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23rd September 2017

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Published by membersonly, 2018-04-10 05:59:34


23rd September 2017

Issue Number 1289 (Items 1900 - 1995 I&ssMueRN1u7m1b-eMr 1R216885) (E-BLN 50 PAGES) 23 Sep 2017


Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society - founded 1955

Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677

British Isles news from member7s2; 8a6n7i7nternational section is available.
Opinions herein are not necessaarivlyaitlahbolsee. of the Compilers or the Society.

……………….BLN 1290 is dated Sat 7 Oct;SCoocinettyr.ibSouctiieotny.s must be received by 27 Sep

Date Event and details BLN Lead Status

Sat 23/9/17 SOUTHEASTERN TOUR, Charing Cross (P6): 07.30/19.50 PAY ON THE DAY AVAILABLE

Sun 24/9/17 Llangollen Railway Class 08 track & traction brakevan trips 1288 KA OPEN

Thu 28/9/17 South Wales Valley new track Service Train Tracker III 1285 DC OPEN
Sat 30/9/17 Birmingham New Street PSB visits & possibly other boxes 1286 JE Enquire
7 & 8/10/17 Minor Railways weekend Beds, Bucks and Northampton 1286 JE OPEN
Sat 14/10/17 10.00 Statfold Barn Railway, Tamworth, BLS private tour 1286 JE OPEN

Sat 21/10/17 Morning track & traction tour, Kent & East Sussex Railway TBA TBA Claimed

Sat 21/10/17 14.30 Heaton Park Tramway, Manchester - with new track 1287 JE OPEN
Wed 25/10/17 Morning & afternoon guided Ashover Light Railway walks 1288 JC OPEN

Fri 17/11/17 09.00 West Lancashire Light / 14.00 Windmill Farm Railway 1289 JE *OPEN*

Sat 18/11/17 08.30 Southport Lakeside Miniature Railway 1289 JE *OPEN*

Sat 18/11/17 13.00 Liverpool, Special & 2017 Annual General Meetings 1289 TW *OPEN*

Sat 18/11/17 17.00 - 19.30 (approx) Railway film presentation with buffet 1289 JE *OPEN*

Sun 19/11/17 09.30 - 18.30 Hooton: The Whitechapel Wayfarer railtour 1289 JE *OPEN*

Sat 2/12/17 Reading 08.00-17.00; unusual/new track - London/Westbury TBA TBA Claimed

BC-Barney Clark, DC-David Clark, JE-Jill Everitt, JC-John Cameron, KA-Kev Adlam, NJ-Nick Jones, TW-Tim Wallis.

1900] Statfold Barn Railway, Sat 14 Oct, 10.00-16.00: (MR p24) (BLN 1281.MR87) The Grain Store,
Ashby Road, Tamworth, B79 0BU (SK 241 064) Thanks to Gary Lonsdale, an
exclusive BLS visit to this extensive (over three miles of track!), complex and interesting multi-gauge
location, much changed since our 30 Mar 2014 visit. BLN 1267.MR209 (2 Oct 2016) had a then recent
full track plan (there are additions). The standard 'open day' 2ft gauge route/s with unusual track is
expected (diesel traction with at least one from the Plymouth Locomotive Works in action). Also the
new 3ft gauge electric tramway (Burton & Ashby Tram No14, converted from 3' 6") battery powered
and at least 540yd long, OP 25 Mar 2017. Free parking, no catering, £17.50 (non-members £22.50).
Cheques 'Branch Line Society'. Bookings/queries with email address or SAE to Jill Everitt (back page).

1901] AGM fixtures, talk/buffet & railtour: ONE cheque 'Branch Line Society' or the tour CPA can
be used to pay, please TOTAL carefully and state clearly which events you are booking for and the
full names etc of all persons included! Bookings/queries: Jill Everitt (ON OUR SE TOUR, COACH 'B')
or per back page with email address or SAE, two for acknowledgement. SGM/AGM bookings to the
General Secretary Tim Wallis. You do not have to go to the meeting to go on the fixtures/talk/tour!

ABOVE: Taken at Statfold Barn recently. (Mike Smith via Major Ian Hughes 'Mr Green Dragon')

1902] AGM Weekend, Fri 17 Nov, West Lancashire Light Railway, 09.00-13.00: (BLN 1253.MR53)
(MR p19) Station Rd, Hesketh Bank, PR4 6SP, (SD 448 229). Stagecoach route 2
from Preston bus station 07.53 (arr 08.36) or Southport Lord St, Duke St, 08.11 (arr 08.42). Close to the
former Preston to Southport line (CA 7 Sep 1964) and its Tarleton Halt branch (which CP 1 Nov 1913;
CA Nov 1930). All available lines private running with steam traction at this delightful 2ft gauge line
now in its 50th year; £20 members £25 non-members (with a hot drink). Windmill Farm Railway, 14.00
-16.30: (BLN 1258.1165) (MR p19) Fish Lane, Burscough, L40 1UQ, (SD 427 156). A 750yd (public run)
15" gauge line with rare track at both stations and the sheds beyond (the Lakeview return circuit
remains disconnected long term). Private running, the farm is closed, all available lines, £5 per head.

1903] AGM Weekend, Sat 18 Nov, Lakeside Miniature Railway, Southport 08.30: (BLN 1256.MR82)
(MR p20) Esplanade, PR8 1RX. A 750yd (public run) historic 15" gauge typical
seaside line by the Marine Lake that started operating in 1911. Private running, all available track,
with time to reach the AGM by train £5 per head. The Grade II listed Pier opens at 11.00 (free entry).


13.00, Saturday 18 November 2017, Holiday Inn, Liverpool;
followed at the same location by


Notice is hereby given that a SPECIAL GENERAL MEETING (SGM) and the Society's 2017 ANNUAL
GENERAL MEETING (AGM) will be held at the Holiday Inn, St Johns, Lime Street, Liverpool, L1 1NQ.

[BLN 1289]
The SGM is to consider changes to the Society's Constitution regarding the Committee structure
following the successful changes to BLN printing and distribution and the imminent rollout of the
Society's new website. The AGM will follow. Members are invited to attend, express their views on
these proposals, celebrate our wide provision of unique railway infrastructure-related services and
look forward to further such opportunities in the future.



RESOLUTION 1: The last sentence of Paragraph 6 of the Constitution shall be amended to delete the
Distribution Officer and Assistant Distribution Officer and insert the Bookings Officer and Website
Officer, and it shall read "Ancillary Officers shall be, in alphabetical order, the Bookings Officer,
Publications Officer, Publicity Officer, Sales Officer and Website Officer."

PROPOSED BY Tim Wallis; SECONDED BY Ian Mortimer.

NOTE: This resolution is an amendment to the Constitution and therefore requires a two thirds
majority of the members present to carry.

RESOLUTION 2: Under the provisions of Paragraph 7 of the Constitution, the Standing Orders shall be
amended and under "Officers and Committee Members" paragraph 3, the number of elected
committee places shall be set at 5 (five).

PROPOSED BY Tim Wallis; SECONDED BY Ian Mortimer.

NOTE: This resolution is an amendment to the Standing Orders, as provided for in the Constitution and
therefore requires a majority of more than 50% of the members present to carry.

Your Committee recommends that all members attending the SGM vote in favour of both
resolutions. The two Ancillary Officer posts which have been overtaken by the new distribution
arrangements for paper BLN are the Distribution Officer (DO) and Assistant Distribution Officer (ADO).
Each Office involved a significant workload in relation to each issue of BLN.
With the development of our new website, two key new roles have evolved (and will continue to
evolve as the website is rolled out). New Committee members have been co-opted to these roles, both
of which merit Ancillary Officer status. The Website Officer role has been crucial to the development of
the new website and will have equal importance in relation to its maintenance and future
enhancement. With electronic bookings for fixtures, the Booking Officer will be an essential link both
in relation to the practicality of fixtures bookings, as a member of the Fixtures Team, and in reconciling
the finances of events for the Treasurer.

The amendment to Standing Orders increases the number of elected Committee places from 4 to 5.

For those who pre-register, complimentary hot drinks and cakes will be served at a convenient point
during the SGM / AGM. Members will no doubt welcome details from Kev Adlam of the Society's
extensive future programme of varied events. It is planned that the meetings will conclude by 16.00
but can continue later if necessary. Members wishing to attend the SGM or AGM are requested to
individually confirm their intention to the General Secretary, including whether for both or otherwise,
preferably via e-mail to [email protected] or in writing to the address below.

To ensure that all those likely to attend can be accommodated, notification of intent must be received
by or on Monday 13 November 2017. Special souvenir tickets will be issued on the day when booked
members register. Without this advance booked ticket, you will ONLY be able to access the meeting
venue and will not be entitled to the complimentary catering. Should the capacity of the very large
meeting room be reached, members who do not advance register will regrettably be unable to attend.

[BLN 1289]
The closing date for receipt of items for the AGM agenda, including nominations for all the Officers
listed in the Constitution, plus four or five Committee Members per Standing Orders, as confirmed at
the SGM, and any motions for debate, each duly proposed and seconded, is Saturday 14 October
2017. Separate nominations are required where the posts concerned may be affected by the SGM
resolutions. There are no vacancies this year on either scenario but other nominations are welcome.

Any correspondence about these should be posted to Tim Wallis, General Secretary, 10 Sandringham
Road, STOKE GIFFORD, South Gloucestershire, BS34 8NP to arrive by Saturday 14 October 2017 or via
e-mail as above. Please enclose an SAE if a written acknowledgement is required.

Officers' Reports are due to be circulated in advance with BLN 1291 (dated 21 October 2017), together
with the draft 2016/17 Accounts, allowing members to appreciate these ahead of the AGM. Officers
will not read out these reports at the Meeting but most anticipate being present and available to
answer questions during the relevant agenda items. Please bring these papers along to the AGM.
No copies will be available on the day to avoid wastage and unnecessary expense to your Society.

Apologies for Absence will only be acknowledged where notified to the General Secretary before the
Meeting date. A Final AGM Notice, with detailed agenda, will be issued to members with BLN 1292
(4 November 2017), which will also set out proposed subscription rates for 2017/18. Copies of the
draft 2016 AGM Minutes were supplied with BLN 1270 (3 December 2016).

Mark Gomm, your Sales Officer, plans to provide a sales stand in the meeting room, open for a short
period before the SGM and during designated breaks. Please contact Mark directly (back page) as
soon as possible, and by Friday 10 November at the latest, if you wish him to bring (or order) any
particular items. Fuller access details to the Holiday Inn will be provided in the Final Notice.

1905] AGM Weekend, Sat 18 Nov, 17.00, Film Presentation & Buffet: Chris Totty, a well known
member (since early 1968) is travelling especially from Jersey to present his films after our AGM.
These include a 20 minute film of the Isle of Man from a 1968 holiday (the last year the Peel and
Ramsey steam lines ran), just before the '15 Guinea Special' (11 Aug; BR's final steam passenger
train). The rest will be touring the UK on day trips/railtours which Chris did extensively over the
years. A quality interval buffet is included with a private cash bar. £12.50 per head to cover the cost
of food. Subject to satisfactory progress of the SGM & AGM the presentation should finish by 19.30.

1906] AGM Weekend, Sun 19 Nov, The Whitechapel Wayfarer charity railtour, 09.30-18.30 Hooton:
A booking form is enclosed with this BLN; e-BLN subscribers need to print the CPA please, which can
be used to pay the TOTAL amount for ALL AGM fixtures.

It complements our previous tours,thanks to our Merseyrail friends. At Baker level it includes
Birkenhead North and Kirkdale Depots, James Street to Liverpool Central (Stock Interchange Line)
and Southport Carriage Sidings; on the day surprises are quite possible. Other highlights include
Chester North Jn to Dn Birkenhead, the end of the third rail at Chester P7a, various X/Os at Hooton,
Birkenhead trailing X/O and stabling road (No1), Rock Ferry bay P4, Bidston Stabling Siding (on the
former direct curve from Bidston to Seacombe Jn, towards New Brighton, closed in the 1980s).

Additionally Liverpool Central reversing siding, Hall Road, Marsh Lane, Town Green and Maghull X/Os,
Birkdale Siding No3 & Sandhills Reversing Siding. Profits from the tour go to the Whitechapel Centre,
the leading homeless and housing charity for the Liverpool area. They work with people sleeping
rough, living in hostels or struggling to manage their accommodation. The Centre helps people find
and maintain a home and learn life skills essential for independent living.

X.139] BELOW UPPER AND LOWER: Our 565 Special tour Sat 2 Sep with 565 Railtours and Colas
approaches, then passes, Ferryside while returning from Carmarthen to Carnforth. (John Vaughan)

1289 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart)
1907] Blackburn, Bolton Jn - Bolton (incl) and four intermediate stations: TCP 1 until 4 Sep 2017 (incl),
the regular weekend electrification works closure was extended by Northern strikes on 1 & 4 Sep.

1908] Bolton West Jn - Euxton Jn & 6 stations: (BLN 1288.1828) ROP Tue 5 Sep (TCP since Sat 12 Aug)
for Bolton remodelling, electrification and resignalling works extended by the Moses Gate burst water
main. A Blackpool North to Bolton (P4) service ran, as did Bolton (P1) to Clitheroe via Blackburn.

1909] Lostock Jn - Crow Nest Jn and Westhoughton station and Bolton (excl) - Windsor Bridge North
Jn & 3*/4 intermediate stations: ROP Wed 6 Sep after TCP since Sat 12 Aug 2017, full normal service
resumed between Manchester, Bolton, Blackburn, Wigan Wallgate, Chorley and Preston (ROP delayed
from Mon 28 Aug by the burst water main at Moses Gate station - which initially remained TCP itself).
Bolton P4 then TCA for platform coping stone works, all Preston/Wigan trains then used the new P5.

1910] *Moses Gate station: ROP delayed by burst water main until Mon 11 Sep 2017 (TCP 12 Aug).

1911] Manchester, Collyhurst St Waste Transfer Station: OG 7 Sep 2017, the first GBRf operated train
from the former Miles Platting Tarmac site left at 23.25 with 1,600 tonnes of inert and excavated
waste. Reversal to access/leave the terminal is via Collyhurst Street Siding/s, the start of the former
Oldham Road Goods branch. The site is 'overseen' by GBRf on behalf of Biffa. The first train reached
Roxby Gullet (Scunthorpe) 05.04 next morning. Traffic from Leeds, Whitehall to Roxby is also expected.

1912] Port of Tyne, Silo Bunker 2: (BLN 1281.1048 with plan) First train Wed 13 Sep 2017 with GBRf
66762, new rail biomass loading hopper test. The train did not run on the network as Lynemouth PS
conversion is behind schedule (completion is expected in early Apr 2018). Bunker 1 serves Drax PS.

BELOW: The test train approaches the new bunker for the first time. (Ian Hughes 14 Sep 2017)

ABOVE: The Class 66's front white lights can be seen beneath the new Port of Tyne silo/bunker No2,

looking towards the River Tyne. The coal terminal, reached by our 'Tale of Two Ports' tour in Aug 2016

is top left (mostly out of view). The realigned trackwork for the new silo is evident (BLN 1281.1048 had
an up to date track plan). Silo No1 (serving Drax PS) is out of view, right. (Ian Hughes 14 Sep 2017)

1913] Barking P1 - Barking Station Jn and Woodgrane Park Jn - Gospel Oak P3/Gospel Oak Jn and
10 stations (incl Woodgrange Park): (BLN 1288.1831) TCP/TCA 17 Sep 2017, for electrification works,
expected until 22 Oct 2017. Barking, Tilbury Line Jn West - Woodgrange Park Jn retains c2c services
(SSuBHO) (Liverpool Street - Shoeburyness not calling at Woodgrange Park station). Tottenham South
Jn - South Tottenham East Jn & South Tottenham West Jn - Seven Sisters Jn: remains TCP; last ran on
30 Apr 2016, and has since been temporarily de-wired in the South Tottenham area (BLN 1276.518).

1914] Carlton Rd Jn - Junction Rd Jn; Harringay Park Jn - Harringay Jn and Tottenham S Jn - South
Tottenham E Jn & S Tottenham W Jn - Seven Sisters Jn: TCG/A 17 Sep - 22 Oct 2017 (previous entry).

1915] Dublin Green Line, St Stephen's Green (excl) (16.33km) - Broombridge (21m 88ch) and

13 new stops: (BLN 1288.1880) Provisional OP Thu 7 Dec 2017; the €368M extension is complete and

has been handed over by the contractors to the operator Transdev for driver training

1289 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart)
1916] Rings a bell somewhere: At Huntly and Worcester Foregate Street the local signallers still ring
platform bells to warn station staff of impending arrivals; are there any more on the national network?

1917] Committee Report: Your Committee met in the Advanced Passenger Train (very apt) at Crewe
Heritage Centre on 10 Sep. We are pleased to report that Society membership has been growing by
around 10 new members a month and has reached 1,211 full members. Of these about 700 take
electronic BLN only; the rest take paper BLN and 170 take both (e-BLN and BLN International is free to
all members who take paper BLN). The membership renewal rate this year of 98% is the highest ever.

We are still keen to welcome new and rejoined members; a larger membership base enables us to run
a greater variety of more complicated fixtures such as the HST and LUL tours. It provides a greater
knowledge, contact and information base and future Committee members to run your Society.

The Society's new website is expected to go live in phases over the next month or so (with particular
thanks to Ian Delgado) and will eventually have many new features. These include progressive access
to old BLNs, online fixture bookings and a BLS forum. Our 'Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy'
was approved by the committee and will be available on the new website or (when printed) by post
from Dave Monger (per back page, please send an SAE). There is to be a Society Photographic
Competition. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at our forthcoming Liverpool AGM.

1918] If two heads are better than one….what about three? (BLN 1286.1691) The twin head signal
described at Perth possibly dates from the 1962 resignalling there. In the same era a colour light signal
with three heads, each capable of displaying yellow or green, formed Wigston North Jn Up distant,
south of Leicester. Left to right, at decreasing height, the heads read towards St Pancras, Rugby and
Birmingham. Normally all three displayed yellow, but when one of the (semaphore) home signals at
the junction was cleared, the respective colour light head showed green. The signal thus replicated a
semaphore 'splitting distant' in colour light form. (With full colour light signalling, a single head distant
would have been followed by a junction home carrying a white lights route indicator 'feather'.)
After the Rugby line closed from 1 Jan 1962, the right hand head was abolished and the former central
head then read towards Birmingham. The signal was removed with 1973 remodelling and resignalling.

In 1991 between Southall and Hayes a
Preliminary Route Indicator was provided on a
trial basis. Drivers were instructed to disregard
its indications. It was finally brought in to use in
1997 when Airport Jn was commissioned.
On the approach to Bicester South Jn, for the
Chiltern line to Oxford, an outer splitting
distant signal was introduced in Sep 2015. has much more.

1919] Points & Slips Part 1: ●BLN 1286.1641:
The new Saltburn West Jn layout came into use
Wed 2 Aug 2017 as booked (BLN 1284.1360-63)
rather than 1 Aug which was the last day the
line was closed.

LEFT: Redcar Central Down P2, 1 Aug 2017
when the line was closed south due to the
replacement of Saltburn West Jn. The 'Pacer'
has terminated from the north and will return
on the Down main taking the trailing crossover
north of the station across to the Up line -
a fully signalled move. (Both Graham Parkin).

BELOW UPPER: Through a telephoto lens, the
green signal ahead (right) is for the crossover.

[BLN 1289]
●BLN 1288.1828] The former
South West Trains, as well as
incorporating 'Island Line', also
gave up services to Brighton,
Reading and west of Exeter (to
Paignton and Plymouth). This was
to enhance Waterloo to Exeter
services but more recently they
added services via Yeovil Pen
Mill. ●1840]: With apologies, in
the BLN 1289 Chiltern Day Rover
report, 'Rob' Miebs should, of
course, have been 'Rod' Miebs.

●1847] Control of the Charing Cross lines between the country side of London Bridge station and the
London side of New Cross station was transferred from London Bridge to Three Bridges ROC
(London Bridge Panels 3 &4) on 26 Aug rather than 2 Sep, although they remained under a possession
until the latter date when test train running began. There was no operational signalling until the latter
date but the control point for the area had been Three Bridges ROC since 26 Aug. ●1848] A member
advises from personal observation and Google Earth that the new Engine House Bridge Jn (3m75ch) is
not a reinstatement of Surrey Canal Jn (formerly for Bricklayers Arms) - that was at 4m 06ch and
further east of the East London lines below. There is an Engine House Bridge Viaduct (arch No33) in the
area which may be relevant to the name of the new junction. Engine House Bridge Jn point ends are
immediately east of the bridge over the London Overground line to Queens Road (Peckham) station.

The Southwark Reversible line structure appears to be completely new although may make use of the
old structure foundations. The old Bricklayers Arms branch structure remains derelict between that
point and the site of Surrey Canal Jn. Finally on the East London Line itself 'Canal Jn' where the line
splits for New Cross/New Cross Gate has always been that and was never 'Surrey Canal Jn'.

1920] Branch Line News, abbreviations, abridgements and acronyms: Updated Sep 2017; these are
not used automatically for the sake of it but can save considerable space and assist with formatting.

●0-4-0T, 4wDM etc = Loco wheel arrangements ●CP1 = (NR) Control Period 1 etc.
●1M = One Million (etc) ●DART = Dublin Area Rapid Transit
●AGM = Annual General Meeting ●DfT = Department for Transport
●BH = Bank holiday ●DLR = Docklands Light Railway
●bn = Billion (meaning 1,000 million) ●DMU = Diesel Multiple Unit
●BLN = Branch Line News ●Dn = Down (as in direction of the line)
●BLS = Branch Line Society ●D(P)L = Down (Passenger) Loop etc.
●BR = British Rail(ways) ●e-BLN/E-BLN = Electronic Branch Line News
●c = Circa (or 'about' regarding dates or amounts) ●ECML = East Coast Main Line
●CA = Closed to All traffic ●ECS = Empty Coaching Stock
●CCTV = Closed Circuit TV ●Ed = Editor
●CG = Closed to Goods (freight) traffic ●eg = For example
●ch = chain (22yd, there are 80ch in a mile) ●EMU = Electric Multiple Unit
●CIS = Customer Information System ●excl = exclusive
●Cl 47 = Class 47 locomotive etc ●FS = Fixtures Secretary
●CP = Closed to Passenger traffic ●ft = foot (as in 12")
●CPA = Card Payment Authority (Debit/Credit) ●GF = Ground Frame

●GRIP = Governance for Railway Investment ●P1 = Platform 1 (etc)
……………Projects (See next item 1921 below) ●pa = Per Annum (ie annually)
●GS = General Secretary ●P&P = Postage & Packing
●HS1 = High Speed Line 1 (etc) ●PIS = Passenger Information System
●HST = High Speed Train (Class 43) ●PLC = Public Limited Company
●ie = that is ●PS = Power Station
●IÉ = Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) ●PSB = Power Signal Box
●IECC = Integrated Electronic Control Centre ●PSUL = Passenger Service over Unusual Lines
●IEP = Intercity Express Programme ●RAIB = Rail Accident Investigation Branch
●IET = Intercity Express Train ●RETB = Radio Electronic Token Block
●incl = inclusive etc ●ROA = Reopened to All traffic
●Jn = Junction ●ROC = Rail Operating Centre
●k = thousand ●ROG = Reopened to Goods (freight) traffic
●km = kilometre ●ROP = Reopened to Passenger traffic
●kph = kilometres per hour ●RCTS = Railway Correspondence & Travel Soc
●LC = Level Crossing ●RTT = Real Train Times
●LED = Light Emitting Diode (display/signal) ●S&C = Switches and Crossings
●LOM = (NR) Local Operations Manager ●S&T = Signalling and Telecommunications
●LU(L) = London Underground (Ltd) ●SB = Signal Box, SP = Signal Post (on maps)
●m = metre or mile (according to context) ●SCC = Signalling Control Centre
●M = Million ●SGM = Special General Meeting
●MB = Megabytes (electronic file size) ●SLW = Single Line Working
●MES = Model Engineers Society ●SME = Society of Model Engineers
●Mk1 = Mark 1 (coaches etc) ●STN = Special Traffic Notice
●MOM = (NR) Mobile Operations Manager ●TCA = Temporarily Closed, All traffic
●MP = Milepost ●TCB = Track Circuit Block (signalling)
●mph = miles per hour ●TCG = Temporarily Closed to Goods traffic
●MR = Minor Railway(s) ●TCP = Temporarily Closed to Passengers
●No = Number ●TfGM = Transport For Greater Manchester
●NR = Network Rail ●TfL = Transport For London
●NIR - Northern Ireland Railway/s ●TOC = Train Operating Company
●NRU = Not Regularly Used ●TOOU = Temporarily Out of Use
●OA = Opened to All traffic (O = Opened) ●tph = trains/trams per hour (ie frequency)
●OG = Opened to Goods (freight) traffic ●TROP = Temporary Reopening to Passengers
●OHL = Overhead Line ●UK = United Kingdom
●OLE = Overhead Line Equipment ●VDU = Visual Display Unit (screen)
●OP = Opened to Passenger traffic ●WCML = West Coast Main Line
●OOU = Out Of Use ●WTT = Working Timetable
●ORR = Office of Rail and Road ●X/O= Crossover
●p1 = Page 1 (etc) ●yd = Yard/s (the 3ft or 36 inch type)

Standard abbreviations are used for the main pre-Grouping and pre-Nationalisation railway companies
as well as current TOCs where used in context. DAYS OF THE WEEK with reference to train times:
M=Monday, T=Tuesday, W=Wednesday, Th=Thursday, F=Friday, S=Saturday, Su=Sunday. O=Only
and X=Excepted. A train shown as SO runs Saturdays only; SSuX is Saturdays and Sundays excepted so
the train runs Mondays to Fridays only. Over the years 'weekdays' is ambiguous and may or may not
include Saturdays, so is avoided. As an example: TThX, which is Tuesdays and Thursdays excepted,
means the train/s runs on the other 5 days of the week; define in the shortest way possible (rather
than using MWFSSuO in that case.) DATES: A 'library date stamp' style is used with the year in full (our
interests span several centuries) with the day and month in a three letter format, eg: Sun 29 Feb 2004.

TIMES: 24-hour clock: 20.00 rather than 8pm/2000/20:00, (unless 'am'/'pm' is for historical emphasis).

1921] NR Gets a GRIP: The Governance (formerly Guidance) for Railway Investment Projects is a NR
developed management and control process to deliver operational railway projects (or in a so called
'high street environment'). The current policy (3 Mar 2012) aims to minimise/mitigate risks including
safety and financial. Formal reviews examine projects at critical stages to confirm they can successfully
progress to the next. The 8 stages are 'product' rather than 'process' driven so exclude funding:

(1): Output definition - determine what outcome is intended / required to be achieved?
(2): Feasibility - in terms of practicability, achievability, cost and future viability.
(3): Option selection - the preferred solution (within all the parameters) is chosen.
(4): Single option development - progressing the preferred option.
(5): Detailed design - including time slots, materials, required possessions etc.
(6): Construction, testing and commissioning.
(7): Scheme hand back - to the railway from contractors and/or NR staff.
(8): Project completion. (Stages 1-5 are planning, 6-8 are construction and commissioning.)

1922] Points & Slips Part 2: BLN 1288●1852] The Northern Line 1995 stock was operated by Tube
Lines/LUL, but is now an Alstom Service Provision contract: Northern Line Service Provision Ltd. Alstom
Transport Ltd carry out the maintenance and Golders Green & Morden Traincare Centres. There also
'outbases' at Edgware, High Barnet and Highgate with station fitters based at Kennington and Euston.

●1856] 'Sedburgh' should be Sedbergh. ●1857] On Manchester Metrolink the 'via' displays on the
trams normally automatically disappear at the stop concerned. ●1860] In the pre-August Bolton track
plan the siding behind P4 (the new P5) was lifted some time ago; the area was used as a car park.

●1890] The three e-BLN pictures of Blackpool North were actually taken by Richard Putley rather than
Rob Pritchard. There were several other intermediate signal boxes between Kirkham and Blackpool
North: Bradkirk (closed 21 Sep 1969), Singleton Bank (also closed 21 Sep 1969), Poulton No1 (closed
18 Dec 1977) and Poulton No2 (closed 18 Jun 1971); Weeton OOU since 1985, closed on 25 Jul 1993.

1923] IEP, or not IEP: that is the question: (BLN 1288.1871) IEP is Intercity Express Programme.
Therefore, there is no such thing as a 'Class 802 IEP', which should perhaps be IEP's Class 802?
At first the trains were referred to as 'SET' meaning Super Express Trains. This has clearly failed to
catch on (and reportedly there is nothing 'super' about the train interiors). It seems that 'IET' for
'Intercity Express Train' is gaining favour generally so will be used in BLN in future.

1925] More Station Statue Figures: (BLN 1288.1841)  Falkirk High: 'Antonine', the legendary engine,
marks the 150th anniversary of the Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway in 1992. It looks like painted steel,
rather than bronze, and could well be made of bits and pieces of railway scrap.  Gerrards Cross has a
Victorian railway navvy statue.  Cannon Street: In Sep 2011 a seven foot tall plumber's apprentice
was unveiled marking completion of the station renovation and the 400th anniversary of the granting
of the Plumbers' royal charter. A connection is that Plumbers' Hall was compulsorily purchased in 1863
for the expansion of Cannon Street station.  Leicester: Thomas Cook, founder of modern tourism,
stands outside the station. It commemorates his first excursion in 1841 from Leicester Campbell Street
station (the site is under the present station) to…. wait for it…. Loughborough.

 Chesterfield: George Stephenson is outside the station entrance.  St Pancras International:
Additional to the Betjeman statue there is a 9m tall Lovers' Statue of a couple embracing.  Euston:
Matthew Flinders and Trim the cat, not to forget Robert Stephenson outside.  Basingstoke: Statues
of two men with bent poles (don't ask!) are across the road outside the station.  Waterloo: Terence
Cuneo (mouseless).  South Kensington Béla Bartók outside; the Hungarian composer regularly
stayed nearby.  Edgware Road: A window cleaner carrying a small ladder looks, incredulously at
'Capital House', a tall glass faced office block. Capital House set the sculptor's remit to produce a
statue 'expressing a wry sense of humour' - he certainly succeeded!  Baker Street: What's on? -
I detect a Sherlock Holmes statue outside.

1924] East Coast Main Line: NR expected to complete platform lengthening at Durham (P1 by 35m),
Northallerton (P2 by 17m) and Stevenage (P1 & 2 by 18m and P3 & 4 by 11m) for the longer Intercity
Express Trains (IET) in mid-September which met the (ORR set) regulated milestone for the project.

1926] Thank You! To the anonymous person who kindly specially posted a Caledonian Sleeper
'sleep-over kit' to the Editor as a prize for one of our railtour charity raffles. We are always pleased
to receive suitable items for prizes - particularly railway related. They can be passed to Committee
members on fixtures to save postage. Every raffle prize is donated - thank you - and a member even
donates all the tickets, so every single penny goes to the nominated good cause/s.

X.140] LEFT: The chronic shortage
of DMUs on GWR has become so
bad that a wide range of options is
under investigation. The GWR
Managing Director Mark Hopwood
has the task well in hand (with the
assistance of his granddaughter)
when spotted by a BLS super
sleuth recently. Unfortunately, this
prototype failed to make the cut
because the seats were too
comfortable. (Bernard Gudgin).

1289 EAST MIDLANDS (John Cameron)
1927] Robin Hood Line: (BLN 1252.450) Local MPs met the Transport Secretary on 5 Sep to promote
ROP of the Shirebrook to Ollerton line. It would link to employment sites at the former Welbeck and
Thoresby collieries and could boost tourism in Sherwood Forest. Stations are planned at Warsop and
Edwinstowe on the previous station sites, and 'tucked' in at a new location in Ollerton. Notts County
Council has spent £200,000 on feasibility studies. A DfT spokesman said that consultation on the
extension is part of the East Midlands franchise renewal, with a decision expected in October.

1928] Cleethorpes' Time is Up: (BLN 1275.380) By 03.00 on 16 Aug the Grade II listed station clock had
been lifted (legally!) by a large crane to be taken to Hull for repair. It is expected to be reinstated by
the New Year. NR originally planned to have the clock repaired in situ. However, (horror of horology)
its condition turned out to be much worse than expected, with significant rot [any death 'watch'
beetles?]. The timepiece has occupied its dominant position on Cleethorpes' skyline since 1884 and
has recently been shrouded in scaffolding and cling film like wrap while work is carried out.

1929] Sleaford: (BLN 1285.1476) The station footbridge recently re-opened after refurbishment and
the temporary one has gone. Level access from P1 to P2/3 is still via the west end barrow crossing (an
increasingly rare feature), with staff supervision under signalman control. Architects CPMG's website
shows plans for a new pedestrian and cycle bridge with stairs and ramps over the railway at Sleaford
station east end. It is not connected to the platforms and is mainly intended for use when the crossing
barriers are down. There appears to be enough clearance for 'potential' electrification of the line!!

1930] Spoiling Killingholme: (BLN 1288.1829) Traffic has built up quickly; two sets of wagons now
make four round trips in 24 hours SSuX (two SO) each carrying 1,600 tonnes of spoil from Kellingley
Colliery site. Timekeeping is good; most run via Doncaster North Chord (we knew it would come in
useful one day apart from railtours) some use Applehurst Jn to Joan Croft Jn spur, particularly at night.

1931] Going round the bend with Richard? On Sun 10 Sep the Attenborough Jn to Meadow Lane Jn
and Toton South Jn 'Attenborough Curve' was successfully traversed by a member. This was on the
PSUL, SuO 15.12 Nottingham to Leeds. The P1 departure (the normal platform for services via
Radford) didn't look very hopeful, but the train then took line 'B' to Mansfield Jn, crossed to the Up
Nottingham Fast (a nice microgricing opportunity!). Next it was past Beeston South Jn to Attenborough
Jn, taking the Down Attenborough Curve to the Down High Level Goods at Meadow Lane Jn. The Down
Erewash Slow was followed to Trowell South Jn to resume the normal Down Erewash Fast route at
Trowell North Jn. This reminds us that, on 19 Oct 1987, BR issued closure notices for the Mansfield Jn
to Trowell Jn via Radford Jn line with passenger trains diverted to run via Meadow Lane Jn instead.
The Transport Users Consultative Committee even held the usual 'public hearing'. Ironically the line
was TCA after a significant MGR coal train derailment severely damaged Trowell Jn on 1 Sep 1988.

1289 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett)

ABOVE: Richmond Sun 17 Sep during engineering work; the points and ground signal are set for the
11.37 to Waterloo to depart from P1 over the London end trailing crossover ahead. (John Cameron)
1932] Beam Park: (BLN 1236.1250) Plans have been submitted to Barking & Dagenham and Havering
Councils for 2,900 new homes, two primary schools and other facilities, on former Fords land, to be
served by a new station between Dagenham Dock and Rainham. ('Romford Recorder')

1933] Crossrail: (BLN 1288.1845) On 13 Sep it was noted that track was being laid on the new Up
Electric Line alignment south of its previous alignment and the Crossrail tunnel portal by Pudding Mill
Lane station. Commissioning and associated signalling changes were due to take place from 18 Sep.
This sounds like an imminent and significant new route for trains from Stratford to Liverpool Street on
the Electric lines, with Crossrail services between the Up and Down added after the tunnels open. Near
Paddington in the Royal Oak area the temporary (contractors') track in the yard alongside the GWML
has been lifted preparatory to the laying of the permanent connections to the Crossrail tunnel.
(ABOVE: On 29 Aug the temporary connection at Royal Oak was already out of use - Stuart Hicks.)
On 15 Sep the 'final section' of nearly 32 miles of permanent Crossrail track was laid (at Whitechapel).

1934] Croydon Tramlink: TfL is consulting on going 'cashless' with the removal of ticket machines at
tram stops, as they are nearly life-expired and average sales are less than 250 tickets a day (0.3% of
the total). The single fare from a machine is £2.60, but £1.50 with an Oyster or contactless bank cards.

1935] Farringdon: (BLN 1274.261) Plans for new sidings on the formation of the City Widened Lines, to
be known as Farringdon City Sidings, are being developed. Work should start in Mar 2018 for
Dec 2019 completion. Double track will be extended from the recently laid junction to Moorgate, with
scissors crossovers in the platform area at Barbican and a train's length west of Moorgate. For ease of
access, trains will be stabled partly adjacent to platforms; four at Barbican and four at Moorgate, two
in the platforms and two just beyond. There will be a return to the stabling of trains in Moorgate P3/4.
In an emergency it will be possible to also stable two trains at the Farringdon tunnel mouth. Scheduled
stabling will only be for 'S7' trains, but it will be possible to accommodate 'S8's. ('Underground News')
It will create an interesting new route. Farringdon Jn - (Smithfield Jn) - Moorgate P5 &6 (0m 62ch)
CP 23 Mar 2009 as a NR route and Farringdon P3 Thameslink southern extension later blocked it.

BELOW: (BLN 1285.1464) One of the two Mail rail passenger trains on the first morning of public
running, Mon 4 Sep 2017. It is actually parked in the siding with just the green train in use. Naturally
our Society was represented to keep us 'posted' from this most 'pleasant' location. (Stuart Hicks).

1936] Leigham Spur: (BLN 1288.1849) 'Gensheet' records show that the spur was used in Jul and Aug
2001 for three weekends; this may have been its previous all-day use unless anyone knows otherwise.

1937] Rayners Lane: (BLN 1286.1633) 'Underground News' reports that on 29/30 Jul the electro-
pneumatic trailing crossover, with spring toggle points at the London end, on the Metropolitan Line at
Rayners Lane Jn was replaced by electric-powered 'Surelock' points. The diamond crossover at the
junction was also replaced. Further work is scheduled for the weekend of 23/24 Sep.

1938] Hampton Court: (Well, only just outside GL) To indicate how tightly timed Waterloo services
are: On 12 Sep the guard of the 17.24 service to Waterloo snapped off their 'BR1' key in a sliding door
at Wimbledon; fortunately they had a spare key elsewhere on the unit so could still close the doors
and depart. Interestingly it left just 6 minutes late but the knock on effect involved 163 trains; two
services were cancelled, two partially cancelled and stunningly 1,956 minutes of delay accrued.
It could have been much worse though, at least the guard didn't get his Hampton caught in the doors.

1939] Waterloo: (BLN 1288.1851) There were further problems with the diversion of Southeastern
(SE) services into the former International platforms. Having been thwarted by their re-diversion to
Blackfriars on 29 Aug, a member tried again on 31st. Despite signalling problems at Lewisham,
SE trains were running and he caught the 10.27 to Tonbridge (arriving late at 10.24 and departing
10.30 from P21). It was routed as booked via Denmark Hill (brief stop to set down the pilotman) and
Lewisham, then the slow to fast crossover before Grove Park. The return run was more eventful.

Approaching Nunhead it was announced that there were signalling problems at Vauxhall and that the
train would be diverted. It then ran via Loughborough Junction, called at Elephant & Castle P3 to set
down, and terminated at Blackfriars bay P3, arriving six minutes before its scheduled time at
Waterloo! Undaunted he rushed over to Cannon Street and caught a Tunbridge Wells train, which
used the Slow Line all the way to Orpington, calling at all stations. Alighting at Sevenoaks, he caught
the next Waterloo train back, which did run successfully to P21 again. In both directions, the route to
Nine Elms Jn was on the Windsor Reversible. There were further diversions to Blackfriars on 1 Sep
because of a signal failure at Waterloo. After the SE diversions, the entrance to P20-24 from the main
concourse was closed and the access to P20 (which remains in regular use SSuX) via P19 reinstated.

1940] …..And finally: On 13 Sep the National Rail website reported 'a large branch on P1 at Tulse Hill' -
sadly this wasn't an interesting new line for us to do but the result of high winds from Storm Aileen.

1289 NORTH EAST (Geoff Blyth)
1941] Saltburn: A traveller had perceived from previous visits, reports and the rust that P2 (on the R
facing the buffer stops) is rarely used. 'Realtime Trains' (RTT) also shows all services using P1. On Mon
11 Sep he had time to spare at Eaglescliffe so caught the 15.46 Pacer to Saltburn to view the new
Saltburn West Jn layout. To his surprise and delight it terminated in Saltburn P2 and, after a quick
turnaround, departed as the 16.30 to Bishop Auckland, with a bonus of a call at British Steel Redcar.
RTT wrongly showed it using P1 for arrival and departure. Does anybody know if this is booked or
maybe a fluke? Another member also arrived and left from P2 on 24 Aug, other moves on the indicator
then were also shown as P2. Both platforms are former bays. The original P1 'through' platform, north
of the present P1, has been obliterated by Sainsburys supermarket. It ran through a typical NER train
shed to terminate under a porte-cochère at the rear of the former Zetland Hotel, to enable luggage to
be unloaded there direct from trains. There was also a hotel entrance at the end of the platform.

BELOW: Saltburn, former P1 and back entrance for rail passengers and luggage to the Zetland Hotel, a
Stockton & Darlington Railway Hotel! Sold off by British Transport Hotels in 1976 it closed about 1984
and was converted into luxury apartments known as 'The Zetland'. (Angus McDougall 16 Jul 1977)

NEXT PAGE TOP: Hurst Platform, Ashington 10 Jun 1967, SLS/MLS tour with three NCB coaches on the
right, the main tour (which started at Huddersfield is on the BR section left). (Both Angus McDougall)

NEXT PAGE LOWER: Another view at the same location in the opposite direction, NCB train left in Hirst
Platform (there were actually two as evident) and the loco has run round. The BR train is to the right.

To Alnmouth BR/Network Rail
N Passenger (current & former)
Colliery lines
Closed pre-1986

Butterwell DP Ellington
Linton Colliery


1 Potland Jn To Lynemouth
Lane LC Potland Burn DP
New Moor LC
Drift Mine

Ashington Ashington To Lynemouth
Colliery No 1 Loop SB
To Morpeth
To Newbiggin

1 Butterwell Jn Ashington Stat oi n
2 Linton Opencast To Bedlington
DP : Disposal Point


ABOVE: Plan thanks to Dave Cromarty to show general locations and lines (not the fine detail).

1942] Butterwell Jn - Butterwell Disposal Point - Potland Burn Disposal Point - Ashington: (See plan)
A 'potted' history of the Butterwell Light Railway (BLN 1202.165). The Ashington Colliery Co opened a
line northwards to Linton Colliery (NZ 262 914) about 1895. A branch from Potland Jn (NZ 263 906) to
Ellington Colliery (NZ 283 917) followed in 1909. The company ran an intensive 'Paddy' train passenger
for miners from Hirst Platform Ashington (NZ 272 880), in the middle of the triangle of NCB lines north
of the Blyth & Tyne station, to both Linton and Ellington as it was not thought worthwhile building
many houses around these collieries. See for timetables, maps and pictures.

A 24-hour, daily service was operated, with about 100 trains each weekday, 70 on Saturdays and 45 on
Sundays. These were available to the general public until just after the coal industry was nationalised
on 1 Jan 1947, when the system became the property of the National Coal Board. With many coal
trains running via Ashington, the intensive passenger service and NER/LNER trains having running
powers over the system, it became necessary after WWI to double the main line and introduce
absolute block working. Due to the volume of traffic the boxes were open 24 hours a day, 7 days a
week and a new loco shed was opened at Ashington in 1923. The passenger service, steam worked to
the end, was replaced by contract buses on 16 May 1966. In 1965 SSuX 95 trains still ran with 43 SO.

In 1943 a line was opened from Potland Jn to Linton Opencast Site (NZ 257 914). In 1956 a line due
west from Potland Jn to Longhirst Drift Mine (NZ 244 901), close to the ECML but not connected to it,
opened but CA 22 Mar 1969. On 10 Jun 1967 an SLS/MLS tour covered the
system, using three NCB coaches. (Two pictures of the tour taken by Angus McDougal are earlier.)

Potland Jn to Linton Colliery CA 27 Sept 1969 and New Moor LC (where the line crossed the A1068
north of Ashington) to Ellington Colliery CA 3 Aug 1970. The track was not lifted until the late 1970s.
South of New Moor LC stayed in use, part of the Ashington system.

In the Butterwell scheme Stage 1, the line between New Moor LC and a loading point named Linton,
probably at the former Linton Opencast Site, was ROG 29/30 Jan 1977 (BLNs 324 p110 & BLN 337 p3)
by BR. The track south of New Moor LC was refurbished and BR was granted running powers between
Ashington and New Moor. In Butterwell Stage 2, the line between Potland Jn and a location about
1 mile west of Linton Lane LC on the former Longhirst Drift Mine branch ROG 13 Apr 1977, part of the
eastern access to Butterwell Opencast Disposal Site, known as the Butterwell Colliery South Branch.

The section west of the above location was an entirely new line. The line may not have carried any
traffic for a few months as the 'Butterwell Bunker Loading Facility', as it was termed, was not
commissioned until Tue 29 Nov 1977. On this date the new Butterwell Colliery North Branch between
Butterwell Jn on the ECML (controlled by Longhirst SB) and Butterwell Opencast Disposal Site, OG.
The loading facilities may not have been brought fully into use until 5 Dec 1977 (BLN 340 p32), when
Potland Jn - Linton loading point CA. The single line between Ashington NCB No1 Loop SB and Signal B6
at the south east end of the Butterwell layout, and between Butterwell Jn and Signal B1, at the north
west end of the layout, were worked in accordance with the Track Circuit Block regulations for single
lines. It was originally planned to take coal out via Ashington but, following a collision there, it was
decided to operate the 'Butterwell Light Railway'as the two branches were collectively known,
unidirectionally; empty wagons came in via Ashington and full trains departed via Butterwell Jn.Coal
to Lynemouth PS etc then had a 17 mile circuitous route (2½ miles as the crow flies) with a reversal at
Bedlington; another problem was repeated vandalism of level crossing and signalling equipment.

In 1978 coal production was expected to increase to 1M tons per year. However, there were capacity
problems. BLN 522 p238 (Sep 1985) stated that only one train could be dispatched towards Ashington
every two hours due to loading and line capacity problems. This implies that unidirectional running
had been abandoned then but the writer has no information on when this may have happened.
Ashington Colliery and Washery were expected to close (and did on 29 Jan 1988); coal from Butterwell
and Widdrington opencast sites was then to go by road to a new Lynemouth washery. As it was, only a
month later, Northumberland CC considered issuing an enforcement notice against the NCB, which
was sending 1,000 lorries a week from Butterwell to Blyth Power Station and the Port of Blyth, when
the planning consent stipulated a maximum of 150. The NCB blamed inadequate railway capacity.

In Mar 1987 the Ashington Colliery rail system closed and BR took over the line between Butterwell
and Ashington from British Coal, the successor to the NCB. On 2 Apr 1989 the line was traversed by
the Institution of Mining Engineers' North East Area railtour from Newcastle (09.00/17.00). This was
the first in the outstanding series of such tours organised by our former member and Vice President,
the late Chris Boyle and thought to be the first tour over the new line. It visited Lynemouth Colliery,

Tyne Coal Terminal (still open), Westoe Colliery, Wearmouth Colliery (now the 'Stadium of Light',
Sunderland FC's ground!), Hawthorn Preparation Plant, Dawdon Rapid Loading Bunker, Easington
Colliery and Seaham Colliery. [Your Regional Editor wrote the itinerary so was seated in the First Class.
His lack of knowledge of the locomotives of Vincent Raven, Chief Mechanical Engineer of the NER until
1922, did not go down well with the man sat next to him - the former Director of the NCB NE Area!].

Coal traffic to Blyth ceased via Butterwell Light Railway during the mid-1990s. The last known train
was the 'Blyth Spirit III' railtour on 10 Sep 1994 and the line was later severed at New Moor LC. In May
2009 planning permission was granted for a new Potland Burn Opencast Coal Site, with a rail loading
point (NZ 262 900), north of New Moor LC. Coal extraction commenced in Jul 2010, reopening the line
from Butterwell to buffer stops just north of New Moor LC. Traffic ceased between Butterwell Jn and
Potland Burn 1 Apr 2015. The initial section, Butterwell Jn to Butterwell Disposal Point, with traffic to
Ratcliffe Power Station, ROG 27 Apr 2015. Potland Burn coal traffic resumed (possibly 18 May 2015),
up to four trains a week to Ratcliffe PS. However, this did not last very long mainly due to doubling of
the carbon tax on coal. As at 5 Jul 2015 traffic from Butterwell to Ratcliffe consisted of one train a
week. The last train documented in the 'Freightmaster' system was 6M26 Potland Burn to Ratcliffe on
6 Nov 2015. Train paths were still shown in the system in spring 2016 but not since then. Although
disconnected at the Ashington end, the line was still in situ north of the junction there in Jul 2017 but
partly dismantled south of Potland Burn stop blocks (as shown in TRACKmaps Vol 2 p23C - Oct 2016).

In Jul 2016 Northumberland CC Strategic Planning Committee approved plans by Banks Mining for a
large new Druridge Bay opencast site (BLN 1264.1737). Some output would go by rail from Butterwell,
also owned by Banks. The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 'called-in' the
application. A Public Inquiry was held in Newcastle (31 May to 21 Jun 2017) and a decision is awaited.

1289 NORTH WEST (Graeme Jolley)
1943] Wennington: On Fri 15 Sep there had been severe flooding between here and Carnforth.
Overnight part of the embankment was washed away around the abutment of Bridge 18 (4m 66ch),
Browns Creep underbridge (SD 5593 7418). The 05.41 Skipton (leaving 28 minutes late) to Lancaster
terminated at Wennington (45 minutes late) at 07.11 for an onward bus connection. It had worked
'single line' with a pilotman from Settle Jn and then formed the 07.31 (on time) back to Leeds - as the
unit normally would on its return from Lancaster. Double track is retained between the single lead
Settle Jn and Carnforth, each track is now just one 15-mile long signalling section with no crossovers.
Settle Junction signal box controls from there until 7ch short of Carnforth Station Junction signal box.

40 tonnes of 'draining stone' was placed in the void by 08.44 but this was insufficient and an additional
80 tonnes was requested. The 08.18 Leeds to Morecambe and 10.17 to Heysham Harbour similarly
terminated at, and returned from, Wennington. By 12.36 a dispute had arisen with the relevant
landowner, work stopped and a Land Agent was requested to mediate. However, enough work had
been completed to enable the line to reopen normally at 12.45 with a 5mph emergency speed
restriction over the bridge. Pilotman working was withdrawn at 14.38 and by 15.30 (after a train had
been observed over the bridge concerned) the emergency speed restriction was eased to 20mph.

The 13.16 Leeds to Morecambe ran through but was held at Settle Jn for 20 minutes waiting for the
14.14 (with the pilotman) from Wennington to clear the line - they normally pass each other on the
double track. Those involved should be commended for running (rather than just cancelling) all these
trains. An 11.02 Carnforth - York light engine was diverted, reaching Church Fenton 42 minutes early.

X.141] Bolton: BELOW TOP LEFT: The reopened Bolton P5 (long enough for a Pendolino eventually?)
looking north towards Preston and Wigan Wallgate. TOP RIGHT: Looking south towards Manchester.
BELOW LEFT: P4 is closed temporarily; all Preston/Wigan services use P5 (the far side of the island),
looking towards Manchester. BELOW RIGHT: A southbound DMU on P3. (All John Cameron Sep 2017.)

1289 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA) (Julian James)
1944] Sheringham: (BLN 1280.974) Steps are being taken to improve connections between buses and
trains here. A meeting with the operators concerned, Sanders Coaches and Greater Anglia discussed a
report by Sheringham resident David Hurdle and Holt resident James Thomson showing that most
trains arriving at Sheringham do not have a good connecting bus to Holt. Similarly buses from Holt do
not always provide a good connection onto trains at Sheringham. James Thomson stated: 'We just
wanted to see whether one of the three buses per hour between the two towns could be tweaked to
provide a better connection. No change to bus frequency was proposed.' Director of Sanders Coaches,
Charles Sanders said: 'Of course we want to provide better connections where we can and I will
consider this as part of any future changes. Our difficulties are to not inconvenience existing bus
travellers in trying to achieve this.' Greater Anglia (GA) MD Jamie Burles has said that GA will always do
all it can to optimise integrated transport. A new Integrated Transport Manager is being appointed the
next few months who can champion and develop such partnerships. At a meeting between David
Hurdle and the operators on 18 July it was agreed that the possibility of providing better connections
would be investigated with a view to implementation, if feasible, in 2018. This would include through
train and bus tickets as already available on the King's Lynn to Cromer 'Coasthopper' buses in Norfolk.

1945] Harwich Town: (BLN 1288.1863) There is a very significant reminder of the train ferry traffic; the
train ferry berth. 'Train Ferries of Western Europe' (P Ransome-Wallis) records that the terminal
equipment, link-spans, their machinery and the jetties, were purchased from the Government.
The Southampton 120ft link-span and the Richborough gantry (originally built for military traffic -
Southampton to Dieppe and Richborough to Calais/Dunkerque) near the end of WWI were installed at
Harwich. A plaque at Harwich records that the train ferry operated 1924-1987, except during WWII.

ABOVE: The Grade II listed Harwich train ferry berth in Oct 2004. (Julian James)

The structure was Grade II listed in 1987, the listing description: 'Gantry tower for train ferry.
Fabricated 1916. For War Office at Richborough. Erected on present site 1923 by LNER. Steel girder
construction clad with steel sheet; timber piling and fenders. Two steel towers with raked supports
with a covered-in machinery platform and cabin spanning between them at high level. A girder
platform of two rail tracks width, hinged at its landward end is suspended from the gantry and is
adjusted according to the state of tide. HISTORICAL NOTE: The gantry is the earliest cross-channel train
ferry terminal in England. At Richborough a daily through train ran supplying Allied armies in WWI.'

1946] Manningtree: (BLN 1264.1750) Beyond ground clearance there was little visible progress by
early September on the intended new maintenance depot. The site is on the Down (northwest) side,
just north of Manningtree North Jn, and hardly seems long enough. The main line starts to climb here
while the depot site remains level, so it would appear that rail access will be from the London end.

1947] Taking Stock: It is reported that the new rolling stock (longer and more of it than now), ordered
to eventually replace all existing Greater Anglia TOC trains, requires 14km of sidings to accommodate
it. Matters are made worse by the 'overlap' period as new trains arrive while the present ones remain
in use during commissioning testing and crew training. Then the existing stock needs to be disposed
of/stored - it cannot just be cut up as recycling is now mandatory. (More power to preservationists!)

1948] Culham: The owners of the original magnificent Tudor Revival design Grade II* listed Culham
ticket office building (on the former now disused London end section of Up P1) have written to the
RCTS Thames Valley branch, saying that in 2019 they plan to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the
station. It OP 12 Jun 1844 as 'Abingdon Road' along with Appleford* when the Didcot to Oxford line
opened. It became Culham on 2 Jun 1856 when the Abingdon branch OP. has
historical information and photographs of Culham designed to celebrate the historic building with
plans to celebrate the anniversary. The present owners are happy to welcome visitors by appointment.
(*Appleford CP Feb 1849 but ROP as 'Appleford Halt' on 11 Sep 1933 - a period when the GWR opened
many such halts to try and stimulate traffic. BR dropped Appleford's 'Halt' suffix from 5 May 1969.)

1289 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James)
1949] Longcross: This station (OP 1942 - a clue) is between Virginia Water and Sunningdale. Of note it
is one of very few stations without road access. No trains call at weekends, and the Monday to Friday
service is limited to six morning trains to Reading, another at 13.35 and two in the evening. There are
two morning trains to Waterloo, another at 13.16 and six in the evening (prior to 21 May 2007, when
the service increased 400%, only two trains called each way SSuX). Unsurprisingly the platforms, which
take 8 coaches, were not lengthened as part of the recent scheme on the line. A de facto footpath runs
along the south side of the railway, and immediately beyond that is a heavily fenced establishment.

[BLN 1289]
ABOVE LEFT: 1959 1" OS map shows the remote 'Halt' well, but not the MoD establishments in the
'white triangle' to the south. ABOVE RIGHT: The M3 now runs bottom left/top right ©Ordnance Survey.

The only station exit leads directly on to the path; straight ahead is a dauntingly guarded gate. When
visited on 5 Sep the right-hand (eastward) path was blocked off, apparently temporarily, despite
having a good concrete surface. Thus the only escape to civilisation lay along the unsurfaced westward
path (see modern map), which soon curves and joins a road leading southward between the security
fence and Chobham Common nature reserve towards a roundabout on the B386. Several people from
the mysterious establishment† were emerging to join the evening trains, and a clue to its function may
perhaps lie in an addition underneath several of the platform nameboards: 'Welcome home'.

†It was a 1942 built MoD tank factory/ test track, latterly part of QinetiQ, a wing of the UK government
agency Defence Evaluation & Research Agency - privatised in Jun 2001. It became Longcross Film
Studios (200 acres) in Jun 2006. The passenger figures make interesting reading: ●2011/12: 12,300
●2012/13: 5,086 ●2013/14: 10,044 ●2014/15: 8,960 and ●2015/16: 16,058 (about 7 per train). The
film studio activity explains the seesawing; during filming additional trains [would they be 'extras'?]
make unadvertised stops. 2015/16 season tickets made up 25%, mostly from the London direction (?).

Finally the developers of Longcross Business Park, in their website, advertise that the park has 'its very
own station with trains running every half an hour to London and Reading' - true, but most don't stop!

1289 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon)
1950] Bristol TM goes west…: P13/15 has been extended at the country end by about one vehicle
length to accommodate the longer 2 x 5-car IETs compared to an HST. This does not appear to have
needed changes to P13 track or buffers and HSTs appear to stop at their previous stopping point.
Bath Spa Up platform (country end) is being extended onto the river bridge also to accommodate IETs.

1951] A live wire from Bristol Parkway! Balfour Beatty has been selected by NR to electrify the line
between Bristol Parkway and Cardiff (the Severn Tunnel had Furrer+Frey's Rigid Overhead Conductor
Rail System installed last year). In what looks likely to be the final stage of wiring the Great Western
(or anywhere else!) in the immediate future, Balfour Beatty will electrify 40 route miles. The contract
award followed a four month period with contractor involvement to achieve an agreed level of scope,
programme and cost. The main works are scheduled to commence this month (Sep) with completion
expected towards the end of 2018. During peak construction the project will employ over 300 people.

1952] On all fours at Filton Abbey Wood: (BLN 1282.1181) The reinstated fourth track will be towards
Patchway; P1 is to be extended by 9m and island P2 & 3 by 18m all at the Bristol TM end with removal
of their ramps. The P3 north end ramp is being removed due to track realignment. The new P4 on the
west side is the same length as the revised P3 and exactly opposite to it, with a width mostly similar to
P1. At the north end it widens out on the embankment side to accommodate a new waiting shelter the
footbridge stairs and its ramp. Some impressive embankment retaining concrete blocks and walls are
shown on the plans, particularly to the north! Meanwhile at Stapleton Road the trackless section of
the metal viaduct has recently been removed (its condition was one reason BR reduced the line from
four to two tracks from 20 Feb 1984). A replacement structure is due to be installed next year.

1953] Newton Abbot: For those needing Newton Abbot East Jn facing and West Jn trailing crossovers
(Up P3 in the Down, westbound direction), the Down 'Night Riviera' 23.45 (SX) Paddington to Penzance
is booked to do them. For more sociable hours try: 12.05 (SSuX) Paddington to Penzance, 13.07 (SSuX)
Edinburgh to Plymouth, 18.05 (SuX) Manchester Piccadilly to Plymouth, 19.03, 19.45 & 20.35 (all SSuX)
Paddington to Plymouth or 19.57 (SuO) Paddington to Plymouth. All subject to punctuality of course.

1954] Poole: The Country end sidings have seen rare use recently by Rail Operations Group Class 47
locos hauling pairs of Class 442 EMUs from storage at Ely (Potters), running round on their way back to
Bournemouth depot. The ever popular 'Wessex' units are understood to be receiving attention
(presumably at the depot) before being returned to traffic for the new South West Railway TOC (SWR).

1289 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler)

[BLN 1289]
X.142] ABOVE: Wed 20 Sep and the Orange Army is at work on Britain's next 'newest' network
semaphore; starting signal 'SH10' at Worcester Shrub Hill P1 London end, looking towards Norton Jn.
Shrub Hill signal box is on the right - it will be a short pull! The signal is due to be commissioned on
Thur 28 Sep at 05.00. It is being moved 51yd closer to London and moved to the left hand side, to
accommodate 10-car (2x5-car) IETs (Intercity Express Trains). Two 'Off' indicators will be provided on
the platform. The Worcester area is being gradually 'resignalled by stealth' (LEDs are appearing, new
point rodding runs and signal wires, signals have been repositioned and some semaphores have been
refurbished). All the wires and the point rodding in the picture are new. The 'rodders' are currently re-
doing the Worcester Tunnel Jn area. (Alex Stewart who said never to let signallers pull your leg…)

1955] Chase Line: The extended Aug line closure allowed major electrification works. Existing OHL was
replaced south of Walsall; north 2.8km of track was relaid and track realigned at several locations.
Stanchion piling foundations, and the rest of the stanchions and gantries, were erected for OHL to be
installed next year. EMUs are due to run in passenger service from 9 Dec 2018, releasing DMUs for the
Shrewsbury - Birmingham and Nuneaton - Leamington Spa lines, including the new Kenilworth service.

1956] Kenilworth: On 11 Sep trailing points were to be provided (106m 42ch) in the Down Kenilworth
line; with the previously installed points in the Up line; they will form 'Foundry Wood Jn' - a crossover.

1957] Midland Metro: The Edgbaston and the Westside area extensions have been approved after a
£59.8M funding pledge from the DfT to make up the £149M required. Five new stops will be served by
up to 10tph in the peak when the 2km extension from Grand Central to Edgbaston opens (Mar 2021).

1958] Beeline: (16 Sep) Down Stour Signal NS351 at 5m 57ch has been restricted to displaying a
double yellow aspect. This is due to bees nesting in Signal NS365 on the Down Stour at Dudley Port.
Birmingham New Street PSB is the usual hive of activity, but no one has had a bee in their bonnet.

1289 YORKSHIRE & NORTH HUMBERSIDE (Graeme Jolley; Geoff Blyth for North & East Yorks)
1959] Sheffield Supertram: On Sun 17 Sep a Citylink 'tram train' [since when was Rotherham a city?]
was to make timetabled trips, the first with the public, over all the Blue and Yellow routes additional to
the normal service. Donations for Sheffield Children's Hospital Charity were requested instead of fares.

1960] A Message from Geoff Blyth: I originally offered to help cover, if required, the North East
region purely because I have plenty of information on the North Eastern Railway, but not much on
others. However, Paul's 'bedside manner' somehow persuaded me to do it on a permanent basis!
Mindful of Graeme Jolley's workload I later agreed to add North and East Yorkshire, being solidly
NER territory (after it absorbed the Hull & Barnsley!). Although the North East is one of the smallest
UK regions and has a thin railway network these days, I am pleased to have been able to provide
items for every BLN since taking up the post. Living 250 miles away from the region now, I am not in
a position to monitor changes on the ground, so would greatly appreciate reports and information
from any members living in, and travelling around, the area. Some of you may have noticed I wrote
an historical item on the Pilmoor to Malton line, which I imagine was little known to most members
as it closed over 50 years ago. I plan to do some more in similar vein and hope they are of interest.

1961] More Pilmoor: (BLN 1287.1744) The GNER plaque has reappeared on the cottages by the ECML.

1962] Northallerton - Eaglescliffe: A member recently went to look at closed stations on this line and
has asked if the two entries in Clinker's Register (of Closed Passenger Stations and Goods Depots 1830
-1977), Northallerton (Low) and Northallerton (Town), were on approximately the same site…..
The answer is no! Northallerton Town was the original Leeds Northern Railway station on the opposite
side of the High St to Low Gates SB and somewhat nearer to the centre of the county town of North
Yorkshire than the current station. The fairly large red brick building survives, somewhat defaced by a
prominent notice advertising 'bathrooms and bedrooms' (for sale, not to make use of).

Passenger use was short lived, it O 2 Jun 1852 but CP 1 Jan 1856 with opening of the connection from
Northallerton High Jn to Northallerton Low Jn (later Northallerton East Jn, controlled by Low Gates
Signal Box). Leeds to Stockton trains then ran via Melmerby, Thirsk and the current station.

Northallerton Low (level) was on the avoiding line, west of the present station, immediately north of
Boroughbridge Road LC ; it OP Dec 1854 to provide a more convenient interchange via a footpath with
the main station. Local trains from Melmerby terminated here when through services were diverted
via Thirsk and there may well have been no regular passenger service north of Low station.
It CP 10 Feb 1901 when the connection opened between Cordio Jn and Northallerton South Jn (to the
main station). Incidentally, notes 2614 and 2615 in Clinker's Register are the wrong way round. The
goods station was at Northallerton Town. It became a Public Delivery Siding 2 Sep 1968; CA 2 Jul 1984.

Only a brick PW hut survives at the site of Brompton (CA 6 Sep 1965), albeit with a very small modern
'Brompton' nameboard on a pole in front of it. Welbury (CP 20 Sep 1954; CA 30 Sep 1963) is now a
well maintained private house although the platforms have been removed. At West Rounton Gates
(CP/CA 13 Sep 1939, no goods facilities) there is a green prefabricated relay room and a small LNER
style concrete PW hut. Picton (CP 4 Jan 1960; CA 7 Sep 1964) is also a private house, with similar
features to Welbury but larger. The fenced off remains of one crumbling platform survive here.

This was the junction for the North Yorkshire & Cleveland Railway to Battersby. It OG (mineral traffic
only) to Stokesley 2 Mar 1857; OG 1 Feb 1858 to Ingleby (the village is named Ingleby Greenhow) and
then OP 1 Apr 1861 to Castleton, now Castleton Moor. The Battersby line, with its wonderfully named
adjacent stations of Potto and Sexhow, CP 14 Jun 1954 and CA 1 Dec 1958 west of Stokesley.
The section between Picton and Trenholme Bar station, where the line crossed the A19 trunk road,
was retained for wagon storage (bogie bolsters in times of recession in the steel industry) until at least
1971. The track had been mostly lifted by May 1978.

1289 IRELAND (Martin Baumann)
BELOW: The East Coaster railtour, 9 Sep, with NIR 112 throughout, at Mullingar on the return. Left is
the disused signalbox and behind it the Athlone line platforms & stop blocks/track. (Martin Baumann)

1963] Green Line: (BLN 1288.1880) Seven 54.6m Alstom trams (5027-5033) are due to be

delivered between Oct and Dec with the increased requirement for the 6km Broombridge extension.

Next year existing cars 5001-5026 will be extended from 43m to 54.6m by adding articulated sections.

1964] East Coaster heads west: The RPSI diesel loco hauled railtour on 9 Sep from Whitehead RPSI

platform ran to Sligo rather than Rosslare due to an engineering line closure at Bray. Unusual track:
Drogheda Up P2 in Up direction (!); the usual method of working for trains from the north is to run
via Down P1 (more convenient for the exit) - both are bidirectional.  Connolly, arrival from the north
to P7 (our member is not aware of this being done previously). Connolly P7 to/from Newcomen Jn.
Mullingar & Longford, Up platforms in the Down direction. Sligo loop (both ways) to cross service
trains. Longford Down platform in Up direction. Clonsilla crossover to Down platform (taken in the
Up direction) then crossover back to Up line. Clongriffin loop platform on return to Belfast.

1289 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley)
1965] Port Erin: On 4 Sep work started on improvements at the station and railway museum with
completion due by 21 Oct. This involves removing and relaying track and pointwork at the station
buffer stop end then rebuilding the platform end. Specialist contractors, a limited resource in the IOM,
are needed but this work can be done during the operating season. The aim is to further integrate rail
and bus services and improve the station area appearance. This winter more track renewals are
scheduled to be carried out on the Isle of Man, Manx Electric and Snaefell Mountain Railways.

BELOW TOP LEFT: Port Erin, a train arrives from Douglas; the end of line and run-round loop are
closed. All pictures by local Port Erin member Graeme Easton Sep 2017. BELOW TOP RIGHT: With no
run-round loop the Simplex (BLN 1288.1883) leaps into action moving the coaches to the bay platform.

ABOVE BOTTOM LEFT: The train's steam loco is then released and able to run by, looking east,
towards Port St Mary and Douglas (the carriage shed in on the left). ABOVE BOTTOM RIGHT: Looking
in the opposite direction, the end of line, the loco is at the engine shed watering and the IOM Orange
Army is hard at work (both of them). The small Port Erin railway museum is in the former goods shed
left of the digger. On the evening dining train of Fri 15 Sep a visiting member achieved Simplex haulage
from the Main to Bay platform. There was no suggestion of turfing anyone off (although most people
did leave) just the warning that the set would be moved and when it came to rest again the platform
would be on the opposite side! All trains are shunted like this until the work is concluded.

1289 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe)
1966] A visit to see Gordon: Gordon station OP 16 Nov 1863 with the Berwickshire Railway line to
Duns (later part of the North British Railway - NBR), from Ravenswood Jn (on the Waverley Line north
of St Boswells). This joined the pre-existing 1849 NBR Duns branch from to Reston (on the East Coast
Main Line). Gordon CP 13 Aug 1948 unexpectedly with the St Boswells to Duns section after severe
flooding washed away some of the line. Duns to Reston became a branch again but CP 10 Sep 1951;
CG 7 Nov 1966. Ravenswood Jn to Greenlaw (running through Gordon) survived until CG 19 Jul 1965.
Gordon station building is now a well kept private house. (BELOW: Angus McDougall 14 Aug 2016.)

1967] Roxburgh: A footpath leads from the outskirts of Kelso to Roxburgh along the trackbed of the
NBR Kelso branch (part of the St Boswells to Tweedmouth line). The path crosses over the River Teviot
on Roxburgh Viaduct, a splendid 14 arch 220yd double track stone viaduct. Unusually, it also has a
wood and iron footbridge attached to the north side at a lower level. Such footbridges were once
common but few survive. The viaduct was designed by James Miller and opened in 1850. Partially
built, it collapsed on 20 Jun 1849. Five men were killed; four died soon after and 17 were badly injured.

The engineers were charged with Culpable Homicide but no record of the trial verdict can be traced!
East of the viaduct remains of Heiton Sidings can be seen, including a loading dock. To the west was
Roxburgh Jn, where the 7 mile Jedburgh branch diverged. The two bridges that carried the lines to
Jedburgh and St Boswells have been removed but the abutments are visible. The Jedburgh branch
CP 13 Aug 1948 after being damaged by the severe floods and it was decided not to resume passenger
services; the branch CG 10 Aug 1964. In contrast, the Kelso line was the diversionary route for King's
Cross to Edinburgh trains while flood damage to the East Coast Main Line was repaired.

ABOVE: Roxburgh Viaduct in 2010 showing the footbridge at a lower level. (The Happy Pontist)

As a child our member used to walk over Roxborough Viaduct when it was still covered in ballast.
His father used to drive over it, as a short cut to Roxburgh, although this was not technically allowed.
Later he remembers it being blocked off with corrugated iron and barbed wire for many years before
being reopened as a proper footpath (complete with concrete blocks to prevent vehicles!). BELOW: A
more recent picture on the double track viaduct, note the two people ahead for scale. (John Cameron)

1968] Aberdeen Airport branch? A rail link between the city centre, the £333M Aberdeen Exhibition &
Conference Centre (AECC) and the airport is planned. Costing up to £70M, It would include stations at
the AECC (due for completion in 2019) and the airport, funding is proposed from air passenger duty.
The link would use the Aberdeen to Inverness line. Passengers currently change to/from buses at Dyce.

1969] Stirling: 'Historic Environment Scotland' (successor to the 'Royal Commission on the Ancient &
Historical Monuments of Scotland' and 'Historic Scotland') has established a building conservation
centre at the site of Forthside military depot in Stirling. It is located called the 'Engine Shed', a building
visible from the south end of Stirling station about 100yd to the east (the steam shed was slightly to
the south and in use by BR until the 1960s). The depot was established in 1890, to relocate munitions
from Edinburgh and Stirling Castles, and it developed into a large complex. The Engine Shed appears to
have been built during the early 20th century. Its original function appears to have been as a goods
transfer shed, but the pugs that shunted the site were stabled in it. By 1914 there were rail sidings to
at least seven buildings, with a connection to the Caledonian Railway's sidings at the south end of the
site. By the end of WWI there were over 20 buildings and most were rail-served. There was more
expansion in WWII. The site retained a rail connection, (the 1956 Handbook of Stations listed a War
Department Siding (Forth Side) at Stirling). The depot partly remains in military use away from the
railway and not rail served. the Engine Shed is open 10.00-16.00 SuX.

11 members had a comprehensive railtour of the 'Royal Army Ordnance Corps Stirling' internal
railway on 1 Sep 1981, riding in the cabs of the two locos. NEXT PAGE TOP LEFT: The shed branch,
from the other loco on the tour (Angus McDougall 1 Sep 1981). [Arranged by your Editor, who is
changing the point in the picture, it was followed by a comprehensive Kincardine Power Station tour.]

BELOW: This is clearer if viewed at a distance. Kincardine Power Station, the very rarely used turbine
house branch where the doors were kindly specially opened on request to achieve extra track. The
Editor, accompanied by the loco driver, is bagging some Scottish Pipes. (Angus McDougall 1 Sep 1981)

The Kincardine PS tour was
in the cab of the internal loco
too and notable for running
over an extremely rare line
to the transformers crossing
an internal power station
road on the level. The road
had recently been tarmacked
including filling up the rail
grooves but the loco driver
ploughed on. This rucked up
the nice smooth tarmac,
creating an interesting wave effect. The driver wasn't the slightest bit bothered and said that they
should never have tarmacked the rails in the first place! The Wiggins Teape Paper Mill at Corpach had
been the venue of a comprehensive internal railtour the day before again in the loco cab.

1970] Great ScotRail! The Train Operating Company has become the best performing large train
operator in the UK, according to the Moving Annual Average performance figure which measures
reliability and punctuality. It reached 90.9% for the year to 19 Aug (target of 90.5%). The other four
large train operators are Northern, Southeastern, South West Trains and Govia Thameslink Railway.

BELOW: Edinburgh Waverley east end where bay P5 & 6 are being extended. (John Cameron Sep 2017)

1971] Waverley: Engineers are currently working in Scotland's second busiest station to extend bays
P5 & 6, on the east side of the station, and bay P12, on the west. This is required for Virgin East Coast's
new Azuma IET and ScotRail's new Class-385s. P12 is being extended further into the station with
removal of redundant buildings on P11. The escalators on P11 closed from 2 Sep until early 2018.

ABOVE: A train near Gorebridge. (John Cameron 12 Sep 2017)
1972] Gorebridge: The original station building is intact but disused, with metal shutters over the
windows. The car park is free for rail users. The single platform has a large bus style shelter, a ticket
machine and also many colourful flower beds and baskets. The original North British Railway 'Waverley
Route' station OP 14 Jul 1847; CP 6 Jan 1969 then ROP (with the Tweedbank branch) on 6 Sep 2015.
NEXT PAGE: The original Gorebridge station building in need bit of TLC. (John Cameron 12 Sep 2017)
1975] Aberdeen - Inverness: (BLN 1284.1423/4) There are a series of weekend closures and late night
alterations between Aberdeen and Inverurie for redoubling work. A reminder that there are buses
between Inverness and Keith during the engineering closure from Sat 7 until Mon 16 Oct inclusive;
Elgin, Forres and Nairn boxes are due to be abolished, and the significant realignment and new station
at Forres commisioned. The final day to do the current alignment through the old station is Fri 6 Oct.
1976] Caledonian Sleeper: The first of the 15 Mk5 trains, of five-carriages split into two seated, one
'Club' and two sleeper carriages, was dispatched in early Aug from manufacturer CAF's Beasain factory
in northern Spain. They were transported by road to Hendaye station (France) then by rail to the Czech
Republic for dynamic testing. The UK test programme should start before the end of the year.

[BLN 1289]
1973] Edinburgh Trams, Good News! (1): Recently named as the UK's number one transport operator
for customer satisfaction, over 500,000 journeys were made during the Edinburgh Festival (4-28 Aug)
with more than £1M in revenue, a new record. At peak times additional services ran between the
Airport and the West End to keep up with demand (was there demand for West End-Princes Street
trailing crossover too?). There was also unusually all night running on Saturday nights. Passenger
numbers were 12% higher and revenue 14% more than the same period in 2016. The increase is partly
attributed to an £8.50 (£4.50 child) 'Open Return' tourist ticket to/from the Airport from/to any stop.
It is a 'print your own' ticket from only. It costs the same as the full length
normal day return but additionally gives discounts on various tourist attractions, food outlets and
accommodation. What doesn't seem clear is how long the ticket is valid for on the return journey.

(2): Also of note, the City of Edinburgh Council's original business model for the tram line predicted the
first year of profit would not be until 2018 with a pre-tax loss of £170k expected for the year ending
Dec 2016. In fact the latest accounts for the year ending Dec 2016 showed a pre-tax profit of £252k.

(3): (BLN 1248.102) To save money a 2.8 mile section of the original 'Line 1a' with seven intermediate
stops from York Place to Newhaven was not completed but, in Dec 2015, was retained as a future
option. Edinburgh's Transport and Environment Committee agreed to support the extension on 4 Sep
and it was to go to the full Council on 21 Sep. If agreed this would give authority to begin identifying a
potential contractor (a touchy subject in Edinburgh), with a final decision in autumn 2018. The cost of
£165.2M reflects the fact that most utility diversion work has already been done and there are enough
trams to run the service (previous attempts to sell off or hire out the surplus ones failed 'fortunately'!).

1974] Oban: (BLN 1287.1789) Regarding the mysteries of Oban stock shunting
is the relevant group standard guidance for Radio Electronic Token Block (RETB). (In other words,
everything you wanted to know and were afraid to ask and if you think BLN abbreviations are bad…)

A specially engraved RETB key is inserted in the Cab Display Unit (CDU) to power the unit and enable
the exchange of tokens. The RETB key is permanently attached to a Castell key*. The RETB key is
removed from the CDU, and the attached Castell key is used to open a metal box on the ground frame
to retrieve the Annett's key†. The Annett's key is used to operate an in-section ground frame.

It is not possible for the CDU to return the displayed token to the signal box or to accept a new token
while the RETB key is removed from the CDU. It is not possible to release the Castell key from the
metal box on the ground frame until the Annett's key has been returned. It is not possible to release
the Annett's key from the ground frame while the ground frame is in operation.

The control of the CDU RETB keys for the West Highland Lines and Far North Lines is maintained by the
operations manager.

Note that the CDUs mentioned in the standard have been largely superseded by CDRs (Cab Display
Radios) which incorporate all the functions of the CDU and the formerly separate radio. So, in practice:

(1): The driver will obtain the token he needs. If shunting from platform to platform, this would be
Oban Shunt - which covers out to the station limits board. If departing from the non-preferred
platform towards Connel Ferry (an RETB Block Post), it would be the section token.

(2): Once the token is displayed, he can remove his RETB key (with Castell Key attached) and hand it to
whoever is operating the ground frame.

(3): After the shunting is complete, and the ground frame(s) has/have been returned to the normal
position, the key can be returned to the driver and put back into the CDR. The ground staff would
certainly not be permitted to use their own keys nor (RETB) radios for operating the ground frame(s).

*James Harry Castell (1880-1953) a Trapped key interlocking system with locks and keys for sequential
control of equipment and machinery to ensure safe operation first developed in the power industry.

†James Edward Annett of the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway. In railway signalling an Annett's
key or Annett key is a large key that locks levers or other signalling apparatus, (patented in 1875) a
portable interlocking - eg: crossing keeper operated level crossing gates interlocked with the signalling.
When not in use the key is usually in an Annett's/Annett lock fixed to the lever/apparatus.

1289 WALES (Paul Jeffries)
1977] Llanbradach: The driver and several passengers suffered injury on 3 Sep when the 21.47 SuO
Penarth to Rhymney train was damaged striking a fallen tree near the station. Ambulances, fire and
police services attended. Fortunately it did not derail, and was able to proceed to Ystrad Mynach
eventually; taxis enabled passengers to complete their journeys. Services ran normally the next day.

1978] Penarth: With assistance from Vale of Glamorgan Council, volunteers of the Penarth Railway
Path project have tidied the footpath along the ex-trackbed through Lower Penarth (CP 6 May 1968,
Penarth to Biglis Jn). There is a walk at 10.00 on Sat 30 Sep, from Foxy's Deli, outside Penarth station.

1979] Prestatyn & Cwm branch: The trackbed of the 3¼ mile LNWR branch is almost entirely walkable
as a tarmac cycle and footpath, with a noticeable uphill climb away from Prestatyn. The site of Dyserth
station itself is now off-limits, having been taken over for construction of a complex of older people's
apartments. The path instead veers off just before the terminus, following the line which led to the
quarry sidings (now partially serving as a car park, but mostly fenced off pending redevelopment for
industrial units). Dyserth was built as a through station not a terminus, but the planned extension to
Cwm was never completed; some earthworks were started, immediately beyond the station. At the
Prestatyn end, the junction unusually faced west, as the original purpose of the branch was to convey
stone traffic to Holyhead; opened in 1869, passenger services were not introduced until 1905, and

required a shunt manoeuvre for access to/from Prestatyn station. The walkable sections are Prestatyn
(SJ 063 629) to Dyserth (SJ 063 793) 2¾ miles and ½ mile more to Mariain Mill (SJ 063 793). The latter
a privately built formation, never laid with track, is easier to access from the Dyserth end.
X.143] BELOW: The Bridgwater flasks heading for Crewe via Hereford and Shrewsbury on Thu 14 Sep,
diverted due to the closure of the line through Bristol Parkway. At Pandy with 68033 and 68002 in
charge. The aptly named Black Mountains are in the background. The previous freight was triple-
headed Freightliner 66s on coal empties from Fiddlers Ferry PS to East Usk Junction. Coal has returned
to this line, from Portbury Coal terminal to Fiddlers Ferry - sometimes two trains daily. (Rob Pritchard)

1289 MINOR RAILWAYS (Peter Scott)
MR171] Great Central Railway, Leicestershire (MR p7) (BLN 1253.MR45): On Sunday 3 September, at
02.00, two box girders (painted green) were lifted into position by a 1,000 tonne crane over the
Midland Main Line at Loughborough (without affecting any main line passenger trains), to link up the
Great Central Railway to the Great Central Railway (Nottingham) Ruddington line. The bridge decking
will be added later. The £2.5M project reinstates 500 yards of missing embankment, track and bridge.
MR172] Wensleydale Railway, North Yorkshire (MR p9) (BLN 1288.MR163): The railway is in financial
trouble and its board is in talks to sell Aysgarth station for £400,000 to a private supporter who wants
to use it for a 'hobby railway'. £195,000 would be used to pay off a mortgage on it. The station is not
yet connected to the line, but supporters have spent years improving the site and developing a holiday
cottage to raise money. The aim has always been to extend to Aysgarth and eventually Hawes but the
possibility of reaching even Aysgarth is virtually nil at present as the railway cannot afford to maintain
even the current 22 mile line. The plan is opposed by many members of the organisation but a double
AGM of the PLC Board and the Railway Trust held on 9 September voted in favour of the sale. The rest
of the money would be invested in running the existing line. Leeming Bar to Northallerton remains
closed to passenger services due to the high cost of upgrading the electric supply (for modern standard
level crossing lights) to several crossings as recommended by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch.

ABOVE: Aysgarth as it was on 3 Aug 2003. (Angus McDougall)

MR173] Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway, Kent (MR p19) (BLN 1283.MR105): On Wednesday 23
August, an hourly service was running from 13.00. Motive power was 0-4-2ST 'Melior' (KS4219/1924)
with coaches 657, 647 (open) 641 and 660. Given that it was a warm humid day, more open coaches
might have been better as trains were well-filled with local families enjoying a steam ride out.
Edmondson tickets are issued, with a basic adult return fare of £7 (day rover £10). Due to repeated
vandalism Milton Regis Halt is closed (since 23 December 2012) to further notice (possibly for good).

MR174] Barry Tourist Railway, Vale of Glamorgan (MR p9): A correspondent visited this railway on
Bank Holiday Saturday, 26 August. This was his first visit since 2008 and the first since Cambrian
Transport Ltd took over in 2009 and produced a number of surprises! Operating the passenger service
was 2-car class 101 DMU 50222/50338 in green livery (not numbered, numbers taken from IRS 17EL).
This was latterly Lab 19/IRIS II and has been heavily altered inside for that task. One cannot look out of
the front or rear and ex-Gatwick stock seats have been fitted. The air conditioning units are no longer
operable either! The first train of the day at 11.35 was taken and this departed from Barry Island
station platform 4 and ran non-stop to Gladstone Bridge platform (adjacent to Morrisons superstore).
This station, like that at Woodham Halt, is disused and partly overgrown; no alighting is permitted.
However, new track was acquired as the platform road at Woodham Halt was occupied by stabled
ex-GWR motorail vans and the train ran via the adjacent loop line, closer to the Network Rail line.

Aboard the train was owner of Cambrian Transport, John Buxton, and a stop was made at a small
platform adjacent to the ex-EWS depot for a guided shed tour by John. This was most interesting and
all the small group of passengers took part. Inside the shed was electro-diesel 73118, shunter 08503
and GWR 0-6-2T 6686, along with some ex-Gatwick coaches (some of which had been used in filming
'Casualty'). There was also a former Track Recording coach number 2360 dating from the 1911 but still
used until 1989. A number of road/rail vehicles complete the collection. Outside the shed are the
frames of 2-10-0 '9F' 92245. All five roads into the shed can be used (the DMU appears to use Road 1) -
but the rear doors have been partly bricked up. The rest of the tracks adjacent to the shed are out of
use. After the shed tour the DMU was rejoined for a return to Barry Island platform 4. Here, all
passengers were encouraged to take a cab ride in 4wVBT 'Susan' (Sentinel 9537/1952) and virtually all
did so. This ran from platform 4 to Plymouth Road platform. Our correspondent patiently waited until
all other passengers had ridden and was rewarded with a longer ride right up to the headshunt points,
to 'dissipate some steam before my lunch break' as the driver put it!

ABOVE: DMU Lab 19/Iris II waits at the small platform outside the shed/workshop during the tour
(Peter Scott 26 August 2017). The line from Docks Branch Junction to Waterfront does not appear to
see any regular use, but the rail head did show signs of some use a while back. Road 8 track, around
the back of Plymouth Road shed, has either been lifted or completely buried. Plymouth Road shed has
suffered vandalism and was noted to be boarded up. The main station building contains a small café
and a war museum. The adult fare was £9 and your correspondent found his visit most interesting and
enjoyable. The railway does not operate as much as when volunteers ran it and running for the 2017
season (except Santa) finished on August Bank Holiday Monday. Otherwise, it is usually open Easter
and May Bank Holiday weekends and weekends during the summer school holidays in July and August.

ABOVE: Gwili Miniature Railway - The 'top & tailed' train from the 'footbridge'. The standard gauge
running line is left of the building (loco shed), looking towards Danycoed. (Peter Scott 19 August 2017)

MR175] Gwili Miniature Railway, Carmarthenshire (MR p29) (BLN 1238.MR120): Formerly known as
the Llwyfan Cerrig Railway, this 7¼" gauge railway is operated by the Gwili Railway at Llwyfan Cerrig
station. Rides are (subject to volunteer availability) given to all during the layover of the Up passenger
trains there - usually 30 minutes on the three-train service. The line is a 235 yard 'E' run with a station
(Conway Halt) at the south end. The line passes through a tunnel/shed adjacent to the standard gauge
Carriage & Wagon Workshop. On Saturday 19 August trains were being operated top & tail by 0-4-0PH
'Ben' (Roanoke 032009-RS2) at the north end and a 0-6-0P loco No6407 with two sit-astride coaches.
It took a good 20 minutes of continuous operation to clear the queue. Fares are by donation.

MR176] Gulliver's World Railroad, Cheshire (MR p13) (BLN 1163.MR100): On Monday 31 July a
member treated his granddaughters to a day out at Gulliver's World, Warrington. The 15" gauge
'Lost World Railroad' is about 500 yards in length and in the shape of a distorted circle. It runs through
woodland and undergrowth inhabited by Dinosaurs and other 'beasties'. There are two tunnels. Steam
outline 'Neville' (Meridian/1989) was operating the trains hauling three covered coaches. There is just
one siding (at the station) where 'Invicta' (Maxitrack/1989) is stored along with two unused open
coaches with canvas covers. Our reporter was told that 'Invicta' is not in working order and had not
been used for at least three years (when the driver commenced his employment). It now appears to be
in a derelict condition. Adults are only admitted to the Park accompanied by one or more children.

MR177] Littlehampton Miniature Railway, West Sussex (MR p25) (BLN 1263.MR160): On a sunny
Sunday 13 August our roving reporter visited this 12¼" gauge railway, when 4wD 'Albert' (regauged
from the Windmill Farm Railway) was hauling three canopied bogie coaches at 30 minute intervals.
The coaches are regauged from the 15" gauge now closed West Midlands Safari Park Railway. Fares:
adult return £3 (concession £2), adult single £2 (concession £1.50) and family £9. Outside the shed at
Mewsbrook Park was a 'Toby' 4w and inside was a steam locomotive named 'Rum'. Another steam
loco is expected ex-Crawley in the near future. Running is weekends and Bank Holidays, 1 April until
20 October, plus selected school holiday weekdays. Santa Specials are also programmed in December.

MR178] Great Orme Tramway, Conwy (MR p32) (BLN 1102.MR214): A visit on Friday 1 September
found the usual 20 minute headway service operating in the morning, but with increasing queues this
was later enhanced to every ten minutes. As usual, cars 4 'St Tudno' and 5 'St Silio' operated between
Victoria station and Half Way station/gorsaf Hanner Ffordd, with 6 'St Seiriol' and 7 'St Trillo' then to
Summit station/gorsaf y Copa. There are interesting displays and artefacts to see at Half Way, as well
as opportunity to watch the winding gear in operation. Cars on the lower section need to be regulated
to observe the traffic-light controlled Black Gates crossing. The cable runs in a conduit on the 827-yard
lower section (with cars sharing the middle rail of an unusual 3-rail track above the passing loop), but
on the 872-yard upper section the cable and pulleys are open. The adult fare of £6 single, £7.50 return
(with till-roll tickets) is considerably cheaper than the competing cable car!

PREVIOUS PAGE: Car 7 departs from the Summit station. There was once a miniature railway located
by the play equipment to the right beneath the summit building. (Peter Scott 8 September 2017)

MR179] Llangollen Railway, Denbighshire (MR p9): Only one train was in service on Wednesday 30
August, with GWR 2-6-2T 5199 hauling five BR Mark 1 coaches (FK/SK/TSO/TSO/BSK), offering - as
befits branch line tradition - just three round trips. There is no loop at the temporary terminus of
Corwen East/Dwyrain Corwen (SJ 0829 4354); hence the loco unusually propels the stock back to
Carrog, under special arrangements, passing over several path and farm crossings. The blank gangway
door at the rear of the BSK is painted with wasp stripes to aid visibility. The locomotive is then able to
run round the train at Carrog, while the Tea Room and sales van there do good business! Bonwm Halt
(SJ 0985 4342) has not been reinstated, and there is no obvious trace of its location. Deeside Halt is
still in situ, with nameboard, but is no longer mentioned in the company's timetables. [It is mentioned
in the publically available gala working timetable when trains can cross - Ed.] Berwyn station can now
be accessed from the far side of the River Dee via the reinstated footbridge from the Chain Bridge
Hotel. The end-to-end return fare is £15 adult, £13.50 senior, with disappointing 'till roll' tickets.

X.144 Porthmadog Habrbour: (ABOVE) The new lengthy platform and signal box, looking towards the
buffer stops. Ffestiong Railway trains generally use the left platform. The Welsh Highland Railway uses
the right platform leaving in the opposite direction - a few in the peak season do the 'connection'
between the two (ie some FR trains to/from the right hand platform). (Angus McDougall Aug 2017)

MR180] South Tynedale Railway, Cumbria (MR p14) (BLN 1285.1461): A member visited this railway
on 17 August and drove down to the new Slaggyford station after a couple of round trips from Alston
to Lintley Halt. The platform, signal box, booking office and buffet car were all in situ and parts of the
car park had been tarmacked. However, there was still a lot of work to be done to complete the
passing loop. Unfortunately, there was little evidence at Alston station to suggest that trains were only
running to Lintley Halt. The railway has not reprinted its 2017 leaflet which shows times to Slaggyford
and four middle-aged ladies had good reason to feel aggrieved. They had walked to Slaggyford along
the path next to the newly laid track, expecting to find food, toilets and trains when they arrived.
They found none of these and had to rush a mile or so back to Lintley Halt to catch their return train.

MR181] Leadhills & Wanlockhead Railway, South Lanarkshire (MR p29) (BLN 1285.MR126): The BBC
South Scotland News website reported on 21 August that the 2ft gauge railway had started work on its
Glengonnar Halt to Wanlockhead extension. It is hoped that extending the line will boost tourism in
Wanlockhead, which has a lead mining museum and Europe's second oldest subscription library - after
Leadhills. Both were founded for miners. The railway concluded an agreement with Buccleuch Estates
last year and has access to the track bed to start digging test pits to find out where the track drains
need to be dug. They have found the original ballast still intact below the surface of the ground.
It is hoped the trackbed will be cleared and the site of the new station levelled by August 2018. Trains
are expected to start running in 2020 which would be 82 years after the last (standard gauge) one ran.

MR182] Volks Electric Railway, East Sussex (MR p16) (BLN 1286.MR137): It is expected the railway will
reopen on 14 October. The line will be operated by VER Association members daily until 5 November
and then on selected dates during the winter depending on the weather and volunteer availability.

MR183] Hotham Park Miniature Railway, West Sussex (MR p25) (BLN 1257.MR94): Our roving
reporter made his annual visit on Sunday 13 August. In use was 'Boris' hauling three named canopied
coaches; two circuits were given for each ride. Fares: £3 adult and £2 child, as in 2016. Edmondson
tickets are issued. A battery electric loco under construction was apparently in the locked shed.

MR184] Llanelli & Mynydd Mawr Railway Take 1, Cynheidre, Carmarthenshire: (BLN 1287.1806) This
railway, based at the former Cynheidre Colliery, opened on Sunday 3 September offering passenger
rides for the first time. On a wet and windy day there were 250 paying adult passengers including a
number of BLS members! The railway was formally opened by Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
and Member of Parliament for Llanelli, Nia Griffith. She had the honour of riding on the first passenger
train (at around 12.00), the second carried one BLS member and the second had two aboard! Only
10 people were allowed to ride at a time. Trains were operated by 4wDH 'Peter J Griffiths' (RR10222/
1965) in blue livery with BR brake van B951287 numbered as B425541. The loco propelled the brake
van north from Cynheidre station (6m 12ch) to the current operational limit (6m 19ch) by a foot
crossing. Overgrown original track extends to 6m 30ch. This is to be progressively upgraded and
brought into use with a platform built at the north end. To the south there is a headshunt at 6m 03ch.

There are two buildings on site - a small one road 'steam shed' and an impressive three road shed.
Outside the south end of the latter was BR MK2f buffet car (No1206), which was open for teas, coffee
and snacks. There is also a small wooden building containing a display of interesting items and boards
explaining the history of the railway. Authorised by an 1802 Act of Parliament and opened May 1803
as the Carmarthenshire Tramroad. It is recognised as Britain's first operating public railway. Since
clearance of the colliery site, closed 20 January 1989, and the associated sidings it is difficult to judge
the relationship of the current track to that covered by railtours in the 1980s. However, it is thought
they ran to about where the track ends (6m 30ch), but via what is now the cycle track. The current
running line, according to the guard, has been partly relaid, and was the former run-round loop.

ABOVE LEFT: Cynheidre platform on a very wet day looking south towards Llanelli (the bridge carries
the former colliery access road, now accessing the railway). ABOVE RIGHT: View north from that
bridge; platform in the distance left, stock shed near right and loco shed middle distance. The path left
is thought to be on the trackbed of the BR Cynheidre branch. BELOW LEFT: Platform and loco shed,
looking north. BELOW RIGHT: The north end of line (SN 4922 0736) - there are stop blocks at the south
end (SN 4944 0712). (All by Rowland Pittard on Sunday 3 September 2017)

MR185] Llanelli & Mynydd Mawr Railway Take 2: (Cynheidre Heritage Project) This was received from
Rowland Pittard, a member from South Wales, just before the BLN deadline and it seemed appropriate
to include the additional information here. Local MP Nia Griffith travelled on the reopening special in
the company of Des Thomas the project director and myself; it left the platform at 11.55. The brake
van was at the north end of the train. Public services started at 12.07 with 10 passengers per trip;
there was a continuous shuttle (except for a short lunch break) until well into the afternoon. The track
continues past the temporary terminating point for a considerable distance and vegetation clearance
and track upgrading will be required before the first extension can be opened to Cynheidre North.
Track also continues south of the new platform and under the road bridge (which carries the former
colliery access road) to buffer stops (SN 4944 0713). This bridge (SN 494 072) gives a good view of the
site. Heading north from these buffer stops, the first points diverge right/east to the three road stock
shed. Outside on the third road was the buffet car. The next point to the left/west at present serves a
stock siding but eventually will form part of a run round loop. Then a point to the right leads to the
loco shed. Outside this was single 'Bubble Car' DMU 55019 which will soon be available for service and
inside the shed was 4-w locomotive Ruston 394014 built in 1956. Further north there is another point
on the left/west which will form the northern end of the loop west of (behind) the platform.

The railway has a 0-4-0 ST steam loco Avonside 1498 'Desmond' which is at present at Llangollen
waiting further funding to complete its overhaul. Our member Rowland had travelled on the final
freight train to use the now restored section of the line on 24 March 1989, conveniently Good Friday
when he was not working. Hence the invitation to travel on the reopening train. CA 27 March 1989,
the branch was deleted from the 'TOPS' register 28 Jun 1991 and retained 'mothballed' until taken
OOU 1 Jan 1994. There were no more trains north of the road bridge until stock was delivered.

The Monmouthshire Railway Society organised the 'Robeston Rumbler' the
last railtour to Cynheidre on 14 Oct 1989. By this time a two car DMU, which arrived by rail on 6 Sep,
was stabled in the remaining sidings south of the road bridge which were subsequently lifted.
The Cynheidre site extends over a mile from south of the road bridge to Cynheidre North but there are
plans for further extensions of the line in both directions. The railway website
has very detailed information about the railway and its rolling stock. There is also an excellent
interpretation centre on the site and a cycleway which forms the western boundary of the site. This
embryonic heritage railway has great prospects and potential and would much appreciate any support.

1980] FIXTURES REPORTS; Blackpool Line Signal Box Visits, 5 May 2017 Part 4/4: (By John Cowburn)
(BLN 1288.1890) The full report was available as an e-BLN 1286 download. and link to Andrew Gardiner's pictures from earlier official visits.

Salwick No2 signal box is the oldest on the line, with both box and frame being of Railway Signal Co.
design, built for the L&Y and commissioned in 1889. It is located on the north side of the line, to the
east of the sparsely served but still open station. The now removed fast lines were adjacent to the box,
so it is set back some way to the north of the remaining running lines. The box would have originally
been named simply 'Salwick' and only acquired its current designation on the opening of Salwick No1
box during WW2 with the establishment of the adjacent Springfields munitions factory, subsequently
used to manufacture Magnox nuclear fuel rods (but no longer does so as Magnox is now obsolete
other than in North Korea). The original 30 lever frame was extended in 1942 but levers 29 and 30
have been removed leaving 33 in the frame, lettered/numbered A to E and 1 to 28. Salwick No1 box
was abolished on 3 Feb 1973 when No2 box became the fringe to Preston PSB. Recently the Down loop
and sidings were lifted, further rationalisation prior to electrification and resignalling, leaving just Up
and Down running lines. Remarkably the box still sports a genuine maroon (BR London Midland style)
enamel name board 'SALWICK NO 2' (the 'O' is large) above the door and a similar smaller 'PRIVATE'
sign at a lower level to its right.

West of Kirkham, absolute block with BR standard instruments reigns supreme, but to the east the line
is controlled by Track Circuit Block (TCB). Salwick communicates with Preston PSB by a train describer
but Kirkham and Salwick describe trains to each other with standard 'is line clear for' bell codes rung
using tappers and bells formed of the bottom sections of BR standard block instruments and then
simply send trains forward. The branch passenger bell code of '1-3' is used for trains to and from the
Blackpool South branch. 'Train entering section' and 'train out of section' bell codes are not used and
neither are block indicators nor a train describer. Only three levers remain in use, each controlling a
colour light stop signal (two on the Up and one on the Down) and the distant function of the preceding
three-aspect colour light; the levers are accordingly painted red and yellow. Once a train has cleared
the overlap of the next signal, levers are generally 're-stroked' (put back into the frame and
immediately cleared again) for the next train, with the track circuiting taking care of the signal aspects.

Finally was Preston PSB, opened in 1972 in anticipation of the extension of the West Coast Main Line
electrification to Scotland. Its BR (LMR) design is typical of its period and it is located on the west side
of the main line adjacent to Fylde Jn, with DMU (and now EMU) stabling sidings in front of it. The box
retains its original control area, which is broadly the WCML from just south of Balshaw Lane Jn to just
north of Carnforth, the Preston to Manchester line as far as Adlington, the East Lancashire line to
Brierfield, over Copy Pit to Hall Royd Jn, the Calder Valley line between Littleborough and Hebden

Bridge and the Blackburn to Bolton line. To these have more recently been added the reinstated
Todmorden curve and the Morecambe branch, which have been incorporated into the existing panel.

The Westinghouse 'Entrance - Exit' ('NX') panel consists of five straight sections arranged in an arc,
covering from left to right ❶the Calder Valley line as well as the East Lancs lines beyond Blackburn,
❷Blackburn to Bamber Bridge and Bromley Cross plus Adlington and Balshaw Lane to Farington Jn,
❸Bamber Bridge and Farington Jn to the PSB including Preston station, ❹Maudland Viaduct Jn to
Salwick and Lancaster and ❺Lancaster to Morecambe and Carnforth. Four Grade 7 signallers are on
duty 24/7 with their supervisor and a 'meal break relief' on days. One signaller controls the West Coast
north of Preston (ie most of panels 4 & 5), one the West Coast south of Preston, the third the East
Lancs lines and the last Preston Station, with the signallers responsible for train regulation.

The boundaries between the control areas are notional and, where possible, are located in areas of
automatic control to allow trains to flow from one panel to the next. As no CCTV operated level
crossings were incorporated into the panel, a number of former signal boxes survived as gate boxes to
supervise those crossings that were not automated. Two remain, at Towneley and Bamber Bridge, but
in 2013 control of the crossings at Hest Bank and Bolton-le-Sands moved from the former Hest Bank
gate box to the new level crossing workstation in the PSB staffed by a Grade 1 crossing keeper.
This workstation also controls the crossing at Bare Lane on the Morecambe branch since the closure of
the adjacent box in 2012 on the transfer of the line to the PSB.

In a short visit, few of the nuances of such a large box can be appreciated, but an example is the 'slot'
light on the panel under signal PN56 at Farington Curve Jn and the associated unusual method of
operation of the single line to the fringe box on the Ormskirk line at Midge Hall. When the line was
singled south of Midge Hall on 28 Jun 1970, electric key token working was introduced between Midge
Hall and the passing loop at Rufford but the section to the north across Farington Moss was left as
double track operated by TCB. By June 1983, due to the condition of the track, this latter section was
also singled but the box at Midge Hall, key token working to its south and TCB working of the
remaining single line to its north were retained. Midge Hall was left as a very rare example of a signal
box on a single line without a passing loop. So that only one train is allowed onto the single line at
once, Preston first sets the route onto the branch alerting Midge Hall to obtain a token for the section
to Rufford. With a token withdrawn from the machine, Midge Hall can reverse its slot lever (No18)
which in turn allows signal PN56 to clear and the slot light under signal PN56 on the panel to light.

Control of the Calder Valley section is due to be lost in the not too distant future but Preston PSB is
likely to be around for a good number of years yet. In contrast the manual boxes visited are all due to
close on 11 Nov this year. Thanks to Barnaby Clark for organising the visit, Christian Wyatt of NR for
hosting it and all the signallers for being so welcoming despite the forthcoming abolition of their
boxes. A £300 donation was made to NR's chosen charity, Barnardo's, in recognition of the facilities
provided. Thanks to Melvin Teale, Ian Smith, Nick Jones and Andrew Gardiner for assistance with this
report. Historical signal box data is from Peter Kay's Signalling Atlas and Signal Box Directory. A recent
article about the line:
PS: Barnaby kindly arranged very successful repeat visit to all the boxes on 7 Sep for those who could
not be go the first time. There were 10 participants and a further £240 was donated to Barnardo's.

1981] The Baggeridge Burrower, Sun 3 Sep: (MR p23) (BLN 1288.MR165) It was not a day of fine
weather! There was constant light drizzle for most of our morning visit; not enough to affect our hardy
participants but enough to give some super wheel slip especially on the raised track at Baggeridge
Country Park. It was the site of thefinal working Black Country coal mine (closed 2 Mar 1968) which
had a standard gauge branch; the park is now home to the Wolverhampton & District Model
Engineers. The 5"/7¼" complex ground level line has been much enlarged (since 28 May 2017)
including a new tunnel - points are installed for a new outer loop. The 3½"/5" elevated line is a simple
loop; speed is the attraction as is often the case with the stability from the low centre of gravity.

ABOVE: The fixture organiser Simon Mortimer on a DIY elevated track steam special. (Howard Harrison)
BELOW: No 'L' plates required with our Bookings Officer Jill Everitt driving. (Howard Harrison)

ABOVE: This powerful loco was able to pull a good load of BLS (not so) miniature men, 'avoiding' the
station. It is hard to believe that this pleasant location was once a working colliery. (Howard Harrison)

The party of 22 members was shepherded onto two trains to cover all the available track. This meant
many revolutions, probably too many, but was welcomed by all. Even then some had not had enough
and took over driving to go round and round even more! A highlight was travelling over the turntable
to the buffer stops inside the shed (Road 2). The two lengthy station sidings and the remaining stub of
the original route were covered too. Finally all trains were stopped so the direction of travel could be
reversed for everyone to traverse the extremely rare connection between inner and outer tracks in the
wrong direction (twice!). This required a spanner and pliers to set the points - a good sign of rare track.

The raised (race) track was completed mostly by DIY driving the steam locos ourselves after a short
training session! How brave their owners were. A nice simple, quite large circuit but long enough to
give the feel of the engine. Some just couldn't resist multiple circuits - just for overlap of course.

Locos used were both diesels 'Squirrel' and
'Baggeridge Ranger' on the ground level with two
steam locos LMS 0-6-0 3155 & LNER 0-6-0 1940
on the raised track. The Engineers were
absolutely brilliant and nothing seemed too much
trouble. They were extremely accommodating
and joined in the fun, understanding what we
would like. Tea, coffee and biscuits were very
welcome and much needed by all. Many thanks
to Simon Mortimer for all the arrangements and
to the W&DME. (Howard Harrison) Tickets by Jim
Sellens) and for the afternoon fixture…..

1982] The Showground Shunter, Sun 3 Sep: (MR p24) The 18 participants arrived for 14.00 at the
70 acre Stafford Country Agricultural Show Ground after the morning Baggeridge visit (previous item).
There was a Doll's House show on and the railway was eventually found tucked away in a rather
secluded northern corner. It only has public running once or twice a year during the main showground
events. A 2015 extension added a branch with a triangular junction to the 250yd oval - a total public
run of 590yd. Waiting at Stafford & District Model Engineering Society's Bagnall End station was 0-6-0
TT WB No6 'Waldenburg' in green livery with three blue sit astride coaches, its driver and guard as well
as a signalman for the 5"/7¼” ground level line. The loco is a scale model of a narrow gauge tank loco
built by SLM in Winterthur [2276 of 1912] for the Waldenburg Bahn; the prototype is preserved in the
Swiss Museum of Transport, Lucerne. Our smaller replica performed admirably all afternoon.

The 5"/7¼" ground level layout is fully colour light signalled, including track circuiting on the running
lines, controlled from Bagnall End station signal box. Unfortunately no loco was available for the 3½/5"
elevated line. The intention was to accommodate us on one train to simplify operations initially.
As participants arrived it was obvious three coaches wouldn't be enough even for the miniature men
(and ladies) and a fourth was soon extracted from a carriage shed. To warm up the loco and gain
momentum to climb up the steep connection to the extension, a couple of anticlockwise circuits of the
original route were made in the relative shelter of a wooded glade. Then the tour proceeded out on to
more exposed ground along the perimeter of the showground field to Queensville station, the end of
the 2015 extension. After a quick run round (the loco using the turntable at the end of the line) the
train proceeded back to the shelter of Bagnall End thereby completing the public running route.

After a short wait the more serious activity began
with a warm/speed up circuit then out onto the
moor to Queensville again. The loco was released,
via the turntable and moved down the release
road. Then the rest of the train was systematically
routed, one coach at a time, via the turntable
(including a full spin) and headshunt, shunting the
whole middle loco stabling road - only accessible
from the turntable - to join the engine on the
release road. Naturally the passengers stayed
aboard their respective coach during this
manœuvre…! Once the train was complete it set off along the release line (which can only be accessed
from the turntable end due to the spring point the other end). Queensville 100% covered - QED!

Back at Bagnall End after a quick run-round, it was a short clockwise trip to the ballast siding and the
other turntable accessing the steaming bays and loading ramp. In a rare move the train was propelled
back along the ballast siding. Unfortunately it was not all passable due to a large heap of…. ballast!
All the track off this turntable and the unloading ramp were then covered on a single riding vehicle
using 'people power'. Back at Bagnall End the tour was propelled to the end of a siding (kindly cleared
since we had last passed it) alongside the main run. Then the stock sheds (two adjacent containers,
each with three roads accessed by a rather broad
gauge traverser), were suitably visited as possible. A
sit astride coach was kindly made available on the
raised line (a basic loop inside within the original
ground level circuit) with hand propulsion and gravity
ensuring coverage of this line. Finally it was a
refreshing and welcoming hot drinks and biscuits in
the 'clubhouse' another shipping container. Thanks to
the MES and BLS members Alan Absolom and Simon
Mortimer for the splendid arrangements. (RJH)

ABOVE: St Albans Centre Siding stop blocks viewed from the Up Slow heading south, the station can
be seen in the distance through the left hand side of the overbridge. (All Geoff Plumb Sun 4 Jun 2017.)

1983] Class 319 Farewell / Cauldwell Depot Salute Sun 4 Jun: Route thanks to Martyn Brailsford:
Luton P1 - Up Slow to 6m 20ch - Cricklewood Depot N Reception Rd - Carriage Washer Rd - Depot Exit Rd
(rev) - Siding No2 - N Reception Rd No4 (rev) - Up Departure - Depot Exit Rd - Up Slow - W Hampstead N Jn
- Dn Slow - W Hampstead Thameslink P2 - Dn Slow to 3m 42ch - Up Slow - Carlton Rd Jn - Dn Slow -
Kentish Town P4 - Dn Slow - Dock Jn S - Dn Fast - St Pancras P4 (break rev) - Dn Fast - Kentish Town Jn - Dn
Slow - W Hampstead Thameslink P2 - Dn Carriage Loop - Dn Slow - St Albans P2 - Centre Siding (rev) - St
Albans P1 - Up Slow - Cricklewood S Jn - Up Hendon - W Hampstead N Jn - Up Fast - W Hampstead
Thameslink P3 - Carlton Rd Jn - Dn Slow - Kentish Town Jn - Up Slow - Kentish Town P1 - St Pancras PA -
London Blackfriars P1 - Dn Holborn Fast - Loughborough Jn - Dn Holborn - Herne Hill P4 - Tulse Hill P2 -
Streatham P2 - Streatham Common P1 - Selhurst P1 - Dn Victoria Slow - Windmill Bridge Jn - E Croydon P6
- Dn Slow - Stoats Nest Jn - Dn Quarry - Earslwood - Dn Fast - Gatwick Airport P7 - Haywards Heath P2 -
Preston Park P3 - Brighton Goods Reception Rd/Goods Reception Departure Rd - 2nd X/O - Brighton P6
(break); P7 - 2nd X/O - Dn E Branch - Lewes P5 - Dn Main Sig LW58 - Up Main - Lewes P2 - Keymer Jn -
Haywards Heath P4 - Balcombe Tunnel Jn - Up Slow - Gatwick Airport P2 - Up Slow - Up Redhill - Stoats
Nest Jn - Up Slow - E Croydon P4 - Up Slow - Cottage Jn - Up London Bridge Slow - Norwood Junction P1 -
Crystal Palace P1 - Tulse Hill P3 - Herne Hill P2 - Up Holborn - Up Holborn Slow - Up Snow Hill - Dn
Moorgate - Kentish Town P2 - Carlton Rd Jn - Dn Fast - (Finchley Rd) - Dn Hendon - (Watling Street Jn) - Dn
Fast - Cricklewood S Jn - Cricklewood P2 - Cricklewood Depot Up & Dn Goods 2 - North reception Rd No2
(rev) - Up & Dn Goods 1 - Depot Exit Rd - Cricklewood S Jn - Dn Hendon (rev) - Dn Fast - Luton P5 - Dn Fast
- Leagrave Jn - Dn Slow - Bedford P3.

NEXT PAGE TOP: The tour heads to Brighton on the Up Fast, passing the site of Haverstock Hill station
which CP 1 Jan 1916. 222008 is on the Down Fast with the13.10 St Pancras to Wellingborough service.

BELOW: Three key players in the tour, left to right: Kev Adlam, Matthew Dodd (tour organiser, GTR
Train Services Manager, King's Cross PSB) and Robin Morrel (NR West Hampstead Local Operations
Manager). NR Mobile Operations Manager Michelle Gull should also be mentioned.

ABOVE: Passing a London Overground train to West Croydon on the return from Brighton.

Please mention the BLS when booking or enquiring….1289 CONNECTIONS (Paul Stewart)....All details must be checked.
1984] Property Section: Former Didcot, Newbury & Southampton (later GWR) Winchester Chesil
('Cheesehill' before 1949) stationmaster's house. Four bed detached house; no parking or road access!
Pictures etc £500k+ by informal tender, closes midday 22 Sep 01962460039.

1985] Severn Valley Railway 21-24 Sep: Autumn Steam Gala with all night running (FSO), goods train
brake van rides (Sunday), afternoon brakevan rides at Bewdley (FSO) and narrow gauge rides with No2
'Prince' at Highley Engine House. At Kidderminster the Coalyard Miniature Railway runs all four days.
Also running: a pick up goods, local passenger services, demonstration morning shunting at Bewdley
(FSO) and an Autotrain with No1450. Eardington Halt is open to visitors (but on foot or by car only).

1986] Mizens Railway, Sun 24 Sep, 13.00: (MR p24) (BLN 1260.MR123) Barrs
Lane, Knaphill, Woking, Surrey, GU21 2JW (SU 967 595). An intricate 7¼" gauge railway with a public
run of over 1,500 yards. Our member Alan Absolom has kindly arranged an all available lines private
visit. (NB the 'Highlander' line is not possible if there is heavy rain.) £10 per head; 20 participants only,
advance booking required, pay on the day in cash. To book email Alan: [email protected]

1987] Strathspey Railway, Sat 30 Sep: SRPS tour from Ayr (06.00/23.00) and stations to Larbert
(08.40/20.00) to Aviemore (12.15/17.15) and Inverness. Note that it runs directly between Paisley
GMS (07.00/22.00) and Hamilton Central (07.45/21.15). On the Strathspey an extra service connects
at 12.45, three coaches expected to be top & tail with 27050 and 31327. After a return trip to Boat of
Garten then another to Broomhill, 08490 will haul the stock in to the Roy Hamilton Carriage Shed;
passengers may stay on and then have an escorted tour of the shed (£18 for the Strathspey section).

1988] Settle & Carlisle Day Ranger: (BLN 1288.1859) Although not easily evident on the National Rail
or Northern websites, a member bought one at Leeds on 15 Aug; £30 adult, £19.80 railcard, £15 child.
It is in the current 'ticket archive'; now valid after 08.45* SSuX, all weekends/public holidays, unlimited
travel Leeds/Bradford FS to Carlisle via Appleby, short code: SCU (*Two Together Railcard after 09.30).

1989] SWR (South West Railway) 50% Off: 100,000 selected Advance tickets for all, online only. Travel
until 3 Oct; no further railcard discounts. See for details and to book

1980] Selsey Tramway, 31 Oct, 19.00: West Sussex Record Office, 3 Orchard
St, Chichester, PO19 1DD. (CP Jan 1935) Illustrated talk with a photo display on the standard gauge 7¼
mile 'Bumpity Bump' engineered by Col Stephens. Tickets £8 with light refreshments 01243 753602.

1991] Eastleigh Electric Control Room: Thanks to our member Stuart Hicks, an SEG visit is likely in late
Oct/early Nov. Expressions of interest to Stuart [email protected] quoting your BLS
membership number or write to 2 Queen Anne's Gate, Caversham, Reading, RG4 5DU with an SAE.

1992] TPE Club 55: Until 19 Nov, return within a month; £21 return within England or £31 to/from
Scotland,1st Class £41/£61 respectively. 20% discount with Senior, Disabled or Two Together Railcards
(over 55). After 09.30/all weekends. Book at stations, or from train conductors.

1993] GWR Advance discount: (About 45% rather than the usual 34%.) Senior, Disabled or HM Forces
railcards; selected GWR Advance fares online only via GWR, also with 250 Nectar Points. Unlimited,
travel until 8 Dec, use which has further details. Advertising claims a 50%
discount but it is actually 16% extra to the normal 34% discount (so about 45% but still worthwhile)!

1994] Strutt's North Mill Museum: An 1804 built ex-Cotton Mill with UNESCO World Heritage Status.
Derwent Valley Visitor Centre, Bridgefoot, Belper, DE56 1YD (SK 346 481) 'Railway Belper' Exhibition,
until Christmas at least. Early plans/drawings and some unusual photographs. Admission £5: museum
entry and a guided Mill tour; children free. 11.00-16.00 Wed-Sun until half term then weekends only.

1995] Stapleford Miniature Railway, 9 & 10 June and 25 to 27 August 2018: Dates for your next diary.
(MR p20) Stapleford Park, near Melton Mowbray, LE14 2SF, (SK 812 183). Open days 10.00 to about
17.00 supporting the local hospice. Britain's longest 10¼" gauge railway; an impressive nearly 2 mile
run. A very friendly railway with great history in delightful stately home grounds. The first two and,
more likely, the last two trains of the day still usually return to Stapleford Jn reversing spur (part of
the remaining pre-1982 line) then propel back to the station in service, covering the rare two sides of
the triangle. The train engines do not then have to be released from (or become trapped at) the buffer
stops ends of the two terminal platforms (no run-round loops) and the end coaches reach the EOL.

X.145] BLS Southeastern Metrolander Railtour, Sat 23 Sep: (BLN 1283 and website) With a full day of interesting track at the Baker and Quail levels, pay on the day is available £55
(cash only) members and SET employees, £12 surcharge for non-members. Charing Cross 07.30
(P6) /19.50 (P1); Orpington (leg stretch) 10.43/11.06 (P7), Victoria (lunch break) 12.43/13.30 (P1).
There is an on train buffet provided by the East Kent Railway and a toilet in coach C.

Fixtures Secretary: Kev Adlam, 53 Kemble Close, Wistaston, CREWE CW2 6XN. [email protected] Twitter: @BLSGeneralSec

Bookings Officer: Jill Everitt, 4 Barnside Way, Moulton, NORTHWICH, CW9 8PT. [email protected]

Chairman: John Williamson, Croit-e-Quill Road Laxey Isle of Man IM4 7JD [email protected]
Membership: Alan Welsh, 22 Treemount Court, Grove Ave., EPSOM, KT17 4DU. [email protected] 01372 728677.
Paper BLN Problems: Dave Monger, 6 Underhill Close, GODALMING, GU7 1NU. [email protected] or text/ring Editor.

E-BLN problems, **PLEASE NOTE NEW ADDRESS** [email protected]

MAPS: By permission of the National Library of Scotland
NEWS TEAM: East Midlands: John Cameron, 10 Friar Gate Court, Friar Gate, DERBY, DE1 1HE. [email protected]
London: Geoff Brockett, 155 Onslow Gardens, South Woodford, LONDON, E18 1NA. [email protected]
North East England/NER Area: Geoff Blyth, 26 Trafalgar Way, Queens Park, BILLERICAY, CM12 0UT. [email protected]
North West, Yorkshire, Humberside, & IOM: Graeme Jolley, 3 Laurel Cottages, Rencell Hill, LAXEY, IOM, IM4 7BJ. [email protected]
South East England, East Anglia: Julian James, 58 Nelson Road, WORTHING, BN12 6EN. [email protected]
South West: Darren Garnon, 3 Reader Drive, Marden, TONBRIDGE, Kent, TN12 9FD [email protected]
West Midlands: Brian Schindler, 15 Sudeley, Dosthill, TAMWORTH, B77 1JR. [email protected]
Ireland: Martin Baumann, 42 Northland Road, LONDONDERRY, BT48 7ND. [email protected]
Scotland: Mike McCabe, Lawrenceholme Barn, Oulton, WIGTON, CA7 0PH. [email protected]
Wales: Paul Jeffries, 54 Heol Erwin, CARDIFF, CF14 6QR. [email protected]
Minor Railways (British Isles): Peter Scott, 93 Josephine Court, Southcote Rd, READING, RG30 2DQ. [email protected]
Editor/Head Lines: Paul Stewart, 4 Clarence Close, MALVERN, WR14 3HX [email protected] 01684562862 07790652351.
Branch Line Email Service: Nick Garnham, [email protected] Subscribe: [email protected]

Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Road, Stoke Gifford, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947.

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