Issue Number 1275 (Items 346 - 475 &IssMueRN3u0m- bMeRr 13286)8 (E-BLN 49 PAGES) 18 Feb 2017
BRANCH LINE NEWS
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 members;7a2n8i6n7te7rnational section is also available.
Opinions herein are not necessarily those of the Compilers or the Society.
BLN 1276 is dated 4 Mar andSoaclilectyo.nStorcibieutyt.ions must be received by 22 Feb
Date Event Details BLN Lead Status
North Tyneside Steam Railway: 12.30-15.30 Track/Traction 1272 KA OPEN
Fri 10/3/17 North Norfolk Railway 11.00 Steam-hauled tour & lunch 1275 KA *OPEN*
Sun 12/3/17 Bodmin & Wenford Rly 12.15-16.30 Track & Traction 1273 KA OPEN
Sat 18/3/17 'Bound for Craigy', track & traction, East Coast HST tour 1273 JE OPEN
Wed 19/4/17 Ashover Light Railway 14.00-17.00 Guided walk 1273 JC OPEN
Sat 22/4/17 Y Triongl Gogledd Cymru, loco-hauled tour to North Wales 1274 KA OPEN
Sat 6/5/17 Scunthorpe Steel Wks 09.30-18.30 internal railtour 1275 PS *OPEN*
Sun 7/5/17 TPE Charity Railtour Manchester - NE England circular TBA TBA Claimed
Sun 14/5/17 Moreton Park Railway 11.00 Track & Traction Tour TBA TBA Claimed
Sun 14/5/17 Titley Junction Railway Afternoon Track & Traction TBA TBA Claimed
10 to 15/5/17 Jordan Hejaz Railway booking form with e-BLN 1272 1272 IS OPEN
18 to 21/5/17 Long weekend - Dublin / Republic of Ireland 'mixed' gauges 1265 KA Notify
Thur 15/6/17 Stafford - Liverpool DRS loco hauled NW mini-railtour TBA TBA Claimed
Wed 28/6/17 Kennet Service Train Tracker, Guided group day out 1275 TG *OPEN*
IS-Iain Scotchman, JE-Jill Everitt, JC-John Cameron, KA-Kev Adlam, PS-Paul Stewart, TG-Tom Gilby; NB: 2 LINES REMOVED
346] Obligations on Society Members: Your Committee is proud of the positive relationships which we
have established with the companies and individuals from whom we request the tours and visits which
our members enjoy. Your Chairman and Fixtures Secretary are therefore disappointed to have to
remind members of some of their obligations under the terms of the Constitution of the Society and
our Standard Booking Terms and Conditions for Fixtures. In particular, Paragraph 2 of the Constitution
provides that 'No member may use the name of the Society for any private purpose, nor claim to
represent the Society without the authority of the Committee'.
Unfortunately, two of our members have put future fixtures at one location in jeopardy by seeking
facilities for themselves using the name of the Society. This action has caused severe offence to the
owner of the site and consequently has brought the name of our Society into disrepute in his eyes.
Your Committee may therefore take appropriate disciplinary action. You are all reminded that when
you do make an approach to request any facilities in a personal capacity it is wholly improper for you
to attempt to improve your personal prospects by making any use of the name of the Branch Line
Society. Furthermore, unless it has been publicised that bookings will be accepted on the day,
no member should attend any Society fixture unless they have made a prior booking and received
confirmation that their booking has been accepted or they have otherwise confirmed with the
designated organiser that they are authorised to attend.
347] Fixtures booking for ALL fixtures - general reminders, please help us to help you:
Please do not email to try to save a place - it doubles the workload - just post a booking form/letter.
Acknowledgment of bookings: please allow at least two weeks before chasing up.
Please only ring the Fixtures Secretary at home as a very last resort - email is most convenient; it can
be handled out of hours when the children are asleep without disrupting the rest of the evening.
Please, if asking to sit with someone consider submitting a joint booking to reduce administration -
if not, do check they are actually travelling - hours are spent on seating plans to sometimes discover
that someone you have asked to be sat with has not even booked!!
Please do NOT staple cheques to booking forms; banks do not like staples which must be removed.
If you have supplied an email address, we do NOT need a stamped addressed envelope (SAE) as well!
If you send an SAE, please make sure it is big enough to actually get a folded A4 size letter in it!
If you are posting something please check the postage - each fixture results in two or three trips to
Royal Mail to collect under-stamped letters and the organiser has to pay the penalty to collect them.
Please make sure your hand writing is legible, especially the card details and email addresses.
Please be patient and polite in your dealings with fixtures organisers; we are all volunteers who put
in many hours with otherwise busy complicated lives too. There is nothing more demotivating than a
rude email. Also it is not be possible to reply instantly to each and every query.
A new BLS website is being developed which solves these problems with full e-booking facilities.
348] Wissington Wanderer II, Fri 10 Mar 11.00: Our original comprehensive steam-hauled trip of
the lovely North Norfolk Railway (NNR) on 13 Mar 2015 was oversubscribed (report BLN 1231.691)
and by popular request is being repeated with some different lines for those who came last time.
Sheringham NNR (buffet open specially) bay P3 dep 11.00 (connects 09.45 ex-Norwich), headshunt,
loop, Holt P2 to end of line, Holt P1 to sidings behind platform/Down siding, Bridge Road Carriage
depot (left side shed roads), Weybourne (station expected to be open during our visit) headshunt
and depot roads (different ones from our 2015 trip), Sheringham P1, level crossing gates then to P2
(connects 16.49 to Norwich). Max 25 members only, a single saloon and 'Wissington' steam HC
1700. £35 includes a lunch platter (fresh sandwiches, cake, crisps and a drink) - very good last time.
Cheques payee 'Branch Line Society' to Kev Adlam per back page with an email address or SAE.
349] Scunthorpe Summer Steel Tracker, Sat 6 May, 09.30-18.30: (Report: BLN 1273.213) Over 100
miles of standard gauge track on site; a great way to see an operating integrated steel works at close
quarters. 09.30 prompt (AFRPS platform) until about 18.30 (for 19.09 TPE Scunthorpe to Manchester -
advance tickets start at £8.30; £5.50 railcard - ready for our TPE tour from Manchester the following
day). An extensive full day railtour with a comfort break at the AFRPS shed (view and photo the locos).
Subject to engineering work, Birmingham, Liverpool and London (etc) rail connections are available.
Maximum 63, first come, first served; £45 (only £5 per hour!). BLS members only due to high demand.
Includes food and drink in the break, a detailed track map, stock list and souvenir ticket. Our tours
supports the good work of the AFRPS. Bookings by post to Paul Stewart (back page) with any specific
line requests in advance only. Please supply an email address or an SAE (two for acknowledgment).
350] Kennet Service Train Tracker, Wed 28 Jun: A Kennet Day Ranger (£13.90; railcard £9.15) gives
unlimited rail travel between Reading, Basingstoke and Bedwyn on GWR & Cross Country trains after
09.30 (all weekends/Bank Holidays). Tom Gilby has kindly planned an interesting itinerary and is
leading this sociable day out with like minded people ('familiar faces' and new faces too). It starts at
Reading 11.08, subject to the May timetable changes. Includes permutations of platforms to/from the
Reading Down Feeder Relief, Westbury Line Jn, Up Feeder Main, Newbury bay P3, Up P2 in the Down
direction, both crossovers, Newbury Racecourse Loop, Basingstoke (three times!) and Bedwyn.
Early evening Newbury break (or alternative moves available) returning to Reading by 21.30 sunset
(before if required). Earlier trips available: 09.56 Reading P5 to Wokingham back to P4 10.40, and later
the 21.42 from Reading P6 via the realigned Reading Southern Jn returning to P13A via the Eastern
Underpass Line (£4.30 return; £2.85 railcard) or permutations of the Up Relief/Flyover and Festival
Lines. The 21.45 Reading to Birmingham reverses at Foxhall Jn. Participants buy their own tickets
(from any staffed station, conductor or online in advance from GWR website). For queries/bookings to
assess demand: [email protected] or 69 Regent St, Barwell, Leicester, LE9 8GY (with SAE).
1275 HEAD LINES
351] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) End (incl) Location (exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]
1251.334 9 Feb 16 31 Mar 17 (Carlisle) - (Armathwaite)
1266.1930 24 Mar 17 31 Mar 17 (Chester) - (Wrexham General)
1266.1928 3 Jan 17 29 May 17 ( +/- Birkenhead North) - Liverpool Loop - ( +/- Hamilton Square)
1274.243 8 Jul 16 16 Jul 17 *Wootton Bassett Jn - Bathampton Jn/Bradford South Jn
1222.1799 20 Dec 14 Jan 2018 (London Blackfriars) - (London Bridge) Thameslink work
1222.1799 20 Dec 14 Jan 2018 (London Bridge), Spa Road - Bricklayers Arms Jn
352] Liverpool, Allerton East Jn - Garston Jn: NRU long term (see North West regional section).
353] Bristol Harbour Railway, CREATE Centre platform (incl.) - The Chocolate Path foot crossing
(230yd): (BLN 1246.22158) Remains CP/CA after public running on Bank Holiday Mon 31 Aug 2015.
It had been due to reopen on a new alignment at the west end to a new platform after completion of
the MetroBus work in April. Feb 2017 update: The New Cut river wall has been showing signs of
collapse over the last year and trains cannot currently operate west of Vauxhall Bridge (ST 5758 7213).
354] Antrim - Lisburn: (BLN 1255.782) Driver training ECS DMU workings began on
Wed Wed 25 Jan 2017; return trips from Antrim to near Knockmore about a mile short
of Lisburn. The first trip of Sat 28 Jan traversed the whole line. This is for future ballast
replacement/cleaning trains which will use the route; Antrim is to be a ballast loading point. Crumlin
and Ballinderry loops are now lifted.
355] Aberystwyth (incl) - Borth - Dovey Jn (excl): TCP 4 Feb, engineering work, ROP 11.00, 8 Feb 2017.
356] (Croydon) Tramlink, Wimbledon P10 & 10B (incl) - Mitcham (excl) and five intermediate stops:
TCP Sat 11 to Mon 20 Feb 2017 (incl) - local half-term - to replace track and signals at Dundonald Road
crossing and renew 750m of track between Morden Road and Merton Park. A limited stop bus service
will be provided. Croydon to Wimbledon passengers may use tram tickets on trains via, and changing
at, Sutton. Line 4 (Elmers End) services terminate at Therapia Lane (an ECS shunt is expected beyond).
357] ●Woodgrange Park Jn - Gospel Oak Jn with: ●Tottenham South Jn - South Tottenham East Jn.
●South Tottenham West Jn - Seven Sisters Jn (NRU by freight trains); ●Harringay Park Jn - Harringay
Jn (NRU) and ●Junction Road Jn - Carlton Road Jn: TROG Sat 11 & Sun 12 Feb 2017 due to possessions
at Stratford blocking the alternative routes; route learning ECS DMUs also ran. At 04.00 on 13th it TCG
and is due to reopen for non-passenger traffic Sat 18 Feb 08.00 to 21.00, Sun 19 Feb 07.35 to 20.00
then daily 08.00 to 20.00. Upper Holloway Loop is TOOU. A driver training T&H video cab ride view and
track plan (in both directions): https://goo.gl/tvYhoO Username: NWRGOBE Password: GOBE.
358] Barking (excl) - Gospel Oak Bay P3 (incl) and 9/10* stations: (BLN 1274.240) ROP now expected
Mon 27 Feb 2017; Barking (excl) - South Tottenham (excl) TCA 4 Jun 2016. South Tottenham - Gospel
Oak Bay P3 (both incl) TCA 24 Sep 2016. (*Possibly not Blackhorse Road - see 'Greater London'.)
359] Gospel Oak (junction for bay P3 in the Up Tottenham & Hampstead Line - Gospel Oak Jn): ROP
expected Mon 27 Feb 2017. Used only by 07.59 (SSuX) PSUL Woodgrange Park - Willesden Junction LL.
360] Stratford Central Jn West - Channelsea North Jn: ROP expected Mon 27 Feb 2017, 18.30 (SSuX)
PSUL Clapham Junction to Stratford P11. TCP since the 20.07 SSuX from Richmond ran on 9 Dec 2016.
361] Tottenham South Jn - South Tottenham East Jn & South Tottenham West Jn - Seven Sisters Jn;
a PSUL unidirectional SO single service (last ran Sat 30 Apr 2016) - see PSUL update in 'BLN General'.
362] London Cannon Street (incl) - London Bridge (excl) - Charlton Jn and four stations / New Cross
(excl): TCP 14-17 Apr 2017 (Easter) for Thameslink work (extends to Charing Cross on 14 & 15 Apr).
363] Bristol East Jn/Dr Day's Jn - Bath Spa - Bradford South Jn/Thingley Jn and six stations in total:
(BLN 1273.172) TCP/TCA (part) 14-17 Apr 2017 (Easter) for Bath Spa SET/IEP platform work.
364] Millerhill Depot: (Between Newcraighall station and Millerhill Yard Jn; north side in the former
yard) the £30M facility for EMU (Cl. 385) / DMU stabling and cleaning is due to open in the autumn.
365] Preston, Fylde Jn - Kirkham & Wesham - Kirkham North Jn - Blackpool South (incl) and eight
intermediate stations: TCP is expected Sat 11 Nov 2017 until Fri 26 Jan 2018 (incl) - see next item.
366] Kirkham North Jn - Poulton-le-Fylde - Layton - Blackpool North (incl): TCP due Sat 11 Nov 2017
until Sun 25 Mar 2018 (incl) for remodelling, resignalling and electrification. There will be no through
services to/from Manchester Airport from 11 Nov 2017 until 19 May 2018. From Sun 20 May 2018
through EMUs are due to start running between Blackpool North and Liverpool / Manchester.
The Blackpool South line temporary closure (previous item) is consequential; it is not being electrified.
1275 BLN GENERAL
367] Miles better? Will the 18 Mar 'Bound for Craigy' be our longest (distance) one day railtour ever?
368] Light Railway Orders: (BLN 1274.249) These were not subject to parliamentary discussion or
approval. They were made by the executive, initially under the authority of the President of the Board
of Trade (BoT), then after 1919, the Minister of Transport. Hence the obligation to run a passenger
service (if such an obligation was imposed on the Ashover Light Railway, rather than being voluntarily
offered) will have been made by the BoT. If imposed, then it would have been because of pressure at
the local public hearing when the application was consulted upon and/or by 'behind the scenes'
lobbying of the President of the BoT or ministry officials - usually by local MP(s). Light Railway Orders
are 'statutory instruments' - they have the force of legislation without going through the parliamentary
process. In simple terms, parliament laid down in primary legislation (in this case the Light Railways Act
1896) that - within specified constraints - the minister (President of Board of Trade in this case) is
authorised to make an order (statutory instrument) which has the same force as an Act of Parliament.
The cost, to the promoters of a light railway, was much less than obtaining a private Act of Parliament
but confers on them the same necessary rights, powers and dispensations to construct a railway.
369] Stationary/Stationless Towns: BLN 1274.241 mentioned that Ilkeston (pop 40,000) is said to be
the 'largest town in Britain without a station'; of course, it all depends how a town is defined. Your
Editor decided to check this out and six other towns are in the same boat and have larger populations
than Ilkeston (2011 census, figures rounded): The clear 'winner' (loser?) is Gosport (86,600) - but
there is a guided busway from Fareham. Dudley (79,400) - Sandwell & Dudley station is 3½ miles away
in West Bromwich, Newcastle-under-Lyme (75,100), Washington (67,100) - T&W Metro extension
proposed; Leigh (43,000) - guided busway, West Bridgford (41,000), Meanwhile Blyth, Dunstable,
(guided busway from Luton), Skelmersdale (proposed Merseyrail branch), Coalville (proposed but no
progress), Wisbech (proposed branch from March) and Swadlincote all have over 30,000 population.
370] Points & Slips: ●BLN 1273.179] In the Ordsall Chord work, the viaduct widening is as far towards
Castlefield Jn as the bridge over Potato Wharf (SJ 8298 9774). ●BLN 1274.235] Well done to our
member who spotted that the first Metrolink picture of 3040 running to 'Bury via Victoria' on a trailing
crossover was actually reversing over the crossover on Aytoun Street on the Bury to Piccadilly Gardens
service. The 4th picture (bottom of second page) shows the tram on Cross Street approaching Albert
Square running southbound, not Market Street. 256] A member has kindly confirmed that the first
Northern Scunthorpe train to the west on 12 Nov 2016 departed P1 over the west trailing crossover as
booked. ●292] The solitary military vehicle dispatched from Ludgershall by train on 12 Jan would
probably have been an Armoured Personnel Carrier; our NATO tanks are out of gauge (except on the
former Great Central London Extension!). ●318] A member spent 18 minutes at Edinburgh Gateway
on the afternoon of Fri 3 Feb. With one arrival and departure witnessed, staff outnumbered the
passenger (our member) by three to one! It was slightly amusing that there are two staff on the barrier
line, the same provision as at Edinburgh Waverley P12-18 during the evening peak.
●335] Following our Cliffe Hopper tour, £8.8k was donated to Millie Bea's Walking Wish, £2k to the
Teenage Cancer Trust and £1.2k to Douglas MacMillan Hospice. 337] On Sun 5 Feb at Meadowhall,
a two-hourly service ran north to/from Hull using P1 with single line working from Masborough Jn. The
latter crossover is not rare; it is used by all trains heading north from the Barrow Hill line ('Old Road').
371] Gravity shunting: (BLN 1273.153.Q1) Additional to the places mentioned, a member recalls being
'evicted' from coaches at Cowes terminus (IOW). After the loco was released, the coaches gravitated
along P1 to the buffers so it could run past them. This was normal practice here and on one occasion
they even reached the concourse! It also happened at Peterhead and Banff without run-round loops
and still takes place on the Manx Electric Railway at Douglas Derby Castle, and Ramsey Plaza at least
for trailers to run-round trams. Surprisingly, gravity shunting is not reported at Newton or Appleford.
372] Does anyone know what was scored? The 1964 FA Cup Final was between Preston North End
and West Ham United (who won 3-2) on Sat 2 May. A member travelled from Preston to Wembley and
back by football special steam-hauled by a 'Britannia'. It ran to Wembley Hill (Wembley Complex after
8 May 1978 and since 11 May 1987 now Wembley Stadium). There were several specials including a
'Blue Pullman' DMU. It was via the WCML to Bletchley but he does not know the route afterwards -
can anyone help please? The original Wembley Stadium station on a single track unidirectional
'circular' loop (clockwise) from Neasden North Jn (last train 18 May 1968) was still open then but the
layout was designed for an intensive Marylebone service. [It seems likely at Bletchley that the Oxford
line would have been taken to Claydon L&NE Jn (a diversionary route at the time with Euston being
rebuilt and electrified) then the wartime curve to Calvert Jn. At Grendon Underwood Jn the line to
Ashendon Jn was still open or, possibly less likely, via the Aylesbury to Princes Risborough line - Ed.]
373] PSUL 2017 – UPDATE 1 (FEBRUARY 2017):
Minor retimings of a few minutes either way are ignored but the latest version of PSUL can
always be found on-line via http://tinyurl.com/psul-intro or via http://snipurl.com/psul-intro
Page 2: Southern generally restored more normal service from 24 January 2017.
Page 6: Willesden Suburban Junction - Kensal Green Junction and [Junction Road
Junction - ] Covered Way west end - Gospel Oak Junction: (re-)introduction of services
with reopening of Gospel Oak – Barking line postponed until 27 February 2017.
Page 8: Brixton Junction - Canterbury Road Junction - Cambria Junction: final line of
Sunday service should read “…until 2K78 2203 Canterbury East – Victoria”.
Page 8: Seven Sisters Junction - South Tottenham West Junction and South Tottenham
East Junction - Tottenham South Junction: subject to diversion via Stoke Newington most
weekends until 8 April so check locally
Page 9: Channelsea North Junction - Stratford Central Junction West: (re-)introduction of
service should be from 27 February 2017 but check locally.
Page 14: Norchard Low Level - Norchard, Middle Forge Junction ground frame: used by
trains starting at Norchard for Lydney Junction or returning thereto - usually only 1000
Norchard - Lydney Junction and 1705 Lydney Junction - Norchard on "Steam Day Rover
timetable" (red) dates. Also 1505 WO Parkend - Norchard as advertised (reversing at Middle
Forge Junction). Additional workings may operate for special events days - particularly on
event days (blue) when separate services are advertised: Norchard (high level) - Parkend and
Norchard (low level) - Lydney Junction (this does not apply on Thomas days when the low
level platform line is solely for short brake van trips). Santa services between Norchard and
Parkend operate from and to low level platform with reversal at Middle Forge Junction.
Other trains at Norchard use the high level platform on the through line.
Page 21: Moor Road (Leeds) station - Balm Road loop [Middleton Railway]: 2017 dates:
16, 17 July, 17, 18 September.
1275 EAST MIDLANDS (INCLUDES SOUTH HUMBERSIDE)
374] EMT: The TOC has won the 'Golden Whistle' award for best performing long distance operator
(right time) for the 7th year in a row. 70% of trains ran right time; 92% made their destination on time.
375] Fiskerton and Lowdham: Platform lengthening begins on 18 Feb; services are unaffected. Due to
modern safety standards, the new signals had to be installed further from the level crossings reducing
the available platform to just the front door. On completion in May all the doors will be platformed.
376] Kettering - Corby: (BLN 1274.254) The seventh and final phase to renew pointwork and expand
the layout for redoubling is over the 25/26 Feb weekend. Work then moves on to resignalling the line.
377] Foxes Footexes: EMT ran additional trains for Derby County's FA Cup replay at Leicester City.
They had run the opposite way for the original match in Derby, which was a draw. Schedules allowed
for extra-time/penalties; it is not known if they were rammed but EMT clearly take pride in doing this.
378] Castle Donington: (BLN 1273.158) Roxhill has begun work on East Midlands Gateway Phase 1
(road infrastructure, utilities etc). This is due to be completed by October and includes some work on
the new branch line. There are six phases and all work is scheduled to finish by the end of 2019.
379] Ilkeston: https://youtu.be/54D0pY02b-g is an impressive NR time lapse video of the removal and
replacement of the 116 year old Awsworth Rd bridge over 24 hours (16-17 Dec 2016) in 140 seconds.
Originally for electrification clearance, various other reasons are now given to justify the work!
380] Cleethorpes: NR with TPE and the Railway Heritage Group are repairing the station clock; work
begins in springtime [obviously the best season to mend a clock‽]. It has been a significant feature of
the station since the 1880s but the largely wooden structure is rotten. The timber will be repaired and
redecorated with the mechanism refurbished and the clock re-glazed. Great Malvern clock next please.
The Transport Secretary would 'love to see a direct service to Cleethorpes' (…from London which last
ran in 1992) and feels it could happen on completion of HS2. Don't try to book advance tickets just yet.
381] Scunthorpe: British Steel is donating 738m of rail for a test track at the National College for High
Speed Rail, which has campuses in Doncaster and Birmingham. A future Society visit perhaps?
382] Kirton Lindsey: The
disused Lime Sidings
connection (86m 20ch) was
removed on 6 Feb 2017.
RIGHT: the former southwest
connection to Kirton Lime
Sidings (where internal locos
once operated) on the
Barnetby to Gainsborough
line. The still operational
signal box of the same name
is behind the photographer
on the other side of the
single track running line -
which is very straight here.
Ahead is the northeastern
entrance to Kirton Tunnel
1,334 yds and again very
straight. (Railman 6 Feb
383] Retford: (BLN 1273.157) The solitary staff-operated lift from the low level 'Up Worksop' (trains
from Worksop) P4 is up to high level Up P1 (not P2). To reach P2 passengers then, obviously, go down
in the other lift from the Up platform, cross under the ECML by subway then up in the lift to Down P2!
The barrow crossing is used (under staff supervision) between low level P3 and P4 east ends by those
unable to manage the stairs and footbridge. Retford is thus a station with non-sequentially numbered
platforms. If walked, Retford has 2, 1, 4 and 3, or 3, 4, 1 & 2. Portsmouth & Southsea is 4, 3, 1 & 2 and
Baker Street is 4, 3, 2, 1, 5 & 6.
1275 GREATER LONDON
384] Angel Road: (BLN 1223.1886) Construction work has started on the new Meridian Water housing
development. A new station of the same name is to open in 2019 to the south of Angel Road station
which it will replace. It is not clear if this will be a regarded as a resiting or if a closure procedure will
be required. NR has started site clearance work to enable a third track to be laid between here and Lea
Bridge to allow 4tph to operate to Stratford.
385] Barking - Gospel Oak: (BLN 1274.240 and see 'Head Lines') The DMU test service on 2 Feb was
cancelled. More trains were scheduled on 3rd but only one, the 08.16 from Willesden TMD to Barking
P1, actually ran. The return working was shown in both RTT and OTT as departing P1 but was then
cancelled, so presumably shunted over to the main station. Further workings scheduled for the 4th
were all cancelled as well. On 7 Feb NR announced that the line (carrying around 10,000 passengers a
day when fully open) would reopen on 27th, but the installation of all overhead wires has not been
completed on time. Some structures carrying the overhead lines were reportedly incorrectly designed
and couldn't be installed at the planned locations; late delivery of materials and structures also led to
further delays. NR plan place to complete the work before the new EMUs are delivered in early 2018.
This will require further weekend closures and probably involve another full closure later in the year.
The line's user group reports that, in addition to the delayed electrification work, accidental breaches
of sewers in Walthamstow by pile drivers have not yet been repaired. It has also been discovered that
there will be insufficient clearance for the overhead wires under the road bridge at Crouch Hill station.
They believe that NR has received a temporary dispensation to run electric trains under the bridge
pending a later closure to raise the height of the bridge. They also report that platform extensions
have only been completed at two stations and work on step-free access at Blackhorse Road will not be
completed until April so the LO platforms there may not reopen until May.
386] Crossrail: (BLN 1274.258) (1) GWML: A letter from the DfT to a Reading MP says that a semi-fast
Crossrail service between Reading, Maidenhead and Paddington is being considered, with a journey
time of 50 minutes from Reading to Bond Street quoted. Timetable development work is expected to
be concluded in about August. On 4 Feb engineering works closed the Relief Lines in the Paddington
and Old Oak areas and at Hayes & Harlington; all services to and from Paddington used the Main Lines.
Greenford services were therefore the only trains calling at West Ealing (which has no platforms on
the Main Lines) and these were extended to Ealing Broadway to connect with other services. Reversal
there was a shunt to Acton West but only one DMU was provided for this service which ran hourly.
Something new to our correspondent was observed at Ealing Broadway on this date. At the country
end of the Down Main P1, banner repeater signal SN207BR clears first to the familiar diagonal black
bar across a white disc, then as the signal it repeats clears from double yellow to green the white disc
also turns green. In fact, nationwide there are now many of these signals. Previously it was not
possible to differentiate between green or more restrictive aspects ahead. From 13 Feb a crossover
(OOU) between the Up Relief and Crossrail Depot Line 1 at Ladbroke Grove was to be installed.
(2) Abbey Wood: From 5 Feb a trailing connection (OOU) in the Down North Kent Line was installed
east of the station. It will eventually allow access to Crossrail engineer's siding past their platforms.
(3) General: https://goo.gl/pyTCzO has aerial views of some stations and Old Oak Common depot.
387] Euston: (BLN 1273.165) HS2 preparatory work started with Sunday platform closures from 29 Jan
until 19 Feb with reduced Virgin services and LO suspensions south of Kilburn High Road. Later this
year a ban on all charter trains using Euston station is to be introduced; it may continue for several
years. Kensington (Olympia), Queen's Park and Watford Junction are likely alternative termini.
388] Hendon: (BLNs 1274.245 & 1273.168) The engineering works on 5 Feb were completed in time
for the two Down services booked to be diverted to use the Down Main. The only Up service booked
to be diverted over the Hendon Chord, the 06.16 Derby to St Pancras International, did run that way.
389] Queenstown Road: (BLNs 1272.49 & 1271.3156) The crossovers were commissioned on 13 Feb.
390] Waterloo: (BLN 1274.258) https://goo.gl/v70pDu from SWT's website covers the partial closure
of the station from 5 to 28 Aug. Maps and draft train times are shown. Queenstown Road, Norbiton
and the Chessington South branch will be closed, with Earlsfield not served before 10.00 SSuX.
1275 NORTH EAST
391] Bishop Auckland branch: (BLN 1252.460) From 12 Feb a permanent 16mph (20km/h) speed
restriction applied on Hitachi's Heighington electrified Merchant Park Test Track (4m 01ch - 4m 53ch).
392] T&W Metro: There were/are no services between St James and Wallsend over all the weekends
of 11/12, 18/19, 25/26 Feb (NB: Our North Tyneside Steam Railway visit - allow extra time) and
4/5 Mar due to engineering work, with ECS reversals over the facing crossover west of Wallsend.
393] Middlesbrough: (BLN 1274.274) The first new town in the world to be created by railways, the
development of its stations reflected its growth. In 1829 it was a somewhat bleak and marshy
farmstead with a population of 40 when a group of Quaker businessmen bought the associated 527
acre estate and established the Middlesbrough Estate Company; the first house was built in April 1830.
(Area map below is with thanks to Dave Cromarty.) 600 passengers travelled on the opening special of
27 Dec 1830, hauled by the newly delivered locomotive 'Globe', but the initial service was by horse
drawn coach. Passenger trains started 7 Apr 1834 but even then a horse drawn coach continued to run
on Sundays until the 1850s. This first station was a wooden shed on the line to the coal drops,
probably just south of the present Depot Road, close to the AV Dawson automotive steel distribution
centre. On an unknown date in 1837 the line was extended eastwards along Commercial Street and
the shed moved there. History does not record if this shed survived the explosion of Globe's boiler
there on 18 Jan 1838! Only in Nov 1838 was even a temporary building provided, with a proper station
following in 1840, by which time the population of Middlesbrough had increased to 5,500.
Middlesbrough passenger stations and opening dates The line from Old Town Jn to the
1 Near Watson's Wharf, end of S&DR branch. 7 April 1834 new Middlesbrough Dock OG 1 Feb
2 Commercial St, east of previous station. 1837 1842, although the dock did not
3 Redcar line, at Sussex St Level Crossing. 4 June 1846 open for trade until 12 May 1842.
4 Excursion station east of previous station. 15 Nov 1874 or The line skirted south of the town
16 Dec 1874 but did not OP until 4 Jun 1846,
Use of excursion station by all trains?
when the extension from Dock Hill
5 Current station, east of Sussex St Crossing. 1 Dec 1877
Jn to Redcar opened; the opening
train was hauled by 'Locomotion No1'. A temporary station was built at Sussex St LC until a permanent
one OP 26 Jul 1847 in classical style. Some sources say the station was west of the LC but a
contemporary map shows it was to the east, on the south side of the line, which was then open
country. By 1871, the North Eastern Railway (NER) recognised that this site was unable to be expanded
to meet the rapidly growing needs of the town, now with a population of 40,000. After examining an
alternative site further east, they decided to develop the existing location, requiring a temporary
station elsewhere while work was undertaken.
Work on this temporary station near Wood Street, apparently a substantial island platform and very
probably the alternative site previously examined, finally began at the end of 1873. Although the
principal station for three years, it is not mentioned in Clinker's Register nor shown on the Cobb Atlas.
Tomlinson's 'North Eastern Railway - Its Rise and Development' has the brief statement: on
15 Nov 1874 a new excursion station was opened and brought into use for the general passenger
traffic as a preliminary step to the building….. [of the new station]. The Railway Architecture of North
East England website states that it opened on 16 Dec 1874 and work then began on demolishing the
1847 station, so it is unclear if there was overlap of a month when both stations were open or if one of
the dates is incorrect. November seems an unlikely month to open a new excursion station (the beach
at Redcar would be even more 'bracing' than Skegness!) but Tomlinson is the 'bible' of NER history.
The new (current) station OP 1 Dec 1877. Your once local NE Editor considers this fifth Middlesbrough
station actually to be on a different site from the third as it occupied a much larger area.
The new station building was significantly further east and there were three years with no station
here. It is of course a matter of opinion, in the same vein as how 'separate' two lines or tracks are.
Incidentally, the building on the left of the picture in e-BLN 1274, just above item 275, (formerly the
parcels office) is not the 1847 station, which was in classical style.
RIGHT: from the
of North East
There seems to be no
information on when
the excursion station
closed; it probably
just 'faded away'
with no record of
when it was last
used. The island
platform must have
been demolished as
there is now no trace
1275 NORTH WEST
394] Garston; LEFT: On a recent railtour
the 28ch electrified double track Allerton
East Jn (1) to Garston Jn (2) 'third side of
the triangle' was noted to be very rusty and
said to be OOU due to 'signalling issues'.
On the east side of that curve the Down
Allerton Goods is unidirectional from
Allerton Jn to Garston Jn. On the west side
from Garston Jn the track is unidirectional
(the 'Departure Line') as far as the user
worked Garston Level Crossing (0m 18ch),
not shown on the map, where a trailing
crossover joins from the Down line. It must
be relatively unusual to have a crossover
on a level crossing! This line then becomes
the reversible 'Up & Down Allerton Goods'
- this is incorrectly shown on TRACKmaps
Vol 4 p40 (Aug 2013). 'Allerton' station is,
of course, now part of Liverpool South Parkway along with the nearby former 'Garston' station south
west of it. The one shown as closed to passengers (white spot) was Garston Dock (CA Jun 1947). The
curve was disused for some time even before our 29 Oct 2011 'Another Rivers Railtour' ran to the area.
BELOW: The crossing (with crossover), Garston is round to the left and Allerton East Jn is right (NR).
Garston Junction signal box was destroyed by fire on 27 Jul 2003 and Garston Jn to Allerton East Jn
was put OOU. It was re-signalled (and re-opened) with the Speke Jn area generally from 10 Apr 2006
and is on the Speke Junction signal box panel. The curve is understood to have been retained for
strategic emergency use by car and intermodal trains etc if the route via Speke Jn to Ditton is blocked.
It is not shown as OOU in the Sectional Appendix and is subject to occasional possessions. The line is
complete with signals lit; NR pay business rates on it. However, on a 7 Feb 2015 visit to Speke Junction
signal box, a hand written notice was photographed https://goo.gl/rkmckS by the panel:
NOTICE 'UP + DOWN ALLERTON GOODS, DOWN ALLERTON GOODS, NOT RAIL WORTHY ∗DO NOT USE∗'
Presumably this still applies (does anyone know when it was last used?) - don't be afraid to 'speke up'.
395] Skelmersdale: Lancashire County Council has earmarked land on the former Glenburn Sports and
Skelmersdale Colleges, both disused (the first already Council owned) for a new station. NR made a
comparative study of both sites and one near the Concourse shopping centre. Two direct trains to
Liverpool per hour are proposed in plans with Merseytravel and West Lancashire Borough Council.
396] Salwick: The Down Goods Loop and connections were recovered from 12 Feb. Once there was a
trailing gated connection off this loop to the former British Nuclear Fuels secure private siding.
397] Greater Manchester: During summer 2016 a 12-week public consultation was held on the draft
2040 Transport Strategy. See https://goo.gl/Nffssc (127 pages) https://goo.gl/HLtR0s has more.
398] Metrolink: Utility and enabling works are well underway on the 3.4 mile £350M new Trafford
Park line with six stops. It serves Europe's largest industrial estate, Old Trafford football stadium, the
Imperial War Museum North, EventCity, and the Trafford Centre and is due to open in 2020/21.
1275 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
399] Huntingdon: (BLN 1263.1635) NR has submitted a Transport and Works Act Order application to
reinstate a fourth track, the 'Huntingdon to Woodwalton improvement programme'. If approved by
the Secretary of State for Transport, the 'Abbots Ripton Transport and Works Act Order' would
authorise the closure of Abbots Ripton bridleway level crossing and permit diversion of the bridleway.
(Part of Phase 1 for completion in summer 2018.) NR will hold further public information events on
design and construction plans for the fourth track (Phase 2). In 2016 NR said that the main works to
build the extra track were due to start in 2018 for completion by the end of 2020. (Transport Briefing)
400] Sandy: From 13 Feb all non-electrified Down Sidings south of the station were to be removed
with associated simplification of signalling on the running lines. Sandy South Jn is being renewed.
401] Cambridge: A new station on the biomedical science campus by Addenbrooke's Hospital in the
south of the city could be built without any public money as an investment company wishes to develop
the site. A 30 Jan meeting explored the possibility of private funding. John Laing Infrastructure is
looking at the viability of developing the site themselves and believes the business case is positive.
It is hoped that private funding will accelerate the station development. AstraZeneca, represented at
the meeting, feel a new station would help staff once they move here in 2018, but they cannot finance
construction. NR is working with stakeholders including Heidi Allen MP and AstraZeneca on this third
party scheme; in particular the implications of the station on the timetable and future demands.
402] Felixstowe: (BLN 1268.2167) Site set-up work for the double is tracking due to begin in Nov.
It will run from the end of the existing double track at Trimley station 1.4km (70ch) northwest to
about 81m 67ch, just before Grimston Lane foot crossing (TM 2686 3756). The latter (not shown on
TRACKmaps Oct 2016 or the Sectional Appendix) is 145 yards southeast of Thorpe Lane Level Crossing.
The proposed bridge over the Felixstowe line at Gun Lane (TM 2711 3694), now just a track, replaces
six footpath crossings used mainly for leisure purposes and circular walks. New rights of way (both
footpaths and bridleways) are to be built. The bridleway bridge has been designed with British Horse
Society guidance and will be Equality Act compliant [and no doubt also ready for electrification!].
The location of the bridge ensures that circular walks can be maintained. It will be 7.2m high (from rail
to top of parapet) with ramps at the Gun Lane end and a staircase at the St Martin end. The ramps will
have 2m landings (every 333mm of vertical rise). Including staircases, it will be about 170m long and at
3.5m wide allows two equestrian users to pass. It will not have lights or a cage structure. Subject to
approval and the granting of the powers, work starts in 2018 for completion 'by 2019' (sic).
403] Stansted - Harlow Mill: From a Mar 2016 visit, Stansted Mountfitchet is architecturally perhaps
the best of the stations towards Roydon (inclusive) with buildings on both platforms largely in original
condition. The one on the Down side appears to be mainly used as a café. From Bishops Stortford
south, the stations tended to 'suffer' from BR modernisation in connection with the 1960 suburban
electrification scheme. Bishops Stortford south signal box is intact but boarded up. About 3½km south,
passing the site of the early station at Spellbrook, there was nothing obvious to mark its site, whereas
on an earlier visit in Sep 1986 the GER signal box still stood. On that occasion the view had been from a
narrowboat on the River Stort Navigation passing through Spellbrook lock. The station CA 16 May 1842
on extension of the Northern & Eastern Railway to Bishops Stortford, still at 5'0" gauge at that date.
Sawbridgeworth has a 'miserable' little cube of a station building on each platform, modernised of
course. South of the station the huge maltings are converted into flats and other uses. Harlow Mill has
staggered platforms. The 'mutilated' original station building still exists on the Up side more or less
facing the now closed and boarded-up 1960 signal box on the Down side.
404] Banbury: (BLN 1261.1422) Construction of the new Chiltern light maintenance and stabling depot
is progressing. The reception and departure roads are now open and each can take a locomotive
hauled rake or a 7-car DMU. From 12 Dec 2016, a further two 4-car DMUs could stable. Phase 1a
construction is forecast for completion in April, allowing a total of 38 DMU units to be stabled.
405] Bicester North - Princes Risborough: A rare (unbooked) use of the bidirectional signalling
occurred on 2 Feb when, at 07.53, the 07.17 Oxford to Marylebone was reported at a stand on the Up
Main just to the north of Princes Risborough with an unintended brake application. A rescue loco was
prepared at Wembley and a Mobile Operations Manager sent. At 08.33 bidirectional running over the
Down Main began with the 06.09 Kidderminster to Marylebone and the 06.28 Moor Street to
Marylebone returning to Bicester North after becoming trapped behind the 07.17. The rescue loco
departed Wembley at 08.39. By 09.27 it had attached to the front of the failed train and, after a brake
test, the combined train went forward to Marylebone at 09.47, 123 minutes late.
406] Oxford: (BLN 1273.186) Revised intentions for the area after deferment of electrification were
outlined in a NR presentation to Railfuture on 16 Nov. Electrification is to be funded in CP6 (2019-24).
Prior to the opening of bay P1, Aristotle Lane bridge opened on 21 Nov 2016 replacing the former foot
crossing to the allotments. NR would like to 4-track the whole Oxford to Didcot length but not all will
be achieved. This summer track will be relaid at the southern end of the station with the existing
signalling. The Up carriage sidings will be renewed during a 22 to 31 Jul blockade. In Aug 2018 there
will be a 16-day blockade to complete the north end station remodelling, including the works to allow
parallel moves into the station by trains from the north and the Chiltern route. The new lengthy
Down North Loop will also open and all signalling transfers to the Thames Signalling Centre at Didcot.
In anticipation of re-doubling on the Cotswold line as far as Hanborough, Wolvercot Jn will be future-
proofed for a double junction. NR is keen to work with Oxfordshire County and Oxford City Councils to
rebuild Oxford station and a new west side Down platform (P5) could open in CP6. The platforms at
Radley, Culham and Appleford are being lengthened to allow for Class 387 EMUs. More information at
https://goo.gl/aB6tuR and https://goo.gl/pYVUcb shows the new track layout.
407] Didcot: On 2 Feb a remote monitoring alarm activated and staff sent to site found the 650V
cabling had been damaged by live (?) rodents [perhaps wearing ESP certified rubber boots?]. So that
engineers could get their teeth into it and make repairs, the supply had to be turned off for about an
hour affecting the Up & Down Main and the Up Relief lines between Moreton Cutting and Foxhall Jn.
1275 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH
408] Hamworthy branch: (BLN 1274.239) The rail served stone terminal is just south of the present
passenger station near the start of the branch, just round the corner out of sight (the former cement
terminal). However, after unloading, the wagons are hauled along the branch to run-round near the
original branch passenger station (OP 1872 to 1896) in Station Road (SZ004901), as shown in the photo
link with e-BLN 1274. The NR boundary is beyond, east of New Harbour Road Crossing (118m 05ch).
409] Thanet Parkway: (BLN 1227.369) Kent County Council is promoting this new station proposal, on
the Ramsgate to Minster line just west of Cliffs End village for mainline and high speed services. It will
improve employment opportunities for local residents and investment opportunities at Discovery Park
Enterprise Zone and surrounding Thanet business parks. The station would be unstaffed with two
platforms, ticket vending machines and help / information points. Road access is proposed from the
A299 Hengist Way with additional pedestrian and cycle access via Cliffs End village. A 300 space car
park is included, along with a forecourt with bus stops, drop-off and pick-up zones, a dedicated taxi
area, electric car charging points and cycle storage. The Council is seeking views on the outline design
of the station and car park, and responses can be made online until 18 Mar 2017.
410] Reading Green Park: (BLN 1262.1533) Berkshire Local Transport Board has confirmed that this
new station will proceed with work due to start in Apr 2017 and a proposed opening date of Dec 2018.
It is funded by the Local Enterprise Partnership and local authority contributions including Section 106
payments. This scheme, which includes the station, multi-modal interchange and an access road, will
significantly improve access to the existing Green Park business park and area and assist mixed use
development of Green Park Village. Engagement with Madejski Stadium has begun and operational
discussions will follow to maximise accessibility and connection with other public transport services.
411] Fareham: With Portsea Island wholly closed to rail traffic over the weekend of 4/5 February,
the Cardiff to Portsmouth Harbour service terminated both days in Fareham's centre bay P2. Before it
became a bay this was used by services to/from Gosport (CP 8 Jun 1953 and now the largest town in
Britain without a passenger station). The bridges over the road immediately to the east were replaced
some years ago. These are welded steel construction for single tracks from P1 and P3 only, aligned to
the Cosham route. Eastleigh trains are now extended in each direction to Waterloo and Portsmouth.
On Sat 5 Feb services to/from Waterloo via Eastleigh shared use of the bay with SWT services from
Southampton, although most of the latter ran to/from Havant via the crossovers west of that station.
On Sun 6 Feb, the Waterloo services ran to Havant and the SWT Southampton trains operated only to
Fareham but reversed in through P3 on the eastbound side of the station. The GWR Cardiff service
was occupying bay P2 and Southern services ran through P1 on the westbound side of the station.
Reversals in P3 are noteworthy as, even after the recent Fareham engineering blockade, there is only a
ground/position signal available for westbound moves which normally prohibits passenger services
starting towards Botley or Swanwick. Previously, this signal was only used to authorise movements
into the yard. It was occasionally used to reverse passenger trains with the signaller having lengthy
conversations with the driver beforehand to ensure that its purpose on that occasion was appreciated.
Your correspondent was required to leave such a service by the conductor some years ago who stated
that no passenger service could depart from that platform other than towards Cosham, irrespective of
what the platform screens were displaying. Some minutes later, profuse apologies were made and
invitation to return offered before departure was made. The recent reversals were made straight-
forwardly, although it appeared odd that the eastbound signal from P3 showed green at the same time
as the westbound ground signal. RTT indicated a similar pattern of operation Sat/Sun 11/12 February.
Question: as the main entrance for Fareham is on this platform, why is it P3 rather than P1?
412] Berks & Hants (B&H): On 25 Jan, outside platform limits, progress with electrification was:
Thatcham to Midgham: Mast installation looks almost complete both sides.
Midgham to Aldermaston. Patchy mast installation, some have arms (the first on the B&H?).
There is a hardcore (electrification?) compound with rail access in a field on the Down side.
Aldermaston to Theale: Patchy mast installation, with a small cluster around the new Ufton
Nervet Bridge. Then relatively complete on both sides for a short stretch to Theale oil depot.
Theale to Reading West: Only 4 Up and 4 Down masts soon after Theale station, then nothing.
Bases are also very sparse except close to Theale station, where they are regular.
Reading West to Reading: Via the original route, from the end of the platform ramps in the Up
direction at Reading West, the overhead line electrification looks almost complete.
The masts appear to be a mixture of lightweight and not particularly tall 'H' columns*, medium square
sections which can be tall or medium height, and very hefty square sections which are very tall and are
fitted with what look like a series of brackets facing the rail and a flange with a series of holes to take
bolts the other side (and are very ugly)**. From observing the masts on the main line, the tall square
sections can carry hefty cantilevered arms which span both tracks from one side, or portals across to
an equally hefty tall mast the other side. The medium square sections appear to carry portals across
both tracks, clamped onto the masts rather than fixed to brackets.
Our reporter suspects the, by comparison, 'weedy' short and frequent 'H' columns are to take
tensioning apparatus. Maybe modern heavyweight installation requires regular tensioning?
(*'H' section rollings are 'universal beams' and require a web longer than the flanges when spanning
horizontally. With web equal to the flanges, they are generally used vertically and termed 'universal
columns'. The extensive, but not total, use of box section columns is unusual, and probably more
costly, but provides some uniformity in bending strength against forces of variable direction, such as
wind, for which it is understood greater design strength is required than on previous schemes.
**Bracket devices, provide for cantilevered horizontal structures to rest in one of (usually) five vertical
positions, to allow for varying penetration of the mast support into the ground. The flanges on the
field side take securing bolts for very speedy installation. Where the horizontal part of the structure
forms a portal between two columns, friction clamping at the correct height remains acceptable as
working loose of the clamps on one column would not allow the horizontal member to sag. Friction
clamping also permits infinitely variable vertical adjustment as opposed to just five positions and
avoids hole drilling through the zinc protected steel permitting rusting - Regional Editor.)
1275 SOUTH WEST
.Please send ALL contributions to the BLN Editor (See BLN 1274 front page 'Situations Vacant')..
413] Plymouth: P3, the west end bay used by passenger trains to/from Gunnislake, Liskeard and
Penzance, has two replica totem name boards under the canopy, lettered 'PLYMOUTH' (in capitals)
and an original rectangular double sided hanging 'platform 3' sign in cream and brown, all very smart.
414] Castle Cary: On 7 Feb the former goods shed at the Taunton end of the station on the Up side
appeared to be under renovation. It is principally a steel framed structure with a red brick west end
wall and red brick office accommodation at the station end. All the cladding has been taken off,
leaving the frame intact, inconsistent with demolition, so it may be being restored.
Unusually the Up siding stabled a single HST power car; driving cab at the London end. This appears to
have been off the 05.46 Exeter St David's to Paddington service which was failed on 3 Feb at Castle
Cary with brake problems. Up services from Taunton were then diverted via Bristol until the rear
power car and coaches left for Plymouth Laira depot ECS at 10.45. Weymouth services (running via P3)
were unaffected. Perhaps GWR should get their skates on and move the front power car?
415] What do Bristol and Shotts not have in common? (BLN 1274.320) A correspondent suggests the
shocking news that Bristol trains do not currently have a pressing need for extra conductors.
416] Bristol Parkway: (BLN 1274.295) The separate departure routes from the new P1 to Filton and
Patchway will allow simultaneous departures for Temple Meads (from P1) and to Newport (from P2).
This is particular useful if a service is running late rather than for scheduled simultaneity, which would
require more platform staff and create potential for passenger confusion [not difficult!]. It should also
allow, for example, Bristol bound trains to be routed into P1 on clear signals while a South Wales train
is in P2, avoiding delays if it were required to be held outside in case any overrun conflicted with a P2
departure. Hitachi is currently recruiting for 150 permanent jobs at its new Stoke Gifford depot.
417] Bristol electrification takes an early Bath: In a 'Bristol Post' interview, Transport Secretary Chris
Grayling indicated that the delayed Bristol to Bath electrification might never happen. He considers
that 'unsightly overhead lines' could blight historic Bath's landscape and 'attractive country areas' for
minor timing benefit. The 'hundreds of millions' of pounds saved could also be invested into other
transport projects. Your correspondent suggests that, with the hybrid SETs able to switch on the move
from electric to diesel and vice-versa, it should be possible to leave any particularly sensitive areas
without overhead wires, such as the viaducts through Bath, without negative impact on timekeeping
and retaining networking and environmental benefits of electrification.
Local MP Kerry McCarthy has highlighted the extra cost (heavier trains, more track and train
maintenance and fuel cost) and the lost environmental improvements from not running on electric.
She claims that electrification would shave 7 minutes between Temple Meads and Bath. Our member
notes that HSTs currently do this 11½ mile journey in around 11 minutes (Class 158s can with a clear
run) and suggests that saving even 5 minutes would require speeds somewhat greater than are ever
likely to be available on non-High Speed tracks!
418] Hemyock branch: (BLN 1273.153) The ex-Barry Railway coaches used were reportedly originally
built with electric lighting then converted to gas! They were the final British Railways gas lit coaches in
use. The replacement coaches were indeed sent to Exeter (or even Paignton) once a week to charge
the batteries but this was via their dynamos by giving them a 'brisk run' on the main line rather than
plugging them in! Passenger trains took 40 minutes each way for the 7½ miles from Tiverton Junction.
419] Barnstaple: Combe Rail Charitable Incorporated Organisation is proposing a modern, light railway
'TawLink' between Barnstaple and Braunton (6 miles) as a community and commuter railway to run
throughout the year, also attracting tourists (and BLS Members!). It will use lightweight, battery
electric vehicles (trams without overhead wires) capable of running safely on-road, and quickly off-
road; very quiet and environmentally-friendly. Starting from Braunton* Caen Street, it will run
tramway-style along Station Rd, then use the old Ilfracombe branch formation to Barnstaple Civic
Centre car park. It will then street-run past the front of the former Barnstaple Town Station and along
Castle St to 'The Strand' in the heart of Barnstaple. There are two options for crossing the River Taw,
either street-run along Long Bridge or share the proposed reinstated (former Ilfracombe line) bridge.
The line will then street-run along Sticklepath Terrace to join with NR tracks at Barnstaple (Mainline)*.
Intermediate stations will be provided at Velator, Wrafton (for Perrigo), Chivenor* (Business Park and
The Landings), Ashford (Garden Centre and Braunton Inn), Pottington (Business Park) and Barnstaple
Park-and-Ride* (near the A39 downstream bridge - which could potentially have a huge catchment
area.) (*= Bus Interchange). The ex-railway trackbed will be shared with the 'Tarka Trail' cycle route
using the once double track formation from Pottington to Braunton, separated by a shallow kerb and,
where desirable, a low fence. The only stops without cycle-hire would be Velator, Wrafton & Ashford.
The Pottington to Velator section is used by concrete flood defences and a transatlantic data cable,
both due for renewal, at which time the new railway can be accommodated. At certain points (most
recently Wrafton) the old railway formation has been built on, so a short deviation from the original
course is envisaged. A new River Yeo bridge will be built, next to the existing cycle and pedestrian
bridge. It is expected that Tram Trains will one day run through from Braunton to Exeter.
420] Ilfracombe: As well as promoting the 'TawLink' Light Rail from Barnstaple (previous item), Combe
Rail also seeks to preserve the 15-mile Barnstaple to Ilfracombe branch (1874-1970) heritage. After
extensive consultation, they are promoting a Railway Heritage Trail. The former railway trackbed
(Ilfracombe to Willingcott) now forms part of the National Cycle Network's Coast-to-Coast Route 27.
Permission has been obtained from Pall Europe to restore the previous pedestrian approach to
Ilfracombe station with a replica original station sign, forming a northern gateway to Cycle Route 27.
Surviving railway infrastructure along the route will be restored, including the Down distant signal at
Slade reservoirs, platelayers' huts and gradient posts. It is hoped to install a 30ft track panel on
Ilfracombe Bank to demonstrate the notorious 1:36 gradient. Existing interpretation boards will be
supplemented with Video Posts. These will offer a 'QR code', enabling Trail users with mobile devices
to view a video slideshow of classic railway photographs taken at the same location in years gone by.
421] High Speed Severn Beach: The NR Network Measurement Train (yellow HST) paid a nocturnal
visit in the early hours of Fri 3 Feb. It left Derby at 17.53 the previous day reaching Temple Meads (for
the second time) via an indirect route (!) at 00.22. Severn Beach was visited from 00.54 to 01.03
returning to Temple Meads for an 01.37 departure to Old Oak Common where arrival was at 04.11.
422] Ashton Avenue Swing Bridge: This opened as part of the original Bristol Harbour Railway (BHR)
extension to connect with the GWR at Ashton Gate. It was originally a double-deck structure with
roadway above and trackbed beneath. Wikipedia reports 'opening' on 3 Oct 1906 by Bristol's Lady
Mayoress. In 1934, it swung using hydraulic propulsion about 10 times a day on average, with the GWR
responsible for both rail and road operations. The controlling railway signals were interlocked with the
signal boxes on either side of the river, only cleared when the bridge span was locked 'closed'.
The operator's cabin was on stilts above the road deck. Bristol Corporation rescinded the railway's
obligation to maintain the swing apparatus in 1951, after which it was welded shut. Following opening
of the replacement Plimsoll Bridge to the west in 1965, the road deck and signal cabin were removed.
The BHR's connection with Temple Meads was closed 6 Jan 1964 and the track lifted that year while
the Canons Marsh branch CG/CA 14 Jun 1965. The Western Fuel Company continued to use the line
from the Portishead branch over the swing bridge to their Wapping Wharf coal depot. The bridge was
single tracked in 1976 and shut operationally after Western Fuel ceased using the railway in 1987.
It was revisited by GWR Pannier Tank '1369' in 1996, prior to the re-opening of the residual BHR as a
visitor attraction. The bridge was Grade II listed in May 2000. The single track remained on the bridge
although NR lifted the line from the bridge to Ashton Gate. The other side of the railway has been
converted into a cycle path. The heritage Bristol Harbour Railway (see 'Connections') now runs from
M-Shed, by the coal depot site, to Vauxhall Bridge short of the swing bridge by the CREATE Centre.
The bridge is now closed for a £3.2M renovation to become part of the Bristol MetroBus project.
The decking was so badly corroded that it is being replaced. This required an undercarriage of
scaffolding to be designed that could be lifted up when the tidal River Avon rises to just underneath.
When reopened (expected in April) the bridge will have a separate single bus lane and a wider cycle
and pedestrian path. The trackbed towards Ashton Gate will also be part of MetroBus, which will
proceed in the other direction along Cumberland Rd rather than sharing the railway formation
alongside 'The Cut' with the heritage railway as originally suggested. This is facilitated by the station at
the CREATE Centre (currently TCP per BLN 1246.2158) being resited further away from the bridge.
1275 WEST MIDLANDS
423] Albion Scored: On Wed 16 Nov 2016, due to a complete signalling failure at Stafford the 17.45
Bournemouth to Manchester Piccadilly CrossCountry train on its way to Wolverhampton returned to
Birmingham New Street using Albion trailing crossover (5m 70ch) beyond Sandwell & Dudley station.
It then ran to Nuneaton, reversed, and took the Trent Valley Line to Colwich and regained its normal
route at Stone Jn, remarkably only 73 minutes late. Whatever criticisms there are of CrossCountry's
short (at times) 'sardined' trains and rigid inflexible morning peak (as in very high) fares policy, on the
positive side a range of diversionary routes are signed for situations just like this.
Exactly two weeks later, due to overhead wire problems, the 08.00 Glasgow Central to London Euston
via Birmingham Pendolino was trapped just before Sandwell & Dudley. It returned, also via Albion
crossover (which is electrified), to Stafford and reversed to run to Euston via the Trent Valley Line.
In 1977 your Editor, then in his early 20s was a regular visitor to Wednesbury Town signal box on the
Walsall to Stourbridge Junction line. It was the centre of the West Midlands freight network and he
was keen to do the then very rare single track 'Tipton Curve' from, very appropriately, Tipton Curve Jn
on the Princes End branch to Tipton station which had no booked traffic. Each time he passed it on a
Birmingham to Wolverhampton train it was increasingly rusty. However, on Mon 30 May 1977, there
was news of a rare evening train from Lindsey Oil Refinery (so no lectures missed at Medical School
even) which for some reason had to be stopped at the signal next to the box.
The crew was amenable and a very enjoyable Class 47 cab ride followed via Princes End and the
required curve. Once beyond Albion crossover, the lengthy train of bogie tank wagons was propelled
back into Albion Oil Sidings, the loco only reached the first unloading pipe of course. However, the
crossover was covered in both directions as the Class 47 then returned light engine via Soho and
(another first at the time) through Bescot Yard and into the diesel shed to stable. Then it was a short
walk to Bescot station (no 'Stadium' suffix in those days) and a few minutes later an AM4 (sorry Class
304) EMU appeared as if by magic to take him home via Perry Barr station. They say that the best
things in life are free!
424] More stations? 'Transport for West Midlands' plans to reopen Portobello (OP 1837; CP 1873)
station in Willenhall (will there be 'mushroom' for it at its original location?) and Darlaston are
mentioned in the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership's board papers. Funding is needed and
plans are in the early stages. The proposed Willenhall and Aldridge reopenings are still in the pipeline.
425] Stafford: On Wed 8 Feb the 06.43 Euston to Edinburgh via Birmingham Pendolino was observed
to pass unusually through the Stafford Goods Loop (Royal Mail Terminal 'P7'); it was four minutes late.
426] Tamworth: A 'striking' sculpture by Luke Perry is being commissioned, highlighting the town's
heritage and culture, for the roundabout outside the station. £500k is being spent improving the
'visual impact' and 'accessibility' of roads around the station and routes to the town centre.
427] DIRFT: (BLN 1238.1444) Plan: https://goo.gl/folzcK a major 7.86M ft2 expansion between the M1
and the A5 is planned with an extensive relocated rail terminal reached by a new branch crossing the
A5 on a viaduct from the Rugby to Northampton line sidings. Two sidings with container storage,
731m2 of rail served logistics and a rail control building are shown. Construction is over 15 years.
428] Midland Metro: (1): The Metro has lost money every year since it opened. On Fri 27 Jan your
Regional Editor took a tram from St Paul's to Grand Central at 18.45 and there was no conductor
despite there being no ticket machines*. [But better than cancelling the service which the operator
also pays a penalty for - Ed?]. Overcrowding sometimes prevents fares collection in the city centre.
(2): November was the busiest month of the year with passenger numbers up 45% over Nov 2015 to
565,419; December figures were up by 29% to 517,126. [*Ticket machines were installed at all stops
when the original line opened but didn't last very long due to repeated vandalism and were removed.]
429] Worcestershire Parkway: The DfT has approved the new station. Site preparation and final
design works now begins. The County Council can award a contract for work to start in the autumn.
430] Coventry to be well illuminated? The Council has dropped plans for a bus rapid transit system to
connect the city to HS2 and now wants to pioneer lightweight rail technology known as Very Light Rail.
NEXT PAGE: A press release plan for the new DIRFT (Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal)
railway branch / terminal (in dark blue). Northampton is off bottom right and Rugby is off lower left.
The M1 runs along the right hand border of the site with Junction 18 (for the A5) bottom right.
X.18] Hull, Street Life Museum of Transport: High St, HU1 1PS. (TA 1026 2878) SuX 10.00-17.00; SuO
11.00-16.30 admission free. Includes a Portstewart tram loco, Ryde Pier horse drawn tram, Cottingham
North Signal Box (BELOW), Sentinel vertical boiler loco 'Frank Galbraith', unusual multi-gauge track for
the 3ft and standard gauge exhibits and a Hull Tram (NEXT PAGE). Well worth a visit (Kev Adlam).
1275 YORKSHIRE (INCLUDES NORTH HUMBERSIDE)
431] Treeton South Jn: (TRACKmaps Vol 2 p28 Oct 2016) On the 'Old Road' (Barrow Hill line) the
trailing crossover from the middle of Treeton Down Goods line to the Down Barrow Hill line at Treeton
South Jn (158m 29ch) and the one from there to the Up Barrow Hill line were removed from 5 Feb and
are being recovered with their signalling and signage. The Down Goods line remains operational.
432] HS2: The eight potential sites for a HS2 South Yorkshire Parkway station are ●Bramley, ●Hooton
Roberts or ●Wales 'near' Rotherham; ●Fitzwilliam or ●Hemsworth 'near' Wakefield and ●Clayton,
●Hickleton or ●Mexborough 'near' Doncaster. Only Mexborough interchanges well with a range of
routes on the 'classic' network (an advantage of the now discounted Meadowhall HS2 station).
433] Sheffield Tram Train: Work is now expected to finish on the £58M scheme in summer 2018, two-
and-a-half years later than first anticipated. NR was initially unable to obtain a Transport & Works Act
Order from the DfT, and then encountered problems with new electrification equipment including
overhead lines. The formal contact allows any partner to terminate their involvement if the service is
not operating by 15 Sep 2017. South Yorkshire PTE and the DfT are now in negotiations over this.
434] Calder Valley: NR is planning two new crossovers at Bradford Interchange allowing more parallel
arrivals and departures. Hebden Bridge is to have lifts to the Up platform which is to be lengthened.
NEW REGIONAL EDITOR: Please send all future contributions for 'Ireland' to Martin Baumann
[email protected] 42 Northland Road, Londonderry, BT48 7ND (normal postal rates).
435] Martin Baumann: I have lived most of my 51 years in Northern Ireland (though actually born in
Canada) but my father is from Switzerland hence the surname. I have been interested in railways since
a very early age. My earliest railway memory is seeing an NIR 2-6-4T on the turntable at York Road in
1969. I have been a member of the IRRS and ITG for many years and relatively recently the BLS. Apart
from being interested in infrastructure details I like to keep exact records of all rail journeys such as
loco or unit on the service, distance travelled etc. I have travelled over the entire Irish network and
have also travelled on every railway and tramway in Switzerland. I have travelled extensively in
Mainland GB and Europe, especially Austria. I definitely miss the DEMU sets in Northern Ireland, on
which I travelled 269,728.74 miles but admit the current CAF railcars give a better travel experience to
ordinary passengers, especially those less mobile. [Martin is a keen contributor to BLN and BLNI - Ed.]
436] Lisahally: (BLN 1274.311) The box was as a block post with a loop which was last used (for a
ballast train) on 26 Sep 1976 and closed 14 Oct 1987 It remained in use as a gatebox until Oct 1987.
LEFT: Lisahally box and loop in
1973 (Dr W Baumann).
437] Londonderry line: It has
been reported that the new
engineer's sidings at Bellarena
will probably not go ahead.
Instead an additional siding at
Coleraine or at the new (old!)
Londonderry station is being
considered. The hourly all day
service beyond Coleraine to
Londonderry is likely to start in
July this year.
438] Thank you: A big 'thank you' to Julian James who has kindly edited the 'Ireland' section of BLN
161 times since BLN 1114 of 5 June 2010 when the regional Editor system started. Initially he also
covered the East and West Midlands as well as the South East (and East Anglia)!! Your Committee is
keen to involve more members and work towards one Regional Editor per area which has many
advantages. Please do continue to send South East and East Anglia items to Julian as usual.
439] Raith's Farm: (BLN 1274.315) There was no sign of any activity at the end of Jan, just the usual
pile of stored pipes and mobile stacker that is always parked up (all a seriously under-used resource!).
ABOVE: Raith's Farm freight terminal (right background) 2 Feb
2017 looking the same as usual in the rain. The line (and most of
Aberdeen to Inverurie) is being redoubled ready for a half-
hourly service. Looking southeast towards Aberdeen. This rarely
uses facility replaced Guild Street Goods (CG Dec 2007) next to
Aberdenn station for its redevelopment into a shopping centre.
(All photos to and including Forres: Nick Jones 2 Feb 2017).
440] Elgin: There has been much tree clearance between the
yard and the main line. The old Elgin East signal box is now more
visible (it was partly hidden by trees). Ballast has been laid over
the 'Short Roads' and the line leading to Dock/Bank/Second
Roads, presumably so that road vehicles can cross over the
tracks. Geotechnical/environmental soil sampling with a rig was
in progress here recently (LEFT). Elgin East is presumably to be a
worksite for the Aberdeen to Inverness railway upgrade project.
ABOVE: Elgin East Yard (left) and the 1888 built Elgin Centre Signal Box (closed in 1973), right is the
main line towards Keith and Aberdeen at the east end of Elgin (station) loop.
BELOW: The box from a pasing train on 15 Feb 2015 (Nick Jones). It first opened as 'Elgin West' on the
Great North of Scotland Railway (GNSR) but worked to a Highland Railway box of the same name so
was changed to 'Elgin Centre' (because it also worked to 'Elgin East' on the GNSR, the present 'Elgin').
NEXT PAGE: Elgin East Yard showing ballast over the sidings for road access and the yard crane.
441] Forres: (BLN 1237.1338) NR and BAM Nuttal are working on the £35M station relocation. Good
progress is being made on the formation for double-tracking due to open later this year east of the
level crossing to the sewage works (NJ038595). It is not known if an additional span will be added to
the bridge over the Burn of Mosset or if the whole bridge is to be replaced with a new double-track
bridge. Anyone needing the present Forres passenger line is advised that it is a significant realignment.
PREVIOUS PAGE BOTTOM: 7th Series, 1955/
1959. The green arrow (left) is the River
Findhorn Viaduct on the Inverness side of
Forres. The orange arrow is the approx site
of the new station under construction on
the former 'avoiding line'. Just east of the
level crossing is the 'Burn of Mosset' where
the line towards Aberdeen is being doubled
as far as the pink arrow. The present Forres
station is shown (red spot). The line south
to Boat of Garten via Dava CP 18 Oct 1965,
freight traffic south continued to Dallasdhu
Siding (NJ036567) until 21 May 1967.
ABOVE: The former Forres East Jn looking
west to Inverness. The curve round to the
left and existing station (which is on a sharp
bend) will close with reinstatement of the
'avoiding line', straight ahead to the former
Forres West Jn. It will have a new two
platform (straight!) station and a long loop.
LEFT: The former Forres East Jn looking
west towards Inverness. The line from the
present Forres station can just be seen
curving round from the left to the site of
the former Forres West Jn (which junction
was taken OOU from 1 Jun 1967). The blue
arrow indicates the Findhorn Viaduct.
ABOVE: The 'Burn of Mosset': track doubling, east of
Forres East Jn (signal top right corner) looking east!
442] Perth: (BLN 1274.322) Incredibly, (after all the
explanation in BLN 1274 of how trains to Inverness
have been dispatched from P7), from 12 Dec 2016 an
'Off Indicator' has been provided for signal P153!
LEFT: The new P7 indicator looking north, the signal
itself is round the corner (Nick Jones 10 Feb 2017).
443] Bridgeton Central: The North British Railway
facade survives, now part of a grocers and newsagents
('Bridgeton Express'); everything of railway interest
behind it has disappeared under housing. It was the
terminus of a branch from High Street, electrified at
6.25kV on 5 Nov 1960; CP exactly 19 years later on
5 Nov 1979 with ROP of the former Bridgeton Cross
Argyle line Caledonian station. The branch was
retained for EMU stabling (with a few railtours) until
5 Oct 1987; some BLS members made it on ECS moves.
Most was in tunnel, but a grassy, inaccessible section is
visible from the top deck of a bus.
ABOVE: Bridgeton Central in 'official' passenger carrying days (Ian Mortimer).
BELOW: 7th Series map( 1957), Bridgeton Central is indicated by the purple arrow.
444] Beattock, Eastriggs and Thornhill: The outline costs and challenges for these three proposed
railway stations have been revealed in papers to a board meeting of SWestrans. Beattock would cost
about £14.5M, with new services required to serve the station. Thornhill and Eastriggs are expected to
cost £8-11M each with a timetable recast required to stop trains at them unless changes are made to
services on the G&SWR route, such as new trains, reduced recovery time or speed increases.
445] Tweedbank: The Scottish Tourism Economic Assessment Monitor (STEAM) - an annual tourism
data measure commissioned by the local authority - reveals that, from Jan to Jun last year, visitor days
in the Scottish Borders increased by almost 11% in 12 months. Visitor spend grew 16%; tourism related
employment by 8% and visitor days in hotels and B&Bs 27%. Every tracked category showed growth,
the first time for over a decade. Global Tourism Solutions, the company responsible for analysis,
believes the most likely cause is the Borders Railway. Since reopening, passengers have commented on
both how stunning the scenery is during the trip and how much quicker journeys are by rail rather
than bus. The line carried half a million passengers in the first four months of operation.
446] Peebles: Planning permission has been granted to convert the 4-mile trackbed to Lyne into a
multi-purpose pathway. Supporters of the Upper Tweed Railway Path recently met John Grimshaw,
the founder of both Sustrans and the National Cycle Network, for an update. It includes Neidpath
Tunnel and Viaduct as well as attractive countryside. It is hoped an agreement with the Wemyss and
March estates can be finalised to allow for clearance work to begin between in the October holidays.
447] Free Travel! https://goo.gl/FCgP2d ScotRail monthly and annual season ticket holders can claim
a free week of travel with extra incentives for switching to smart ticketing. For those who do not use
season tickets there will be promotions and fare offers in 2017. The £3M cost is funded by the Scottish
Government and ScotRail as a 'thank you' to passengers for their patience during the rail upgrades.
448] QED: After severe weather events where trains have not been running (anywhere in Scotland) a
route proving run (usually ECS) is conducted to assess the integrity of the infrastructure before normal
services are restored. NR Control contacts the controlling signalboxes and briefs the signaller of the
details. The signaller advises each driver in charge of a route proving train prior to the commencement
of the journey that they are being used to prove the route and the sections of line(s) that need to be
checked. They proceed over the affected line at caution being prepared to stop short of obstructions.
449] Bye Bye Bay, Bye Bye: In 'Bay City', as part of the Edinburgh Waverley Capacity Improvements
Project, West end bay P12 is OOU 11 Dec 2016 to 30 Jul 2017 (with apologies to the 'Bay City Rollers').
'All Our Yesterdays', 80 years ago, LMS Sectional Appendix (Scotland) 1937 (3):
450] Passengers travelling by freight train (1937): (BLN 1274.324) In 1937 it has been discovered that
this option actually only applied to between 'Wick, Inverness, Stanley (north of Perth) and Branches'
rather that the whole LMS in Scotland and is headed 'Rule 9'. A member has written about this little
known and surely little reported aspect of railway history. Although well into his 70s, it is the first he
has heard that passengers could pay for, and officially travel on, goods trains on apparently such a
scale on a major railway (subject to the conditions mentioned in BLN 1274). He is aware of odd cases
such as the Wenford Bridge branch where it happened, but this LMS example was new to him.
Questions: (1): How wide was this practice? (2): When did such practices start and finish?
(3): Did it apply to lines that never had an advertised passenger service or were closed to passengers?
Note that the BLN 1274.324 reference to 'interesting hand written paper tickets' is the mechanism
BR Scottish Region kindly used at least in the 1970s to allow official Society brakevan trips on their
freight trains. 'Auchnutty' Mills' was a very badly written paper ticket and should, of course, have been
'Auchmuty Mills'. It was a delightful branch of about a mile with very restricted clearances, off the
Leslie branch from Markinch in Fife. Other paper tickets included Crianlarich Lower to Corpach Paper
Mill, Thornton Yard to Francis Colliery, General Terminus to Ravenscraig and Yoker Yard to Faslane.
ABOVE: 7th Series one-inch to the mile 1952/54 map. The end of the Auchmuty (paper) Mills branch
(now a footpath and cycleway) is marked with a pink arrow; the junction was on the former Leslie
branch (off bottom left). The Co-op coal siding (see below) north of Markinch station is not shown.
BELOW: View from a Class 03 cab (angled front windscreen) at Auchmuty Mills in the late 1970s.
ABOVE: It is hard to believe that this is the same line; the branch between Markinch and Auchmuty
Mills. BELOW: The loco (BLN Editor in front) then worked the facing branch to the Co-op Coal Depot
just north of Markinch station off the Down side of the Dundee line (off right). (All Ian Mortimer).
451] Dundee Harbour Railway (1937): Some rules 'made by the Trustees of the Dundee Harbour, and
approved by the Sheriff of the County of Angus'. (1): Coke, or a mixture of coke and coal (no more than
50% coal), shall be used. No other fuel is permitted (not even Irn-Bru). Engines shall not be allowed
within the sheds except where rails are laid down for their passage!!! (2): A spark arrester is to be kept
on the funnel. (3): Two qualified engine pilots are to accompany each train, each wearing a red cap,
one walking not more than 30ft in front and the other immediately behind, to warn all persons to keep
out of danger. (4): Locomotive use shall continue during the pleasure of the Trustees only.
452] Polmaise Branch (1937): If two trains should approach each other between Polmaise Jn* and
Millhall Colliery the one from Polmaise Jn must give way and return to starting point. (*Stirling)
453] Alloa South Branch (1937): No pitwood bogie [presumably used for transporting pit props - Ed?]
except where horse drawn by a horse, must enter upon or cross the public road unless a man is not
less than 20ft in advance to keep the way clear and warn the public.
454] Grangemouth (1937): Swing and Caisson bridges. With the exception of the bridge between
Junction Dock and North Dock, the signals for the railway at the swing and caisson bridges stand clear
for the railway, in both directions, except when the bridges require to be opened for the waterway.
455] Milford Haven The long term OOU loop has now been lifted. A sleeper has been placed 5yd in
front of the stop block. The points to each end of the loop remain but are spiked out of use.
456] Arriva Trains Wales: (BLN 1274.333) The Company has endured more recent 'bad press' over
stories of fines in excess of £600 being imposed on ticketless passengers. There is an undoubted
problem that those joining at unstaffed Valleys stations have, for the past 50 years, been accustomed
to paying the conductor, and this has become a deeply ingrained culture. In modern day overcrowded
trains, however, it is often difficult for the conductor to reach every passenger. Ticket machines have
been installed, but do not accept cash, hence discriminating against the few who cannot (or choose
not to) have bank cards, to whom the option of booking online is equally untenable.
457] Cardiff Central: (BLN 1272.113) The RAIB has released initial information about a potentially
major safety hazard on 29 Dec. On reopening of the Valleys platforms, the driver of the first Up
departure to Queen Street observed that the redundant 817A facing crossover point in the Up Llandaff
line, disconnected for later removal, had not been secured and was lying reversed, for movement
toward Line 'E' (the former Down Relief). He was able to halt his train before reaching the points.
By good fortune, 817B point at the other end of the crossover was lying normal, and had been
traversed shortly before by a Down train on Line 'E'. Due to of this incident, it has now been confirmed
that the 09.41 Cardiff Central P8 to Aberdare was the first to use the new P8 on 29 Dec 2016 and ran
via the Up Llandaf line in the Down direction, rather than the 09.46 to Bargoed - (BLN 1274.245).
458] Cardiff West Jn: From Mon 6 until Fri 17 Feb SuX the 09.45 Bridgend to Cardiff Central via Barry
train was booked via the Up Barry Relief and very unusually into P0 - impossible before the recent
resignalling. Members were notified via the 'Branch Line' email system and 'Gensheet'. Use of P0 was
confirmed on several occasions and sometimes the Up Barry was used instead then the full ladder.
459] Gobowen: Since Dec 2016 the main free-standing Up P1 canopy has lacked roof covering.
A structural survey found that the metal columns had deteriorated below ground, and as a precaution
the covering was removed to reduce the stress on the whole structure. Work on a design to repair the
columns is in hand, but there is no timescale at this stage. Fortunately, the smaller canopy cantilevered
out of the present-day (agency run) booking office building on the same platform remains intact.
460] Abergele: (BLN 1273.211) A member recalls the slow lines between Abergele and Llandulas being
used both sides to store rolling stock in the winter, frustratingly reducing views of the sea and of
Gwrych Castle. He is intrigued as to how the stock (perhaps 80 carriages) would have been put there;
the first rake would have been simple, but how were subsequent rakes added?
The line is on a rising gradient toward Llandulas, so it would need to be securely braked, protected by
signals and it would also be interesting to know what security, if any, was in place. He recalls winter
coach storage at Rhyl Carriage Shed, Deganwy Quay, Llandudno Junction and Llandudno stations.
461] Porthcawl: The site of Nottage Halt is inaccessible today, occupied by private farm buildings.
At Moor Lane in the village there is 'Tramway Cottage'; a back lane leads to an overbridge (8m 03ch),
near the historic St David's Well. A modern road passes through the site of the second (1916)
Porthcawl station, of which nothing remains. The first terminus had been at the top of Station Hill,
where an information panel records the early history of the 4ft 7in gauge Dyffryn Llynfi & Porthcawl
Railway. A blue plaque on a nearby wall, 'Site of Station Hill Signal Box and Railway Crossing' was
unveiled in Sep 2015.
1275 MINOR RAILWAYS
MR30] Drusillas Railway, East Sussex (MR p16) (BLN 1260.MR120): The 2ft gauge railway here ran for
the last time as 'Thomas' on Sunday 8 January 2017. This is due to the Thomas brand owners (Mattel
Inc - the US toy giant) deciding not to renew the contract with Drusillas. However, it is expected the
railway will reopen as the 'Safari Express' at the end of March. A new safari themed area is being
created, called 'Go Safari' which, apart from the railway, will include two new rides.
ABOVE: Drusillas Railway: 'Thomas' has departed for the last time from
'Tidmouth Hault' station; seen here on 23 June 2012 (Peter Scott).
MR31] Crich Tramway Village, Derbyshire (MR p32) (BLN 1264.MR168): Winter work has included
preparations for the eventual doubling of the Victoria Bridge to Wakebridge line. Restoration of
London County Council No1 'Bluebird' continues; the roof structure is now re-united with the body.
MR32] Colne Valley Railway, Essex (MR p8): The Colne Valley Railway (CVR) Preservation Society has
received a confirmed grant of £1.76M from the Heritage Lottery Fund for its 'All Aboard: Developing
the Colne Valley Railway' project. The grant will unlock funds to purchase the 13 acre site (presently
leased) as agreed with the landowner. The project will be developed by provision of a new entrance
and building with visitor facilities plus two important new centres on the main site. The new public
entrance will be from a new road junction off the main A1017, closer to Castle Hedingham village.
The main car park area will have provision for around 125 vehicles. There will also be an overflow car
park capable of accommodating a further 125 vehicles. The new reception building, a steel framed
building clad railway-style in cream with green relief, on the route from the car park to the main site
will incorporate a ticket office, shop and toilets. The 'Cubitt Skills Centre' will be a modern 25m2
building with three tracks and workshop space with rain water collection for use in steam locomotives
and solar roof panels. There will be step-free access to view work in progress. It is targeted to become
a centre of excellence for the overhaul and restoration of historic railway carriages employing skilled
staff. Joseph Cubitt (1811-1872) was the engineer of the original Colne Valley & Halstead Railway and
designed the distinctive station buildings on the line, one of which has been relocated to the Railway.
The 'Brewster Interpretation Centre' will comprise the existing museum with an extension doubling its
size, toilets and a digitisation studio. It will tell the story of the railway and the local community by
deploying the latest developments in museum displays to both entertain and inform visitors.
The archive collections held by the CVR charity and others will be digitised and joined through a single
web portal allowing on-line public access to the collections for the first time. The charity's existing
education programme will be enhanced and developed allowing a greater range of students to benefit.
James Brewster (1807-1890) was a farmer and landowner in Halstead and the driving force behind
setting up the original Colne Valley & Halstead Railway. He was the railway's first chairman from 1856
until 1879 and funded the railway's locomotives when it could not afford to buy them itself.
MR33] Southend Pier Railway, Essex (MR p17) (BLN 1268.2201): Fraser-Nash has been appointed by
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council to seek a preferred transport option for the Pier. The current
3ft gauge railway runs the length of the Pier, using two diesel powered trains built by Severn-Lamb.
There is also a battery-electric powered single car unit.
MR34] Merseyside Live Steam & Model Engineers, Merseyside (MR p20) (BLN 1248.MR3): This society
operates both ground level and elevated lines in Calderstones Park, off Harthill Road in Allerton,
Liverpool. The society offers free rides on most Sunday afternoons. Both railways may have to move
across the park to make way for a controversial housing scheme. Society chairman Arthur Brooks says
the proposed move, which will also give the railway its own clubhouse, will allow the railway to open
more often and welcome more visitors. The railway is currently based near the Beechley Riding Stables
and CalderKids Adventure Playground. The society has now applied for planning permission to move to
a more central position within the park. Mr Brooks said: Our current facility is restrictive in its size and
access, limiting the size of the engines we can use and visitors to the club. By relocating to an enhanced
facility in the park itself this will increase the visibility of the club, encouraging more visitors whilst also
permitting the club to run larger engines on the new improved track. The new layout of both tracks
with larger radii will greatly increase the safety factor and, with the proposed new clubhouse facilities.
It will make it more suitable for the disabled and people with walking problems to have full access.
If planning permission is granted, it is hoped to move by the end of 2017. Before then, the society will
continue to operate the railway on most Sundays from 14.00. Deputy Mayor Cllr Ann O'Byrne said:
The Miniature Railway is a much-loved facility which has been used by generations of local families.
This proposal would see it moved to a more prominent location giving improved and enhanced facilities
and enabling even more people to enjoy it in the future. The railway move is the first step in a Redrow
scheme for 51 new homes on the railway site in Harthill Road, opposed by some local residents.
MR35] Beamish Tramway, County Durham (MR p32) (BLN 1272.MR8): Brush Railcar 621 has been
moved back to Blackpool and is now in the care of the Blackpool Heritage Trust.
MR36] Welsh Highland Railway, Gwynedd (MR p29) (BLN 1274.MR22): A correspondent has
discovered that Hafod Ruffydd was more than just a nameboard. A shelter was included there in the
schedule of assets attached to the 1934 lease of the line to the Festiniog. There was also a siding for
goods traffic. Both were on the east side of the line, believed to be north of the level crossing although
there is no known photographic evidence to prove that.
MR37] Leas Cliff Railway, Folkestone (MR p34) (BLN 1273.139): This two-track 5ft 10in gauge railway
opened on 16 September 1885. As reported at BLN 1273.139, it last ran for the public on Sunday 6
November 2016. This is due to a lack of funding to upgrade a braking system, which is now deemed
unsafe - accordingly the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issued an improvement notice on
17 October 2016. The Leas Lift Community Interest Company (CIC) was formed in 2010 to continue
operating the railway after the Shepway District Council gave up its lease in 2009 as it deemed it
uneconomic. The CIC gave up its operating licence at the end of January 2017. The HSE notice called
for the installation of an additional system by the end of March 2017 - failure to do so would render
the operators of the railway liable to prosecution for breaches of the Health and Safety Act.
The HSE report said: The braking system provided to bring the cars safely to rest is not of a suitable
design to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of employees and members of the
public using the lift. The braking system should comprise of two or more independent braking methods
such that in the event of a failure of one of the systems, the other system can brake the cars safely.
Currently there is only one system comprising a band brake acting on the main balance pulley such that
if it fails, there is no other braking system available to prevent the risk of a runaway car exposing
persons to risk of serious personal injury. The required improvements would cost £80,000. However,
Leas Lift CIC has been unable to secure the necessary funding to carry out work in time and has been
left with no other alternative than to go out of business. The company said if the railway is not in
service, they will have no income and will be unable to keep staff on the payroll or pay the overheads.
Company Chairman, Terry Begent, said The Health and Safety Executive gave us just five months to
come up with a working design for a new braking system, get listed building planning consent, find the
money and get the work done. This did not give us enough time to look for alternative sources of
funding once the first one failed and we have all been shocked at just how quickly events have
overtaken us since. We have devoted the past six years to refurbishing the lift and restoring it to its
former glory. In doing so, we have found out so much about its past that we have been able to get it
upgraded to Grade II* listing status to give it greater protection in the future, so it is heart-breaking for
us to walk away and leave it to its fate'. On 27 January 2017, the CIC held a reception (no rides
allowed) for invited guests before 'parking' the carriages mid-track for the last time at midday.
They then shut down the installation and handed the keys back to the owners, the Radnor Estate.
MR38] Lowestoft Miniature Railway, Suffolk: Your MR Ed is researching the detailed history of this
10¼" gauge railway, which ran in the well-known Suffolk east coast resort and port of Lowestoft. It
operated between 1948 and 1974, at first on the South Pier, and later from 1955 on the Esplanade
near the Royal Hotel. Only three locomotives seem to have been ever employed: HCS Bullock's 4-6-2
No1003 'Tamar Queen', Trevor Guest's 4-6-0 No45059 'Sonia' and David Curwen's 4-4-2 No1865.
Peter Scott would be very grateful for any information about the railway, especially postcards or
photographs of the railway and its locomotives. Reasonable costs refunded; contact per back page.
ABOVE: The 'Cotton Spinner' at Royton platform - the end of line is right (Manchester Locomotive Society).
BELOW: 7th Series one-inch 1958/61 map of the Royton Branch (Royton Junction although the station
CP 1987, is now on Metrolink between Oldham to the south and Shaw & Compton to the north).
462] Railtour Report: Spinning a Yarn: On Sat 16 Apr 1966, our Member No1 organised 'The Cotton
Spinner', his third railtour with coaching stock in NW England for about 100 participants. This followed
highly successful tours on 5 & 12 Feb that year. 'The Push and Pull Farewell' hauled by Ivatt class 2-6-2
tank '41286' and a two coach push and pull LMS set. The 5 Feb tour duplicated the final run by the set
on the 12th. Both were full and '41286' made a circular tour of much sought after lines reflecting Push
and Pull service routes. Hot-foot on his success, No1 arranged a very short notice tour to mark the
closure of the 1¼ mile long Royton Junction to Royton branch, with effect from Mon 18 Apr 1966.
The booking form was released on 27 Mar just 21 days before the tour was due to run! The fare was
£2.2s.6d (£2 12 ½p) for non-members, £1.19s for members (no half fares). First indications up to the
ticket letter and final timings being issued were that the tour was well below the number of people
required to meet the British Railways (BR) charter charge. Was this to be Member No1's first railtour
loss........? Fortunately not, as members rallied round in the last seven days and it did cover its costs!
ABOVE: The tour at Glossop in 1966, (looking towards the buffers); attitudes to railtour participants
taking pictures were rather different, electrification is 1500V dc! The goods yard is on the right (MLS).
Three coaches were originally specified but four were required; '47202' passing her boiler test no doubt
helped increase patronage. She was the last working member of the Midland Railway class 3F 0-6-0T
and allocated to '26B' Agecroft shed and seemed appropriate to haul the special, since she spent much
of her time as Royton Junction station pilot in 1966. The loco was rostered to take the special from
Royton Junction to Royton and then double head with the main tour locomotive '82003', a BR standard
design 3MT 2-6-2T. This was an unusual locomotive in the North West, as they were mostly found in
South Wales and Devon before moving to Nine Elms. A few of the class went to Patricroft in late 1964.
It was common in those days for the tour organiser to have footplate permits and a rota was developed
for all helpers to ride on the footplate, one of these rides is worthy of note…
A correction to the Six Bells entry https://goo.gl/Vzt3gn is appropriate; '47202' took the train forward
slow line from Stockport Edgeley P3 to Manchester Piccadilly P5, bunker first. Peter Nettleship, a long
standing and good friend of Member No1, was on the footplate of '47202' and reported being
overtaken on the fast lines near to Slade Lane Jn by an electric AL6 locomotive. The Euston fast had
been diverted into P4 at Stockport because the 'Cotton Spinner' was in P3 for the Jinty to run-round
and the 2-6-2T was uncoupled. The driver of the tour locomotive 0-6-0T '47202' set off seeing how far
he would get before being challenged by the Euston express!
The final itinerary agreed by the Divisional Manager's office at Hunts Bank in Manchester (a since
demolished building opposite to Manchester Victoria Station) totalled about 137 miles:
Manchester Central - Throstle Nest East Jn - Chorlton Jn - Fallowfield - Guide Bridge - Godley Jn -
Glossop - Hadfield - Apethorne Jn - Woodley - New Mills Central - Hayfield - Chinley North Jn -
Great Rocks - Buxton - Davenport Jn - Cheadle Village Jn - Baguley - Partington - Glazebrook East Jn
- Trafford Park - Throstle Nest East Jn - Cornbrook West Jn - Cornbrook East Jn - Castlefield Jn -
Knott Mill - Ordsall Lane No2 Jn - Manchester Exchange - Cheetam Hill Jn - Bury Loco Loop Jn - Bury
Knowsley Street - Castleton - Rochdale - Royton Jn - Royton - Oldham Mumps - Park Bridge -
OA&GB Jn - Crowthorne Jn - Ashton Moss Jn - Denton Jn - Stockport Edgeley - Piccadilly station.
The route developed around the Royton branch closure with other interesting lines, in particular
Davenport Jn to Cheadle Village Jn, which just south of Stockport crossed over the line to Crewe/
Stoke. The 'Khyber Pass' as it was known OG 12 Dec 1883; OP 1 Jul 1884. It was particularly choice
because rail traffic (as a through route) had ceased from 4 Jan 1965. Taken OOU as a through route
from 2 May 1966 it was retained for coal to Davenport Jn Co-op Siding (CG 3 Dec 1969) and had been
used to turn Pacific steam locos on Euston to Manchester expresses. Manchester London Road
turntable could turn 'Pacifics' but was taken OOU in 1958 (removed to Heaton Mersey Motive Power
Depot) and its site used for a new signal box. The station was re-developed becoming Piccadilly in
1960. Longsight turntable was too short for Pacifics so they ran to Stockport to turn via the 'Khyber'.
ABOVE: Hard to believe now but this picture of the tour was taken at Manchester Piccadilly (MLS).
PREVIOUS PAGE ABOVE: A water stop at Marple (Manchester Locomotive Society).
Railtours through the 'Khyber' were very rare; the RCTS Lancashire Branch 'Four Counties' tour did it on
23 Sep 1961. Some passenger diversions took place in the early 1960s but the 'Cotton Spinner' was the
final passenger carrying train. Today little trace can be seen of it, only the bridge buttresses on the
main line, near the junction with the Hazel Grove line. The track was lifted in early 1970.
The tour ran into Buxton Midland not the LNWR station. '82003' was despatched to Buxton shed for
servicing, coaling and water before returning the loaded stock from Buxton Midland to Buxton East Jn,
then going forward to Disley via Buxton North Jn and the direct connection on to the LNWR line at
Buxton No1 towards Stockport. (Nowadays the layout is quite different of course.) Most of the tour
participants had an enjoyable visit to Buxton steam shed and were able to see '82003' being serviced.
Again, correcting Six Bells, the tour reversed at Glazebrook station rather than Glazebrook East Jn.
The route from Glazebrook is self explanatory (above), the day was excellent, enjoyed by all from the
reports received, starting with the train being waved away from Manchester Central by the Station
Master in his full regalia including bowler hat. There were 12 reversals, some now no longer possible
due to modern service frequency or 1960s Beeching closures. The 'Cotton Spinner' ran late so was the
final train from Royton, (the last service train had already run on the day and there was no Sunday
service) accompanied by detonators and the predictable whistling from the two locos. Our Chairman
John Williamson was on the tour and how many of today's Society members were? [From Six Bells
Junction, we can add Kevin Driscoll, a previous Treasurer, and Dave Groves, a former Sales Officer.]
463] The Cotton Spinner Railtour, How To Squeeze A Quart Into A Pint Pot: In my recollections of The
'Glazier' railtour, organised by Member No1, (BLN 1241.1743) I painted the picture of an impecunious
sixth-former with a growing interest in rail travel. By Apr 1966 I was studying hard for 'A' Level exams
with aspirations for a University place, but was also fighting a losing battle catching up with the lines
that were closing too fast for me and the steam locomotive classes that were being withdrawn.
ABOVE: A stop at 'Knott Hill & Deansgate' - now just Deansagte; in 1966 it had 1500V Direct Current
electrification for the line to 'Altrincham & Bowden' (Manchester Locomotive Society).
I had secured a temporary job at the Post Office in the run up to Christmas 1965 and this improved
cash flow a little. I had been too slow booking for the 'real' Push and Pull Farewell tour (see above) but
had a great day out (with loads of track which was new for me) on the 'repeat' actually a week before!
When the booking form for the Cotton Spinner came out, there was no doubt that this was going to be
a perfect tour for me and a booking was duly made. The motive power advertised would give me
haulage with two classes I had otherwise never managed to achieve, and, as it proved, that tour was
my only opportunity for both of them. (Perhaps that explains why I am currently looking forward to the
completion of new build Standard Class 3 '82045' on the Severn Valley Railway.) …and the track!
The top priority was the branch from Royton Junction to Royton, which would have its final service
train on the day of the tour, but this also proved to be my only ride on the Hayfield branch, along the
'Khyber Pass' from Davenport Jn to Cheadle Village Jn, and along the northern section of the OA&GB.
On the day of the tour, it was a DMU which took me from Padgate to Manchester Central to join the
tour. '82003' was the main motive power, taking the train from Manchester Central to Royton. '47202'
worked the train alone from Royton to Royton Junction and from Stockport Edgeley to Manchester
Piccadilly and it piloted '82003' from Royton Junction to Stockport Edgeley.
One strong recollection is that it was a cold day with vestiges of snow on the ground in Derbyshire.
On-train conditions were not helped by a problem with steam heat and we went over time on the
service stop in Buxton while an attempt was made to remedy this. This late running raised concerns as
to what might happen in relation to the Royton branch, as our tour was scheduled to traverse the
branch before the last service train. First it was realised that we could not achieve that path, which
raised the concern that we might not be allowed up the branch at all. Then it was a sigh of relief as it
was confirmed that we would go up the branch after the service train and so become the last last train.
It was a credit to the station staff at Royton that the booking office was opened while our tour was in
the platform and there is the suspicion that on the last day of service the greater proportion of the
station's income came from tickets sold to railtour participants to add to their collections after the last
'real' train had gone. As Member No1 highlights, departure from Royton was marked appropriately with
detonators and steam loco whistles, as yet another branch line came to the end of its life.
At a distance of more than 50 years there is plenty of scope for speculation and wishful thinking.
If some of the lines we traversed which closed had survived for a little longer might they still be open
today, and, indeed, might Royton now be a Metrolink tram branch line? That contrasts with what in
1966 was a line with little traffic from Deansgate Jn to Ordsall Lane Jn, which now has an intensive
service of Northern and TPE workings! As I travelled home on a cosy DMU from Manchester Central on
the evening of 16 Apr 1966 my teenage imagination could not have contemplated how things would
develop. All I knew was that I had enjoyed an excellent day out for both track and haulage and 50 years
on it is still a big 'thank you' to Member No1 for that. (John Williamson, Society Chairman.)
464] The Wincham Branch: ABOVE: 14 May 1966, 'The Cheshire Cat' brakevan tour at Marston Sidings
(one of the Cheshire Lines Committee 'Salt Union Branches' from Northwich East Jn), over two miles
long. The 6 hour, 37 mile, fully booked tour was repeated https://goo.gl/MIugjF on 20 Aug 1966.
Our now Chairman is walking towards the camera. (Photo: the late Bob Parr; thanks to Ray Hardman).
PREVIOUS PAGE: Not a 'seamless' join between maps! The Wincham Branch and other 'Salt Union
Branches'. The stations are Northwich (left) and Lostock Gralam (right). 7th Series one-inch 1958/59.
ABOVE: The start of the tour at Waterloo P19, participants walk down the platform (Stuart Hicks).
1275 FIXTURES REPORT: 465] The Vossloh Voyager, 14 Jan 2017, by Geoff Noakes: This was probably
one of the most local tours of my life having been born only a few yards from the start, living and
working at various locations less than a mile from its route since. However some of the locations
visited covered track I had never expected to be able to ride over as a passenger! (David Palmer's
railtour itinerary and Stephen Phillip's geographical map are available with this e-BLN as a download.)
Preparations for the tour itself started a few days earlier, the stock was specially cleaned and the
previous day the two units were coupled and run together with a short diagram from their Wimbledon
Park home depot. Journeying to join the tour the ECS and my service train managed to pass each other
five times in the six miles between the depot and Waterloo!
On our route down through Vauxhall and Nine Elms the rapid redevelopment of much of the area and
construction of the Underground Battersea Northern Line extension was seen. Alongside and
underneath the now redundant Nine Elms flyover built for
Eurostar traffic the tour took the series of crossovers right
to use the Up Windsor Line in the Down direction
through Queenstown Road P2. After passing under the
Brighton lines we crossed back to the Down Windsor
Slow Line noting newly installed pointwork (right) to
increase flexibility in the area for the forthcoming changes
at Waterloo. (LEFT/BELOW: Ticket/times by Jim Sellens.)
London Waterloo P19 [BLN 1275] 13m 67ch.
Clapham Yard Siding 49 (Sig CY43) 10m 22ch.
Clapham Yard Siding 6 (clear of Sig CY19) Clapham Yard Siding 49 (to Sig CY43) 12m 42ch.
Hampton Court P2 Clapham Yard Siding 6 (clear of Sig CY19) *14m 62ch
London Waterloo P19 Hampton Court P2 *14m 62ch.
Fulwell P2 London Waterloo P19 10m 52ch.
Shacklegate Jn Up Line (clear of Sig F413) Fulwell P2 (*Identical mileage by coincidence) 10m 18ch.
Strawberry Hill Depot Road No1 Shacklegate Jn Up Line (clear of Sig F413) 12m 27ch.
Kingston Bay P1 Strawberry Hill Depot Road No1 12m 30ch.
Shacklegate Jn Down Shep'ton (clear Sig F414) Kingston Bay P1 12m 01ch.
Clapham Junction Up Windsor Fast Line Shacklegate Jn Down Shep'ton (Clear Sig F414) 22m 74ch.
Windsor & Eton Riverside P1 Clapham Junction Up Windsor Fast Line 16m 66ch.
Staines Up Main Line (clear of Sig F467) Windsor & Eton Riverside P1 11m 05ch.
Staines West Jn, Down Windsor (clear Sig F478) Staines Up Main Line (clear of Sig F467) 11m 07ch.
Staines Up Loop Staines West Jn, Down Windsor (clear of Sig F478) 29m 15ch.
Staines Up Loop
London Waterloo P12
On our right here were the blocks of flats where in my very early years I apparently spent many hours
on the balcony watching trains on the Victoria and Waterloo lines. I do not remember this but perhaps
my brain was indoctrinated with railways from this time.
Our EMUs diverged left to enter Clapham Yard and proceed along No3 West London Siding through
the carriage washer (not activated!). Approaching Clapham Junction station the tour crossed to the
right hand side of the yard and entered No49 Siding next to the Down Windsor Slow line then reversed
back to No6 West London Siding to await our booked departure time. Many participants who had
travelled long distances and therefore were in unusual territory recorded the unit numbers of the
numerous passing trains in many colours on both sides. [ https://goo.gl/Dv4v6m has more pictures.]
On time we departed via P6 to Point Pleasant Jn and the East Putney line to Wimbledon, a PSUL route
normally only used by a handful of SWT services at rather unsocial hours or during engineering works.
Passing Wimbledon memories came back of the former Divisional Manager's Offices in Worple Road
where I started my railway career many years ago. In fact the last shift worked in the control office
there included a run in Class 508 stock to Waterloo over the East Putney line and the now removed Up
flyover, transferring the office to Waterloo General Offices. [Clue: This line was taken OOU 4 Apr 1987
- Ed.] A non-stop run then took us to Hampton Court P2 but on the way the highly unusual moves of
the Down Slow to Down Fast crossover at New Malden and back from Down Fast to the Down
Hampton Court line at Surbiton beyond that station took place. A short break was taken at Hampton
Court when participants could spread out through all eight coaches.
On the way again the tour returned by the reversible Down line normally only used in the mode for a
branch shuttle service to Surbiton Down Loop. Approaching Surbiton our train took all four crossovers
to reach the Up Slow line, a move normally extremely difficult to achieve with the density of traffic but
fortunately engineering works between Woking and Farnborough meant fewer trains were operating
[the tour date was not coincidental!]. In fact at the time we performed this movement there were,
unusually, no trains, other than us, visible on a website diagram between Raynes Park and Hersham.
Crossing back to the Up Fast line at Berrylands Jn enabled The Vossloh Voyager to return to the
Up Slow line approaching New Malden via another rarely used crossover. The first minor deviation
from booked pathway in the whole day's operation saw us stopped briefly before this last move as the
Kingston Loop service booked to follow had been allowed in front of us in error. Full credit to the
timing team for managing to path us over various London area routes with such dense traffic.
At Wimbledon the next highlight was to diverge left through Wimbledon Park depot. This was via No1
Siding and the carriage washer, again not operating, via Transfer Road 1 where a visiting unit 159009
was stabled alongside us having been to the wheel lathe.
Continuing behind the small Staff Halt platform we passed under Durnsford Road bridge, which
separates the two halves of the depot, and along No1 New Siding. Leaving by the Earlsfield exit it was
onto the Up Fast line to Clapham Junction Up Main Loop, entering the yard by the connection at the
London end of the loop. The route along the yard lines was via No1 West London Siding, through the
carriage washer and back to West London Jn to re-join the Up Main Fast line. Only a short section of
this line was then traversed before crossing left to the Up Windsor line at Queenstown Road passing
through P2 in the opposite direction from a few hours earlier. A further set of points took us left again
to travel on the single track Windsor Reversible line north of the Nine Elms Flyover then back to
Waterloo P19 for a short lunch-time break.
Relieved and refreshed participants returned and a similar route was taken to the West Crossings but
this time diverging left to the Down Main Fast past Clapham Junction and Wimbledon. The train
crossed to the Slow line, on the way to New Malden to turn left onto the Kingston Loop line. Passing
under the main lines and Malden Crossing, where I started my trainspotting career, it continued via
Kingston and Teddington to Fulwell. A faster than expected run was made because the Shepperton
branch service we had been booked to follow was cancelled after an earlier signalling failure in the
Barnes area. This enabled a more leisurely reversal to be made crossing back to the Up line to
Shacklegate Jn where another reversal was made into Strawberry Hill Depot No1 Siding.
Unfortunately the full length of the siding was not available as a unit was berthed at the far end.
Engineering works past the depot to Twickenham required fewer trains to be in service and also
resulted in four trains per hour all day running to/from Shepperton instead of the normal two.
Leaving Strawberry Hill depot via Shacklegate Jn it was off to Kingston Down bay P1 (which took 8
coaches, TRACKmaps suggested 6); a longer break allowed participants to visit the busy shopping
centre. Before departure group photographs of the stewards, RBF staff and train crew were taken.
BELOW: Rear view as the Vossloh Voyager leaves Strawberry Hill Depot for Kingston (Geoff Plumb).
ABOVE: In Kingston station bay P1, note headboard and platform display (BELOW) (Stuart Hicks).
Then it was to
Shacklegate Jn for the
fifth time just turning
onto the curve towards
Fulwell to reverse and
take the very rare
Shacklegate Jn trailing
crossover to gain the
Up line and return to
Wimbledon. Again we managed to fit in between the intensive District Line service via East Putney
and Point Pleasant Jn to reverse at Clapham Junction. This was on the London side of the station with
a good viewpoint of passing trains. The most interesting was one of the Plain Line Pattern Recognition
test trains en route from Tonbridge to Derby being worked top and tail by 73962 and 73964. We were
booked to follow it towards Barnes which we duly did. Pausing very briefly at Clapham Junction P5 the
driver called Wimbledon box querying whether it might be possible to use some crossovers at Barnes
that had been requested but could not be timed to be used because of other booked movements.
Our tour made its way slowly forward amongst other traffic and approaching Barnes, the signal and
yes! - showed a crossing move left to the Slow Line through P4 where we then crossed right to the
Hounslow Loop line (success!). The train crew in the front cab was able to obtain a good view of the
tail lamp of the test train in the distance and Barnes River bridge (normally seen from the river view in
the University Boat Race on television); there were indeed rowers on the Thames. Passing through the
many stations on the line the tour then curved round at Feltham Jn to join the line from Twickenham
and past the former marshalling yard now becoming more of a nature reserve.
ABOVE: The railtour at Windsor & Eton Riverside P1 (Stuart Hicks).
Before Feltham station was Feltham Area Signalling Centre visited by the Society on 30 Apr 2016, and
the former Area Manager's Office adjacent, another of my work places in the past. At Staines the right
hand route was taken to Windsor & Eton Riverside for another short break at this magnificent station.
Returning to Staines the tour ran through the station to reverse on the Up Main next to the stabling
sidings. By now darkness had fallen and it was then back on to the Windsor branch for the (well
illuminated) trailing crossover formerly from the Staines West branch (at 19m 48ch and still used by
ECS workings) to switch to the Up line. Mars and
Venus were readily visible two of the brightest
objects in the sky. Back at Staines it was in to the Up
Loop for our final reversal of the tour. It had been
hoped to be able to run into the berthing sidings but
unfortunately they were unstaffed due to illness.
Passing through Staines again this time it was left on
to the Reading line to Virginia Water then left again
to Weybridge and over the little used connection to
the Bournemouth Main line. After the station the
fast line was taken. The AC traction motored units
were then able to show their power and
acceleration, the maximum permitted speed for
them of 75mph was quickly reached and held
steadily until approaching Clapham Junction. Before
Waterloo the Up Main Relief line was taken to
arrive at P12, the station where I had finished my
railway employment and our tour was also to finish.
As one passenger remarked after the tour it did exactly what it said on the tin so full credit to Kev
Adlam, SWT, NR, the RBF and all involved. Surprisingly 124m 70ch were covered (thanks to Jim Sellens
for the calculations and the table) raising an excellent total of £14,646.69 for the Railway Benefit Fund.
(ABOVE: Kev hands a Branch Line Society cheque to Elaine Jones, an RBF Welfare Support Officer.)
Please mention the BLS when booking or enquiring.……..1275 CONNECTIONS……….Details must be checked with the organisers.
466] Whitehaven Junction & Whitehaven & Furness Junction Railway Rule Book 1857: The conduct
of every Servant is expected to be firm in the execution of his duty; at the same time he must be civil,
prompt, courteous and obliging to the public, and invariably give his name when requested. Now
available in PDF on a CD for £5 including P&P from: 50 Tattershall, Toothill, Swindon, SN5 8BX.
(Cheques payee 'Cumbrian Railway Association') https://goo.gl/qycdWH A great insight into how
railways were run in the 19th century. Engine-drivers, Stokers, Guards, Pointsmen, Porters, and
Gatemen are recommended to insure, in the Railway Passengers' Assurance Company, against the risks
of accident while in the execution of their duty, and the Company will pay half the annual premium.
467] Bluebell Railway, 4VEP '3417': A crowd funding appeal to help the Southern Electric Traction
Group, based at the Bluebell Railway, restore the last 4VEP EMU of its kind to 90mph running for
mainline railtours etc. Donations can be gift aided see https://goo.gl/7pEOLW for more details.
468] Bristol Harbour Railway: Princes Wharf, Wapping Rd, BS1 4RN (ST585723). 2017 public steam
trains (usually 20 mins, £2 single, £3 return 11.00-16.00 check: 0117 352 6600 and for crane rides):
18 & 19 Feb; 8, 9, 15, 16, 29 & 30 Apr; 1, 13, 14, 27, 28 & 29 May; 10, 11, 24 & 25 Jun; 8, 9, 22, 23, 29
& 30 Jul; 12, 13, 26 & 27 Aug; 9, 10, 23 & 24 Sep; 7, 8, 21, 22, 28 & 29 Oct. Electric crane cabin rides
(20 mins £2): 22 & 23 Apr; 6 & 7 May; 3 & 4 Jun; 15 & 16 Jul; 5, 6, 19 & 20 Aug; 2, 3 & 30 Sep & 1 Oct.
469] Tanfield Railway, 'Coals to Newcastle' Sun 26 Feb: (NZ828053) Old Marley Hill, Gateshead, NE16
5ET. The day after our North Tyneside Steam Railway fixture. 'See and hear coal trains thundering
through the countryside'; passenger trains are running too. Timetable on website or 07508 092365.
470] Leander Architectural, near Buxton, Final Open Day, Wed 29 Mar: 'The feel and atmosphere of
an historic industrial railway'. Close to Dove Holes station. Ted McAvoy, the proprietor, is selling his
business to retire and the narrow gauge locos/wagons are moving. Motor Rail '9543' will be in action
with two skips. Anyone familiar with locos can drive (or alternatively ride) over the tracks in the yard
and into the workshop. Possible visiting loco, which has not been out of its owner's garage for over 30
years that may give rides! Entry by donation £5 (includes copious supply of tea or coffee). Numbers
limited must be pre-booked NO turn up on the day. BLS members apply to our member Steve Livesey
[email protected] only if no email write (with SAE) to 35 Queens Road, Burnley, BB10 1XX.
471] Acton Depot Open Weekend Sat 22 & Sun 23 Apr, 11.00-17.00: Visit the Depot Museum with
320,000 items. Art and poster tours, talks, see items found during the Crossrail excavation, family fun.
Acton Miniature Railway (7¼" gauge) rides, heritage bus trips. Refreshments from a vintage vehicle,
pop up food village and unique transport related items on sale. £12 Adult, Concessions £10, London
Transport Museum Friends £7, Under 17s free (no unaccompanied under 16s), valid on both days.
Book at https://goo.gl/ULdeQm or 020 7565 7298 (10.00-17.00 Sat-Thur; 11.00-17.00 Fri).
472] Downs Light Railway, May Day Bank Holiday, Reopening Public Gala, Sun 30 Apr/Mon 1 May:
https://goo.gl/p3TDMK (Map) dates for your diary, Hoyland Down, Brockhill Rd, Colwall (950yd walk
from station) WR13 6EY, (SO759433). A very unusual 9½" gauge line set in the attractive grounds of an
independent private school as a pupil hobby activity. Dating back to 1925 'The world's oldest private
miniature railway'. It runs from the single terminal station, Hoyland Down, through a deep cutting,
then turns 180 degrees running through a tunnel under a public minor road and down through
woodland to a triangular junction onto a circuit around a sports field. Total track length is now 680yd...
Due to ground drainage problems flooding and track distortion it had been OOU in recent years and
faced abandonment, but with the help of our Malvern member David Guy (a keen volunteer on the
railway) is being rebuilt, a considerable task. Remains of previous alignments are evident.
The late James Boyd the renowned narrow gauge researcher and author was a pupil at the school
(maybe it started his interest!). Retiring from the textiles industry in 1970 at the age of 50, he moved
to Colwall. His brother taught at the school and was in charge of the railway hobby section. Boyd
looked after the Downs Light Railway and started a 20-year restoration resulting in a miniature steam
loco being named after him. He continued to fight to preserve the railway despite Headmasters who
failed to see its historical and educational importance, and in 1983 the Downs Light Railway Trust was
formed. Boyd continued to oversee the railway up to the millennium despite suffering a stroke in the
1990s. He died in 2008. There is much information about this historic line at https://goo.gl/F5KlLq
and the double DVD (£5 plus £1.50 P&P) produced to mark the railway's 90th anniversary last year.
James Boyd's hardback book 'Don't Stand Up in the Tunnel!' is £25 with limited availability 112 pages,
123 maps photos and drawings. Await further details in BLN and please do not contact the school.
473] Ffestiniog Travel, English Trams & Trolleybuses Tour, Thu 11 May: A 14-day escorted, behind
the scenes guided tours, hands on experience driving of vintage and modern trams. Starts Newcastle
T&W Metro, Beamish, private Blackpool tram tour and vintage tram depot tour, Sheffield SuperTram
depot tour, Trolleybus driving experience (subject to conditions), Nottingham NET, Crich Vintage tram
driving experience, Manchester Metrolink , Midland Metro, Croydon Tramlink, DLR and Driver's Eye
Experience (Seaton). From £1,970 01766 772030 [email protected] enquire immediately.
474] Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life: Heritage Way, Coatbridge, ML5 1QD, (NS729654)
Scotland's noisiest museum 'All Aboard" - 200 years of history celebrating Lanarkshire's role as the
cradle of Scottish Railways, 4 Mar-21 May. 10.00-16.00 (17.00 after 1 Apr) Admission Free; Tram Rides.
X.19] Hayfield: BELOW: The 'Cotton Spinner' tour (see item 462) from the branch buffer stops (Ray Hardman).
475] West Somerset Railway (WSR) Explorer, Sat 13 May: GWR with Visit Somerset, WSR & Buses
of Somerset, a special HST hoped to be (43002 & 43185 with green livery set) will work the charity
event for Weston-super-Mare Hospice to celebrate the life and work of Bob Smart, the former
chairman of Visit Somerset who sadly passed away last year. 'Explorer Option': Paddington 08.36 /
18.57, Ealing Broadway 08.44 / 18.46, Reading 09.14 / 18.19, Didcot 09.34 / 18.57 via Frome to
Minehead (13.00 / 14.50) returning via Taunton P2 and crossover at Taunton East Jn, Weston-
super-Mare and Bristol TM Down Through in the Up direction. GWR buffet car and souvenirs
available. There is the option of leaving the train at Frome at 10.33 for a luxury coach or open top
bus on a mystery land cruise rejoining at Weston 17.00. Part Fare 'Round Robin' joining the train
at Frome are available on the 08.36 service from Swindon via Melksham, leaving at Weston for
service train connections to the 18.32 Westbury to Swindon and 18.40 Westbury to Frome. Coach
connections are also available to connect at Frome / Weston. No pay on the day, online bookings
only (with various options for group and staff fares etc) at https://goo.gl/mqgR31 with full
details. SPECIAL OFFER: BLS members, early bird £15.50 discount on adult standard class HST all
day option reduced to only to £51, use promotional code: BLS_MEMBERS (note underscore).
X.20] E-BLN 1275 Guess the
Location: ABOVE AND LEFT:
Two pictures this time by Ian
Mortimer from 1992. Which
country were they taken in,
where and what was this
railway used for. What gauge
is it? Answers in e-BLN 1276
X.21] ABOVE: July 1981, emerging from the west end of the 'new' (1953) Woodhead Tunnel; the view
of Woodhead station (CP 1964) from the cab of a Class 76 loco on a freight working (Ian Mortimer).
Paper BLN problems: Dave Monger, 6 Underhill Close, GODALMING, GU7 1NU. [email protected] OR RING EDITOR.
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