn/Up Flying Loop Jn - Hendy Jn (Swansea District line)
Excursions from South Wales via this route to The Royal Welsh Show 18 - 21 July confirmed
• Moor Road (Leeds) station - Balm Road loop [Middleton Railway]
2016 dates: 16 and 17 July, 17 and 18 September
Note: With thanks to Richard Maund, this supplement was sent out with e-BLN 1257 two weeks
earlier. Thanks to Dave Cromarty other extra items with e-BLN 1257 were: Supplement No1 to Peter
Scott's Minor Railways guide 2016, Lee Nash's BLS Diary for May, the Corris Railway Gala (29 May)
public timetable, 'Inside Motion' the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways' magazine for May and
BLN Pictorial 1257 'London Railway memorials'. We are always on the lookout for items of interest like
these. As usual, A5 Booklet and A4 size printable versions of BLN 1257 and BLNI 1257 were included.
1258 SOUTH EAST – SOUTH
1121] Fawkham Jn - Southfleet Jn: (BLN 1256.877) The new Eurostar Siemens Velaros are out of gauge
to run on NR lines. On 20 May, red lights were noted on both tracks at Fawkham Jn.
1122] Reading - Newbury: (BLN 1233.982) A few mast bases are visible between Reading West and
Southcote Jn but cease a little further west. The lack of mast bases on the embankment west of
Southcote Jn may be due to there being hardly any shoulder both sides and the embankment
descending immediately, with this being on the 'difficult bits' list. More have been installed most of
the way to Thatcham but nothing much else has been done. There is a stretch without them west of
Aldermaston with rather limited clearances due to the boundary fences to neighbouring gardens being
tight onto the track. However, it may not require bases on that side because the type of masts going
up elsewhere are cantilevers which pass over both lines of double track from one side. No mast bases
have been installed at or in the immediate vicinity of any station. Clearance work has now been
completed on most overbridges. The last big issue is Boundary Road overbridge in Newbury, requiring
a completely new bridge, which NR intend to take a whole year to do. The Ufton Down Goods Loop
has mast bases installed. No electrification work is being undertaken for the freight facilities at Theale.
1123] Rochester: (BLN 1255.820) On 11 May a member (starting from Norwich at 04.45) caught the
07.58 Victoria to Rochester which terminated in bay P3. It was a four-car EMU and stopped at the '4T'
board which positions the train with one end about five yards under the London end of the platform
canopy. Further along the platform there is an '8T' board but judging by the track nothing has ventured
near it (in reality not much beyond the '4T' board). The bay could probably hold a ten-car train. The
departure back to Victoria was at 09.21. Platform staff confirmed that the 06.57 from Victoria and
08.54 return plus the 16.34 from Victoria (departs ECS) also use P3. All services are SSuX. Rochester
signal box has been demolished and a rail underbridge east of its site is in place for track from P3 to
the Down Main to complete the Down Passenger Loop. The facing crossover at the Chatham end of
Rochester (old) station showed signs of use. Some Up trains seem to have used P2 at Rochester (new).
The platform faces of P2 and P3 of the old Rochester station have been realigned with new in-situ cast
concrete edging and some shuttering was still in place. The P3 face is up to three feet away from the
track. Could a possible minor track realignment be in the offing? All platform level buildings have been
demolished and the bare platforms look most odd. The new edging replaces the previous nosing and
does not extend beyond the upstanding support walls, thus is not aligned for boarding or alighting
trains. There have been many instances of abandoned platforms being left for years without nosing
and of generally unsightly appearance. In the present case the novel use of in-situ concrete, it has to
be said to rather variable geometry, may have been cheaper than removing the platforms requiring
engineers' trains or the old platforms could contain electrical services that cannot be disturbed.
1124] Haywards Heath: (BLN 1245.2119) The new footbridge opened on 16 May. Our local Regional
Editor didn't have to wait long to get thrown off a train there (no conductor with the ongoing 'sickness
crisis' amongst Southern drivers and conductors).
BELOW: From the new footbridge at Haywards Heath looking south on 31 May. A new photographic
viewpoint has been created; the subway at the London end of the station to the booking hall remains
open but never presented much opportunity. The train in the photo is from Eastbourne or
Littlehampton and will join another unit to make a 12-car train for London Victoria. It is possible from
footbridge level to see all the way through Haywards Heath Tunnel (or Folly Hill Tunnel). The new four
level car park is on the left and the bridge connects via a barrier line to the second level (counting the
ground level parking as under level 1; level 4 is open to the air). Via steps down, there is an exit
through further barriers to the road on the west side (right in the photo). (Julian James)
1125] Newhaven Marine: (BLN 1197.1607) A member provides an interesting commentary on travel
from the station on 6 May 2005, the year before the sole service was banished to passengers. The ECS
came up from Seaford for the 21.30 SSuX departure (not advertised in the public timetable, but
fortunately was in 'PSUL' at the time). It was quite a foreboding place bearing in mind it was dark by
that time and there was no station lighting. The ferry terminal staff came out to check on him as by
now they parked their cars* on the derelict platform and clearly distrusted his presence. Eventually
the ECS came in and the driver, looking really surprised, said 'Do you want this train?'. After difficulty
trying to open the doors, (the system did not recognise Newhaven Marine as a legitimate stop, so the
conductor could not open them) they let him in through the rear cab. The conductor was unable to sell
a ticket from Newhaven Marine. The train then ran non-stop to Lewes where he left the cheery guard
and driver and they went off empty back to Seaford to resume the branch line service. So he had a
whole train service to himself! The final such working ran on 17 August 2006. (*There have been no
cars parked on recent occasions of the Regional Editor travelling to Seaford.)
1126] Herne Bay: Because of the generally equal distance between signals from Faversham to
Margate, most stations do not have any at the departure ends of platforms (a high speed low capacity
system). Thus Herne Bay, with the only remaining trailing crossover, at the Chestfield & Swalecliffe
(Up) end of the station, has the unusual feature that the colour light running signal for Up moves from
the Down platform has no parallel signal on the Up track, indeed no other signal is visible in either
direction. For reversals Down to Up, which can depart carrying passengers, a further train approaching
from the Birchington-on-Sea direction will be held out of sight east of Herne Bay station. Reversals Up
to Down involve the empty Up train stopping west of the station clear of the crossover, but not at an
Up signal, and shunting to the Down platform.
1258 SOUTH WEST:
1127] Cirencester : (BLN 1252.478) The town's mayor has outlined a plan to lay new track between
Kemble and a park and ride site near the town, reconnecting it to the national railway network (the
five mile long Cirencester Town branch CP 6 Apr 1964). The station building is extant (e-BLN 1251.426
picture and map) near Sheep Street car park, but the route is built over from there to the edge of the
town. The ambitious plans are being developed with Warwick University http://goo.gl/MPrxFm who
are keen to test a driverless light rail solution. Given the need to construct an overbridge and
earthworks to span the A429 along with necessary permissions and planning considerations, the
suggested 3-5 year timescale seems ambitious. The original branch platform and mainline connection
is intact at Kemble (BLN 1161.582), access is by a local ground frame with an exit signal controlled from
Didcot. It can accommodate a 410ft long train (railtour?) from the signal back to the stop block; the
last 40 ft are beyond the platform. The track is in good condition, some spot sleeper replacement took
place in 2012. A siding leads off this line to run alongside the Up main line south of the station.
1128] Passenger numbers leap at Coombe Junction Halt: The recent ITV series on Request Stops
hosted by Paul Merton (BLN 1256.951) appears to have sparked interest in these often interesting
locations around the network. A 'crowdburst' event here on 14 May aimed to improve upon the 29
recorded passenger journeys in 2015 on the two daily request stop services. 'Coombe Junction Halt', a
short walk from the vastly better served Liskeard, is reportedly NR's second quietest station. The
dubious honour of least used going to Shippea Hill in Cambridgeshire. The event organisers hoped to
raise awareness and interest in the station and its history. The Plymouth Herald featured a video made
by the organisers http://goo.gl/qVcSF5 to promote the event with details of other least used stations.
BELOW: Coombe Junction Halt with Moorswater Viaduct in the background, 10 Dec 2013 (https://goo.gl/8sHNcX)
1129] Yeovil: The South West Trains Summer Timetable has increased the regular (SSuX) service over
the Pen Mill and Yeovil Junction station chord with the following dated Saturday services (until 3 Sep):
13.07 Yeovil Junction to Yeovil Pen Mill 13.45 Yeovil Junction to Yeovil Pen Mill
13.28 Yeovil Pen Mill to Yeovil Junction 13.55 Yeovil Pen Mill to Yeovil Junction
A summer dated Saturday service from London (also until 3 Sep) is also extended to serve Weymouth,
with an additional fill-in-turn between Pen Mill and Yeovil Junction:
07.50 London Waterloo to Weymouth (via Salisbury and Yeovil Pen Mill)
12.10 Weymouth to Yeovil Junction (via Yeovil Pen Mill)
14.05 Yeovil Junction to Weymouth (via Yeovil Pen Mill)
16.56 Weymouth to London Waterloo (via Yeovil Pen Mill and Salisbury)
The SSuX Yeovil Pen Mill SWT services (BLN 1242.1860) were also altered; the 05.50 Yeovil Junction to
Waterloo now starts back at Pen Mill at 05.41 and the 15.50 from London Waterloo now terminates at
Yeovil Junction. Consequently the 18.33 between Yeovil Pen Mill and Yeovil Junction no longer runs.
1258 WEST MIDLANDS
X.73] Bromsgrove: ABOVE: Mid-May, the new station nears completion looking towards the present
station and Birmingham. There are two 6-car length island platforms (and room to extend to 9-cars);
they are P1-P4 left to right with the footbridge at the north end. Initially just the two centre platforms
will be in use. The station will be staffed; the building is at the left side of the footbridge by the road
access/car park. Work is in progress from here to Barnt Green piling electrification mast foundations.
1130] North Staffs: On Sat 7 May, the 19.42 Derby to Crewe ran via reversible Up P1 at Stoke-on-Trent
as Down P2 was occupied by a Virgin train which was experiencing difficulties. The EMT train departed
10 minutes late and subsequently terminated in the little-used P2 at Crewe rather than the usual P4.
1131] Birmingham New Street: P6 is back in service and instead P8 is now out OOU for refurbishment.
BLN 1258.1132] Worcester: (BLN 1257.987) From 4 to 14 June (incl) Shrub Hill signal box is being
refurbished and repaired ('relocked'); only limited signalling will be available with a reduced train
service in operation. Permissive working is withdrawn and the Up (P2) and Down (P1) can only be
worked in these directions respectively. Trains will reverse via Worcester Foregate Street, access to
Worcester Light Maintenance Depot is only available via Worcester Tunnel Jn. All mechanical
interlocking will be disconnected, many signals will not be operational and the only set of points
working will be those at the end of the single line from Foregate Street to the Up platform crossover
(the ones that normally determine if a train runs into P1 or P2). All other points will be temporarily
clipped, scotched and padlocked OOU. This will be interesting but there are no rare moves at this stage
and full credit to NR and the TOCs for running some train services in very difficult circumstances.
ABOVE: The reinstated crossover north of Droitwich Spa, the DMU is the 06.52 from Stratford-upon-
Avon, via Birmingham Snow Hill, coming from the Kidderminster line (left of the signal box) to
Worcester Foregate Street (08.57). The Bromsgrove line is to the right of the box. The first point
(bottom left) leads to the Down Goods Loop. The signal on the right was installed there as recently as
2013 (BLN 1186.822). (David Guy, 19 May 2016)
1133] Droitwich Spa: (BLN 1257) To clarify, as a consequence of the previous item, from 4 to 14 June
all ECS from Shrub Hill Depot has to run north to Droitwich. The first trains from Worcester Shrub Hill
to the Bromsgrove and Kidderminster lines will start in service from Droitwich instead (because they
cannot be pathed at Foregate Street P2) with bus connections from Shrub Hill. ECS for trains starting at
Hereford, Great Malvern and Worcester Foregate Street will run into the south end of the reconnected
Droitwich Down Goods Loop to reverse. A walking route has been installed for this. They then take
the reconnected trailing crossover situated north of Droitwich Spa station to Foregate Street for their
respective destinations. It is not possible to cross them from the Down to Up at Worcester Tunnel Jn.
ABOVE: The junction north of Droitwich Spa with a fine collection of semaphore signals. The road is set
for the Kidderminster line (the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton line built here as mixed
standard and broad gauge) and, from the signalling, the 'principal route'. Information about the 'third
side of the triangle' here is at (BLN 1157.348) - BLN of 24 Mar 2012. (David Guy, 19 May 2016)
1258 YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE
X.74] Sheffield Resignalling: (BLN 1256.939) The re-control of the Sheffield PSB area to York ROC over
the 2016 May Day bank holiday reminded one member of the original 21 Jan 1973 resignalling when
part of the then new Sheffield PSB was being commissioned. Sheffield (Midland) the present station
was closed and Sheffield Victoria (CP 5 Jan 1970) reopened for one day (it was 350 replacement bus
services in 2016 of course). How it was reported in advance in BLN 218 of 17 Jan 1973…
BELOW: Sunday 21 January 1973, bottom right at Crowden on the Woodhead line; the other three are
Sheffield Victoria reopened for the day after three years of closure. Our member travelled from
Manchester to Chesterfield via Woodhead and Beighton Jn (on a train thought to be for St Pancras).
Then it was to Rotherham Masborough station via the 'Old Road' before returning to Sheffield
Victoria via Treeton, Tinsley Yard and Shepcote Lane. This was all new track for him as he had only
recently started at Manchester University. The snow appeared at Sheffield during the day. Before
travelling to Sheffield it was a trip from Piccadilly to Altrincham and back via Stockport and
Northenden, which in 1973 was an interesting diversion. Those were the days! (Ian Mortimer)
BLN 1258.1134] Sheffield Tram Train: The project is reportedly now postponed 'indefinitely'.
1135] Huddersfield: Work has started and stopped on installing a new platform bike rack just outside
the train crew mess room. A similar facility was recently completed at Dewsbury. Two-foot square
holes have been made in the east end of P1 for the racks, only for a void to appear. This idea of the
previous station manager, displaced with the start of the new TPE franchise, has been thrown into
chaos, as the excavations have taken place at the former fish dock! Some older station staff call it the
former P3, removed when the station was last resignalled (our member does not know if it carried the
number). The holes reveal the retaining wall and edging stone overlaid with concrete and tarmac.
1136] Mallow: (BLN1257.1027) The Down sidings were only closed for a week during renewal.
1137] Claremorris: (BLN 1257.1029) Despite the work carried out by IÉ and the RPSI, it was not
possible for engine No4 to use the turntable during the Croagh Patrick Railtour on Sat 15 May.
1138] Weed Spray Train: This was due to work from Heuston to Waterford on 26 May and on to
Limerick on 27 May, indicating no foray onto the Waterford to Rosslare line at least at this stage.
1139] Connolly - Dún Laoghaire: Engineering works result in no train service between Connolly and
Dún Laoghaire on the Irish Republic's June public holiday weekend from 4 to 6 June.
1140] : (BLN 1257.985) A temporary crossover of the 'Kletterweiche' ('climbing soft') type was
unexpectedly installed over the rails east of Jervis stop for the temporary closure to Connolly/The
Point for engineering work. Trams run to/from it ECS; there is no single line working or passenger use.
1141] Whifflet: Whifflet ground frame at 9m 45ch between Whifflet South Jn and Sunnyside Jn next
to the Up goods was due to be removed on 30 May. It used to control access to the Sheepford Coal
Depot and the Dundyvan branch. These were included in the Motherwell area resignalling stage 8 of 1
December 1973 as were ground frames in this area for the Souterhouse branch and Tennent's Siding.
1142] Craigentinny Depot: Departure Road No4 was to be brought back into use on 3 June.
1143] Muir of Ord: (BLN 1257.037): The road bridge is the A832, linking Cromarty, on the east coast, to
Gairloch on the west coast, and beyond Gairloch to Braemore Junction. It is 126 miles long and
contains some magnificent scenery. The quoted A482, runs from Rawtenstall to Long Preston!
1144] Kilmarnock: The Kilmarnock and Troon Railway opened the first station in 1812. The current
station, the third in the town, was opened in 1846 by the Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock and Ayr
Railway. It originally had six platforms of which four remain: two through (P3 and P4) and two north
facing bays (P1 and P2). The main station building is a large red sandstone structure in a quasi-Italian
style. There is a glazed canopy supported by cast iron pillars over P1, 2 and 3. Various rooms on both
the platform and lower levels were unused for many years. In 2014 a trust was formed to bring them
back into community use. Funding was gained through the Scottish Stations Community Regeneration
Fund, the Railway Heritage Trust and East Ayrshire Council's Renewable Energy Fund. The beautifully
refurbished rooms were opened on 31 Aug 2015 as 'Kilmarnock Station Community Village'. There is
office space, meeting rooms, a gift shop, bookshop, the Glasgow & South Western Railway Association
records office, a coffee shop and the offices of the Burns Line Community Rail Partnership. All have
new blue and white BR style enamel signs (pictures in e-BLN 1242.1870). These are very attractive but
are dark blue Eastern Region colour rather than the characteristic sky blue of Scottish Region. The
bookshop and 'Storm in a teacup' coffee shop are both recommended.
1145] Ben Nevis? A member, tentatively exploring the contents of a long-unopened cupboard, came
across a copy of The Sunday Post dated 5 Jun 1994. Anticipating the following day's 50th anniversary of
D-Day, two pages were given over to the said paper's issue of 11 June 1944. In this, amid the columns
dedicated to the events of WW2 and under the heading 'It's a jolly good idea', was a proposal by Fort
William Town Council for a rack and pinion railway (no gauge quoted) to the summit of Ben Nevis. It
would run parallel to the course of the West Highland line north east of Fort William (i.e. towards
Spean Bridge), then head south east up the glen between Carn Mor Dearg (pronounced 'jerrag') and
Ben Nevis (as recently as 16 Mar 2016 recalibrated to be 1,345m/4,412ft high), before curving up to
the summit. Not everyone was in favour and, perhaps not surprisingly, given the rigours and shortages
of an ongoing war, nothing came of it. This was at least the second such proposal, the first having
followed hard on the heels of the arrival of the railway in Fort Bill in 1894.
1146] That's Alright*: A British Transport Pensioners' Federation (Scotland) source reported on 19
May that Calmac (Caledonian MacBrayne) has won the competition to run the Clyde and Hebrides
Ferry service for the next eight years. Calmac will be responsible for the operations contract for
Transport Scotland and the harbours contract for CMAL (Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd.) A 10-day
'standstill' period applied from 19 May for the unsuccessful bidder, SERCO, to challenge the decision
before the contact was signed. (*With apologies to Fleetwood Mac.)
1147] Penyffordd: [Not Penyfford now, as given in TRACKmaps 4 p37E Aug 2013 and (BLN 1257.989)
the latter by your BLN Editor.] From 28 May the trailing crossover and siding which had a run round
loop were to be removed. They are the remaining stub of the curve to Hope West Jn, latterly part of a
branch to Alyn Works Synthite in Mold. Tanks of Methanol came in by rail from Haverton Hill and even
ran on a Saturday morning . Occasional coal traffic continues from Killoch Open Cast Disposal Site to
the nearby Hanson Padeswood Hall cement works. Its branch has a trailing connection off the Down
Main worked by a ground frame released from Penyffordd signal box; a train can be 'shut in' the
sidings. 'Penyffordd Signal Box' is the last intermediate box between Wrexham and Dee Marsh
Junction, (the station name was changed from Penyfford to Penyffordd in 1974).
1148] Blaenau Ffestiniog: (BLN1257.1043) A member comments that at the time of Angus' visit in Aug
1962, Blaenau Ffestiniog Central was in fact completely closed, the last freight having run on 27 Jan
1961. Track south of Trawsfynydd to Bala was soon lifted for reservoir construction work. Llan
Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd remained open as non rail connected freight depots pending possible
resumption of rail traffic after completion of the link to the ex-LNW line at Blaenau, only to be closed
from 4 May 1964, just two weeks after the line had reopened for Trawsfynydd nuclear flask traffic!
This section CG 2 Nov 1998; the last train, The Trawsfynydd Lament railtour ran on 17 Oct 1998 and
the branch was taken out of use 28 Mar 1999. Some pictures http://goo.gl/HrYRls of the line.
1149] Strata Florida: (BLN1257.1043) Angus's 1962 itinerary provides opportunity for a reminder that
construction did in fact begin on east and west approach cuttings toward the planned tunnel north of
Strata Florida. The western cutting includes what appear to be abutments for a stream crossing.
1150] Caernarfon/Caernarvon: (BLN1255.787) A member recalls that, in early 1969, the station was
fully re-equipped with bilingual signage, the only Welsh station to be so favoured in that era;
undoubtedly installed to impress visitors to the Investiture of the Prince of Wales in Caernarfon Castle
on 1 July 1969. These signs would have been in place for the last few months until CP/CA 5 Jan 1970.
The line ROG 15 Jun 1970 due to the mentioned closure of the Britannia Bridge to Anglesey and CG/CA
again 31 Jan 1972 after the bridge reopened.
1151] A Trip to Wales in 1962 - Part 2 (of 3), by Angus McDougall: (Continued from BLN 1257.1043)
Wed 15 Aug 1962: This day was based around the Central Wales line, but the first train I could
conveniently catch from Swansea where I was staying was at 10.25; so I had plenty of time for a return
trip along the main line to the east as far as Neath General.
BELOW: Swansea Victoria, in the rain, with the Shrewsbury train ready to leave, 15 Aug 1962.
The 8.05 from Swansea High Street (through to Birmingham Snow Hill) and the 8.34 return from Neath
General (a Bristol to Fishguard Harbour train) were both 'Intercity' 6-car diesel multiple units, a type
relatively unfamiliar to me.
Swansea Victoria station, a terminus just by the former Swansea and Mumbles depot, was still
characterised by LNWR signals and signal boxes; the Shrewsbury train at 10.25 was hauled by BR
standard class 5 (4-6-0) No73095. The route north started off rather perversely in a south-westerly
direction along the coast of Swansea Bay before turning northwards at Mumbles Road and then
passing through Gowerton South and across that section of the GWR main line traversed on the
previous evening to join the former GWR route from Llanelly just north of its junctions with the
Swansea District line at Pontardulais. This section was closed to all traffic with withdrawal of the
passenger service on 15 Jun 1964, a date when many lines (particularly in South Wales) succumbed to
the Beeching proposals. My train called at one of the eastern pair of platforms of the Y-shaped station
at Pontardulais; at that time the western platforms were only used by the sparse service to Llanelly
(three trains each way on weekdays only, and none at times convenient to me). At the time I rather
regretted the impossibility of fitting in a ride on one, for I was not to know that with closure of the line
south to Swansea Victoria in 1964, the surviving trains would be diverted via Llanelly, reversing there.
At Llandilo (then spelt in this way), I alighted and took the branch train to Carmarthen; this line was a
purely LNWR one (as was apparent from the intermediate stations and the signalling), and represented
that company's furthest outpost in South-West Wales. The 11.15 service to Carmarthen and the 12.35
return working were both hauled by a GWR 0-6-0PT, No9787, regrettably not by a Webb 2-4-2T as seen
outside the Carmarthen LMS shed in one of Mr Camwell's photographs in the 'Shed Scenes to
Remember' series appearing in the magazine 'Railways'. This was once a fascinating journal of branch
and secondary line activity, but later alas reduced to accounts of preservation schemes and little else.
BELOW: Trains cross at Erwood, Mid Wales line (Moat Lane Junction to Three Cocks Junction), 29 Sep 1959.
Having arrived back at Llandilo, I caught the next train north to Shrewsbury; in contradistinction to the
previous train from Swansea, the 1.29pm was a stopper, hauled by ex LMS class 5 (4-6-0) No45283. In
those days the Central Wales line still had some of the flavour of a main line, although parts were
single track. At Builth Road we crossed over the Cambrian Railways Mid Wales line (Moat Lane
Junction to Three Cocks Junction), fated to be closed to all traffic at the end of 1962, but
fortunatelytraversed by me on my earlier circular tour on 29 Sep 1959. There was a south-to-west
connection between the two lines, which never, as far as I am aware had a passenger service. It was
used to stable the royal train once overnight and later in connection with track lifting on the Mid-
The junction with the Shrewsbury & Hereford (S&H) was (and still is) at Craven Arms & Stokesay, a
railway place name to conjure with; not only was it the end of the Central Wales, but also was, until 20
April 1935, the main line terminus of the Bishops Castle Railway, a line which had caught my
imagination in past railway reading. It left the S&H at Stretford Bridge Junction north of Craven Arms,
and reached Bishops Castle by means of a reversal at Lydham Heath, where apparently a signal
guarded 'the unbuilt extension beyond' and was never, presumably, pulled off. Someone writing about
a visit to the railway in the 1930s - perhaps Mr T R Perkins - had been restrained from photographing
the elderly locomotive, the driver fearing it seems, possible unwelcome publicity. I remember seeing a
photograph of Stretford Bridge Junction before closure of the line which showed a double junction
leading to a single line almost obscured by weeds. Until recent years this was a shocking sight; railways
in Britain simply did not look like that!
At Marsh Farm Junction, a little to the north, the branch to Buildwas and Wellington went off, cut at
this end on 31 Dec 1951, but retaining a passenger service from Much Wenlock to Wellington until 23
Jul 1962 ; (I had been there earlier in the year). Craven Arms was also noteworthy since its former
goods shed housed one of the secret BR emergency control trains for the Western Region whose
presence was not publicly revealed until the stock was offered for sale in the 1980s or thereabouts.
However, in 1962 I knew nothing of this.
At Shrewsbury I had rather a shock: my intended train was the 5.42 to Ruabon, a Paddington to
Birkenhead express. It was headed by a strange looking diesel locomotive painted in what I later heard
described as 'Desert Sand' livery; a sort of mouldy yellow colour. It was D1002, later no doubt named
Western Something or other, but I think on that day (when it was quite new) carrying no name at all.
The short run to Ruabon took me under the Cambrian Railways 'main line' at Whittington and past the
junction with the branch from Oswestry at Gobowen. Both this section of the main line and the
branch itself had been visited by me previously in 1959 on my circular tour referred to earlier.
At Ruabon I caught the 6.45 train to Barmouth, which was hauled by GWR 2-6-0 No7310. As I
remember, it was quite well loaded and my compartment was also occupied by a group speaking
mostly in Welsh. From what little I could understand and from comments from others, I gathered that
many on the train had been visiting the Shrewsbury Flower Show. The railway geography of the area
immediately west of Ruabon has always intrigued me, with places such as Legacy, Aberderfyn Halt,
Gardden Lodge and Pant Brickworks, not to speak of the Monsanto Siding, reached over a private
line, catching my imagination. However little if any of this was visible from my journey through Trevor
to Corwen and beyond. Corwen I had been to before, on a rather superior railtour in the autumn of
1961 which started from Chester and visited Mold, Coed Talon, and then beyond Rhydymwyn to
Denbigh and thence to Corwen over a section of line supposedly out of regular use south of Ruthin,
(but still used for passengers by the North Wales Radio Land Cruise in 1961, its final year of operation)
and closed to all traffic on 30 Apr 1962. The railtour train was a diesel multiple unit, then much in
vogue for railtours because of their easy reversal and good visibility, and we returned to Chester via
Rhyl and the Dyserth branch from Prestatyn.
ABOVE: Stephenson Locomotive Society, 'Farewell to the Corwen line' Railtour at Denbigh, the former
Mold & Denbigh Junction. The 6-car DMU had left Chester 13.18 and arrived back 19.12 (22 Oct 1961).
BELOW: Bala Junction, an exchange station with the branch train visible far right, 15 Aug 1962.
Back in August 1962, at Bala Junction the branch train to Bala (with a pannier tank as I recall) was seen
setting off; another line I never covered, as mentioned in BLN 1257 in connection with Blaenau
Ffestiniog Central. The weather had now become rather wet and in any case the evening was drawing
in and it was, I think, quite dark by the time we reached the coast at Morfa Mawddach, (Barmouth
Junction until 13 Jun 1960). Sadly I was never able to travel over the line again; the nearest I got was
driving along the nearby main road at Drws-y-nant in the late 1960s when I noted an engineers' train
involved in the lifting of the line. At that time a common condition of closure was that track and
facilities should be retained (usually for an unspecified period) in case someone had second thoughts, I
suppose. It was rare if ever that anyone did, and, even if they had, the condition of the remaining track
and so on would probably have been so poor that relaying would have been necessary anyway. This
condition was certainly imposed on the line from Caernarvon to Afon Wen and presumably on this one
too, which closed prematurely because of flood damage on 12 Dec 1964 (the intended date was
actually 18 Jan 1965, so the temporary bus service did not run for long). My overnight stay, again
arranged ahead of time, was in Barmouth, and I seem to remember that a combination of the lateness
of my hour of arrival and the paucity of facilities in this rather depressing seaside town led to me
having to resort to a fish and chip shop for my evening meal.
Thur 16 Aug 1962: A relatively late start the next day put me on the 9.20 to Dovey Junction, hauled by
BR class 4 (4-6-0) No 75020. This had been of course my route of two days earlier when on my way to
Aberystwyth and West Wales. The train from Pwllheli formed part of the Cambrian Coast Express, the
main section of which had come from Aberystwyth. The train engine was 'Manor' class 4-6-0 No7823
(Hook Norton Manor) but we had a pilot engine for the climb from Machynlleth to Talerddig, ex GWR
2-6-0 No6378. At Welshpool I changed into the 12.15 to Whitchurch taking me north to Llanymynech.
The locomotive was yet another 'Manor', No7805 (Broome Manor). Recent layout rationalisation then
meant that the Whitchurch and Shrewsbury lines separated at Buttington Crossing as it was in 1962
and then ran parallel as two single lines as far as the site of the former junction.
BELOW: Dovey Junction, with the Cambrian Coast Express from Aberystwyth, 14 Aug 1962; the loop behind the
train was reinstated in 2010 and used regularly from May 2015. The signal box can just be seen far right middle.
ABOVE: Llanymynech; one of the 'main line' platforms and derelict auto trailer in the background, 16 Aug 1962.
I thought I knew a lot about Llanymynech; it was where the 'Potts' [The Potteries Shrewsbury and
North Wales Railway, later resurrected as the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Railway (S&M), a
Colonel Stephens enterprise] crossed the Cambrian on its way from Shrewsbury to Blodwell Junction.
But the S&M had been effectively taken over by the War Department during the Second World War
and then closed except for a short section at Shrewsbury Abbey in 1960, so I knew I would not be
likely to see such remarkable sights as the 2-2-2 'Gazelle' or the ex-LNWR 'Coal Engine' 0-6-0s. Of
course, I was right, and very little trace of the former line was to be seen; a noteworthy feature, I
suppose, was a scrap yard containing the remains of a 70ft GWR auto trailer, but that was about all.
BELOW: Oswestry, a train in the Gobowen bay, probably 29 Sep 1959.
The branch to Llanfyllin seemed likely to have a short future life (it, too closed on 18 Jan 1965, so I was
right and the whole line through Llanymynech closed on that date, too), and I was keen to travel on it.
The train was the 12.55 with Ivatt class 2 (2-6-0) No46522, of LMS design, but built by BR, and as far as I
can remember was not very well patronised; nor was the return working, at 1.30 from Llanfyllin, with
the same locomotive. For reasons I now forget (possibly a notice indicated its availability) I acquired a
copy of the BR Conditions of Carriage pamphlet from the booking office at the terminus. Reading the
fascinating and unworldly items in this document at least whiled away the time taken to return to
Llanymynech, and on to Oswestry, since it was a through train.
Oswestry station in those days was quite impressive. A large building east of the tracks beyond the
station had evidently been the Cambrian Railways workshops and the old GWR station (closed to
passengers on 7 July 1924) was still to be seen on the other side of the through tracks. My journey to
here was really only to fill in time: at 2.18 I returned south to Welshpool behind GWR 2-6-0 No6368.
The narrow gauge Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway was derelict in 1962 at the time of my visit; it
had closed on 5 Nov 1956 but remained intact but unused until 1963, when the first section reopened
as part of a preservation scheme. Eventually most of the line saw a tourist operation, although the
section east of Raven Square through the town to the main line station was never reopened. A two
minute back connection certainly would not have allowed me time to look for remains on this visit, but
some time later I definitely found some narrow gauge tracks in the former goods yard.
ABOVE: Narrow gauge track at Welshpool station (standard gauge in background), 31 May 1982
My next journey was largely over track new to me; the 3.20 to Shrewsbury hauled by 2-6-0 No7329
diverged from the Welshpool line at Buttington Crossing and then passed the junction with
theMinsterley branch at Cruckmeole Junction ground frame and the former exchange sidings with the
S&M line at Hookagate. The line was once under LNWR and GWR joint ownership, as was the
Minsterley branch and the line east of Shrewsbury to Wellington.
South from Shrewsbury to Hereford was in an 'Intercity' 3-car diesel multiple unit at 4.40. Most of the
interesting branches off this line I never visited; I have already mentioned Much Wenlock and the
Bishops Castle Railway, but there also was the freight only line to Clee Hill, and the branches to
Kington and Presteigne, and the cross country link from Woofferton to Tenbury Wells and Bewdley,
both the last two being closed to passenger traffic by this date, except for one return trip between
Bewdley and Tenbury Wells (out from Tenbury in the morning returning late afternoon, timed for
schoolchildren). There was also a link to Bromyard, which had closed on 15 Sep 1952, although much
remained in situ for some years after that, and indeed it was traversed by a railtour on 26 Apr 1958
after it had been cleared of stored wagons prior to complete closure; sidings were still to be seen
alongside the S&H route by the splendid elevated LNWR signal box at Leominster Junction.
My arrival at Hereford was sufficiently early (I had arranged to stay the night there) that I was able to
take the 6.02 to Gloucester Central (hauled by 2-6-2T No4135), returning at 7.30 behind '2251' class
0-6-0 No2249. This was through Ross-on-Wye, where I saw the remnants of another line I should much
like to have visited: the branch to Monmouth, a place I never went to by rail.
BELOW: Three Cocks Junction, had four platforms, two for the Hereford to Brecon line and two for
the Mid-Wales line. The Hereford platform, looking towards Brecon on 17 Aug 1962.
BLN 1258] ABOVE: The other side of centre platform in 1960, the 'refreshment room' (no Starbucks
then) was open despite the paucity of the train service. At the bottom is the Mid Wales line Brecon
platform, a train to Hereford is behind the signal box and the Hereford line Brecon platform is behind
that (just seen lower right behind the signal box steps). ('Flying Stag' https://goo.gl/Y53ZyJ)
BELOW: Brecon, with Newport train, 17 August 1962. (All pictures Angus McDougall unless specified.)
Fri 17 Aug 1962: The next morning saw another of the highlights of my trip; I caught the 9.02 to
Brecon, with Ivatt LMS type class 2 (2-6-0) No46523. This ran over the ex-MR route to Three Cocks
Junction, and then on via the Cambrian Railways line to Talyllyn Junction and the Brecon & Merthyr
(B&M) to Brecon. Many relics of MR ownership survived, notably signals and signal boxes, but the two
connecting lines (the Golden Valley from Pontrilas at Hay and the GWR branch from Titley at
Eardisley) had long gone. West of Three Cocks Junction was not new to me, since I had travelled that
way in 1959 to reach the Mid-Wales line from Newport and Talyllyn Junction. Having arrived in Brecon,
I promptly returned by the same route as far as Talyllyn Junction on the 12.10 to Newport, hauled by
0-6-0PT No9667. The B&M line was another magnificent railway: first was the climb through Pentir
Rhiw and the tunnel under the Brecon Beacons to Torpantau.
BELOW: Pentir-Rhiw, from the train heading for Newport, 17 August 1962.
Pontsticill Junction is now the headquarters of the narrow gauge Brecon Mountain Railway, which
follows the B&M route between Torpantau and Pant. The branch to Merthyr (Dowlais Central
station), which had then recently lost its passenger trains (on 13 Nov 1961) went off right to connect
with the LNWR Heads of the Valleys line at Morlais Tunnel Junction, and the course of this notable
LNWR line was also encountered at Pant and again at Dowlais Top.
A marvellous day out from Nottingham on 4 Jan 1958 had enabled me to travel the Heads of the
Valleys line throughout from Abergavenny Junction to Merthyr; this was on the last day of the
passenger service (freight traffic over most of the line had ceased earlier) and the day before what
must have been a wonderful railtour. Unfortunately, it was impossible to reach the tour from
Nottingham, and if we had managed to get there we should certainly not have got home again that
day. In 1958 I had no car, nor did any friend of mine, and I had never contemplated staying overnight
anywhere in order to 'do' a piece of track or go on a railtour. The tour, which has been much described
in railway magazines since, and features in a well-known recording, was hauled by two ex LNWR
engines, the last 'Coal Tank' 0-6-2T and an 0-8-0, which was supposed to have done most of the work
since the 0-6-2T had been in store for some time and was said to be hardly in the peak of condition. As
well as traversing the 'main line' the tour went from Beaufort to Ebbw Vale High Level and from
Rhymney Bridge as far towards Rhymney as was possible, since the last section of that line had been
cut by the building of a diesel unit servicing siding. However these were features I never experienced,
but at least I managed the main route; although return to Abergavenny was in the dark.
ABOVE: Dowlais Top signalbox and level crossing, 17 August 1962
Beyond Dowlais Top the B&M turned south over the mountains to its summit at Fochriw, and then
descended to the end-on connection with the former Rhymney Railway at Deri Junction, north of
Bargoed. The former B&M tracks (new for me) were regained just south of Bargoed by means of a
connection to join the Aberbargoed branch north of Pengam (Mon); this branch escaped me, since I
was unable to fit it in on this trip and it closed to all traffic at the end of the year. At Llanbradach I
looked for signs of the massive Barry Railway viaduct across the valley to Penrhos Junction which was
demolished about 1937, having been out of use since 1926 or so. There was evidence but not much of
it, as I remember. This connection was built to tap the coal traffic from the B&M line and divert to the
Barry Company's docks at Barry, but amalgamation into the GWR in 1921 removed the need for this
duplicate route. My train took me to Newport where it terminated. (To be concluded…)
1258 MINOR RAILWAYS
MR97] Cambrian Heritage Railways, Shropshire (MR p7) (BLN 1256.MR77): Cambrian Heritage
Railways (CHR) has completed the purchase of the final section of the former Gobowen to Oswestry
line, plus other adjacent lands vital to the completion of the project. The land secured comprises the
former Gobowen bay platform line and sidings alongside the main line at the station, a section of the
former coal yard and approximately ¾ mile of land and sidings that connect the NR main line to the
section of the Oswestry branch already under CHR control. CHR is currently promoting two separate
standalone projects. One is to achieve a sustainable transport service between Oswestry and
Gobowen; with this land purchase being a further step forward with this project, although there are
still a number of hurdles to overcome. The second is to develop a heritage tourist railway from
Oswestry to the site at Llynclys. The CHR's main aim over the next few years is to refurbish and
operate the existing railway from Oswestry to Weston Wharf, linking to the Stonehouse Brewery
visitor centre by Easter 2018. Currently work is progressing well; late in 2015 repairs were completed
to the first length of track. Volunteers are currently working on the next ¼ mile section, which will take
the running line to Gas Works Bridge (more commonly referred to as Salop Road). All materials needed
for this work have already been secured.
MR98] Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, Derbyshire (MR p8): The Railway held a 'Multiple Memories' gala
over the weekend of 14/15 May 2016. All trains were worked by the railway's extensive fleet of BR
'Heritage' DMUs. Both days had an hourly service between Wirksworth and Duffield. This level of
service meant the passing loop at Shottle was in use. With the single platform there being on the Up
side; trains could only call when running towards Duffield. This is due to happen again on 6 & 7 August
for the Diesel Locomotive weekend. Otherwise, all trains called at Idridgehay. A service was also being
worked over the Ravenstor incline from Wirksworth P3. On the Saturday, the 11.12 from Duffield to
Wirksworth was operated by a 5-car formation consisting of 3-car class 101 E50170/E59303/E50253,
'Bubble' W55006 and M79900 'Iris'. The whole formation was in smart BR green livery. This train ran
via the non-platform loop at Shottle to P2 at Wirksworth. At Wirksworth it was noted that the Gorsey
Bank line had been shortened somewhat [A few years ago - Ed.] and no longer reaches the level