Issue Number 1251 (Items 317 - 428 & MR 29 - MR 36) (E-BLN 45 PAGES) 20 February 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 1252 is dated 5 March and all contSroibciuettyio. ns must be received by 24 February.
Date Event Visit Type BLN Lead Notes
Sat 27/02/16 North Midlands Tracker 07.45-20.24 Crewe 1248 GJ FULL
Sat 5/03/16 Southend-on-Sea area 10.30-15.30 Five different visits 1247 RB FULL
Sun 6/03/16 Northern Powerhouse tour 09.13-19.12 Manchester Picc. 1250 JE FULL
Sat 12/03/16 Signal box visits 09.15 Malton to Seamer line 1249 NG OPEN
Fri 18/03/16 Didcot Railway Centre *NEW* 10.30 -16.00 See below 1251 KA *OPEN*
Sat 19/03/16 Pontypool & Blaenavon 10.30 Comprehensive railtour 1246 SM FULL
Sat 19/03/16 City of Newport MES 14.30/15.00 all available track 1249 PS OPEN
Mon 28/03/16 AFRPS Scunthorpe Steel 09.30-18.45 Easter Monday tour 1248 PS FULL
Thu 31/03/16 Crich Tram Museum 09.00 Visit/rare track 1250 JC OPEN
Thu 31/03/16 Sherwood Forest Rly *NEW* 13.00 SEE BELOW 1251 JC *OPEN*
Sat 2/4/16 East Lancashire Railway 10.00-18.00 DMU tour II, below 1251 KA *OPEN*
Sat 9/4/16 *NEW* Signal Boxes (BACK PAGE) 10.00 Shrewsbury 1251 NG *OPEN*
7-9/5/2016 Rare track in SW Spain Heritage line & two freight lines 1244 GB Enquire
Tue 10/5/16 LU Signal cabin Visits (3) 10.00 Whitechapel - Upminster 1251 PS OPEN
Sat 14/5/16 GWR Tracker railtour Bristol area railtour, provisional TBA TBA Claimed
20-22/05/16 Island of Ireland Tracker 06.00 Friday to 20.00 Sunday 1250 KA OPEN
Fri 3-4/6/16 Scottish Minor Railways Aberdeenshire/Perthshire 1246 TV NOTIFY
24-25/6/16 *NEW* Tracker in London area, late Fri to early hours Sat! TBA TBA Claimed
Sun 3/7/16 *NEW* Tracker tour to say goodbye to some old friends! TBA TBA Claimed
Thur 4/8/16 *NEW* Late afternoon/early evening brakevan trip (3) TBA TBA Claimed
Fri 4-6/11/16 *NEW* BLS 61st AGM, long weekend Provisional date TBA TBA Claimed
10-17/11/16 Jordan Hejaz Railway Provisional new date (enhanced) 1250 IS OPEN
GB-Geoff Blyth, GJ-Graeme Jolley, IS-Iain Scotchman, JC-John Cameron, JE-Jill Everett, KA-Kev Adlam,
NG-Nick Garnham, PS-Paul Stewart, RB-Rod Bryant, SM-Simon Mortimer, TV-Terry Velvick.
(TOP OF FRONT PAGE: The latest Society name board, carried for the first time on our Merseyrail Third
Rail Centenary Tracker of 7 February, it is hard to believe that it is made of wood! - Kev Adlam.)
317] Didcot deviations, Fri 18 Mar: 10.30 - 16.00 (expected) A very rare and highly sought after chance
to explore the Didcot Railway centre http://goo.gl/ugarF infrastructure in great detail. Includes both
running lines but most importantly the link line and sidings between them. Our special train will cover
all available lines and provide an opportunity to observe the numerous items of rolling stock on site
£26 (£31 non-members) including trackplan, stock list and souvenir ticket. Cheques: 'Branch Line
Society'. Limited to 50 participants so please apply promptly. Booking to Kev Adlam per back page.
318] BLN SCOTLAND: Please note that Mike McCabe has kindly volunteered to take over as Regional
Editor from the next BLN (1252). Contact information is on back page; see regional section.
319] Sherwood Forest Railway, Thur 31 Mar 13.00: (MR p22) Gorsethorpe Lane, near Edwinstowe,
Nottinghamshire, NG2 19HL (SK 586655). To follow the Crich visit (BLN 1250.216), 20 miles, 45 minutes
away by car, a comprehensive afternoon all lines visit to this 15" gauge railway has been arranged
(including the now completed and operational new long carriage shed branch). It is within sight of the
LD&EC Railway branch to Tuxford, High Marnham, in the depths of Sherwood Forest. Price includes a
hot drink with lunch snack; trackplan, stocklist and souvenir ticket etc. £10 BLS Members, £15 non-
members. See http://goo.gl/qeYiUX Facebook https://goo.gl/66HcHQ bookings/queries: John
Cameron (as for Crich). NB: Please advise if you require/can give lifts between the two and how many.
320] East Lancashire Railway (ELR) 'Bury Bubble Tracker II', Sat 2 Apr: Another visit following last
year's very successful 19 July tour (full report BLN 1238.1418) with thanks to our member (ELR Guard)
David Hill. 10.00 Bury Bolton Street, a rare-track bubble car 55001 DMU special. Bury Carriage Sidings,
Bury Bay platform and Belle Vue crossover are booked, then comprehensive coverage of Rawtenstall
station, including the run round loop, bay platform and headshunt, not done last year. After a lunch
break at Bury is Baron Street Yard South end and shed approaches, (not covered last year), Heywood
Hopwood GF (NR limit), both sides of the run round loop, inner and outer curve at Bury South. Back at
Bury, Baron Street Yard North end is planned before ending at the station about 18.00. Surprise pilot
traction (different from last time) is anticipated for a small section at Bury! STRICT limit 50, a souvenir
ticket, detailed stock list and updated map will be provided. Cheques/CPAs (Branch Line Society) and
enquiries to Kev Adlam (back page). £26 members; £31 non-members. Sorry, no child discounts.
PREVIOUS PAGE: A dingy wet Bury Bolton Street in BR days with a Class 504 third rail EMU in 'Rail
Blue' livery about to leave for Manchester Victoria. Bury Bolton Street CP 17 Mar 1980 when it was
replaced by the new 'Bury Interchange' now the Metrolink terminus. The station was ROP by the ELR
25 Jul 1987.) BELOW: The view in the opposite direction at Bury South Jn, looking south, with an EMU
arriving from Manchester Victoria. The sharp curve left towards Castleton (CP 5 Oct 1970) had been
singled but was still in use for domestic coal traffic to Rawtenstall (CA 8 Apr 1981) Note its checkrail
and also the telegraph wires on the right. Both Ian Mortimer.
321] LU District Line Signal Cabins (Part 3), Tue 10 May: 10.00 at Whitechapel station to visit the
signal cabin, then Barking and Upminster. Travel fast back to Barking, West Ham or Fenchurch Street
on c2c, a leisurely trip on 'S7' stock, (if very lucky, one of the last 'D78' may be running) or the branch
to Romford then Liverpool Street. BLS members only apply to Paul Stewart (email or 1st class post).
322] Unusual Track: Anticipated but should be re-checked http://goo.gl/wwSbYv
St. Neots Down Slow - P4: 20 Feb, 19.22, 19.35, XX.22 & XX.35 to 22.22 & 22.52 ex-King's Cross.
Arkleston Jn, trailing X/Os: 21 Feb, Paisley Gilmour Street to Glasgow Central 09.55, hourly
(except 12.55) until 19.55 plus 13.08, 15.36, 18.34, 21.03, 22.25 and 23.40 departures.
Down-Up Ayr connecting line, Arkleston Jn: 21 Feb, all Glasgow C. to Paisley GM St P3 EXCEPT:
09.40, 10.40, 11.40, 12.32, 13.40, 14.05, 14.40, 15.40, 16.40, 16.55, 17.40 hourly to 21.40 & 22.42.
Chesterfield P3 (Dn Barrow Hill) - Up Main: 21 Feb Northern Rail to Leeds & 20.55 to Sheffield.
Church Lane X/Os (24m 60ch): 20/21 Feb trains to Ingatestone P2 or starting P1 from/to north.
Gospel Oak Jn trailing X/O: 21 Feb, Gospel Oak P2, trains to Richmond all day (mostly 4tph).
Ebbsfleet Int., Down Channel Tunnel Rail Link to P2: 21 Feb, terminating trains ex-St. Pancras.
Ascot London end facing X/O: 21Feb, all day ½ hourly service from Waterloo terminates P1.
Basingstoke trailing X/Os: (47m 74ch) (48m 12ch), 21 Feb, 08.19-16.19 hourly to Southampton.
Ashford International, P2 in Down direction: Cannon Street/Tonbridge to Folkestone Central.
Liverpool S. Parkway P4, X/O from Up Slow on arrival: (SuX) 09.30 to 15.30 ex-Preston, hourly.
Twyford, Henley branch connection: From Henley to Twyford P4, (SSuX) 07.07, 07.42, 18.17,
19.18 & 19.55 and (MSuX) 00.18. From Twyford (P4) 05.40, 06.50, 08.14, 17.58, 18.59 & 19.38.
Bungalow IOM: Single line working to/from Laxey starts 27 Mar until further notice, X/O in use.
(ABOVE: 27050 hauled our tour onto the new River Dulnain bridge, the first passenger train on it since
BR days, note the pristine metalwork (bridge!). Looking towards Aviemore from east side - Kev Adlam.)
323] FIXTURES REPORTS, 'Aberdeen Angus' Fri 4 - Sun 6 Sep 2015: (BLN 1236.1206-1209) Participants
reported by 12.30 to the Strathspey Railway platform (P3) of the very attractive and smart Aviemore
(joint?) station at the start of our Scottish 'Track and Traction' weekend with PLEG. Commendably
some travelled all weekend by train and bus although your Editor confesses to driving 1,150 miles.
Some had not visited this delightful line before (does that mean the whole day counted as only one
new piece of track?) and nearly everyone needed the extension. Therefore, it was great to start with a
full 10m 26ch run, on which bacon butties and hot drinks were available; to be the first passenger
carrying train since BR days to run on to the reinstated River Dulnain bridge. Thanks to member Jim
Sellens for the track and traction (some believed not to have worked passenger trains) summaries.
Traction Notes From To Mileage
27050 Aviemore Dulnain Bridge EOL 10m 26ch
31327 Dulnain Bridge EOL Aviemore 10m 26ch
31327 Aviemore Dulnain Bridge EOL 10m 26ch
27050 Dulnain Bridge EOL Boat of Garten 5m 19ch
27050 Boat of Garten Yard Headshunt 0m 20ch
27050 Propelling Yard Headshunt Dock Platform 0m 24ch
27050 Dock Platform Yard Headshunt 0m 23ch
27050 Propelling Yard Headshunt Signal Box Siding 0m 15ch
27050 Signal Box Siding Yard Headshunt 0m 15ch
27050 Propelling Yard Headshunt Car Park Siding 0m 20ch
27050 Car Park Siding Clear Points, adj. to signalbox 0m 08ch
27050 Propelling Clear Points, adj. to signalbox Boat of Garten 0m 07ch
27050 Boat of Garten Aviemore 5m 07ch
08490 T&T Aviemore Platform South End Network Rail Link line 0m 09ch
D2774 T&T Network Rail Link line Loop North Points 0m 25ch
08490 T&T Loop North Points Platform North End 0m 06ch
D2774 T&T Platform North End Carriage Shed (CS) Road 2 0m 29ch
08490 T&T Carriage Shed (CS) Road 2 Single Line, Clear of CS points 0m 17ch
D2774 T&T Single Line, Clear of CS points Loco Yard Arrival Headshunt 0m 25ch
08490 T&T Loco Yard Arrival Headshunt On to Turntable 0m 27ch
D2774 T&T From Turntable Loco Shed Road 2 0m 13ch
08490 T&T Loco Shed Road 2 Turntable Line 0m 06ch
D2774 T&T Turntable Line Loco Yard Arrival Headshunt 0m 17ch
08490 T&T Loco Yard Arrival Headshunt Network Rail Link line 0m 52ch
D2774 T&T Network Rail Link line Aviemore Platform South End 0m 09ch
Coaches were used as preferred by some (and it was a long visit). After a few full length runs to
familiarise participants with this lovely railway, and build up some mileage for the haulage fraternity, a
mini tour was undertaken at Boat of Garten. The ends of lines were reached in all cases except the
siding adjacent to the south signal box which had an immovable item at its extremity. This signalbox
has an interesting Strathspey designed periscope mirror arrangement, which greatly improves visibility
to the north. The car park (transhipment) siding was particularly choice. Back at Aviemore it had been
intended to run two track tours but, with time being tight, incredibly all those who wanted the track
fitted (just about, the Guinness Book of Records are looking into it) into the single TSO. Those just
wanting the haulage were satisfied by a local station run (a Kev Adlam masterstroke). It was very good
to have such comprehensive coverage because the layout is due to change soon with the creation of a
new passing loop on the site of the original Aviemore (Speyside) station just north of the 'joint' station
to increase line capacity for galas and specials. It was excellent to run on to the turntable and
particularly poignant to reach the end of the middle of the three roads in 'The Roy Hamilton Carriage
Shed' which has a very suitable external nameboard in memory of the great man and BLS icon. For
details, pictures and a red-penned map see http://goo.gl/ZhQhlT on the PLEG website. This superb
event (like the others this weekend) was the epitome of what can be achieved by collaborative
working; great track and traction attracting 129 participants to a relatively remote and little visited
railway on a weekday. A very good financial result to support the very friendly and accommodating
Strathspey Railway too. Thanks to Ian Loveday for the arrangements here which worked very well.
(ABOVE: Part of the 360o degree circular Aviemore turntable rail from the tour train - Geoff Noakes.)
Traction From To Mileage 324] Day 2, The Caledonian
26014 & 27024 Bridge of Dun P2 Brechin P1 4m 00ch Railway, Sat 5 Sep: 130 people
12093 (T&T) & Brechin P2 Brechin ex-East Jn 0m 61ch starting early or late according to
08046 (T&T) Brechin ex-East Jn Brechin P1 0m 61ch where they had come from,
Loco Shed Road Mainline points 0m 09ch converged on the lovely market
211 Mainline points Loco Shed Road 0m 09ch town (once traditionally a city) of
211 Loco Shed Road Single line overlap 0m 10ch Brechin in Angus for 10.30. For
211 Single line overlap Loco Shed Road 0m 10ch many it was their first visit in
211 Brechin P1 Bridge of Dun P1 4m 00ch preservation and reminiscences
27024 & 26014 were exchanged about previous
BR days' railtours and brakevan trips (CA 4 May 1981). As well as both platforms at each station, most
of the rare engine shed branch was covered at Brechin. See http://goo.gl/UjEmr5 also. There was
much of interest to see and refreshments were available. (BELOW: Bridge of Dun station taken during
an all line possession after the tour had finished; the BLS, PLEG and Caledonian Railway teams
intermingle. The rebuilt P1 is left, P2 (original) is on the right, looking east towards Kinnaber Jn (the
end of the current line is just beyond the coaches); Brechin (and Forfar) are behind the photographer.
This was once a main line from Glasgow (and London Euston) to Aberdeen used by Nigel Gresley's A4s!
Some of our miniature men (and ladies!)
then made carefully for Kerr's Miniature
Railway at Arbroath (via the local road train
in some cases); it was no coincidence that
this 7¼" gauge line was shown on the track
plan for the weekend. This very friendly
railway dates from 1935 and is owned and
run by the third generation of the Kerr
family. After a few 'normal' runs a quorum
was secured for an 'ad hoc' all lines special
after public running. This was duly achieved
including ends of lines at all three 'West
Links' station platforms, across the turntable
into the loco shed (just) and No3 carriage
siding. Trains normally propel back from the
far 'Hospitalfield Halt' terminus but for the
first time in many years the run round loop was used (and by a coach with passengers too). Even more
unusually was the run onto the turntable from the platform line involving travelling through a bush to
the buffer stops! (Yes, we were bushed!) Every 'big train' passing on the adjacent Aberdeen to Dundee
line sounded a friendly greeting on their horn and the drivers waved. (ABOVE LEFT: Track in hand is
worth two length in the bush? Some random members at the end of line; Kerr's Miniature Railway
turntable - disused for years and seized up (it was checked) - one of the red wheel on which it used to
rotate can be made out beneath the rear of the coach. Geoff Noakes)
From To Mileage 325] Day 3, The Royal Deeside
Milton of Crathes Sidings, past Birkenbaud LC 0m 75ch Railway, Sun 6 Sep: 66 people
made it to this relatively new
Sidings, past Birkenbaud LC Milton rounding headshunt 1m 00ch standard gauge heritage line on
the trackbed of the Ballater
Milton rounding headshunt Loco Shed Road 0m 07ch branch http://goo.gl/WRZXVc
(CA 18 Jul 1966) with great
Loco Shed Road Run round siding 0m 06ch prospects for future expansion.
Run round siding Single line, passenger limit 0m 61ch
Single line, passenger limit Milton of Crathes 0m 57ch
Starting at 10.00 from Milton of Crathes station, a new location but in original style, a very thorough
trip using 03094 over the 1m 8ch line followed, heading west, before public running. Our train was the
first carrying passengers on the extension over Birkenbaud level crossing and beyond. Back at Milton,
the running line's eastern extremity, the rounding loop headshunt and the start of the steam shed
branch were all visited, with a full traversal of the loop as well. We were made most welcome and
participants could stay on for extra public runs. Thanks to Kev Adlam for arranging this excellent visit
(which was, for many, their first here) and the previous one to the Caledonian Railway as part of this
weekend. One feature of the three days was that there was plenty of leisure time for additional
activities and socialising (for those not commuting from Stirling!).
After Deeside some went for a ride on the 2ft gauge Alford Valley
Railway, 24 miles away, Stonehaven's land train and/or Craigtoun
Miniature (which was running at 16.40, Alan!) near St. Andrews
while others, perhaps bravely, visited the Tweedbank line (its first
day of normal public service) on their way home. Thanks to
everyone involved in the organisation and execution of a most
enjoyable and memorable Scottish weekend. RIGHT: Stonehaven's
Road Train on the afternoon of 6 Sep 2015, also showing what a
lovely sunny day it was for our Royal Deeside visit. (Kev Adlam)
(ABOVE: 47786 waiting to lead out of Cleethorpes P3, extreme middle right are original GCR station buildings.)
326] EDF* Tracker, Sat 23 Jan 2016: It was an overcast but dry morning when we awoke, and still a
long way from dawn. After an early start, our car joined a multitude of others at Carnforth station. It
was initially very quiet, but the nearby Co-op was open and enjoying an unexpected amount of
business. After previous doubts over where, or even whether, the charter would be running, there was
much relief when diesel engine noises could be heard from the WCRC depot behind the wall. A trip
round the West Burton Power Station tracks had been denied to us at a late stage, due to new security
concerns after the recent events in France. Many unusual loops and crossovers were still to be taken,
though, and a grand day out was still anticipated. Crowds of familiar faces started to gather on P1,
much to the concern of a few locals who had come for the first service train. This came and went.
*Ermintrude, Dougal and Florence (of Magic Roundabout fame originally from France) also Électricité
de France, the World's largest electricity producer. The coaches were labelled Angus, Brian, Carousel,
Dougal, Ermintrude, Florence (3093 named 'Florence'), Gardener McHenry, and of course, Zebedee.
A mobile 'phone rang, and there was a message to be imparted to our tour participants; there would
be a delay, as the train was still being shunted. Many of us who had found people to chat to reflected
that this was not going to be a 'Brief Encounter'! Two more service trains were booked to call soon
after our booked departure time and, in the event, these were given priority. Once they had cleared,
our (almost!) ECS came in, with 37706 (top) and 47786 'Roy Castle OBE' (tail), including a very nice
Pullman car ('Amethyst') for some lucky first class passengers. Departure, scheduled for 07.20, was at
07.49 (from 'Realtime Trains').
LEFT: Early morning at Carnforth;
just one question: "Where exactly is
Platform 1?" (Jenny Williamson.)
The first highlight of the day, and
the reason for such a large crowd
this early, was the rare departure to
the Wennington line (for a change)
most unusually from P1 over the
trailing crossover, requiring the
presence of a Mobile Operations
Manager (who, fortunately, was able
to stay on despite the delay). As we
headed off, daylight started to
arrive, and we could see vast areas
still affected by the December
floods, topped up by more recent
downpours. The tour made steady
progress along Britain's longest double track signalling block section (24 miles Carnforth Station Jn to
Settle Jn) but was still half an hour late at Hellifield. There were many on the platform, waiting for a
delayed steam train (two Black Fives, 44871 & 45407, locums for 'Flying Scotsman'). In its absence,
clearly desperation had set in, and we were well photographed running through the Up Goods Loop!
Two more service trains were booked to call soon after our booked departure time and, in the event,
these were given priority. Once they had cleared, our (almost!) ECS came in, with 37706 (top) and
47786 'Roy Castle OBE' (tail), including a very nice Pullman car ('Amethyst') for some lucky first class
passengers. Departure, scheduled for 07.20, was at 07.49 (from 'Realtime Trains'). The first highlight of
the day, and the reason for such a large crowd this early, was the rare departure to the Wennington
line (for a change) most unusually from P1 over the trailing crossover, requiring the presence of a
Mobile Operations Manager (who, fortunately, was able to stay on despite the delay). As we headed
off, daylight started to arrive, and we could see vast areas still affected by the December floods,
topped up by more recent downpours. The tour made steady progress along Britain's longest double
track signalling block section (24 miles Carnforth Station Jn to Settle Jn) but was still half an hour late
at Hellifield. There were many on the platform, waiting for a delayed steam train (two Black Fives,
44871 & 45407, locums for 'Flying Scotsman'). In its absence, clearly desperation had set in, and we
were well photographed running through the Up Goods Loop!
Having not made up any time, some were anxious about the rare Skipton move, but the tour did cross
to P3 and back to the Up line, then had to follow a stopping train from Skipton. By this time, our coach
was warming up, enhanced by the shining sun! The train gradually started to gain time, importantly
without losing any of our booked track (Kirkstall Up Loop, Whitehall Up West Curve avoiding Leeds,
Turners Lane Jn, Hare Park Jn and Hemsworth Up Loop). Beyond the disused Wintersett opencast
loading sidings near Nostell, significant work was noted to the right on the new Crofton Cooperative
drift coal mine (incredibly) due to start production in June. By Doncaster P4 we were nearly back on
schedule. After the Down/Up West Slow No1 to Belmont, the routing was via the Up Reception Loop,
rather than through the Up West Reception (due to the 'Back Road' being occupied by a long row of
stabled GBRf locos) - bonus! It is a 'more desirable', rarer length of track. We were now a few minutes
early. After the Up West Reception and the Up Flyover line came one of the highlights of the day for
many, the South Yorkshire Joint Line from St. Catherine's Jn (Down line) to Brancliffe East Jn, a 15¼
mile, mostly single track line taking three quarters of an hour to traverse. Sadly, there is now
nointermediate freight. At Worksop, the Up Reception received us and we departed from Departure
No1. The Brigg line (unusually with 'SO' passenger trains) was taken. At Brigg: http://goo.gl/9rlub1
(BELOW: Passing Brigg brought back memories of our 3 Jun 1981 evening trip on the sugar factory
branch there. The day had started for 25 Members at 08.00 with comprehensive trips at Bardney Sugar
Factory followed by Keadby Power Station then a brakevan trip from Dragonby Sidings to the closed
Normanby Park Steel Works (the railway was still useable) and Flixborough Wharf. LEFT: At Brigg the
main line (seen behind the loco) had rather more passenger trains then! The British Sugar loco is seen
at the end of the very long headshunt which ran alongside the main line then veered off into a field
(map bottom left) - it is on track, honest! - Ian Mortimer. The site is now a gas fired power station)
Back in 2016, at Barnetby, there was a 'bonus' of Reception Siding No1 (effectively the station
avoiding line) instead of the Up slow through P1. Gosh, a few extra crossovers! Of note, the famous
semaphores were no more with the recent resignalling. Then the bidirectional Down Cleethorpes
Goods in the Up direction to Barnetby East Jn was taken. Everything had gone remarkably well, and
we were only two minutes late at Cleethorpes, but… into P3, not the advertised rarely used P4. There
was a great outpouring of grief from those who had not previously managed to tick it off. (Much effort
was put into trying to move the train to P4, but it was just too long for the track section, and the York
ROC signalman could not allow an unauthorised move.) With about 45 minutes to enjoy the delights of
Cleethorpes, most people bought fish and chips, which smelt delightful (though a little overpowering
for a while back on board!) We were struck by how friendly the town was; every few yards we passed
someone who said 'Hello'!. Yes, all right, it may have had something to do with the fact that most of
the people were off the tour! The station cat (Clawthorpes?) was very friendly too and many 'pawsed'
to offer greetings. (Pictured BELOW RIGHT: Waiting for relatives arriving from Catford, Purley or
Kittybrewster perhaps?) An early return to the train allowed a departure two minutes before booked
time. Another on the day bonus was a
deviation via the elusive Pasture Street
Up/Down Passenger Loop (no booked
passenger use) which had also been taken
into Cleethorpes; pleasing those of our
number who are bi-directional! The train
went down the Down Goods Line in the
more usual direction at Brocklesby West
Jn. At Barnetby it was Down Reception
No2 this time and subsequently Northorpe
loop (in the opposite direction to our 2012
tour) thanks to our diligent traincrew
querying the signal for the main line.
(BELOW: Cleethorpes in P3, the elusive P4 is right, but rest assured, our FS is a very determined man!)
By Retford, we were nearly twenty minutes late, but still managed to be received by the Worksop
Down Reception Line and depart via the Down Departure No1. All was not lost, as there was plenty of
recovery time to play with, so we were on time leaving Sheffield, where we reversed in the very choice
middle road; Up Slow Siding No2 (not quickly either!). It was dark and the longest row of cats' eyes
(OK, ground position signals to you) any of us had ever seen were lit up, just like an airport runway.
RIGHT: Tour section mileages thanks FROM: TO: * ** DISTANCE:
to member Jim Sellens, *loco leading
**loco at rear (if there was one). Carnforth Depot Plat. North Headshunt No2. 37 - 0m 15ch
After a generally bright and at times North Headshunt No2. Down Furness Goods 37 - 0m 21ch
sunny day, the rain arrived, but this Down Furness Goods Carnforth U&DG No1 47 37 0m 26ch
did not dampen spirits on the train.
The rest of the return journey was as Carnforth U&DG No1 Cleethorpes 37 47 172m 64ch
Carnforth Cleethorpes 37 47 172m 44ch
advertised, including the Shipley Cleethorpes 37 47 119m 32ch
Roundwood Chord, Kilnhurst Up Doncaster Cleethorpes 37 47 77m 11ch
Loop, Cadeby Up Goods Loop, the Cleethorpes Sheffield 47 37 71m 40ch
Up Sheffield Goods Lines at Sheffield Doncaster 37 47 18m 29ch
Hexthorpe Goods Jn, Hemsworth Sheffield Shipley 37 47 60m 50ch
Down Loop, Whitehall Down West
Curve and Kirkstall Down Loop. At Sheffield Carnforth 37 47 113m 62ch
Skipton, where there was a train in Sheffield Carnforth U&DG No2 37 47 114m 02ch
our booked P4, (so it can be done),
we perhaps wisely ran through P3 Carnforth U&DG No2 Down Furness Goods 47 37 0m 24ch
instead. The finale was the Hellifield
Down Goods Loop. Arrival back in Down Furness Goods North Headshunt No2 47 - 0m 21ch
North Headshunt No2 Carnforth Depot Plat. 47 - 0m 19ch
Carnforth P1 at 21.20 was five
minutes early. Despite the West Burton disappointment, there was plenty of interest on this very
enjoyable and sociable tour. A few had cancelled their bookings, but there were some late comers,
including 'pay on the day' and loco haulage chasers, who paid part fares to enjoy the distinctive noise
of a working Class 37 engine from coach 'Angus'
This Tracker ran in support of the Marie Curie (care) Charity. The raffle, 'loose change collection', Mike
McCabe's thought provoking topical quiz, and the sale of coach decals made about £1,000 on the day
to add to EDF's (West Burton Power Station) very generous £2,500 donation. All in all,
anotherexcellent tour with a great friendly atmosphere. Profuse thanks are due to our FS, Kev Adlam,
for all of the hours of hard work, blood sweat and tears, that he put in behind the scenes and on the
day. Thanks also to the West Coast train crews, who ensured a good day out and to the stewards, who
all worked so. Not to be forgotten are those giving their time and effort behind the scenes before
tours, with bookings, stock lists, maps, tickets, itinerary Unusual Track summaries etc, who rarely
receive enough thanks. All unglamorous and low profile but essential tasks.
(ABOVE: It is well known that BLS visits reach the parts that others don't reach! This is the view west
from the roof of the former Keadby Power Station (coal fired) on 3 Jun 1981, after the track had been
traversed of course! It was a very distinctive large brick building with a flat roof, visible from miles
around in the flat open North Lincolnshire countryside and operated from 1952 to 1984. There is a gas-
fired station here now. The exchange sidings can be seen with a CEGB (Central Electricity Generating
Board) yellow locomotive and
a freight train from the
Scunthorpe to Doncaster
direction is passing on the
left. Far left is the Stainforth
and Keadby Canal, the power
station is on the River Trent,
behind the photographer.
Note the coal stocks (right)
were low as the station was
on standby only by then.
ABOVE LEFT: A 1954 map extract; the power station building (just a few years old then) is just below
the 'K' in Keadby and the BR exchange sidings are to the left leading to the main line connection.
Doncaster is to the left and Scunthorpe right. The River Trent flows from bottom to top. Just south of
the power station where the main lines heads southeast to Scunthorpe is Keadby Canal Jn, the straight
branch heading east to the locks is to Keadby (OP 10 Sep 1959, RN 'Keadby for Amcotts and
Burringham' 1 Oct 1866, CP 2 Nov 1874, CG 3 May 1971). On the opposite side of the river is the
Gunness Wharf Branch (CG by 1981) from Gunhouse Jn off to the right.
1251 HEAD LINES
327] Manchester United Football Ground: (BLN 1250.264) The railway passenger facility TCP from
Wed 25 Nov 2015 (the first date the trains should have run but were cancelled due to local security
concerns). ROP Sat 23 Jan 2016. It was also temporarily closed during World War II. (See NW Section.)
328] Gidea Park, Station Jn - Carriage Sidings - Country End Jn: (BLN 1249.131) Crossrail works to
remodel the carriage sidings have been deferred due to design issues. From 1 February Sidings 1 to 5
and the country end spur were brought back into operational use (previously TOOU from 18 January).
329] Arcow Quarry GF - Arcow Quarry Sidings: (BLN 1250.228) Following the trial train of 26 Jan 2016;
the first commercial traffic ran 1 Feb 2016, aggregate to Pendleton. Bredbury has since received stone
too. On 3 February the unusual situation occurred of a train loading aggregates in Ribblehead sidings
for Hunslet followed by the train loading at Arcow, both going to Blea Moor Loop to run round, so four
loaded trains crossed Ribblehead Viaduct within two or three hours of each other!
330] Folkestone - Dover, west end of Martello Tunnel (71m 22ch) - (76m 41ch): (BLN 1250.274) TCA.
From 6 Feb 2016 these Up & Down lines were abolished and a 'High Street Environment' established
for sea wall repairs. Buffer stops were installed on both lines at each location with derailers at the
(Dover) end of the Up line. Past the derailers the Up line is now a 623m siding (with buffer stops).
331] Riding Mill (incl) - Prudhoe (excl) & Stocksfield station: (BLN 1249.134) ROP Mon 25 Jan; TCP 7
Jan 2016 due a landslip and cracked sewer pipe at Farnley Haugh. After the local MP intervened, peak
trains ran: (SSuX) 06.11, 07.39, 17.41 & 18.48 ex-Riding Mill and 06.46, 16.54 & 17.54 from Newcastle.
332] Hexham - Riding Mill (both excl) and Corbridge station: ROP 8 Feb after TCP during 7 Jan 2016.
From 20 February to 26 March ticket prices (west of Blaydon) are reduced by up to 50% (weekly
season tickets one per customer); monthly and annual season ticket holders can claim a free week. Off
peak day returns reduce by up to 25% and the equivalent single ticket is 50p less than the return.
Some spectacular pictures of this landslip at http://goo.gl/4F4MfW the Northern Rail website.
833] Weardale Railway, North Pole (staff platform) (5m 40ch*) - Primrose Hill LC (12m 7ch**)
(NZ 1961 2935): (MR p9) (BLN 1239.MR132) An eight mile section, TROP on 6 & 7 Feb 2016 only,
special event, three return trips (no alighting) from Stanhope, nine coaches top & tailed by Class 47
locos (e-BLN 1250.X13). The previous public train east of North Pole platform ran on 28 Oct 2012 (BLN
1187.846). Since 26 Nov 2012 seasonal (advance booking) Christmas 'Polar Expresses' have run to the
site of North Pole (staff only) platform (platform provided for the 2013 season and first used 15 Nov
2013). Seasonal summer dated Heritage DMU services between Stanhope and Wolsingham have run
since 14 Jun 2014. Eastwards beyond Primrose Hill LC , Scotch Isle (12m 05ch) to Bishop Auckland
West (11m 75ch) remains TCA (from 26 Apr 2014) at the appropriately named 'Broken Banks' due to
embankment subsidence immediately west of Bishop Auckland. Slippage has been a long-term
problem at this location for several decades. Previously used by occasional special Weardale Railway
passenger trains only. *From ex-Wear Valley Jn **From Darlington, Parkgate Jn; distances are approx.
334] Carlisle, Petteril Bridge Jn - Appleby (excl.) also Armathwaite, Lazonby & Kirkoswald and
Langwathby stations: TCP (further notice) 06.14 on 9 Feb 2016 (29m 70ch), Eden Brows landslip.
335] Carlisle, Petteril Bridge Jn - Newbiggin, British Gypsum, Kirkby Thore (282m 05ch): TCG 9 Feb
2016 (previous entry). Incoming FGD gypsum by rail from the south produced by coal fired power
station flue gas desulphurisation. It is nearly identical to, and supplements, that mined. Usually two or
three trains per week each carry 1,000 tonnes from Fiddlers Ferry or Drax. (See North West section.)
336] St. Helens Down Goods Loop - Ravenhead 'Yard': ROG 10 Feb 2016, trial train of sand for
Pilkington's Glass Works (originating at Middleton Towers and tripped from Arpley Sidings by 66097
via Bamfurlong Curve). The wagons arrived at 06.18 and returned at 17.09. It ran in the path of a train
from Middleton Towers that normally runs to Ellesmere Port for 'Encirc Glass' (ex-Quinn Glass).
337] Welsh Highland Railway, Pont Croesor station: TCP from 11 Feb 2016 due to engineering work
obstructing platform access. The loop was originally constructed with two left-hand points (the only
ones available) with a resultant awkward reverse curve at the north end. A new right-hand point has
been installed to improve the alignment (currently loop is OOU) which has to be connected. Both the
'straight' (currently used by all trains) and loop routes will be realigned at the north end of the station.
338] Shipley South Jn - Crossley Evans Scrapyard: On Sat 13 Feb 2016 a trial light engine worked from
Derby (08.27/15.33) to the depot (12.06/12.40) which is on the Up side of the line immediately south
of Shipley South Jn. No traffic has been seen for some years; in 2013 the eight acre site was being
considered for a supermarket development (BLN 1184.638). News of any scrap traffic appreciated.
339] Helston Railway, passenger limit (6m 77ch) - site of Truthall Halt (7m 00ch): (BLN 1183.566) On
13 Feb 2016 a trial empty passenger train ran in the morning; special event (CP 5 Nov 1962). Note:
Trevarno station (BLN 1250.X12) TCP after service 21 Oct 2012; ROP 29 Mar 2013 (as a 'request stop').
By 17 February the line had been extended by one track panel north at Prospidnick. Passenger
services start from the extreme south end of that platform because of stabled rolling stock; if this was
to bemoved further north, the passenger run could then be extended (future reports welcome).
340] *Claydon L&NE Jn (excl) - Bicester, Gavray Jn (excl): (BLN 1248.10) Was NRU; TCA 13 Feb until 26
Mar 2016 for completion of level crossing remedial works. There are temporary stop blocks at Claydon
(13m 00ch) and Bicester (18m 40ch). (*Loop in use for Calvert Tip trains from Aylesbury to run round.)
341] Epping Ongar Railway, Coopersale Bridge (7.8km) (TL 4761 0308) - Epping Forest (9.4km)
(TL 4647 0186): From 13 Feb 2016 TCP/TCA until further notice. (Distances from Ongar buffer stops).
The LU boundary is now at 9.5km and not 9.2km as shown in (TRACKmaps vol.5 p38B Nov 2008).
342] Yate Middle Jn - Tytherington: (BLN 1210.886) Branch is confirmed OOU long term past 0m 30ch.
343] Scottish & Southern Energy, Fiddlers Ferry Power Station branch and loop: CG of this 1½ route
mile (2½ miles round trip) private line is possible by or not long after 1 April, (See North West section).
344] 'Engie', Rugeley 'B' Power Station Jn (13m 69ch) - Rugeley 'B' Power Station: CG of this 1m 40ch
private branch is expected 'early summer' with the closure of the plant (see West Midlands section).
The last railtour was our 'Donnington Farewell' of 6 July 1991, top and tail class 37s with 10 coaches.
1251 BLN GENERAL
345] Third Rail Centenary Tracker, Sun 8 Feb: Thanks to the generosity of the 156 participants on our
Merseyrail tour £11,537.67 was raised, shared equally by Claire House Childrens' Hospice and The
Community Link Foundation. A very enjoyable and interesting day in great company and nice sunshine.
346] EDF Tracker Quiz, 23 Jan 2016, Answers: With thanks to our BLS Quizmaster, Mike McCabe:
(1) Carnforth's shed code on its closure to steam in August 1968 was 10A.
(2) The railway scenes of the famous film 'Brief Encounter' were mainly filmed at Carnforth station.
(3) Lancaster - Morecambe and Heysham EMUs were maintained at Morecambe Promenade station.
(4) The April 1979 derailment of 40023 on a china clay train resulted in Settle Jn being re-modelled.
(5) The closed line from Clapham ('Little' North Western Railway) joined the WCML at Lowgill.
(6) The former BR London Midland/Eastern Region boundary was at Cononley or Snaygill.
(7) The 'Bingley Five-Rise' is the name given to a flight of locks on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
(8) The DMU depot in Bradford was known as Hammerton Street.
(9) The first stage of Doncaster Power Signalling Box was commissioned on 7 Jul 1979.
(10) Grimsby Town's football ground is unusual in being located in Cleethorpes rather than at Grimsby.
(11) The Humber ferry (New Holland Pier to Hull Corporation Pier) ceased from 24 Jun 1981.
(12) 'Wingfield Castle', 'Tattershall Castle' & 'Lincoln Castle' paddle steamers ran on it until 1974/78.
(13) A person from Grimsby is called a Grimbarian.
(14) The World's oldest classic horse race run at Doncaster is the St. Leger Stakes.
(15) The famous railway photographer Eric Treacy's bishopric was at Wakefield.
(16) Liquorice was the confectionery ingredient grown, uniquely for Britain, around Pontefract.
(17) Wakefield Viaduct has 95 arches.
(18) Leeds's former three main stations were City, Central and Wellington to boot.
(19) Gainsborough is Britain's most inland port (not Goole, and Wakefield Europort does not count!).
(20) Sheffield is the city with the highest ratio of trees to people (and thus BLS Members?).
X14] BLS Furniture Department: LEFT: After the glass
table wagon (e-BLN 1247); a table/desk made of old
narrow gauge rails, chairs and sleepers. (Kev Adlam)
347] Points & Slips: BLN 1249.156] Uxbridge P1 in the
Metropolitan Line Microgricing guide is used by
Piccadilly Line services exclusively (SO) from 13.10
until 18.10 not (SuO). MR12] The Gloucestershire
Warwickshire Railway's website is consistent in
referring to its southern terminus as Cheltenham Race
Course rather than the often-misrendered (including
in Baker 14th Edition) 'Cheltenham Racecourse'. This
accords with our member's clear (2004) personal
recollection of the running-in board. The error is
understandable, of course, as the same website refers
to the actual course (correctly) as Cheltenham
Racecourse! BLN 1250.221] Ketton Cement Railway
fixture: 08622 worked passenger services at a 2011
Nene Valley Railway gala but 08375 is thought not to
have worked passenger trains before. 227] It is only the Blackpool Tram Heritage 'North Pier' stop that
was renamed to 'North Pier & Tower' from 21 Jan 2016. These ground level stops shown on
TRACKmaps vol.4 p49E (Aug 2013), are generally unidirectional and deliberately separate from the
modern paltformed stops to avoid confusion and separate out the passengers. The modern stops here
are unaffected by the renaming (there is a separate 'Tower' stop to the south). Interestingly 'North
Pier' northbound and southbound modern stops are 360m apart, north and south of the junction for
the new branch to Blackpool North station respectively; the Heritage stop is between them on the
seaside of the line by the loop. The loop sometimes has a heritage tram parked in it selling souvenirs
etc. 234] Fintown Railway: The railway certainly carried passengers on 18 Aug 2015; there is a report
of that it sometimes did not run if there were insufficient passengers to make it worthwhile. 255] In e-
BLN Whitby West Cliff to Prospect Hill Jn CA 12 Jun (not Sep) 1961. The NER itself very rarely used the
word 'Junction', it would be interesting to know why and our new North Eastern Editor (who was not
responsible for any of the errors in BLN 1250) has promised to write further on this. However,
Battersby station was named Ingleby Junction when OP in 1858 then Battersby Junction from 1861 to
1878 becoming 'Battersby' in 1893 even though four lines joined there. The NER Robin Hood Bay
should have been 'Robin Hood's Bay' (village, bay and station - no bay platform though!)
Item 257] regarding the Alnwick to Coldstream: The line (OG Coldstream - Wooperton 2 May 1887, OA
throughout 5 Sep 1887; CP 22 Sep 1930 (throughout), apologies for part of this accidentally being
deleted by the Editor in BLN 1250 (it would not have happened in typewriter and stencil days). A
member advises that 'Ilderton - Wooler CA 12 Aug 1948' due to flood damage; is not strictly correct:
There were two serious floods that breached the Alnwick - Coldstream line within just over fourteen
months. The first on 12 Aug 1948 caused the loss of two river bridges between Kirknewton and
Mindrum, the line was then worked as two separate branches for freight traffic: Alnwick - Kirknewton
from the south and Coldstream - Mindrum from the north. On the night of the 25/26 Oct 1949
another deluge washed out a river bridge between Ilderton and Wooler, permanently closing this
section. However, to prevent the rail isolation of Wooler, Akeld and Kirknewton, BR hastily re-instated
Kirknewton to Mindrum, (an amazing thought in 2016!). The revised two separate sections of line
became Alnwick - Ilderton and Coldstream - Wooler, which applied until the CA 2 Mar 1953 and CA 29
Mar 1965 closures respectively, as shown in BLN 1250. Whittingham station was relatively unusual for
the NER in having an island platform with the station building on in the context of single track lines
with passing loops (it was not intended to include Berwick-upon-Tweed or Darlington etc in this).
Item 264] In paper BLN regarding overhead electrification, supporting 'centenary' should have been
'catenary' (although perhaps it was installed in 1916?); this was corrected in e-BLN. 267] Angus
McDougall's extensively illustrated article on the M&GNR proved very popular and it is hoped to have
similar items in future. The 'Final' in the title was because it was the very last day that passengers
services actually ran on much of it, even though a few sections remained open, particularly the then
surviving parts of the former Norfolk & Suffolk Joint Committee and more for freight. The very
unpopular King's Lynn 'harbor' in the e-BLN map caption should, of course, have been 'harbour' and if
anyone can advise the Editor how to stop his spell checker repeatedly revert to 'English-USA' he (and
all the members who pointed it out) will be grateful. The term 'Cromer (avoider)' refers to Cromer,
Newstead Lane Jn to Runton West Jn the 'third side of the triangle' avoiding a reversal in Cromer
Beach station. The trackbed is largely complete and there has even been talk of reinstatement.
348] Happy Christmas Camping Coaches: (BLN 1247.2279.1) In answer to the first Christmas Quiz
there are at least 85 'items of railway rolling stock' of various kinds that the public can stay in. These
vary from converted goods brake vans, plank and parcels wagons, milk vans and mail coaches to a
large selection of former UK and foreign standard and narrow gauge passenger coaches, Pullmans and
even an EMU; some pre-grouping. In fact, you name it and you can probably stay in it! The Brunel
Railway Camping Park at Dawlish Warren has one of the two largest UK collections (BLN 1247.2327).
The park confirmed that, sadly, it is closing at the end of this season. See https://goo.gl/Y6vW15 or
01626 888527. The other location with eight vehicles for hire is at Aberporth costal footpath on
Cardigan Bay. Our grateful thanks go to our friend Mick Cottam who runs the very informative website
http://uklocos.com/ for long-term help with stock lists for our fixtures. Mick has kindly compiled a
summary of available accommodation, by county, downloadable with this e-BLN. Please email him at
[email protected] with any additions or alterations. One member, at least, is known to 'collect' stays
in former Railway/British Transport Hotels; does anyone collect stays in 'Rail Vehicle Accommodation'?
A reminder that e-BLN (with e-BLNI) is free to anyone who takes the paper version. Edition No 1250
included 10 downloads, 20 maps/plans and 42 pictures. From 1 May our electronic subscription is £12.
1251 EAST MIDLANDS
349] Nottingham NET: (BLN 1250.220 & 242) A member confirms that Old Market Square trailing
crossover was in use by trams departing north in service on 12 February and the south bound track
was being dug up. As expected, the other end of the closure at Nottingham Station was an ECS shunt
north to the scissors crossovers and back to the southbound platform. It took two attempts to do the
crossover at Toton Lane not covered by our excellent 6 December NET Tracker. A spare tram was
parked in the loop at University (covered on our tour) presumably standby for extra workings/failures.
350] Nottingham Suburban Railway (BLN 1250.241) The intermediate stations CP 1 July 1916, but the
line remained in regular passenger use by non-stop trains (so would have been in PSUL had it been
available) until CP 14 Sep 1931. Of note, Thorneywood and Sherwood were renovated for use on just
10 July 1928 to transport schoolchildren to nearby Woodthorpe Park. Here King George V and Queen
Mary reviewed the gathering between their visits to Wollaton Park and the new university buildings.
(ABOVE LEFT: Thorneywood after closure to goods traffic (CG 1 Aug 1951), and RIGHT: 20 Aug 1994.
The site is now both covered by new housing, as are Sherwood and St. Ann's Well. Angus McDougall.)
351] Sleaford: North Junction signal box was still standing on 6 February but very dilapidated and
boarded up. The avoiding lines between North and South Jns were in regular use during the ECML
diversions (but were not avoided by some of our Members!). Of the four former Sleaford boxes, 'East'
a GNR Type I box c.1882, is Grade II listed and like 'West', is still operational (each end of the station).
352] West Burton: (BLN 1250.240) The signal box opening on 11 Oct 1964 was linked with the Retford
dive-under, but the latter OA Sun 13 Jun 1965 (the last trains used the flat crossing the previous day).
1251 GREATER LONDON
353] Barking - Gospel Oak: (BLN 1244.2011) In order to carry out electrification work, the line is due to
be closed between South Tottenham and Barking SSuX and throughout at weekends from June to
September. It is then scheduled to close entirely from October to early February 2017. Further works
should take place during evenings and weekends only and are expected to be completed by the end of
June 2017. Then commissioning of the equipment is needed prior to the introduction of EMUs in
January 2018. The NR press release lists the following work needed:
Four bridges to be rebuilt and six modernised.
Parapets raised at 22 bridges at least.
550 piles installed for the OLE supports, where possible these are to be single span.
Steel piles installed to reinforce brick-lined cuttings.
Longer platforms (a TfL project).
Track lowering at four sites.
Three new electrical switching stations.
354] Crossrail: (BLN 1250.245) Extensions to P2/3 at Harold Wood were available from 8 February. At
Romford work has started on extending P5 at the London end. The York Road entrance at Ilford will be
closed from 22 February until the middle of the year while a new ticket hall is constructed.
355] Finsbury Park: (BLNs 1230.637 & 1232.848) Work on the Underground station upgrade is
proceeding, although the Wells Terrace entrance remains open. Automatic ticket barriers have been
installed and work has started on the first of the new lift shafts.
356] Waterloo: (BLN 1250.250) P20 was also to be temporarily taken OOU from 15 February 2016.
357] Thameslink: (BLN 1249.153) The new signalling controlled from Three Bridges, installed on the
Charing Cross lines through London Bridge over the Christmas period, uses a new Siemens system
called Zone Controller. (Rail Technology Magazine)
1251 NORTH EAST
358] Blyth & Tyne Line: In October 2015 Northumberland County Council initiated a GRIP 2 feasibility
study, costing around £850k, to assess the restoration of passenger services between Newcastle and
Ashington. There would be intermediate stations at Northumberland Park (for the Metro), Seghill,
Seaton Delaval, Newsham for Blyth, Bebside and Bedlington. Only at GRIP stage 4 does NR determine
the full re-opening costs, allowing the Council and other stakeholders to make the final decision.
359] Darlington - Forcett/Barnard Castle: Darlington (Hopetown Jn) to Barnard Castle (first station)
was OA 8 Jul 1856 (some sources give 9th). The 5½ mile Forcett branch OG in Oct 1866 from Forcett Jn
GF (west of Piercebridge) to Forcett Goods, with a short branch from Forcett Valley Jn to Forcett
Quarry. Closures were more complex: Darlington to Barnard Castle (to Middleton-in-Teesdale) CP 30
Nov 1964, and CA 5 Apr 1965 west of Forcett Jn. Forcett Valley Jn to Forcett Goods CA 2 Nov 1964 and
the entire branch west of Nickstream Siding, Darlington, CA 2 May 1966.
The single track staff section from Forcett Jn extended to Eppleby Engine Shed. Another staff covered
the line south, including both branches. Railway personnel at Eppleby were not responsible for the
train staff and there were complex instructions for drivers (including that of the Forcett Quarry private
shunter) to lock and unlock a box containing the staffs, which had to be 'placed in the apertures
provided for them'. This was supervised by telephone by the signalman at Piercebridge. Forcett Quarry
was among the branches visited by the SLS 'South Durham Limited' tour (a 4MT loco and 6 fitted brake
vans) on 23 May 1964. Unfortunately, it did not visit Forcett Goods (about ½ mile from Forcett Valley
Jn) because that had no run round loop. However, that did not prevent the tour propelling over much
longer distances later in the day! Amazing though it may seem now, there were only 50 bookings; the
breakeven point was 65, so a charge of 2/6d (12½p) was made for the itinerary to cover the loss!
A member visited these lines in March 2015. Piercebridge station house is built in a pseudo-half-
timbered style with ornate bargeboarding. A high, cypress Leylandii hedge hindered viewing but it
seemed that all traces of the platforms had been removed. Gainford is close to the centre of the
village. The station house is a private residence, standing at the end of the platform and with similar
bargeboarding to Piercebridge, but smaller. Winston station was demolished in the late 1980s,
although the goods shed is extant. A large new house has been built on the station site and the huge
individual letters of the station name affixed to it. The station house is similar to Gainford. Broomielaw
station house is inhabited. Below it, in a cutting, a platform with a long canopy survives, albeit very
overgrown. The derelict signalbox still stands, west of the station. On the Forcett branch, Eppleby NER
locomotive shed is in use as a workshop and has been re-roofed in recent times.
360] Tyne & Wear Metro: The North East Combined Authority is determined to terminate DB Regio's
contract to operate the Metro network when it expires next year, if it does not improve services.
Nexus is to levy over £447k in penalty payments on behalf of 'understandably disgruntled' passengers.
There have already been a number of breakdowns in 2016, with the service suspended for three days
after a serious power failure. Nexus will start a £350M modernisation programme this year. Most of
the work will be carried out during two 15-day line closures in the spring and summer, with the rest at
weekends and overnight. Tynemouth to Shiremoor will close from 19 March to 2 April to relay 3.8 km
of track between Monkseaton and Cullercoats. Closure between 23 July and 6 August will enable
relaying of 3.7 km between Monkseaton and Northumberland Park. This follows similar work in 2011,
2012 and 2013 on the Wallsend to Tynemouth and Haymarket to South Gosforth sections.
The DfT has cut £33M from the £153M it was to invest in the Metro over the next five years. Nexus will
therefore have to focus on the most urgent renewals to track, overhead and signals, and cut back
other improvements, including accessibility upgrades to some stations.
361] Hartlepool: (BLN 1014.288) The former cliff-top magnesite factory at Cemetery North has been
demolished; landscaping is in progress. Some houses are being built on the southern part of the site.
However, the private pier/jetty remains. The factory rail connections were removed some time ago.
362] Seaham: The Seabanks branch from Dawdon signal box to Dawdon Colliery (on the east side of
the Durham Coast line) CA some time in 1996 and was reported in BLN to have been little used since
1992. However, about a half mile from Dawdon to the former Bone Mill level crossing RO 10 Jun 2002
to serve the Seaham Harbour Dock Co. This still has regular cement traffic from Oxwellmains (Dunbar).
1251 NORTH WEST
363] Outpaced Trains: Arriva, the new Northern franchisee from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2025, has
contracted with Spanish rolling stock manufacturer CAF for 281 carriages costing £490M. There will be
31 x 3-car & 12 x 4-car EMUs with 25 x 2-car & 30 x 3-car DMUs. Delivery is due between October and
December 2018. The franchise is 'not allowed' to operate pacers after 1 Jan 2019! The 100mph trains
will have air conditioning, power sockets, cycle racks, digital CCTV and free wireless internet access.
364] Unsettled & Carlisle: From 31 January single line working was again in operation on the Down
line (via Howe & Co's Sidings and Culgaith trailing crossovers) with a partial 5mph speed restriction,
due to multiple landslips on the Up side that had been monitored for some time. At Langwathby,
Lazonby & Kirkoswald and Armathwaite passengers had to use the Carlisle platforms in both
directions. A revised timetable operated, with at first, some trains turning back short of their
destination. Then most ran through except the daily Class 1 trains the 09.47 Leeds to Carlisle and 15.06
return which call only at Settle, Kirkby Stephen and Appleby on the S&C. Fortunately (or more
correctly unfortunately), the end of much of the coal traffic (for which the line had been upgraded
with increased signalling and new track a few years ago) has released capacity. Also two GBRf freights
diverted to the S&C line have returned to the Tyne Valley line with its reopening.
On 9 February the bank at Eden Brows (NY 499 494) was recorded to be further collapsing (towards
the River Eden) and the lineside fence was disappearing down the bank. At 06.14, after the passage of
two trains, a twist fault was found by Permanent Way staff on the Down Main at Eden Brows, north of
Armathwaite. The route was closed to passengers north of Appleby and to freight beyond Kirkby Thore
(Gypsum). The Eden Brows area was being constantly monitored since embankment damage by the
River Eden in December. It is the site of an 1870s' landslip that took two years to stabilise! An
estimated 500,000 tonnes of earth was moving and accelerating; aerial surveys and ground
monitoring revealed the embankment had moved so much it was no longer safe to run trains. The
affected area is over 130m long and 70m wide. NR geotechnical specialists are carrying out detailed
ground investigations using borehole equipment to design a lasting repair. Some video clips of the site
and the mammoth task involved: https://goo.gl/uI4w4E and https://goo.gl/HAkw8R (note track dip in
the closed Up line left of the speaker's head.) The line is expected to be closed until 8 May at least. An
interesting video of the Eden Brows area in the last two years https://goo.gl/JdOpLG (1min 37sec -
1min 50sec is the location of the current landslip).
365] Fiddlers Ferry Power Station: On 3 February the owner, Scottish & Southern Energy gave notice
to the market that it is consulting with its 213 employees and other stakeholders over a proposal to
end commercial operations at the plant near Warrington. While a final decision has not been made, it
is expected that three of the four units will close from 1 April (which will significantly reduce the next
financial year's business rates). The company has a capacity agreement (grid access rights) for 3 units
for 2018/19 and it will cost it £33M to terminate this - the fact that this is even being considered
shows how serious the current situation is. Currently a fourth generator is to be kept in emergency
reserve for the 2016/17 winter as contracted with National Grid (which means in practice it may be
little used and the company receives payments). The statement mentions that the company has
returned its 735MW gas fired Keadby Power Station from 'deep mothball' (what an expression!) to full
commercial operation and has invested in its gas fired Peterhead plant to allow 400MW of capacity
there to operate commercially. Scottish & Southern also own Ferrybridge 'C' Power Station and
confirmed that it will close on 31 March (see BLN 1250.252).
Fiddlers Ferry Power Station was commissioned between 1971 and 1973 with four 500MW generators,
enough to supply about a million homes; at full generation 16,000 tonnes of coal are burnt daily and it
can co-fire with biomass. The station is famous for one of its eight cooling tower collapsing in high
winds on 13 Jan 1984; it was rebuilt. It has been generating a loss and this is only expected to increase.
Regarding rail traffic, there has been no inward coal or biomass recently (and next to none are likely to
be needed now. Limestone trains still run from Tunstead near Buxton for flue gas desulphurisation
(installed as recently as 2006-2008). Its by-product of FGD gypsum is transported to Kirkby Thore by
rail (previous item). If the power station branch/loop from Fiddlers Ferry Power Station signal box
(14m 46ch) closes there is other freight traffic on the Ditton East Jn - Arpley Jn - Latchford (reversing
loop) line. The last railtour was on 20 Oct 2012, UKRT's 'the Ferry-Go-Round' that included Ferrybridge.
366] Stockport: The local council has recently revealed plans for a dramatic station redevelopment.
This includes entrances on both sides and the inevitable shops and offices (but they do generate
passengers, income and help make stations a centre of the community again). It is hoped a 'Tram-
Train' service will be introduced, as the Council has long wanted a connection with Metrolink
(ABOVE: BR Regional Railways 1997 version)
367] Manchester United Football Club's
railway facility: (BLN 1250.264) (RIGHT: From
13 Aug 1935 Manchester Evening News front
page, just three weeks before first passenger
use, compare with BLN 1249.161. Richard
Maund). Wed 21 Aug 1935 seems to have
been the opening date in the CLC's weekly
notice with first public service confirmed from
local press reports for a match on Wed 4 Sep
1935. On 13 Nov 1982 there were BR London
Midland Region maroon 'United Football
Ground' signs. BLN 809.727 of 30 Aug 1997
advised these had been replaced by black-on-
white signs saying 'Manchester United
Football Ground'. These were in Regional
Railways style. Does anyone have a date for
the change? There is currently a Northern TOC
type sign also 'Manchester United Football Ground'. BLN 812.836 (18 Oct 1997) reports that the then
North Western Trains TOC ran through services from Birmingham to the station (as well as from
Manchester Piccadilly.) The posters advertising the service (an event in itself!) showed it as
'Manchester United South Stand Station'! It is relatively unusual in having regular timetabled services
for matches (as Hull Boothferry Park station also did); most other such stations tended to be used by
(ABOVE: The BR London Midland region 'colours' United Football Ground running in board with the
Manchester Reunion Railway Society 'Hyde & Peak Railtour' of 13 Nov 1982. (Photos Ian Mortimer)
368] Metrolink: The French state owned RATP Group Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens
('Autonomous Operator of Parisian Transports') currently operates Metrolink along with many others
in France and worldwide. On 2 February TfGM shortlisted four firms (including RATP) to submit bids in
May for the next 10 year franchise starting July 2017. The winner is to be announced in September,
with contract signing in January. The bids are to include significant frequency increases on all lines.
TfGM is considering ordering more trams for the higher frequency timetable. The draft shows the
most intensive service of the three options considered implemented across the network with a core
daytime service of 12tph on all lines. An enhanced 6tph service will operate until 20.00 SSuX and 18.00
SO on all routes except Rochdale, MediaCityUK, Trafford Centre and Eccles. Modelling work has shown
that a 6tph enhanced frequency increases the overall Metrolink capacity significantly. However, this
number of services with the current tram fleet trams reduces the ability to run double-trams. TfGM
says one option for the future service would be a further expansion of the tram fleet. The existing
financial model allows the costs and benefits of different service options to be identified and leads to
the development of a business case for a proposal. Enhanced services are likely to be phased as the
Second City Crossing (required to run them) and Trafford Park lines are commissioned.
369] Keswick: Following the Beeching Report, the line from Workington to Keswick via Cockermouth
CA 18 Apr 1966. After a public outcry, the Keswick to Penrith section was reprieved but only for
another six years (CP 6 March 1972). In 1998, CKP Railways plc http://goo.gl/I1k2sy was formed to
reopen that section of the line. It is now seeking to drive the project forward in consultation with
Cumbria's Local Enterprise Partnership and a new North Lakes Railway Action Group, with Arriva and
First Group, (the new Northern and Trans Pennine franchise holders). The Local Authority links should
help to integrate land and transport planning, whilst there is more freedom under the new franchising
arrangements to develop new stations and routes to meet local demand. Unfortunately, the storms on
5 & 6 December wrought havoc between Keswick and Threlkeld. The River Greta changed course
dramatically while in flood, completely submerging part of the trackbed. One bridge was completely
washed away (BLN 1247.2337) and two seriously damaged. However, the damage is recoverable,
being concentrated in a relatively short section of the 18¼ mile route. Overall, this remains mostly
intact (except of course for track), and would be much easier to rebuild than the Borders Railway.
From Penrith to Keswick a large percentage of the line still exists with little encroachment. Leaving
Penrith the trackbed is extant for at least the first couple of miles and, in winter, can clearly be seen
from the A66 heading west from the M6, J40. Between Penruddock and Troutbeck the widened A66 is
now on a section of the trackbed but there is plenty of room either side of the road. Then, between
Troutbeck and Threlkeld stands the superb Mosedale viaduct, in good repair. There has been a little
encroachment around Threlkeld station area but then the trackbed has gone until just north of the
A66, where it is a footpath to Keswick. Along this section is a tunnel, a number of attractive bowstrung
bridges over the River Greta and several rock cuttings. Although the bridges are damaged (above) they
were probably unsuitable for future train use after 60 years of deterioration with no preventative
maintenance. Keswick station and the south platform still exist although the island platform has gone.
[Keswick to Threlkeld was a really lovely trackbed walk a few years ago; is that still possible - Ed?]
(BELOW: (BLN 1248.32) The TCP of the line between Crewe and Alderley Edge from 12 until 23
February is resulting in increased used of Macclesfield P3 as a through route (even northbound). This
picture of 17 February shows the two platform faces with the doors open on the P3 side - Kev Adlam.)
1251 SOUTH EAST ENGLAND INCLUDING GREATER LONDON
370] Booking offices: Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink are proposing to close ticket offices at
many stations and revise operating arrangements at others. Now that London Underground has closed
ticket offices, with speedy building works to eliminate the windows through which the sales took
place, there is clear momentum to be followed. The TOC proposals categorise three models, but in
each of these they will move people out onto the concourse as 'station hosts'. The proposed model is
determined for each station by volume of sales and reliance on ticket machines.
Model 1: Ticket offices to be closed where actual sales are fewer than 12 tickets per hour. All these are
in Greater London where most travel is contactless (Oyster, Credit or Debit cards), or by Travelcard.
Model 2: Most customers use ticket machines and smartcards. The proposal is to relocate ticket
selling equipment to a 'station hosting point' without specific mention of closing ticket office windows.
Model 3: Stations that still rely heavily on ticket offices as well as ticket machines. The proposal is to
staff the ticket office windows at peak times only.
Your South East Sub-Editor also sees in the lists some steer towards the existence of suitable
concourse space in determining the category into which a station may fall. His recent experience of
ticket purchase at Bicester Village and Oxford Parkway shows that a welcoming environment and
positive staff presence can make such arrangements provided by 'station hosts' very successful, but
their buildings are new and designed for this purpose. The lists:
Model 1: Alexandra Palace, Battersea Park, Carshalton Beeches, Cricklewood, Denmark Hill, Enfield
Chase, Gipsy Hill, Loughborough Junction, Palmers Green, New Barnet, Peckham Rye, Queen's Road
Peckham, Selhurst, Streatham, Streatham Common, Streatham Hill, South Croydon, Tooting, Tulse Hill,
Wandsworth Common, West Norwood.
Model 2: Balham, Carshalton, Caterham, City Thameslink, Coulsdon South, Elstree, Falmer, Gordon
Hill, Hornsey, Lancing, Luton Airport Parkway, Mill Hill Broadway, Norbury, Purley, Radlett, Reigate,
Sanderstead, Shoreham-by-Sea, Sutton, Thornton Heath, Wallington, W. Hampstead, Winchmore Hill.
Model 3: Angmering, Ashtead, Barnham, Bexhill, Bognor Regis, Burgess Hill, Chichester, Crawley,
Dorking, Eastbourne, East Grinstead, Epsom, Flitwick, Harpenden, Hassocks, Hatfield, Hertford North,
Hitchin, Horley, Horsham, Hove, Huntingdon, King's Lynn, Leagrave, Leatherhead, Letchworth, Lewes,
Littlehampton, Merstham, Oxted, Polegate, Portslade, Potters Bar, Royston, Sandy, Stevenage, St.
Neots, Welwyn Garden City, Worthing.
1251 SOUTH EAST – NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
371] Shippea Hill: Is officially 'Britain's least used station' in 2014 with 22 documented passenger
entrances and exits. The planned mass visit to Teesside Airport station on 13 March (BLN 1250.306)
and the reporter's suggestions of other lightly used stations prompted a member's claim that Shippea
Hill is the most difficult UK station to use by advertised scheduled stops. The difficulty arises from the
unique combination of two factors, sparsity of service and remoteness. Currently, on Mondays to
Fridays, the only call is at 07.28 eastbound. On Saturdays the only calls are 07.25 eastbound and 19.27
westbound, an extremely challenging 12 hours for even the most self-reliant visitor to endure! All
stops are on request. Nothing calls on Sundays. No bus route comes any closer than the nearest rail
station, which is Littleport on the King's Lynn line. Perhaps an organised visit would therefore attract
support from enthusiasts! In July 2011 your correspondent did manage the 5.2mile long trudge from
Littleport along the unpleasant, boring, narrow and dangerous A1101 taking about 2½ hours in time to
catch the evening train, wondering at his sanity in not bringing his bicycle or simply taking a taxi.
Nobody else joined or alighted, and no revenue resulted as an Anglia Plus ticket day rover was held.
(BELOW: June 2010, looking towards Norwich, in the days before lifting barriers, obstacle detectors
and LED signals controlled from Cambridge. The box really does lean backwards, compare with the
adjacent LC post. The former 'agricultural sidings' were on the right of the line jsut beyond the level
crossing. http://goo.gl/KxRzG2 )
In 1970 the Redditch service was so sparse that to scratch (or red line) it, your Editor caught a train to
Wood End (Edmondson card ticket from Hall Green), walking 6.6 miles in pouring rain on a Saturday.
The reward was that the bubble car ran from the old (2nd) Redditch station (CP 7 Feb 1972 when the
branch was shortened to the present, 3rd station). Shippea Hill OP 1845 as Mildenhall Road (a mere
8.2 miles to Mildenhall by road); in 1885 it became Burnt Fen and in 1904, Shippea Hill (actually below
sea level)! On our 16 Jun 2012 box visit (BLN 1166 p256) there were many spare levers (for the former
extensive agricultural sidings). The box leant back into the fen at quite an angle and no Hill was visible.
372] Hitchin - Shepreth Branch Jn (2): (BLN 1248.71) Continuing our member's July 2015 visits:
Ashwell & Morden (just Ashwell until 1920) presents the best set of GNR station buildings on this line.
Set in a cutting, steps descend to the Down platform from the approach road, past the main yellow
brick station building, too large for present railway usage. The ticket office is open 06.30 to 09.15
(SSuX). The former stationmaster's house is on the northeast side of this and across the approach road
is a GNR style terrace of three railway cottages. A venerable wooden shelter, almost certainly of GNR-
era, suffices for passengers on the Up side. The platforms are connected by a concrete footbridge. The
goods shed, a substantial yellow brick structure, in other commercial use, is just northeast of the
station on the Down side. It is included in the list of existing English goods sheds in the August 2015
Railway Magazine. The staffed station of Royston has been totally modernised, presumably when it
became the northern limit for electric working on 3 Oct 1977. The all-new building is on the Up side,
with a round top plastic shelter on the Down. At Meldreth (Meldreth & Melbourn from 1879 to 1971),
the main GNR station building in yellow brick is on the Down side. Part is a ticket office open 07.00 to
11.15 (SSux) and 08.45 to 13.15 (SO), and part is now the Spice Hut takeaway. A modern high concrete
footbridge connects the platforms, with a minimalist shelter of characterless construction on the Up
side. Shepreth is unstaffed; the main GNR-built yellow brick, two storey station building is on the Up
side, northeast of the level crossing, boarded up and unoccupied while a simple, modern yellow brick
shelter suffices on the Down side, also northeast of the crossing.
373] Chiltern's Quadrennial leap: In a 2 February announcement, Chiltern offered those born on 29th
February free travel on their birthday. You need to look before you leap though, because a passport or
driving license has to be carried. The offer is valid on any Chiltern Railways service for that day only
http://goo.gl/AdaA9t (but not in Business Zone) so is effectively a 'day rover'; for the 2012 offer the
proof of age was the 'ticket'. Statistically 0.068% of the population (about 48,000 in the UK) is eligible!
374] Banbury: (BLN 1248.67) The Banbury resignalling commissioning has been delayed a week to 30
July to coincide with BMW's annual production shutdown. This is due to BMW concerns that they
would not be able to receive or send out cars by rail.
375] Redbridge & Brockenhurst: Platform nosing has been renewed on both Redbridge platforms and
is in progress on Brockenhurst P1. Contractor's screened areas here suggest future work on P2-4
376] Oxford: (BLN 1250.268) Two vans previously used for parcels traffic, long time occupants of one
of the two Dock sidings adjacent to bay P3, were still present on 1 February. On 9 February, a short
section of track had (recently) been removed from each of these two sidings. It was neatly piled up
nearby and this appears to be temporary to allow plant to access P3. To construct the two new bay
platforms at the north end of Oxford station (for extension of Chiltern services from Oxford Parkway in
December), the short stay and disabled car park were to be relocated to the Beckett Street car park,
south of the Botley Road, from 15 February. This is described as a temporary arrangement and a
passenger drop off and pick up point will be available on the station forecourt. Bay P3 was to be
shortened in length to 85m on 14 February and a temporary buffer stop with red lights provided.
Permissive passenger working arrangements were to be temporarily withdrawn.
377] GWR Super Express Trains (SET): Part of the 'Intercity Express Programme' (IEP), 'IEP' does not
refer to the trains. The first public use of the new class 800 trains is reportedly planned for the North
Cotswold line next summer. (Through the Prime Minister's constituency; quite by chance of course!)
378] M&GNR Sutton Bridge: (BLN 1250. 267)
The 1950/56 revision one-inch to the mile 7th
Series OS extract (RIGHT) showing the station
includes an area marked 'Golf Cse'. This is the
site of the ill-fated Sutton Bridge dock; the inlet
in the riverbank that was once the entrance to
the dock can be seen on the map (and compare
with the map below). Construction of the dock
was authorised by the Sutton Bridge Dock Act
of 1875. It was intended that the dock could be
used by vessels too large to navigate the River
Nene to Wisbech. The Great Northern Railway
was one of the promoters of the act and it had
a significant share-holding in the dock company. An article about Sutton Bridge village in the May
2011 issue of 'Lincolnshire Life' magazine said the creation of the dock was a massive challenge, with
1.5 million bricks being used for the entrance. Work began in January, 1878, with a work force of 100
men, 50 horses and carts, several barges and a steam dredger. It was not finished until May 1881 and
the first ship to enter, the SS Garland, after some difficulties, was towed in by tugs. A branch to the
dock was built by the Midland & Eastern Railway, then owner of the main line through Sutton Bridge.
'The Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain, Eastern Counties' says the dock was opened on
14 May 1881, but on 15 May the entrance lock was found to be leaking; it was then ascertained that
the whole construction stood on treacherous sand, and when in June the concave west slope gave way
the engineers recommended against reconstruction. The dock closed within a month of being opened.
It is widely-recorded that only one ship ever used the dock, but there is a photograph on the website
of Sutton Bridge Golf Club http://goo.gl/TzBsFb which is said to show three sailing ships in the dock.
The golf club was established in 1914 and set out a nine-hole course, which extends over the site of
the dock. The club says that the original walls of the dock basin form an intrinsic part of the course and
create changes in levels which are not found in many other fenland courses. [Some bunker!] The dock
branch remained open to serve a wharf on the River Nene, and is shown in Col Cobb's atlas (1st edition)
as not having closed until 1965, when the railway from Spalding to Sutton Bridge closed for freight (see
later). Interestingly there is no entry for the wharf in the 1956 Handbook of Stations.
However, the eight page October 1959 BLN (just one edition each month then) had a member's direct
observation that the Dock line at Sutton Bridge from the station to Messrs. Travis and Arnold's timber
yard, which crossed the main A17 in the centre of the village and 'about which there has been much
controversy', ROG from 1 Jun 1959 (it had CG 2 Mar 1959 along with the other M&GN closures). Note:
After most of the M&GN CA from 2 Mar 1959; Spalding east to Sutton Bridge (and west of Spalding to
Bourne) remained open for goods traffic but CG from 5 Apr 1965 with the Sutton Bridge Dock branch.
Clearly, the promoters of the dock company lost their investment and this appears to have brought
down the Midland and Eastern Railway, which was absorbed into the Eastern and Midlands Railway (a
quite different company!) in 1883. There matters seem to have come to a rest, with the dock company
continuing in existence receiving rent from part of a golf course.
(ABOVE: 1901/03 six inches to a mile OS map showing Sutton Bridge Dock, as 'Disused' and 'mud' with
its branch crossing the A17 'Ridge Road'. The Spalding line is off to the left; that to Peterborough via
Wisbech St. Mary is bottom left and the railway to South Lynn is bottom right. Sutton Bridge Jn is left
of centre at the bottom with the station and sidings to the right before the swing bridge.
Turning the clock forward to the late 1980s, somebody at the BR Board made enquiries about the
Sutton Bridge Dock & Harbour Company, from which an occasional dividend was received. On
discovering the true nature of the company's business, the shares were sold. They had transferred by
statute from the Great Northern to the LNER, to the British Transport Commission (BTC) and on to the
BRB. Nobody seems to have questioned the railway's investment for over a century, perhaps deceived
by the company's name, though one wonders why the British Transport Docks Board or British
Waterways failed to inherit the shares from BTC. When the value to BR of their shares in 'part' of a golf
course was queried, it was suggested that without the rest of the golf course it probably would not be
worth very much – but it would be especially valuable to the golf club! There has been a modern port
here since 1987, when 'Port Sutton Bridge' was developed. This has a 349m quay on the west bank of
the Nene and extensive warehousing north of the golf course.
379] Southampton Central: Up P1 canopy is being extended to the extreme east end of the platform.
380] East Kent Resignalling: This is to be commissioned over Easter; Longfield to Sole Street from 5
April and the rest, Higham to Strood & Rochester Bridge Jn and Longfield to Sittingbourne (with the
Sittingbourne triangle), from 7 April. Control transfers to Gillingham, East Kent Signalling Centre.
Rochester, Gillingham and Rainham boxes are abolished with Sittingbourne retained to control
between Kemsley and Sheerness only. North Kent lines signals remain generally three aspect with
track circuit train detection as now. Chatham lines signals are replaced by four aspect signals on new
structures with axle counter detection (track circuits remain at Gillingham station). Changes:
Longfield - Sittingbourne: Down & Up Chatham Main lines' 'Down & Up Chatham lines'.
Sole Street: The existing trailing crossover becomes power operated (previously padlocked).
Strood: 'Up Passenger Loop' 'Up Strood Loop'.
Rochester: 'Down Platform Loop' 'Down Rochester Loop'. Its London end remains OOU.
'Up Platform Loop' 'Up Rochester Loop' and is extended towards London over the route of
….former 'Up Layby Siding'. The points in the Up Rochester Loop/Up Chatham line (London end of
….Rochester P1 and P2) are to be secured OOU (normal position) pending removal. The former Up
….Layby Siding country end trap points are to be secured OOU (reverse position) pending removal.
Gillingham: 'Up Passenger Loop' 'Up Gillingham Loop'. 'Down Sidings 1-3' 'Down Gillingham
Sidings 1-3'. The 'Up Siding' ' Gillingham Siding'.
Rainham: 'Up Rainham Bay' the new P0, 257m long (12 cars), is commissioned.
Rainham - Newington: 'Down & Up Passenger Loop lines' 'Down & Up Newington Loop lines'.
West of Sittingbourne: Western Jn to Middle Jn: the 'Down & Up Spur lines' 'Down & Up
Sheppey Spur lines' respectively (the 'PSUL' third side of the triangle).
Middle Jn to Eastern Jn: the 'Down & Up Branch lines' 'Down & Up Sheppey lines'.
Sittingbourne:'Carriage Siding' 'Sittingbourne Carriage Siding'.
'Down Sidings 1-3' (Woods Sidings) 'Down Sittingbourne Sidings 1-3'.
'Down Goods Loop' 'Down Sittingbourne Goods Loop'.
'Down Passenger Loop' 'Down Sittingbourne Passenger Loop'.
….The trap points in No1 Siding are to be secured OOU (reverse position) pending removal. At the
….'Down Sittingbourne Passenger Loop' end points the 'Down Chatham/Down Sittingbourne Passenger
--..Loop' is to be secured OOU (reverse position) for through running between the Down Chatham and
....'Down Sittingbourne Passenger Loop', pending plain lining (TRACKmaps vol.5 p8B Nov 2008).
(BELOW: Rainham will join the 'platform zero club'. Here the new 12 coach length bay P0 in August
2015 is awaiting signalling (postponed from the original Easter 2015 date) and trains. Looking towards
London, services that now terminate at Gillingham are due to be extended here. Stephen Atkinson)
381] Robertsbridge: On 7 February the level crossing was to be decommissioned (barriers and road
traffic lights removed). New level crossing equipment was to be installed during a week of half-road
closure with traffic management controlled by a crossing attendant maintaining pedestrian access.
382] Ryde - Shanklin: (BLN 1239.1582) The council-commissioned report has stated trams could
replace the present Island Line service (BBC News report on 5 February). With passenger numbers
falling and annual £3.5M losses, trams would be more 'efficient' and 'low cost'. The report comes after
the government originally announced plans to remove the service from the next regional train
franchise. The track and all the 1938 stock need replacing, but only second-hand London Underground
trains can run on the line because of the height of Ryde tunnel. The next tube trains small enough to fit
through the tunnel will not be available for another decade. The service costs an annual £4.5M to run
with £1M collected in fares. The DfT said bidders for the next South Western rail franchise would be
asked to turn the line into a self-sustaining business. Author of the independent report, Christopher
Garnet, who lives on the island, was asked by the Isle of Wight Council to come up with cost-effective
ways to keep the service running. He said: 'Trams are cheaper to operate than trains, and it might well
be a low cost solution going forward.' He said overhead power wires, with simplified signalling, would
cost no more than refurbishing the route to mainline standards. Council leader Jonathan Bacon said
the tram option would 'significantly reduce costs but still make for an efficient and quick service that
provides the link that we need'. The report's findings will be discussed by councillors later in February.
The BBC's correspondent points out that fitting overhead power lines in Ryde tunnel would be tight.
383] Plumpton: (BLN 1244.2032) The manned and gated level crossing at the station (44m 46ch) was
temporarily 'closed' and all equipment disconnected from 8 February pending conversion to manually
controlled barriers with obstruction detection. Control will be from Three Bridges Area Signalling
Centre. Closure was delayed by a dispute between NR and the local authority over removal of the
original wooden gates previously operated by a gate wheel. On 9 February Local BBC TV news reported
intentions to seek damages from NR for cutting access between the two parts of the village.
1251 SOUTH WEST
384] Storm Imogen: The rail network in the west suffered greatly in the storms on 8 February with
trees blocking both the Great Western Main Line and the Gunnislake Branch, along with numerous
track circuit failures affecting lines around Bristol. By mid-afternoon all services were suspended
between Bristol and Taunton, and from Plymouth to Gunnislake, while CrossCountry trains were no
longer running south of Birmingham New Street. High Speed services from Paddington to Bristol were
reduced to hourly with many delayed or cancelled as the day continued. There was temporary single
line working in the Bodmin Parkway area after a Cross Country train hit a big tree and was immobilised
with brake failure. Road transport was very difficult to source given the conditions, and disruption
continued throughout the evening peak. Normal service resumed at the start of service the next day.
385] Edginswell edges closer and is well on the way: (BLN 1140.660) A planning application has been
submitted, moving the prospect of this new station on the outskirts of Torquay (SX 8938 6631) closer
to fruition. It is between, and with access from, Newton Road and Riviera Way, near to Torbay Hospital
in an area of planned residential and employment growth. The basic, two-125m platform station with
shelters and a footbridge, part of the 'Devon Metro', is expected to be served by Exmouth to Paignton
services from 2018. The development is part-funded by a grant from the Local Enterprise Partnership,
but the remaining funds still to be found by the various partners in the scheme.
386] Portishead & Metrowest: (BLN 1250.276) The planned operational date for the long-mooted
Portishead branch reopening appears to have slipped back further following a meeting of the West of
England Joint Transport Board, with 'late 2019/early 2020' now the official line. The further caution
appears to relate to a delay in seeking Development Consent, and opposition to reopening
Winterstoke Road Level Crossing, which now provides access to a busy industrial estate. However, the
meeting noted positive progress on the reopening of Henbury station as part of Metrowest Phase 2,
with a consultation due to report in summer 2016. Henbury, on the line from Hallen Jn to Stoke Gifford
Jn, OP 9 May 1910 and CP 23 Nov 1964, CA 5 Jul 1965. The station nominally closed between 1915 and
1922 also, though it is thought that unadvertised workmen's trains continued to call during this period.
If the phasing of funds correctly predicts the date of reopening, Henbury could see its second
renaissance beginning almost exactly a century after its first reopening!
387] Severn Beach: (BLNs 1204.332 & 1148.1112) A member braved the elements on 31 January to
examine progress on reinstating the line from the Severn Beach branch into the former ICI Severnside
site. This is to receive West London waste from Southall for at a new SITA Energy Recovery Centre (i.e.
incinerator!) under construction there. The paths in Realtime Trains: 19.25 (SSuX) Brentford Town,
West London Waste Rail Transhipment Sidings - Severnside SITA 00.13/ 04.49 - Brentford 09.09 are
rather ahead of the game as much trackwork remains to be completed. Note that they are booked via
Clifton Down in both directions running at night to avoid the passenger services on the single line. The
A403 bridge over the original ICI Severnside branch provides an ideal vantage point. All trackwork
towards Severn Beach has been removed but it appears that the original trackbed into the works site
will be reused after refurbishment. Towards the works site, overgrown track remains in situ, leading to
a construction compound with a large overhead yellow crane, presumably mobile on very broad gauge
track [When is the BLS visit then - Ed?]. A stub of the access line to sidings on the left also remains.
Exchange sidings were previously accessed via a long incline towards Severn Beach and at one time the
ICI loco could run through these into the unused northern side of Severn Beach platform. New ballast
suggests that access from NR could be via a new link from the Avonmouth direction, needing run-
round as propelling into the site under the road overbridge on a blind tight curve is unlikely.
388] Weymouth Quay - the end of line? (BLNs 1248.84 & 1233.922) Weymouth & Portland Borough
Council voted unanimously on 2 February to support NR's plans to put the line permanently OOU.
Despite opposition from local campaigners variously seeking council support to introduce a tram
service or a heritage railway attraction, the borough will inform NR it has no aspirations to run trains
on the line and is not aware of a viable plan from any other operator. Weymouth Quay Heritage
Campaign, who had gathered a petition of over 2,000 signatures in support of their bid, described
removing the rails as 'utter vandalism.' The line OP on 1 July 1889 has been repeatedly declared
temporarily OOU by NR since 2007; the last known trains were two Pathfinder tours on 2 May 1999.
389] Vale of Berkeley backed: (BLNs 1234.1056 & 1153.97) Stroud's MP Neil Carmichael has given his
backing to a group aiming to run heritage services between Sharpness and Berkeley. The branch
remains in use only for occasional trains connected with the decommissioning of Oldbury Nuclear
Power Station such as on 15 February when a DRS empty flask train arrived at Berkeley from Crewe
Coal Sidings at 10.15, returning at 13.30 after loading. The Vale of Berkeley Railway Trust has secured
the use of an engine shed at Sharpness and has begun track clearance around the site with a view to
offering short rides during a forthcoming open day. Some of the track uncovered during clearance is
thought to date from the GWR era. At the beginning of February, recently arrived British Gypsum No2
became reportedly the first loco to move along track at Sharpness Docks since 1980. For more
information http://goo.gl/2Lydk9 and pictures.
390] NR Hoping for good weather on the English Riviera? Weekly operating notices report that the
trailing crossovers at the eastern end of Teignmouth Station will temporarily be taken OOU from 20
February to 2 March to facilitate engineering work. Presumably, NR will have checked the weather
forecast between these dates, and satisfied themselves that single line running between Dawlish
Warren and Teignmouth, common during high seas and stormy conditions, will not be required?
391] Immersed in track at Bath: The ongoing GWML electrification is due to result in a complete
closure of the line between Bath Spa and Bristol Temple Meads from Sat 2 April until Sun 10 April. The
arrangements for Bath Spa may interest members who seek unusual crossovers and platforms:
Sat 2 & Sun 3: Only P1 in use for all Chippenham or Westbury direction arrivals and departures.
Mon 4-Fri 8: Arrivals from Chippenham into P2 (& 07.57 ex-Westbury), except 06.32 ex-Swindon.
Departures to Westbury and beyond, (except 08.44 to Weymouth), start from P1.
Sat 9 & Sun 10: Only P2 in use for all Chippenham or Westbury direction arrivals and departures.
1251 WEST MIDLANDS
392] Withington: Mr AJ Nicholls, Berrington & Eye stationmaster since 1943, has been appointed
stationmaster at *Withington and will take up his duties immediately. Berrington & Eye station will be
supervised from Leominster. (Hereford Times 10 Sep 1954) Was it usual for such appointments to be in
the local press? (*CP 1961, but we have two very local Members who would be keen to use it now!).
393] Birmingham International: It is hard to believe but the National Exhibition Centre and its station
was opened 40 years ago on Feb 2 1976! The BBC featured a special outside broadcast as the Queen
officially opened the venue, designed to be an international showcase for British industry. Part of the
programme looked at how the NEC was born. The original seven exhibition halls have since expanded
to 20, and today attract more than 2M visitors a year, the busiest exhibition centre in Europe. There
are high hopes that the station whose name causes confusion to foreign tourists, will be renamed
'Birmingham Airport for NEC' with the next franchise change. The HS2 station will need a name too.
394] A very moving event: (BLN 1237.1362) The LMS design Nantwich signal box, installed by BR in
1948, originally with 30 levers, has finally been removed from the Shrewsbury side of the level crossing
south of the station (west side of the line). On the night of 31 January, it was taken to OSL Rail Ltd (for
use as a training facility) in Weston Road, Crewe. This is not far from the new car park entrance to
Crewe station. Since 13 Oct 2013 when the box closed, the line has been cable signalled from Cardiff
South Wales Control Centre (!), a record 132 miles away. The level crossing has obstacle detectors.
395] Don't Get Caught Short on LM: Local West Midlands LM trains could have some seats and all
toilets removed to reduce overcrowding. The DfT believes that changes are needed to cope with a
dramatic increase in passenger numbers which it says has made commuting a misery. It would allow
wider aisles and more space to stand and is included in a consultation about the future of West
Midlands rail services which are operated by LM until June next year. 65.3M train journeys are made in
the area each year, double the number in 2004. Other suggestions include banning full sized bikes on
peak trains and removing remaining first class seats. More ominously, the consultation also suggests
axing some late night services, which it says have very few customers and are heavily subsidised.
396] Worcestershire Parkway: (BLN 1240.1695) The County Council has started Compulsory Purchase
Order (CPO) proceedings against private developers 'Norton Parkway Developments Ltd' who own the
rights to the land. The 'statement of reasons' runs into 19 pages. The latter company claim that they
can deliver the same £22M station (that has been talked about for 30 years) at 'no cost to local
taxpayers' and is refusing to hand over the land. They want to take the £7.5M of government money
awarded to the scheme via the Local Enterprise Partnership and fund any shortfall themselves. The
County Council's plan is to borrow £14M and repay it over 25 years from train operator access charges
and car parking fees. It is understood that talks between the two sides have 'broken down badly'. The
Secretary of State is expected to review the CPO before April. If the Council scheme is favoured, the
firm must be awarded compensation and it has the option of appealing to the High Court. It is claimed
the station will still open next year but members are advised not to book their advance tickets just yet.
397] Polesworth Pilfering: (BLN 1250.306) Mention of Polesworth amongst little used stations (it has
one train a day the 07.23 to Crewe SuX in the northbound direction only) reminds our correspondent
that, despite the Up platform being inaccessible, shortly after London Midland took over as station
manager in 2007, a station sign appeared there. Recently it has disappeared. Obviously, someone has
been able to get to the platform - twice! Despite the unidirectional service return tickets are issued,
passengers being allowed to travel south by changing at Tamworth and doubling back non-stop
through Polesworth (and at no extra charge!). Coming from the north passengers can double back
north at Atherstone. In a similar vein a member was recently able to buy an 'Anytime' day return from
Crewe to Denton. The 'Anytime' was obviously a complete misnomer as the outward journey would
only be possible on Friday morning (which it was and successfully made), but a return journey the
same day is impossible as the next train to call at Denton is a week later at 09.32 (FO). The time is very
convenient as various Off Peak Rover tickets become valid at 09.30 (the weekly train was quite busy).
398] Rugeley Power Station: On 8 February French owner, Engie announced it is to close this 1,000
megawatt plant early this summer with the loss of 150 jobs. This is despite it having flue gas
desulpherisation equipment to remove sulphur dioxide and prevent 'acid rain', which meant it could
have generated until 2023. The owners blame the early closure on the deterioration in market
conditions for UK coal-fired power generation and say that there is no prospect of the power station
recovering its costs. The price of electricity has fallen as the Carbon Tax has risen. Construction of the
original 'A' station started in 1956 with commissioning in 1961-62. Rugeley 'A' station was notable for:
(1): It was the first joint venture between the Central Electricity Generating Board and the National
Coal Board. (2): Some coal was supplied directly by conveyor from the adjacent Lea Hall Colliery, which
opened six months before the power station and closed in January 1991. (3): It was the first UK power
station to be controlled entirely from a central control room. The 'A' station closed in 1996 and was
demolished. Construction of the remaining 'B' station began in 1970 with full commissioning in 1972.
The very distinctive first (of five) cooling towers completed at Rugeley in 1960 was the world's first
large dry cooling tower; the first large scale experimental design aimed at eliminating water loss.
Recently inward coal trains have dropped to one or two daily (SuX) (on a good day three) generally
from Immingham/Tyne Coal Terminal. Coal used to arrive from Portbury and Avonmouth. At Walsall
60ch of the former Dudley line from Pleck Jn south, almost to the site of Bescot Curve Jn, ROG 21 Oct
2014, mainly for Rugeley Coal trains and their empty wagons to reverse to/from the Sutton Park line.
399] Power to the people! For anyone with the energy to learn about the background to Britain's
electricity supply industry see http://goo.gl/mjS1hJ specialising in climate change, science and policy.
1251 YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE
400] Tadcaster: On 29 December the
Grade II listed River Wharfe road
bridge dating from 1700 in the
middle of the town, collapsed see
video at: http://goo.gl/fu2a6K
during floods. Whilst arguments rage
over a replacement bridge, for able-
bodied persons Tadcaster Viaduct
(also known as the Virgin Viaduct or
Bridge) has had lighting installed by
the County Council to link the two
cut off portions of the town. This is
the 11 stone-arched viaduct built
over the River Wharfe, part of
Hudson's proposed York to Leeds
direct line, which fell victim to the
post-Hudson crisis of 1849. Martin
Bairstow's Railways around
Harrogate Vol 1 states: 'Before work was stopped a viaduct had been completed over the Wharfe at
Tadcaster. Except for a short line (known as Ingleby's Mill branch) to the north side of the river in use
from 1883 until 1959 this viaduct has never carried a railway'. This branch was off the Church Fenton
to Wetherby line. Meanwhile a temporary river footbridge was opened on 12 February.
(ABOVE: 1950/55 map showing the River Wharfe top left to bottom right, and the flood damaged
Tadcaster road bridge. The Ingleby's Mill branch can be seen on the viaduct over the river which
became a temporary footpath. It was part of the failed Leeds and York Railway https://goo.gl/k0myIU )
(BELOW: The viaduct in 2007 (Tadcaster Town Council) see http://goo.gl/J2LdGz for six fine pictures.)
401] York: A lorry became stuck under the ECML railway bridge over Leeman Road on 8 February,
leading to tailbacks. Police were called as queues formed. So why do we tell our readers about this
relatively minor event? The lorry was carrying a 4-wheel railway tanker wagon to the National Railway
Museum. So interestingly, a railway wagon was involved in a rail bridge road strike! A first?
402] Dublin, Grand Canal Dock: (BLN 1246.2252) On Sun 14 Feb, phase 3, stage 7, of the City Centre
Re-signalling Project was to be commissioned at Pearse and Grand Canal Dock stations. Essentially all
Down trains from Pearse to Grand Canal Dock will now run via the Down Main line again instead of
the Down Loop (which is OOU until further notice). There are associated track and signalling changes.
Up and Down mains over this section are now reversibly signalled. Apart from the facing entry into the
stub of the Down Running Loop, the layout consists only of trailing and facing crossovers between
Pearse and Grand Canal Dock, then the trailing (to Up trains) access to the Up sidings (Pearse Yard).
403] Ballyhaunis: (BLN 1246.2257) From Saturday 13 Feb, the Down Main and Down Loop starting
signals were to be moved 92m closer to Claremorris as part of the passing loop lengthening project.
404] Freight train lengths: Certification and testing to permit operation of longer freight trains is
continuing. Subject to certification, testing was to be carried out in February, involving up to 27 flat
wagons being hauled, compared to the current 18. If successful, this will enhance the efficiency and
competitiveness of rail freight services although short passing loops will still affect some workings.
405] Level crossing safety: (BLN 1248.98) Following significant increases in the number of instances of
damage to CCTV supervised level crossing gates, licence plate recognition cameras have been installed
and commissioned at Sydney Parade and Merrion level crossings, with Sutton crossing planned next.
406] GNR(I): (BLN 1250.288) A member also at the IRRS London meeting on 21 January comments that
there may have been an economic case for the 1957 closures. However, there was a whiff of politics in
the Northern government insisting that the closure of those sections in their territory went ahead on
30 September, despite the Southern government being unable to complete their own legal procedures
in time. This led to the farcical situation that portions south of the border (Dundalk - Clones, Glaslough
- Clones - Cavan, Ballyhaise - Belturbet) retained a passenger service from 1 to 13 Oct 1957. Bundoran
to Ballyshannon was effectively isolated so not included. Was the rump of the pre-existing timetable
operated or a special service; and by railcars, steam or both? Incidentally, he has never seen a
photograph of a train during the infamous '13 day' period, for example connecting with a bus at
Glaslough. One of the worst aspects of the closures was that Enniskillen, a sizeable town and tourist
centre, lost its rail connections. Had the less forgivable closure in 1965 of the 'Derry Road' from
Portadown to Londonderry not taken place, with the growth in inter-urban and longer distance
commuter travel by rail, one can envisage a limited stop Belfast - Portadown - Omagh - Enniskillen
/Londonderry service proving as successful today as the route from Dublin to Sligo now is.
407] Timetable Changes: (BLN 1250.289) On 21 January, IÉ confirmed that the revised Dublin Connolly
schedules, with a 10-minute DART frequency and revisions to Intercity and Commuter services are due
to be implemented Sunday 10 April. Almost 2,400 submissions were received about the draft version.
1251 ISLE OF MAN
408] Ramsey Plaza: (BLN 1225.168) The interchange plans are being redrafted. If work starts, the MER
will then operate from a temporary terminus on the Laxey side of Parsonage Road level crossing.
409] New Regional Editor: Please submit all future contributions to Mike McCabe, (per back page, NB:
'underscore' in email address). Mike, also our BLS railtour Quizmaster, lives a stone's throw away from
Scotland and has kindly volunteered to take over from Bob Watt. Our grateful thanks to Bob who is
taking a well earned sabbatical after 137 BLN contributions in his own inimitable style since June 2010.
A bit about Mike McCabe: I am 55 years old, married with three grown up children, none of whom,
unfortunately, is interested in railways. I have always lived in north Cumbria, and have been the 'man
from the Pru', worked in the film industry (packaging films, that is) and now work in radio (security
officer at radio transmitter, guarding our national time clock). It is not as glamorous as it may sound!
My interest in railway started in 1971, sitting on platform ends writing down numbers of the great
variety of locos then. This progressed to an interest in railways rather than trains, though the first lines
covered were Darlington to Penrith and Keswick. I was in my carry-cot, so do not remember too much
(well, nothing to be precise) but my dad assures me that it was in the summer on a DMU, so must have
been 1961 (the Stainmore line CP 22 Jan 1962). My first recording map was the 1974 BR Passenger
Network Map, which I still have. As this was a 'passenger' map, and there seemed to be loads to do, I
did not bother with goods lines (a big regret!). My first railtour was in 1980 to cover the Worsborough
Incline and I have been doing them regularly since 1991; so still a mere novice.
The only British passenger line I need is from Blaenau Ffestiniog North to Central. Like many of us, I
want to cover as much British track as possible, and would consider myself a member of the 'vestibule
shuffle gang' and also the 'loony loopy brigade' - and proud of it. Related interests include walking old
lines. 'Track of Old Railway' on 1'' OS maps fascinated me and still does. I have amassed a rather large
map collection, and can while away many hours studying them. Digital photography has enabled me to
take pictures of just about anything of railway interest. I regret not having the means or foresight to
have taken more pictures in the past, so try to make up for that. Probably my most unusual railway
related interest is a sugar lump collection from various BR buffets from the early 1970s. I still have
them! [How sweet, perhaps they should be in the Tate & Lyle Gallery? - Ed.] It a great honour to step
in as 'Scotland editor' and I will try my best to maintain Bob Watt's high standards. If any other
member might be interested in assisting with BLN regional editing, please contact the Editor.
410] Working for you this Christmas: (As the NR public posters stated) In a highly successful NR
nationwide Christmas/New Year engineering programme 99.02% of 2,500 possessions were handed
back without impact to services. In Scotland there were 292 worksites in 125 possessions, including:
★Craigentinny: S&C and plain track works, with associated OLE adjustments; alterations made to the
existing depot to take the new Hitachi SET trains, which are due to start on the ECML in 2017.
★ Anniesland: (BLN 1248.44 & 107) Commissioning of new connection junctions.
★Haymarket East Jn: (BLN 1245.2085) A £7M, 700 man-shift renewal replacing three sets of points
providing a route from the Up South line, across the Down North and Up North lines, to the Through
Sidings and the Haymarket depot entrance. The new S&C is as much as 10.5m east of its original
position. Renewal of 520m of plain line track on the Up and Down North lines and a new OLE support.
★ Princes Street Gardens: Drainage work.
★ Dundee Dock Street Tunnel: Partial relaying, an awkward site involving check rails (BLN 1243.1966).
411] Ayr Powered? East Ayrshire energy: An 18 Dec 2015 report on compliance monitoring of the East
Ayrshire Council Planning Committee http://goo.gl/rI9xMg with maps, old and current rail locations:
➤ Glenmuckloch opencast site (splendid name), Kirkconnel. Item 48: This site was using a conveyor
belt for coal to Crowbandsgate (BLN 1245.2084), but it will no longer be used for this purpose due to
the cost of bringing it up to standard. Part of the belt, on the course of a former mineral railway, was
within a Special Protection Area (SPA) and is subject to a complaint to the European Commission
relating to the breach of Habitats Regulations. Removal of the unauthorised conveyor was paramount
and work is continuing on this. A restoration scheme for the route where it affects the SPA is being
finalised and the restoration works are scheduled for later this year outside the bird-breeding season.
➤ Killoch Coal Processing and Distribution Facility (e-BLN 1249.X7 with three pictures) Item 20.
Hargreaves Surface Mining Ltd who operate the coal processing and distribution facility have been
modernising and refurbishing the coal processing and preparation plant. This will ensure it remains fit
for purpose for the next 10 years and capable of producing the 'added value products' that the
specialist coal market demands. The investment of £1M demonstrates Hargreaves's commitment to
maintaining a viable business in East Ayrshire. Since early November, coal trains have been running
again to Longannet Power Station, (and did so for a while in March 2014). There are generally up to
three trains a week each carrying 1,400 tonnes of coal. Loading is very efficient. The road tipper pours
coal into the middle part of the train within seconds of the empties pulling in. This continues while the
Class 66 runs round, then it pushes the train right up to the buffers so the loader can access the
wagons by the loco. Finally, the loco draws forward for the back of the train to be loaded. Coal to
Longannet, (closing 31 March), has declined considerably to one or two trains daily; some days none.
➤ Greenburn (BLN 1232. 881) (item 22) No rail traffic at present. Kier Infrastructure had previously
advised the Council that they are in discussions regarding the transfer of ownership of this Opencast
Coal Mining Complex to a third party. It comprises three locations; two are still in operation, with
authority to work up to March 2018. Items 29 & 36 refer to Galawhistle and Spireslack (next section).
412] Mid-Lanarkshire Extension Lines Act: In 1896 the Caledonian Railway obtained an Act, for
branches connecting Strathaven, Stonehouse and Muirkirk. Requiring construction through
exceptionally difficult terrain, the proposal was plainly designed to fend off intended incursions by the
G&SWR and a new independent company. This was a pyrrhic victory, for Parliament granted the
G&SWR running powers over the line! The line was built from Auldhouseburn Jn, immediately east of
Muirkirk, crossing over the Baird ironworks line, through difficult terrain with fairly heavy engineering
to Spireslack Colliery, and eventually reaching the 1856 Coalburn branch at Bankend colliery, where
the mining activity had developed considerably in the intervening 40 years. Although completed and
fully signalled, the line was never opened between Spireslack and Muirkirk, so that Spireslack Colliery
and the nearby Galawhistle Colliery were at the southern extremity, served from Lesmahagow. That
portion of the line opened to mineral traffic in 1896.
413] Oban overnights (BLN 1248.104): Due to engineering work the Fort William sleeper is diverted to
Oban over the last three weekends in February (class 37 traction is possible). In this direction it calls at
Tyndrum Lower and Taynuilt, the latter for a bus connection to Fort William then Spean Bridge, Roy
Bridge and after 2½ hours on the road reaches Tulloch. In the evening, the bus (17.05 from Tulloch)
runs in the opposite direction but to Oban (19.15) for the sleeper which picks up at Tyndrum Lower
(only) on the Oban line. Travelling back in time, a correspondent (not with a pastel-coloured jacket)
advises that 1922 and 1938 Bradshaws show Oban had a Euston sleeper service. Another has the final
LMSR public timetable (1947) with a sleeping car from Euston at 7.30pm attached WFO to the 4.20am
Glasgow Buchanan Street to Oban, returning south at 5.15pm MThO; did this continue in BR days?
414] West Wales: (BLN 1250.303) Correcting this item, the suffix to the name-board at Welsh Hook
actually read 'For St Lawrence'; the 'For Treffgarne Rocks' suffix was at the adjacent Wolf's Castle
where, incidentally, one platform survives intact. At Mathry Road, photographic evidence shows that
the reference to St. Davids did not appear on the BR-style running-in boards and totems; Quick's
chronology indicates that the suffix had been dropped from Bradshaw in 1947/48.
415] A Minor Question Answered:
(BLN 1250.299), regarding the
possibility of a Paddy train service
between Hirwaun Pond Halt and
Tower Colliery, there is no mention of
this in the section of 'South Wales
Collieries' by David Owen dedicated to
the colliery. In 1958 at least, there
were GWR/BR workers trains to Rhigos
Halt, the stock was stabled in the local
carriage sidings during the day and that
might be what was previously
reported. An evening train even
departed from Hirwaun Pond Halt to
Aberdare (ThFO). These certainly would
not have used the best stock!
(September 1956 to June 1957
timetable LEFT) which, for example,
has a 'Not Advertised' 12.10pm (SO)
Hirwaun Pond Halt to Nelson &
Llancaiach Workers' Train. It is
interesting that even in the 1950s it
was not a Workmens' train! A
correspondent is aware of trains
running for shifts at Hirwaun Royal
Ordnance Factory which closed in
November 1945. The internal locos
(not involved with the passenger
trains) remained on the ROF site (until
about 1961) after it became Hirwaun
Trading Estate in 1946. Hirwaun Pond
Halt had platform air-raid shelters for
the workers which still stood in 2010.
416] Future Welsh railway policy:
Anticipating devolution of
responsibility for the next franchise
(starts 14 Oct 2018), the Welsh
Government has issued a public consultation document seeking views on future strategic policy for rail
passenger services. The document reiterates the preference for a 'not for dividend' operator, and
acknowledges that the current ATW franchise has, between 2003 and 2014, increased scheduled train-
miles by a commendable 32% to meet increasing demand, a trend which is expected to continue.
Service developments will need to be set in the context of electrification of the main line to Swansea
and development of the South East Wales Metro, and Welsh Government will continue to press for
electrification in North Wales too. Key franchise aspirations outlined include:
Reduced overall journey times with faster and more frequent trains.
Capacity to meet demand during peak periods and special events.
Newer trains, compliant with 2020 disability access requirements. (No Northern Pacers then?)
Efficiency gains in operating and maintenance costs.
Improved intermodal interchange facilities, including integrated ticketing.
The increased cost of meeting these aspirations will, it is stated, be met through a combination of
'operational efficiencies and increased revenue from increased patronage'. As an aside, there is also
reference to the Welsh Government's aspiration to gain devolved power over railway infrastructure.
The full document can be accessed at http://goo.gl/K0f3XM (a manageable 40 pages).
417] Meliden: At this former LNWR station (CP 22 Sep 1930, CG 1 Apr 1957) http://goo.gl/6xa8MY
on the Prestatyn to Dyserth branch (CA circa.1973), the goods shed has survived, albeit derelict for
many years and fenced off because of a dangerous roof. Lottery funding has now been awarded to
make repairs, and consultations are taking place about future use of the building. Suggestions include
a cycle hire business (the 2½ mile branch is a paved footpath and cycle route), a community arts centre
and a café. Remarkably, there is still a loading gauge between the goods shed and the branch.
(ABOVE: The 10.45 Newport Docks to Doncaster Roberts Road Shed working on Monday 15 Feb 2016,
via Gloucester, Kidderminster, Bescot, Sutton Park and Barrow Hill North Jn; '0X66' formed of 66708
(hauling), 66777, 66776, 66779, 66778, 66774, 66773 and 66775 (rear). The seven newly imported
locos will be the final Class 66s to be built for the UK market; 66779 which is covered over, has a bell at
each end and will be named at York Museum on 10 May. The convoy is on the Up relief line passing
Llandevenny, Monmouthshire just east of the Bishton Flyover running 23 minutes early at 11.12. An 'X'
reporting number indicates a 'special requirement' such as the Royal Train or an 'out-of-gauge load'
and prevents the use of automatic route setting in signal boxes. (RN Pritchard)
1251 MINOR RAILWAYS
MR29] Leas Cliff Railway, Folkestone (MR p34) (BLN 1211.MR93): The (free) Ashford Herald of 21
January 2016 reported that a fundraising page has been launched to save the railway from closure.
The future of the railway was thrown into doubt late last year when it closed in October for its
anticipated winter break. At that time engineers found it had to have new 'wheel rims' which would
take 20 weeks to arrive from South Africa. Volunteers feared the railway would have to close because
the wait would mean it would miss its usual opening date, losing much needed funds. It is run as a
Community Interest Company and did not have enough money to keep it going. Recently the board of
trustees took the decision to lay off members of staff and start a life-saving public appeal. A JustGiving
crowd funding page was launched recently seeking to raise £3,500; pleasingly this target was exceeded
on 11 February. After arrival in Folkestone it will take another three weeks to fit the wheel rims
following which the railway will need a full inspection by Independent experts before re-opening.
MR30] Lynton & Barnstaple Railway, Devon (MR p15) (BLN 1230.MR40): 2015 saw the introduction of
coach No11 and Bagnall 4-4-0T Charles Wytock into service; the loco being very useful as a large
reserve engine capable of hauling four coaches. Originally coach No11 was intended as a spare,
however, during the busy summer season all four coaches were in constant use and on many
occasions the train was full. As of November 2015, passenger numbers and income were up about 7%
on 2014, which itself was a good year. The two local authorities, Exmoor National Park and North
Devon Council, are now going through the 'validation' process of the seven planning applications for
extending the line to Wistlandpound Reservoir. Some questions have been raised and further detail
and information has been provided. Once this process has been completed the full agreed content of
the applications will be placed on-line for public inspection. The outcome of the applications can be
expected in late spring or early summer. Once (hopefully) planning approval is received, fund raising
will be required for the Transport & Works Act Order. Two Hudson built all-steel bogie wagons,
obtained from South Africa, are now in service. One is a 17 tonne ballast hopper and the other a drop
side DZ wagon, Both are substantially built, vacuum fitted and essential for current engineering work
and even more so as the reconstruction of the line moves onward. The railway has twinned with the
Walhalla Goldfields Railway in Victoria, Australia.
MR31] Wensleydale Railway, North Yorkshire (MR p9): The railway has managed to save the North
Eastern Railway (NER) pattern footbridge from Brigg in Lincolnshire, which was under threat of being
scrapped. It is in sound condition and will be stored at the railway until its eventual use is confirmed.
The costs are being covered by a grant, which has been swiftly agreed; details will be announced in
due course. At Brigg a sign stated that a maximum of 10 people were allowed on the bridge at once!
ABOVE: The old bridge at Brigg station in December 2012, looking towards Barnetby. It is good to
know that statistically 50% of the passengers on the three trains a week each way will benefit from the
new state of the art footbridge which was erected in December 2015 and that it will be able to cope
with more than 10 people at once during the rush hour. There are an average of three passengers per
train here. (Christine Johnstone http://goo.gl/pY7tyE)
MR32] Chasewater Narrow Gauge Railway, Staffordshire (MR p23) (BLNs 1135.MR70 & 1231.690): On
New Year's Day 2016 a visit to the Chasewater Railway's impromptu gala (to benefit from the
availability of Class 08 08441 after repair before returning to industry) found their 2ft gauge railway
somewhat moribund and signs indicating that no further running was scheduled. Their website
confirms this by stating - 'The Narrow Gauge Railway will unfortunately not be running regularly until
further notice. Any days when it will be operating will be notified as soon as possible. Sorry for any
inconvenience this causes'. This appears as a News item, which is undated, but lies between items
posted in August & September 2015. There seems to be no other mention of the Narrow Gauge
Railway on the web site. Fortunately comprehensive coverage was enjoyed by 56 of our members on 8
March 2015 when the narrow gauge was operated specially during our 'Chasewater Track Chaser' visit.
MR33] Ffestiniog Railway, Gwynedd (MR p29) (BLN 1246.MR197): The Landmark Trust has entered
into a partnership with the railway to restore the currently derelict Inspectors' Cottage and private
platform at Coed y Bleiddiau (The Wood of the Wolves) as a holiday letting. Located some 8½ miles
from Porthmadog, between Tan-y-Bwlch and Dduallt, this was built by the Festiniog Railway in 1863.
According to Peter Johnson, the author of 'An Illustrated History of the Festiniog Railway 1832-1954'
(OPC 2007), the property was originally shown in plans dated 1869, as a 'policeman's cottage', but it is
not known why the railway felt the need to build a house in such a remote situation where there is no
road access. The cottage was occupied by JA Hovenden, who had been with the railway since 1841 and
was its General Inspector from 1884, and he and his family lived there up until 1913. The lease was
then taken up at £5pa as a holiday home by JW Sudbury, a bank manager from Birmingham. In June
1918 the lease then passed to AW Wellings who in August of the year offered to buy the property
outright but was refused. The composer Granville Bantock became the new holiday home tenant from
15 February 1925 at a rent of £10pa. He was a friend of Sir Edward Elgar, the latter dedicating the
second of his five Pomp & Circumstance marches to Bantock. In September 1933, Bantock assigned the
lease to Harry St John Philby, back dated to 1 March 1930, and renewed in 1937 at the increased
rental of £15pa. Philby senior was the father of Kim, the spy, and it is rumoured that William Joyce,
(Lord Haw Haw), stayed at the cottage. There is no further mention in Peter Johnson's book of
succeeding tenants, but an article about the restoration in the Guardian of 1 January 2016 mentions
that the cottage fell derelict in 2006 on the death of the last ones who had lived there since the 1950s.
The annual rents, given the rises and falls in the value of sterling from c1884 to the late 1930s, will
make for an interesting comparison with the rental for the cottage when it opens for business in 2017.
As with its original construction, all materials for reconstruction will be delivered by rail and, so it
seems, will be the tenant's day-to-day shopping. As in Hovenden's day, a list and basket will be handed
to the driver on an Up (to Blaenau) train with provisions brought back by the driver of a Down train.
MR34] Birmingham Model Engineers, West Midlands (MR p25) (BLN 920.MR74): This society operates
ground level and elevated tracks at its track site near Illshaw Heath near Dorridge. A visit was made on
New Year's Day, which was a members' running event; although by prior arrangement everyone was
welcome. Hot and traditional Christmas food was available to all. The elevated track was operating
with several members running steam locos, although no passengers were carried. On the 5"/7¼"
gauge ground level line, a 7¼" gauge Hunslet Rough Pup (in red livery) was operating with one
passenger coach giving rides. At the station, the only line in use was the loop (inner most line); the
outer line was out of use due to a points defect. In regard to the latest KEG track plan: the track has
been altered slightly; the old station now has a siding where the platform line used to be, ending at the
far end of the platform. Our reporter was informed by the members that public running here is very
limited now with the summer gala about the only time the public are admitted. They seem to cater for
private parties only these days, although visitors are always made welcome.
MR35] Beamish Tramway, Durham (MR p32) (BLN 1225.MR13): The restoration of Sheffield tram '264'
is progressing well with the tram reassembled and subject to extensive testing at the end of 2015. It
was then expected to receive a repaint and the installation of new corner windscreens manufactured
to replace the temporary ones previously fitted. It is expected that the tram will be available for use on
the museum circuit in the spring, for the first time in more than 13 years. The next tram to receive a
substantial overhaul will be Gateshead '10' (also known as Grimsby & Immingham '26') with new tyres,
motor refurbishment and overhaul of its air brake system scheduled for the next few months. The
overhaul will also include some bodywork attention and a complete repaint in Gateshead livery.
MR36] Post Office Railway, Greater London (BLN 1234.MR79): It was originally planned to re-open a
1km 'Mail Rail' section demonstration railway to carry passengers in 2016 based on Mount Pleasant
sorting office part of a new postal museum. A new date of 'spring 2017' is now given for the opening.
A service to members; Please mention the Branch Line Society when booking/enquiring. . ..Details must be checked with the organisers.
418] Honister Slate Mine, 5 & 6 Mar: Honister Pass, Keswick, CA12 5XN, England's last working slate
quarry, with an operational narrow gauge railway. Horror evening with an underground screening of
the film 'The Descent'. Over 18s only £17.50, 01768 777230. Other underground tours are available.
419] For Sale: 25 miles of 2ft gauge track, 35lbs per yard with 250 turnouts, 90% is new steel sleepers
installed between 1990 and 2007 'exceptional condition hardly used'. Situated at the former Eastriggs
Munitions Storage Depot near Annan (the rundown of which started in August 2010 after a 25% MoD
budget cut). Offers above £100 per ton (weighbridge on site), closing date for offers is the end of
February (after which all will be scrapped). Buyer to uplift and transport by the end of July. See
http://goo.gl/OKQWL0 which has some very interesting pictures. Genuine interested parties contact
David Kinloch 07836 753753. Does anyone know when the final standard gauge freight ran please?
420] Locomotive & Carriage Institution, 7 & 8 Apr: Dublin area visits kindly hosted by IÉ including
Inchicore Diesel Depot, Dublin Area Signalling Centre, Fairview DART Depot and Drogheda Railcar
Depot. Free time to explore Dublin (Luas trams maybe), or the Irish Rail network - possibly a recently
refurbished loco hauled Enterprise service! One year membership http://goo.gl/1qZhCe is required for
insurance - currently £13 or £9 if retired and over 55. Information regarding hotel/travel bookings can
be provided if needed. Queries/bookings to our member Stuart Smith [email protected]
or 07887998557. The dates precede the fully booked IRRS 9 & 10 Apr railtour with Class 071 locos.
421] Friends of Douglas Bay Horse Tramway .JOIN FREE!. (BLN 1250.293) Over 4,000 have signed the
group's petition and they are now looking to increase membership to fight for the tramway's future.
For history, photos etc http://goo.gl/hO0x2V and to join http://goo.gl/ZqnCTM or 07624 412374.
422] Heritage Railway Assoc., 5 & 6 Mar: Behind the scenes and trips anticipated: Whitrope Heritage
Centre, Heatherslaw Light Railway and Aln Valley Railway ('as far as we can go'). Part of their Scottish
Railway Heritage Forum in Hawick. Coach connections and to Alnmouth afterwards (stay in Melrose
taxi from Tweedbank £5 or 'a nice riverside walk'). See http://goo.gl/B37wEZ for full programme or
0800 756 5111. Membership required; £21.60 by email, £66 by post for 12 months as a 'friend'.
423] Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway; Broadway - the last mile: (MR p7) In April a £1.25M
share offer is to be made to complete this extension for the start of the 2018 season. For details and to
register interest (no commitment) http://goo.gl/u1LQ2T 01242 621405. For details of the progress
at Broadway http://goo.gl/RlSgjZ Your support is appreciated if you need the track or like the GWR.
424] St. Philips Marsh Depot Charity Open Day, Bank Holiday Mon 2 May: 10.30-16.30, last entry
15.00. Albert Road, Bristol, BS2 0GW (ST 610722). 40th anniversary of the HST entering service; diesel
and steam locos on display from all over the country, also rolling stock from the modern GWR
fleet. Advance tickets adult (18+) £13.99, Child (3-17) £8.36, family (2+2), £31.91. Free shuttle bus
every 15 minutes; signposted from Temple Meads station. Parking at Avonmeads Retail Park, Avon
Street, BS2 0SP. More details and to book: https://goo.gl/0nyVVd limited pay on the day (cash).
425] Apedale Valley Light Railway: (MR p23) Moseley Trust 'Tracks to the Trenches Gala' 13-15 May
426] Cirencester Town station, Tue 31 May, 11.00-15.30: On the corner of Sheep Street, and Tetbury
Roadd, GL7 1QW, (SP 0207 0181). A one-day exhibition celebrating the 175th anniversary of the originally
broad-gauge branch terminus opened 31 May 1841. Latterly it was worked by a BR Railbus until CP/CA 4
Oct 1965. Photographs of the railway's history and memorabilia on show. The splendid Victorian/Gothic
IK Brunel designed building is Grade II listed and on closure was bought by the local council, used as a
bus station then offices. Disused since 2012, it is dilapidated inside. The Cirencester Civic Society is
concerned about its future and aim to gather support for the Cotswold District Council (the owner) to
accept proposals for renovation and reuse. The event and poject are supported by Cirencester Waitrose
which is built on the site of the former goods yard south of the station.
LEFT: 1961 one-inch to the
mile OS map, the terminus
of the branch from Kemble
is towards the top left.
Originally there were no
intermediate stops but BR
opened Chesterton Lane
Halt (shown) in February
then Park Leaze Halt in
both short and low; simply
constructed of old sleepers
for the railbus service. The
third station here was at
the Midland & South
Western Junction Railway
CA from 11 Sep 1961.
Swindon Town, Andover
and ultimately Southampton
were to the south and
Andoversford (and then on
to Cheltenham Spa) north.
BELOW TOP: The front of the former GWR Cirencester Town station building in May 2006 after the
awnings for its phase as a bus station had been removed (Paul Best https://goo.gl/iFjNBT).
BELOW BOTTOM: The diminutive 4-wheeled railbus is totally lost in this February 1962 picture, looking
north towards the buffers, but the full branch was traversed. (Ben Brooksbank https://goo.gl/PnqXHw)
For many more picture, track plan etc see http://goo.gl/jJ4OBn website.
X15] TransPennine Express Train Love? http://goo.gl/Px9PEB
427] Sought after track? (BLN 1238.1414) A reminder of the Saughtree station B&B in Roxburghshire,
TD9 0SP (NY 565 981) off the B6357 between Bonchester Bridge and Newcastleton; beautiful remote
countryside (GUARANTEED NO Mobile phone signal! Wi-Fi available) just north of the Scottish border.
Run by the family of one of our members; perfect for exploring disused railways and walking. Whitrope
rail Heritage Centre is 10 miles by road four walking. Recommended by a former BLS Chairman and the
BLN Regional Editor! See http://goo.gl/rJkosh 013873 76213 and http://goo.gl/A93bte (history).
428] Glasgow Central station tours: (BLN 1221.1752/61) Reaching the parts not normally reached.
More dates are regularly added (but quickly book). Added to the itinerary are the abandoned low-level
1888 platforms (the low level station had four platforms when CP 5 Oct 1964), and what are described
as 'Victorian Ladies walkways' and the 'steam era tunnels'. See http://goo.gl/dzGbH1 TripAdvisor 5/5.
BLN 1251 ADDENDA
X15] NIR, Antrim (excl) - Knockmore: (NRU) TCA Mon 25 Jan to Sun 3 Apr 2016 inclusive, thought to
be in connection with the condition of the embankment at Lissue Road between 0m.75ch and 1m
00ch where there is a 5mph speed restriction. Essential maintenance work has also been taking place
since 22 June 2015, including waterproofing and bridge painting at Six Mile Water and hedge cutting.
X16] West Coast Main Line, Lockerbie (excl) - Carstairs (excl)/Carstairs East Jn: (BLN 1248.28) ROP/
ROA expected 22 Feb 2016 after TCA at 08.53 on 31 Dec 2015 due to Lamington bridge flood damage.
X18] Closure of Derby station: (BLN 1244.1996) The permanent closure of *Derby station (predicted
from 12 Dec 2015 in BLN 1244) actually happened on 24 December along with the line between Aosta
and Pre Saint Didier in North West Italy. Any resemblance is purely coincidental, although your Editor
thought it looks like a prototype for a Swiss cuckoo clock; BELOW - Ian Hutton. *Pronounced 'Derrbee'.
X17] STOP PRESS: Shrewsbury signal box visits, Sat 9 April: Thanks to our member Nick Garnham;
meet at Shrewsbury station 10.00, includes Severn Bridge Junction and the Marches line. BLS members
only. Please indicate if you have or require a high visibility vest or any spare (and how many). The
group will travel in shared cars, please indicate if you can provide lifts and how many or if you require
a lift. A charity donation is expected to apply. Please contact Nick at [email protected]
Please note that Nick will be unable to reply to emails between 20 and 25 February. Limited numbers.
X18] Test Fitting: ABOVE: on 18 February, all ready for our Northern Power House Tracker of 6 March.
This begs the question, just how do you remove a 'NOT TO BE MOVED' sign? There is no truth in the
rumour in last week's Railway Herald that participants will be forced to sit in a Pacer for 13 hours; for
the record it is a mere 10 hours with 49 minutes off in Leeds for good behaviour! (Kev Adlam).
Distribution: Dave Monger, 6 Underhill Close, GODALMING, GU7 1NU. [email protected] 07592 585230.
Branch Line: Nick Garnham, [email protected] Subscribe: [email protected]
Fixtures Secretary: Kev Adlam, 53 Kemble Close, Wistaston, CREWE CW2 6XN. [email protected] Twitter: @BLSGeneralSec
General Secretary: Tim Wallis, 10 Sandringham Road, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. [email protected]
Chairman: John Williamson, 'La Marguerite', Croit-E-Quill Rd., LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7JD. [email protected]
SALES: Mark Gomm, 84 Mornington Road, STOKE-ON-TRENT, ST1 6EL. [email protected] 01782 769960 (daytime).
NEWS TEAM: Wales: Paul Jeffries, 54 Heol Erwin, CARDIFF, CF14 6QR. [email protected]
South East England, East Anglia & Ireland: Julian James, 58 Nelson Road, WORTHING, BN12 6EN. [email protected]
London: Geoff Brockett, 155 Onslow Gardens, South Woodford, LONDON, E18 1NA. [email protected]
East & West Midlands: Brian Schindler, 15 Sudeley, Dosthill, TAMWORTH, B77 1JR. [email protected]
South West: Mike Newman, 19 Plover Close, Worle, Weston-Super-Mare, BS22 8XB [email protected]
North East England: Geoff Blyth, 26 Trafalgar Way, Queens Park, Billericay, CM12 0UT [email protected]
Scotland: Mike McCabe, Lawrenceholme Barn, Oulton, Wigton, CA7 0PH [email protected]
Northern (West) Yorkshire, Humberside, & IOM : Graeme Jolley, 3 Laurel Cottages, Rencell Hill, LAXEY, IOM, IM4 7BJ. [email protected]
Minor Railways (British Isles): Peter Scott, 93 Josephine Court, Southcote Rd, READING, RG30 2DQ. [email protected]
International: Paul Griffin, 7 School Bell Mews, Church Lane, Stoneleigh, COVENTRY, CV8 3ZZ. [email protected]
E-BLN (Distribution problems and for image submission etc): Dave Cromarty, [email protected]
Editor/Head Lines: Paul Stewart, 4 Clarence Close, MALVERN, WR14 3HX. [email protected] 01684 562862 07790652351.
Printed by Deva Enterprises, Waters Edge, The Drive, Ifold, LOXWOOD, Wes [email protected] or
[email protected] Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Rd, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947.