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6th February 2016

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Published by membersonly, 2018-04-17 00:44:10


6th February 2016

Issue Number 1250 (Items 213 - 316 & MR 22 - MR 28) (BLN 49 PAGES) 6 February 2016


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 1251 is dated 20 February and all coSnotcriiebtuy.tions must be received by 10 February.

Date Event Visit Type BLN Lead Notes

Sun 7/02/16 Third Rail Centenary 09.47-18.20 UPDATE BLN 1249 1249 KA OPEN
(Merseyrail) Tracker PAY ON THE DAY AVAILABLE

Sat 27/02/16 North Midlands Tracker 07.45-20.24 Crewe 1248 GJ ENQUIRE

Sat 5/03/16 Southend-on-Sea area 10.30-15.30 five different visits 1247 RB ..FULL

Sun 6/03/16 Northern Powerhouse 09.13-19.12 Manchester Picc. 1250 JE/ *NOW*

*OPEN* Tracker (2x Class 142) *BOOKING FORM ENCLOSED* KA *OPEN*

Sat 12/03/16 Signal box visits 09.15 Malton to Seamer line 1249 NG OPEN

Fri 18/03/16 Didcot Railway Centre Date for your diary TBA TBA Claimed

Sat 19/03/16 Pontypool & Blaenavon 10.30 Comprehensive railtour 1246 SM ENQUIRE

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 (BELOW) 1250 JC *OPEN*

Thu 31/03/16 Sherwood Forest Rly *NEW* 13.00 SEE LAST PAGE 1250 JC *OPEN*

Sat 2/4/16 East Lancashire Railway Bubble car DMU tour (part 2) TBA TBA Claimed

8-11/04/2016 Jordan Hejaz Railway SEE BELOW re-dated Nov 2016 1246 IS Redated

7-9/05/2016 Rare track in SW Spain Heritage line & two freight lines 1244 GB Enquire

14/05/16 *NEW* GWR Tracker Bristol area railtour, provisional TBA TBA Claimed

20-22/05/16 Island of Ireland Long weekend; minor/mainline 1250 KA NOTIFY
*NOW OPEN* Tracker - part one
06.00 Friday to 20.00 Sunday *OPEN*

3-4/06/2016 Scottish Minor Railways Aberdeenshire/Perthshire 1246 TV NOTIFY

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.

213] Merseyrail Tour, Sun 7 Feb: (BLN 1249.114) The enhanced route (with sections of unusual 'wrong
line' running with resulting crossovers) was in the last BLN and is at our website.
Now with trailing X/O's at Hooton north & south, Mann Island Jn, Birkenhead, Liverpool Central North
Jn, Leeds St. Jn, Bootle Jn, Formby, Hillside, Kirkdale South Jn, Walton Jn, Leeds St. Jn, Liverpool Central
(south), James St. (out of P2) and Rock Ferry North Jn. It is a high capacity train run in aid of two very
worthy charities, so please give it your full support. Pay on the day will be available BLS members/
Merseyrail staff £65, non-members £77. Hooton P1 (09.47/18.20), Rock Ferry P2 (10.06/17.45), James
Street P1 (10.24/17.34) & Eastham Rake (free car parking) 18.26. Queries to Kev Adlam per back page.

[BLN 1250]

214] BLN England – North East: Please note that Geoff Blyth has kindly volunteered to take over as
Regional Editor from this BLN. Geoff's contact information is on back page; see regional section also.

215] Northern Powerhouse Tracker, Sun 7 Feb 2016: Details and a booking form are enclosed; e-BLN
subscribers will need to print the download. This Class 142 charity charter with Northern Rail (before
the franchise changes hands on 1 April) has a very appealing route and is in aid of the RBF. The 09.13
Manchester Piccadilly start is entirely compatible with the 15.30 finish at Southend the day before.

216] National Tramway Museum, 09.00 Thur 31 Mar: (MR p32) Crich Tramway Village, near Matlock,

DE4 5DP, (SK345549) A 1¼ mile uphill walk from Whatstandwell station. Thanks

to member John Cameron, a morning visit is booked; there is nearly a mile of 4' 8½" gauge line. Meet

09.00 for 09.30 to traverse three depot roads as the trams go into service (not inside the depot), also

the connection to the running line and between the normal drop off and pick up points (ECS workings

usually). Includes track plan, stock list, a day ticket for unlimited normal tram rides with three different

trams, access to , shop, tea rooms etc. £16 cheque/CPA 'Branch Line Society' to John at 10

Friar Gate Court, Friar Gate, Derby, DE1 1HE. Queries [email protected] 07581 178759. A later

in the day to the 15" gauge Sherwood Forest Railway (MR p22) has been arranged SEE BACK PAGE.

217] Jordan Hejaz Railway, UPDATE: (BLN 1246.2150 with map and brochure) Thanks to our member
Iain Scotchman, the possibility (not booked yet) of riding the much sought after Aqaba Railway freight
lines from the central Jordan potash mines to the Red Sea port of Aqaba via Wadi Rum has arisen.

[BLN 1250]
Realistically, more time is required to investigate this; therefore, the decision has been taken to re-
date the trip from 10-17 November (provisionally). It is not certain how many days would be needed,
probably five. It is evident that more people will come for the enhanced itinerary and this will
significantly reduce the cost per head. (ABOVE: Jordan railway map - United Nations press release.)
Provisional itinerary:

 Day 0: Arrive Amman, direct or via Israel (interesting loco-hauled services option available).
 Day 1: JHR Amman (museum and Depot visit) - Al Mafraq - Amman - El-Jiza.
 Day 2: JHR - El Jiza - Qatrana (first three nights in Amman Airport Hotel if available).
 Day 3: Qatrana to El-Abyad Mine (closed?) - El Hasa (probable northern limit of ARC operations)

train if these links are actually operational/easily restorable or coach if not. Overnight in Karak?
 Day 4: ARC El-Hasa Mine - Ma'an - Depot visit ? Overnight in Petra?
 Day 5: Ma'an - Aqaba Potash Terminal - Wadi Rum - Aqaba port, Depot visit. Stay in Aqaba.
 Day 6: Aqaba to Amman by coach. Potential Petra etc add-on.
Queries and potential notifications ASAP to assess interest before outside advertising starts to Iain
at [email protected] or 102 Shenfield Place, Shenfield, Brentwood, CM15 9AJ.
218] Island of Ireland Tracker, Part 1, 20-22 May: Following trips to the Isle of Man and Channel Isles,
our now customary annual long weekend is to Northern Ireland in 2016. The Republic should feature
in 2017 with perhaps a second instalment in 2018. This trip will cover as much of the NIR network by
service train (South to Dundalk) and as many heritage/miniature locations as possible; travel is partly
in two 17-seat minibuses. Participants will need to be in place by the evening of Thursday 19 May. The
event starts 06.00 Friday at Belfast Great Victoria Street station with service trains to Londonderry,
Bangor (lunch break and miniature railway visit) and Larne. After Carrickfergus bay platform the group
heads to Whitehead for a special evening riding visit at the 5' 3" gauge RPSI base. Arrival in to Belfast
for an overnight stay at your chosen hotel allows time for a few social evening drinks together.
BELOW LEFT: The 'new' Londonderry Waterside station (OP 24 Feb 1980) looking south with our
'Ulster Enterprise I' railtour on 26 May 1990, which also visited the old station (BLN 1249.147). BELOW
RIGHT: The Foyle Valley Railway, was then operational (sadly the museum finally closed completely on
27 Mar 2015; the last passenger train seems to have been public Santa specials in December 2000 and
a charter train on 24 Aug 2001). Looking north, the River Foyle is on the left. (Both Ian Mortimer)

Saturday: Cultra railway museum and a special on the 7¼" Cultra Light Railway. Then Drumawhey
Junction for a very comprehensive visit to the 7¼" Belfast & County Down MES and Delamont Country
Park for a special on the 10¼" gauge line there. The day ends at the 7¼" Coleraine and District SME at
Damhead, again with special running. Finally back to Belfast with the opportunity of dinner together.

[BLN 1250]
Sunday: a loco-hauled trip on the refurbished 'Enterprise' service to Dundalk, returning on the second
loco-hauled set in operation, to Belfast Central. A quick transfer over to Great Victoria Street then to
Balmoral and back completes the triangle. Then it is northeast by minibus to Carnfunnock Country
Park's 7¼" miniature railway; finishing our long weekend on the 3ft gauge Giant's Causeway &
Bushmills Railway. Leaving about 18.00 the minibuses will head separately to Belfast International and
Belfast City airports for flights home. Note: participants will be required to arrange their own flights,
ferries and hotel accommodation and need to be located in central Belfast. The selected weekend
complements the RPSI 2016 International Railtour (see 'Connections' at end of BLN). No payment is
required now; but expressions of interest to Kev Adlam are welcomed (NB maximum capacity is 32).

219] BLS Scottish Visits, Fri 3 & Sat 4 June: (BLN 1246.2151) If anyone else is contemplating joining
Terry Velvick's Friday PM summer visit to the Scottish Model Engineering Trust's remote Wester
Pickston Railway (MR p28), near Methven, please advise Terry ASAP: 75 Castle
View Gardens, Westham, Pevensey, BN24 5HS (with SAE) 01323 762784. There is 1½ km of intricate
7¼" ground-level track with new extensions, and a non-public elevated 5" line.
Special trains are covering as much of both lines as possible, including sections not available on their
four public running days each year. Enough support is needed to run these, as locos are brought in
specially. BLN 1236 (MR98) has a detailed report. Own transport is desirable, please advise if lifts are
available (and how many) or required. More visits are possible in Scotland over the weekend.

220] Unusual Track: Anticipated but should be re-checked
 Settle & Carlisle line, Howe & Co (302m 68ch) & Culgaith (284m 55ch) trailing X/Os: Up trains
single line working with a temporary timetable, due to several landslips. Expected to end Feb.
 Truro country end trailing X/O: 6 Feb, 06.35, 11.12, 11.55, 12.37, 14.02, 14.41, 18.45, 19.21,
20.00, 21.01, 21.41 & 22.50 all to Penzance are booked from P3 (incoming services arrive P3).
 Sole Street X/O: 6&7 Feb, trains to Victoria from P2 (Engineers' X/O normally padlocked OOU).
 Maidenhead P4 to Bourne End: (SSuX) 05.25*, 05.49, 07.41, 17.12 & 18.19. (*To Marlow)
 Bourne End to Maidenhead P4: (MSuX), 00.28 (starts Marlow), (SSuX) 20.00 & 20.05.
 Newark Northgate trailing X/O: 6 Feb, Virgin EC to Doncaster start P2 (&11.22 to Leeds on 7th).
 Purley North Jn Up slow-fast: 7 Feb, 08.55 & ½-hourly Tattenham Corner to Tulse Hill service.
 Purley P5-Down Tattenham: 7 Feb, Tulse Hill to Tattenham Corner except 08.00, 08.30 & 23.00.
 Barnes: 7 Feb, trains to Barnes (via Mortlake), Kingston and Windsor dep P2 to Down Richmond
 Kingston bay P1: Services to/from Barnes all day.
 Oxford P1 to Down Main at 63m 60ch: 7 Feb, Cross Country departures to Birmingham all day.
 Birmingham New Street, Bristol Line-P5: 22.57 Redditch. (SSuX) 06.26 ex-Worcester SH, 09.35
Penzance, 19.50 Cardiff & 23.30 Redditch. (SO) 06.22 Great Malvern, 19.32 & 22.27 Redditch.
 New Street P5-Bristol line: These also use Holliday St. Tunnel X/O. (SSuX) 07.19 to Great
Malvern, (SO) 06.42 Redditch, 07.49 & 10.49 Hereford. P5 is the lowest with Bristol line access.
 NET Old Market Square trailing X/O: All passenger departures north 12-14 Feb inclusive.
 King's Cross H&C: 13 & 14 Feb both X/Os in use. H&C runs from Hammersmith - King's Cross P2
(reverse), X/O on departure. Met runs via facing X/O into P1 to reverse. No Circle Line services

221] FIXTURES REPORTS, The BLS Concrete Conqueror Cracker, Sunday 7 Jun 2015: (BLNs 1232.84 &
1239.1524 - track plan and pictures). This track and traction tour actually all started back on 26 Nov
2014. I was in a regular meeting with the Plant and Quarry Managers at Ketton Cement Works as part
of my job. They mentioned plans for an open day and bringing in a steam engine for public rides. That
evening I got in touch with Kev, who unsurprisingly was rather interested and we discussed how the
Society could perhaps be involved. The next move was to contact the Plant Manager about a possible
Society fixture. Many meetings, phone calls and emails followed which eventually led to the day which
so many enjoyed. Having never been involved in the organisation of a Society fixture before, the sheer
detail was a real eye opener. The thorough professionalism and organisation that Kev brings to these

[BLN 1250]
events is impressive. With the Society's involvement, the weekend's operation changed and evolved.
Saturday was the Works Open Day, aimed at the local community. This was always going to involve
steam haulage with 'Rocks by Rail' and the owner of the steam locomotive involved, AB 2088 0-4-0ST
(1940) 'Sir Thomas Royden'. Short rides to the coal unloading sidings maximised public involvement.
BELOW: 'Sir Thomas Royden' awaits the first passengers of the weekend at the specially constructed
temporary platform in Ketton Cement Works; behind are some cement silos (Gary Pullan 6 Jun 2015).

The summer Saturday dawned sunny and warm. Kev, Martyn Brailsford, Graeme Jolley and myself
were stewards for the day [very altruistically foregoing an attractive non-BLS railtour elsewhere - Ed].
A temporary platform (to industry specification plans prepared by the Society) had been constructed
on the original line into the works, dictated by security considerations to minimise public access to the
wider site. The free public rides, with a specially made 'Ketton Express' headboard on the loco, were
delayed as AB2088 had brake problems due to a dip in the track catching a drain valve. All those on the
Sunday rides will have felt this dip! The valve was quickly fixed in the plant's workshop and public rides
were soon underway. They were busy all day with a short lunch break for coaling and watering
(stewards too!). Over 1,000 people were carried on 17 trips; £300 was collected for Hanson's chosen
charities. We all thoroughly enjoyed stewarding and it was clear that the public also enjoyed the trips.
After the public had left, several moves took place to ensure everything was in the correct position for
Sunday. There were five crippled wagons that had been on site for some years and Hanson had hoped
they would be moved. Unfortunately, this had not been possible so they were taken to one of the
exchange sidings. The Railway Magazine published a picture of one of these trips with photos and a
short article on the public event. The weekend featured in many other publications too including
Railway Herald, Rail Express, the local press and even made BLN!

[BLN 1250]
BELOW: The 'BLS Concrete Conqueror Cracker' at the platform on part of the original internal railway,
only used for loco stabling. Note the distinctive Ketton Cement Works loco 'livery'. The blue sky shows
that it was a lovely day on more than one level (Jim Sellens with his back to the silos 7 Jun 2015).

As trust built up with Hanson and our relationship was cemented, we had their agreement to run our
trips essentially as we wished. They were surprised at first by our preference for the 08s rather than
the steam loco! Another day of glorious weather dawned and the first of four groups met in the staff
canteen (refreshments were kindly on sale). Each group was walked to the platform to comply with
site security and safety. The two resident Class 08s, 08375 and 08622 were used 'top and tail' with two
brake vans, Shark 993734 and LMS 731874. It is thought that this was the first time 08622 had hauled
passengers. 163 Society members were carried. Each identical trip gave 3.9 miles of Class 08 haulage
covering all the clear track, including to the NR boundary 2½ miles west of Stamford station. The three
exceptions were the short Axiom Rail stub used for maintenance, the loop beyond the loading silos
(where AB 2088 was stabled) and a small section of exchange siding 4 where the cripples were stored.
The Society presented a cheque for £6,000 to Hanson Cement on the Sunday for their chosen charities.
Over the weekend almost all of the donations came from the railway operations. Hanson told us that
the Society's involvement transformed the Open Day, which they saw as a great success. As a result,
they have indicated a willingness to work with us again and even provided us with an unsolicited
professional reference for future use. At the York AGM Kev said it was his highlight of our 60th year.
All I can add is that it was mine as well. The plant's 65th anniversary is only a few years away.

[BLN 1250]
There may be an opportunity for a
similar event with a chance to ink in
those missing bits of track - we will, of
course, advise you know if anything
concrete materialises. Maybe there will
be different 08's by then? One of the
site's original Fowler diesels is of course
at Rocks by Rail, so is that a possibility?

My/our considerable thanks go to Kev,
as I am sure that without him we would
not have enjoyed the high quality,
professionally executed fixture we did.
Thanks also to Martyn, Graeme and the
other BLS stewards, Gareth Earnshaw
and his team from Rocks by Rail and
Stewart Jones, Plant Manager and Cliff
Daly, Quarry Manager and their staff at
Ketton. (Gary Pullan; local Member
1923.) LEFT: At the NR boundary, the
Peterborough (left) to Leicester (right)
main line is visible (Gary Pullan).

222] Kylie's Captain Specials, Sun 24
Jan: (BLN 1248.1) Traditional Traction's
08484, having spent parts of its life at
Wolverton Works and more recently
Felixstowe Docks, has been an elusive
machine. On 2 July 2007, the loco was
named 'Captain Nathaniel Darell'. That
ceremony marked the 340th
anniversary of the defeat of a Dutch
force in 1667, the last attempted
invasion of England by a foreign force. Captain Darell was in charge of the defences at Landguard Fort,
Felixstowe at the time. As far as PLEG (Preserved Locomotive Enthusiasts Group) are aware it had
never previously worked a passenger train, despite a short spell at Toddington. In late 2015, loco
08484 arrived at Locomotion, Shildon as cover for 13079, and talks quickly progressed agreeing its use
for a joint BLS/PLEG event. Fine-tuning of the details followed an overwhelming demand; there were
over 120 applications for 100 places, in under a minute, at 19.30 on a Sunday evening! Trains ran at
09.00 (the one of greatest interest to BLS members covering most track) using roads 4-7 to the roof
overhang across the concrete by theroof overhang across the concrete by the museum doors. The
10.00 and 10.45 reliefs worked up to the gates before the concrete apron. On the 10.45 train 08484
was removed before the end, partially to assist Locomotion with shunting afterwards and partly to
ensure 03090 (the translator loco coupled inside) powered, as it had not per the crew on the 10.00
run. The organisers would like to thank all those who assisted in advance or on the day and especially
Pam and Richard and their staff from Locomotion. Until arrival we had no idea that road 4 was
available as an unadvertised extra. In addition, the café and toilets were kindly open for our use 90
minutes early and the 10.45 relief covered the sidings. A third brake van had been hinted at, but not
confirmed, which enabled all those present by 10.00 to travel on the 10.00 rather than/as well as the
10.45 train. Finally, thank you to the 148 participants who all proved people can behave without
requiring a closed window policy. The event resulted in a donation to Locomotion of £1,480!

[BLN 1250]

ABOVE: One of the trips for later risers, 08484 and 03090 at Locomotion platform, Shildon. The Bishop
Auckland branch (immediately south of Shildon station) is right of the wire fence. (Craig Kinsey)

There was also much of interest to see at this railway museum. For pictures and a
track plan: also a stock list and full mileage summary. Below: a summary (thanks
to Mark Sutton) of the 09.00, which had mostly BLS members on. *= Decimal mileage, total 2.52miles.

Direction From To Miles*
Hauling 0.02
Propelling Locomotion Platform Locomotion/NR boundary gate 0.16
Hauling 0.13
Propelling Locomotion/NR boundary gate Running line/yard line turnout 0.06
Hauling Yard No4 Siding (shed roof overhang) 0.06
Propelling Running line/yard line turnout Clear of No4 Siding/No5 Siding turnout 0.08
Hauling Yard No4 Siding (shed roof overhang) Yard No5 Siding (shed roof overhang) 0.08
Propelling Clear of No4 Siding No5 Siding turnout Clear of No5 Siding/No6 Siding turnout 0.06
Hauling Yard No5 Siding (shed roof overhang) Yard No6 Siding (shed roof overhang) 0.07
Propelling Clear of No5 Siding/No6 Siding turnout Clear of No6 Siding/No7 Siding turnout 0.43
Hauling Yard No6 Siding (shed roof overhang) Yard No7 Siding (shed roof overhang) 0.48
Propelling Clear of No6 Siding/No7 Siding turnout 0.46
Hauling Yard No7 Siding (shed roof overhang) Goods Shed 0.43

Goods Shed Locomotion/NR boundary gate

Locomotion /NR boundary gate Goods Shed (buffers)

Goods Shed (buffers) Locomotion Platform


223] Liverpool (1993) Bulk Terminal, Gladstone Dock (Hornby Dock Coal processing facility): (BLN

1243.1899) CG after the last train of imported biomass left for Drax at 09.10 on 28 Dec 2015. ,

gave up the lease on 31 December. The loading facilities including the coal conveyors were quickly

removed. It was only used for Drax Biomass short term to help move the first 50,000 tonnes quickly as

it is a moisture sensitive product, now all handled at the new (OG 26 Oct 2015) purpose built Biomass
Terminal at Alexandra Dock No3 which dock once handled grain. It can store 100,000 tonnes and load

up to four trains, each of 1,600 tonnes daily. When fully commissioned in July it will be able to load 10

trains daily. The final coal train from Liverpool Bulk Terminal ran to Fiddlers Ferry on Tue 5 May 2015

at 21.06, worked by 66230. The last Ironbridge train ran on Wed 18 Nov at 09.10, staged at Tuebrook.

224] Crossrail Royal Oak railhead - Westbourne Park, Marcon sidings: (BLNs 1245.2094 & 1249.152)
OG Sat 9 Jan 2016 now connected to NR; first inward train of Tata Steel long welded rail for Crossrail.

225] Barking (DBS) Eurohub Freight Terminal: OG Sat 16 Jan 2016, trial run, Astra cars from Ellesmere
Port. They were transferred to Cartic wagons (that had arrived with new cars from Germany) then
exported via the Channel Tunnel. The terminal is for new car transshipment, distribution and storage.

226] Glasgow, Larkfield Jn - Muirhouse Jn: (BLN 1249.129) CP 17 Jan after TROP Tue 12 Jan 2016, for
diverted Highland Caledonian Sleeper (now via ECML to King's Cross station during Lamington closure).
A video of it passing through York at 05.50 recently: (full screen available).

227] Blackpool Trams, 'North Pier' (Heritage stop): Renamed 'North Pier & Tower' from 21 Jan 2016,
first used by Heritage Tram service Sat 30 Jan. (Heritage trams are running next on 27 & 28 February).

228] Arcow Quarry GF - Arcow Quarry Sidings: (BLN 1244.2039 plan) OG 26 Jan 2016, GBRf Class 66
and 16 HIA wagons from Ferryhill Old Yard arr 08.00. It left 13.23 for Leeds, Hunslet terminal with
1,400 tonnes of aggregates. Empty wagons arrive from the south and set back into the sidings via a
new Ground Frame (controlled by Settle Junction). After loading, the train runs round in Blea Moor Up
Goods Loop (accessible from the south). Three trains weekly to Hunslet, Pendleton &/or Bredbury.

229] Girvan (excl.) - Stranraer & Barrhill station: (BLN 1249.235) ROP at 16.20, 26 Jan; normal services
resumed on 27th; TCP since 8 Jan 2016, significant scour protection damage to Laggansarroch Viaduct.

230] Highbury & Islington (P1&2) - Canonbury (P1&2) - Shadwell (excl); & six intermediate stations,
also New Cross (platform 'D' LO) - Surrey Canal Jn: TCP 13 - 21 Feb 2016 (incl), half-term, for Crossrail
work at Whitechapel. Shadwell turnbacks are expected to be ECS shunts north of the station.

231] Nexus, Tyne & Wear Metro, Shiremoor (excl) - Tynemouth (excl) & four intermediate stations:
TCP 19 March to 2 April (incl) for track relaying. Turnbacks are expected to be ECS shunts at both.

232] Twitter Milestone: on 30 January @ BLSGeneralSec, the FS's account had 600 followers (below)!

233] EDF Tracker Quiz, 23 Jan 2016: With thanks to Mike McCabe (answers in BLN 1251):
(1) What was the shed code for Carnforth on its closure to steam in August 1968?
(2) Which famous film's railway scenes were mainly filmed at Carnforth?
(3) Where did daily maintenance of the Lancaster to Morecambe and Heysham EMUs take place?
(4) Which locomotive and train derailed resulting in Settle Junction being re-modelled?
(5) Where did the closed line from Clapham (North Western Railway) join the WCML?
(6) Where was the former BR London Midland/Eastern Region Carnforth - Leeds line boundary?
(7) What is the Bingley Five-Rise? (Clue: nothing to do with Hawaii Five-O.)
(8) What was the name of the DMU depot in Bradford?
(9) When was the first stage of Doncaster Power Signalling Box commissioned?
(10) What is unusual about Grimsby Town's football ground?
(11) When did the Humber ferry service between New Holland Pier and Hull Corporation Pier cease?

[BLN 1250]
(12) What were the names of the paddle steamers that operated this service until the mid 1970s?
(13) What is someone from Grimsby called? (Don't say unfortunate!)
(14) What is the World's oldest classic horse race which is run at Doncaster? (Legible answers please.)
(15) Where was Eric Treacy, the famous railway photographer's bishopric?
(16) Which confectionery ingredient was grown uniquely (for Britain) in fields around Pontefract?
(17) How many arches are there in Wakefield Viaduct?
(18) What were the names of Leeds's former three main stations?
(19) Where is Britain's most inland port?
(20) Which city has the highest ratio of trees to people in Europe?

234] Points and Slips: 1249.144] Our RBF Tracker
report was inadvertently ambiguous. On leaving
Southampton Central Down Bay Siding (former bay
P5) the tour took the Down Fast then went left into
the Down Loop. It did not run via the non-electrified
and very rusty 'Bay (through) Siding'. This resulted in
more like 2m 30ch of continuous rare track rather
than 2½ miles. It is understood that the whole layout
west of Southampton Central was relaid a year or two
back but the signalling was not reconnected for the
Bay Siding even though it was relaid. It is wondered
what it might be used for anyway. E-BLN 1249.X8]
The Sunday Manchester Victoria complete passenger
closures for Ordsall Chord construction work are for
12 weeks from Sundays 24 Jan to 17 April inclusive.
On these days Rochdale east end bay (P2) is in regular
use all day. MR18] Fintown Railway: (MR p26) It has
been reported that the 2015 season ended early and before that people making special journeys for a
ride were sometimes unable to have one due to a lack of volunteers. It is not absolutely clear if the 2¼
mile 3ft gauge line (on original County Donegal Railway trackbed) will reopen in 2016. Any information
would be appreciated (also the final date that public trains actually ran in 2015).

235] Railway losses: (BLN 1249.194) A member, noting the benefits to the community from the
reopened Borders line, highlights the opposite effect from closures in the 1960s. The 3 Dec 1966 'Isle
of Wight County Press' reported that Ventnor had suffered a 25% reduction in trade that season after
the railway closed beyond Shanklin from 18 April 1966, even with a 'dedicated bus connection'.

236] Grimsby Light Railway: (BLN 1249.150) Due to a broken rail between Immingham and Ulceby Jn
there was a rare freight working on 28 January by (only) the 17.13 Lindsey Refinery to Kingsbury. This
was the first freight on the line since the North Lincolnshire resignalling. Interestingly the schedule
showed that it was 'timed for 134mph max' (sic) but actually took 29 minutes from Immingham East Jn
to clearing Marsh Jn (a distance of six miles). Despite being a 'light' railway, it was able to cope with
Britain's heaviest train weighing in at 3,200 tonnes (2,200 tonnes is actually oil). Incredibly, there are
usually three or four of these trains daily, six days a week and sometimes one on Sunday even.

237] Clipstone triangle: (BLN 1205.406) During week beginning 11 January the double track West Jn to
South Jn curve was cut into panels and taken to the former Mansfield Concentration sidings site for
removal. By the end of the week, it had been completely lifted. On 19 January, work started to lift the
East Jn to South Jn curve; being long welded rail it was dragged to the South Jn to be cut up. Some of
the former east curve concrete sleepers are reportedly to be re-used to relay the 'main' LD&EC line at
Gorsethorpe. All the remaining track from Clipstone South Jn, south over the road bridge towards
Rufford Jn, has also been removed. South Jn semaphore signals 24 and 27 have been purchased for

[BLN 1250]
preservation by individuals; No27 will be part of a 5" garden railway! Clipstone East Jn was removed in
August 2013, as was West Jn in March 2014 other than the Up line points. These are due to be plain
lined in February, so this is effectively the end of the Mansfield Railway! There are occasional track
testing trains on the former 'Dukeries Line' to NR's Rail Innovation and Development Centre, Tuxford
near High Marnham (busy with staff training courses, train commissioning and testing). Its track starts
east of Thoresby Colliery Jn, but since the final coal train ran on 17 Sept 2015, may be extended to
Shirebrook although passenger reopening from there to Ollerton is possible (BLN 1239.1545). On 26
January, a train ran to Thoresby where Freightliner wagons are stored. They are occasionally shunted.
Historical plan & BR(ER)1965 plan.
238] Holton-le-Moor: On 15 January at 09.45 a broken rail was found near Walesby on the Down
main. With Wickenby's crossover OOU and Langworth's removed, single line working between Holton-
le-Moor and Pelham Street Jn (20 miles!) was ruled out. At Holton-le-Moor the 09.20 from Grimsby
turned back using the trailing crossover in service. The repaired line re-opened at line speed by 13.50.
239] Castle Donington: On Sat 23 Jan 2016, Stoke City football club were playing away at Leicester
City. At very short notice a 17.52 extra EMT passenger train ran non-stop from Leicester to Stoke-on-
Trent via Castle Donington arriving 19.04. This was 29 minutes ahead of the 18.01 service train from
Leicester with its nine-minute Derby connection and station calls. Although 'timed for 125mph max'
the 64m 11ch was covered in a commendable 71 minutes. There was no advance advertising and the
first football supporters knew was during match announcements and on Twitter. As well as relieving
what could have been severe overcrowding between Derby and Stoke, this avoided Stoke fans meeting
Millwall fans (travelling back from a match at Chesterfield) at Derby. For the record Stoke lost 3-0.

240] West Burton: From our 23 January Ermintrude, Dougal and Florence Tracker, the modern looking
signal box was noted to have been demolished and reduced to a pile of rubble. It was adjacent to the
Down (south) side of the Gainsborough to Retford line between West Burton East and West Jns. It
opened 11 Oct 1964 with the Retford dive-under and when Thrumpton Box was modernised from a
lever frame to an NX panel. Initially it worked to Clarborough Jn box until the latter's abolition on 12
Nov 1967. The box then controlled from Freemans Lane LC to Gainsborough Trent Jn and inside the
power station, commissioned 1967/68 (where there is also a Coal Plant Control Room panel signalling
some of the internal lines). West Burton (which could be switched out to Thrumpton) was abolished at
23.00 on Fri 20 Sept 2013 and control was transferred to Thrumpton box using a new WestCad system.
ABOVE: The now demolished West Burton signal box, taken from a public crossing. Retford is to the
right, Gainsborough (Trent Jn) left and West Burton 'A' Power Station behind. (Will Tom 2 May 2007)

[BLN 1250]
241] Nottingham Suburban Railway (NSubR):
LEFT: A picture taken on 16 Jan 2016 (Gary
Pullan) of Woodthorpe Drive overbridge, just
north of Sherwood station in Woodthorpe
Grange Country Park, shows a fake loco front on
a short section of track protruding out of the
filled in overbridge. Beyond the bridge, the
trackbed is private gardens. There is a plaque
with a history of the NSubR and a photo of
Sherwood station recording that the final
passenger train was an enthusiasts' special in
1951. [16 June 1951 - RCTS East Midlands
'Nottingham Railtour' - Ed.]. Daybrook Jn - Thorneywood - Trent Lane Jn CA 1 Aug 1951, although the
line had actually been severed at Thorneywood by WWII bomb damage on 8 May 1941 and never
repaired; so effectively then CA from there south to Trent Lane Jn but was used for wagon storage.
Other structures now extant are the former station houses at St Ann's Well and Thorneywood and
part of Bluebell Hill Tunnel in Sneinton in use as a rifle range. The NSubR was a 3m 52ch double track
line (singled in 1931) serving the north-eastern suburbs. OP August 1889 it ran from Trent Lane Jn in
Sneinton, about two-thirds of a mile east of the GNR's then terminus at Nottingham, London Road,
north to the same company's Derbyshire and Staffordshire Extension line at Daybrook station, passing
through three stations and four tunnels en route. Although independent, the NSubR was worked from
the beginning by the GNR, to whom the line was later leased. Regular local passenger services finished
in July 1916, succumbing to the expansion of Nottingham's electric trams!

242] Nottingham NET: Lace Market tram stop and the nearby track is closed for work from the 12 to
14 February inclusive. Trams from Hucknall and Phoenix Park will terminate at Old Market Square
(trailing crossover is expected in passenger use on departure). Toton and Clifton trams will terminate
at the Station (ECS north shunt expected). The track at Lace Market has been in use for almost 12
years; the work should help reduce vibration and noise and improve the paved area around the stop.

243] North Staffs line: The signalling boundary is 'Egginton Juction' box (including Hilton LC cabin). The
closure date for all the boxes to Foley Crossing (Longton) via Uttoxeter is now projected to be in 2019

244] Worksop: The former extensive layout here has, with the reduction in coal traffic, taken on an air
of dereliction. The sidings are mostly very rusty some containing stored coal wagons. The reception
loops are still in use and both were successfully traversed by our 23 January EDF Tracker railtour.

245] Crossrail: (BLN 1249.152) (1) Whitechapel: Further upgrade work is in progress. Following closure
of the station over the weekend of 16 and 17 January, a temporary entrance opened on the corner of
Durward Street and Court Street. On completion in late 2018 there will be lift access to all platforms,
the ticket hall will be refurbished and expanded with wider pathways and more ticket gates. To allow
work on access routes to the Crossrail platforms to take place directly above the London Underground
platforms, the Overground service (at a level below the Underground!) is being suspended between
Highbury & Islington and Shadwell and between Surrey Quays and New Cross from 13 to 21 February.
(2) Farringdon: Crossrail Ltd has been granted planning permission for a five-storey office block above
the eastern ticket hall in Lindsey Street. This will make a financial contribution to the Crossrail project.

246] HS2: (BLN 1247.2315) HS2 Ltd wishes to see its trains at least partially built in the UK. It appears
that Alstom are considering bidding for the construction contract and, if successful, would build a new
manufacturing plant and maintenance depots. Industry speculation suggests that it is considering a
production facility near London, potentially around Old Oak Common. Train bodies would be built on
the continent and fitted out in Britain.

[BLN 1250]

ABOVE: (BLN 1249.147) Farringdon Sidings (TRACKmaps vol.5 p44B) are in use, 16 Jan 2016 (Iain Scotchman).
247] North Pole Depot: (BLN 1249.159) The Departure Line (which passed under the West London
Line) was severed at the depot gate several years ago, with the section outside the gate becoming an
ECS reversing siding. This was mainly for trains terminating at Shepherd's Bush, although all trains that
now reverse here are booked to do so in the platforms. However, the West London line connection to
North Pole Reception Sidings still exists, out of operational use, and is to be reinstated. Once it became
clear that the east end of the depot was not going to be needed for any railway operational use, the
track and electrification equipment were removed in 2013. The Eurostar bogie drop and wheel lathe,
also at the east end, were removed and the pits filled in.
248] TfL To Spread Its Wings Again? The DfT and TfL have issued a prospectus
on the future of National Rail services in London and the South East. It proposes that future franchises
should be split, with TfL responsible for services mostly or wholly within Greater London and the DfT
continuing to be responsible for outer suburban services. Improvements in frequency, reliability and
customer service are envisaged. London area routes mentioned in the prospectus are Metro services
operated by Southeastern, Southern and South West Trains and Great Northern Moorgate services. It
does not say that they would become part of London Overground. Although this has been presented
by parts of the mainstream media as a 'fait accompli', the prospectus is a consultation document
which poses a number of questions. There are no firm proposals on how to fund the improvements,
just an expectation to unlock investment from the public and private sectors.

[BLN 1250]
249] The Underground in one Day: (BLN 1194.1401) gives details of a record
breaking route for visiting every station on the network from 2009. The current record of 16 hours 14
minutes 10 seconds was achieved by Ronan McDonald and Clive Burgess on 19 Feb 2015.

250] Waterloo: (BLN 1246.2170) P20 was used on the weekend of 23 and 24 January when some other
platforms were closed for engineering work. RTT indicates use on other occasions. Does any member
know if it continued to be available after the last timetabled operation on Fri 11 Dec 2015?


251] New NE Regional Editor: Please submit future contributions (per back page) to Geoff Blyth, who
has kindly volunteered to take over this area which includes Cleveland, Durham, Northumberland and
Tyne & Wear (also the Metro). Although born in Bath, the North East became an area of great interest
to him because Geoff spent his formative years in Middlesbrough. Special thanks to Graeme Jolley for
performing the editing so ably over the last 5½ years; Graeme will still have his work cut out covering
three areas! We are hoping for more members' contributions (please!) for this interesting part of the
country. Geoff's biographical note: I was genetically destined to follow both my parents as a railway
enthusiast. At one time my mother was the oldest member of the Mid Hants Railway (indeed the only
one who could remember it in pre-grouping days) and possibly of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway,
too. However, I have not conformed to my (quite deliberate) initials of 'GWR', preferring the LSWR's
withered arm. My favourite railways are the NER and GCR; I covered many miles of both these and the
LSWR. I joined the BLS in June 1968 (member 315). At one time, I wrote the itineraries for our North
East railtours and can see that some of my wording survives in current itineraries! Outside railways, I
am chairman of Billericay Sub-Aqua Club, like music and was fortunate to retire early from a City IT
consultancy so spend more time travelling in Europe. I am keen to persuade more members to travel
in mainland Europe, am organiser of the proposed SW Spain BLS tour in early April and moderate the
EGTRE (Enthusiast's Guide to Travelling the Railways of Europe) group. If any other member might be
interested in volunteering to try BLN sub-editing, please contact Paul Stewart per back page.

252] Almost 'Coals to Newcastle': GBRf has recently started moving surplus coal from Ferrybridge
power station (which closes by 31 March) to North Blyth. Its destination is almost certainly Battleship
Wharf, (2m 60ch) off the branch line to the Rio Tinto Alcan alumina loading facility. There have
generally been two trains SSuX. The wagons are 'flat box' type, so the ground coal (as observed passing
through Newcastle station) is presumably loaded/unloaded with grabs. It is thought to be blended
with imported coal at Battleship Wharf for onward transport by rail to West Burton 'A' power station
in MGR type wagons (total not far short of 300 miles or 30 miles as the crow flies from Ferrybridge!).

253] Port Clarence: (BLN1240.1631) Greenergy fuel has created a rail distribution hub at the former
Petroplus (ex-Phillips Petroleum) refinery site (3m 25ch) on the branch north to the former (lifted) Seal
Sands Branch Jn. Trains to Cardiff Docks have started; each conveys up to 1,400 tonnes of fuel once or
twice a week generally. There are also light engines moves to/from Tyne Coal Terminal or Lackenby.

254] Port of Tyne: After months with no coal traffic, this rail traffic from Tyne Dock has resumed
recently with imported coal to Drax and West Burton. This runs mostly via Boldon East Jn. and the
Durham Coast line, although some ECS workings run via Boldon West Jn and the ECML to North Blyth.

255] Boulby branch: (BLN 1246.2183) A new security fence has been installed around the mine
although the type of gate across the railway has not yet been decided. This may be related to the
ultimate owner being an Israeli chemical company, ICL. As previously mentioned the mine is to switch
from producing potash to polysulphate. This is a new multi-nutrient fertilizer, low in chloride, mined
from a polyhalite rock seam (170m below Boulby's potash seam), containing magnesium and calcium
as well as the potassium in the potash currently mined. Potash is only present in the UK along a small
part of the North Yorkshire coast. There are large offshore reserves beneath the North Sea extending
to Lithuania! Presumably, polysulphate will be carried by rail, a planning condition for the mine.

[BLN 1250]
A rival project, York Potash, which could affect the Boulby rail traffic, has obtained planning
permission (by only one vote) for a mine near Sneatonthorpe, south of Whitby in the North York
Moors National Park. This aims to produce 13M tonnes annually within six years. There will be no rail
involvement, all the output will be transported to Teesside by a 23-mile underground conveyor to a
materials handling facility on the eastern edge of the Wilton site. Exports will be conveyor transported
to a new quay at Bran Sands on the south bank of the Tees.
Ironically, after the Whitby to Scarborough line closed in March 1965 and was lifted in 1968, some
three miles of track was left in place from Whitby south to Hawsker (BLN 1154.166) to serve a
potential mine. However, nothing materialised and the track was taken up by May 1973. It is unlikely
that rail transport would be considered now. The mine will be hardly visible; rail-loading facilities
would be far more intrusive. There would no doubt have been strong opposition to heavy freight along
the picturesque Esk valley. Operation would have been awkward, with three reversals required - at the
former Prospect Hill Jn, Whitby station and Battersby Jn. The Esk Valley line might well have needed
relaying and some underbridges strengthening. The loop at Glaisdale would have needed lengthening
and it would have been desirable to build a curve to avoid Battersby Jn, and reinstate the former loop
at Kildale. [All this was seriously suggested by potash developers at one stage, at their expense, as well
as sponsoring improved passenger service on the Esk valley line - Ed.]

ABOVE: What might have been; from one-inch to a mile 7th series sheet 86, (1950 revision). Whitby
terminus is shown by the OS as a 'principal station' (four platforms then). The surviving Esk Valley
Railway to Battersby Junction and Middlesbrough (off bottom left) was double track to Grosmont.
Interestingly the section was mostly ash ballasted which over the years set like concrete and was very
difficult to dig up for P'Way work etc. Top left is the coast line via Loftus, (joining the current Boulby
branch just short of that terminal) to Skinningrove, Saltburn West Jn and Middlesborough via
Guisborough etc. Loftus to Whitby West Cliff station (shown as 'open to passengers' to the NW side of
the town) CA 5 May 1958 and the line was further cut back to Prospect Hill Jn from 12 Sep 1961.

[BLN 1250]
The Scarborough line went off bottom right via Robin Hood Bay, this superbly scenic route CP 8 Mar
1965 and is now a 21-mile 'Trailway' walk/cycle route. It was the Whitby to Hawsker station (bottom
right) section that was retained until 1973 for potential potash traffic. At that station, self-catering
accommodation is available in railway carriages ideal for walking. As well as these
routes from Whitby it was once possible to travel by passenger train via Pickering and Malton to York
and beyond Battersby Junction to Picton on the Easglescliff to Northallerton line, south of Yarm.
256] Hartlepool: There is regular traffic on the branch from the former Greatham station to the Tata
Steel pipe mill (Hartlepool South Works) and the Seaton Snook branch (for Hartlepool nuclear power
station). The Hartlepool Docks branch is heavily rusted, with saplings growing close to the track. It is
unlikely there has been any traffic since our 'Durham Coast' tour on 12 Aug 2000. This reversed well
down the line and visited the Seaton Snook branch, Sunderland South Dock and Dawdon inter alia.

ABOVE: The unusual (for the NER) Island platform at Whittingham. (Angus McDougall 7 Apr 2000 both)
257] Alnwick - Coldstream: 'The Restoration Man' on Channel 4 recently featured a Northumberland
gent who plans to convert a Victorian station (Whittingham* on the Alnwick to Coldstream line) into a
family home. It was unusual for the North Eastern Railway (NER) in having an island platform, with the
station buildings only on the platform. A correspondent remembers seeing it lying derelict about 40
years ago and it does not seem to have changed much since. The station is still in surprisingly good
condition considering it had been derelict for 60 years. The programme was interesting other than
referring to what was obviously the goods shed as the 'engine shed'. (*In Northumberland, but not Co.
Durham, names ending in 'ingham' are pronounced '…inj ', so Whittingham is 'Wittinjum'.)
Coldstream - Wooperton OG 2 May 1887, OA 5 Sep 1887; CP 22 Sep 1930. Alnwick - Whittingham -
Ilderton CA 2 Mar 1953, Ilderton - Wooler CA 12 Aug 1948 due to flood damage. Finally, Wooler -
Coldstream CA 29 Mar 1965. The line ran through thinly populated country and no doubt never paid
its way. It was built by the NER to block a somewhat fanciful project for a 'Central Northumberland
Railway' from Newcastle to Coldstream via Scotsgap, Rothbury and Whittingham. This had hopes of
becoming an alternative route to Edinburgh. The other reason for building it was that Alnwick did not
want agricultural traffic from the Wooler area to be diverted to Rothbury. The line made a long
circuitous detour to the south west out of Alnwick, rather than directly to the northwest, to avoid the
Duke of Northumberland's extensive estate requiring a steep climb and heavier engineering work.

[BLN 1250]

ABOVE: View north (towards Coldstream) of Whittingham station (NU 089121) from the overbridge

258] Fairfield : This station is noted to be completely missing from National Rail Timetable table 79R.
259] Warrington: (BLN 1248.59) The Goods Lines, east of Central station, classified as loops, were
abolished on 23 Oct 1988. The DGL ran alongside the Up main and was taken OOU (due to the
condition of track) 3 Aug 1985. The UGL had three intermediate ground frames (GF) to serve the
sidings and was taken OOU 23 Apr 1988 with Workshops GF and Warrington No1 GF (No2 GF and the
New Sidings 1-7 were abolished 23 Mar 1980). This left No 1 & 2 Sidings, provided 4 May 1973 as DMU
turn-back sidings, and still there today. Warrington Central's current signal box is the top of Newton-
le-Willows on a new brick base with the frame and parts from Platt Bridge Jn! At Sankey Jn the main
line ran westwards and the Burtonwood branch NNW. The USAF base was run down in stages from
1959 and the BR part of the branch was lifted in 1964. The main line connection, worked from Sankey
Jn, was removed 24 Oct 1965. (Sankey Jn box closed 3 March 1969). The redundant air base passed to
the MoD and then to the DoE when that was formed in 1970. A change in the world situation (France
withdrew from NATO) saw the base occupied by the US Army from 1966 and the 'US Army siding' was
relaid 27 Feb 1975 (hence the name change from DoE) with 'Burtonwood GF' commissioned 27 Jul
1975. Some later railway notices still called it 'Burtonwood USAF GF' (although incorrect at the time).
260] Merseyrail: Five bidders are shortlisted to supply a new fleet of trains. Merseytravel says that
procuring new trains by the early 2020s is considered the best option to meet growing demand and
support the region's economic ambitions while obtaining best value for the public. The current fleet is
approaching 40 years old, among the oldest in the UK, and is close to the end of its operational life.
261] Ellesmere Port: (BLN 369 p87) The Wirral Railway Circle ran two 'Stanlow Docker' railtours (with
brakevan and wagons) on 7 July 1979 as advertised in BLN of 9 May that year. The first was on lines
around Oil Sites Road and later in the day, from Ellesmere Port (West) exchange sidings onto the
Manchester Ship Canal railway there. Does anyone have a record of what was covered, particularly the
second tour? Replies to the Northern Editor please. Six Bells Junction has

[BLN 1250]
262] Ordsall Chord: (BLN
1249.165) NR has recently
hinted that the £85M
project could be delayed by
further legal challenges and
is not yet a 'done deal'.
Mark Whitby has recently
been given leave to further
appeal against construction
of the Chord at no cost to
himself. He is now deemed
not to have any personal
financial interest in the project which is now considered by the court to be a 'matter of public
interest'. Enabling works began in October and recently the foundations were started. Some existing
structures are then due to removed, preserving heritage features, before the main viaduct is built. Last
year a judge dismissed claims that the construction of the Ordsall Chord would cause substantial harm
to one of the most significant historic railway sites in the world (BLN 1246.2206). (ABOVE: The cleared
site ready for the chord, where it crosses the former MOSI branch, - Ian Mortimer 25 Jan 2016.)

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Combined Authority
lead for Rail North, said: 'I agree with the Secretary of State's original judgement - a decision made
following extensive consultation by NR - that this (now under construction) is the right option for the
city, the region, and the country, and I want to see this vitally important new line opening as soon as
possible.' Nick Spall, NR route delivery director added: 'We want to deliver this vital and long overdue
improvement to the railway to benefit the millions of taxpaying passengers who want, and deserve it. If
our programme of work is further delayed as a result of ongoing legal challenges, we, and in turn
taxpayers, will face additional costs totalling millions of pounds.'

263] Museum of Science and Industry, ex-Liverpool
Road station: (E-BLN 1249.X8 & BLN 1249.165) Track
lifting was in progress on 18 Jan 2016 in preparation
for construction of the Ordsall Chord. The loop that
ran alongside the normal running line had been lifted
beyond the gate, and the Museum running line itself
was being lifted, from the same place. The buffer
stops have been relocated from the end of the
elevated 'Banana Road' (which has not been lifted)
which public rides used to reach, on the north of the
site. These rather flimsy looking stop blocks are now
about 10yd inside the gate, the new limit of the
greatly curtailed internal rides, due to run in
February half-term. There is also a separate sleeper across the track and even a red 'STOP' sign! By 25
January all track outside the gates had been lifted and strangely, the isolated 'Banana Road' had a stop
sign fitted at the main line end even though it is now disconnected from the rest of the railway there!
(ABOVE: The end of the line, the former west end of the Banana Road Ian Mortimer 25 Jan 2016.)

264] Manchester, United Football Club Halt: (BLN 1249.161) It is pleasing to report that trains ran on
Sat 23 Jan & Sun 24 Jan. Did they actually stop and if so for how long? These ran from/to the Airport,
as also happened on 22 Aug 2015 at least, when the middle (of the three trains) ran from/back to
Crewe via Airport. It is not compulsory to watch the football to travel, the halt has public access and
egress! A member finds it amusing (picture e-BLN 1249.161) that the mainline railway overhead west
of Cornbrook to Trafford Park (and the halt) is a single 'trolley wire' used to save money - i.e. no

[BLN 1250]
supporting catenary as the picture shows. It is particularly noticeable where the Metrolink line and the
CLC run parallel, the trams have (ex-BR) full railway type overhead electrification! The same type of
electrification was used from Wolverhampton North Jn to Oxley Depot (for ECS moves).

[BLN 1250]
(ABOVE: The 10.46 ex-Manchester Airport after arrival at the halt, 22 Aug 2015. The second picture
shows that watching the football is not compulsory. Note tram style electrification - Patrick Chandler).

265] Shenfield: (BLN 1248.77) Within the station, the new OHL gantries do span from the P3/P4 island
platform to the street side of the new P6. However, two huge gantries (one right at the London end of
the platforms and the next one west) span the entire six-track formation: five running lines plus the
access line to the out of use Down sidings and muddy formation for the new P6. Although structures
originally installed for 1,500V DC are used to Shenfield (BLN 1248.68) there are also some entirely new
gantries over the Electric Lines part of the way between Brentwood and Gidea Park.

266] Airport Jn - Didcot: Masts have been installed both sides as far as West Drayton. West, there is a
further section of masts, spans and droppers, followed by masts with some spans. At Iver there is a
gap in mast installation, except the Up goods which is being wired and has masts, some with single
arms and droppers. Around MP 15 there are only bases. Then mostly masts only erected approaching
Langley (where there is a gap with no sign of any work in the immediate station area). Beyond that a
section of masts, spans and droppers through Dolphin Jn, with an additional mast in the centre for the
crossover tracks. Then mostly masts only, with a handful of spans through to Slough (again nothing
through the station). There are a few masts towards Windsor. West on the main lines are mostly masts
only (some bases only), until about MP 19¾, after which work has achieved mostly installation of
droppers. Beyond Burnham (where the Up relief masts are north of the island platform, and the Down
relief will be served from the main line side). There are wires on all four tracks from approx MP 21½ to
beyond 22¼ (almost Taplow where footbridge raising work continues). Past there, work has reached
the dropper stage until before the Thames bridge (which has nothing) and there are some beyond but
little around the Maidenhead East crossovers or the station area. West of the station, work is much
less advanced, with most bases fitted from around MP 25 westwards, but there are at least five signal
gantries between around MP 25½ and MP 27¼ that need replacement. A handful of masts have been
installed, one near MP 25 and another couple at Ruscombe.

Through Twyford and west there is little sign of electrification work beyond some bases until Kennet
Jn on the outskirts of Reading where masts and spans (no additional ones) were installed with station
rebuilding on the main tracks. More recent work has been on the Reading West route down to the
station and on the west curve, feeder lines, etc. (but not the Festival line, seemingly) which now
mostly have masts with spans. The elevated railway (which had bases fitted with construction) now
has most masts erected. Reading Depot has low speed single 'trolley' wire electrification installed in all
sidings etc. Beyond Scours Lane, most masts have been erected, along with some spans and droppers,
with a gap through Tilehurst East crossovers. At Tilehurst holes have been dug in platforms for mast
installation. To the northwest, work has reached installation of droppers in most places and there is a
stretch, originally only over both relief lines but now also the Down main, of wires fitted east of
Pangbourne. Masts continue along the main lines adjacent to the station. Beyond there, most places
as far as the Thames bridge have droppers fitted. This bridge (east of Goring) now has four round
masts (two each side) with the country end one having a head span too. Between there and Goring
station, most spans have been fitted. In the station area there is a temporary footbridge and masts on
the platforms. West, including the cutting, short masts are attached to the top of the retaining wall.
Most spans and many sets of droppers have been installed. The other Thames bridge has no signs of
work yet. Beyond there are some spans, many with droppers. At Cholsey, digging is complete and
masts erected on the Up main platform and outside the Down main. To avoid the 'coal yard' east of
the station and the Cholsey & Wallingford Railway to the west, it appears that the relief line wiring
each side of, and through the station, will be cantilevered out from the southwest. Beyond there any
many masts with droppers until Moreton cutting, at and beyond which there are mostly just masts. At
Didcot, there are bases around the avoiding line (which have been there a while) but no other signs of
work. The station area has various masts and some spansand there are more towards Swindon.

[BLN 1250]
267] The Final Day of the M&GN, 28 Feb 1959, by Angus McDougall: I had travelled the 'full length' of
the Midland and Great Northern Joint line several times after 1946 en route to family holidays in
Lowestoft. The 'full length' being Little Bytham Jn (an end-on junction with the former MR branch
from Saxby, shown as a larger spot left of Bourne on the map below), just east of the East Coast Main
line, to North Gorleston Jn* past Yarmouth Beach, including the Spalding avoiding line from Cuckoo
Jn to Welland Bank Jn. However, I had never been from Peterborough to Sutton Bridge or from
Melton Constable to Sheringham or Norwich. In 1958, British Railways (BR) announced that the whole
line was to close in 1959 (except for some sections retained for freight). I was concerned that my
budding ambition to be a latter-day TR Perkins (who travelled over all British and Irish passenger lines
in the 1920s and 1930s) might be prejudiced by this large-scale closure, the biggest contemplated
then. However the general opinion of railway enthusiasts in Nottingham (where I lived) was that
closure would take place at the end of the 1959 summer timetable, as the route carried heavy holiday
traffic between the Midlands and North and East Anglia, although apparently not much else. The RCTS
East Midlands branch had planned a farewell railtour to all the 180 route miles:
*Past North Gorleston to Lowestoft was run by the Norfolk & Suffolk Jt Committee (GER and M&GN,
later LMS and LNER) which also managed North Walsham to Runton West Jn via Mundesley-on-Sea

Unfortunately, BR rather sneakily brought the closure date forward, to 2 Mar 1959, and stymied any
attempts at a comprehensive railtour. Apart from the time available for its organisation having been
drastically cut, the length of daylight at the end of February would be insufficient to cover all the lines
in the light. So we were all thrown back on our own devices, and I was glad that my parents' choice of
holiday destination had been so prudent, making my task considerably easier than that for some of my
friends who had not traversed any of the line. I worked out a scheme for the last day, Saturday 28 Feb
1959, (there were no Sunday services) to cover all the bits I needed, except for South Lynn to King's
Lynn, and the Spalding west curve. Melton Constable to Sheringham was staying open to passengers.
The remaining Norfolk and Suffolk Joint sections (North Walsham to Mundesley-on-Sea and Cromer
to Sheringham) were also omitted, as they were not included in the 1959 closure proposals. The North
Walsham to Mundesley branch CP 5 Oct 1964 and Melton Constable to Sheringham on 6 Apr 1964,
both lines CA 28 Dec 1964. Cromer to Sheringham is still open today and Sheringham to Holt has
reopened as the North Norfolk Railway. However, I would also be able to go from Norwich Thorpe to
Yarmouth, out one way and back the other (by both the ex-GER lines), and all before darkness fell.

[BLN 1250]
BELOW: Mundesley-on-Sea when cut back to operate as a branch from North Walsham; the through
line beyond to Cromer, Roughton Road Jn via Trimingham and Overstrand (etc) had CA 7 Apr 1953.

The last day was a very fine one; the weather was marvellous for the time of year. I set out by local
train to Grantham and then some sort of express to Peterborough North. I remember two things
clearly about that part of the journey, one was the sight of a fellow passenger in the express (open
stock, I seem to recall) who was surreptitiously timing the train over the fast section south of Stoke
Summit (I wonder what the locomotive was?) - perhaps PWB Semmens or even Cecil J Allen, although I
imagine either of them would have travelled first class. The other was a glimpse of the MR branch to
the M&GN crossing above the ECML north of Little Bytham (GNR station), where I thought I saw a new
unused signal post near its bridge. It would have been entirely typical of one BR department to renew
equipment over a line that another was about to close. It was a time when station repainting was

thought to be a strong clue to its
imminent closure proposal. At
Peterborough North (bottom of map
LEFT to the left of centre) I changed to
the mid-morning train to Yarmouth
Beach via Sutton Bridge, hauled by the
inevitable 'Pig' (Ivatt LMS 4MT 2-6-0). It
was north to Wisbech Jn; a large MR
signal gantry controlled the divergence
of the M&GN from the MR line to
Leicester, over the so-called 'Rhubarb
Bridge', through the brickfields to

[BLN 1250]
BELOW: Taken from the moving train from Peterborough (North) to Sutton Bridge; about to cross onto
the M&GN line (the double track to the left in front of the engine), approaching the large signal gantry
at Wisbech Jn, Peterborough. Straight on is the Midland Railway to Stamford and Leicester, on the
right is the Great Northern Railway ECML. The M&GN headed north on the west side of these other
two lines for half a mile gaining height, then turned east through a right angle, crossing over them on a
bridge (see map at bottom of previous page).

At Murrow, the building of the 1961 connection (south to west curve) to the GN&GE Joint line (to
allow Peterborough, Wisbech Jn to Dogsthorpe Sidings to CA 27 March 1961) was still in the future in
1959. Murrow then was simply a plain and relatively unusual flat crossing of the two lines. It is
interesting to realise that I was not even to use the GN&GE line again until after closure not only of the
remainder of the M&GN in this vicinity and the 'new' curve itself, so I never saw it at all. I have since
visited the site (devoid of all railways since March to Spalding CA 29 November 1982) by car and tried
to imagine what it looked like. BELOW: Murrow Signal Box (with a BLS member's head visible) taken
from a BR first generation Rail Blue DMU on the GN&GE Joint line between March and Spalding on 30
Oct 1982. This was was scheduled to be the final day of operation but closure was delayed and the
meagre passenger service was withdrawn from 29 Nov 1982. The single track M&GN used to run just
before the road shown (map below, Peterborough was to the left; Wisbech and Sutton Bridge right)
and cross the Joint line on the flat after the box, in front of the road level crossing that can just be seen
between the side of the train and the box. The 1961 connecting spur (CA July 1966) ran from behind
the train (south) to the left (west). All pictures by Angus McDougall; mostly taken on Sat 28 Feb 1959.

[BLN 1250]

ABOVE LEFT: The derelict signalbox at
Murrow on 17 April 1993 (it has since been
restored). This is taken from north of the
box, looking southeast. The double track
Joint line was on its left; in the distance can
be seen the former Murrow (West) station
goods shed. The M&GN crossed here to
their Murrow (East) station which was to
the left of this picture (see map ABOVE
RIGHT) and the 1961 connecting curve was
behind the signal box running from left to

Back on the train at Wisbech St. Mary
(LEFT), between Wisbech North and Sutton
Bridge, the controlling signalbox was a MR
type with, interestingly, a GNR somersault
signal (shown in the picture).

At Sutton Bridge, (pictures next page, map
below) I marvelled at the station and the
Cross Keys swing bridge, shared with the
A17 road and said to be one of the reasons
for the line's closure to all traffic east of
there. The bridge still exists, with both
sides now used by road traffic, the

eastbound side being the former railway
bridge. The A17 now follows the old M&GN
trackbed west of Sutton Bridge, then turns a
right angle left, north before the River Nene.
It quickly turns another right angle, right,
onto the bridge. Further east towards South
Lynn, approaching King's Lynn some more of
of the M&GN formation has also been
subsumed into the A17.

[BLN 1250]
TOP: Sutton Bridge station; Cross Keys swing bridge in the distance to the right past the station sign.

[BLN 1250]
ABOVE LOWER: Approaching the swing bridge at the end of the station loop, the road then ran on the
other (identical) half of the bridge left of the railway, now the A17 uses both sides (and well worth a
visit even with a rubber-tyred vehicle), note signal box beyond the bridge to right of signal box.
The other engineering feature then threatening the continued existence of the line was also on this
section, at the other end. This was West Lynn bridge, referred to in the BR closure publicity of the time
somewhat inscrutably as Clenchwarton bridge, although some distance from the station of that name.
This was a distinctly dodgy structure carrying a single line between West Lynn and South Lynn Single
Line Jn (what a fine Midland name!) signalboxes, and for many years it had a severe weight and speed
restriction. Double heading of trains was prohibited, for example, so that pilot engines had to cross the
bridge separately from their trains. A new road bridge across the river in connection with the King's
Lynn bypass has now totally obliterated all traces of this actually rather unimpressive bridge and also
of South Lynn passenger station
At South Lynn on that day I noted the King's Lynn connecting shuttle, a push and pull set powered by
an ex-GER class N7 0-6-2T (even on the last day the hated rival had a part to play!). This train would
take the double track curve to King's Lynn Harbour Jn on the GER Ely to Lynn section. This short branch
survived for many years (for freight traffic to King's Lynn Sugar Factory) after the rest of the M&GN
had disappeared. As already mentioned my schedule would not permit a ride on it, and it was not
until twenty years later that I managed to do it with the present BLN Editor [Yes, 6 Apr 1979 plus the
Campbell's Soup Factory branch, King's Lynn Docks and Middleton Towers extremity - Ed.]. There was
a loco shed at South Lynn, which was to close with the line; it had fairly recently been reroofed,
possibly another manifestation of the railway's left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing.

ABOVE: A 1950s map, the M&GN from Sutton Bridge (left) crosses the River Great Ouse over
Clenchwarton bridge to South Lynn. Then it passes over the GER from Ely and the single track line to
Dereham and Norwich (still open for sand traffic from Middleton Towers - lower right) and on to
Gayton Road (which also served the sand pits; their internal railway lines joined the two railways here)
and Melton Constable. Note the 'Beet Sugar Factory' and connecting curve to the King's Lynn line. The
third line out of Kings' Lynn station (north) was to Hunstanton and Wells-next-the Sea. Campbell's
Soup Factory and its branch had yet to be built but the harbor branch can be seen south of the town.

[BLN 1250]
At South Lynn on that day I noted the King's Lynn connecting shuttle, a push and pull set powered by
an ex-GER class N7 0-6-2T (even on the last day the hated rival had a part to play!). This train would
take the double track curve to King's Lynn Harbour Jn on the GER Ely to Lynn section. This short branch
survived for many years (for freight traffic to King's Lynn Sugar Factory) after the rest of the M&GN
had disappeared. As already mentioned my schedule would not permit a ride on it, and it was not
until twenty years later that I managed to do it with the present BLN Editor [Yes, 6 Apr 1979 plus the
Campbell's Soup Factory branch, King's Lynn Docks and Middleton Towers extremity - Ed.]. There was
a loco shed at South Lynn, which was to close with the line; it had fairly recently been reroofed,
possibly another manifestation of the railways left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing.
BELOW: Class N7 0-6-2T on the King's Lynn push/pull shuttle (its last day as well) at South Lynn station.

Beyond South Lynn, we crossed two of the three GER lines into Lynn, from Ely and from Dereham
before reaching Gayton Road where the original Eastern & Midlands line from King's Lynn (CA 1 Jan
1886) came in at Bawsey Jn. Here sand sidings were the reason for the line's proposed retention for
freight traffic; originally only to be as far as here from the west. A later, much heralded decision meant
that East Rudham, further on, would be the terminus of the truncated line (this later CA 6 May 1968).

At Melton Constable (the 'Crewe of North Norfolk') I alighted; my
train was proceeding to Yarmouth Beach, but I needed to catch
the branch train to Norwich City. This was waiting on the
opposite side of the island platform, again 'Pig' hauled. Another
doomed loco shed stood to the south of the station and this had
also been the site of the M&GN works, closed by the LNER on
takeover in 1937. I was rather surprised to observe that the arms
of the starting signal on the 'normal' eastbound track suggested
that the Norwich route was the superior one, although there was
no other evidence of this. LEFT: M&GN lines at Melton Constable;
left to South Lynn, Sutton Bridge, Spalding/Peterborough and the
west, North to Holt, Sheringham and Cromer Beach, East to
North Walsham, Yarmouth Beach and Lowestoft and south (the
only one that was initially single track) to Norwich City.

[BLN 1250]
BELOW TOP: Melton Constable, looking east, with the Yarmouth Beach train about to take the route
left. Note the signal mentioned above and the Norwich City branch curving off to the right.
BOTTOM: The connecting train to Norwich City from the other side of the same island platform at
Melton Constable, looking in the opposite direction, the loco shed and water tower are to the left.

[BLN 1250]
BELOW: On arrival at Norwich City looking north (tail lamp on the platform awaiting the engine run
round). BOTTOM: The other end of the same platform looking north towards Melton Constable.

Despite only having two platforms, the Ordnance Survey gave Norwich City a 'principal station' symbol
on their one-inch maps. The final goods train left on 28 Feb 1969 when the line was cut back to
Drayton, and further to Lenwade from 23 Dec 1968. Wroxham to Lenwade CG/CA 15 Jun 1983.

[BLN 1250]
I remember little about the Norwich City
journey, except passing a DMU at one
station. The Melton to Cromer line had been
largely taken over by DMUs a year or two
before and there was some interworking.
Next year, in 1960, the Norwich City branch
was cut at Themelthorpe, north of Whitwell
& Reepham where the famous 180 degree
'Themelthorpe Curve' was built; then said to
be 'the sharpest curve on the BR network'. It
was connected for freight traffic to the
remains of the former GER Wroxham to
County School line (including reopening a
section past Reepham closed in 1955). This
shortened the 61 mile circuitous route from
Norwich Thorpe yard via Cromer (avoider).
Melton Constable and Lenwade to Norwich
City (just over a mile as the crow flies!) to a
mere 42 miles! Melton Constable to Themelthorpe and the Cromer Beach avoiding line CA in 1960 as a
result. ABOVE LEFT: Norwich City is the 'principal station - closed to passengers i.e. in white' top left,
beneath it, and also closed to passengers is Norwich Victoria, south east of that similarly Trowse.
Going north and slightly west from there is the still open major passenger terminus of Norwich Thorpe.

I knew that Norwich City station had been badly
bombed in the War; indeed, I believe the loco shed
had been destroyed. Therefore, I was not surprised
to find it consisting of a single island platform,
without buildings of any sort. Here it was necessary
for me to take to the roads and walk (quite a
distance) to Norwich Thorpe station, which was
familiar to me from many trips to Lowestoft in the
past. In the station yard some trackwork of the
Norwich electric tramways was still visible, without
wires; this remained for many years. One missing
feature from my memory of the place was the row
of single deck Eastern Counties Tilling Stevens buses,
with their high steering wheels and generally
antique appearance. All the buses visible then in
1959 were Bristols, I think, although there may have
been some elderly much re-bodied Leyland Titans.

After that, I travelled no more on the M&GN but
made a return trip from Norwich Thorpe to Yarmouth Vauxhall, (top left station on the map ABOVE,
at the back of the town) going out via Reedham (I think) and returning via Acle (or possibly vice-versa).
Both trains were almost certainly DMUs. At Yarmouth I walked across the bridge over the river Bure
outside the station, which had been for many years in too poor a state of repair to carry road vehicles
but had a single railway line running across it to serve the quayside line, and indeed until that last day
a connection through to the M&GN at Yarmouth Beach via White Swan Inn Yard coal depot. The map
above was fully revised in 1952 with 'minor corrections' in 1960, these included showing Yarmouth
Beach station as 'closed' to passengers. Interestingly Nelson Road level crossing is wrongly shown as a
bridge over the road (left of 'H' in Hospitals). The other principal station is Yarmouth South Town.

[BLN 1250]

I found my way to Yarmouth Beach and watched some train activity, noting that there were few if any
locos in the small shed there, which like the others was to close for ever that night. (ABOVE: Yarmouth
Beach station survived ironically as a coach station but the canopy was demolished in June 1986.) A
platform survived until 1999 when a modern facility was built. I walked north past the station to
Nelson Road level crossing, where was the M&GN link to the quayside line and the former Norfolk and
Suffolk Joint Railway curve to North Gorleston Jn across Breydon swing bridge.

[BLN 1250]
ABOVE: Nelson Road Level Crossing and box with the twin tracks from Gorleston North Jn (over
Breydon Water) curve round to the right to Yarmouth Beach station, just around the corner. Coming in
left is the 'main' line from Melton Constable via the delightfully named 'Potter Heigham Bridge Halt'
amongst others. Through holiday trains to Lowestoft (Central) would arrive from the left, reverse in
Yarmouth Beach and continue over the crossing to join the Lowestoft line from Yarmouth South Town.

The Gorleston line had CA 21 Sept 1953 and although double track crossed the road (above), only one
of the lines appeared to be in use (and that nominally only for a few hours longer). I do not know when
these various lines were lifted, although it was said that tracklifting of the Melton to Yarmouth section
began almost immediately. This was much to the dismay of those who felt that someone was bound to
realise in the summer, when the holiday trains had all to run over the GER routes, that a mistake had
been made and the M&GN would have to be reopened. Needless to say this did not occur. Many years
later on a visit to Yarmouth by car, in the very hot summer of 1977, to my astonishment I found the
M&GN girder bridge over the River Bure still intact, apparently carrying some pipes or other services,
but the embankments each side and all other bridges had completely gone. Not long after, the one
remaining structure was dispensed with, and the existence of the M&GN in Yarmouth was then only
indicated by (until 1999) one platform of Beach station, with its decorated wrought iron awnings. A
new local housing estate has a 'Midland Close' and a 'Great Northern Close' - they are not close now!
I returned to Norwich Thorpe, arriving there just as it was getting dark, although it was possible to see
a stream of Ivatt 2-6-0s running on to Thorpe shed from various places on the M&GN, presumably via
the connection between the two lines at North Walsham. This spur (which I never travelled over or
even saw) was only opened in 1958, the year before, to replace the link north of both stations, joining
the Mundesley branch (which remained open to passenger traffic until 1964), at Antingham Road Jn.
The journey back home via Ely, March, Peterborough and Grantham was in complete darkness.
BELOW: The intact M&GN railway bridge in 1977 that once carried double track over the River Bure.

268] Oxford: The two Dock sidings next to bay P3 (and signalling) were to be TOOU from 31 January.
269] Slough - Windsor & Eton Central: (BLN 1246.2215) From 24 January the Windsor Branch siding
was to be brought into use. The access points at 18m 55ch are located within the length of the
previous loop (though not necessarily on its alignment). The operational length of the siding is 180m.

[BLN 1250]
270] Crossrail, Sudbury & Acton Stations: (BLN 1249.166) Suffolk's Sudbury is confusable with
London's not just on account of its name, but also from the lesser known co-incidence that a village
called Acton lies a mere 4km to its northeast, compared with London's Acton more like 6km to the
southeast of its Sudbury. Suffolk's Acton has never featured on the rail map, in contrast with London's,
whose station names uniquely box the compass and then some:- North Acton, East Acton, South
Acton, West Acton, Acton Central, Acton Town, Acton Main Line. Potentially confusing matters in
another direction is Acton Bridge Cheshire, on the WCML as well as 'Actons' appearing in at least nine
English counties. Perhaps someone should 'act on' behalf of all the geographically-confused travellers?

271] c2c: (BLN 1239.1574) From 18 January the busiest peak services were strengthened because of
overcrowding and there are some changes to the pattern of stops. The 07.19 from Shoeburyness,
17.16, 17.46 and 18.04 back from Fenchurch Street are lengthened from eight to 12 carriages. The
16.28, 17.25 and 18.19 departures are increased from four to eight coaches. From 17.15 to 18.10 there
are more than an extra 1,000 seats provided out of London; some quieter services were shortened.

272] Winchfield: A rare use of the crossovers occurred on 20 January during signalling problems. Our
correspondent on the 06.50 from Portsmouth Harbour to Waterloo via Winchester was diverted from
Up fast to Up slow approaching the station and returned to Up fast beyond. No physical obstruction of
the Up fast was evident; Down services were also affected, with delays continuing that evening.

273] Crossrail 2: (BLN 1245.2096) Surrey County Council has published the findings of a study
examining the case for extending the planned Crossrail 2 network to Dorking and Woking. It found
that extending the Crossrail 2 Epsom line to Dorking would reduce journey times by up to 17 minutes
and extending from Surbiton to Woking saves up to six minutes at stations such as West Byfleet,
Weybridge and Walton-on-Thames. The study claims overcrowding would be alleviated by freeing up
space on the South West Main Line tracks for up to seven additional trains an hour. Crossrail 2 plans
currently have Shepperton, Epsom, Hampton Court, Chessington South and Surbiton as its southern
termini. In September 2015 two trains from Woking were among the four Surrey services named as
among the most overcrowded in England and Wales by the Department for Transport.

274] Dover - Folkestone: (BLN 1248.79) Since 18 January Southeastern has provided a 06.45 (SSuX)
peak through Javelin train between Dover and St. Pancras International (via all coastal stations to
Ramsgate then Canterbury West) and a 17.50 return. In both directions it reverses at Ramsgate to
join/detach from, another unit so does not use Minster curve. Meanwhile NR are working on a long
term repair to the damaged coast line between Dover and Folkestone East that will last for 'many
years' but will take longer to plan and implement. Large rocks have been placed to defend the worst
affected areas. The repair is said to be on a larger scale and more complex than at Dawlish sea wall.
From 6 Feb 2016 a 'High Street Environment' is to be established for sea wall repair work. The Up and
Down lines between (71m 22ch) and (76m 41ch) will be abolished. Buffer stops, will be installed on
both lines at each location with derailers on the Up marking the end of the running line. The Up line
beyond this location will become a siding, approximately 623m in length with buffer stops at the end.

275] Donyatt Halt: (ST 342140) The restored shelter and associated statue of a local wartime evacuee
at Donyatt Halt were destroyed by a reportedly deliberate fire during the afternoon of 25 November. A
community project had restored the former railway alignment to foot and cycle path use between
2005 and 2009, connecting the communities of Ilminster, Donyatt and Chard. The restored shelter
was in the same form as the original halt: a wooden structure built from sleepers, with a small wooden
roof. Donyatt Halt opened on 5 May 1928 on the Bristol & Exeter Railway's branch from Taunton to
Chard Central which dated from 1866, running into a joint station - but not initially connecting with -
the slightly earlier LSWR Chard branch from the West of England Main Line. Originally built as broad

[BLN 1250]
gauge, the branch was surprisingly not converted to standard
gauge until 1891 ostensibly to prevent the LSWR from applying
for running powers over the line to reach Taunton! When
converted the line was the most easterly remaining section of
solely broad gauge track. BELOW: The delightful setting of
Donyatt Halt as it was in April 2011, a very inviting trackbed walk.
The WWII tank traps at the top of the cutting are in their original
location, as is the new platform/shelter. ( )

276] Portishead: The current estimate for resuming passenger services to Portishead has been revised
to 'the end of 2019' by North Somerset Council - suggesting the December timetable change. (The
'Bristol Post' recently reported this could even be early 2020.) Engineering design continues ahead of
statutory consultation starting in June 2016. A recent consultation with residents reported 95% were
positive about restoration of services, despite a range of noise and environmental concerns which
have been raised since the project was first mooted. The current design work is focusing on the
engineering challenge of squeezing a half-hourly passenger service and frequent freight trains onto a
predominantly single-track railway, limited by four single-bore tunnels in the Avon Gorge. The work
has been divided into three distinct packages:
(1): Restoring the Portishead to Portbury Junction line.
(2): Upgrading the freight line from Portbury Jn to Parson Street Jn.
(3): Complete resignalling to permit the necessary frequency of service. Notably, Parson Street Jn was
known as Portishead Jn until the quadrupling of the line south of Bristol Temple Meads in 1933.

[BLN 1250]
277] A SW cautionary tale about vacuuming:... The long tradition of British railway innovation being
taken up and perfected elsewhere in the world seems set to continue, as entrepreneur and venture
capitalist Elon Musk's Hyperloop prototype has been revealed to the press in the Nevada Desert. The
proposed high-speed transit system uses a vacuum pipe to move passengers between destinations in
pods at an anticipated 620mph. Quite what Isambard Kingdom Brunel would have made of this is hard
to say, but his own South Devon Railway was built on a related principle. Opened in 1846 to steam
locomotives, his service was augmented by atmospheric trains taking power from a 'traction pipe'
from 13'Sep 1847, and was fully converted by 2 Mar 1848. A speed of 64mph was recorded hauling a
train of 28 tons. Problems encountered with underpowered static engines and damaged traction
equipment led to a proposal for abandonment, which finally came on 9 Sep 1848. One can only hope
that the lessons recorded in the Brunel's exhaustively detailed report to the directors' about 'oiling and
varnishing valves' and 'rendering the system impervious to weather' have been fully absorbed by the
Nevada Hyperloop team! [No pressure then - Ed.]

278] Electrification goes down to the wire: Revised dates for electrification of various parts of the
south west network have been provided by the recent Hendy report on NR's investment programme.
The extensive document provides a detailed summary of all current and some already completed
schemes across Britain. Many of the schemes in the southwest have already been delayed due to
unexpected infrastructure complications and increasing costs. Key dates for the west electrification:

 Didcot to Wootton Bassett Jn: December 2018.
 Wootton Bassett Jn to Bristol Parkway: December 2018.
 Bristol Parkway to Cardiff: December 2018.
 Wootton Bassett Jn to Bristol Temple Meads: February 2019 to April 2020.
The re-quadrupling of tracks on Filton Bank has been pushed back to an unspecified date early in NR
CP6, (2019-2024). The programme of delivery of Hitachi built Class 800 bi-mode and Class 801 electric
(IEP) multiple units is expected on schedule in 2017, despite the lack of electrification!

279] Wolverhampton: (1):Station Redevelopment: This and the extension of the Midland Metro may
be delayed following the reported discovery of a void under the road that is due to become its main
vehicular access. The present road bridge will be used for pedestrians and trams. The road 'Corn Hill'
southeast of the station (right of middle, towards top of plan below) had been closed since a fire in
2008. This made the adjacent listed Victorian J N Miller 'Steam (corn) Mill' (also shown on the plan)
unsafe and it had to be supported externally by metalwork. After listed building planning permission
delays, it was finally demolished last autumn and the site is now flattened. Reportedly, a void under
the road, thought to have been a link between the mill and a sack store on the opposite side has been
discovered and needs to be made safe. Preliminary car park work has to be be completed before work
can start on the new station itself. BELOW: Plan of proposals for access to the new Wolverhampton
station by road, foot and the tram extension. The existing station building is to be demolished. Bottom
left corner is the present tram route; St. George's terminus is bottom left. (Centro Press release)

(2) Buses and coaches stop trams! The Council hopes that the new intermediate Piper's Row tram
stop (seen above left of the bus station) will end months of traffic issues. A new 'Coach Link' is now
being built in Bilston Street on the redundant side of the St. George's Metro stop (BLN 1249.178). Due
to open in April, it replaces the coach stop next to the Bus Station to allow tram extension works.

280] Birmingham Metro Extension: The local press is reporting that this is now delayed until the
'spring'. Corporation Street stop adjacent to the 'New Look' shop is having to be built in two halves to
keep the shop open. The new 'Snow Hill (St. Chad's)' stop is expected to open at the same time as the
extension but Bull Street will continue to be promoted as the interchange with Snow Hill station due to
the level access through the main entrance and lifts. When the extension opens 'City Hop' tickets will
be sold; £1 for journeys between Grand Central and Jewellery Quarter (perfect to do the new line).

[BLN 1250]

281] The Shift'em Express: A new non-stop morning 'express' from Shifnal to Wolverhampton (then
Birmingham) dubbed 'the Shifnal Express' has been introduced following a campaign by local people.
'Shifnal FORWARD Transport Group' lobbied rail companies and the DfT to introduce the new service
now used by more than 30 people a day. It fills a 90 minute service gap when three trains ran through
non-stop. The group approached ATW, Virgin, and LM, asking them to stop one of the fast trains, even
suggesting how they could do it and demonstrating the significant demand from their own survey
findings. LM agreed to this, reportedly the first non-stop Shifnal to Wolverhampton train since 1849!
The 07.18 arrives Wolverhampton at 07.30 (33 minutes before the next stopping train), Birmingham
07.55 and, with one change, London by 09.30, just two hours 17 minutes from Shifnal. The Group is
also working to improve the station entrance area including a new driveway, six cycle racks, CCTV and
an information board. LM plans to install a new ticket vending machine following a request from the
Group. Members will help plans for improvements to the 2017 West Midlands rail franchise.
282] West Midlands Rail Franchise: The DFT are carrying out public consultations between 15 Dec
2015 to 22 Mar 2016 at various stations around the LM Network. Full details of events, documents and
your chance to influence the future service at include a public questionnaire.
283] Centro tick(et) TOC: The recent LM direct franchise award has resulted in money for new ticket
machines to be fitted to all Centro stations without one (except Bordesley which only has one weekly
(SO) train plus extras when Birmingham City play at home). Wilnecote and Water Orton, non-Centro
stations, are excluded (whereas quieter Earlswood and Lye will each have one). The other irony is that
the new versions are more sophisticated than the earlier ones which remain at much busier stations.
The new machines issue tickets from/to any station, print two simultaneously and are much faster.

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284] UK Non-stop International Train: On 28 December, the 08.49 LM Euston to Birmingham EMU left
Northampton 30 minutes late. Eight minutes was regained by running non-stop from Coventry (10.57)
to New Street (reached 11.20; it forms the 11.14 return). The (non-)stops were (automatically) all
announced, together with Nanny's reminder (perhaps the Solicitors' reminder) to take care when
alighting. It is unusual to pass Birmingham International without stopping nowadays. Diverted Trent
Valley services sometimes do, although, when they tried stopping these, passengers for Birmingham
New Street would sometimes find themselves running non-stop (via Aston and Bescot) to Stafford!

285] Ironbridge branch: (BLN 1248.90) After the end of revenue earning traffic on 20 Nov 2015, an
inspection train ran on Monday 25 January from Derby (07.47) to Llandrindod Wells via Tamworth and
Sutton Park (as you do). It disturbed the accumulating rust on the branch from 09.45 to 11.22 and later
reversed in Shrewsbury P7 rather than taking Abbey Foregate Curve. Lunch was taken in Craven Arms
Down Goods Loop from 12.18 to 13.10 awaiting the 09.33 Swansea to Shrewsbury to clear the single
line from Knighton. Arrival at Llandrindod ('Llandod' as the locals call it) was at 14.16. The train
recessed there until the Wednesday, (27th) then ran to Longsight via Wrexham (with an excursion to
Bidston and back), Chester, the mid-Cheshire line to Stockport and Manchester Piccadilly (rev). It is not
uncommon for a line on which traffic has ceased to receive an inspection afterwards (as happened last
year at Thoresby Colliery) and of course, someone on the train may have still needed the branch (as
well as Craven Arms Down Loop). If the branch is taken OOU and blocked for more than six months,
NR will save on their business rates. The OS map excerpt in e-BLN 1248.90 shows (then) four passenger
lines from Buildwas Junction station whereas Ironbridge 'A' Power station had nine different overhead
power lines! Also on 25th January, scaffolding was erected under the Up line (disconnected) side of the
B4380 Buildwas Road bridge (the road was closed all week) by the Albert Edward River Severn bridge.

286] Nothing at Doncaster: (BLN 1230.656) From our EDF Tracker, P0 was seen to be progressing at
the North East part of the station. The point has been installed; the platform and track is expected to
be finished by May, but the bridges and lifts (connecting it with P1 & 2) need possession access to
install. It will be used by terminating/originating services for Hull, Goole, Thorne, Scunthorpe and
Cleethorpes (some services will still run through to Sheffield etc) without conflicting with the ECML.

287] A Grand Day Out with Wallis and…: On Sun 24 Jan, there was engineering work between Halifax
and Bradford causing the diversion/bus substitution of services. After the excellent BLS/PLEG Shildon
morning event three members went for the 13.48 (11.50 ex-King's Cross) Grand Central service from
Wakefield Kirkgate, to Bradford Interchange. The trip was very good value at £3.45 return with a
railcard (clue: not a Young Person's sadly), avoiding Leeds as they certainly were very keen to do! (It
would have been an extra 40p via Leeds.) The first surprise was just how much Wakefield Kirkgate has
been totally transformed and smartened up inside and out by its refurbishment recently. Although still
unstaffed, a very welcome catering establishment is being fitted out ready to open there.

The second surprise was the large hoards of passengers alighting from the train on its punctual arrival
from London, although this included those for Wakefield, Leeds (via local trains) as well as those for
bus transfers to Mirfield, Brighouse and Halifax. A handful of passengers joined and on departure from
Kirkgate P3 the ladder to the Down fast was taken then the steeply graded single track Westgate
Curve to join the electrified reversible Up Doncaster line at Westgate South Jn. The crossover was
used to the Down Doncaster continuing towards Leeds on the unidirectional Wakefield Westgate
station through (middle) line (in fact P2 is the 'Down passenger loop' off the Down Doncaster). There
were clearly four tracks once through the station. At Copley Hill W Jn it was the facing crossover to the
Up Doncaster and onto the single track reversible Copley Hill Chord. At the other end, Copley Hill E Jn,
the crossover was traversed onto the Up Huddersfield to Whitehall SW Jn and the Whitehall Spur
taking the train onto the reversible Whitehall Down West Curve at Whitehall South E Jn. Here there
was a prompt reversal behind the signal (and our Members had almost travelled via Leeds!). This

[BLN 1250]
allowed access to line 'D' at Whitehall East Jn and the Up Bradford to Bradford Interchange; the loop
at Hammerton Street was shiny again after a period of disuse. The class 180 terminated in P2 at 14.21.

(ABOVE: Grand Central Class 180 Unit at Bradford Exchange - Roger Winnen)
The quite extensive original Bradford Exchange and Bradford Forster Square station sites were
explored, noting the surprisingly short distance between the two original termini. It was once
proposed to connect them by rail to create a through route but each was truncated and downsized
instead. Return was on the 15.05 from Bradford Interchange from P1, a different class 180 (ECS from
Crofton Depot, the incoming working formed the 16.08 back). The station was unusually quiet as all
Northern Rail services were not! - only Grand Central trains graced the rails here. At Wortley West Jn
the crossover was taken from Up to Down Bradford then 'wrong-line' on the Down to the Down
Whitehall curve for another reversal. Line 'D' was followed, Wakefield Westgate P1 (non-stop) and
back to Kirkgate P3 for 15.45. One of the three members was particularly pleased to do Wortley West
crossover as he had managed the Wortley Spur on the once daily King's Cross to Bradford train that
used to avoid Leeds, but only in that direction. This crossover was part of that route in the other
direction. Although the last train on the spur ran in May 1986 some track is still in situ but quite heavily
forested. A superb 'railtour' the day after our EDF Tracker had done Whitehall Curve both ways (but
not the spur) and a complicated area better understood (and better red-penned).

288] GNR(I): An IRRS London meeting on 21 January was about the 1957 closures of the GNR(I) lines.
There have been past accusations that these were the result of some evil conspiracy to close down the
railways, featuring civil servants and politicians who objected to being held up at level crossings! An
interesting 1956 film was shown, with various figures saying these lines should be kept. The speaker
concluded that there was no conspiracy; it was just a natural reaction by a conservative (with a small
'c') government to the situation where the railways needed major investment to provide a decent
service but the patronage did not justify it, especially as freight traffic had been disappearing. People
did not travel so much in those days; there was no commuting into Belfast from very far afield. Many
families had bought their first car and were obviously going to use it. The lines were life expired from
intensive use during the war and speeds were low. Bus services were far more convenient, went into
the villages and were more frequent. Preparatory work for singling the main line even between the
border and Portadown started but the Irish government offered money to retain double track. No
Unionist politician in those days would dream of accepting, of course, so the project was abandoned.

[BLN 1250]
289] New IÉ/NIR Timetables: (BLN 1248.99) The new cross border timetable planned for 31 January
has been scrapped and a timetable with minor changes may be introduced on 10 April (provisionally)
instead. It still includes the 10 minute interval DART services (BLN 1248.96) and changes to intercity
and commuter services. The postponement is partly due to threatened industrial action by IÉ drivers.
Hopefully NIR will change their timetable (BLN 1248.99) to match; but as well as missing Londonderry
connections the draft new timetable would have added 11 minutes to some Belfast to Dublin journeys.
There is to be a rethink without increasing journey times. In the long term, it is proposed that the
Enterprise runs from Belfast Great Victoria Street rather than Central, to reduce journey time.

290] Bellarena: (BLN 1248.2341) Re-amending the amendment, the west end new loop points are at
75m 00ch (per Weekly Notice) as first mentioned in BLN not 75m 05ch. Pictures:

291] Athenry: On 28 January the level crossing gates and related equipment at Castlelambert, on the
Galway side of Athenry Station, were to be taken OOU and replaced with four lifting barriers and CCTV
supervised equipment. Control was to be transferred to Athlone Level Crossing Control Centre. It is
now classified as a 'Station Crossing' protected in both directions by three stop signals at Athenry
station controlled by the Galway line signaller. The crossing can still be controlled locally if necessary.

292] Snaefell Mountain Railway: (MR p12) The December floods caused significant damage to both
tracks between Laxey and Bungalow; major embankment slip repairs are needed. It is intended to
have one track ready for the 2016 season, which starts on 27 March with single line working (via one
of the Bungalow crossovers). As work progresses both tracks will be used with temporary pointwork
installed at Lhergy (a location on the railway not an Isle of Man ailment) as needed. No doubt our four
Laxey agents will keep us informed. During the winter the summit points were renewed (replicating
the original single blade turnout) and moved slightly to the edge of the public access area. (Cue re-visit
of the microgricers.) Alterations have been made to the overhead poles at the summit. Other planned
winter maintenance work has been deferred to concentrate on repairing the damaged section instead.

293] Douglas Horse Tramway: (BLN 1247.2343) (MR p32) Douglas Borough Council had advised that a
normal service would run on this street tramway this year with 140th anniversary events taking place,
the timetable details and fares had all been available until recently on line. However, on 21 January
the Council decided to immediately discontinue the tram service because of the increased financial
burden on ratepayers. This follows a proposal by the Council to amalgamate the Tramway Terrace
stables with the tramway hub at Strathallan costing £2.9M. Last month it was decided that this scheme
was not financially viable. The 'world's last remaining 19th century original horse-drawn passenger
tramway' has been running at a loss of over £260K per year, with added loan charges leading to a
significant impact on rates of over £420k yearly. Council leader David Christian says that whilst
recognising the tram's long history, to continue their operation would place an unacceptable burden
on the ratepayer for the foreseeable future. The horses were to be relocated to good homes (they
were at their winter quarters at the time), the remaining staff were laid off and the rolling stock
offered to transport museums. The Tramway Terrace, stable site and at Strathallan were to be sold.
Following the announcement there has been much rhetoric, most incorrect. From the Horse's mouth:

The House of Keys (IOM Government) has now unanimously voted to set up a committee to explore
the options for transferring the tramway to another entity (possibly the IOM Railway who operate the
nationalised system). Further ideas included moving the line to Jurby Transport Museum in the north
of the island. Meanwhile four online petitions to keep the horse trams were started, quickly
attracting large support. To sign and circulate them go to and for details.

The public, who do have a bit of a say, were keenly divided. In the Northern Editor's IOM workplace
the topic created deep divisions. Douglas ratepayers do not want the significant financial burden (or
the horse droppings). Those outside Douglas were generally in favour of keeping the system. A further

[BLN 1250]
problem is that no one wants it left in the middle of the promenade road where it gets in the way of
nasty smelly motorised vehicles! Regrettably a significant but vociferous minority do not want the
tramway on the promenade for fear of not being able to cycle, walk dogs, walk, run, trot or do the
other myriad of things that the public want to do on the promenade walkway because of the HSTs
(Horse Speeding Trams) flying up and down. Finally, (for now) the original 1876 Tramway Act imposes
a responsibility on the operator to remove the tracks and reinstate the road surface in the event of the
service being withdrawn (which has the potential to cost long millions). T i on i o r n and r n…


X9] The Langholm branch: (BLN 1249.187) This item about consideration to a future extension of the
Tweeedbank line to Carlisle prompted a Member to send in these pictures FROM 1 Aug 1963, the day
he traversed the seven mile branch (CP 15 Jun 1964 (only 350 passengers were using the 32 trains per
week); CG 18 Sep 1967). ABOVE LEFT: The remote Riddings (Junction) on the Waverley route, the next
station north after Longtown, was 14½ miles by from Carlisle and 84 miles from Edinburgh Waverley.
RIGHT: Langholm terminus which once had an overall wooden train shed roof. A day return trip to
Carlisle would result in crossing the Anglo Scottish border six times! (Angus McDougall)
294] Lamington: (BLN 1249.190) By 19 January it was known that the line would be closed until early
March. A member spotted that nightshift freight diversions, substantially freightliners, have been using
Kilmarnock to Barassie and run round rather than the Annbank line. The Rail Freight Group notes that
there is no means by which larger containers can currently be got by rail into Scotland: the clearance
of the ECML to W12 gauge, funded in Network Rail CP4, has not yet been completed.
295] Scottish High Speed shot down: Holyrood's plan, announced by Nicola Sturgeon as infrastructure
minister in 2012 to run 'bullet trains' between Scotland's two biggest cities has been abandoned.
296] Leuchars (BLN 1245.2134): From 1 February, the remaining connection to the redundant Up
Sidings (3A/B Points) and associated signals, were to be removed.
297] Edinburgh Gateway (BLN 1231.797): NR states that the rail/tram interchange station at Gogar is
on course to open with the timetable change on 11 December 2016. It is part of the £742M Edinburgh
Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP). Engineers have been on site since January 2015 working on
the £41M station which will allow passengers from Fife and the north to access Edinburgh Airport and
interchange with Edinburgh's trams. The new station will have two 265m (10-car) platforms with a
1,500 m2 concourse and circulation space. There is to be a step free access bridge linking the platforms
within the station and connecting with the new tram stop via lifts and escalators. An underpass
beneath the A8 will provide access from the nearby Gyle centre. Plans for a station at Gogar emerged
following the cancellation of the £425M Edinburgh Airport Rail Link scheme in 2007, with the station
scheduled to be ready in time for the opening of the tram line then expected in 2011. Following a
series of delays, Gogar station was renamed Edinburgh Gateway and delivery planned as part of EGIP.

1250 WALES
298] Ebbw Vale: (BLN 1239.1613) A member recently visited the extended branch and was unable to
relate the new passenger route to those that existed before at the steelworks (latterly a rolling mill)
and closed in 2002. He challenged our Cartographer, Martyn Brailsford, to produce a map that showed
this and the ex-GWR line to Ebbw Vale Low Level terminus (CP 30 Apr 1962; pictures BLN 1231.812).
Ebbw Vale High Level (CP 5 Feb 1951) was the only station on the short ex-LNWR branch from Ebbw
Vale Jn on the 'Heads of the Valleys' line from Abergavenny Junction to Merthyr. Note on the second
map below that the line continued well beyond the station and formerly into the steelworks. Although
High Level was more centrally placed in the town, trains ran to Brynmawr whereas passengers actually
wanted to travel to Newport where the GWR trains went. Low Level station was on the very edge of
OS 7th Series one-inch sheet 141 (Brecon) and was shown as open to passengers (the only station
shown as open to passengers on that map other than those on the Central Wales Line) long after it
actually closed. The Ebbw Vale Cableway (official name) runs 07.00 to 19.00 SSuX; not Bank Holidays.

The current Sectional Appendix confirms
Ebbw Vale Parkway at 18m 35ch,
overlapping the former Victoria station (CP
30 Apr 1962) at 18m 34ch. TRACKmap
editions prior to closure of the steelworks
indicate the latter-day BR boundary to have
been at Ebbw Vale South GF at 18m 58ch.
Cooke also confirms that Tyllwyn Halt (OP 29
Nov 1943, CP 30 Apr 1962) was at 19m 48ch.
The latest Sectional Appendix shows Ebbw
Vale Town mid-platform at 19m 67ch*,
coincidentally matching Cooke's mileage for
Ebbw Vale Sidings North Signal Box (closed 8
Aug 1943).

This raises a discrepancy as Cooke shows the
box immediately south of the steelworks
internal line overbridge and labelled on the
maps and aerial view RIGHT and BELOW. This
is per contemporary OS large-scale map. Our
map shows the new station north of the
bridge (per aerial photograph below and map
close up both with this bridge highlighted by
a red line). By the time the new line to Ebbw
Vale Town was built, all trace of the steelworks buildings and former railways had long since been
swept away, and it has been widely presumed that the new route does not follow the old. The
dominant original clock tower over the buildings, previously the steelworks' General Office and now
housing Gwent Archives, just beyond and to the east of the current station may provide a marker point
if anyone has photos of the Sidings North signal box. Our map suggests that the new passenger line
follows the old, in which case readers may wish to debate whether we should in fact refer to this as a
'reopened' rather than a 'new' railway. The possible discrepancy of mileage still leaves some doubt
that perhaps there has in fact have been some minor 'straightening' of the winding curves? There has
also been some slight shortening due to construction of the Cwm bypass and at the site of Tyllwyn Halt
to allow room for a new road but overall the evidence suggests that the new passenger line DOES
generally follow the old route. Does anyone have any further thoughts on this?

(*There is a yellow 19¾ mile post (19m 60ch) about 2 coach lengths south of the platform and the new
Ebbw Town platform is shown as 164yd (7½ch) in length so the end of line is actually about 19m 70ch.)

[BLN 1250]
299] A Minor Question? Following the Graig Merthyr query (BLN 1245.2086), our member with a
special interest is also trying to pin down (unfitted mineral wagons?) whether or not Tower Colliery
had a Paddy train service from Hirwaun Pond. This seems to be in some doubt, although what could
possibly have been rolling stock for it was seen in the NCB's sidings, probably in the late 1950s or just
possibly the very early 1960s. Did it exist? If so, when did it cease? Any information appreciated.

300] ATW dispute: (BLN 1249.195) Talks resumed so the 1 February 24-hour strike was postponed.

301] Cardiff Bay: (BLN 1249.200) The nadir of branch services came with the 1971/72 timetable, with
just seven trains each way, weekdays only. Gradual improvement saw the level increased to ten each
way from 1981, fifteen from 1985, and a leap to 29 with the major Valley Lines timetable revision of
October 1987. Renaming of the station from Bute Road to Cardiff Bay on 26 Sep 1994 reflected the
rapidly-changing nature of the area, by then enjoying 45 trains each way. Since the advent of the
Arriva standard pattern timetable in May 2003, the branch became isolated as a 'shuttle' to/from
Queen Street. This success story now enjoys a remarkable 87 trains each way! Lack of interaction with
any other services does mean that Cardiff Bay trains have a significant positive impact upon ATW's
performance statistics. (London Midland similarly benefit from the Stourbridge branch shuttle.)

302] ATW Club 55: Tickets can be booked on-line with promotion code 'ATWCLUB'. For the temporary
Crewe to Manchester diversion via Warrington in February, book to 'Manchester Stations' or Oxford
Road. The diversion is from 13-23 February inclusive; Club 55 tickets are available until 27th February.

303] West Wales: All trace of Sarnau station has been obliterated; strangely, this station stood in
empty countryside, without even a village of the same name. Two miles to the west, however, the line
passes the sizeable settlement of Banc-y-Felin, which oddly never did have a station! At St. Clears
station, which stood adjacent to the level crossing, the only surviving relic today is the end of the
goods loading dock. Both CP 15 Jun 1964. It is still possible to trace the path from the road up to the
platforms at Welsh Hook Halt (for Treffgarne Rocks), and likewise at Jordanston Halt; these both CP 6
April 1964. Mathry Road (for St. Davids) was not visited, but on a recent stay in the City of St. Davids,
your Sub-editor was reliably informed that what is now the City Inn in New Street was, when built,
intended to have become the 'station hotel' for a branch line terminus; in the event the line never
materialised, with a GWR bus service provided instead.

MR22] Severn Valley Railway (SVR), Shropshire (MR p7): Eardington station ('Halt') A single platform
on the Down side, at 147m 59ch between Hampton Loade and Bridgnorth. OP 1 Feb 1862 (West
Midlands Railway), CP 9 Sep 1963 (BR, Western Region); ROP 23 May 1970 (SVR). It became a request
stop from 2 Mar 1974 (when the SVR extended to Bewdley). No calls were advertised in 1979/80 and
the station last appeared as a 'request stop' in the timetable to 31 Oct 1982, the end of season. Due to
the platform edge becoming dangerous that year, trains may have ceased calling before. It was CP
then because of poor custom, the low, short platform (latterly 152ft after the 'dangerous' section had
been removed by 1989) and its situation on a 1 in 100 gradient. SVR practice is normally to have the
guard's compartment in the train centre. The arched overbridge immediately to the north of the
platform prevents the train crew from being able to see the guard if the train stopped with the guard's
van on the platform, as it should be. From 25 Jun 1994, the station was open to the public but for
pedestrians only. Two trains stopped unofficially in autumn 1998 during a steam gala. On 13 Apr 2003,
a passenger train made a scheduled advertised stop (the first since 1982) for walkers to alight for a
ten-mile ramble organised by the SVR. Two 'Eardington Explorer' specials called Fri 17 April 2015 (BLN
1233.942), see video. The Severn Valley Railway News described these as 'the
first timetabled stopping trains for many years', and are to be repeated on Friday 22 April 2016 as 'the
Eardington Flyer' (BLN 1249.209). A summary of the location in preservation.

[BLN 1250]

X10] ABOVE: The BLS visit to the Coleford GWR Station Museum in the Forest of Dean on Sunday 4
Aug 2013 resulted in a very rare steaming of their standard gauge locomotive, with footplate rides. It is
on the diminutive turntable. The miniature railway to the left was also traversed. The day included the
Tintern station miniature railway, on the original trackbed of the Wye Valley Railway and literally
every possible available inch of track at the nearby 15" gauge Perrygrove Railway. (Jonathan Perks)
MR23] Tyneside Model Engineers, Tyne & Wear (MR p24): This society operates a ground level 5"/7¼"
gauge line in Exhibition Park, Newcastle. The park, named after the North East Coast Exhibition of
1929, which was held here, is located to the north of the city centre, and is about 10 minutes walk
from either Haymarket or Jesmond Metro stations. The railway, which is a bit of a secret even to many
people on Tyneside, normally operates on the first Sunday in every month, subject to weather
conditions (the December Santa Specials were postponed from 6th to 20 December due to high winds
and heavy rain). It is tucked away in a corner of the park behind the boating lake and the concrete
building, which once housed a Military Vehicle Museum and is soon to become a microbrewery. The
route comprises a simple circular line, with a small loop to enable passengers to embark/disembark at
the platform. There is also an inner, raised stretch of track, which this correspondent has never seen a
train using. There is no charge although there is a donation bucket. A warning: the access route to the
railway is unsurfaced and, after heavy rain, can turn into a quagmire. Don't wear your best shoes! The
website advises that there is no public operating until April.
MR24] Coate Water Miniature Railway, Wiltshire (MR p26) (BLN 1189.MR138): This 5"/7¼" gauge
railway is owned and operated by the North Wilts Model Engineering Society. A major new extension,
some 700yd in length, has been under construction over the last couple of years. A trial opening of the
extension took place on New Year's Day 2016, to test passenger loadings, operation etc. A member

[BLN 1250]
attended on this day, arriving at 11.30 when the club electric locomotive was running. The steam locos
were not ready until after about 12.30. He duly did the extension. There is work still to be carried out;
some track needs to be laid/reinstated where the new extension joins the original circuit. The loop at
the new station (not yet open) on the extension has also still to be completed and full opening of the
new extension requires completion of signalling. There are long-term interesting plans for more track
here; mainly doubling of some sections. See to download the planned layout.

MR25] Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, Powys (MR p30) (BLN 1193.MR188): Our reporter visited
this 2ft 6in gauge railway on Saturday 17 October 2015, which was operating a low-season service of
just two round trips from Llanfair Caereinion, which permits only one round trip from Welshpool. He
wanted to make use of, and photograph, the slightly relocated station at Cyfronydd, and the site of
the long-closed halt at Dolarddyn Crossing. At Welshpool, the ticket office issued a day return to
Cyfronydd, nowadays a paper ticket akin to the former BR 'excess fare' type, box-ticked for Cyfronydd.
He was told that Edmondsons are no longer issued for the intermediate stations as so few passengers
book to them. The train duly departed from Welshpool on time at 11.15, pleasingly hauled by
Cambrian Railways (W&L section) No2, in its current disguise as GWR 823, hauling three coaches, two
of Austrian and one of Hungarian, origin. The train deposited our member on time (11.45) at
Cyfronydd. Here the new platform, bare except for the nameboard, is on the left side of the track
(facing Welshpool), and is reached by a boarded crossing from the old platform (partially staggered
from the new platform). The old platform now forms the footpath entrance to the station from the
level crossing, passing the only shelter - the body of a GWR 'Toad' standard gauge brakevan, painted
grey, the interior door from the verandah being padlocked.

From here, our reporter walked via the A458 and B4385, about 3 miles, first to the site of Dolarddyn
Crossing Halt. Here, on the Welshpool side of the crossing, on the left hand side of the line (facing
Welshpool) is a wooden beam about four feet long, clearly of venerable age. Is this the remains of the,
presumably, rather nominal, ground level passenger 'platform'? RI Cartwright's heavyweight tome:
'The Welshpool & Llanfair', (history of the line) on p45 states that it 'had been advertised in the
timetable since July 1904', with stops on Mondays only. Parties could make use of it on other days,
fares being charged to and from Cyfronydd. Curiously, no mention of Dolarddyn Crossing Halt appears
in the W&L Tables in the Cambrian Railways public timetable booklet, but working timetables for July
to September 1904 issued by the Cambrian Railways do concur with the above, stating: 'On Mondays
all Up and Down trains will stop at the Crossing at Dolarddyn to pick up or set down passengers to or
from Welshpool. Passengers must take Cyfronydd tickets. Trains will also stop at Dolarddyn on other
days for picnic parties'. This wording is identical in the 3 October 1921 Cambrian Railways working
timetable (the last one issued before the Cambrian was grouped into the GWR). Our reporter seems to
recall reading somewhere that Dolarddyn Crossing Halt finally made it into the GWR public timetable
sometime in 1929, just over a year before the passenger service finally ceased in February 1931.
Dolarddyn Crossing Halt has never been reopened in the heritage era, and a request to either join the
train there, or to alight from it, was politely declined - even though the train has to stop there for the
(ungated) level crossing. (The railway had, by prior arrangement, permitted our reporter to board a
train at Golfa on 30 May 2002, even writing 'Golfa' in place of Sylfaen, on the paper ticket.)

Having photographed the site of the Halt, our reporter walked via the B4385 to Castell Caereinion to
join the train back to Welshpool at about 13.20, with on-time arrival at 13.46. The train had gained an
additional coach. One noteworthy recent development is the erection of new bilingual pairs of station
nameboards at the two W&L stations requiring them, thus: Y Trallwng, Sgwar Gigfran - Welshpool,
Raven Square and Castell Caereinion - Castle Caereinion. Our reporter notes that Dolarddyn Crossing
Halt was his last public station or station site, open or closed, to visit and photograph in mid-Wales. He
has been to all public stations, past or present, within Wales in an area bounded by Porthmadog,
Carmarthen, Merthyr Tydfil, Hereford, Yockleton, Gobowen and Bala Junction - progress continues!

[BLN 1250]
MR26] Castle Hill Cliff Railway, Bridgnorth (MR p34) (BLN 1208.MR60): This 3ft 6in gauge funicular
railway connects High Town and Low Town in Bridgnorth, originally opening on 7 July 1892. The
railway had been under threat after new EU legislation had suggested mechanisms used on such
vintage cableways should be modernised. However, South Shropshire MP Philip Dunne, West Midlands
MEP Daniel Dalton and Shropshire councillor Christian Lea were all welcomed as guests of honour on
board the railway by owner Dr Malvern Tipping in early November. All three officials had helped to
ensure the railway would remain exempt from the EU regulations. Dr Tipping said: 'Not having
previously spoken to MEP Daniel Dalton, who acted as deputy-rapporteur at the meetings in Brussels, I
wished to thank him not just on behalf of Bridgnorth Cliff Railway and the people of the town, but also
on behalf of all the UK's historic cliff railways for the important role which he played. This now means
that our historic cliff railways, many of which having functioned very safely for more than a century,
may continue to provide a very important service. This is no less true than in Bridgnorth where our cliff
railway continues to provide not only a useful service, but a very significant contribution to the local
tourism economy. We were advised of Mr Dalton's role by Shropshire Councillor Christian Lea. We were
advised that both Mr Dalton and MP Philip Dunne would like to visit the cliff railway in the near future.
We were delighted to welcome them and Councillor Lea, who has been very supportive over the years'.

MR27] Constitution Hill Railway, Aberystwyth (MR p34) (BLN 887.MR264): Located on the north side
of the town, this cliff railway features a double track of 4' 10" gauge with a length of 778 feet. It has a
variable gradient. The ticket office has been converted into a cliff-side cottage with views across the
Irish Sea. The Victorian red-brick office was first built in 1896 and has been issuing tickets ever since.
However, it has now been modified into a two-bedroom apartment. Director of Wales Cottages Drewe
Dunn said: 'Show me another holiday home with its own funicular railway. The apartment is above the
ticket office and guests get to ride the cliff railway for free throughout their stay'. The holiday flat,
known as the Cliff Railway Apartment, lies above the station and new ticket office at the base of the
railway. The self-catered four-star accommodation contains a double and a twin bedroom and
overlooks the railway. There is also a living room, dining room and a kitchen with sea views. Guests are
treated to a hamper of toffee, Welsh Cakes and a bottle of wine on arrival. Work on the ticket office
began in June and was finished in the second week of August this year. A spokeswoman from Welsh
Cottages said: "The property has proven very popular since joining the portfolio. We have already had
over 40 people visit the cottage, which is particularly popular among couples and families". Short
winter breaks at the apartment start at £287 for three nights, with a peak August 2016 week at £795.

MR28] Crowle Peatlands Railway Society, Lincolnshire: This Society has been formed to promote the
heritage and history of the peat railways on Crowle & Thorne Moors. The initial intention was to
restore a Simplex loco that used to work on the moors. However, the Society has subsequently been
able to purchase a couple of Schoma locos that were amongst the last locos to be used on the moors.
The locos are now in temporary storage whilst negotiations are completed with North Lincolnshire
Council on the building of a maintenance shed and running line on Crowle Moors. The running line
would be around 500 yards in length and overall cost of the project is said to be £120,000. However, in
October 2015 the Society was awarded a grant of £22,000. They received the money through a
community fund from South and Scottish Electricity (SSE). The society hopes to progress further with
funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. For more details see the Society's web site


A service to members; Please mention the Branch Line Society when booking/enquiring. . ..Details must be checked with the organisers.

304] The Hawkhurst Branch Line, by Peter A Harding £4: The Author lived in Goudhurst on the branch
in the late 1940s and early 1950s as a young child and this is the first of 19 branch line/light railway
booklets he has written. A 2016 reprint with amendments; originally published in 1982 and revised in
1998 but recently out of print. 32 glossy A5 pages and a stiff card cover with 52 B&W illustrations
(some recently added), comprehensively documenting this classical 11½ mile branch from Paddock

[BLN 1250]
Wood in the Weald of Kent. The branch history is covered, a route description, motive power, rolling
stock, Hop Pickers' Specials, timetables, tickets, closure and the present scene (all illustrated).
Trackplans cover all stations and sidings. Recommended for every branch line aficionado. £4.50 with
P&P (payee 'PA Harding') from 'Mossgiel', Bagshot Road, Knaphill, Woking, Surrey, GU 21 2SG. (PAS)

305] Bromyard (SO 6576 5483) & Linton (SO 6703 5404) Railway, Thur 10 and Fri 11 Mar: A unique
chance to see and photograph steam on this ex-GWR route for the first time since closure by BR in
1964. A private 2ft gauge one-mile railway, last visited by members on 6 Jun 2013 and not open to the
public. Vale of Rheidol's 'Wren' loco No3114 is due to visit for a 'photo charter' on its way to another
railway. £55 per day, booking form 01970 625819 [email protected]

306] Teesside Airport, Sun 13 Mar: A mass visit by train to ensure it is not Britain's least used station
in 2015/16! Darlington 11.05/12.48 (connections Newcastle, Sheffield, York, Saltburn etc.) Teesside
Airport 11.14/12.35 (bring a picnic), reports appreciated. Shippea Hill, Pilning and Polesworth next?

307] Severn Valley Railway, Spring Steam Gala 18-20 Mar: Talyllyn No4 is to run on a temporary 2' 3"
line at Highley Engine House - information about possible rides is awaited.

308] The Generating Finale, Easter Sat 26 Mar: (BLN 1248.10) This Pathfinder tour to Ferrybridge and
Eggborough Power Stations is now open for bookings; the final tour at the former and possibly both.

309] RPSI 47th Irish Railway Heritage Weekend: 12 May: Steam hauled positioning train Whitehead to
Dublin Connolly (No85 and on return otherwise No461 and No4). 13 May: Diesel railtour from Dublin to
Waterford, Limerick Junction and Dublin (GM 071 loco 40th anniversary). 14 May: Steam, Connolly -
Athlone - Claremorris - Westport (two nights). 15 May: Westport - Ballyhaunis - Ballina - Claremorris -
Westport. 16 May: Westport - Connolly - Belfast Central - Whitehead. 17 May: Heritage coach tour
from Belfast. WEEKEND AND HOTELS BOOKING FAST. See for booking/details.

310] Charity Railtours 'The Mayflower', 11 June: In aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Ealing Broadway
(08.11/22.02), Willesden Junction (08.31/21.35), Liverpool Street (09.53/20.33) & Colchester (11.21/
18.44) steam-hauled with 61306 from Liverpool Street to Ipswich Griffin Wharf, Parkeston Tip Road 5
(expected) and through the Port of Felixstowe loop anti-clockwise, returning via the Felixstowe
Beach line. Fares from £84 details/to book 07518 045077.

311] 'The Flour Mill' 20th Anniversary Open Days 1-3 &/or 8-10 July*, Bream, Lydney, Gloucestershire
GL15 6HT (SO 604 067). A listed building which was converted to a railway workshop opening 1 July
1996 for repairing and overhauling steam locomotives. A special gala is planned on the Dean Forest
Railway 1½ miles away with a Heritage Bus service from Parkend station to The Flour Mill (first public
opening). *One or more days each weekend with Kerr Stuart Borrows 0-4-0WT No3063 Willy and
No229 running. At this stage it is not known if rides will be available; any information appreciated.

312] Direct Rail Services, Crewe Gresty Bridge Depot Charity Open Day, Sat 27 Jul: A 20-minute walk
from the station, various locos on show with displays, stalls, open workshops and other attractions. £5
Adult, under 16s free with accompanying adult. Check website for more details.

313] GBRf 15, Thur 8 to Sun 11 Sep: 66704 hauled the first GB Railfreight train from Temple Mills on
31 Mar 2001, an overnight rail drop. Now the company employs 600 staff and uses 136 locos running
about 1,000 trains per week. Dates for your diary: an ambitious four-day
charity railtour with at least 15 different locos. Day 1: London and the
Southeast, Day 2: north of London and Anglia, Day 3: Scotland and Day 4:
back to London via 'interesting routes'. Watch page.

314] Free to a good home: BLN 577-1183 incl. (1988-2013), papers & PSUL 1987-2014 (not 1991), all
VGC. Dave Gregory [email protected] 01565 633422. Collect Knutsford or by arrangement.

[BLN 1250]
315] West Yorkshire Day Train Rover: Leeds to: Bradford Interchange, Walsden, Brighouse, Marsden,
Denby Dale, Darton, Moorthorpe (and to Pontefract Baghill), South Elmsall, Knottingley, Micklefield,
Horsforth, Ilkley, Steeton & Silsden, Bradford FS, intermediate routes/stations. Undated self-validated
scratch cards (not available at stations) or dated rail tickets from stations. Valid weekends/public
holidays 05.00-00.30 (other days 09.30-00.30 but NOT 16.01-18.29), EMT, Virgin East Coast, Northern
Rail, TPE and XC. NOT Grand Central. Adult £7.10, child/concession £3.55, family (2 adults + 3 children)
£12 no railcard discounts. West Yorkshire Day Train and Bus Rover is the same but no 16.01-18.29 bus
restrictions and is also valid on Grand Central trains. Adult £8 adult, child/concession £4, family £12.
316] Property Section, Malvern Link Station House: A three double bedroom original 19th Century
detached former stationmaster's house on the Down platform with a distinctive Malvern Stone façade.
'A rare opportunity for the keen railway enthusiast' £260K 01684 892809

ABOVE: Malvern Link Station House off the Hereford platform, currently for sale (Andrew Lambert).
X11] STOP PRESS: Sherwood Forest Railway, Thur 31 Mar 13.00: Gorsethorpe Lane, near Edwinstowe,
Nottinghamshire, NG2 19HL (SK 586655). To follow the morning Crich visit (20 miles, 45 minutes away
by car) a comprehensive afternoon all lines visit (including the now completed and operational new
long carriage shed branch) to this 15" gauge railway has been arranged. 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, and lunch snack, trackplan, stocklist and souvenir ticket etc. £10 BLS Members, £15 non-
members See Facebook bookings/queries: John Cameron
(as for item 216). NB: Please advise if you require/can give lifts between the locations and how many.

[BLN 1250]

X12] Helston Railway: ABOVE: A misty morning on Britain's most southwesterly Heritage Railway, the
now closed station of Trevarno (6m 23ch from Gwinear Road) on the Helston Railway in Cornwall looking south towards Prospidnick, the 'bay' platform on the left. (Robert Green)
X13] STOP PRESS (2): Weardale Railway, Stanhope, County Durham, DL13 2YS, Sat 6 Feb: Very rare
running over nearly all of the line. The first passenger trains on the eight mile section beyond 'North
Pole' (where the Polar expresses terminate), for about four years will run as far as 'Primrose Hill' just
outside Bishop Auckland. 'Top and tail' with 47712 and 47192. From Stanhope only at 10.00, 12.30 &
15.15; arriving back at Stanhope 12.05, 14.35 & 17.25 respectively. One return trip £15 adult, £13.50
senior, £7.50 child and £30 family. Day Rover £20, £17, £10 and £40 respectively. Pay on the day.

Distribution: Dave Monger, 6 Underhill Close, GODALMING, GU7 1NU. [email protected] 07592 585230.
Branch Line: Nick Garnham, bls_branchli[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]

Northern (West) Yorkshire, Humberside, & IOM : Graeme Jolley, 3 Laurel Cottages, Rencell Hill, LAXEY, IOM, IM4 7BJ. [email protected]
Scotland: Bob Watt, 18 Kilmailing Road, GLASGOW, G44 5UJ. [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.

[email protected] or
[email protected] Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Rd, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947.

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