Issue Number 1246 (Items 2145 - 2278 & MR 197 - MR 203) (E-BLN 47 PAGES) 5 December 2015
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)
Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Ave., Epsom, Surrey, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from members, an international section is also available.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or the Society
BLN 1247 is due on 19 December and all cSoonctieritbyu. tions must be received by 9 December.
Possibly for the first time ever, there are BLS visits available to SIX different countries…
Date Event Visit Type BLN Lead Notes
To be advised SVR Short notice trip Highley, Engine House branch 1230 PS Notify
Sat 5/12/15 Signal Box Visits 10.15 Leamington Spa/Banbury 1245 NG FULL
Sun 6/12/15 Newly Extended Tracker 09.00 railtour 1245 KA FULL
Sat 23/01/16 Ermintrude, Dougal & Carnforth to West Burton PS 1245 JE OPEN
*SEE BELOW* Florence tracker (twice!) & Cleethorpes tour
Sun 24/01/16 NRM Shildon, with PLEG Morning track & traction event TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 6/02/16 Wirral Heritage 11.00 Museum and standard 1246 JE NOTIFY
**NEW** Tramway Birkenhead gauge line riding visit (below) *NEW*
Sun 7/02/16 Merseyrail Railtour Third Rail Anniversary Tracker TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 27/02/16 Main Line EMT Tracker Crewe, 2 Midland Heritage lines TBA GJ Claimed
Sat 5/03/16 Southend-on-Sea area NEW 10.30-15.30; 3-4 local TBA RB Claimed
**NEW** events (details in BLN 1247)
Fri 18/03/16 Didcot Railway Centre Date for your diary TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 19/03/16 The Pontypool and 10.30 Comprehensive railtour 1246 SM/ NOW
**NEW** Blaenavon Director
with KEG, includes new sections KA OPEN
8-11/04/2016 Jordan Hejaz Railway Special train 150+ miles of rare 1246 IS NOTIFY
**NEW** BLS Tour (3'5½" gauge) lines in Jordan (P3 of course!) *NEW*
7-9/05/2016 Rare track in SW Spain FINAL NOTIFICATIONS PLEASE1244 GB NOTIFY
20-22/05/16 NEW- Northern Ireland Main line tour by service train TBA TBA Claimed
long weekend and minor railway visits
3-4/06/2016 Scottish Minor Railways NEW Aberdeenshire/Perthshire 1246 TV NOTIFY
GB-Geoff Blyth, GJ-Graeme Jolley, IS-Iain Scotchman, JE-Jill Everett, KA -Kev Adlam, NG-Nick Garnham,
PS-Paul Stewart, RB Rod Bryants, SM-Simon Mortimer, TV-Terry Velvick...
2145] 60th AGM, Fri 13 Nov: Draft minutes for our 2015 AGM at the NRM, York are enclosed, (e-BLN
subscribers will find them as a download). It would be helpful if anyone present with any comments
could advise the General Secretary, Tim Wallis by email or post within the next few weeks please. High
quality special souvenir tickets were kindly produced for the AGM, thanks to our member Jim Sellens.
Any member who would like any please send an SAE to the Editor. There are also a few of Jim's NRM
riding fixture tickets; some have been saved for 2-3 members who did not receive them on the day.
[E BLN 1246]
2146] EDF Tracker Railtour, Sat 23 Jan: (BLN 1245.2058 with booking form) This is due to cover both
internal triangles within the West Burton Power Station complex (TRACKmaps 2, p31B - September
2006). It is booking well and (subject to time keeping) may well cover track not previously covered by
any railtour including our last tour 'The Barrow Hill Farewell' on 23 March 1991. The EDF Tracker might
be a final opportunity to traverse the layout as it is due to close by 2023 or after 17,500 hours of
generation (see Head Lines). Also a chance to see the new North Lincolnshire signalling - Barnetby with
no semaphores! (BLN 1245.2090). Booking forms: http://goo.gl/B5Xjee or from your editor on paper.
2147] Rail Express: It is pleasing to report that the December edition has a fully illustrated feature
article about the 60th anniversary of the Society, written by member David Russell. Available on paper
(cover price £4.30) from the usual outlets, on subscription or http://goo.gl/92TYjB digitally.
2148] Wirral Heritage Tramway, Birkenhead, Sat 6 Feb, 11.00: (MR p32) (950yd) 1 Taylor Street,
Birkenhead, CH41 1BG. (SJ323893) a 270yd walk from Conway Park Merseyrail station. To complement
our railtour the following day and starting before public service (which begins at 13.00). Includes
comprehensive tram ride, a visit to http://goo.gl/Q5NVkp the Mersey Tramway Preservation Society
Museum, also tea and biscuits. Notifications of interest to assess viability to Howard & Jill Everitt
[email protected] or with SAE to 4 Barnside Way, Moulton, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 8PT.
2149] The Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway: BELOW: Not what it seems. This smart single car DMU
with the well known figure at the window was actually steam hauled by 'Sir Gomer' is it climbs up the
branch to Big Pit (which had a temporary scaffolding and wooden platform then). Left on the
overbridge is the direct link from Furnace sidings to the branch under renovation; beneath the bridge
the line drops away to Blaenavon (High Level) and now Coed Avon, south towards Pontypool.
[BLN 1246.2149 -cont.]
2149] 'The Pontypool & Blaenavon Director', 10.30 (approx), Sat 19 Mar: Compatible with rail travel
from our Didcot visit the day before. Thanks to our member Simon Mortimer of KEG, a joint KEG/BLS
'all available lines' fixture of interest to those on our previous 20 May 2012 railtour. It starts at Furnace
Sidings station (ample free parking and facilities, 0.4 miles from NP4 9SF on the Garn Road and well
signposted from there). This is a non-running day, the week before Easter after winter engineering
work, to give the best chance to access unusual sections. Ends of lines are included at Whistle Inn, Big
Pit and the recently opened southern extension to Coed Avon (so far only used on gala days). Also
requested are the full length of the recently extended loop at Furnace Sidings including the southern
end previously unavailable due to condition of point work (believed to have been rectified), similarly
the line to Big Pit via the overbridge and the new set of four carriage sidings now under construction.
As traditional, other sidings and smaller details are included as available. Intended motive power is
two industrial diesel locos Hudswell Clarke D1344 & Hunslet 5511 'top and tail' with the GER Directors'
Saloon and the GWR Engineers' Saloon if numbers require. The usual souvenir ticket, track plan and
stock list will be provided. Members £25, non-members £30, payee 'Branch Line Society' bookings to
Kev Adlam (back page), queries to Simon Mortimer: [email protected] 07835 739940.
BELOW: The former southern end of the line at Blaenavon HL but no loop then. 'Whitehead' is this end
and 'Maerdy Monster' is at the far end, 'top & tail'. This was the day the Big Pit branch OP, it was
impressive to have three engines in steam, and many of the lines hoped for on our 19 March 2016 tour
were not even laid then. (Simon Mortimer 16 September 2011)
A video clip of line https://goo.gl/cwa1dl during the recent gala, including the Coed Avon extension.
2150] BELOW: Plan and selected track details of the Jordan Hedjaz Railway, thanks to Iain Scotchman,
showing the northern Mafraq to Qatran section on the proposed BLS tour (red line at the top of map,
with the Jordanian capital Amman at its centre). Below is the 'dashed' middle possibly OOU section
and then the southern (yellow/orange) Aqaba Railway Corporation line to Aquaba and Port Aquaba
(bottom left) which carries Phosphate traffic from the mines in the centre of the country.
[BLN 1246.2150 -cont.]
Jordan, Fri 8-Mon 11 April: The increasing variety and
expanding range of our BLS fixtures reaches a new level…
A chance to broaden your horizons and try something
completely different along with some familiar faces in
amazing landscape! 73,500 British Nationals safely visited this fascinating historic Kingdom in 2014.
The 1,050mm (approx 3'5½"!) gauge Hejaz Railway, the target of several notorious demolition
attempts by Lawrence of Arabia, ceased operations in 2011. Recently excursions (Saturdays only) for
locals have become available from the capital, Amman to El-Jiza (see map on next page) which are
available to tourists but poorly advertised. Charters are operated north to Mafraq and south to
Qatrana. South of Qatrana to Menzil the former line is reportedly OOU. With thanks to our member
Iain Scotchman, expressions of interest are invited, from members and non-members as soon as
possible, to assess the viability of a BLS diesel charter (BLS T&Cs apply) on a cost sharing basis. For an
idea of distance, it is 95 miles by road between each end. The line would be covered over two days,
based at Amman Airport Hotel, (British Airways & Royal Jordanian Airlines direct Heathrow flights).
Iain is also investigating with his Jordanian contacts the possibility of travelling further south to the
Aqaba Railway Corporation section, which transports phosphates to the port of Aqaba (over 150 miles
from Qatrana by road; the railway is much longer). Note this is only an aspiration at present. More
details are available in an e-BLN download, or by email or post (A5 SAE). Queries and notifications:
[email protected] 102 Shenfield Place, Shenfield, Brentwood, CM15 9AJ.
2151] BLS Scottish Visits, Fri 3 & Sat 4 June: The fourth different country to be offered on a new BLS
fixture this edition! Thanks to well known miniature railway aficionado, our member Terry Velvick, an
early Friday afternoon visit to the Scottish Model Engineering Trust's remote Wester Pickston Railway
http://goo.gl/qGSfpD (MR p28), near Methven, not far from Perth, has been arranged. The 1½ km of
7¼" ground-level track https://goo.gl/11MDZC includes new extensions, and there is a non-public
elevated 5" line. Special trains have kindly been agreed to cover as much of both lines as possible,
including sections not available on their four public running days each year. Sufficient support will be
needed to run these as locos are brought in specially. See detailed report in BLN 1236 (MR98). Late
Saturday morning is a visit to the extensive private Karen's Little Railway at a Scottish Croft, New
Pitsligo, near Fraserburgh, northern Aberdeenshire. For track plan http://goo.gl/1unoMl and website.
Expressions of interest to assess demand to Terry at 75 Castle View Gardens, Westham, Pevensey,
BN24 5HS (with SAE) or 01323 762784. Own transport desirable, please advise if lifts are available
(and how many) or required, subject to availability. More visits are possible this weekend.
BLN 1246.2152] Unusual Track: Anticipated but should be re-checked e.g. http://goo.gl/wwSbYv etc.
Midland Metro, Bull Street, country end trailing X/O: From 6 Dec used by all departures at first.
Farnworth Tunnel: Final day of the third temporary slew and single line working 11 Dec 2015.
Waterloo P20: SSuX until 11 Dec (then temporarily OOU) 17.20, 18.35 & 19.20 to Reading, 18.05
to Aldershot, 16.09 and 17.39 from Reading (both these return from P20 in service).
Laindon P2: (SSuX) After 11 Dec seven London arrivals cease; ten departures reduce to three;
the 07.08 ex-Shoeburyness runs through P2, via the country end facing X/O (only booked use).
This is so it can be overtaken by the 07.18 from Shoeburyness, which is non-stop through P1.
Gillingham (Kent), country end trailing X/O: All east departures 12 December & 13th until 16.53.
Mill Hill Broadway, London end trailing X/O: 13 Dec, 06.51, 07.21, 07.52 & 08.21 to Brighton.
Southend Central Bay P1: From 13 Dec has five Up departures SSux, 1 SO at 06.55, and 27 SuO.
Leigh-on-Sea: From 13 Dec SSuX, 06.54, 07.26, 07.44, 07.56, 17.01, 17.13 & 17.28 from
Fenchurch Street all arrive at middle P2 and after an interval return (London end facing X/Os).
Leckwith Loop North-South Jn: From 13 Dec, regular services calling at Ninian Park; see 'Wales'.
Manchester Airport, P4: (BLN 1245.2109) From 13 December has daily scheduled services
including hourly TPE to Blackpool North SX and hourly Northern Rail Trains to Southport SSuX.
[BLN 1246.2152 -cont.]
East Croydon Up Fast - Coulsdon North GF, trailing X/O (14m 72ch): 19 Dec, 23.40 Bedford also
Sun 20th 02.00 & 03.00 Victoria - Three Bridges; 01.00, 04.00, 05.02 & 05.47 Victoria - Brighton.
Doncaster, Loversall Carr Jn-Flyover West Jn-West Slow 1: 27 & 28 Dec & 3 Jan, all Down ECML.
1246 HEAD LINES
2153] Balloch Central station (NS 3897 8193): (BLN 583 p98/1988) CP after service on Sat 23 April
1988, just north of Balloch Road level crossing, for the branch to be shortened and the station resited
south of the crossing which, with the signal box, closed. (OP 15 July 1850 as Balloch; 'Central' added by
BR 20 June 1952.) The closure was possible as the ½ mile electrified extension to Balloch Pier (NS 3856
8254) CP from 29 Sept 1986. Trains ran to the pier in connection with Loch Lomond sailings, which last
operated in August 1981 and were once included in All Line and Scottish Rover tickets. They were
subject to short term change and your Editor required three attempts to pass Balloch Central by train.
ABOVE: The photographer is standing on the former Up platform of 'Balloch Central' station, after
closure, the former Down platform with boarded up signal box at its south end is to the right. Looking
across the former level crossing at the new 1988 'Balloch' station
2154] Balloch station (NS 3901 8184): (BLNs 601.60 & 607 p98/1989) Note change of name. Actual OP
Sunday 24 April 1988 with the 11.25 arrival. A single platform built on the former Down line (when the
branch was double track), west of the then single line (formerly the Up line). There was a ceremony to
mark its completion on Friday 22 April 1988 (presumably, some civic dignitaries did not work Sundays!)
2155] Blackburn, King Street Goods (9m 55ch) - Down Through Siding (10m 07ch): An original
Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway goods depot which became a Coal Concentration Depot 1 Sept 1969.
The last BLS internal trip as 'British Fuels, Blackburn Coal Concentration Depot' may have been 25 Aug
1986. Was there another on 13 Sept 1986? Coal trains ran in May 1993 at least. Final rail movement,
removal of the internal loco, (Class 04) D2272 was 1 May 1997. Does anyone have a date for the last
inward coal or outward empties please? BR domestic coal depot rail traffic generally ended in 1993
BELOW: The 'new' 1988 Balloch station in December 2012, looking the opposite way (north towards
Balloch Pier) from the single platform, built on the former Down Line formation showing the old
Balloch Central station building, background right. It is now the local Tourist information Centre. (Both
pictures: ©Copyright Nigel Thompson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.)
2156] LU, Ealing Broadway, District Line-Central Line (Connection of Strategic Importance): Used for
the last time over 1-3 May 2010 Bank Holiday weekend and removed 29-31 May Spring Bank Holiday
2010. A connection between a continuation of the P7 line trailing into the Eastbound Central Line;
taken OOU from 17 May 1993 (other than by Engineers' trains during a possession) due to signalling
incompatibility but reinstated on 14 March 1994. The link was jointly controlled by Earl's Court District
Line Control Room (via Ealing Broadway Interlocking Machine Room) and White City Central Line signal
box. The final tour seems to have been London Transport's 'Jubilee Railtour' repeat (9 Oct 1983) with a
P6 to P9 shunt; the riding was 'rough!' On the original 11 Sep 1983 tour it was done as ECS - bad luck!
2157] Garriongill Jct. - Watsonhead Opencast coal loading point: (amending BLN 1233.926) From 18
May 2015 the junction and branch (OOU for a considerable time beforehand) were removed with
recovery of the associated signalling and the line deleted from the Sectional Appendix. The name
'Coltness' mentioned in the original entry and (TRACKmaps Vol.1 p8R, Dec 2007) originated from it
being part of the Coltness Iron Works branch off the Caledonian Morningside branch. Coltness is also a
large suburb of Wishaw. The Coltness name stuck and was used by BR in the 1960s for the Dow Mac
concrete sleeper factory, eventually becoming Costains. Watsonhead loading point was a separate
location, straight ahead northeast towards Morningside Caledonian passenger station; the Costains
works branch veered off left, northwest. Concrete sleeper production ceased in March 1999.
2158] Bristol Harbour Railway, CREATE Centre platform (incl.) - The Chocolate Path foot crossing
(230yd): (BLN 1245.2065) CP/CA. The Railway has kindly confirmed that final public running was on
Bank Holiday Monday 31 August 2015. The line was also used by rail plant (only) on three subsequent
occasions. The new layout is due to be installed next year after the Metrobus work is complete.
2159] Ladbroke Grove 'Down & Up Engine & Carriage Line' (2m 02ch*) - North Pole Depot: (BLN
1244.1994) Signalling was commissioned 4 July 2015. The new North Pole connection was available,
with documentation and procedures in place, from 17 Oct when the first IEP train was due to arrive.
The first ECS from Old Dalby was delayed until 24 Oct due to a paperwork issue with the rolling stock.
2160] East Peckham* Siding (37m 34ch): OG 14 October 2015 with the 03.05 from Acton Traffic
Centre arriving 05.36; flyash from West Burton 'A' Power Station, for manufacture of concrete blocks
by J. Chubb. DBS has a 6 year contract to move 1,200 tonnes in two trains per week. Reportedly the
first regular traffic for at least 10 years. The ground frame controlled siding (with train lock-in facility)
trails into the Down Paddock Wood to Strood line between Beltring and Yalding; there is no crossover.
(*East Peckham is a village in Kent north of Paddock Wood, west of and adjoining Branbridges.)
2161] Ffestiniog Railway, Porthmadog Harbour (excl.) - Blaenau Ffestiniog & intermediate stations:
TCP 2 Nov to 11 Dec 2015 (also 3 Nov to 12 Dec 2014) for track replacement work. The Welsh Highland
Railway is operating a limited service Porthmadog - Rhyd Ddu instead. ROP may be delayed due to
possible embankment flood damage (under investigation) just north of the Afon Barlwyd bridge.
2162] Wrexham General (excl.) - Chester, Saltney Jn: (BLN 1245.2070) TCP 7 to 15 Nov 2015 (incl.) as
planned; redoubling work from the new Rossett Jn (206m 48ch) to Saltney Jn, but not commissioned.
2163] Sudbury (incl.) - Marks Tey (excl.) and Bures and Chappel & Wakes Colne stations: TCP 11-22
Nov 2015 (incl.) due to a high number of DMU wheel flats needing repairs during the leaf fall season.
2164] Felixstowe (incl.) - Westerfield Jn and Trimley & Derby Road stations: TCP 11-22 Nov 2015
(incl.) see previous item. Westerfield had 7/43 of its booked trains (SSuX); 1/36 (SO) and 16/36 SuO.
ABOVE: 66760 heads one of last trains of biomass empties from Ironbridge Power Station in its final
few days of operation at 09.22 on 16 November. It is approaching the site of Madeley (GW) station,
with the remains of the bridge carrying the LNWR Coalport branch in the background. (Dave Cromarty)
2165] Madeley Jn - Ironbridge 'B' Power Station: (BLN 1243.1900) A nearly seven mile ex-
GWR now single-track branch. CG after (most unusually) an outward part loaded train on Friday 20
Nov 2015 at 11.57 to Doncaster Hexthorpe Yard, carrying 685 tonnes of biomass. 1,085 tonnes had
arrived in a full train at 23.00 on 19th from Liverpool, its train loco returning with a different set of
empty wagons. 400 tonnes of biomass was unloaded for the final electricity generation concluding at
14.33 on the afternoon of 20 November after over 46 years. Empty wagons (thought to be one set up
to 23 wagons) then remained at Ironbidge and left for Peterborough at 18.00 on Sat 28 Nov with
66742, heading for WH Davis Wagon Works at Shirebrook. The last railtour was Pathfinder's Sabrina's
Tea Train circular tour ex-Crewe on 6 March, returning via Oxley Chord. Liverpool (old) Bulk Terminal
(BLN 1243.1899) still has a daily (SSuX) biomass train to Drax Power Station most days but closure is
expected; traffic will transfer to the (expanding) new Liverpool Bulk terminal (BLN 1245.2066).
2166] Gt. Yarmouth - Brundall Jn/Reedham Jn and Acle, Lingwood & Berney Arms stations: TCP 19-
22 Nov 2015 (incl.), DMU shortage (wheel flats from leaf fall). Lowestoft had loco-hauled trains.
2167] St. Erth (excl.) - St. Ives and 3 intermediate stations: TCP 19-22 Nov (incl.) for engineering work.
2168] Richmond, Up Main (9m 51ch) - P3 (Connection of Strategic Importance): From 30 November
the trailing crossover was due to be plain lined, severing the Wessex/Anglia route connection here.
2169] Farnworth Ex-Down Tunnel (northbound): (BLN 1241.1759) CA due after service Friday 11 Dec
2015; the end of single line working over the third temporary alignment here (commenced 31 August).
2170] London Waterloo: (BLN 1239.1558) P20 is temporarily OOU after service on 11 December,
presumably to allow work on remodelling the approach tracks to the former International station.
2171] Rochester (old): Office of Rail Regulation (sic) closure ratification notice issued 15 October 2015.
CP expected after service on Friday 11 December 2015 (a four through platform station each ten-car).
The last Up train is at 23.37 to Victoria (22.06 ex-Dover); final train: 01.45 to Gillingham Saturday
morning (00.18 ex-Charing Cross). [OP relatively late (1 March 1892) on the first section of the London
Chatham & Dover Railway to be opened, between Faversham and Chatham; OP 25 January 1858.] The
closure notice http://goo.gl/9hU1TK from the ORR.
2172] Rochester station (new): (BLN 1239.1579) OP is expected Sun 13 Dec 2015, after an engineering
block, with the 17.21 to Victoria (16.05 ex-Dover). The first booked Down train is 17.26 to Herne Bay
(16.45 ex-Victoria). Three 12-car platforms at 33m 35ch (TQ 7447 6866), 500m west of the old station.
2173] Cranbrook station (166m 15ch): (BLN 1233.928) OP expected Sun 13 Dec 2015 with the 08.46 to
Exeter St. David's (07.06 ex-Salisbury) and 09.39 to Waterloo (09.25 St. David's). A £4.5M Greenfield
site, single Down side six-car platform station (SX 9994 9549) between Whimple and Pinhoe with 19
Up/ 18 Down services SSuX; 19 Up/18 Down SO & 14 Up/14 Down SuO, most to Waterloo or St.
David's. Celebrations are planned with breakfast rolls, hot drinks and music; should 'Train' perform?
2174] London, Forest Gate Jn - Woodgrange Park Jn: (BLNs 1244.1991 & 1245.2095), from Saturday 5
December 2015 there is a full timetable duration (not just pre-Christmas) half-hourly weekend service
between Liverpool Street and Shoeburyness via Basildon serving Stratford. From 14 December the
'PSUL' SSuX early morning/evening short services using Liverpool Street to retain crew knowledge (but
generally running to Fenchurch Street since Friday 2 October) cease in the major c2c timetable recast.
They are replaced with other trains from/to further out stations to/from Fenchurch Street instead.
2175] Farnworth Tunnel: On 14 December 2015, the re-bored and realigned former (larger) Up tunnel
is due to OP (boring completed 25 October). It is straighter for future 100mph running (which requires
more work in January) and enlarged for double track and electrification. Over 30,000 tonnes of spoil
was removed from the 270m-long tunnel and 1,940 concrete sections fitted. Completion was delayed
from 2 October due to unexpected shifting sand requiring grouting. Clifton, Kearsley, Farnworth and
Moses Gate stations: Due to ROP 14 Dec having been TCP since 2 May 2015 (BLN 1228.441).
2176] South Croydon Jn - Redhill (excl.); Stoats Nest Jn - Earlswood South Jn; Tattenham Corner &
Caterham branches and 15 stations: TCP due 25 Dec 2015 to 3 Jan 2016 (incl.) extended Christmas
shut down for major relaying work at Purley. Gatwick Express will not run. The East Grinstead service is
increased from 2 to 4tph with buses to/from Gatwick Airport and Three Bridges. There are half-hourly
through trains between Victoria and Gatwick Airport via Epsom, Dorking and Horsham (reverse) with
possible unusual crossover usage there, taking 88 minutes (Gatwick Express is 30 minutes non-stop).
2177] Brockenhurst - Bournemouth (both excl.) and five intermediate stations: TCP due 25 Dec 2015
to 3 Jan 2016; work on the life-expired River Stour and Avon bridges, each side of Christchurch station.
2178] Crowborough (excl.) - Uckfield & Buxted station: (BLN 1240.1681) TCP booked Sun 3 Jan to Fri
19 Feb 2016 (incl.); platform lengthening work for 10-car DMUs (extra Class 170s are from Scotland).
2179] Merseyrail, Moorfields P1: (BLN 1237.1333) The Up/southbound Northern Line to Liverpool
Central/Hunts Cross; TCP expected 4 Jan to April 2016 ; Phase 2 of station refurbishment. In April
(Phase 3) P2 is to TCP (final part of the current £40M refurbishment of five City Centre stations).
2180] Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway, Blaenavon High Level (*4m 55ch) - Coed Avon (5m 00ch) (SO
2557 0801) (BLN 1244.1988) OP due Good Friday 25 March 2016, normal timetabled trains; OP Fri 11
Sept 2015 (selected trains, 3-day Gala event) south extension, 25ch non-alighting. (*Whistle Inn, north
end of line 2m 70ch.) Public pictures http://goo.gl/iKT73w from http://goo.gl/n07cRz Railway Herald.
2181] Lea Bridge station: (BLN 1238.1453) The network changes required to re-open the station have
been approved. It is expected to open during Spring (?March) with all passenger trains (EMUs) calling.
2182] Blackpool Tramway, Cleveleys (excl.) - Fleetwood Ferry and 12 intermediate stops: Lancashire
County Council is currently considering its £280k annual discretionary subsidy for this section as it has
to save £65M. Blackpool Council is unable to justify subsidy it because it is outside their council
boundary. October was the busiest month for the Tramway since recent modernisation. However, DfT
figures show 4.1M passengers used the Tramway in 2014/15, an annual fall of 5.9%; revenue dropped
by 10.8%, although tram miles operated were down by 6.5%. The Fleetwood to Knott End Ferry (£38K
subsidy) connecting two former branch lines is under threat https://goo.gl/Chv1f5 (on line petition).
2183] Crag Hall (33m 62ch) - Carlin How, Boulby Mine (39m 08ch): Reduced Potash traffic (previously
up to six trains daily (SuX) mostly to South Bank, Tees Dock for export) is expected due to geological
difficulties at Europe's most productive mine with economical reserves exhausted by 2018. Output has
been over 1M tonnes annually. The plant will produce polysulphate fertilizer instead but it is not clear
if this will be rail transported. A daily (SSuX) steel train runs from Tees Yard to Crag Hall Skinningrove.
2184] More Power Station Closures: From 1 January 2016, the European Union Industrial Emissions
Directive means that plant operators have to notify which stations they have chosen not to fit with
pollution-reducing technology to comply with the law under the so-called Limited Life Derogation.
With this opt-out they can run without the technology for 17,500 hours from 1 January or until the end
of 2023, whichever is first. There are 17 UK plants on the list, the ones with rail traffic are: Uskmouth
'B' (which has received a few coal trains from Portbury since 15 November), Aberthaw, Cottam,
Lynemouth (likely to close after this winter or convert to biomass), and West Burton 'A'. Note: West
Burton 'B' is gas fired. Ferrybridge '3' & '4' and Eggborough are also listed, but are already closing by
31 March 2016 as is Longannet because the rise in UK Carbon tax and other factors have made them
[BLN 1246.2184 -cont.]
uneconomical to run. The government has indicated that it wants all coal-fired power stations shut by
the end of 2025 (unless fitted with Carbon Capture & Storage technology, which is unlikely to happen
in practice). The rest are are: Rugeley, Fiddlers Ferry (both expected to close by 2023) and the
remaining coal fired parts of Drax & Ratcliffe-on-Soar. The latter is the first UK plant with 'Selective
Catalytic Reduction Technology' compliant with the new EU Industrial Emissions Directive so a good
bet for the final coal fired station. It is unlikely to generate beyond 2025 unless converted to biomass.
ABOVE: The loco and brakevan in the NRM North Yard as a Harrogate line DMU passes on the ECML. (Paul Colbeck)
2185] FIXTURES REPORTS: 60th AGM & Fixtures, Fri 13 Nov: Participants from as far afield as Jersey,
Eastbourne, Bankfoot, Dublin, Plymouth, and even York reported to the National Railway Museum
(NRM) by 11.00 on this rather inauspicious date which turned out very auspicious! Once the 80 had
been united (some had waited at the wrong entrance) they were promptly divided into 3 groups for
comprehensive North Yard trips on the smart and spacious 25 ton 1936 Southern Railway, Ashford
built Queen Mary brakevan (56297). An ex-BR Class 02, 0-4-0DH a 1960 built Yorkshire Engine Rolls
Royce powered D2860 in smart green livery with BR Lion and wheel emblem, carried the 'BLS
DIAMOND JUBILEE' headboard. Multiple groups gave plenty of photographic opportunities, as
participants happily trundled up and down each and every one of the seven lines (that were mostly
clear) to the 'Great Hall' and Paint Shop/Works on the 'Warehouse' side. A succession of varied trains
passed nearby in both directions on the adjacent ECML north of York station, adding to the occasion.
Each group discovered that the NRM have extensive running powers, through both NR boundaries
(Great Hall and Warehouse sides) to the TPE Depot stop board. This depot had been reached by our
first TPE Tracker railtour on 8 September 2013. The outer loop near the ECML was the only North Yard
line not covered, occupied by Freightliner ex-BR 'heritage' stock for a special event (even with guard's
accommodation perfect for visiting certain terminals!). Participants then enjoyed a lunch break when
our member Bob Wright kindly explained the original Lancashire & Yorkshire model railway (also a
[BLN 1246.2185 cont.]
signalling school still used by NR) in 'The Warehouse' (BLN 1243.1884). Superb refreshments, made on
site, were available at the NRM and the spotters really had their work cut out. There are some 280 rail
vehicles in the National Collection, about 100 are at York at any one time, the rest split between
'Locomotion' at Shildon, other museums and heritage railways.
ABOVE: A BLS trip becomes the first passenger carrying train over the Departures Platform (in front of
the second half of the group) avoiding loop, having also continued past the arrivals platform of the
NRM miniature railway. BELOW: The first passenger train through the carriage shed. (Paul Cobeck)
[BLN 1246.2185 -cont.]
After the break the afternoon session started at 13.00. Half the group (including those with a declared
miniature railway allergy - but give them time!) boarded the well appointed 1913 Wolverton built,
chocolate and cream LNWR Bogie Directors' Saloon which enjoyed excellent all round visibility. It is
seen BELOW on the line between the Learning Platform and the South Yard, the miniature is over the
hedge to the right (Paul Colbeck).
Boarding was at 'The Learning Platform' for a comprehensive tour of all the available South Yard
standard gauge with Class 09 loco 09017, including past the NRM/NR boundary to the level crossing. In
the other direction, the gate was kindly opened specially to run as far as possible along the north side
of 'Station Hall'. Meanwhile, the other half of the group were zooming round the adjacent new NRM
7¼" Miniature Railway (opened in July this year) in ever decreasing circles. When the groups swapped
over, the rain started to fall and the men were separated from the boys on the miniature! It was well
worth it though as our trains were the first to carry passengers through the Carriage Shed (far line),
actually a couple of containers, and the rare, normally locked OOU, Departures Platform avoiding loop.
Also included was the line between the Arrivals and Departures platforms, often only used by ECS. It
was noticeable how highly engineered and ballasted the track was, built to last and take heavy traffic.
Participants were also invited to look in the engine shed. The branch through there down to the car
park has not been used by passengers since the new layout opened as riding vehicles tend to 'ground'
on it. There is also an interesting inner loop link ('short circuit') used rarely to turn engines and
equalise wheel wear.
[BLN 1246.2185 -cont.]
There was never a dull moment at the NRM as, approaching 15.00, it was then time to make for the
Conference Centre. Here a good crowd of 70 members enjoyed Gerald Daniels' illustrated talk, a most
interesting well presented perspective with over 200 images. Gerald 'a proud railwayman' described
how he started at the bottom in 1954 and then each step up the ladder (mostly on the Southern
Region of BR) until retirement in 1993, although he has kept very busy since! He is best known to many
members for his time as Area Manager at Salisbury between 1978 and 1988. Amongst the innovations
he brought to the railways were steam specials (Blackmore Vale Express) and anniversary open days
becoming more complex and slickly organised with experience. These generated goodwill and revenue
for the railways. During the interval the audience enjoyed a high quality buffet, typical of the excellent
NRM service and attention received all day. In true Southern style, Gerald finished on time at 17.45.For
the sixth event of the day it was downstairs to the Queen Mary brakevan again at 18.00 for several
trips from the North Yard on to the Great Hall Turntable. Overlap was achieved with the morning
North Yard trips and very appropriate for this finale was a 'Sunday Night at the London Palladium' style
360o turntable trip. (Our increasing numbers of young members need to know that this former TV
variety show ended with the entire cast going round on the stage turntable waving to the audience.)
BELOW: Women, Children and Committee members first! (Well they did have an AGM organise.) On
the first trip, Queen Mary brakevan is propelled out of the darkness of the North yard onto the Great
Hall turntable ready for a spin by D2860. (Mark Haggas)
The day was not yet over as at 19.00 it was our 60th AGM in the combined Mallard/Rocket room with a
good turnout of 92 members including the Branch Line Society's founder John Ling. John told the
audience that he actually thought of starting the Society on Saturday 11 June 1955 whilst shaving;
perhaps that is why we are a cut above the rest? In 1955 John, as well as Founder, was our General
Secretary, Treasurer and Editor; from 1958 to 1964, he was merely the Membership Secretary! Also
present were no less than seven BLS chairmen, in order of service: Angus McDougall, Don Kennedy,
Ian Mortimer, Robert Green, Dave Cromarty, William Graveson and John Williamson. Needless to say
the meeting was well ordered and actually, like the rest of the long day, very enjoyable, positive and
constructive (for once!), amazingly finishing in less than two hours!
BLN 1246.2185-cont.]: ABOVE: An 'Order of Chairmen' at the York AGM, left to right: Robert Green,
Don Kennedy, John Williamson (current Chairman), Ian Mortimer (current Treasurer), John Ling (our
BLS Founder who has performed most jobs over the years except Chairman), William Graveson (now a
Committee member), Angus McDougall and Dave Cromarty (a Committee member and e-BLN Sub-
Editor). The photographer comments: 'Not easy trying to get eight grown adults to all face the camera
at the same time, hats off to those photographers who specialise in babies and kittens or puppies.' The
mobile phone on the table was playing 'The Magnficent Seven' (Alan Sheppard 13 November 2015)
[BLN 1246.2185 -cont.]
ABOVE: 'Let them eat cake!' The six BLS 60th Birthday Cakes, on display before the AGM, each one a
foot square, kindly made by Helen Cromarty (we think Dave may have helped too!), and BLS themed of
course. Most were rich fruitcake but a choice of chocolate and sponge was available too. (Stuart Hicks)
During the AGM interval, delicious slices of the cakes were served, and homemade NRM biscuits and
hot drinks, all complimentary and a cash bar were also available. The AGM was a chance to renew old
acquaintances, make new ones and network; a superb atmosphere. Thanks to the NRM for all the
arrangements, a most suitable 60th venue. Any suggestions for our 100th AGM?
2186] BLS Tyne & Tees Tracker, Sun 15 Nov: This fourth TPE Charter started and finished at York,
rather than Manchester, due to our AGM at the NRM. Schedules for the 15 November 2015 had been
late to upload (not least due to trying to keep some of the secret bits secret!), but the advertised 09.15
departure time from P11 held true, with 5Z60 arriving bang on time from the depot at 08.50 for a
leisurely loading. The fully booked single Class 185 prepped with window labels, charter literature and
goodie bags full of merchandise from the basement of TPE's Ivory Tower departed on time from York
with the help of our conductors for the day Jonathan Cherkowski, Dave Lewarne, Rob Denison and
Gary Wiseman. The train used the Leeds Line as far as Colton Junction where we ground to a very
premature halt. Drivers Jonny Robertson and Andrew Steele had challenged the route laid out in front
of them. Some minutes passed before crossing over on Colton North Ladder as opposed to the South.
The first TPE tracker traversing the latter points in September 2013 was a small consolation for those
who have been on all four charters. Continuing on the Normanton Lines, 1Z60 returned to the Leeds
Lines, then Church Fenton P3 and the reversible single track link to the Up Normanton, no problem.
The tour mileage log, thanks to our member, Jim Sellens.
York P11 Wakefield Kirkgate West Jn 27m 78ch
Wakefield Kirkgate West Jn Crofton East Spur 3m 12ch
Crofton East Spur Crofton Depot Road 3 0m 41ch
Crofton Depot Road 3 Crofton Depot Arrival Line 0m 25ch
Crofton Depot Arrival Line Crofton Depot Road 4 0m 26ch
Crofton Depot Road 4 Crofton East Spur 0m 30ch
Crofton East Spur Wakefield Kirkgate West Jn 3m 00ch
Wakefield Kirkgate West Jn Newcastle P10 107m 61ch
Newcastle P10 Forth Banks Branch, Bridge 7 0m 26ch
Forth Banks Branch, Bridge 7 Newcastle P10 0m 26ch
Newcastle P10 Newcastle Provincial Siding 1m 48ch
Newcastle Provincial Siding Guisborough Jn, Nunthorpe Single 66m 65ch
Guisborough Jn, Nunthorpe Single Middlesbrough West Dock 0m 61ch
Middlesbrough West Dock Middlesbrough Carriage Sidings Road 3 0m 39ch
Middlesbrough Carriage Sidings Road 3 York P3 51m 07ch
York P3 Scarborough Bridge Jn, Down Main 0m 28ch
Scarborough Bridge Jn, Down Main York Maintenance Siding 0m 19ch
York Maintenance Siding Scarborough Bridge Jn, Down Main 0m 19ch
Scarborough Bridge Jn, Down Main York P2 0m 21ch
Now firmly off TPE's usual route the train continued betwixt two gleaming rakes of new Drax biomass
wagons and 185151 traversed the Milford Up Passenger Loop. One can't imagine many passenger
trains needing to be looped here anymore, but at least it was one less Goods Line Authority to obtain!
The tour then continued towards Castleford on a section of track that normally observes no passenger
trains in daylight hours. A Track Circuit failure meant progress was slow, allowing an even greater
[BLN 1246.2186 -cont.]
appreciation of the Fairburn Ings RSPB Nature Reserve alongside. Castle ford gates signal box from the
tour https://goo.gl/iN2Xc4 and May 1976 https://goo.gl/nO7rst and https://goo.gl/dfG7zM when
the line was semaphore signalled. We sped up after Castleford, traversing Turners Lane UGL and
through Wakefield Kirkgate middle road. After reversing behind a dolly at Wakefield West Jn we
arrived at Kirkgate P3, some 23 minutes down already. It was here we picked up our two Sheffield
Drivers, Matthew Sheard and Vaughan Wingrove and two Freightliner Route Conductors, G Clarkson
and C Walker, before proceeding towards Crofton East Spur. A Healey Mills MOM in full hi-viz was a
reassuring sight as we entered the turnback and duly traversed it until a large shrub a few metres off
the buffers risked creating more 'dynamic lines' than intended on the TPE livery. Reversal was
efficient and we were soon traversing Crofton Depot No4 Road, the first railtour ever here and
allowed us to take in the pleasant views of suburban Wakefield. Some liaison occurred between the
Bombardier depot staff and TPE crew; this saw us go back to the gates to reverse and through Road
No3, with an added wash in the mix; well, it's a very dirty time on the network in leaf fall season I think
you will agree! The safe limit was reached where the lines start to rejoin before the headshunt, the
track on which was too poor (due to drainage problems) to take the train. Back on the Eastern Spur,
the MOM was thanked for his time with a BLS brochure and we were then on our way back to Kirkgate
P2, having impressively made up 15 minutes for our furtive timekeepers. BELOW: How it used to be:
Stalybridge, an east bound service on 21 June 1975 with a rather smart looking Swindon built Class
124 'Trans-Pennine' DMU, at the then P1 (now P4), looking west towards Manchester. The rusty line is
the middle siding; its stop block is behind the cameraman. (Ian Mortimer)
At this point, we diverted through Oakenshaw DGL, not on the original itinerary. The Sheffield crews
were dropped off on the Up Goole before the DMU reversed again at Wakefield West Jn. Next was the
Kirkgate through line then Turners Lane and Milford Down loops, with a morsel of regulation for a
top priority Knottingley bound pacer at Castleford. On the approach to York, Kev announced the
terrible news that an 'operational incident at York' meant we would have to avoid the station using the
Slow Lines from Holgate Jn to Skelton Jn. Members were of course devastated at this. There was
some impromptu weaving at Tollerton thanks to our drivers liaising with York Box, and the Slows were
then traversed from there to Thirsk. Next was Darlington DPL where 1Z60 rolled through and straight
out, making up ten minutes in one go. The train lurched onto the Up Line and back into Darlington Up
& Down station loop which was surely one of the rarer pieces of track to be traversed by anything
regularly, let alone Class 1s! Even some 'normal' passengers awaiting an Up VTEC seemed mildly
interested by this unit trundling along a few metres away; I am sure we didn't delay their train!
[BLN 1246.2186 -cont.]
The 185 was allowed to open up for the 12miles to Ferryhill South
Jn, where we reassuringly checked down to a red, which duly
cleared to a green with a 'feather right'. The rails here were
noticeably on the brown side; presumably, the Leamside Lines had
not seen much use recently. Tyne Box took the opportunity of us
being in a loop so, after a short wait and a Mk4 powering down,
we crossed back onto the Down Main at Tursdale Jn. At Durham
we were sent all the way along the Down Slow and again
regulated for Cross Country's 1S39 to overtake. Not to worry, the
track was scored and that was the important thing! Approaching
Newcastle Kev announced our second Brucey bonus of the day, a
shunt onto the Forth Banks branch. No one seemed particularly
concerned this would eat up a further 10 minutes of their lunch
break, presumably as a result of being well looked after by Nathan
Bentham, Laura Price and Harry Harwood on the trolley through
the day. Countless other staff helped too.
RIGHT: The youngest participant on the tour, Lucy Lewis taking her
own picture at Newcastle. Lucy kindly drew the raffle tickets prizes
(if you did not win anything you know who to blame!); over £700
worth of raffle tickets were sold on the tour, a brilliant result.
After a colourful group photo on Newcastle P10 in front of 185151, (ABOVE-Geoff Plumb) now proudly
displaying 'Tyne Tees Tracker' on the destination screen thanks to the handiwork of Rob, 1Z11 was
ready to depart at 14.15 paving the way for the second half of the day. Crossing the entire throat of
[BLN 1246.2186 -cont.]
Newcastle Central, the train went round anti-clockwise to Newcastle Provincial Siding buffer stop.
Thanks to LNE Control, the resident thunderbird had mysteriously flown off for an hour. This made the
ritual walk along the train even more valuable for some. With our Newcastle drivers, Jerry Brown and
Simon Davidson, working in tandem, reversal was swift and we made a complete clockwise circuit, to
capture the entirety of the Up Slow Line, and in the 'wrong' direction too! Finally, the onset of bridge
induced dizziness was ended when we departed towards Durham at King Edward Bridge South Jn just
two minutes down. Durham UPL and the Up Slow Leamside were traversed, but the second
disappointment of the day came at Darlington, where the UGL was in use by a Goods Train (fancy
that); biomass from Tyne Dock to Drax which has increased dramatically recently. We turned off
towards Dinsdale in the fading light.
Teesside Airport station officially had a total of eight passenger
entries and exits in 2013/14 (probably all enthusiasts too!). At 15.25
on 15 November, 185 people (and a class 185!) stood on P2 of Britain's
least used station 'served' (?) by one train a week each way Sundays
only. The Paris terrorist attacks had rocked emotions across the whole
of Europe on the Friday and respectfully, on the sound of the train's
horn, a minute's silence was observed. The guard completed it with a
blow of his whistle. After further pictures, passengers rejoined the
unit and we continued towards Middlesbrough.
LEFT: The sign confronting our 185 railtour participants, (23 years
worth of passengers all in one go!) who duly remained on the
platform, at the rather rural Teesside Airport station (for 'Durham
Tees Valley International Airport', 15 minutes walk away). It would be
interesting to speculate how a passenger might use the bridge without
standing on it - the view BELOW shows the nature of the problem.
Investment can hardly be justified with eight passengers a year not all
of whom would even need to use the bridge! (Both Patrick Chandler)
[BLN 1246.2186 -cont.]
Eaglescliffe Down loop was taken and at Thornaby the train began to slow once more. We jolted onto
the Down Goods, north of Tees Yard as station staff held up a sign on P2 saying 'hello'. Then it was an
amazing package lined up by Middlesbrough Signal Box. Crossing over at Newport East Jn,
Middlesborough P2 to Guisborough Jn, the DMU reversed and ran back through P2 for the crossover
into the West End Dock. Our drivers redefined 'efficiency' by quickly reversing, then via P1 and into the
HST siding (yes it has been awhile!). The foliage at the end was akin to a rainforest and a fair few
metres were missed for fear that Bear Grylls may have had to come and rescue us. The fun was not
over; at Newport East Jn we crossed to appreciate Tees Yard in all its murky industrious glory on Up
Now well and truly dark, the Tyne & Tees Tracker having lived up to its name was some 30 minutes
down. Nevertheless, surprises kept coming and at Low Gates LC where one would expect to turn off up
the hill to Northallerton station, the train continued straight on via the Up Longlands Loop; at least
somebody on the Public Address advised passengers of this. A few weaves were made on the Up to
York with some crossovers freshly scratched by those on board. Whilst the weather on the East Side
of the Pennines was subdued, this was not the case everywhere on the TPE network with all manner of
events kicking off to the West. The 17.40 York to Scarborough train had no unit and our 17.28 booked
arrival was a potential solution to this. In order to arrive on time, it was agreed that Strensall would be
left for another day. The BLS stewarding team were immense at turning a unit that had been 'well
used' for the last eight hours into a gleaming one, ready for ordinary passenger service whilst enjoying
York Maintenance Siding (to a Class 150 length short of the buffers) meanwhile; full credit to them. A
final reversal at Scarborough Bridge Jn (actually just outside York station!) saw us terminate in York P2
just 8 late, everyone having scratched a lot of track in the mere eight hours the tour operated.
ABOVE: The Tyne & Tees Tracker back in York P2; York Maintenance siding is right; the tour had just
traversed this to the far end of 150139. Happy participants are left on the platform. (Simon Mortimer)
[BLN 1246.2186 -cont.]
Let us not of course forget the total amount this train raised for charity. Katie Mason from The Railway
Children charity was there to receive a cheque for £11,915.01, raised through tickets, raffles, the silent
auction, takings from the trolley and even sales from a spare BLS 60th Birthday fruit cake (with a Class
185 on of course). Through UK Aid, this was match funded by the government up to £23,830.02 for
this brilliant cause. Everyone really is a winner on such a day out. My thanks to all of you for the
generosity that you continue to show; it really does go above and beyond expectations. I can only
hope that in return you feel that FTPE meet, or even exceed, expectations for your Tracker tours. Tim
Brawn (partner in crime/dodgy loops), and myself look forward to working with the BLS on another
exciting TPE Tracker next year. (Luke Gardner, Diagramming & Schedule Production Manager, FTPE).
For some of our Official Photographer, Geoff Plumb's superb pictures of the day (many from the cab)
https://goo.gl/ycbP86 and page two, hover over the captions (bottom) to reveal the details.
ABOVE LEFT & RIGHT: Our 11 Jan 1986 'Rowntree's' tour in the (then) Bay P6 prior to departure from
York, near the location of the current 'Maintenance Road'. Compare with the picture on the previous
page taken in the opposite direction; the row of white supporting pillars behind the Class 150 on the
right is the same as to the left in the picture above left. BELOW LEFT: After 1m 24ch and having barely
had a chance to warm the seats, the 126 passengers (including, after nearly 30 years, some well-
known faces of today!) detrain at Rowntree's Halt. BELOW RIGHT: Awaiting departure from 'Rowntree
Halt' (if the running in board is to be believed) with the factory behind, members wander round
exploring and taking photographs (far right) as was quite normal in those days. Until 1984, the line
beyond the home semaphore signal (middle right) went to York Foss Islands Goods once linking with
the private Derwent Valley Railway, a portion of which survives in preservation. (Simon Mortimer)
1246 BLN GENERAL
2187] Shorter by a mile: (E-BLN 1245.2116) A
member, not noted for being slow, advises that the
shortest mainline BLS trip was on Sat 11 Jan 1986. A
2-car DMU ran from York's then P6 (close to the
current 'Maintenance Road' covered by our Tyne &
Tees Tracker on 15 November) at 11.11 and took 4
minutes. With 126 passengers, it ran via the former
Burton Lane Jn (which signal box then closed at
12.00 on Saturdays), junction for the Foss Islands branch, then the 16ch to Rowntree's Halt and was
back to York by 11.37. Rowntrees were sweet
enough to agree to the tour running provided
participants stayed on BR property, which they
did (extensively as was traditional then!). The
Edmondson card tickets with the Halt's name
(saving ink on the apostrophe) continued to
sell for full price (£1) to collectors of tickets,
even after the tour. The running in board
showed 'Rowntree Halt' and the station lights
'Rowntree Mackintosh.' The total of 2m 48ch compares with our mile longer 'Mancunian' railtour from
Manchester Victoria to Liverpool Road and back on 13 December 1980. Rowntree's private siding CG
30 January 1987 (the factory railway continued in use for internal coal movements for a while). The
Halt which appeared in PSUL was opened by the LNER in 1927; the unadvertised (between York and
Rowntree's) service last ran on 8 July 1988 just before Nestlé took the company over. Had it survived it
might have been renamed Nestlé Halt! At closure, the service was (SSuX) 06.16 Doncaster to
Rowntree's Halt and 16.37 return to Sheffield which carried just three regular commuters from Selby.
2188] Bicester Chord - Oxford Parkway Quiz: (BLN 1245.2083) 'A long time in the making this
pioneering rail project sees the first new rail link between a major British city and London in over 100
years.' This depends on definitions, but many felt the 1983 Selby Diversion of the ECML and the BR
March 1965 south to east Newark Crossing Curve creating a new Lincoln to London route may qualify.
2189] Points and Slips: BLN
1241.1742] On the black and
white picture in paper and e-BLN
of the 'The Glazier' brakevan tour
the person with a flat cap
standing on the brakevan at the
back has been identified as
Raymond Hughes of Altrincham.
1244.1984] MAP LEFT: Llanrwst's
original 1863 terminal station can
be well seen, top left, to the west
of 'North Llanrwst' request stop
station, on this modern 1:50,000
scale map (Snowdonia National
Park public document). The
original station became part of an
extensive goods yard which was
lifted in 1974. The more central
location of the BR 1989 station to
the southeast can be appreciated.
1944.2010 & e-BLN 1245.2116] The NR section of the branch to Manchester Liverpool Road, now
MOSI and lifted recently was 5ch. The NR boundary (190m 18ch) was immediately after the River
Irwell underbridge. Mileage is from Euston via Weedon and Crewe, and reverses at Liverpool Road Jn
(190m 23ch). BLN 1245.2088] After the small Virgin signs at York that actually apply to CrossCountry
trains, a member has pointed out that
there are 'Wrexham & Shropshire
Loco Stop' signs in place on the Up and
Down sides of Tame Bridge Parkway,
even though they sadly stopped
stopping there, and everywhere else,
on 28 Jan 2011! LEFT: Position sign on
the Down side (David Bathurst). 2090]
On the Grimsby Light Railway Great
Coates No1 and Pyewipe Road signal
boxes are not 'switched out'- this
actually means a longer signalling
section operates between two boxes
or panels without involving an
intermediate box. It requires a route
to be permanently cleared and so
signalled (usually both directions at
once) by the box before it can be
'switched out.' The two boxes are
normally non-operational, and staffed
as required which is very rarely.
2190] More capital, but less spending: The Chancellor's autumn statement revealed that 'day-to-day'
transport spending is to fall by 37% but capital funding is to rise by 50%, including the 'biggest road
improvement programme since the 1970s and the largest programme of rail investment since Victorian
times.' £46.7bn is to be spent over the next five years on HS2, roads and local transport. The 37%
savings by 2019/20 are to be achieved by reduced subsidies to rail franchises 'through reaping the
efficiency benefits of competition' (!) and phasing out the TfL Resource Grant (a 6% efficiency saving on
its annual budget). He also announced 'better value for money for rail passengers' with flexible season
tickets, compensation when trains are over 15 minutes late, improving Wi-Fi and mobile connectivity
on trains, and freezing rail fares in real terms (RPI) for this Parliament; presumably only regulated
fares? Scotland's block grant for (all) capital spending until 2020/21 rises by 14% (£1.9bn).
2191] From BLN 699 (1993): I met a BLS member and asked him why he was looking so dejected. He
explained; 'My wife has said that if I don't stop going away on all these BLS excursions she is going to
leave me.' I commiserated with him. 'Yes,' he said, shaking his head and getting out his handkerchief.
'I'm going to miss her.' Nowadays, wives can sometimes be as keen as husbands!
1246 EAST MIDLANDS
2192] Kirkby Summit crossover: Between Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Sutton Parkway; was removed by 2
Nov, latterly for the Sutton-in-Ashfield Metal Box Co's branch, until 1968 a through line to Shirebrook.
2193] Nottingham Express Transit: Consideration is being given to extending to Derby, serving the
proposed Toton HS2 station and East Midlands Airport. The 19 regional councils described the scheme
as one of several 'priority projects' in devolution negotiations with the government. A 2013 transport
review estimated £20M for each mile of tram track, about £200M for a Toton Lane extension to Derby.
A Phoenix Park to Ripley extension via Eastwood, Kimberley and Langley Mill was put at £180M.
1246 GREATER LONDON
BELOW: (BLN 1245.2094) The temporary Contractors' track at Paddigton Crossrail tunnel portal, from
the footbridge at Westbourne Park (TQ 2541 8165) looking east (towards Paddington), note the
jointed track abruptly ending at the tunnel and hand points. NEXT PAGE: The same location in the
opposite direction, looking west; a Hammersmith & City line train is seen on the left of the GWML
where it emerged from under the Great Western main line having crossed from the north to south
side. Connection to the national network appears to be pending. (Both Iain Scotchman, 27 Nov 2015)
2194] Covent Garden: (BLN 1204.357) Work to replace the second two lifts has now been completed,
with the station fully available for entrance and exit from 7 November.
2195] Crossrail: (BLN 1245.2094) (1). Great Western Main Line: (BLN 1245.2073/4) The impressive
Christmas work is summarised below. According to official information, the changes take effect from
04.00 on 29 December but, as passenger services over the Relief Lines as far as Hanwell and on the
Greenford branch don't resume until 4 January, presumably some of the changes apply from then.
• Paddington: The P13 - P14 connection will be repositioned allowing P14 to be lengthened by 23m.
• Kensal Green: Carriage cleaning platform and Carriage Line 2 will be taken OOU. The Engine Siding
near Kensal Green will be brought into use together with connections at either end to form a loop with
the Carriage Line. In the same area a new facing crossover between the Down and Up Relief Lines and
a new trailing crossover between the Up Relief and Carriage Lines will be commissioned.
• Engine and Carriage Line: This will be realigned at the Old Oak Common end.
• Old Oak Common East Jn and connections to Old Oak common Sidings: To be remodelled; lines and
sidings to the north of the realigned North Siding 3 will be recovered.
• Acton West: Remodelling to form a new double junction between the Relief and Poplar Lines.
• 'Acton Relief Line:' A new line, underneath the Poplar Lines at Acton West, will be partly installed.
• West Ealing Jn: To be remodelled as a single lead type using the former Down Greenford Line
formation. The double line section will begin at new points 8149 on the West Ealing side of Plassers
Level Crossing. A new connection will be installed between West Ealing Jn and points 8149 providing a
route to the new 51m long West Ealing bay P5, facing Greenford. The track into the bay will be
commissioned but its construction and the Down end extension to adjacent P4 will continue.
• Heathrow Airport Jn: A new connection will be commissioned and electrified between the Down
Relief and Up Airport Lines (11m 62ch). It is for Down direction movements only and the Up Airport
Line will become bidirectional between there and Heathrow Tunnel Jn.
• Some minor renaming of lines will take place.
(2). Stockley East Flyover: (BLN 1226.253.3) Installation of the concrete beams to support the
construction of the ramp has been completed; 146 beams were installed between May and November.
(3). Liverpool Street: The bus station on the west side of the station is closed from 22 November until
spring 2016 to construct a link between the new Crossrail ticket hall and the Underground station.
[BLN 1246.2195 -cont.]
(4). Gidea Park: The London-end headshunt in the yard was removed from 16 November.
(5). Progress: NR has reached the halfway point in work on the existing surface sections for Crossrail.
2196] Is Your (Train) Journey Really Necessary? TfL has compiled a map http://goo.gl/gSkKaY with
the walking time between London Overground, LUL and DLR stations in Zones 1 & 2, which shows just
how close together some stations are. It is just three minutes walk between Embankment and Charing
Cross ranging up to 35 minutes between King's Cross St. Pancras and Highbury & Islington.
2197] Streatham Common: The ground frame and trailing crossover were abolished from 16 Nov.
2198] Battersea: (BLN 1230.638) On 23 November, the Mayor of London formally launched
construction work on the Northern Line extension from Kennington (with a station at Nine Elms).
2199] Hanger Lane Jn: (BLNs 1241.1754 & preparatory slew 1243.1896) The junction is unusual in
partly lying on the bridge over the GWML and partly on embankment, causing differential track
support with frequent points failures. 14 major modules for the junction were prepared at Beeston
(Nottingham), stored at an adjacent school grounds and lifted into place during half term. Support
conditions for the junction were improved, using techniques new to LUL. The design of the new layout
allows a 5mph speed increase through the junction and incorporates new switch power units
compatible with the forthcoming resignalling project. The work has also increased capacity to 16tph in
and out of Ealing Broadway. During the possession the two redundant East Sidings (24 & 25), non-
electrified Road 26 and associated connections at Ealing Broadway were removed. (Rail Engineer)
TRACKmaps Vol.3 p2A (August 2010) correctly shows the layout before these recent alterations; Vol.5
p43B (Nov 2008) shows the former connection between the District and Central Lines (see Head Lines).
2200] Hornsey - Alexandra Palace: (BLN 1245.2100) From 23 November new facing points were
installed between the Up Carriage Line and Hornsey Depot Up Reception Line No2 (4m 57ch), clipped
OOU until further notice. A temporary buffer stop was installed (4m 38ch) on the Up Reception Line
No2. From 30 November, the Up Carriage Line was to be taken OOU between 4m 60ch and 4m 63ch,
with permanent buffer stops installed at each end, replacing a previous temporary arrangement.
2201] TfL Property Development: As part of its plans to generate £3.4bn in non-fares revenue by
2021, TfL has submitted three planning applications for property developments. The largest (above the
new station at Nine Elms on the Northern Line Battersea extension) includes housing, office and retail
space, a new public square, play space, pedestrian and cycle connections, cycle parking, and disabled
car parking. At Northwood the proposed housing and retail development includes a new station and
bus/rail interchange. There will also be a new public space and 300 parking spaces. At Parsons Green
the development will be on the site of former LU building department workshops next to the station.
2202] Twickenham: (BLN 1243.1918) The connection between the currently OOU P1 and the Up
Passenger Loop has been removed and replaced by plain line.
1246 NORTH WEST
2203] Metrolink: (1). Ridership: October set a new record; with 3.1M passenger journeys in 31 days:
Altrincham line 728,000 East Didsbury: 377,000
Bury: 686,000 Ashton-under-Lyne: 246,000
Oldham/Rochdale: 415,000 Manchester Airport: 195,000
Eccles/Media City: 383,000 Within City Centre: 81,000
The previous record was 2.9M in November 2014. The October average of 100,000 daily passengers
was partly due to various sporting events. On 10th there was a Rugby World Cup match at Etihad
Stadium and a Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford ; see https://goo.gl/MFDZCE and over 20,000
used Metrolink to travel to/from each. On 28th Manchester United and City both, unusually, played at
home simultaneously. Following completion of the Airport line (increasing the number of stops up to
92) on 4 November 2014, a new annual record of over 33M passengers is expected in 2015.
[BLN 1246.2203 -cont.]
(2). Wythenshawe Interchange: A new bus station OP 29 July next to Wythenshawe Town Centre stop.
(3). Grave Delay: (BLN 1245.2110) The new Victoria to Exchange Square line will be a temporary dead
end branch for longer than expected. Over 277 bodies have been discovered in an 18th century
cemetery during work on the Second City Crossing extension to St. Peter's Square. Less than 130 were
expected based on public records. This will delay completion by 11 months, but Transport for Greater
Manchester has found savings elsewhere to compensate for the extra work. A 'service' to reinter the
bodies is due to take place next summer after archaeological research has finished.
2204] Rochdale: (BLN 1237.1361) Work has started on the new west (Manchester end) bay platform,
due for completion in May 2016 and part of the 'Northern Hub' scheme. NR's website says they are
adding a third platform; it is actually a fourth with the east end bay P2 still available and used during
engineering work (ironically likely during the present work). Formerly 'heavy rail' Manchester via
Oldham services used it. Contractors have been removing trees and some of the disused platform
southeast of the station ready to slew the Up (Manchester) line over and make room for the new
points and track. (A new Up line alignment to do as well!) The new bay will extend to Milkstone Road
the first under bridge, where the formation narrows, and hold a six-car train. Rochdale to Mills Hill is
being upgraded from 70mph to 85mph and re-signalled. Some trains that terminate at Victoria will be
extended to Rochdale (e.g. from Liverpool and Blackpool) allowing direct trains from the Airport via
the Ordsall Chord. It is interesting to see all this happen when the DfT's initial reaction to extension of
Metrolink to Rochdale was to reduce residual heavy rail services. The resulting severe overcrowding
prompted a rethink. In May 2014 some Rochdale terminating services were extended to Todmorden
(and later Blackburn). The Victoria to Rochdale service is now 4tph (2tph SuO) each way, the fastest
journeys are 13 minutes non-stop or 49 minutes by tram with 17 intermediate stops.
2205] Real Ale or Ale Rail? Many hostelries are named after railways or stations. Some inns have a
double identity, only half named from transport, such as 'Railway & Naturalist' at Prestwich (not to be
confused with the 'Railway & Naturist', famed for its bare-faced cheek) and 'Lion & Railway' at
Northwich. Wigan possesses two half railway inns; the 'Swan & Railway' is opposite Wigan North
Western station, and the 'White Lion & Railway' is on the B5238 near the site of Whelley station,
which closed in 1872. [Shame that couldn't be the 'Red Line & Railway' at that location - Ed.]
2206] Ordsall Chord: (BLN 1242.1922) In October Mark Whitby, a former Institute of Civil Engineers
president, lost his legal battle over this project. Despite not being granted leave to appeal, a further
objection/appeal will apparently be lodged, focusing on the fact that the proposals destroy the now
lifted and formerly very rarely used link into Liverpool Road station (BLN 1243.1895). BLN readers will
be aware that there is far more to this than just the extra £20M his alternative proposals would cost.
2207] Blackburn, King Street Branch: (TRACKmaps Vol.4 p33A, Aug 2013) On 27 October a member
observed from a passing train that the vegetation has been cut back to expose the rails of this 33ch
branch beyond the metal gate and as far as the eye could see. Normally vegetation is just stripped
back along the lineside for about 20ft or to the NR boundary. Northern Rail has to find a site to fuel
and stable DMUs whilst the Preston to Blackpool North and (presumably as a result South) lines are
closed for several months for electrification work with extensive remodelling of the former. The
former Lostock Hall MPD site was considered unsuitable, as was the area behind Blackburn P4, the
latter due to fuel delivery problems. King Street, a former Coal Concentration Depot, is large enough
with no fuel delivery problems but would need remodelling to become a stabling and fuelling point.
BELOW: Blackburn passenger station is top right and the railway to Clitheroe, Colne and Leeds/
Todmorden. Bottom left corner is the line to Preston and below it is the one to Bolton and
Manchester. The extent of the King Street branch is the multiple dead-end siding, heading northwest
and ending middle left (OS 6" to a 1 mile 1843-46 revised 1910).
[BLN 1246.2207 -cont.]
After electrification, Blackburn will be a DMU island. The Clitheroe to Manchester Victoria and Colne to
Blackpool South services are both centred on Blackburn and it is closer than Blackpool North to service
Ormskirk branch DMUs. It could possibly handle Morecambe DMUs and those forming the early/late
services to/from Barrow-in-Furness. This would reduce DMU running under the wires. A possible
temporary depot during the Blackpool line work could continue. Blackpool North will have four-car
EMUs, replacing two-car DMUs. Vegetation clearance is also happening at Springs Branch Depot;
(sidings between the depot building and the WCML) believed to be for stabling Northern stock as well.
2208] Merry Merseyrail X/Omas: Extra pre-Christmas late night services operate on Friday/Saturday
11/12 & 18/19 December (1) Liverpool Central (Northern) 01.30 'drop off service only' to Waterloo,
Formby and Southport (02.04). (2) Liverpool Central (Wirral) 01.30 'drop off service only' to Birkenhead
Central, Bebington, Bromborough and Hooton (01.52). A new 30-minute frequency six-car train limited
stop Boxing Day service http://goo.gl/WwUQpD operates 09.00 to 18.00 on all third rail lines except
beyond Hooton or Liverpool South Parkway (Liverpool end trailing crossover used on departure for
Southport). Arrivals (via the north facing crossover) and departures at Hooton are expected to use P3.
2209] Carlisle: From 20 Nov, the non-electrified Collier Lane Siding (behind P6 wall) used by our S&C
Desiro Tracker on 19 April, has been temporarily shortened by 40m (to 69m 07ch). Until 26 Feb 2016
(incl.) it only holds a four-car DMU. Scaffolding is being erected for Carlisle station roof refurbishment.
2210] Liverpool Lime Street (main) (BLN 1245.2116) EMT also operates CLC routed DMUs to Norwich.
2211] Oldham Werneth Goods yard: (BLN 1238.1439) ABOVE: Sat 7 Aug 1965, No1's 'The Middleton
Branch Brakevan Railtour' 42343 reached there by reversing at Werneth passenger station, propelling
the brakevans to the goods yard entrance and a further reversal, engine first into the yard. Thanks to
Paul Shackcloth, Manchester Locomotive Soc. Collection, who also improved the photograph's clarity.
1246 SOUTH EAST – NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
2212] Watlington: OP 27 Oct 1846 as Watlington, it was renamed Magdalen Road on 1 June 1875,
presumably to avoid confusion with the Oxfordshire branch terminus. The GER tended to abbreviate
station names. Examples are Downham instead of Downham Market, Needham (Market), Stow
(Bardolph) and (Northumberland) Park. It is no surprise then that Magdalen Road station was on the
road to Wiggenhall St. Mary Magdalen, one mile west. It was also a railhead for Wiggenhall St. Mary
the Virgin, Wiggenhall St. Peter and Wiggenhall St. Germans, all northwest. The GER could have given
the station a nameboard longer than Llanfair PG! (Sub-Ed's contraction of the name here. The Sub-Ed
would also like to refer to the abandoned church visible from the railway and to others in the locality,
all of architectural merit; one known as 'The Cathedral of the Fens'.) The station CP 9 Sept 1968 with
the end of the March to King's Lynn via Wisbech (East) DMU service and ROP 5 May 1975, unstaffed.
The original station buildings on the Up side, south of the level crossing, are now a private residence.
These include mainly wooden original secondary buildings, still displaying green and cream paintwork
from the BR (ER) era. Thus, the reopened station (on a double track section) has staggered platforms,
each before the Magdalen Road (actually Station Road!) level crossing rather than after. Automation
could be difficult due to the variable station dwell time depending on passenger numbers. The new Up
platform is north of the signalbox, and the renewed Down platform faces the original buildings. It
reopened as Watlington, a village to the east, which had expanded significantly. The signal box is still
'Magdalen Road' and has a late 1980s Network South East era striped nameboard to prove it. North of
the station, a second (Watlington Road) level crossing is actually on St. Peter's Road!
2213] Colchester: In the early hours of Tuesday 24 November through to Friday 27 November, the
00.18 and 00.46 Liverpool Street to Colchester services were expected to run via the Down Goods line
because of a possession of both the Up and Down Main lines between west and east of Colchester.
2214] The Brighton Line: (BLN 1240.1682) Plans to create a new rail link from London's Docklands to
the south coast are to be considered by a government commissioned feasibility study. The Brighton
Main Line 2 concept (BML2) will be scrutinised by consultant WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff as one of a
series of options for addressing the capacity shortfall facing the existing Brighton Mainline. BML2
includes restoring a rail link from Uckfield to Lewes and Brighton, providing through-journey options
and a diversionary route in the event of disruption on the Brighton Main Line. But it also proposes
construction of a new rail link from the Croydon area to east London, because existing rail lines from
Croydon to London termini have little or no space for additional trains. (Transport Briefing)
2215] Slough: (BLN 1231.759) All bay P6 track had gone by 18 November (BELOW: The passenger
information screen is certainly correct! 'National Rail' website still shows track and all sorts of facilities
http://goo.gl/fvrwmt click on picture, how it used to be). (Simon Mortimer, 18 Nov 2015 who asks if
there are any other platforms incorrectly tracked on 'National Rail'. It does also shows the old decrepit
buildings at Malvern Link http://goo.gl/X8XVoU & http://goo.gl/IeesoO that were demolished in 2013
and replaced; despite your Editor's best efforts to have this updated!) Back at Slough, new points were
to be installed (OOU) in the Windsor & Eton Central branch single line leading to the Windsor siding.
2216] Maidenhead: From 14 Nov, Maidenhead Up sidings were to be taken OOU until further notice.
The position light route to the Car Sidings was to be disconnected and the points secured 'normally'.
2217] East West Rail: The Consortium issued a statement on 3 November : 'local authorities in the East
West Rail Consortium are concerned that the project to create a new railway for services between
Oxford and Bedford, Aylesbury and Milton Keynes may be delayed by between three and seven years.
The Consortium understands that there is a draft recommendation for East West Rail to be delivered in
three phases, Bedford to Oxford being rescheduled for completion in 2022; Aylesbury to Milton Keynes
in 2024; and enhancements to the line between Aylesbury and Princes Risborough in 2026. This
[BLN 1246.2217 -cont.]
recommendation by NR is understood to be based on both cost and deliverability issues. It came to light
shortly after a first round of public consultation by NR on emerging proposals for the project, which
revealed a high level of support from the public and businesses. Local authorities within the East West
Rail Consortium are now seeking discussions with Sir Peter Hendy and Government.'
2218] Oxford - Cambridge road: For a DfT commissioned study, Highways England has appointed WSP
Parsons Brinckerhoff, CH2M and Steer Davies Gleave as a joint venture to explore options into the
potential for creating a dedicated road between Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge.
2219] Chiltern Bubbles: In the new 25 October timetable along with the opening of Oxford Parkway,
more first generation single 'bubble car' DMUs are booked; conveniently marked as 'Heritage train' in
the online and pocket timetables. They are (SSuX) 07.46, 08.49, 17.26 & 18.26 Aylesbury to Princes
Risborough; 07.19, 08.23, 09.16, 17.00, 18.04 & 19.30 return with additional balancing ECS workings.
Your Sub-Editor confirms that a bubble car was in the Princes Risborough bay P1 on 26 November.
2220] Haverhill - Chapel & Wakes Colne: On 7 November a brick single arch under bridge (TL 6877
4371) near Sturmer Hall was demolished. It was on the former Colne Valley & Halstead Railway (a
further southeast part of this is the present day 'Colne Valley Railway') in a field, over a path and part
of a short isolated residual section of embankment. (BELOW: Two 2006 http://goo.gl/BjZdzO views.)
2221] Croxley - Watford: London's Mayor has signed off £2.73M of extra funding for the renamed
Croxley Link now the Metropolitan Line Extension and work is to start (at last!) in 2016 for completion
in 2020. In March 2015 TfL agreed to take the scheme over from Hertfordshire County Council (HCC)
after a funding package was drawn up with the local enterprise partnership and county and local
councils for £128.1M of the £284.4M cost. However, TfL says that HCC indicated last month (shortly
before the transfer agreement was to be finalised) that £2.73M of its contribution was two packages
of land rather than cash. The council asserted that the assumption of a £2.73M land valuation in lieu of
cash had been included in the proposed funding arrangements since 2011, when the Government first
sanctioned the scheme. This was not evident to TfL, nor included in the DfT funding letters which set
out the £284.4M funding package on which the Mayor's decision to give TfL authority to take on
delivery of the scheme was based. TfL described the two parcels of land referred to as 'worthless'. One
plot is for a future station car park and the other is part of the disused Croxley Green branch. TfL says
HCC has valued the latter at £1.8M despite having acquired it from NR for £1! TfL also says that since 1
July 2015 the forecast cost of the Croxley Rail Link has risen from £284.4M to £298.5M, largely due to
expenditure already incurred by HCC being much higher than it had forecast or TfL had anticipated.
BELOW: The Watford Junction Metropolitan Line extension (the existing Watford Met station OP 1925
is Grade II listed and is to be used as carriage sidings, it handed 1.76M passengers in 2014).
[BLN 1246.2221 -cont.]
2222] Banbury: (BLN 1244.2024) More work on 8 November included installation of points in the Up
Main at 86m 42ch north of the station, forming a new trailing crossover for Up direction moves from
the Down Main. From 16 November another set of points were installed on the Down Goods Loop at
87m 12ch, to form a new facing crossover from the Down Goods Loop to the Down Main. With the
existing crossover from the Down Relief trailing into the Down Main north of the convergence of the
north end bay there will be four crossovers from the Down Relief/Down Goods Loop to the Down
Main, the middle two being secured until commissioning in July 2016. The convergence of No1 Siding
at Reservoir Jn with the Down Goods Loop was relaid to connect to No2 Siding also from 16 November.
2223] Oxford: The Down loop running from Oxford North Jn to Wolvercot Jn, some 1¾ miles, is being
reinstated to accommodate 775m freight trains from Southampton (50% longer than at present).
When observed by your Sub-Editor on 4 November, sleepers and rails were in place throughout but
ballast had to be delivered. A key characteristic of the new loop is that a wide formation on the Down
side has permitted the track to be some 20m away from the Down Main over most of its length (and it
is at a lower level). The project was badly delayed by the prolonged severe River Thames flooding of
the area during winter 2013/14 and appears to have had its level raised since then. It is not clear if the
Down Passenger Loop will be extended from the station, as there is an underbridge past its north end.
2224] Oxford Parkway: (BLNs 1243.1928 & 1245.2083) The new station opened as planned in a low
key way on Sunday 25 October. Until extended to Oxford, nearly all trains (BLN 1245.2062) at Oxford
Parkway arrive and leave from P2, on the far side from the entrance, requiring use of lots of steps or
the lifts, to the very high footbridge which has more clearance then necessary for electrification. Car
parking charges are good value, one hour free, up to 11 hours £2, 11-24 hours £4 and 24-28 hours £8.
There are three ticket machines, a shop with (then) no newspapers, toilets inside the gate line, a large
car park and covered cycle rack. As at Bicester Village, an attractive open-plan reception desk also
provides staffed ticket sales, the member of staff providing this service being distinct from those
welcoming and guiding passengers in the circulating area. One member bought tickets at both, in each
case the staff who approached him summoned a Chiltern uniformed employee from behind the
reception desk to carry out the sale. The clerk at Oxford Parkway said this very seldom involved cash.
The first departure, the 07.49 to Marylebone arrived ECS at about 07.35 and was six-cars, 168218 and
[BLN 1246.2224 -cont.]
168110. There were a good number of passengers, including several BLS members, Adrian Shooter, his
wife, Rob Brighouse and most of the Chiltern senior management team, representatives of the Chiltern
passenger committee and GWR staff, along with a few 'normals'. The second and third trains also
arrived ECS and the fourth was formed of the 07.35 ex-Marylebone conveniently allowing passengers
(many of the above) to change at Haddenham & Thame Parkway from the first Up Marylebone train.
As scheduled the 10.35 from Marylebone and 11.45 return (calling additionally at High Wycombe and
Wembley Stadium) was a loco hauled set with 68014 and 12606/20/13/10/19, 10274 and 82309.
(Pictured in e-BLN 1245.2083 it was not the first arrival as incorrectly stated in the caption.) At Bicester
Village on return, the train passed a Parkway service from which a good number of Village customers
had alighted. Arrival there is also announced in two Asian languages (at a guess Chinese and Japanese).
Interestingly some ECS is stabled overnight in the nearby Banbury Road sidings (stone terminal). A
ceremonial opening took place on Monday 26 Oct, with a marquee in the car park. Of note on Boxing
Day Chiltern are running a half-hourly Oxford Parkway to Marylebone service 08.56 - 20.56, and from
Marylebone 08.15 - 19.45 (and at 08.54 from/20.15 to Princes Risborough); the Oxford bus runs too.
The bus to Oxford is not a dedicated rail replacement service, but Stagecoach or Oxford Bus Company
route 500. It operates about every 15 minutes, but only journeys scheduled to connect with Chiltern
Trains seem to be included in the rail timetable database although all journeys were extended to/from
Oxford station from 25 October. The frequency http://goo.gl/zeiWRW reduces during the evening but
the last bus times from Parkway are, impressively, 00.20 to 00.35. Rail tickets appear to be valid on any
journey, which is just as well, as buses do not wait for late-running trains and there is a walk of several
hundred yards from the station building to the bus stop. On arrival there, the bus drives towards the
station building, runs right past it and stops on the other side of the forecourt. The walking route back
is not a straight line. Our member is fairly nimble but would not want less than four minutes to
change. Presumably, when the line extends to Oxford, the bus will revert to its city centre terminus in
Magdalen Street next to the fire-damaged Randolph Hotel, much seen in episodes of Morse.
2225] Islip: There are nine trains to Oxford/eight to London (SX), seven/eight SO and eight/ seven
(SuO); significantly less than when it closed for the upgrade in February 2014. It is unstaffed with no
ticket machine. Platforms and footbridge (with steps only, but there is access both sides) were
complete as was the car park and approach road, other than some tidying up, but work was ongoing:
o The footpath down the approach road (on the 'Oxford' side) was awaiting surfacing.
o The 'Marylebone' side ramp had only just been started and needed a large retaining wall too.
o Surfacing of the path across the road bridge at the Oxford end of the station.
2226] Bicester Village: The station has gate lines, toilets (outside the gates), three ticket machines
(one outside) and a help desk with ticket sales (see Oxford Parkway). It is staffed from early to around
20.00. Announcements remind customers that both lines are reversible and in particular that the 07.07
to Oxford Parkway leaves from the 'Marylebone' platform and the 07.34 to Marylebone from the
'Oxford' platform. Some signs in Bicester still refer to it as 'Bicester Town'. The following needed work:
o Oxford end (three coach lengths - fenced off) of the 'Oxford' platform tidying up/fences etc.
o The street exit at the Marylebone end of that platform needed much work.
o The footbridge has lifts and two sets of steps on the 'Marylebone' side, to the town and Village.
o The southwest end of the 'Marylebone' platform has a special Bicester Village exit, with a
separate gate line (and another ticket machine), much closer than the old station. There is a
lengthy platform canopy possibly sponsored by the Village given its signs and unusual design.
o Some of the sound barriers are finished in part around Bicester but there is much left to do.
2227] Gavray Jn: Approaching the new junction in the Marylebone direction, the two Bicester Village
starting signals have a full complement of junction indicators - feathers. Beyond the level crossing is a
large footbridge, with lengthy ramps, part of which has already been graffitied. The footpath which
crosses the new 'Bicester South West Chord' (by a new footbridge, with steps only) continues under
[BLN 1246.2227 -cont.]
the Banbury line. It has been reopened but was very muddy, pending resurfacing. Beyond the junction
towards Bletchley, the Up line had stop signs before the bridge under the main line and there was an
engineering machine beyond. There is a temporary buffer stop at 18m 46ch where the track ends. The
reversible single Down line is available for traffic through to Claydon Level Crossing (beyond L&NER
Jn). Both lines have been re-laid here with continuously welded rail and both have protecting westerly
direction signals before the new junction. On Thur 26 November a member on the 06.09 from
Marylebone found it took the 'Marylebone' route from Bicester South Jn, i.e. RIGHT hand track (in the
direction of travel) on the reversible double track chord as well as from Gavray Jn over the 'eastbound'
as booked to Oxford Parkway P2 (BLN 1245.2062). The Bicester South Jn signal on the track to Bicester
North has three passenger routes: Bicester Chord left line, Bicester Chord right line and the Down line
to Bicester North station. The two signals prior to this junction are double-headed (splitting distants).
1246 SOUTH EAST ENGLAND – SOUTH
2228] Arundel: A pedestrian subway is being built near the station under the busy A27 road (also the
footpath route from the town to the station) replacing its present pedestrian light-controlled crossing.
2229] Basingstoke: (BLN 1242.1855) The £48M NR/SWT joint training centre formally opened on 2
November. Said to be the first training facility which brings staff from NR and a TOC together under
one roof, it has been presented as proof that a close relationship continues between the two
organisations despite the changes to the formal NR/SWT 'Deep Alliance' earlier this year. The centre
has indoor and outdoor track layouts, train driving simulators and educational space to provide
learning environments for engineers, signallers, maintenance staff and drivers. It will house the Route
Operations and Training Centre for the Wessex routes, controlling signalling and infrastructure.
2230] Eastleigh Up Loop: (BLN 1244.2034) This is actually shown as an extension of the Up Slow in the
Sectional Appendix. A freight driver has kindly confirmed that the signalling was fully commissioned
over the weekend of 24/25 October. Late on 27 October, a member went to Swaythling station to join
the 22.58 from Romsey to Romsey; colloquially and its extension to Salisbury, the 'Romsey Rocket' via
Southampton and Eastleigh in total darkness. There seemed to be a power cut and the station was lit
only by an eerie flashing double yellow signal at the London end. Its significance did not register until
leaving Southampton Airport Parkway when he noticed the signal showed green with 'feathers' lit left.
The train veered left over the points and trundled up the new loop into Eastleigh P1 where he alighted
rather pleased. Since then he has done the line a further twice, [he will be signing the route next - Ed.]
on the 22.10 (SSuX) Weymouth to Eastleigh (00.14) and another Romsey local. He has also seen many
trains using it including significant numbers of passenger trains. Some DC units will need to run to
prevent the third rail from rusting too much! Most surprising was the 17.45 SSuX from Bournemouth
to Manchester Piccadilly recently, which would then have lost some time as a result.
From the 13 December timetable change Ian Delgado's Unusual Track has identified only one booked
passenger train. The 13.50 (SSuX) Poole to Waterloo is 'SL' (Slow Line) after Southampton Airport and
after entering Eastleigh P1 is due to be overtaken by the 13.20 Weymouth to Waterloo on the Up fast.
Alternatively, camp out on Swaythling's Up platform and await an 'eerie flashing double yellow signal!'
Or wait at Southampton Airport (with Pumpkin Café) for feathers on the first signal towards Eastleigh.
2231] Eastleigh: Reversible P3 on what is nominally the Down passenger loop is unusual in that its
useable length is different for Up and Down trains, 8 and 12 coaches respectively. About two coach
lengths from the London end signal E89 protects the yard entrance which means Up stopping trains do
not proceed beyond, even if green. Down trains can stop over the points. Most long Up trains from
Portsmouth during morning peaks use P2 but if trains are a few minutes early or late use P3 to avoid
conflict with a Down Bournemouth train. The rear doors of the Up train remain locked. Within the last
few weeks SWT have brought in a new system of selective door opening by individual coaches rather
than by unit (Southern and Thameslink Electrostars have had this since they were introduced - Sub Ed).
This is activated by a yellow bar about 2'0'' long in the four-foot way near to the end of the platform.
2232] Marchwood Military Railway:
(BLN 1202.168) BBC News reported on
5 Nov that private company Solent
Gateway will take over the running of
the Military Port near Southampton
from April 2016. The firm, a new
venture between ferry and port
operator David MacBrayne and logistics
firm GBA, says the 225-acre site has
potential for job creation. The chief
executive of David MacBrayne, said:
Marchwood presents significant
opportunities for additional commercial
development. LEFT: 1957 revision OS 1"
to a mile sheet 180 showing the former
Marchwood passenger station middle
left on the Fawley branch (CP 14
February 1966) and the Marchwood
Military Railway branch heading
northeast. The depot was opened in
1943 and as was common when the
map was drawn, much of it is shown as
a 'white area'. Southampton Central
station is the 'major' station top right.
There is a picture of a BLS tour at the
MOD/BR (NR) boundary on 10 June
1989 in e-BLN 1244 & 1245 addenda.
1246 SOUTH WEST ENGLAND
2233] Yeovil Experiment: The DfT published notices on 12 November, under section 36 of the Railways
Act 2005 (c.14) that the 'Services proposed to be provided between Yeovil Junction and Yeovil Pen Mill
stations that use the Pen Mill Single line from Yeovil junction (sic with a small 'j') station to Pen Mill
Junction' are designated experimental for a period of five years beginning on 13 December 2015. 'This
is to allow the service's long-term viability to be demonstrated before it becomes permanent.'
2234] Bristol TM - Parkway: The 3m 17ch four-tracking ('re-quadrupling') between Dr Day's Jn (which
will be remodelled) and Filton South Jn started in September and is due for completion by Autumn
2018. The £33M project includes rebuilding four bridges, refurbishing 13 other structures and much
trackwork. Bridge parapet walls are being raised to the 1.85m required for electrification to protect
pedestrians (although the World high jump record is actually 2.45m!). Work includes embankment and
cutting reprofiling, particularly Horfield cutting, to meet modern drainage standards and reduce the
risk of landslips. Filton Abbey Wood is to have a fourth platform, as is Bristol Parkway.
2235] A Token Trip: On 26 November on the Looe Branch at Coombe Jn the Coombe No1 Ground
Frame Token Machine failed. Traincrew were required to retain the token (From Liskeard Box) in
addition to the 'One Train Working Staff' for the duration of the journey between Liskeard and Looe
and return. Coombe No2 Ground Frame is north of the halt, allowing Moorswater branch access.
2236] Swindon (1): On 19 November the 08.15 Paddington to Cardiff train, carryuing our member, was
unusually routed into P3 at Swindon thus using the facing crossover at the London end of the station
and the trailing crossovers at the country end to regain the Down main line. P4 was not occupied at
the time but passengers were waiting while bay P2 was occupied by a DMU. (2): All lines through the
[BLN 1246.2236 -cont.]
station were closed over the November 21/22 weekend for re-signalling work. Paddington to South
Wales and Bath/Bristol were diverted from Reading via Newbury and Westbury East Loop Jn to
Hawkeridge Jn. This curve has one booked (Down) service per day SSuX so the Up direction is rarer.
2237] Heywood Road Jn: Signalling and very rusty track remain at the closed Westbury cement works.
2238] Parson Street: A new underbridge deck being built alongside the railway is due to be slid into
place over Christmas to take the four-track railway over the new four-lane Bristol South Link Road.
1246 WEST MIDLANDS
2239] Birmingham New Street: P12 was taken OOU on 15 November for refurbishment work until 6
March. P5 returned to use on the same day. HM The Queen formally opened the new station on 19
November arriving on the Royal Train into P2 with exceptional security following the events in Paris.
2240] Transport Devolution: A deal worth almost £2bn has been agreed with the Government. In
return for agreeing to have a new elected mayor, the West Midlands Combined Authority will receive
an annual payment of £36.5M from Whitehall to allow local borrowing of over £1bn. West Midlands
Integrated Transport Authority said that it will support delivery of the 'HS2 Connectivity Package'. This
includes light rail links from the proposed HS2 Curzon Street station to Birmingham Airport via
Bordesley Green and Chelmsley Wood, and between Wednesbury and Brierley Hill. WCML
improvements and better connectivity between the East and West Midlands will also be possible. As
part of the deal, Government funding was approved for the £97M Adderley Park Metro extension.
2241] Blakedown: (BLN 1192.1270) The Parish Council has received £75k from the Heritage Lottery
Fund to rebuild the signal box as a community centre on the other side of Station Drive to its original
location. It closed in August 2012 after 124 years, with resignalling of the line and level crossing
automation. After a local campaign, it was donated by NR who funded dismantling and stored it.
2242] Midland Metro (1): Plans have been
published for the disused (north) side of
Wolverhampton St. George's terminus to become
a coach stop. (2): Work has begun on the extension
from New Street to Centenary Square due to open
in 2019, utility diversions have been in progress for
some while. (3): HM The Queen inspected new CAF
Tram No35 at the new Bull Street stop following
her formal opening of New Street Station. She
unveiled the nameplate 'Angus Adams', a former
Centro chairman. The tram destination display
showed a welcome greeting for Her Majesty who
wore a dress in Midland Metro Pink livery! When
The Queen's trip was planned, it is wondered if she
was originally due to open the whole city extension
too. (4): Catenary has been installed on both lines
to the new track limit at Stephenson Street outside
the Transport Bookshop. [I take it we are sure this
was not just Birmingham putting up its annual
Christmas decorations - Ed?] On 24 November,
Stephenson Street and Bull Street crossovers
remained unwired. The overhead has been mainly
anchored to buildings but there are a few posts.
Bull Street Tram Stop is complete but Corporation
Street stop on the outbound line requires paving.
[BLN 1246.2243 -cont.]
ABOVE: Wednesday 2 December, the first morning of tram testing with electric power, at Bull Street
stop (its island platform and shelter is to the left). No35 has arrived from the Snow Hill/St. Paul's
direction (background) to reverse on what will eventually become the through line to New
Street/Grand Central and will return via the new crossover at the other (country) end of the stop. This
part of the extension is due to OP 08.00 on Sunday 6 December 2015, initially a few drivers trained on
the extension will work in 'relay' covering services to/from St. Paul's non-stop through Snow Hill St.
Chad's stop which is to open later when complete. (Ian Mortimer).
2243] Stratford-Upon-Avon - Honeybourne: Campaigners claim there is a stronger case than ever for
reinstating the 6-mile Stratford to Long Marston railway. An 'Avon Rail Link' group report has outlined
the social and economic benefits there would be of running 2tph each way. The minimum cost of
reinstatement is estimated at £53M (30% funded by developers). A business plan is now required to
attract further backers. To accommodate the new track, alterations to the lines at Stratford and Long
Marston would be needed. Residents near the proposed line are concerned about noise from rail
services, but the Avon Rail Link group argues the line would operate almost unnoticed. They have
considered environmental matters, hence there are no plans for freight trains. The line would descend
from Stratford through a cutting and into a short tunnel under Evesham Place. It only re-emerges
above the cutting to cross over the River Avon by Stratford Race Course, keeping noise to a minimum
1246 YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE
2244] Sheffield: On 10 Nov at about 18.40 a tram terminated in Shalesmoor's Hillsborough platform
to form a service to Halfway, which departed simultaneously with a Meadowhall tram from the other
city bound platform. The Halfway service was held at the crossover and the Meadowhall went first.
2245] Tinsley Chord: (BLN 1243.1904, plan in e-BLN) After eight months consideration the Transport
Secretary has finally authorised construction and operations of this (now given as) 170m link which is
expected to be built by the end of 2016 and operational 'early 2017'. There was one objection, from
National Grid, that was resolved. NR has already begun work on the Tinsley to Rotherham Parkgate
750V DC electrification. The seven new Class 399 tram-trains can also operate on 25KV overhead.
2246] Railroad Merger? The Republic's 'Railway Procurement Agency' and 'National Roads Authority'
merged as 'Transport Infrastructure Ireland' http://www.tii.ie/ from 1 August 2015.
2247] EU Funding: In Sept 2014 proposals were sought under Connecting Europe, a scheme to fund
20% to 85% of individual project costs. From 700 applications, 276 will receive €13.2bn including all
put forward for rail related works in both Northern and the Republic of Ireland, a higher success rate
than most EU countries. Below: the proposed 'eligible cost', accepted cost by the EU (similar), in the
third column the funding requested and finally that advised. All applications scored highly on impact
relevance and viability with work already in hand attracting further approval. (Journal of the IRRS)
Project Eligible cost Accepted Requested Advised
Coleraine-Londonderry track/signals €48.3M €47.9M,,,, €14.4M (30%)
Cross-border, Knockmore - Lurgan €32.3M €32.3M €14.5M €9.7M (30%)
Dublin city centre resignalling €59.3M €58.6M €12.9M €17.6M (30%)
Foynes branch, preliminary works €1.6M €1.6M €23.7M €0.8M (50%)
Foynes harbour, jetty extension €11M €11M €0.8m €2.2M (20%)
2248] Castlerock: (BLN 1235.1178) The extension of the Up platform was to come into operation on 21
November. The station will cease to be a crossing point when the new signalling is commissioned and
the well-known Castlerock signal cabin closes. The lovely somersault semaphore signals will also go
BELOW Bellarena station reopening day leaflet, 28 June 1982 (Richard Maund). Now there are ten
trains each way Mondays to Fridays, eight on Saturdays and even six on Sundays, with more to come!
2249] Coleraine - Londonderry*: (BLNs 1231.787 & 1235.1178) At Bellarena the two new 150 metre
platforms are alongside each side of the new loop, on the Coleraine side of the A2 (Seacoast Road)
level crossing. See https://goo.gl/eUVUkR for a view of the existing single platform station on the
Londonderry side (in reasonably original Belfast & Northern Counties Railway external condition) and
the crossing. The main reason for relocating the station is an accommodation crossing about 100m on
the Londonderry side of the A2 limiting the current platform to 3-car CAF sets or equivalent. In the
past, NIR tried to close it, by offering to build a parallel road from the A2 on the Up side, but met
determined opposition from its main user. Bellarena station CP 18 October 1976; ROP 28 June 1982. It
is slightly further from Limavady (the main passenger source) than the former Limavady Junction
station (CP 18 October 1976), but being on the main A2 road, the road journey is far quicker than via
the narrow zig-zag minor road to the Junction station. Also realigning the curve through the former
Limavady Junction and increasing the cant enabled the speed there to be raised from 25 to 50mph.
Magilligan station CP (advertised passenger traffic) 18 October 1976, but was retained for visitors to
Magilligan prison (served WSO), who were conveyed by mini-bus from the station. These limited calls
were advertised from 16 June 1980 but the station closed completely on 28 June 1982 when Bellarena
reopened. The road distance from the prison to Magilligan and Bellarena stations is virtually the same,
and NIR were able to persuade the prison service to collect inmates' relatives from Bellarena instead of
Magilligan! (*The Notice reverts to use of the name 'Londonderry' without mention of 'Derry'.)
2250] Rosslare Strand - Waterford: (BLN 1243.1959) The IÉ inspection car ran on 3 June and 11 August
and was due to run from Waterford to Rosslare via Wellington Bridge on 2 December too
2251] Best Station 2015: Clarke Station at Dundalk has been named 'overall best station in Ireland'
and best Leinster station at the annual IÉ Irish Rail Best Station Awards, which took place at Inchicore
Training Centre on 2 November. The awards were presented by the Minister for Transport, Tourism &
Sport. The winners were chosen by public vote; almost 4,000 customers rated the stations, as part of
this year's awards, by customer information, station appearance and staff helpfulness. Other regional
winners were Munster, Millstreet station and Connacht, Westport station. In the commuter category
last year's overall winner, Hazelhatch, took the top award. Arklow and Balbriggan were highly
commended. The Best DART station for 2015 was Malahide with special mention going to the garden.
A Customer Service Award was presented for Dromod. Public voting was via the IÉ website and it was
only possible to vote for stations in Ulster served by services! (Unsurprisingly none won.)
2252] Grand Canal Dock: (BLN 1240.1699) Further track alterations at Pearse and Grand Canal Dock,
are due to be commissioned on 6 December. Up trains will return to using the Up Main (Up Bray in the
2003 Quail Vol.6 p1). The Down Main will be a centre siding on the Grand Canal Dock (south) side of
Pearse. This siding will have a temporary buffer stop at the south end for later reconnection as a
running line; there is no signalled move towards these buffers. Southbound through trains will still use
the Down Loop. Trap points on it protect at the Pearse end but the entry to Grand Canal Dock is only
via the slew. As well as points to/from the siding from the Down Main and return to the Up Main at
Pearse, a further facing crossover beyond the siding access points permits moves from Down Main to
the Up Main and then to the Up Sidings. Both Up and Down Main lines are reversible here.
2253] Phoenix Park Tunnel: (BLN 1243.1956) Track lowering gauging work is to take place for the new
Kildare to Grand Canal Dock cross-Dublin commuter service. Although double, the two tracks had been
slewed closer to each other for 9'6'' containers to pass, therefore only one train at a time can occupy
the two tracks. The tunnel itself is in three parts, the middle section near Dublin Zoo being a covered
way. Embankment work has already been carried out between the former cement sidings at Cabra and
the tunnel mouth. More devegetation, cutting stabilisation and drainage work is required. The tunnel
masonry is to be repaired and lighting, signs and telecommunication provided. Drumcondra station
will have new ticket gates and Tara Street a new lift shaft on the southbound side.
2254] Valentia Harbour branch: (CA 1 February 1960) Kerry County Council is to seek compulsory
purchase of land for a 32km Greenway on the trackbed between Glenbeigh and Renard. There are
objectors amongst landowners but 95% have already agreed to sell some of their property.
2255] North Kerry: (map BLN 1230.661) The 39 km Great Southern Trail Greenway is complete from
Rathkeale to Abbeyfeale on this former line. The council is obtaining ownership of the trackbed from
CIÉ between the Kerry/Limerick border and Tralee, though there is insufficient funding for the project.
2256] IÉ fares: From 1 December new cash, Leap and pre-paid fares applied to Intercity, DART and
Commuter services. Intercity Express routes (Dublin-Cork/Tralee/Limerick/Ennis/Dundalk): no change
to single fares and 1.6% to 1.9% rise in return fares. On Intercity Economy 1 routes (Dublin - Galway
/Sligo/Westport/Galway - Limerick) no increases. Intercity Economy 2 routes (Dublin - Waterford/
Rosslare/regional routes) fares increase by 0% to 2%. Intercity seasons rise by 2.5 to 3.0%, Cork day
commuter fares remain frozen pending delayed introduction of 'e-purse Leap Cards in early 2016' (BLN
1217.1411) but seasons rise by up to 3%. Many changes of detail apply in the Dublin area, rezoning has
reduced some fares as has Leap Card capping and the maximum increase is 4%. Of note all Intercity
Student fares are frozen; the Dublin Leap Card now gives 21 to 25% discount compared with cash and
'Season tickets with Taxsaver continue to offer one of lowest Commuting costs in Western Europe.'
2257] Ballyhaunis: The west end loop points renewal was completed by 15 November; the new points
are 95m nearer to Claremorris (new track for Microgricers!). The straight route has changed to ease
the speed restriction through the Up (Dublin) side of the station and the now longer loop. The Up stop
signal is 107m closer to Claremorris. During the work, trains could not use the main platform or cross.
2258] Cherryville Jn: From 25 October the Heuston and Kildare interlocking control area was extended
to include all lines, signalling equipment and interlocking here. All signals stay in their existing positions
whilst their numbers changed to the Heuston/Kildare (HK) series and both sets of points at Cherryville
Jn had their numbers changed. Various train radio, telephone and CAWS changes also took place. NB:
Cherryville Junction signal cabin itself closed in 1976 and was replaced by Central Traffic Control (CTC)
from Dublin Connolly. The disused cabin is one of the oldest still standing on IÉ. The Local and Remote
override panels for Cherryville Junction were to be permanently taken OOU and decommissioned.
Mainline CTC continues as the Primary Signalling Control Point for the area but now Heuston/Kildare
panels will be the new Secondary Control Point for the extended interlocking.
2259] Claremorris: Site clearance work began in July for a new siding next to the Ballinrobe Siding on
the Down side of the former Athenry line, itself used as a siding. It is for freight trains that are regularly
stabled at Claremorris when there is no capacity at Ballina. (Journal of the IRRS and next three items)
2260] Muir of Ord: (BLN 1245.2127) This was the junction station for the 13½ mile 'Black Isle' branch
to Fortrose until that CP 1 Oct 1951 and CG 13 June 1960 (the goods train unusually ran on Saturday
afternoons; 3 (only!) members made a brakevan trip on 2 April 1960). Muir of Ord was CP 12 June
1960 until 1 October 1976. During this period, as well as the Sunday Down Lairg newspaper train
mentioned in BLN 1245, another passenger train called, the 04.55 (in 1970) Kyle of Lochalsh to
Inverness, which ran on certain days of the week, to change crew with an Inverness to Kyle freight.
2261] Levenmouth open wide? (BLN 1239.1606): (CP 6 Oct 1969) With a population of over 24,000
this is the largest urban conurbation in Scotland without a rail service. Fife Council has approved the
submission of a rail reopening application to Transport Scotland. The 'Levenmouth Scottish Transport
Appraisal Guidance' proposes (and makes the strong case for) reopening the 5 mile Thornton North Jn
to Leven line for passenger and freight trains and plans for better bus connections with Markinch
station. The latter is seen as a short term 'quick win' building demand for the longer term Leven line. If
approved by Transport Scotland NR will develop a more detailed analysis and business case.
2262] Or Buchan? (BLN 1216.1348): Nestrans, North East Scotland's, regional transport body was to
hold a series of public consultations in early November. Residents were urged to have their say on the
Aberdeen Strategic Transport Study, which considers possible rail options. Public opinion is said to be
strongly in favour. Following the opening of the Borders Railway, Peterhead (CP 3 May 1965) and
Fraserburgh (CP 4 October 1965) are now further from the national network than any other towns.
2263] Why it is called Rose Street Curve: (BLN 1245.2126) On Sun 8 Nov the 09.40 Inverness to King's
Cross HST was unable to make the gradient to Culloden, because of poor adhesion. It returned to
Inverness running via Rose Street Curve, to reverse on the Far North line. That gave a better run than
starting in the station and on the second attempt it rose up the hill! Culloden was passed 66 minutes
late. East Coast drivers sign the curve, for shunting purposes. This is the first booked train up the hill
on Sunday, and there is no railhead treatment train on the Sabbath. More past use of the curve:
1950 public timetable: 11.55 SuO Lairg to Inverness, no outward.
1964 public timetable: 11.35 SuO Lairg to Inverness, no outward.
1973 public timetable: 07.54 Inverness to Lairg (09.53) and 11.20 return.
Generally, the last train of the day from Wick also used the avoider, for example, 5 minutes excess
time is shown in the 1984 public timetable. In 1987 there was a 15.50 Kyle to Inverness (through to
Euston) using the avoiding line. The extra summer service to Kyle used the day coaches from a Euston
sleeper. These were returned to the sleeper stock waiting in P1 for departure after engine change.
2264] Anniesland Connection: (BLN 1245.2133) After the 7/8 Nov weekend work, all four new points
and track are now in position. There is a Down to Up Main facing crossover, then facing points to the
new chord and trailing points into the reversible 'Maryhill single line'. New signals have been provided
to control movements on/off each end of the 375m chord ready for a happy Christmas commissioning.
2265] Springburn P3 - Dumbarton Central P3: Two interesting DMU ECS workings have (as required)
run SSuX 26 Oct to 11 Dec: 09.48 Eastfield Holding Sidings - Springburn - Queen Street Low Level -
Anniesland - Dumbarton Central (P3 rvse) - Springburn bay P3 (11.26/12.58) - Dumbarton Central P3 -
Eastfield. All four legs of the journey ran via Anniesland and they are thought to be route learners for
the Queen Street High Level engineering closure (from 20 March to 8 August 2016).
2266] Glasgow Airport: (BLN 1227.399): The rail link project has resurfaced, perhaps this time it will
take off. Glasgow and Renfrewshire Councillors have to decide between tram-trains from Glasgow
Central (£144.3M) and 'personal rapid transit pods' at £102M between Paisley Gilmour Street and the
airport. (Thunderbirds are go! perhaps?) Once the obvious decision has been made (tram-trains were
recommended by independent consultants in February 2014) the business case, agreed by both
councils, was to go before the respective Councils on 2 and 10 December respectively. If approved, the
bid for City Deal funding goes to the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Cabinet on December 15. This is the
body responsible for distributing the £1.13bn regional fund granted initially by Westminster in 2014.
Tram-trains would run on NR between Glasgow Central and Paisley Gilmour Street stations then onto a
new light rail line to the airport entrance. Construction could start in 2021, with completion in 2025.
2167] Drumgelloch: (BLN 1133.247) There is no shortage of 'Station Roads' where there is no longer a
station; perhaps there are less where 'Station Rd.' no longer gives direct access to an operational one.
A member warns that driving from Towers Rd., Airdrie, into Station Rd., is a cul-de-sac. At the end is
Drumgelloch station, but through a sturdy metal fence impenetrable even on foot! The station can be
reached from Station Rd. - by going round the block via Towers Rd and Forrest Street past the fence.
2168] Helmsdale: A non-profit making Community Interest Company was set up in 2009 to restore the
Grade B listed station buildings. This is now self-catering accommodation that can sleep up to 12.
Profits are used to maintain the station, promote the Far North Line and community projects. Station
facilities have been improved, re-opening the waiting room, a visitors' centre and a storeroom/dark-
room/studio is available for residential photography and art courses etc. Of note is a 10% discount for
arriving other than by private car or for spending half a day per week maintaining the station grounds,
garden and waiting room (a list of tasks is provided). A 20% discount is given if you do both! For station
history, more details, pictures, prices see http://goo.gl/tsY1oO also accommodation availability. The
restoration won the NR national 2015 Community Rail innovation award at Torquay on 1 October. See
https://goo.gl/4H3pSH the Highland Railway footbridge and unusual platform signal box are listed too.
Grand Central Railway's Outstanding Volunteer Contribution award went to Sonia Cameron at Mallaig.
2269] ATW service developments: 'PSUL' trains shown as routed via the elusive Leckwith Loop have
in practice often run via the main line, due to crew route knowledge, or signaller's whim, but from the
December timetable this will change! Some will make advertised calls at Ninian Park station. In the
Down direction, these are 05.35 (SSuX) Cardiff Central to Milford Haven and 06.42 (SSuX) to Pembroke
Dock. Up trains are 19.12 (SSuX) ex-Milford Haven, 21.15 (SuX) Maesteg and 19.57 (SSuX) Tenby all to
Cardiff Central. The Maesteg train is unusual in calling at Ninian Park on Saturdays too; the others have
Saturday equivalents not booked via Leckwith. Following a successful appeal to the Access Disputes
Committee, probably from May subject to NR agreement, off-peak Llandudno to Manchester Piccadilly
trains will be extended to Manchester Airport. This will eliminate the current wasteful practice of
having a Class 175 and train crew sitting idle in Mayfield Loop for 55 minutes per hour. The DfT wants
the extra airport capacity for Calder Valley and Manchester Victoria services via the new Ordsall Chord.
Three (SSuX) and two (SO) ATW services are extended anyway so crews already sign the route.
2270] Engineering: A Newport to Cardiff possession over the weekend of 14/15 November included
recovery of redundant trailing and facing points in the Down Main of the former Newton West Jn
crossovers. Re-doubling commissioning between Wrexham and Saltney Jn was again deferred as sub-
standard signal cables were found during the blockade which was instead used to replace them.
2271] Welsh trivia: Including the ex-LMS Low Level station at Shotton, 47 passenger stations in Wales
today have opened or reopened in the post-Beeching era; other than due to re-siting, none has closed
since Llangelynin on 26 October 1991. Of current stations, those with the longest continuous history
(175 years) are Cardiff Queen Street, Llandaf, Pontypridd and Abercynon, OP 9 October 1840 by the
Taff Vale Railway. The furthest distance between adjacent stations is the 21m 60ch between Caersws,
and Machynlleth the six intermediate stations and halts CP 14 June 1965. There is a local campaign for
Carno to be reopened as a railhead (and it was once suggested that Talerddig loop be moved there).
1246 MINOR RAILWAYS
MR197] Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways, Gwynedd (MR p29) (BLN 1238.MR124): The original
correspondent and another member have supplied some amendments and amplifications to this:
•Bryngwyn branch: There is no evidence that the service had reduced to Saturdays only immediately
before closure. The Bryngwyn Branch, by Dave Southern and John Keylock, is a history published by
the Welsh Highland Railway Heritage Group, £15 (post paid) http://goo.gl/aKOULh or payee 'Welsh
Highland Heritage', from: Adrian Gray, 25 The Pound, Syresham, Brackley, NN13 5HG.
•Hafod y Llyn: There was only ever one station (SH597450); where the public road ends. South of here
the roadway running alongside the railway is a private farm access track which came into being after
the line was lifted in WW2; there was no station or halt at the farm crossing (SH596440) adjacent to
Hafod y Llyn Isaf farm (Parry's pig farm).
•Croesor Jn: The foot of the Croesor Tramway's first incline should be Y Garreg Hylldrem (ugly rock).
•Pont Croesor: The 1923 and current stations were both south of the B4410 road crossing at the same
location. A concrete base of the original platform had remained in situ. Pont Croesor station's current
shelter is new so is 'in the style of 1923' rather than 'dating from 1923'.
•Portreuddyn: There was never a stopping place here. The General Manager's list of stations on the
new line (supplied to the Ministry of Transport on 28 May 1923) says: 'Loop 180ft. Old work re-
conditioned. No halt or station'. The loop was in the original specification for the 1923 reconstruction
of the Portmadoc, Beddgelert & South Snowdon Railway (previously Croesor & Portmadoc Railway,
originally, usually referred to as the Croesor Tramway) but was never completed or brought into use.
The original correspondent also notes he has, a Bell Punch (type) tramway 'geographic' WHR ticket
listing all the halts, which does not mention Portreuddyn and spells 'Hafod Ruffydd' as 'Hafod Ryffydd'.
•Pen-y-Mount: There is a junction (first test train 25 June 2011); normally spiked and locked closed.
•Portmadoc New: There was no 1933 station; there was an additional 'platform' of the 1923 station,
north of the GWR flat crossing. Col. H F Stephens, in argument with the GWR about costs of the
crossing cabin decided to cease running passenger trains (goods trains were unaffected) over the
crossing. This applied from the end of the 1928 summer season (1 October 1928) until the Festiniog
leased the line and re-started through trains from the 1934 season (9 July 1934). Passenger access
'from the outside world' was through the 1923 station and then over the GWR by a foot crossing
alongside the east side of the WHR. This was not a public right of way (and still is not) and it wasn't the
current public footpath through Gelert's Farm. Latterly, a waiting shelter was provided at this 'north
platform'. The concrete column on the west side of the WHR line was indeed the support for their
water tank. The 1923 station was curiously owned by the Ffestiniog Company, the WHR was a tenant;
the FR, however, could only access the station by running powers over the WHR from the High Street
crossing! Part of the more grandiose plans of the promoters in the early 1920s was that the facilities at
Boston Lodge should be moved next to the 1923 station, now occupied by industrial premises.
MR198] Rio Grande Miniature Railway, Strikes Garden Centre, Garforth, West Yorkshire (BLN 1215.
MR137): It now looks very doubtful that the 10¼" gauge miniature railway here will ever re-open as in
early October 2015 the locomotive was stolen from a locked building/container where it was in store.
The Garden Centre site was completely demolished a while ago and a member had wondered where
the locomotive had gone. It was reported stolen in Yorkshire Evening Post on 17 October. The police
are looking into its disappearance. There is no sign of the Garden Centre being rebuilt at the moment.
MR199] Downpatrick & County Down Railway, County Down (MR p10): This year the 5' 3" gauge
railway has been relaying the south line side of the triangle (east-south) https://goo.gl/L66SP1
through Downpatrick Loop south platform. Their Halloween services (31 October/1 November) from
Downpatrick Town terminus http://goo.gl/vF8OoS were to take the east-north curve, reverse at
North Junction and propel over the (much sought after?) rare third side of the triangle (north-south),
through Downpatrick Loop north platform to King Magnus' Grave Halt on the Ballydugan (south) line.
In recent years, this seems to be the only scheduled use of the south line, although Christmas services
usually run to Inch Abbey, then back to Downpatrick Loop north platform using a very short section of
the south line to reverse (28/29 November, 5/6, 12/13, 19/20 December 2015). On 30 September, BBC
News reported that Bundoran Junction signal box had been moved to the railway. A photo showed it
being moved into position by a crane from flat wagons. The signal box had served time as a garden
shed in Co Fermanagh. Additionally, there has been an item on the railway's facebook page about the
sale of Ballydugan House. The significance of this is that the south (Ballydugan) line currently ends at
the boundary line of the Ballydugan Estate as the previous owners would have nothing to do with the
railway. Hopefully, the railway is looking for better things from the new owners.
MR200] Weardale Railway, County Durham (MR p9): Backed by around 75 active volunteers and 500
members, the Weardale Railway Trust celebrated its 20th anniversary in September 2015. What was to
prove a saga of twists and turns began in November 1992, when Blue Circle announced 500 job losses
throughout its group and that it would no longer be sending cement from its plants by rail transport.
This included Eastgate Cement Works in Upper Weardale. MPs, councillors and tourism officials joined
local groups in a campaign to save the line. The final cement train ran from Eastgate on 17 March 1993
and BR announced the closure of the line from the end of the month. A Heritage Line Working Party
Group, made up of local authorities and the Countryside Commission, believed that the line was of
major historic and economic importance and any efforts to save it from closure should be encouraged.
More than 2,000 people signed a petition in support of the campaign, which ran two steam specials
from Darlington to Stanhope and return. The Weardale Railway Preservation Society was formed, with
Sir William McAlpine as president, and Pete Waterman visited Stanhope station to plant a tree and
officially open an office to serve as the campaign headquarters.In 1995, the Weardale Railway Trust
was launched and in July 2004 the Weardale Railway opened between Stanhope and Wolsingham,
carrying nearly 17,000 passengers by the end of September. But early in 2005 the operating company
Weardale Railways Ltd went into administration. Later that year Ealing Community Trust (ECT)
acquired a 75% stake in the railway. The next year a community interest company, Weardale Railways
CIC was formed. In 2008, the ECT stake was acquired by Iowa Pacific Holdings, creating a new company
British American Railway Services. The rest of the shares were split between the Trust and Durham
County Council. In the run-up to Christmas 2012, the Weardale Polar Express, which trust volunteers
helped to run, was launched and carried 35,000 passengers. In 2013, that figure was 42,000, and in
2014 was 44,000. June 2014 saw the restart of heritage services (last ran 28 October 2012) between
Wolsingham and Stanhope, using a single car DMU. Between March and May this year, the heritage
service carried 1,534 passengers. The Trust has a souvenir shop at Stanhope Station, run by volunteers.
There is also a café run by the company called No40 café and named after the Trust's steam locomotive
which is undergoing an overhaul. While the railway was in administration, trust volunteers re-built
Stanhope station canopy to match the original design and won first prize in the Ian Allan Heritage
wards. There are hopes of extending to Witton-le-Wear and even Auckland Castle at Bishop Auckland.
MR201] Hayling Seaside Railway, Hampshire (MR p18) (BLN 1232.MR57): Recent past items in BLN
have referred to the railway having to move their shed and workshops from Beachlands, at the west
end of the railway, to Eastoke at the eastern end. At the latter, to accommodate the new shed and
workshop building immediately to the south of the line, the platform line and run-round loop have
been moved to the other side of the existing platform. This was simply done by moving the fence along
the former back of the platform to the opposite side, and relaying the platform line and run-round
loop on the other side. The new stop blocks at the end of line are exactly in line with the old ones! This
new layout was brought into use for passenger trains on Saturday 17 October 2015. A visit on a blowy,
but unseasonably warm, Sunday 15 November found the station at Beachlands being opened up for
the first train at 11.00. In use was steam outline 0-4-0DH No3 Jack (AK23/1988) with three enclosed
bogie coaches. The only passengers were the two visiting society members! However, four other
passengers travelled on the return working from Eastoke. An adult return ticket was £4. At Beachlands
the gift shop has been removed (in mid-October according to a sign) and work is ongoing on that
corner of the Funland Park for what is assumed to be some new development; the area has been
cleared right up to the railway. Obviously, the existing platform at Beachlands (inside the station
building) is going to be removed along with the shed and workshop; a new platform is being built
alongside the existing track immediately to the east of the current one. At Eastoke the new layout was
viewed; by which time the old platform line and run-round loop had been removed, although the
points at the station throat remain. The former run-round loop has been realigned to form a new
siding, which will eventually feed into the new building. No groundwork had started on foundations.
MR202] Craigtoun Miniature Railway, Fife (MR p28) (BLN 1242.MR167): Operators of this 15" gauge
railway 'Friends of Craigtoun Country Park' are applying for membership of the Heritage Railway
Association. The following describing the railway, is a summary from the HRA Bulletin. This is a 15"
gauge railway located within Craigtoun Country Park and runs in a circuit of 550m. The railway is run
by the Friends of Craigtoun, which is a limited company with charitable status, and looks after the
whole park on behalf of Fife Council. There are approximately 160,000 visitors to the park per year.
The existing railway has been in situ since 1976. It re-opened after a period of closure in 2010. There is
one Rio Grande outline diesel locomotive, built by Severn Lamb, and three coaches. These have been
restored at no cost by the local Cairnsmill caravan park. They also maintain the rolling stock. There is
clearly considerable goodwill towards the railway. A new station building was erected last year and the
entire circuit is being fenced. There are no fixed signals and the service is 'one engine in steam'. Fife
Council, formally operate the park and have given the Friends a formal renewable five year lease.
MR203] Wirral Heritage Tramway, Merseyside (MR p32) (BLN 1232.MR53): Former Liverpool 'Green
Goddess' 245 returned to service on 12 September following restoration by the Merseyside Tramway
Preservation Society, operator of the tramway. The four-wheeled 70-seater streamliner is the last
surviving Liverpool 'Baby Grand' in preservation. It originally entered service in 1938 and took part in
the parade to mark the end of Liverpool's tramway operations on 14 September 1957. Since then the
tram, owned by National Museums Liverpool, has been in storage. The project was funded by a £50k
Heritage Lottery Fund grant and National Museums Liverpool, with support from Wirral Council.
1246 OTHERS' OFFERS & OPPORTUNITIES
A service to members; Please mention the Branch Line Society when booking/enquiring. . ..Details must be checked with the organisers.
2272] Romsey Signal Box, Sun 6 Dec, 12.00-16.00: Open day, Plaza Parade, SO51 8JA (SU359214).
2273] Rail Times for Great Britain, Winter Revision: 13 December-14 May 2016, Middleton Press with
larger pages (A5 paper BLN size) and bigger print. £20.95 2nd class post. Middleton Press, Easebourne
Lane, Midhurst, West Sussex, GU29 9AZ. 01730813169 https://goo.gl/Yi5N0w or Amazon.
2274] Appleby Frodingham Railway Preservation Society, Scunthorpe Steel Works: Winter brakevan
tours, 11.00 Saturdays: 9 Jan, 6 Feb, 5 March & 2 April. No charge; donations welcomed towards the
upkeep of the Society's locos and stock. NOTE: Our local member and expert on the railway, from Hull,
Alan Sheppard (also an AFRPS member) will be present as 'Route Director' other than when they clash
with a BLS fixture or other mainline track railtour. Then they will be more like our BLS Scunthorpe
AFRPS tours; please do support them, to book email [email protected] or 01652 657053.
2275] Railway & Canal Historical Society, Thur 28 Jan: Thanks to our member Allan Brackenbury, BLS
members are invited to join his 6-mile trackbed walk on the ex-Great Central Fallowfield Loop to St.
Werburgh's Road tram stop (site of Chorlton Jn). Meet at Fairfield station at 10.45 after arrival of the
10.34 from Manchester Piccadilly. Indoor lunch. No need to notify, enquiries to Allan 01614357555.
2276] The Mini Tug, Sat 2 January: In response to members' requests, Martyn Brailsford has kindly
produced this original plan showing the current layout of the Cowley Branch, once part of the Oxford
to Princes Risborough line. Unusually the tour is booked into the terminal beyond the NR boundary.
Bristol Parkway 06.45/19.00 and selected stations to Stourbridge Junction (08.50/21.10) which has
extensive free parking and frequent services from Birmingham. (There is an evening set down at New
Street at 21.40). Then: Stourbridge Jn Down Goods Loop - Round Oak - Worcester Tunnel Jn -
Worcester Up Through Line (goods line bypassing Shrub Hill station) - Evesham - Oxford Up Main
(one of the middle lines) rare X/O to Up & Down Loop (rvse) - Oxford (break) - Cowley Branch BMW
Mini terminal - Kennington Jn Down Goods Loop - Hinksey Yard north end (revse) - Didcot West
Curve - Steventon Down Goods Loop - Challow Down Relief - Swindon Down Goods Loop - Bath
Down Goods Loop - Rhubarb Curve - Up/Down Bristol Loop - Bristol Parkway and stations to New
Street as outward. Cl.60 haulage, Cl.66 as needed with Cl.08 expected for about a mile in Hinksey
Yard. Bookings/queries at https://goo.gl/QbKRD 01453- 835414/834477 (Pathfinder Tours).….… …
2277] Mersey Weaver tour, Sat 30 Jan: Booking well and likely to be of great interest to our members.
Derby (08.00/19.30) then selected stations to Crewe (10.45/17.00) via New Street (09.20/18.25).
Includes: Kingsbury Jn - Whitacre West Jn - Camp Hill - Lifford Curve - Rugeley TV P3 - Crewe - Acton
Grange Jn - Walton Old Jn - Latchford Football Field Sidings ex-MSC (rvse) - Helsby Jn - Ellesmere Port
- *Manisty Wharf branch, Peel Ports (rvse) - Halton Curve - Runcorn Jn - Folly Lane Branch (NR limit) -
Acton Bridge Up Slow - Hartford CLC Jn - Northwich West Jn - Middlewich - Crewe return via outward
stations direct. 2 x Class 60.*Likely to be the final chance to do the Manisty Wharf branch (BLN
1234.1044), which has a limited prognosis. Imported coal traffic to Fiddlers Ferry Power Station ceased
[BLN 1246.2277 -cont.]
on 22 June this year. The final traffic, Middleton Towers sand for Quinn Glass at Helsby, is to transfer
to a new terminal off the former (OOU) UKF/Kemira fertilizer factory branch. Peel Holdings reportedly
wish to then redevelop their Manisty Wharf site for housing. Bookings as previous item.
2278] A Winning Tour, The Wansbeck, Sat 2 Apr: The Railway Touring Company, steam top & tail:
York (06.21/22.18) selected stations to Newcastle (08.50/20.13) - Benton - Blyth & Tyne - Ashington -
Lynemouth Power Station - Marchey's House Jn - Winning Jn - West Sleekburn Jn (as advertised) -
Benton - Newcastle - Tursdale Jn - Stillington - Boulby - Grangetown (then diesel powered) - Darlington
- Newcastle - York. Note: steam tours are more expensive to operate and can use unusual loops and
routings to water and for clearance. Standard class £102 http://goo.gl/nY07Xz 01553 661 500.
E-BLN 1245 ADDENDA
STOP PRESS-1]: Manchester Metrolink; Victoria - Exchange Square (SJ 8399 9865): OP Sun 6 Dec,
trams to Shaw & Crompton http://goo.gl/gdioEn SuX every 12 mins approx 07.30-20.00 (SuO every 15
minutes to Rochdale Town Centre 07.00-09.11 and 17.30-22.30). Additional to the new double track
'branch' from Victoria; Exchange Square crossover, the new 'Victoria Platform D' (and more or even
all of its complicated layout*) plus Shaw & Crompton bay and crossover will all be available regularly.
*SuO a Victoria (middle platform) via a 'new' crossover to Ashton-under-Lyne service is expected.
Guess the location, Members and photographer: (from E-BLN 1244 & 1245 Addenda) The remaining
participant, with black hair and a short moustache, on our 10 June 1989 Marchwood Military Railway
trip group picture at the then BR boundary, has been identified as a former member, the late Mike
Weeks from Micklefield. He is standing in front of the loco on its far right.
British Trams Online, Annual Awards 2015: http://goo.gl/BCeDCc is a chance to vote for your
modern and traditional tramcar of the year, tramway of the year and your tram event of the year. This
http://goo.gl/KrNw6K is also an interesting and informative (free) tram and tramway website.
Future Christmas Present? Something different http://goo.gl/kgU6lZ from the National Rail website.
Virgin Christmas 2015 Livery: https://goo.gl/OWBM5q a video clip featuring the trains and the two
children (age 9 and 11) who designed it in a competition. Alongside the Claus 91 is the first ever visit
of a Penguilino to Kings Cross on the morning of 1 December.
Guess the Location: Sleepers being cut in half and drilled but where? (Craig Kinsey 17 Nov 2015)
[BLN 1246 Addenda -cont.]
BELOW: They get everywhere these days! London Midland branded Class 319 EMU at London Euston
on the evening of 1 December, these are replacing the LM Class 321s which have gone to Scotland (to
be reduced to 3-car sets to match their compatriots.) Meanwhile there have been temporary short
formations whilst LM crews are trained on the 319s. The plain white livery is to remain. (Kev Adlam)
STOP PRESS-2]: Midland Metro, St. Paul's - Bull Street (SP 0712 8712) stop (incl.): (BLN 1244.1995)
830m, ROP (former double track section)/OP (beyond that section) expected 08.00 Sun 6 December
2015. A Unimog made the first test run in the early hours of Sat 14 November, then hauled Tram 29
on a clearance run to Bull Street ('the first tram in the city centre for 62 years'). Tram testing under
electric power began on Wednesday morning, 2 December. Trams will arrive at the left hand platform
and depart over the new country end trailing crossover (set into the road) to Wolverhampton until
extended to Grand Central. OP of this section (and the new Snow Hill St. Chad's stop) is now deferred
to 2016, by which time some trams on driver training may not use the Bull Street crossover in service.
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]
Midlands & South West England: Brian Schindler, 15 Sudeley, Dosthill, TAMWORTH, B77 1JR. [email protected]
Northern England & Isle of Man: Graeme Jolley, 3 Laurel Cottages, Rencell Hill, LAXEY, Isle of Man, 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 or 07790652351.
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[email protected] Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Rd, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947.