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Published by membersonly, 2019-04-04 18:46:49


6th April 2019

Number 1326 (Items 769 - 934 & MR 48 - MR 57) (E-BLN 82 PAGES) 6 Apr 2019


…………… Respice in praeteritum, praesens et futurum
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society - founded 1955

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

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

BLN 1327 is dated Sat 27 Apr (3-week gap); please send contributions by Wed 17 Apr.

769] :PLEASE RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP ONLINE!: It's that time of the year again when we ask
you for your support in renewing your membership (due by 1 May). Subscriptions are your Society's
main income source and prompt renewcaieltys.aSvoecsieetyx.tra work and expense. Renewing online - even
those who just take paper BLN (if you can access the website) - at the 'Membership' section of our
website saves your volunteer committee time and work. Most Debit/Credit Cards can be used;
Debit Cards reduce our costs. Please check your details/address are correct and notify any changes.
Paper subscribers will receive a renewal form. Subscriptions have been frozen again despite the
recent postage increase. This is a chance to review your category of membership, for example add
paper BLN by First Class Post (UK) to e-BLN for only £28.50 extra, also add paper e-BLNI for £4.50
more. Everyone who takes paper BLN can have e-BLN/BLNI free! E-BLN with e-BLNI (24 editions of
each) is only £12 per year. This includes a copy of Peter Scott's Minor Railways Guide (the 2019
edition is being posted this week; allow a week for delivery), access to the Members' section of the
website, members only fixtures and discounts on many fixtures (typically of £12) and certain books.

Date Event and details  = Please Book Online BLN Lead Status

Sat 13 Apr 10.00-13.45: Rossington branch 4 Track & Traction trips Below MG OPEN

Sun 14 Apr Weston, Nantwich Methodist Church/Willaston Railways Below NL OPEN

Fri 26 Apr The Bo'ness Bonus (Bo'ness etc to Crewe single journey) Below MG OPEN

Sat 27 Apr The Gourock Growler; Track & Traction tour from Crewe Below MG OPEN

Sun 28 Apr The Sunday Shed (single journey Crewe to Polmont etc) Below MG OPEN

Sat 4 May K&ESR The Andrew Wilson (Brillo) Memorial Charter 1322 MG OPEN

16 - 18 May Island of Ireland IV; first 3 days (can be booked separately) 1324 MG OPEN

Sun 19 May Cork - Dublin Heuston (for evening flights), Rare Track tour TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 1 Jun Exbury Garden Railway and another afternoon fixture Below MG OPEN

Sun 9 Jun The Sunday Yicker Crewe 09.30-19.10 NW Class 31/33 tour 1325 MG OPEN

Wed 12 Jun All day Liverpool Lime Street Saveaway Tracker (Tom Gilby)Below TG OPEN

Thur 13 Jun The Conwy Cat Track & Traction tour Crewe to Chester Below MG OPEN

7 and 8 Jul Sun & Mon; Devon service train tracker NOTIFY INTEREST Below MH Notify

Sat 20 Jul Class 37 hauled main line unusual routes railtour TBA TBA Claimed

Sat 27 Jul The return of Thunder Vac 50008 (D408), circular tour Below MG OPEN

Sun 28 Jul The Steel City Special, Sheffield Supertram WAITING LIST 1325 MG OPEN

26 - 28 Jul Society rare track tour in south Austria 1318 PG OPEN
Mon 26 Aug Scunthorpe Steeler No19 Railtour (Bank Holiday Monday) TBA TBA Claimed

6 - 8 Sep Save the dates; Society Track & Traction railtour in Norway TBA TBA Claimed

MG = Mark Gomm; MH = Mark Haggas; NL = Neil Lewis; PG = Paul Griffin; TG = Tom Gilby; Contacts: See back page.

The Rossington Recycler Trip 1 Trip 2 Trip 3 Trip 4
09.30 10.45 12.00 13.15
Doncaster bus dep 09.45 11.00 12.15 13.30
10.00 11.15 12.30 13.45
Rossington bus arr 10.45 12.00 13.15 14.30
11.15 12.15 13.30 14.45
Rossington train dep 11.30 12.30 13.45 15.00

Rossington bus dep

Doncaster. bus arr

770] :The Rossington Recycler Sat 13
Apr:: (See website or BLN 1325.644 for
details/to book.) Connecting buses from/
back to Doncaster bus station (out of the
station and immediately left) .STAND B3.
are free with your fixture ticket. Black
Prince Buses Mercedes P441 SWX and
Volvo TRR 814R should both be working.
The 10.00 train is full (but if you cannot do
a later one, please say). Due to the cost of
transporting 'Molly' the day is effectively
unrepeatable. LEFT: Our loco (Kev Adlam.)

ABOVE RIGHT: Rossington Colliery coal loading bunker from the 15 Oct 1989 IME 'South Yorkshire'
railtour, unfortunately further progress was blocked by a rake of wagons. WARNING! Those of a
nervous disposition or with serious medical problems who were not on the tour are advised not look
at the link to see the locations it visited in 9¼ hours... (Ian Mortimer).

771] :South Cheshire Miniatures; Sun 14 Apr 10.00-15.30:: Two miles from Crewe station, all available
lines at the 9½" gauge Crewe & Weston Railway. The basic run is only publically available at the annual
fete. Then South Cheshire Model Engineering Society, a ¼ mile outer 3½"/5" line and a small inner raised
2½/3½/5". Finally 'The Church with the Train', a 75yd track at Nantwich Methodist Church; (includes tea &
cake) until 15.30. Fare for all Adults £22, U18 (must be accompanied by an adult) £11 no part fares. Please
book online if possible or post to Mark Gomm (back page) with membership number(s) if applicable, an
email address or SAE. Please advise in the comments sections if you would like, or can provide, lifts from
Crewe station to the three fixtures. Other enquires to our member Neil Lewis: [email protected]

772] :The Bo'ness Bonus Fri 26 Apr; UPDATE:: (BLN 1322.238 or see website to book.) Bo'ness departure
is now 30 minutes later and the Wishaw Connecting Line is included. Bo'ness (PU 09.00) - Linlithgow UPL -
Craiglockhart Jn - Suburban Line - Edinburgh P9 (PU 11.19) - Shotts - Mossend South Jn - Motherwell P1
(PU 12.25) - Wishaw Connecting Line - Carstairs UPL - Beattock UPL - Quintinshill UPL - Carlisle Network
Yard - Carlisle P3 (PU 14.53) - Eden Valley GL - Oubeck Goods Loop - Preston P5 (PU 17.21) - Wigan NW P4
(PU 17.42) - Acton Bridge Slow Line - Crewe P12 (SD 18.29). [Book all three days together for a discount.]

773] :The Gourock Growler Sat 27 Apr; UPDATE:: (BLN 1322.239 or see website to book.) Track & Traction
tour from Crewe. Beattock Summit DPL is now deleted (but is included on the Sunday tour) and the more
interesting Up Brownhill Passenger Loop (with facing and trailing crossovers) replaces the DPL. Update:

Crewe P12 (PU 06.06) - Warrington BQ (PU 06.26) - Wigan NW (P5 PU 06.39) - Preston P3 (PU 06.57) -
Barton & Broughton Loop - Oxenholme Down Windermere - Shap Harrisons Siding Loop - Penrith P3 -
Carlisle P4 (PU 08.43) - Carlisle Network Yard - Quintinshill DPL - Beattock DPL - Abington DPL - Carstairs
DPL - Law DPL - Mossend Up Yard - Sunnyside Jn - Shettleston DGL - Glasgow Queen St LL - Anniesland -
Springburn - Paisley GS - Gourock (rev/break) - Up and Dn Terminus (rev) - Brownhill UPL - Barassie DPL -

Falkland Yard - Mauchline - Kirkconnel - Carlisle P1 (SD 19.30) - Tebay Up & Dn Goods - Lancaster SD (Up)
P3 - Preston P6 (SD 21.15) - Wigan NW P1 (SD 21.55) - Warrington BQ (SD 22.08) - Crewe P12 (SD 21.59).

Thanks to DRS there are further traction enhancements to this charity charter. As before a DRS Class 88
will haul us to Mossend Yard, where two Class 37s take over to haul us to Gourock. Then a DRS Class 68
instead of the Class 88 will return us to Shields Jn before we proceed back to Carlisle. At Carlisle a
different Class 88 will lead back to Crewe. This means there will be two additional locos working.

774] :The Sunday Shed Sun 28 Apr; UPDATE:: (BLN 1322.240 or see website to book.) Now includes Law
Junction Down Passenger Loop and runs via Falkirk High and Polmont Up South Passenger Loop rather
than Falkirk Grahamston and the North Passenger Loop. Timings and calls are otherwise as advertised.

775] :Exbury Eucryphia, Sat 1 Jun:: Thanks to our member Rod Bryant, a visit probably starting at 12.00, to
the 12¼" gauge, 1¼ mile long, Exbury Steam Railway at Exbury Gardens, Beaulieu, SO45 1AZ. Courtesy of
Exbury Estates and railway management we will have two trips covering the very rare station avoiding
triangle and the 2018 deviation, All Adults £15 per head; U18 £7.50 must be adult accompanied; max 30.
Includes a shed visit to see all the locos (admission and one railway trip is normally £17.50 without any rare
track). Another local fixture is planned for the afternoon - details to be advised. [Eucryphia is a rare shrub
found at Exbury from South America before anyone thinks it's Brexit related.] Please book online or by post
to Mark Gomm (per back page) with membership number(s) and an email address or SAE. Please advise if
you can give lift/s (and the number) from/to Brockenhurst station or if you would like one yourself.

776] :Saveaway Tracker; 12 Jun:: Member Tom Gilby is leading a like minded sociable group on service
trains the day before our 'Conwy Cat', with summer daylight until 22.00. Meet P7 Liverpool Lime Street
09.30 or P2 at Liverpool South Parkway 10.00 armed with an All Zones 'Saveaway' ticket (item 929) for an
all day intensive microgricing itinerary. The plan includes all 10 platforms with eight crossovers expected
on the approaches to the remodelled Lime Street by trips to/from various stations (one four times!) until
19.55. An optional Chester trip via Halton Jn and Helsby is available; £12.70 return; £8.40 railcard. Virgin
Trains has cheap tickets to/from Liverpool. Advance booking only please, to assess demand, to Tom (back
page); if writing send SAE. IMPORTANT: To cancel, please advise Tom at once so that someone else can go.

777] :The Conwy Cat - Thur 13 Jun UPDATE:: (BLN 1325.646) Due to the train length it is not possible to
visit Llandudno. The Blaenau Ffestiniog branch is unlikely to reopen in time for our tour after the recent
severe storm damage. Instead we have requested running to Holyhead and the Carriage Sidings, then P1
for a leg stretch and photo stop. The rest of the day and the requested traction are as advertised. The Class
68 is expected to lead leaving Liverpool Lime Street. Note there are just 15 seats remaining.

778] :Mark Haggas and The Triangle of Doom Tracker - Sun 7 & Mon 8 Jul:: Following last summer's
Cornwall Service Train Tracker, our member Mark Haggas will kindly lead a group covering the railways of
Devon over two long summer days. All possible track on a service train is included from Plymouth (five
London end platform approaches) to Axminster & Tiverton Parkway. Also all branches with Okehampton
(one reason for a Sunday and Monday) and as many of the rarer/less common platforms and crossovers as
possible. The Gunnislake branch and Plymouth country end are in Devon, but were done last year.
●Exeter St Davids P2 & 6 (both ends). ●Exeter Central bay P1 & X/O. ●Newton Abbot: as many moves as
possible including the rarer moves to and from P1/3 across the ladder. ●Paignton X/O and both platforms.
●Devon Metro (Barnstaple, Exmouth and Paignton branches) known as 'The Triangle of Doom'. Overnight
accommodation is required; Exeter St Davids Premier Inn is suggested. It is not planned to cover rare track
early on Sunday morning. Refreshment breaks are available at Exeter and Plymouth. A 'Devon Day Ranger'
(£13/£10.75 railcard) gives many miles of travel, but extra tickets may be needed for a couple of journeys
(will be advised). Expressions of interest (no commitment) via our website or post to Mark (back page) with
an SAE to assess demand. The itinerary will be available later to those who register interest. A track map
will be provided on the day - a great occasion with like-minded people and hopefully great weather too.

779] :The Return of Thunder Vac - Sat 27 Jul:: (BLN 1323.262 or website to book.) Hanson & Hall have
been able to identify operating efficiencies after bookings opened, which they are delighted to pass on to
participants. The fares are reduced on this Class 50 hauled long all day scenic circular tour: Standard £112;
First £175 and First at a table for two £195. Rebates are being arranged to those who have already booked.

780] Waiting Lists: If a fixture is full in Standard and First Class, a waiting list will usually be created.
If only one class is full, and you wish to book in that class (or want a table for two in First Class),
please email the Bookings Officer to go on the specific waiting list. It is worth going on a waiting list;
there were two spare seats on our Looe tour as no one on the waiting list could go at short notice.

1326 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
781] Reedham Jn - Berney Arms - Yarmouth (excl) (BLN 1324.574 REVISED) TCP 20 Oct 2018; Reedham
Jn remodelling. ROP now expected Feb/Mar 2020 - project delay and a shortage of signalling testers.

782] West Somerset Railway: (BLN 1325.651 UPDATED) All TCP Wed 2 Jan for infrastructure and
procedural upgrades; ROP is phased: Bishops Lydeard - Watchet (both incl) on Sat 30 Mar; Watchet -
Minehead now delayed until Fri 19 Apr 2019. In the 30 Mar - 18 Apr 'emergency timetable', services
are now 'Top & Tail' Bishops Lydeard - Watchet with steam haulage to Watchet and diesel on return.

783] Rock Ferry (excl) - Hooton (excl) and 6 stations: (BLN 1311.1736 REVISED) TCP 2 to 23 Mar 2019,
the Phase 7 platform and track remodelling works for the new rolling stock overran by one day.

784] Llandudno Jn - Blaenau Ffestiniog (incl) & nine intermediate stations: TCP after normal service
on Fri 15 Mar (due to flood damage). The branch is now expected to be closed for some months.

785] Ashchurch, War Department GF - Ashchurch Defence Storage & Distribution: (BLN 1226.232)
ROG Tue 26 Mar 2019, MoD traffic handled by GBRf when 66776 worked 6X34 the 20.42 (Mon 25th)
from Marchwood via Southampton, Reading, Kemble (and, ironically, Ashchurch Down Goods Loop
01.33 to 02.19 accessed/egressed at the south end - the engine was on the wrong end and it is not
possible to run round!). It was booked to run round and layover at Worcester Shrub Hill sidings from
01.59 to 05.44 but actually continued back to Ashchurch Down Loop (03.02/05.46) again to reach the
Depot 26 minutes early at 06.04. and are Peter Tandy's
picture of the train there - not in the loop. [In the first 66772 is right on the 05.11 Avonmouth Hanson
Sidings to Clitheroe discharged cement wagons.] The train left 14.23 on time to Bicester MoD (17.26)
via Kemble and Oxford. MoD rail traffic at Ashchurch had previously ceased by 16 Jan 2015 when the
two remaining internal locos (MOD 01523 & 01542) went by road to the Marchwood Military Railway.
Further regular traffic is expected - when is the next railtour? [The line, ending at SO 9381 3428,
parallels about a mile of ex-Midland Railway formerly to Barnt Green via Evesham and Redditch.] has a history and pictures of the Depot. The Royal Train stabled on the branch
on 11 Jul 2008. is Peter Tandy's picture of it on No1 War Department Siding
(pointwork to No2 & No3 removed); Prince Philip has his head out of the window on the rare track!

786] Bidston East Jn - West Kirby and 6 stations: (BLN 1325.654 REVISED) TCP 7 until 14 Apr 2019;
Phase 8 platform remodelling and track realignment for the introduction of new Merseyrail EMUs.

787] Bidston Dee Jn - Shotton (high level) (excl) & 4 stations: TCP as a consequence of previous entry.

788] Lisburn - Portadown (both excl) and Moira & Lurgan stations: (BLN 1323.382 REVISED) TCP/A
Fri 26 Jul to Fri 23 Aug 2019 (both incl) in the school holidays - new dates from Translink's website.
It shows the whole line is closed (Moira crossover is not in use, sadly) to replace 280yd of platform at
Lurgan and over a mile of track is being relaid from William Street crossing (92m 47ch) to past Bell's
Row Crossing (93m 30ch), with drainage works, allowing line speed increases and reduced maintenance
costs. Belfast - Dublin services are by road Belfast - Newry (44m 15ch by rail). By road it is 40m 24ch
(by GPS) and on 1 Apr 2007 our Ireland Regional Editor did Belfast Central (as it was!) to Newry on a
Belfast Metro double decker equalling the train time. During the Jul/Aug closure Dublin services turn
back at Portadown but Belfast passengers are still bussed from/to Newry. Scarva & Poyntzpass may
have no trains, details are awaited. This is the first phase of works over the next few years at Lurgan.

NEXT PAGE: Lisburn on 21 Mar 2019. '4008' in P1 on 16.17 Bangor to Portadown and '3008' in P3 on
17.18 Lisburn to Bangor. P3 is used by all services starting or terminating here. (Martin Baumann.)

[BLN 1326]

789] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) Reopens Location (stations exclusive when bracketed) bold = closed now

1322.242 28 Sep 18 Unknown CairnGorm Mountain Railway, 'Base Station' - Ptarmigan
1326.918 16 Mar 19 Unknown *Llandudno Jn - Blaenau Ffestiniog
1326.782 2 Jan 19 ‡6 Apr 19 *West Somerset Railway; Bishops Lydeard - Minehead all by ‡
1326.786 7 Apr 19 15 Apr 19 *Bidston East Jn - West Kirby.
1326.787 7 Apr 19 15 Apr 19 *(Shotton high level) - Bidston
1311.1736 15 Apr 19 23 Apr 19 *(Bidston) - West Kirby (Wrexham - Bidston not affected)
1323.380 31 Mar 19 6 May 19 *Cromer Jn - West Runton - Sheringham (Network Rail)
1311.1736 27 Apr 19 6 May 19 Bidston East Jn - New Brighton
1322.247 28 May 19 3 Jun 19 (Kettering) - Market Harborough - Wigston North Jn
1316.2303 2 Jan 19 Late Jul 19 Mid Hants Railway; Alton P3 - (Medstead & Four Marks)
1323.382 26 Jul 19 24 Aug 19 *(Lisburn) - (Portadown)
1325.655 20 Oct 18 Mar 2020 ? *Reedham Jn - Berney Arms request stop - (Great Yarmouth)

1326 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
790] My First Railway Memories (3): By Kevin Driscoll. I think this would be in the early years of British
Railways (founded 1 Jan 1948). My parents used to do the same thing each year in the Manchester
holidays (last week of July and first week of August). This was to 'go home' to our relatives in County
Cork. The usual route was Manchester Central to Liverpool Central for the overnight ferry to Dublin.
I can clearly remember being taken to the front of the train to see the engine, and being terrified by
the noise when the safety valve lifted. When we eventually reached Cork Glanmire Road (now Kent),
we looked at the strange plinthed engine from the early days. A year or two later we went from
Manchester Exchange to Holyhead for the night boat to Dun Laoghaire, and boarded the train for
Dublin next morning at the pier. This only sticks in my memory because of the slatted wooden seats,
no cushions. At Cork we saw a strange silvery diesel loco (it must have been a Metrovick 'A' class).

A few years after that I had become interested in trains (but not track specifically), and I liked the
timing logs in 'Railway Magazine'. I decided to do one of my own on the way back from Ireland, and
noted every station and time from Liverpool Exchange to Manchester Victoria; I could not understand
why Wigan Wallgate did not appear. It was a long time before I re-examined these notes, and it turns
out that we were on the 08.30 on 11 Aug 1961, hauled by 75045. By sheer good luck I had travelled on
the train routed by the Wigan Wallgate avoider. [Pemberton Loop; Pemberton - Hindley No3 Jn.]

791] REMINDER ........................................ TWO Charity Auctions in aid of Railway Benefit Fund:
①The winner and a companion on HST cab rides at up to 125mph. Date to be mutually agreed with
the route, time, location and services (can include rare track, ECS moves, Depots, sidings etc).
You may never have another chance like this again! ②A 2-hour introduction to train driving on the
..................................... .....HST simulator for one or two people. A full cab desk with state of the art
computer generated images. Minimum age 8 (children must be well behaved and accompanied by
an adult) for both lots. Bids to John Cameron (back page) by 30 Apr please be generous, no reserve!

792] PSUL 2019 - UPDATE 9XX]

Minor retimings of a few minutes either way are not included here, the latest version of
PSUL can always be found on-line via
Page 5: Syston North Jn - Syston East Jn: add: ¶ Diversionary use: 28 May until 2
June 2019: trains between Kettering and Loughborough or north thereof will use this
route if not booked to call at Leicester.
Page 5: Trent Jns (Gainsborough) - Wrawby Jn: service resumed 16 February 2019.

Page 8: Seven Sisters Jn - South Tottenham West Jn & South Tottenham East Jn -
Tottenham South Jn: the train has been diverted most weeks, on a week-by-week basis.
Page 9: King Edward Bridge South Jn - Gateshead High Level Bridge Jn: delete the
Sunday train.
Page 10: Clitheroe - Hellifield Junction: the Sunday trains have been suspended most
weeks, on a week-by-week basis.
Page 11: Heaton Norris Jn - Guide Bridge Station Jn: service resumed 16 Feb 2019.
Page 11: Langley Jn (up) - Langley South Jn (via up Hertford spur): from 19 May
2019 for at least a year, regular service between Stevenage and Watton-at-Stone will be
SSuO, plus very limited SSuX use, also any diversions.
Page 13: Worgret Jn - Norden [Swanage Railway]: add: UK Railtours' Swanage Sunday
Specials on four summer Sundays.
Page 17: Sheffield: Park Square triangle, east chord: Sunday morning service from
January 2019: 0721, 0741, 0801 from Cricket Inn Road to Halfway or Herdings Park.
Page 17: Woodburn Junction - Rotherham Central Jn: The section between Tinsley
North Jn and Rotherham Central Jn is also used by Sheffield Supertram tram trains.
Page 19: Newton Station East - Newton East Jn (Newton South Connecting Line):
add: ¶ Diversionary use: Sundays 31 March to 28 April 2019: Trains between
Glasgow Central High Level and Motherwell in both directions.
Page 21: Contact details: add: UK Railtours: 01438 715050.
Page 23: Barrow Hill Roundhouse Railway Centre also run between Roundhouse
platform and Springwell on event days when advertised.

(BST): GMT will cease to operate as from 0100 hours GMT on Sunday 31 March 2019 when BST will
commence and in connection therewith, the following instructions must be carefully observed:

1. Adjustment of clocks on Railway Premises: The Signaller on duty in signal boxes (and other places
where a night staff is employed) to be instructed that at 01.00 hours GMT on Sun 31 Mar clocks must
be set to 02.00 hours by putting the hands forward 1 hour. At places which will be closed at the time
the change operates, the clocks must be altered by the person who is last on duty on the preceding
day. Clocks electrically controlled are to be adjusted by the staff who usually attend to them.

2. Train Services: Trains due to commence their journey before 01.00 hours Greenwich Meantime on
the night of Sun 31 Mar will continue throughout to their destination behind time. All trains due to
commence their journey between 01.00 hours and 02.00 hours on Sun 31 Mar will start 60 minutes
late and run late* unless otherwise shown in Special Traffic Notices. Trains booked to commence their
journey at 02.00 hours and after British Summer Time on Sun 31 Mar must start as booked unless
altered in the Special Traffic Notices. Depots are to adjust train crew booking on times accordingly.

3. Records and Journals: All records and journals must show the actual time of train running in
Greenwich Mean Time until 01.00 hours British Summer Time from then onwards.

[*Delay repay anyone?] This reminds your Editor of his days of compiling junior doctor on call rotas -
so that he could be off for all the interesting Society trips, work the night each year where you were
paid a full night for doing an hour less and avoid the one where you worked an extra hour for nothing.

794] GWR plans: At a recent 'RCTS' presentation the Managing Director, Mark Hopwood, mentioned:
●GWR Smart Card (to Integrated Transport Smartcard Organisation standard), on which almost all day
and season tickets can be purchased including London Travelcards but not yet PlusBus tickets.

●15 Dec 2019 timetable: Regular hourly services from/to Paddington for North/South Cotswold lines.
Faster services, Oxford in 50 minutes (on 26 Mar a trial special Up trip did the 63½ miles in 50½ mins
but had to slow for a track defect at Twyford). Some new Bristol and South Wales services. Not all of
the extra Bristol off peaks are included but there are more peak trains running fast Chippenham ↔
Paddington and extra South Wales trains non-stop Bristol Parkway ↔ Paddington in about 70 mins.

●Crossrail still want to use Paddington so one of the Heathrow Express P6 & 7 will be used by GWR to
provide additional capacity (Heathrow Express trains will wait at Heathrow Terminal 5 instead).
●Crossrail: The latest plan is two trains an hour off peak to Reading, two to Maidenhead and some to
Heathrow. Peak hours have two extra to Reading, calling at Ealing Broadway, West Drayton, Slough,
Maidenhead and Twyford. Off peak GWR will run two semi-fast trains an hour but in the peaks they
will be fast to/from Maidenhead (and then local to Didcot Parkway similar to the present fast peak
service). Two Crossrail trains run to/from Heathrow T5 and four to T4 per hour at least in the peaks.
795] Points & Slips: ●●BLN 1318.2608] (of 8 Dec 2018) Gilbraith Transtore (not Galbraith Trainstore -
both words were wrong as in TRACKmaps Book 4 p46A, Dec 2018) Ltd became Gilbraith (TS) Ltd in
about 2001/2002. By chance a member worked there when the name changed.
●●BLN 1318.2613] At Lostock Hall former Motive Power Depot on 14 Mar, the site had been cleared
of caravans (no caravan trains then) and the footprint of the former depot buildings can be seen again.
●●BLN 1324.530] On 2 Apr 1972 47627 was 'D1974' on the Glasgow - Leicester - Northampton train.
●●BLN 1325.759] In the e-BLN picture at Glascoed of our 22 Jun 1985 'Cotswold Lion' DMU railtour
from Paddington (08.55/21.30!), others recognised include Geoff Brockett bottom left corner, then
Geoff Treby towards the front and far right Richard Foster (possibly).

1326 EAST MIDLANDS (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]

X.36] Scunthorpe: (BLN 1323.490) ABOVE: An Appleby Frodingham Railway Preservation Society trip
doing the new through line - the loop is not yet installed. (Alan Sheppard Sat 30 Mar 2019.)

796] Nuneaton: (BLN 1325.725) The National Rail website station plan here is
also wrong, like Yeovil Pen Mill (and many others) - did you spot the mistake? Unlike at Yeovil which
had an extra nonexistent track, the plat-formless Down Fast 'middle line', rarely used by passenger
trains, between P5 & 6 is missing. Interestingly at Rugby the equivalent line between P1 & P2 is shown.

797] Nottingham NET: (BLN 1320.36) From 31 Apr there was a small increase in some season ticket
prices but far less than inflation. A three month adult NET season had one of the strangest increases by
£1 to £160 with the 12 month version up from £499 to £525. For Under 19s it was pro rata half price.
'Robin Hood' Pay As You Go smart cards ['Robin' the rich to fund the poor Councils?] increased much
more but are still slightly cheaper than the cash fares. A tram, train and bus all day cash paper ticket
went up by 10p to £5.10p Adult (U19s up 10p to £3.10p). The daily multi-operator cap with a
preloaded Robin Hood Card rose from £3.60 to £4.80 (U19 is £3.25).

798] Nottingham NET (2): (BLN 1310.1622) Extension plans have been submitted to the Government
by Nottingham and Derby City Councils. Was this on 1 Apr as they show a Nottingham - Derby route
via Toton and Long Eaton and an East Midlands Airport branch via Castle Donington? A provisional
application for the start of the extension has been shortlisted for approval, allowing preparation of a
full bid. Nottingham Council has received £50k to prepare the main bid for submission this summer.

799] Chesterfield: A NR team spent three days in March removing illegally dumped rubbish which was
an eyesore near the station. The huge amount of litter included plastic bottles and carrier bags. NR has
made £1M available to tidy up railways; further north Masborough Jn - Holmes Jn is being targeted.

1326 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]

800] London's Termini in the 1950s, 1960s & Early 1970s: (44 min) is nostalgic
cine film (colour and monochrome) of several termini including Broad Street with contemporary radio
broadcasts. The doors opening and people leaping off while the train is still moving along the platform
(no central door locking in those halcyon days) as they arrive would give the ORR/RAIB apoplexy now!

801] Cricklewood: (BLN 1325.675) The new tamper siding is connected to the south end of the Up
Departure Line replacing the North Neck siding behind the signal box, which closes in Nov. In a change
of plan, rather than installing a new panel in the depot signal box, it will instead be closed, with control
transferring to a new 'Westcad' (Westinghouse Control And Display) desk at West Hampstead PSB.

PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: The new Tamper/On Track Machine Siding installed off the Up Departure
Line at Cricklewood, looking north. The South Carriage Sidings are left and the revived (new) south
inert waste terminal is right. (Robin Morel 10 Mar 2019.)

802] Crossrail: (BLN 1325.677) A footbridge at Silvertown, where the line uses the course of the North
Woolwich branch, has been closed for almost 18 months despite promises it would be renovated in
just six weeks. Now it will not reopen until at least Sep. It is near the site of the old Silvertown station
meaning staff and visitors for the Tate & Lyle factory arriving on foot have to make a 20 minute detour.
The factory is one of the last major industrial sites in the area. All is not sweet as security guards have
been drafted in to escort workers to more well-lit areas late at night because of a fear of muggings.)

A planning application has been submitted for a new southern entrance to Ilford station from Ilford
Hill. This will be at the west end of the platforms with access via the existing York Road footbridge and
with a small entrance building behind Up Main P1. ('London Railway Record'.)

803] Croydon Tramlink: (BLN 1325.678) Generally a reduced 8-min frequency service ran East Croydon
(centre road) to Wimbledon during the 28 Mar strike. However, the DLR strike action was called off.

804] Feltham: (BLN 1319.2732) Feltham West level crossing at that end of the station 'closed' from 16 Mar.

805] Greenford: From 25 Mar the signal box lost two more of its lower quadrant semaphore signals,
(RIP) with signals GE62 and GE67 converted to single aperture LEDs able to display two aspects. They
were on the East Curve controlling access to Greenford East Jn and Greenford South Jn respectively.

806] Leyton: (BLN 1274.272) Transport for London and Waltham Forest Council have agreed to share
an £18M scheme to erect a new entrance building fronting the High Road and running behind the
eastbound platform. At its rear end there will be a footbridge with lifts to the westbound platform.
The existing entrance building (which despite its appearance is an 1888 GER building with a new front
installed by London Transport in 1948) will be retained as a retail unit. ('London Railway Record'.)

807] Shedding light on Liverpool Street: Over 3,500 lights have been replaced by LED. This saves over
800,000 kWh of energy per year and reduces costs, as they last for up to five years. Unsurprisingly, NR
has the largest total electricity bill of any organisation in the UK, a necessary part of their 'overheads'.

808] South Eastern Resignalling: From 19 until 21 Apr NR is due to complete a £55M signalling
upgrade between Deptford and Woolwich plus Lewisham and Falconwood. Trains will be diverted or
replaced by buses. On 21 Apr, they will also start work on an £88M project to upgrade the signalling

from Hither Green to New Eltham,
Elmstead Woods and Bromley North.

809] Wimbledon - East Putney - Point
Pleasant Jn - Waterloo: (BLN 1325.671) A
member living in Hook for 20 years has
used the PSUL trains occasionally, the
04.54 Basingstoke to Waterloo in
particular. From his few journeys, when it
(or its equivalent) was still operated by
slam door stock, it called at Wimbledon

Park LU station to set down staff, presumably
reporting for duty at the depot at around 06.00.
It certainly wasn't advertised, so may have been
unofficial, but since the introduction of sliding
door stock he has never known it to stop there.

PREVIOUS PAGE: (Geoff Noakes, who had the
'unpleasant' task of sending out this telex -
teleprinter message.) 16.53 on 18 Mar 1987 was
the exact moment that the Up line (flyover) from
East Putney Jn to Point Pleasant Jn was taken
out of use for passenger carrying trains (such as railtours and diversions - there was no timetabled
passenger working in this direction at the time). A.C.E. is, of course, the ever polite Area Civil Engineer.

It was later taken out of use for the ECS workings from Sat 4 Apr 1987, revised from Thur 4 Aug 1987
in the light of contemporary information from the Southern Electric Group (SEG) journal and agreeing
with Joe Brown's London Atlas 5th Edition - Sep 2018. The ECS workings were then diverted via
Earlsfield with a van train diverted via Hounslow. The last use would have been the Friday afternoon
(or possibly Saturday morning) - it was only used in the Up direction by a few ECS trains from
Wimbledon Park Depot. Can anyone confirm the actual date of the last train?

Fortunately Geoff had done the line twice, at 02.02am on 3 Oct 1983 on EMU 508024, a 'freight'
special from Wimbledon P4 to Waterloo P12 ABOVE) when the Control office moved from Worple Rd
in Wimbledon to the General Offices at Waterloo. Instead of passengers it carried boxes of papers and
files. The second time, coincidentally at 02.02pm; (10 Jan 1987) was on unit 202001 on the Southern
electric Group 'Blue Circular' tour. This may have been the last railtour over the skewed lengthy flyover
and the steep incline (still visible with track on it) down to Point Pleasant Jn before passenger closure.

810] Marylebone LUL: LUL plans to replace the central staircase and the two life-expired escalators
each side with three new escalators. The station will remain fully operational throughout. There will be
five instead of three ticket gates for almost 4,000 people per hour, with the gate line moved by 5ft.

811] Northern City Line: (BLN 1320.49) The Class 717 EMUs finally entered normal service with Great
Northern on 25 Mar. However the BBC reported that, because of signal sighting problems at four
stations, an additional member of staff is travelling in the cabs over the affected section until May
when NR will re-site the signals. The stations involved were not specified, but are presumably the four
intermediate stations on the Northern City Line where Selective Door Opening is being used despite
the new trains being very slightly shorter than the Class 313s pairs that they are replacing. The sighting
is awkward because the middle part of the cab is taken up by the emergency detrainment ramps.

812] Piccadilly Line: (BLN 1323.402) The last extension to the area of control of the new Signal Control
Centre also included the Ealing Broadway District Line branch. It now controls the Piccadilly Line from
Cockfosters to South Ealing/South Harrow and the District Line from Barons Court (excl) to Ealing
Broadway. The final Piccadilly Line section (South Ealing to Heathrow T5), is due to transfer in Sep.

813] Lea Valley: (BLN 1323.394) Pointwork at Lea Bridge Jn and signals on the new Lea Valley
Reversible line were commissioned on 25 March, with the line officially 'open and available for use'.
Schedules for services that will use the new line between Lea Bridge and Meridian Water are now in
the system. The first service is shown to be the 05.46 departure from Stratford P12 on 9 September,
arriving Meridian Water P2 at 06.01. It returns to Stratford at 06.22, and from 06.44 there are roughly
half-hourly departures from Stratford until 22.46, with half hourly departures from Meridian Water
from 07.08 to 23.08. There are also half hourly services shown for Saturdays and Sundays then. The
new layout is on the UT Tracker website and as 'proposed or under construction' on TRACKmaps Book
2 p10B - Oct 2016 with Angel Road station rather than Meridian Water. There is no P1 at Meridian
Water as that number is saved for a possible fourth platform next to the former Goods Line alignment.

Online schedules also show trains not calling at Angel Road after Fri 17 May; Meridian Water has a
service from Mon 20 May. However, this is the same limited SSuX service as Angel Road currently has.

814] HS2: (BLN 1325.537) Prior to the 19 May timetable change, NR is making changes at Euston to
improve pedestrian flow ready for the closure of P17/18. These include remodelling the Underground
station entrance, widening P1-3 passenger ramp and removing two retail outlets from the concourse.

A 42,000m2 industrial site has been cleared for construction of the Victoria Road Crossover Box, which
will allow access to the six underground HS2 platforms at Old Oak Common. The new station will be
the biggest sub-surface station to be built in the UK at about 1km long and 20m below ground level.

The urban brownfield site station, in London Zone 2, will have eight ground level platforms; four for
the Elizabeth Line and potentially another four for Wales and the West of England services. The box,
which is 130m long and 25m underground, will be used to launch two of the four TBMs (Tunnel Boring
Machines) for the tunnels between Old Oak Common and Ruislip. Excavated material will be removed
via the box and taken away by rail from the nearby Rail Logistics Hub. HS2 Ltd is at an early stage with
plans to install five air source heat pumps in the box to extract waste heat generated by trains and use
it to heat water and power central heating in up to 500 new homes that could be built nearby.

815] London Underground in a Day: Longer standing members may remember that BLN 1013.208 in
Mar 2006 reported that the then BLN Editor had pulled off the decidedly nerdy stunt of travelling over
the entire LUL network in a single day. It was only just possible, and involved carrying a folding bicycle
with him for much of the day with which to hop between network extremities, but otherwise observed
the rules set by 'Guinness World Records' for the (easier) all stations challenge.

Since then the network has lost the East London Line but gained the Heathrow T5 extension and
regained the T4 loop. The net shrinkage prompted him to go one better on Fri 15 Mar by repeating the
feat without the bicycle. Again it was only just possible, starting with the first public departure on the
system (the 04.37 Circle Line from Hammersmith to Aldgate) and finishing on the last public arrival
(from Richmond, scheduled Upminster 01.34½). He has since recovered enough to write an account of
the exercise, which can be found as an extra BLN item on the society's website. If you can't access our
website you may also have a copy as a PDF by emailing [email protected] or send an SAE
(for three A4 sheets) marked 'LU Bash' to Mr W R Lynch, 14 Helston Close, Kesgrave, Ipswich IP5 1JT.

816] Rare Moves (1): On 20 Mar the 17.09 from Tattenham Corner was unable to couple to the 17.20
Caterham to London Bridge at Purley. Realtime Trains (RTT) showed both trains terminating there,
so blocking P5 (Up Caterham). RTT also showed the 17.30 and 18.00 Caterham to London Bridge and
17.39 Tattenham Corner/17.50 Caterham to London Bridge running via P4 (Down Slow), via the rare
connection off the branches at the south end of the station.

(2): A member on the 16.03 Gatwick Airport to Bedford on 21 Mar was diverted at West Hampstead
South Jn to run on the Down Hendon Line around the back of West Hampstead Thameslink station,
with the train regaining the Down Fast Line at Cricklewood South Jn. This was due to the 16.50 St
Pancras to Corby HST having problems with its safety systems in P4 at West Hampstead Thameslink.
RTT indicated that the 17.05 St Pancras to Nottingham, 15.26 Brighton to Bedford and 15.57 Gatwick
Airport to Bedford took the same route.

817] Bank: (BLN 1323.398) The first breakthrough between the new entrance on Cannon Street and
the new southbound Northern Line tunnel took place on 15 Mar. The TfL press release now gives 2021
as the date for the Northern Line blockades.

1326 NORTH EAST & YORKSHIRE (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
818] New EMUs Gapped? Northern Rail expects to put its first CAF Class 331 EMUs into service
between Leeds and Doncaster with the 19 May timetable change, having received authorisation from
the Office of Road & Rail (ORR). The approval applies to 31 three-car sets and 12 four-car versions.
Northern plans to start crew training as soon as possible, ahead of a gradual introduction into service.

However, the ORR requires Northern to demonstrate 'before the trains are put into passenger service,
the arrangements for controlling the Platform-Train Interface (PTI) risks at all stations where the
Class 331s will operate'. This covers both stepping distances between train and platform and the use of
automatic selective door operation at short platforms. There are large variations in stepping distances
across the UK network, and ORR was reportedly minded to require train operators to resolve the
problem. However, the operators responded that NR was responsible for the differing platform
heights, arguing that any work to create a more uniform PTI should be delivered and funded by the
infrastructure manager. Industry sources point out that modifying hundreds of platforms would cost
perhaps billions of pounds and NR is currently not funded for this work, however desirable it might be.
Is the ORR perhaps passing the buck without passing the bucks required to resolve this 'problem'?

819] Middlesbrough: NR is now proposing to resignal the Middlesbrough and Whitehouse Signal Box
areas with recontrol to York Railway Operating Centre by the end of Jul 2021, at a cost of about
£32M. This had originally been deferred (BLN 1313.1973) until at least CP7 (2024-29) but the
increasingly high failure rate of interlocking and signalling equipment due to severe wire degradation
implies that this is no longer tenable. It is mostly a 'like for like' scheme with no significant layout
changes other than removal of redundant pointwork at Whitehouse. The main features are:

Resignal Middlesbrough and Whitehouse area and recontrol to a new Middlesbrough Workstation York Railway Operating Centre (ROC). Both boxes will be closed and considered for demolition.
Resignal the Main Lines through Tees Signal Box area (including Newport East Jn and the Old Town
....branch - AV Dawson, both at present controlled by Tees Signal Box) with recontrol to York ROC.
Convert Whitehouse Level Crossing to Manually Controlled Barriers and Obstacle Detection with
....recontrol to York ROC, and local control available to maintain operation in the event of failure.
....It.suffers severely from road vehicles 'blocking back' and obstructing the crossing, especially when
....Middlesbrough FC are playing at home, which may also be when local control might be required.

Tees Signal Box will remain, controlling the Goods Lines between Thornaby East Jn and Newport East
Jn, and what remains of Tees Yard. The lines through Middlesbrough will be renamed from Main and
Goods to Saltburn Fast and Saltburn Slow respectively (actually they are both quite slow!). The fringes
will be Bowesfield workstation plus Tees, Grangetown and Nunthorpe Signal Boxes.

The project clashes with the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) scheme for an extra platform at
Middlesbrough for which they have offered £20M (BLN 1319.2744). However, this is not funded in the
NR programme, as the costs are not yet resolved, so the project is not in the Enhancement Delivery
Plan. The draft says: While it could be less disruptive to deliver an enhancement in tandem with the
resignalling and recontrol project, the enhancement has not progressed to a 'Decision to Deliver'
in time. The failure rate of the interlocking is too high and the renewal therefore cannot be deferred.
Recontrol to York ROC will make adding future enhancements technically easier compared with
changing the interlocking at existing boxes. This implies the additional platform will be delayed long
after 2021, affecting franchise commitments at Middlesbrough. Extension of TPE services to Redcar
(BLN 1324.546), and perhaps eventually Saltburn, will ease congestion at the station but there is still
the issue of how to accommodate the new direct London Azuma service due in Dec 2020.

820] Prudhoe: (BLN 1325.681) Thanks to Mr UT Tracker; although the 08.52 departure east is due to
end after 17 May, more are expected from 20 May: 18.40 (SX) to Morpeth & 20.40 (SO) to Newcastle.

821] North Blyth: (BLN 1325.683 pictures in e-BLN) A member recounts that, when he last visited
some years ago, the train was pushed (heading south) all the way through the Alumina loader by the
train loco and then was pulled back towards the gate (heading north) by the mule, assisted by a road
loading shovel. The mule gripped an axle on every fourth wagon and pulled the train through the
loader. The train was not split but, as the set moved through the loader, the mule was continually
returned to the stop block end of the train, to grab another axle. As train lengths increased, the small
loading shovel at the terminal assisted by pulling the train with a hawser attached to the end wagon.

[BLN 1326]
There is one Fort William train per day at North Blyth, in the sense that one arrives or one departs,
but not both. The traffic is scheduled, and normally operates, every two days (SuX): 08.07 empties
MWFO Fort William to North Blyth (20.39); 06.25 TThSO loaded North Blyth to Fort William (20.45).
The trains operate both ways via Millerhill Yard, the Edinburgh suburban line and Shotts. The crewing
arrangements are interesting. A Fort William driver takes the train to Helensburgh Upper, where he is
relieved by a driver who has come from Fort William by road, which takes much less time than the
train does (!); the first driver then returns to Fort William by road. The second driver takes the train to
Morpeth north curve and lodges overnight in Morpeth. A local driver takes the train to Newsham,
runs the loco round, and then to North Blyth. The northward journey does the same in reverse.

The turn-round time at each end seems too short for the trains to be operated by a single set of
wagons. The booked loads are 400 tonnes southbound and 1,000 tonnes northbound. There are 43
wagons; no doubt enough to form two trains but quite a number of them are stored out of service at
Fort William in the former ingot loading area. It is not known if this is temporary or permanent.

822] Goole Docks: BLN 1302.771 reported that a 1 May 1994 Sectional Appendix page showed Engine
Shed Jn - Mineral Jn - Goods Jn as then still in use; by 2004 there was a note against Engine Shed Jn:
To/From Goole Docks. Connection Secured out of use. Trains may only be run when authorised by the
Route Director Network Rail LNE.

A member, taking advantage of early retirement to do some valuable research, has found a 4 Apr 2008
photo of Goole panel, showing a label affixed '10 PTS PLAIN LINED SIGNED OUT 6/4/07'. The points
were the connection between the single line to Hensall and the docks Arrival/Departure Line. Another
note by the switch for individual operation of the points stated 'SWITCH US (useless) PARTS TAKEN
FOR (number unclear) BARRIER RELEASE 5 JUNE 2002'. The docks connection was thus out of use by
5 Jun 2002, as the parts would not have been taken had the points been still in operation. BLN 1320.65
showed that by 23 Aug 2003 a new span for the Dutch River bridge was lying on the formation of the
line from Engine Shed Jn which was lifted by then. The junction points were plain lined 6 Apr 2007.

823] Shaftholme not shafted: BLN 1324.550 mentioned that Shaftholme Jn - Knottingley West Jn
would close to regular passenger services if Grand Central 'stopped' stopping at Pontefract Monkhill
as, reportedly, they would like to; they already do not serve Pontefract on Sundays.

From 2019 PSUL: Diversionary use: Sunday to Friday nights: 1N35 22.00 King's Cross - Newcastle and
1D36 22.35 SuO/23.33 SSuX King's Cross - Leeds. A LNER driver advises that they are routed this way
most such nights to maintain route knowledge (unless diverted due to engineering work); indeed they
are timetabled over this line for the whole timetable, which is 'regular'. From elsewhere one train a
week booked in one direction seems to be sufficient to prevent closure proceedings being necessary.

824] Leeds: NR has announced an upgrade later this year to the main concourse gateline. The current
one will be replaced by new (and more) gates in a straighter alignment, significantly improving
passenger flow and reducing congestion at peak times. This project joins the installation of a new,
transparent roof over the South Concourse in improving the passenger environment.

825] Horbury Jn: (TRACKmaps Book 2, p35B - Oct 2016) NR plans to remove, probably in Aug 2020, the
former 46A, B and C points, to Bombardier Sidings (Flockton private sidings) OOU since Jul 2007.

826] Gilberdyke: From 1 Apr, at the west end of P2, the redundant trailing pointwork from the Up Hull
line (17m 06ch) was recovered. This used to access the former Horse Dock/Tamper Siding by P2.

827] Alnwick - Coldstream: is a 'Daily Mail' feature on Low Akeld House, once
Akeld station, for sale at £795,000. It comprises a very attractive four-bedroom house, one platform, a
waiting room (now a sun room and conservatory), the former goods shed and a converted Brake Van
(B954297) with a further three bedrooms between them, and two acres of land. Further south, near
Alnwick, Whittingham station (BLN 1250.257) was being converted to a house a couple of years ago.

The line OG Coldstream - Wooperton 2 May 1887 (throughout 5 Sep 1887). Following CP 22 Sep 1930,
(throughout) Akeld station house fell into disuse but was used during WWII by the nearby RAF Milfield
base. As this was a training school for fighter pilots it was probably used to house student pilots.
Two serious floods breached the line within just over 14 months. The first on 12 Aug 1948 caused the
loss of two river bridges between Kirknewton (the next station north of Akeld) and Mindrum.

ABOVE: Akeld station as it was in the 1930s and BELOW: Now (from estate agent's details.) has details, plans and pictures.

[BLN 1326]
The line was then worked as two separate freight branches: Alnwick - Kirknewton from the south and
Coldstream - Mindrum from the north. On the night of 25/26 Oct 1949 another deluge washed out a
river bridge between Ilderton and Wooler, closing this section permanently. However, to prevent the
rail freight isolation of Wooler (the local town), Akeld and Kirknewton and floods of complaints,
British Rail hastily reinstated Kirknewton - Mindrum, (impossible to imagine nowadays). The revised
freight branches were Alnwick - Ilderton (CA 2 Mar 1953) and Coldstream - Wooler (CA 29 Mar 1965).

The line ran through thinly populated country and no doubt never paid its way. It was built by the
North Eastern Railway essentially to block a somewhat fanciful project for a 'Central Northumberland
Railway' from Newcastle to Coldstream via Scotsgap, Rothbury and Whittingham. This had hopes of
becoming an alternative route to Edinburgh. The other reason for building it was that Alnwick did not
want agricultural traffic from the Wooler area to be diverted to the market in Rothbury. The line made
a long circuitous detour to the south west from Alnwick, requiring a steep climb out of the town,
rather than running directly northwest, to avoid the Duke of Northumberland's extensive estate.

828] Tiny Termini: From 1 Oct 1990 timetable the Whitby branch was reduced to a one train shuttle,
just four trains a day each way beyond Nunthorpe. Before that two DMUs ran and it was one of the
most unprofitable passenger lines on the network with losses of £0.75M per year (worth £1.7M now).
Nowadays, far from being a 'shuttle', in the week (SSuX) Whitby has through trains to/from Hexham.

However, largely unnoticed, the May 2018 timetable change extended two further SuX services past
Nunthorpe: a middle of the day service to Danby (13.45/13.50) and an early evening one to Battersby
(17.30/17.44), both returning almost at once. Does anyone know why? The former is a non-stop
'express' between Battersby and Danby both ways, which never happened in the past, presumably to
reach Danby and return in the available time. In BR days, Castleton (as it was named pre-1966, now
Castleton Moor) was a more important intermediate station, with a passing loop, but the locality is
classed as a village within the civil parish of Danby. Northern presumably had a reason for serving
Danby but not Castleton Moor and it means of course that the token which is taken out at Battersby is
returned to the same instrument.

Question: have any members travelled on these trains and were there many/any passengers? Are
there other instances of a passenger train terminating in the middle of a single line token section and
returning from where it came? (There was an interesting example at Nenagh in Ireland, where the
early morning train from Limerick split, the rear unit returning to Limerick, although since cable theft
from 6 Nov 2018 a bus is provided to Birdhill to join a train.)

The member who drew attention to this train remarked on the population of Danby being only 1,411
and this figure is for the whole parish, with the villages of Ainthorpe, Botton, Castleton, Commondale,
Danby, Fryup† and Westerdale. However, Battersby is a mere hamlet; might this be the smallest place
in the country where a train terminates at an intermediate station? Unfortunately its population
doesn't seem to be recorded. Chathill, with 138 inhabitants, is possibly larger but a railhead. On the
direct Lincoln to Skegness line (CP 5 Oct 1970) British Rail ran trains from Lincoln to Tumby Woodside
(population 246 at the time) and back on Sundays in 1970. It is understood that they ran for fishermen,
they were 2-car DMUs [you should have seen the trains that got away]. (†Yes, really; it is separated
into two small dales: Great Fryup and Little Fryup - surely a great location for a gricer's breakfast‽)

829] Whitby - wet & dry: From 5 Apr the branch was due to gain a late Friday return service leaving
Middlesbrough 21.20 to Whitby (22.50/22.58), arriving back 00.26 Saturday morning. Your Regional
Editor believes this is the first time a train has been scheduled on the line after midnight. Once it
would have been too costly to operate, but the branch from Guisborough Jn is now controlled by the
Nunthorpe signaller. The 19.35 ex-Whitby and 21.20 ex-Middlesbrough will have 'Music & Ale' in Jun,
July & Aug, according to the Esk Valley Railway website. However, the 19.35 is
designated as a 'Dry Train' on Saturdays with all alcoholic drink banned - even in passengers' shopping!

[BLN 1326]
Although there are aspirations to increase services to Whitby, with up to five return North Yorkshire
Moors Railway trains a day there in high summer, there are capacity problems when they run, as the
9m 33ch section to Glaisdale must be clear. A member suggests that Grosmont needs to become a
'token station' (NR terminology) rather than just an intermediate token instrument. It is interesting to
compare the situation about 50 years ago. In the 1967 summer timetable, on Sundays after 18 Jun, the
last train from Middlesbrough was 12.50 and the first from Whitby 17.25, resulting in four trains being
at Whitby at once. All four platforms were available into the 1970s. P2&4 were abolished 30 Sep 1984,
when Whitby, Bog Hall and Sleights Signal Boxes were closed. P3 was lifted at an earlier unknown date.

830] York Yard: As part of 'York Central Development',

York Yard North an access road to a new road bridge over the ECML at

NRM connection York Yard North will be built through the York Yard area.

realigned (TRACKmaps Book 2, p19 - Oct 2016) To make room for

the road, Reception Sidings 1 & 2 in the middle of York

Up Yard and the connection to the National Railway

Museum's South Yard are proposed to be realigned.

N York Yard Although electrified, the two bidirectional sidings are
apparently never used by electric trains. The OHL will
Reception sidings therefore be removed, saving maintenance costs.
realigned The sidings will remain the same length with the method
of working unchanged. Leeman Road Yard (pale grey to
CSD the right of the plan) will be removed. Work is due to
start in summer 2019. LEFT: Plan by Dave Cromarty; far

is the 'York Avoiding Line', Holgate Jn is off the plan bottom right and Skelton Jn is off top left.

The associated new road bridge over the ECML has space for a third ECML running line between York
station and Skelton Jn, presumably to remove conflict between Harrogate and main line trains, if a
successful business case is made for this. This bridge is also designed for a fourth running line beneath
it. No details are given but the only candidate would be another Up line. This implies an additional
bridge at Skelton Bridge Jn to extend the Up Slow south, removing the three track bottleneck there.

831] A Grand Day Out: (BLN 1325.689) The 23/24 Mar Grand Central diversions via Darlington Up and
Down Main lines (avoiding the station) and Gateshead ran as planned even though the Bowesfield box
area was recontrolled to York ROC from 11 Mar, two weeks earlier than originally planned. It was too
short notice to cancel the diversions, change the arrangements and revised timetables presumably.

1326 NORTH WEST (John Cameron) [email protected]
832] Parton Brows: (Not Dolly's eyes.) NR is removing part of the hillside at Parton Brows near Parton
to prevent future landslips. 50,000 tonnes are being moved by a 30 strong workforce using specialist
diggers on the steep coastal slope at Lowca at a cost of £4M. A small embankment section, saturated
with water running off the surrounding land, collapsed last Nov. Various landslips over the years have
closed the coast line here. This work is not designed to prevent sea erosion of the line from the other
side, which is also a perennial problem. A member recalls a trainload of redundant BRUTE trolleys
were once tipped into the sea here and then covered in concrete in a (vain) attempt to protect again
sea erosion. Some of the track between Whitehaven and Bootle will also be relaid during the summer.

833] Whitehaven: Cumbria County Council has granted planning permission for Woodhouse Colliery
deep mine next to the site of the former Haig Colliery which could create 500 jobs. Haig shut, after
70 years of mining, in Mar 1986 with the loss of 3,500 jobs. West Cumbria Mining wants to extract high
quality coking coal (specifically for steel making) from the seabed off St Bees, with a processing plant
on the former Marchon site at Kells. The mine could produce about 3M tonnes per year for 40 years.

The company's website states that the coal will
be transported by rail. An underground
conveyor will move it from the mine to the rail
loading facility in the Pow Beck Valley, near
Mirehouse. It is designed to resemble a timber
clad farm building to match the surrounding
area! The coal will then be transported by rail to
Redcar Bulk Terminal. The company says that
they are working with NR so that their train
movements will fit into the line's existing use.
The website states they will 'ensure it uses the
latest design diesel locos (not the old Class
37s…) which are significantly quieter and less

ABOVE: Don't be vague, ask for Haig. Wagons
being shunted at that colliery in May 1973.
(All Ian Mortimer and, despite appearances in a
couple, all were taken with colour film.)

LEFT: Some NCB internal tipper wagons being
propelled up to Ladysmith Washery, at the top
of an incline. At this time steam was still the
normal everyday motive power at a significant
number of NCB locations throughout Britain.

NEXT PAGE TOP: More shunting at Haig Colliery.

BELOW: The following year (1974) looking towards the incline which, by then it is thought to have
closed. The NCB railway system here is also thought to have closed in Mar 1975.

ABOVE: Black becomes green; Haig Colliery when a mining museum. (Angus McDougall 17 May 2008.)
X.37] BELOW: Manchester Metrolink extension at Trafford Centre on 2 Mar 2019. (Angus McDougall.)

ABOVE: Chapel-en-le-Frith Central (ex-Midland). Through the dirty windscreen of a Class 25 on a
Tunstead to Northwich stone train, approaching a train of empty wagons. (Ian Mortimer 12 Feb 1978.)

834] Cumbria: (BLN 1325.692) Regarding plans for HS2 trains to run non-stop Preston - Carstairs: At
present, not only will none of the three WCML Cumbrian stations have calls by any HS2 trains, but the
two current residual WCML 'Classic' services will be reduced to one (without through London services).
Euston via the Trent Valley to Preston (where passengers would change) and Birmingham Curzon
Street to Scotland services are proposed. This also removes direct Cumbria access to/from New Street
including the CrossCountry services provided when the former through (Scotland/Cumbria) trains
to/from the south coast and the south west went from 9 Dec 2007. Cumbria would then be the only
English county not to have a through train service to the capital, leaving two of England's most visited
attractions (London and the Lake District) without direct rail services. [Open Access service, anyone?]

835] Lime Street: This station is managed by NR. The station plan and accessible routes plan on the
'National Rail' website, to assist passengers, both still show the pre-remodelling layout. The main plan
is identical to the one on NR's website. NR has been notified and say they will 'refer the matter locally'.

836] Chapel-en-le-Frith (South): OP 1863 (L&NWR, as 'Chapel-en-le Frith') the LMS added 'South'
in 1924 after grouping, which British Rail removed in 1968 after it became the only station in 1967.

The Midland Railway Chapel-en-le-Frith station OP 1867 on the Chinley - Millers Dale Line with direct
services to Manchester and London. The LMS added 'Central' also in 1924 and it CP from 6 Mar 1967.

The surviving L&NWR Chapel-en-le-Frith station has an attractive stone building with a BR London
Midland Region standard 1957 built 'Type 15' wooden signal box nearby. There is no footbridge,
passengers use a crossing between the platform ramp ends over the tracks, which is also vehicular
access for some houses. The waiting shelter has a very good information display about the station
history, including the 1957 collision, when a runaway freight ran into another and a passenger train in
the station. There is a plaque on the station building wall commemorating Driver John Axon, who lost
his life by staying on the footplate of his train trying to slow it as it approached Chapel-en-le-Frith,
when he could have jumped off. Guard John Creamer, who also lost his life, is also commemorated.

ABOVE: Chapel-en-le-Frith, South (LNWR) station and trailing crossover can just be seen upper far left.
A distant view of a DMU heading towards Buxton on 12 Feb 1978. (Ian Mortimer.)

837] Hindley: Platforms are being extended to
take longer trains, although a correspondent
says that the Sectional Appendix shows the
platforms as already long enough for a Class 769.

838] Blackpool Trams: The Blackpool North
extension now ends at the main entrance doors
to the 'Wilko' store. The building is leased to
Wilko by owner Blackpool Council, who must
find alternative premises for them before they
can demolish it to build the new tram terminus.
The extension cannot open until the store moves
and the building is demolished as the scissors are
also within its footprint. LEFT: Perhaps a Wilko
tram drive through? - (Alan Fell 18 Mar 2019.)

Talbot Square stop has only one platform. On
entering the extension after the two sides of the
triangle join up, it is on the left heading to
Blackpool North. Trams from either direction
(north or south on the promenade) can stop for
passengers to alight. If passengers are going
further along the promenade, North Pier stop is
close by and they can save time by changing to
the relevant platform.

Anyone going north or south from Talbot Square could go via Blackpool North but it would be quicker
to use the close by North Pier platforms - so a second platform would have very little practical use and
slow the service down. Alternate trams are expected to serve (and the others bypass) the new branch.

839] All Our Yesterdays...Cheadle North: (BLN 1325.693) Many thanks to a local member who kindly
took the trouble to send in a copy of part of the 1 Dec 1865 ' Stockport Advertiser' from which...

Thursday evening November 30 1865: 'STOCKPORT, TIMPERLEY AND ALTRINCHAM
JUNCTION RAILWAY – Arrangements have at length been made for the commencement of
passenger and parcels traffic from Tiviot Dale Station, Stockport, to the intermediate Stations at
Cheadle, Northenden, Baguley, Altrincham, Bowden (Peel Causeway), Ashley, Mobberley,
Knutsford, Plumley, Lostock and Northwich. Trains will also run eastward to Woodley, Guide
Bridge, Hyde, Marple, New Mills and Manchester. The utmost bustle prevails in fitting up
furniture &c at the various stations, to be ready for operations – the first of four trains for Northwich
starting at seven o'clock to-morrow (Friday) morning – a posse of signal-men, points-men, porter
and booking-clerks having arrived from head-quarters, London, Sheffield and Liverpool. Mr Nield
has been some time in possession of his house at Tiviot Dale Station, as superintendent, and the
necessary steps are being taken to get clear of the stonemasons and other artisans on the premises as
soon as possible. The Portwood Station will still be retained, not for booking purposes, but, like
Ardwick, as a Ticket Station. The Through Line from Stockport to Liverpool, which is called the
"higher level," will probably be opened to the public at the commencement of the year 1866.

This shows that Cheadle North station (with Northenden & Baguley) actually OP 1 Dec 1865 rather
than 1 Feb 1866. (All complaints about hyphens, punctuation etc direct to the Stockport Advertiser.)

BELOW: Just a few years later Ian Mortimer came along and took this picture of a Class 40 on a coal
train at Northenden, now the site of a stone terminal, looking east. In the distance left of the line and
just before the overbridge is Northenden Junction Signal Box which is still operational. (May 1977.)

[BLN 1326]
840] Carnforth: From Sun 31 Mar until 12 May the 09.05 (SuO) Barrow-in-Furness to Lancaster is
booked to terminate at Carnforth P2 (09.57). The platform number emboldened on 31 Mar suggesting
P2 was used, via the very rare country end facing crossover on arrival. Reports welcome! It then forms
the 10.20 P2 to Carlisle via Barrow but there is time for an ECS shunt. P1 cannot be used to turnback
this train from Barrow as it is used by the 08.30 from Leeds service, which also provides a connection
from Carnforth P1 at 10.15 to Lancaster. In the new timetable from 19 May to 16 Jun the Barrow train
is shown arriving Carnforth P1 (may be an error) but returning from P2. Then, from 23 Jun, the 09.05
(SuO) ex-Barrow runs through to Lancaster again. [Thanks to Mr UT Tracker.]

841] Hest Bank - Bare Lane: If anyone needs this, from 19 May timetable change the PSUL reduces to
an early morning but very interesting train in one direction only. It is 05.30 (SuX) Lancaster to
Morecambe, which first runs to Carnforth P2 to reverse (05.38/05.43) then takes the SECOND trailing
crossover from the Down Main to the Up Main at Carnforth North Jn and the facing crossover at Hest
Bank Jn as well as the curve to Bare Lane Jn. Leeds ↔ Morecambe services all reverse at Lancaster
now. Presumably this train maintains route knowledge and avoids passenger closure procedures.

842] Goat for Sale! It has been reported that a goat went missing from Saddleworth and was found
hours later on the platform at Sale Metrolink stop, dutifully waiting behind the yellow line. Reports
vary but some bleat on that the goat reached Sale by tram, having changed at Piccadilly Gardens but
actually wanted to go to Goathland. The owner was at all not happy - someone may have got his goat.

843] Manchester: NR submitted a Transport & Works Act Order (Manchester Piccadilly & Oxford Road
Capacity Scheme) to the Secretary of State for Transport in Jan 2015. After sitting on it for four years, it
has been deemed 'unaffordable' and 30 other schemes are being considered, if only to rule them out.

BELOW: Buxton, a DMU to Manchester passes the reversing sidings. In the background is the MR to
Chinley and further back and higher up, the LNWR, now to Hindlow. (Ian Mortimer 12 Feb 1978.)

844] Mid Cheshire Line: (BLN 1318.2604) In its 2015 franchise bid Northern promised half-hourly
services which were originally due to begin in May 2018. This was postponed until May 2019 due to
the chaos surrounding Northern's timetable introduction. However, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling
has now confirmed the services will not be introduced in May this year either. The reason given is that
the extra paths would 'adversely affect' other services and therefore could not be introduced - not just
to/from Stockport or even on the central section to Altrincham until 'fundamental changes' were
made to other parts of the network. Meanwhile the Mid Cheshire Line Community Rail Partnership
and Northern have created a poster displayed at stations promoting 'Marvellous Days out' on The Mid
Cheshire Line. The poster features a series of attractive retro style paintings of stations along the line.

845] Wigan Wallgate: (BLN 1317.2483) When passing through on our 'Ruby Vampire-The Second Bite'
railtour on Sun 24 Mar our correspondent noticed a sign had been placed on a post near the buffer
stop of the previously totally anonymous bay identifying it as 'Platform 3'. The power of the BLN!

846] Cuddington: This station (OP 1869) has a large brick building, now a private residence and also
the 'Station Gallery' with an art gallery, picture framer and retailer of railwayana and collectables.
Access between platforms is via ramps or steps up to and across the adjacent road overbridge. There is
a Chester end barrow crossing. Despite signs telling passengers not to cross the line and risk a £1,000
fine for trespass, some use the barrow crossing rather than walk the long way round.

847] Mouldsworth: Contrasting to Cuddington the attractive station building is built in stone and now
houses 'Whistles' hair salon. The weighbridge still stands in the car park area, formerly the goods yard.

848] Buxton: (BLN 1325.698) From 31 Mar the Up Reception Sidings have been remodelled to increase
the maximum train length permitted. The Breakdown Train & Snow Plough Siding and Holding Siding
have been recovered. The Single Line Access Road ('Arrival Road') and Engine Run Round Road have
been lengthened to 677yd [90 Standard Length Units (SLU) with 2 locos; a SLU is 7yd]. The Single Line
Access Road and Engine Run Round Road converge at hand points into an 80yd Head Shunt. A trailing
crossover operated by hand points connecting the Single Line Access Road and Engine Run Round
Road has been provided 313yd along the sidings from the exit signals, allowing a 363yd or 51 SLU train
to run round within the sidings using the hand points. Fouling points are marked with yellow sleepers.
The UK Railtours Buxton & Peak Forest tour is due to reverse in the lengthened sidings on Sat 13 Jul.

849] Clitheroe - Hellifield: Northern drivers based at Blackpool North started route refreshing runs to
Hellifield and Settle Jn on 25 Mar. This is because trains have run so rarely in the last year that for
most their route knowledge has expired. Passenger services were cancelled again on 17, 24 & 31 Mar.

850] Metrolink: On 20 Mar '3006' was the first M5000 tram to do 1M km as it pulled into Altrincham
on 20 Mar. The driver made a special announcement. The M5000s have covered 73.5M km since 2010.

851] Piccadilly: On Sat 16 Mar prolonged heavy rain caused flooding in many parts of the North West.
The line between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge was closed. TPE Manchester Airport to Leeds
and beyond services were diverted via Guide Bridge, with reversals in Piccadilly terminal platforms (as
before the Ordsall Chord was built). However, the 17.47 Manchester Airport to York arrived from the
Airport into P14, for a rare eastbound departure from it on reversal. Apparently the driver stopped to
question the route but was told by the signaller that P14 was booked and P14 would be used.
The driver duly obeyed and the passengers were sent over from the main concourse 'immediately'.
They needn't have rushed as it took quite a while before the signal was given to depart again east.

Other line closures due to flooding on the 16th included: Manchester - Newton-le-Willows, Todmorden
- Rochdale, Skipton - Carlisle, Skipton - Lancaster, Carlisle - Newcastle & Durham - Bishop Auckland.
Rain continued over the rest of the weekend and on Mon 18 & Tue 19 Mar trains to/from Manchester
Oxford Road were unable to call at Edge Hill due to 'partial flooding'. On inspection this consisted of a
huge puddle on P4, where there is a large dip that the water had run into and couldn't escape from.
The puddle had subsided by 20 Mar so P3 & P4 then reopened. P1 & 2 remained in use throughout.

852] Bootle: (BLN 1323.434) From our 24 Mar tour it could be seen that part of the (OOU) Aintree Up
& Down Goods line (North Mersey Branch) has been lifted on the bridge over the Leeds and Liverpool
Canal by Bootle Oriel Road station. This underbridge was replaced during the line closure (18-22 Feb)
for platform and track work for the new rolling stock. Although encouraging that the new bridge allows
reopening of the branch, quite a bit of the track has been 'lifted' by scrap metal thieves elsewhere.

853] Fiddling while coal doesn't burn: Scottish & Southern Energy PLC has confirmed that one of the
four 500MW generating units at Fiddlers Ferry Power Station is to be permanently de-commissioned.
This will reduce the 'potential' output to around 1,500MW. The station is understood to have
agreements to supply power to the National Grid only until Sep 2019 at the moment. It generated over
the last winter, with imported coal transported by rail from Portbury terminal near Bristol.

1326 SOUTH EAST - NORTH & EAST ANGLIA (Julian James) [email protected]
854] The plain truth: (BLN 1325.755) BLN records instances of points being taken out of commission
by plain lining when reported by members. Usually this is the first stage of removing redundant points
but also occurs when track components break or reach wear limits and new parts are not immediately
available. (Spares should be available for points that have to be operated for the service to run but
some fit several adjacent points and new breaks can happen; but some pointwork is bespoke.)

Where points are intentionally taken out of commission as not required temporarily or permanently,
publication in the Sectional Appendix sometimes does not occur. Whenever it is known, BLN will
differentiate between permanent, temporary and published or unpublished situations with details,
again where known, of the components involved. These components include:

Switches left or right: Always handed when standing facing towards the crossing - note that the
direction of travel is irrelevant. Thus in a facing crossover wear or breakage of the right hand switch is
critical to continued use of the 'main' line. Remember it can be curved. In a trailing crossover the left
hand switch is critical. In points for diverging routes either switch can be critical.
Crossings: A turnout has one common crossing, a diamond two common and two obtuse, fixed or
moveable (switch diamond); all subject to greater impact loading than switches and liable to fracture.

PREVIOUS PAGE BOTTOM: Can't see the point of this crossover at Norwich.
To the left in P5 is the 12.36 to Great Yarmouth. (Andy Overton 22 Jan 2016.)

The following are some plain lined connections seen but shown as available in the Sectional Appendix:

●Norwich: The station loco release crossover from P4 to the Middle Siding has had its P4 end partially
removed, only the crossing (and cover check) remaining, while the points in the Middle Siding are
intact but secured. This also renders the associated ground panel operating the connection OOU. This
was all taken OOU 15 Nov 2009 but nothing was ever officially briefed out and the Appendix still shows
it available! TRACKmaps Book 2 p7A (Oct 2016) accurately shows the points in the Middle Siding alone.

●Trowse: (BLN 1321.187) Victoria Sidings were observed on 19 Mar to have now been lifted prior to
relaying (to stable trains), leaving the connection in the Down Main, so temporarily OOU.

●Whittlesea: The crossing in the trailing points in the Down Main to and from the Down Sidings was
observed on 18 Mar as plain lined, so the sidings are de facto OOU, of unknown permanency.

855] Reading: Permissible departure speed for trains leaving east facing bays P4, 5 & 6 has been raised
from 15mph to 30mph. NR state that this was an intention of the station redevelopment works but
was never implemented and no alterations were needed other than installing new '30' (mph) signs.
The affected section is from 68m 52ch to 68m 68ch with up to 60 seconds reduction in running time.

856] Fenchurch St - Shoeburyness: From June c2c plan hourly fast weekend services calling at West
Ham then Benfleet and all stations to Shoeburyness (and return). Journey time to Southend-on-Sea
Central (35m 55ch) is expected to be 44 minutes and to Shoeburyness (39m 40ch) 55 minutes.

857] Cambridge - King's Lynn (BLN 1325.713): 8-car EMUs have run to King's Lynn for many years, at
least before 1996 when, as Timetable and Resources Manager, our correspondent 'inherited' them
from his predecessor, also a BLS member. However, they did not call at Waterbeach, Littleport or
Watlington as none of the EMUs in service had selective door operation for 4-car platforms. Strangely
this did not seem to affect the 9-coach loco-hauled trains that ran on the line for many years before
electrification, not the only line, of course, where train length regularly exceeded platform length.
[Maybe it was considered that passengers putting a hand out of the droplight window to open the
door catch would notice the lack of platform better than with doors operated by internal buttons?]

858] Lowestoft: (BLN 1317.2489) Work is now proceeding on relaying one of the former carriage
sidings that used to go to the south, and outside of, the station south wall. Another shorter siding is
also being relaid to the south of that one, originating half way along it and also running to the east.
A semipermeable membrane has been placed on the formation of the former in preparation for track.
These tracks will be accessible from the new facing crossover already in place on the Oulton Broad
side of other pointwork for the station and will permit future freight or engineers use (BLN 1299.378).

859] Yarmouth - Reedham: (BLN 1325.710) There is a small possibility that some trains will operate
between Great Yarmouth and Berney Arms (only) some days this summer but no details are available.
One reason for downgrading Cantley Signal Box to a gate box and closing Reedham box recently is,
as elsewhere in the past, the great difficulty in staffing boxes that were due to close then unexpectedly
remain open. Staff have moved to other jobs (including outside the rail industry) or taken retirement.

860] Soham: (BLN 1325.714) A two week long survey using three microphones is monitoring noise
levels at the future station site to build a background sound model of the situation now, which will
then help acoustic experts predict what noise impact a new stop could have on the area.
The calculations will then be part of the planning application for the station. ('Newmarket Journal'.)

861] Peterborough - Huntingdon: (BLN 1314.2121) March 'Modern Railways' reports on various
pending ECML upgrades and comments that the cost of reinstating a fourth track in the Woodwalton
area is now 'too high to make it worthwhile' but NR is reviewing the project again (at what cost?).

862] Tring: (BLN 1324.580) On 4 Mar work began on the £5.8M Department for Transport 'Access for
All' programme funded project. It includes a second footbridge with ramps, lift towers and connections
to the ticket office and car park. Tring rang up 857,500 passengers in 2017/18. ('Transport Briefing'.)

1326 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]

X.38] ABOVE: The Grade II* listed Woking Down side building. (Stuart Hicks Sun 9 Sep 2018.)
863] Ryde - Shanklin: (BLN 1302.754) The 25 year lease of the Island Line fixed infrastructure is
approaching expiry and NR has published details of its renewal in unaltered form (the 'demise area'
not being altered). South Western Trains Limited (operating as South Western Railway) will continue
as tenant. NR retains responsibility for the pier north of Ryde Esplanade and the formation below
450mm elsewhere. The complex issues of condition of track and rolling stock remain unresolved.
864] Southampton: At 23.25 on 20 Mar the driver of the 17.32 Newcastle to Southampton reported
that halfway into Southampton Tunnel on the Down Main Reversible there were 10-12 bricks missing
from the roof and water pouring in indicating possible structural damage. The Down Main Reversible
was then blocked with all trains routed on the Up Main Reversible. At 23.59 the defect was located to
the second reinforced section at the Southampton end of the tunnel where water was then 'gushing'.
Some sections of the tunnel, originally a canal tunnel, had been relined in iron‡ of a slightly increased
section (diameter) some years ago to alleviate water ingress and damage to the masonry lining which
remains in parts. It was not believed to be raining in the area. Traffic continued on the Up line at
caution. The water leak was located to 78m 67ch with no structural damage or bricks missing, the
water entering through a small hole in the side of the tunnel. Flow rate was now 150% of the previous
leakage. To wedge the brick work, which would allow the line to be reopened, scaffolding was
required, in turn needing an isolation. There was also the concern that the water was not draining
away and was now at 10-15mm depth and continuing to rise. Single line working on the Up Main
Reversible applied for passenger trains in the morning at three trains per hour in each direction with
cancellation of Southern services and those to/from Romsey via Eastleigh. Some services towards
Weymouth started/terminated from/at Southampton with normal service resuming 12.15.

Following a full inspection, the Down Main Reversible line was reopened with a 20 mph Emergency
Speed Restriction imposed and line speed restored on the Up Main Reversible line. A full train service
was introduced from 09.52 next morning. Later it was reported that cab ride inspections had revealed
that the flow of water had not increased. The source of the leak had been identified by Southern
Water as from a fast food restaurant in the street above the tunnel. (‡ 'Iron' - it could be steel, a
product made from iron, of course, but until recently all such tubes have been made in iron, as rings in
compression it is an ideal material and the extra properties of steel are not required - Regional Editor.)

865] Aldrington: (BLN 1288.1866) At this first station west of Hove on the Brighton to Southampton
line, the Up platform has been provided with a second steel and glass shelter following local widening
in concrete of the platform. Installation appears to have been in the second week of March.
866] Shepperton Branch: (BLN 1325.718) Although the branch should have been resignalled in Jan
2019 using axle counters instead of track circuits, control was (and eventually still is) to be from a new
Integrated Electronic Control Centre at Feltham Area Signalling Centre (ASC). Ultimately Feltham ASC
and Wokingham signal box will be closed, with signal control transferred to Basingstoke Railway
Operating Centre. To quote the original NR briefing document: 'The Shepperton Branch has been
selected to be a trial site for the ElectroLogIXS interlocking, Newgate Barrier Machines (at Percy Road
crossing, Hampton) and Auto Re-Configurable Power Supplies to demonstrate an integrated and fully
operational system prior to the migration to Basingstoke ROC'. A new commissioning date is awaited.

1326 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon) [email protected]
867] Short HSTs: Some Cardiff - Taunton diagrams changed from Turbos/Sprinters to 2+4 'Castle' short
HST sets (with impressive acceleration) from Mon 25 Mar. Due to the delay in fitting powered doors
and refurbishment, some of these turns are temporarily formed with original HST slam door stock.

06.00 Exeter SD - Bristol Pkway 08.41 Weston - Cardiff 06.48 Bristol TM - Weston

08.12 Bristol Pkway - Taunton 11.00 Cardiff - Taunton 07.36 Weston - Cardiff

09.37 Taunton - Weston 13.08 Taunton - Cardiff 10.00 Cardiff - Taunton

11.04 Taunton - Cardiff 16.00 Cardiff - Taunton 12.04 Taunton - Cardiff

14.00 Cardiff - Taunton 18.08 Taunton - Cardiff 15.00 Cardiff - Taunton

16.08 Taunton - Cardiff 21.00 Cardiff - Bristol TM 17.06 Taunton - Cardiff

19.00 Cardiff - Taunton xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 20.00 Cardiff - Taunton

While sampling these nifty little shifters on the second day, your peripatetic member encountered two

instances of note. Firstly the 14.57 Turbo from Taunton to Cardiff left from the 'awkward to do' bay

P6*, due to earlier late running requiring the 12.55 Plymouth to Paddington to start from Taunton,

arriving earlier ECS. Then the 16.08 Taunton to Cardiff, after arrival at Uphill Jn, was announced as

non-stop to Worle due to signalling problems in the Weston area, so via the avoider. Passengers for

Weston Milton and Weston-super-Mare had to change at Worle for services from there which were

unaffected. They seemed distinctly unimpressed at the free bonus mileage and 12 minute wait but

luckily those who were quick over the footbridge straightaway made the 16.44 from Worle to Weston.

[*05.12 SSuX/ 05.35 SO to Cardiff are the only regular Taunton P6 departures; the signalling only

allows ECS arrivals, which reverse into the bay platform after passing though P5 in the Up direction.]

868] Bath Spa: As those on our 23 Mar Marching Crompton II tour found out, a signal failure resulted
in both lines operating all day bidirectionally. Some trains (particularly South Western) terminated
from the south at Westbury, others were diverted and a few cancelled. Up trains used the Down Main
calling at P1 and vice versa, including our tour both ways giving the two crossovers (107m 28ch) at
Bath east and the first Bathampton Jn facing crossover (104m 55ch). Some had made two special long
distance trips in the past to do these! Bidirectional working continued on Sunday until late evening.

869] Barnstaple: The Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership has stopped promoting journeys on the
branch due to overcrowding. Ticket sales suggest that passenger journeys increased from 200,000 in
2001 to 657,000 in 2016. Class 158 DMUs (with 20% more seats) are due to replace Pacers on the line.
Devegetation has improved visibility at crossings and opened up some wonderful views for passengers.

870] St Helier (Jersey): A local paper recently published two photos showing removal of concreted
track in Mar 1946 and Mar 1948, in the latter case on the New North Pier. From the pictures, it looks
like the Germans laid rails in concrete along the harbour side although it doesn't prove what they did
along Havre des Pas when they relaid the Eastern Railway from Georgetown station to the harbour.

871] Electrification: (BLN 1323.445) From Sun 7 Apr the OHLE from the previous electrification limit at
Wootton Bassett Jn (83m 49ch) to Christian Malford (93m 31ch) Up and Down Main Lines is due to be
live (second attempt). Easter sees a significant four day closure of the Severn Tunnel. Bristol Parkway -
Newport rail replacement buses run with no through London - South Wales trains. The next weekend
(27/28 Apr) the tunnel is closed again; Paddington - South Wales services run via Gloucester.

872] Tisbury: The Salisbury - Exeter Rail User Group, with Railfuture Wessex, is working with rail
industry partners to push through 'essential' infrastructure projects such as redoubling in the Tisbury
area and at Whimple, near Exeter. The idea is to use NR's new planning process for enhancements,
which circumvents some of the more ponderous governance for railway investment project stages.

873] Lost Property: Items lost on trains and stations throughout the GWR network find their way to
Bristol Temple Meads lost property office where they are stored free for 12 weeks. They can be
searched online with the world's largest lost and found 'platform'. Arrangements can be
made with the office for the return of property by post or free collection during normal opening hours.

874] Okehampton (BLN 1302.758) The campaign to restore a regular rail service to Exeter has made
good progress recently but campaigners report that a feasibility study due to be completed by GWR in
late 2018 is still awaited. GWR has provided an assurance that the report will be available in 12 weeks.

875] Henbury: (BLN 1299.389) Hopes for restored passenger services continuing on to Avonmouth,
rejected by consultants in 2015, appeared brighter after West of England Combined Authority was
reported as saying that an influential local councillor has made a strong case for the loop service.

876] Bristol Temple Meads: Following commissioning of Train Protection & Warning System (TPWS)
overspeed system loops and overlapping axle counter mitigations, the temporary safety speed
restriction of 10mph (imposed with resignalling from 23 Apr 2018) on P3-12 is to be raised to 20mph.

[BLN 1326]
877] Gauge enhancement: NR has identified a small number of freight gauge enhancement projects
needed to allow transportation of 9' 6'' freight containers on standard height wagons in the south
west. Key locations include Chipping Sodbury Tunnel, Chippenham Station, Box Tunnel, Patchway
station, the Severn Tunnel and Newport Old Tunnel.

PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Sunset at Chipping Sodbury Tunnel; a Class 52 'Western' emerges going
west on a diverted Paddington to Plymouth service in Jan 1977. (Ian Mortimer.)

1326 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]

878] Much Wenlock: LEFT: An original 1862 First Class railway
return ticket to Iron Bridge in a member's possession from the
original Severn Valley Railway. This is the year both stations opened,
Much Wenlock was the terminus of the Much Wenlock & Severn
Junction Railway. There were variations on the way 'Ironbridge' was
shown including 'Iron Bridge' and 'Iron-Bridge'. (Rhys Ap Elis).

879] Quiet please it's a sleeper factory: (BLN 1317.2510) Until
15 Apr NR is consulting with the locals over the revised plans for the
Bescot Up Yard sleeper factory following criticism of the previous
plans. It replaces the one at Washwood Heath where the site is
required for a HS2 depot. It will be able to produce up to 600,000
sleepers a year, 60% of Britain's supply. NR now plans a new link
road between Sandy Lane and the A4031 Walsall Rd, so that road
traffic avoids residential roads. The proposed facility has also been
moved about 600m from its original location. It will now be at least
250m from residential property. The opposite side of Bescot Yard,
well in earshot, is the M6 which can hardly be described as 'quiet'.

880] Washwood Heath Up Yard: (BLN 1325.742) After removal of
stored wagons, by 28 Mar about three quarters of the yard had
been lifted. The Derby end was completely cleared up to the gate at
the exit (34m 44ch) with work progressing west towards Saltley.

881] Colwall: (BLN 1322.331) The station footbridge has undergone a magnificent refurbishment.
It looks as if every rivet was removed and the metal sand or shot-blasted before re-assembly. The sides
were then bolted to the top on site. The bridge has been repainted only to be spoilt by many gashes
during the re-assembly. Even so, what a difference from the monstrosity that is the road bridge!

882] Honeybourne: (BLN.1325 735): The peculiar signal box nomenclature here probably stems from
railway routes being deemed to run north - south or east - west throughout their length, irrespective
of their true orientation or variations en route. Oxford - Worcester - Stourbridge (and once onward to
Wolverhampton) is a north - south route, Stratford - Cheltenham is east - west. On the London &
South Western Railway further from Waterloo was regarded as further west, so the signal box east of
Fareham station was Fareham West! In a similar vein, LUL of course uses Eastbound, Northbound etc.

883] Nice Coach, no it's an old Banga! When the plans for Wolverhampton St George's terminus were
published it was, according to a local member, indeed stated that the lifted track (right hand platform
on arrival) would become a National Express coach stop. This never happened. Instead National
Express used a specially created stop outside the bus station on Pipers Row. This was very unpopular
at the time because the coaches caused traffic chaos while they were loading. When the work to
install the tram track on the station extension started, National Express was allocated a stop inside the
bus station instead. The area to the right of St Georges tram stop, known as the 'coach stop' is now
used by the legend that is Banga Bus ('the friendliest bus transportation service in the West Midlands').

ABOVE: The wanderer returns, Colwall footbridge, looking towards Great Malvern. (Ralf Ward.)
BELOW: A 'Banga Bus' at what used to be the other platform at the Wolverhampton St Georges

West Midlands Metro tram terminus, looking towards the end of line. (Phil Dooley.)

884] Mother's Day Treat: West Midlands Railway offered a 'Mums Go Free' ticket valid on 31 Mar for
Mother's Day. They were available in advance from station ticket offices only and were valid on most
West Midlands and specified London Northwestern Railway services in the West Midlands. The mum
did have to be accompanied by a fare paying child (of any age) and if that happened to be an under
five year old it was indeed a double freebie. (As many married men will know, most wives already
travel free as they pay!) We will all be watching for equivalent treatment of Fathers on Sun 16 Jun.

885] Stoke-on-Trent; Railway-under-Water: A member recently visited the 'mothballed' Stoke to
Leekbrook Jn railway (last train 6 Feb 1990) where it passes under the A50 Victoria Road, about a mile
south of the city centre. There is considerable flooding on the northwest side of the bridge and it is
very overgrown on the southeast side of the bridge towards Stoke but with the trackbed looking drier.

886] Tamworth: With serious capacity issues on CrossCountry (XC) services between Birmingham and
Derby, particularly to Tamworth, 'Railfuture' reports that XC is investigating how to run an extra hourly
train. This includes possible use of the Stenson Jn to Sheet Stores Jn line, so some Nottingham trains
could lose their intermediate stops without reducing services at Tamworth and Burton. Another long
term proposal is extra services from Moor Street (for Curzon Street HS2) via the proposed Bordesley
Northwest to Northeast Chord calling at Coleshill Parkway and via the Whitacre to Kingsbury line.

887] West Midlands Metro: (BLN 1325.743) The West Midlands Combined Authority has given final
approval for £449M of funding for the 11km Brierley Hill extension with 'up to' 17 stops. Some is on
the trackbed of the former Walsall to Stourbridge line. Work should start later this year for 2023
completion. It leaves the current line east of Wednesbury Great Western Street, runs via Tipton and
Dudley to Brierley Hill. There will be easy access to the Black Country Living Museum. Investigations
are continuing as to whether all the line will have overhead or if some parts will be battery operated.

888] Wolverhampton: (BLN 1314.2149) Following the demolition of the former BTP building and a
small section of the current station building next to P1, contractors finished laying the foundations in
Feb. The large steel framework for Phase 1 of the new concourse is now almost complete. Once
finished work begins on lifting in floor slabs, laying the external wall blockwork, cladding and the roof.

With no changes to the platform areas, the two phased approach allows train services to run normally
at all times. The first part of the new station building is due to open this autumn. Phase 2 is demolition
of the rest of the old station building with completion of the new building for summer 2020 opening.

1326 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]
889] Ballyglunin: (69m 77ch north of Limerick.) A museum is being established at the former station
on the closed Athenry to Tuam/Claremorris line. It featured in the 1952 John Wayne film 'The Quiet
Man'. Regular opening times have not yet been announced but it will be open on 6 May Bank holiday. is the opening of the film in colour with 52 Class [D17] 4-4-0 '59' at Ballyglunin.

890] Foynes: (BLN 1325.646) The 30 Oct 2000 train was the final revenue earning freight to Foynes.
A weedspray train visited 7 May 2002 and the last known movement was a 9 Jan 2003 inspection car.
From Limerick Check (so named as it was once the site of a ticket check platform) the Castlemungret
Cement Factory branch remained open (last revenue earning train 18 Dec 2009), then a parallel single
line adjacent to the Foynes branch. Disconnection at Limerick Check was on 29 Mar 2013.

891] Belfast Hub: (BLNs 1257.1030 & 1312.1897) planning permission for the new combined rail/bus
station was granted on 21 Mar. The station is on the site of the former Great Northern Railway
Grosvenor Street Goods Yard (remaining buildings demolished in 2016) with four island platforms
each with two faces, replacing Great Victoria Street (GVS) station which struggles to cope in the peaks
with its four platform faces. The intention is to divert Dublin 'Enterprise' services to the new station,
probably ending regular passenger trains between City Jn and Central Jn in Belfast. It had been
thought that work could not proceed without a functioning devolved administration in Belfast but the

civil servants running things have used a procedure involving issuing a 'notice of opinion'. This leaves
28 days for objection or appeal of the decision after which work can start. Translink expect work to
take at least five years. The project has been criticised for being further from the city centre than GVS
is now, and not having good connections to local bus services! On the map it is by, and NW of, GVS.

892] The Identity Crisis Continues: From Translink's website... There will be a bus substitution on the
Belfast/Dublin line on 20, 21 & 22* Apr and 4 & 5 May. The bus substitutions will be between Dublin
Connolly & Drogheda, trains still operate between Drogheda and Belfast Lanyon Place. Trains from
Belfast will depart as timetabled... Bus substitution will depart Dublin at published train times... Train
times from Drogheda to Belfast Central will be revised... Passengers should expect delays of up to 30
mins arriving at Dublin Connolly and Belfast Central. (*22 Apr only 07.35 Dublin to Belfast is affected.)

BELOW: So what is the real name of this station then? The 'Central' signs are thought to have
appeared during the last week in March. (Martin Baumann 29 Mar 2019)

893] NI Fares Increase: Most Rail fares (as well as Metro/Glider and Ulsterbus) increased by 2.6% from
1 Apr in line with the Retail Price Index. Many 'best value' fares have been held and discounts of about
25% are available using the best value multi-journey 'Smart' tickets. Various other discounts available
include weekly and monthly tickets. The Zone 4 iLink card, allowing unlimited travel on trains and
buses all day in Northern Ireland, increased to £16.50. Paying with cash or credit/debit cards, the
minimum Adult fare remains £1.70; the maximum single fare is increased from £12.50 to £13 and day
return from £19.00 to £19.50 - which is reduced by ⅓ after 09.30. The Sunday Day Tracker (unlimited
local train travel in Northern Ireland) increased from £7.50 to £8 Adult and from £3.75 to £4 for a
Child; a Family & Friends (up to 2 Adults & 4 Children) ticket is available. On the Dublin 'Enterprise'
service there were no fare changes. A monthly season ticket over £80 allows free travel all weekends.

[BLN 1326]
894] NI Passengers Increase: In 2017-18, more than 81M journeys were made on bus and rail services
across Northern Ireland, the highest figure in twenty years. Over 8 million of those journeys were
made in the Craigavon area, 4.5M by rail on the Portadown line. Lurgan station is one of the busiest in
Northern Ireland with almost 1M passengers, another 945,000 pass through on Enterprise services.

1326 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
895] Horse Tramway: (BLN 1325.749) With Strathallan tram depot demolished and the new one not
expected to be ready until next year, the trams are now homeless. The Department of Infrastructure
has now made a planning application for a temporary marquee on the old Summerland complex with
space for six trams. It looks as if this replaces the previous application for a temporary building and
includes a short tramway extension with rails into the marquee. A local member reports that the plans
show it is just beyond the fence where the track now ends at Derby Castle. The three tracks will be
extended by about two car lengths to the marquee entrance, with a further two car lengths inside,
taking up nearly ¾ of its width. The rest, on the seaward side, will be trackless for access and at the
back, behind the stored trams, a modified container will be used for staff facilities and storage.

896] Snaefell Mountain Railway (SMR): (BLN 1287.1786) On 4 Aug 2017 there were 48 passengers
and two crew on Tram No2 when it set off from Summit station, as normal, at around 14.40.
Shortly after, the motorman attempted to operate the main rheostatic brake and soon realised that it
was having little effect on the speed or control of the tram. The crew, assisted by a passenger, made
desperate attempts to slow the tram by rapidly turning the Fell§ brake to its maximum extent.

They warned Bungalow Station Master by radio. He was concerned there was something amiss due to
the noise Tram 2 was making. When it came into sight he realised it was 'rattling around' and travelling
far too fast. He quickly activated the level crossing lights on the A18 to stop traffic and evacuated the
station and area around the crossing. The tram crew, anticipating a catastrophic derailment, told
passengers to 'brace'. The tram's ticket machine GPS showed that the tram rocketed across over the
level crossing at 44.1mph. The line speed is 12mph. The main rheostatic brake had failed and until
Bungalow the manual Fell brake had little or no effect, so the crew were left with no choice but to
apply the parking brake, normally reserved for braking at very low speeds. The tram slowed and finally
stopped about 550yd beyond the crossing, almost a mile from where the problem became evident.

The investigation determined that a failed microswitch on the compressor pump was the initial cause
of the incident. This prevented the air pressure from being maintained, the resulting drop in pressure
disabling the rheostatic brakes which is the tram's primary braking and speed regulation system when
descending the mountain. Senior management of the Railway and the Department of Infrastructure
stated that - in their opinion - the motorman was late in applying the Fell brake. An independent
report by 'Smarttrams', while not apportioning blame, said that a crew member, despite his training,
failed to notice or comprehend the low air pressure displayed on the cab gauges and set off with
insufficient air in the reservoir tank for the descent of the mountain. The IOM Health & Safety at Work
Inspectorate (HSWI) found much evidence that the efforts of the crew prevented a serious accident.

Failure of the low pressure monitor microswitch, designed to operate the compressor pump motor
when the pressure falls to 80psi, was probably due to age and the number of times it has operated
over its life, the HSWI found. The gauges were confusing, away from the motorman's line of sight and
in different places on different trams, with no clear markings to indicate the safe working pressure.

An interim report referred to 'significant failings in the management, training and monitoring of staff'.
When examined by two independent experts, it was discovered that the Fell brake mechanism was
badly adjusted and there were signs of excessive wear which meant that the brakes did not clamp
correctly onto the sides of the Fell rail as designed. The report also highlighted significant failings in the
management, training and monitoring of staff including the maintenance of safety-critical equipment.

There is mention that no risk assessments had been conducted on the SMR and the pressure valves on
the tram hadn't been examined for three years. Another concerning aspect of the report is that
failures of safety critical equipment (Fell braking, communication buzzers and rheostatic control
systems) were reported to engineering staff but they were not considered by senior management.

Two trams have since been fitted with a new failsafe braking system - a requirement of the HSWI for
the line to run again - with other trams due to be similarly fitted. The HSWI report was only made
public recently after IOM newspapers made Freedom of Information Act applications

§Designed, developed and patented by British engineer John Barraclough Fell. First tested on the
Cromford & High Peak's cable-hauled incline at Whaley Bridge, it is still in use throughout the world.

897] Manx Electric Railway: (BLN 1325.752) There have been two single line working sections during
March with a single line staff being used for each. One was Laxey car shed crossover (6m 67ch) to that
at the north end of Laxey station, and the other Ballaragh (9m 46ch) to 'Ballig' (11m 78ch?).

1326 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe) [email protected]
898] Possil: (BLN 1325.757) Our member's 10d (worth 96p now) Second Class Cheap Day Return ticket
from Glasgow Central to Possil was 28 Aug 1959 (out via Kelvin Bridge, returning via Crow Road, with
a trip later in the day to Coalburn) and a tour from Edinburgh next day. From Edinburgh Waverley this
visited Glencorse, the Poulton branch and Penicuik inter alia behind steam loco 256 'Glen Douglas'.

899] ZZ .. ZZ .. ZZ: LEFT: On 25 Mar a member waiting for a
train at Garelochhead, as you do, noticed that stop marker
boards have been erected recently for Caledonian Sleeper
trains. There are identical markers at Helensburgh Upper, so
it seems likely that they have been introduced generally on
Caledonian Sleeper routes. He was quite amused by the
design and wonders if it is also used on Great Western
sleeper routes. (LEFT: Photo Greg Beecroft 25 Mar 2019.)

900] Fresh Ayr: It is intended that the present, small
portable booking office on the west side of the station will
be replaced by something larger, with better facilities, in the
car park on the east side. Almost certainly, this will be a
modular building, and it is hoped that it will be in use by the
autumn. While this is not as convenient for the town centre,
there is more space on this side of the station.

901] More Fresh Ayr: (BLN 1324.616). Unfortunately bays P1 & 2 can only accommodate a single 3-car
Class 380 EMU each since their introduction in 2011. They are only about 130m long, even when the
full length is available, too short for a 6-car Class 380 with 23m coaches to fit. 6-car Class 318 and 334
EMUs that used to work the service could fit as they had 20m coaches. Any service now formed of six
or more coaches now has to reverse in the through P3 or 4, restrictive as coupling of units on these
platforms is not allowed. Why this instruction is in place is unknown as coupling of trains, even those
carrying passengers, took place for many years. The Sectional Appendix shows that there is permissive
working for passenger trains at through P3 & 4. However, this is only detaching for booked moves, or
during significant service disruption (which is the only time any attaching is permitted so it can be
done). If the derelict Station Hotel is demolished there is opportunity to lengthen the bay platforms.

902] Railfreight: NR, Freight Operating Companies, freight service users, industry bodies and hauliers
have come together to support rail freight growth in Scotland, looking at improving the average speed
of freight trains and increasing their reliability. Railfreight brings in about £200M of benefits per year
to Scotland's economy. Over 600 freight trains run daily on NR - about 50 in Scotland transporting over

4M tonnes per year. The aim is to transfer at least 1,700 lorry movements a year from Scotland's roads
to rail over the next five years. Each tonne of freight moved by rail reduces carbon emissions by 7%
[is that all?] compared to road and each train removes between 25 and 62 HGVs from Scottish roads.

903] Ferryhill, one good turn deserves another: (BLN 1305.1105) The turntable was used on 14 Mar to
turn 'Tornado' - the first loco to use it since the 1990s [nobody seems to know the exact date‽].
The special from Edinburgh to Aberdeen ran via Perth as the loco is not allowed on the Tay Bridge.
After dropping passengers at Aberdeen the train and loco were watered at Craiginches, then 'Tornado'
and its support coach ran to Ferryhill. 'Tornado' ran round the coach in the newly relaid loop and was
coaled. A large crowd and three TV crews watched.

PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER (TWO): 'Tornado' on Aberdeen Ferryhill turntable. (Nick Jones 14 Mar 2019.)

The turntable is hand wound by a handle, but assisted by several people pushing round on the ends!
The loco then recoupled to the support coach and rejoined the rest of the train in Ferryhill Up Loop to
run to the station and return south. When the turntable was tested, weights were used, so 'Tornado' is
genuinely the first rolling stock to be turned.

904] Springburn: (BLN 1319.2812) Gemini Rail has confirmed the closure of the works, with the loss of
up to 200 jobs. They plan to run it down, with at least 120 jobs to go before the Mar 2020 closure date.
There is work on vehicles leased to ScotRail until July and on 7 Mar the Scottish First Minister indicated
that options to keep the site open for rail use were being explored with 'Scottish Enterprise' involved.

905] Hunterston: Cracks in the bricks in a reactor at Hunterston 'B' Nuclear Power Station will be 'life
limiting', but it has not been said when it will be shut down. This will eventually affect the rail traffic.

906] Port Elphinstone: The Ground Frame (15m 16ch) and associated track were to be removed on 1 Mar.

907] Glasgow Queen Street: NR arranged some visits to the station construction site. These were full
very quickly. A member was fortunate to book one of the last places on Thur 21 Mar, in a group of 20.
The visit began with a presentation by senior members of the project team, from NR and Balfour
Beattie, the contractor, at their offices round the corner in North Hanover St. The presentation was
illustrated by photographs and time lapse videos of work under way, and a video provided a simulated
tour of the completed station. At the site, project team members were happy to answer questions.

The party was kept well clear of work under way, but had a good view of progress from the southwest
site corner. It is intended that P2-5 will be extended to take 8-car Class 385 trains by the Dec 2019
timetable, though work to the station will take a further year.

BELOW: The new frontage of Glasgow Queen Street taking shape on 21 Mar 2019. (Greg Beecroft.)

The extension work will result in two periods when two platforms are out of use, firstly July (in school
holidays when commuter traffic is a bit lower). However, work to the other two platforms has to wait
until autumn, because services cannot be altered or reduced during the Edinburgh Festival. There may
be further opportunities for the public to visit the site, when it is possible to provide access to the
concourse extension.

With regard to the Queen Street HL zero mileage datum, it is thought the platforms were shortened
between 1969 and 1973 during the last reconstruction. TRACKmaps supports this, showing the mileage
at the ends of P2-5 as 0m 02ch. According to the Jacobs 2012 report on the station, platform lengths
were: (P1) 74m; (P2) 157m, (P3) 174m, (P4) 174m, (P5) 150m, (P6) 155m & (P7) 198m. Platforms are
being extended at both ends. The north end extensions won't of course affect the zero point. P 2-5 are
to be extended by 23.4m at the buffer stop end, so that would put the new end of line at 0m 01ch.

908] Stow: [Which rhymes with 'cow' and not 'toe', although when the Borders Railway reopened in
2015 it took ScotRail three months to sort out the automatic announcements!] The village of Stow is
fortunate to have its station on the Tweedbank branch. No station was included in the original
proposal and local people had to campaign hard for it. The Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSP)
on the Committee considering the Waverley Railway (Scotland) Bill agreed unanimously that there
should be a station, and so there was. When she retired in 2016, Tricia Marwick MSP, who was the
Convenor of the Committee and later served as Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, said: I will
never forget the official opening journey on the Borders Railway last year, particularly when we passed
Stow station, which the committee added as an amendment to the bill. I claim Stow station as my own.

The village of Stow, also known as 'Stow of Wedale', has a population of little over 700. It developed
and became prosperous after a pack horse bridge, which still stands, was built across the Gala Water in
1654/1655. At the time it was the last bridge before the sea. Of note, delays to infrastructure schemes
are nothing new. The bridge was first proposed in 1630 and was only built when the local church was
partly demolished to provide the stone. Stow is the least used station on the line, other than Shawfair
(31,500) which awaits development of the surrounding area. Stow is also the only station where not all
trains stop and, on a loop, one of only three with two platforms. Most of the day (SuX) alternate trains
call, giving an hourly service. This is dramatically better than when it closed from 6 Jan 1969 though!
Therefore, the station is doing well to have achieved almost 70,000 passenger journeys in 2017/18.

PREVIOUS: A new platform at Stow with the old station building. (Angus McDougall 10 Jul 2015.)

Passenger growth has been much slower than at other stations and looks unlikely to increase much in
future. The local development plan identifies sites for just 22 new houses in the village. On a recent
visit, during the middle of a weekday afternoon, 26 cars were in the 33-space station (free) car park
with a few more in the street. Like all of the stations on Borders Railway, Stow is unstaffed, but the
original station building still stands. Stow Community Trust has recently been awarded a £156k grant
from the Scottish Government's Regeneration Capital Grant Fund towards creating a bistro (which
could bring in passengers Rannoch style?), bike business, visitor hub and a multipurpose room in it.

The village is still served by the Edinburgh - Hawick bus, also hourly. That takes 71 mins to Edinburgh,
rather longer than 42-45 minutes on the train. Those aged 60 or over can travel on the bus free, but an
off-peak return to Edinburgh on the train is only £9.30 (or £6.15 with a railcard) for 53 miles in total.
Of course, had the station not been built, there would now be a 21¼ mile stretch of line without one.

909] Grangemouth: Testing of the new overhead took place overnight on 22 Mar, with 88002 light engine.

910] Waverley: Extended east end bays P5&6 OP Thu 28 Feb; the first train was 14.30 to King's Cross (P5).

911] Glasgow St Enoch: Following closure of the station from 27 Jun 1966, a local businessman,
Raymond Gillies, purchased the station clock. He presented it to the town of Cumbernauld, where it
was displayed in the town centre shopping mall. The clock was ceremonially restarted by the Queen,
when she visited on 18 May 1977, to mark the new town's 21st anniversary. It was electrically driven,
but the original mechanical works, with a pendulum and weight, was mounted on the wall by it. During
a long remodelling of the town centre, the clock was not on public display, but it has recently become
accessible again. It is in the lobby of one of the entrances to the shopping centre, but this access is not
in use yet. The clock is only seen by clock watching people who go looking for it. It is behind a rather
obtrusive glass screen, finishing half way up the clock face. The old mechanism is no longer on display.
It is recognised that this is not an ideal location, so it may be moved, possibly to a new cinema complex
under development. NR has asked if it could be used at Queen Street, but this request was declined.

912] Edinburgh Trams: The line is to be extended 2.8 miles to Newhaven costing up to £207M, after final
approval by the City Council. Work should be complete by 2022 for opening in the first quarter of 2023.

913] Budget trains: Single class EasyJet style budget trains will run between London and Edinburgh
with average fares of £25. The no frills service, operated by First Group, will run on the ECML from
2021, providing competition London North Eastern Railway (no '&'), and domestic airlines (who carry
75% of passengers currently). Hitachi has won a £100M order to build the trains at Newton Aycliffe.

914] Royal trains: At the opposite end of the scale to the previous item, BLN recently commented on
rare track done by HM The Queen (and Prince Phillip - item 785!). From Dec 1962 'Modern Railways':

'When the King of Norway paid a state visit to Scotland on October 16 he disembarked at Leith and
was conveyed thence to Edinburgh Princes Street in a special train. The locomotive was Type 4 diesel
NoD368 and the special included two Pullman cars and an ex-LNER royal saloon.' The passenger service
between Princes Street and Leith (via Crewe Jn) was withdrawn from 30 Apr 1962. It is remarkable
that in 1962 a special train was provided a short journey of 5½ miles, rather than a limousine.

1326 WALES & THE MARCHES (Chris Parker) [email protected]
915] Cardiff Valleys: (BLN 1324.629) A member notes that NR will still have an interest in the lines
intended to be sold off to TfW. On the Radyr branch (also known as the 'City Line') NR will retain
signalling assets up to the current interface between Wales ROC and Radyr Junction signal box at
Danescourt. The signalling interface between Cardiff Central and Queen Street is stated to be at the
interlocking boundary, but presumably modernisation of the Valley Lines will include resignalling and a
central control facility, in which case control of the Queen Street interlocking can be transferred there
from Wales ROC. Due to the 'high level of integration between the two networks', the intention is that
NR should provide timetable planning services.

Our member wonders whether this is something TfW really want, and what the extent of the 'services'
will be. The Valley Lines and Main Line systems are fairly well separated at Cardiff Central, with only
P4 readily capable of shared use. Co-ordinating timetables with TfW therefore ought to be a lot
simpler than doing so with LUL, which does its own timetabling! However, another member suggests
the 'services' may include the 'validating' (avoiding conflicting moves) process, but more likely, access
to the software that feeds the database from which Realtime Trains, UT Tracker and others draw their
timetable data, also to the electronic NR timetable.

916] Fishguard Harbour: (BLN 1323.479) By 16 Mar the sleeper was replaced by a permanent buffer stop
with Station (288m 10ch) and North (288m 27ch) Ground Frames; the associated equipment was recovered.

917] Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen: Previously expected in Oct 2018 (BLN 1313.1946) or in 2020/21 (Steam
Railway Feb 2019) open cast coal mining by Celtic Energy at East Pit is now due to finish during the
week this BLN is published. Trains will continue to run for a while to clear the stockpile, including a few
direct to Immingham. Ffos-y-fran (Cwmbargoed) is expected to also cease production by the end of
2020. Future coal availability is a major concern to steam railways and other 'heritage' users.

918] Conwy Valley: (BLN 1325.653) The line yet again TCA from start of service on 16 Mar because of
the effects of the appropriately named Storm Gareth which appears to have done its worst in Wales -
flooding at Llanrwst featured on national TV news that evening. Infrastructure at multiple locations
has been damaged and the line is expected to remain closed until at least 28 May and probably longer;
the itinerary of our 'Conwy Cat' tour of 13 Jun has been amended accordingly. At least one major
bridge has been completely washed away and track, lineside equipment, embankments, level crossings
and stations have also been affected. is the damage seen from a drone.
The Llanrwst based Llew Jones coach firm is providing buses as already scheduled for 16 Mar because
of the Wales v Ireland rugby international in Cardiff (BLN 1324.631), so something of a 'get out of jail'
card for TfW perhaps? Perhaps surprisingly, Wrexham - Bidston had a full rail service that day though.

919] Swansea recovers: The trailing catch point on the Up Swansea Main line at Swansea Loop East Jn
has been recovered and plain lined as has the former trailing connection in the Swansea Carriage line
at the IET depot. The line towards the out of use former Down Goods line has also been recovered.

920] Tidenham: (BLN 1325.760) The (Chepstow) Wye Valley Jn - Tidenham branch last train date of
21 Dec 1981 was actually the date of the final train between Tidenham Quarry and Tintern Quarry.
The last railtour to Tintern was 25 Nov 1978, the RCTS (West Midlands) 'Reunion Railtour' notable as
at Tidenham it was realised that the point clamps needed at Tintern had been left at Chepstow. The
tour returned to pick them up then ran back along the branch. The Tidenham
branch was deleted from the Sectional Appendix from 22 Jul 1995. The final railtour is thought to have
been the Monmouthshire Railway Society 'Caerwent Cannonball 2' on 12 May 1990, by which time
regular stone traffic had ceased.

1326 MINOR RAILWAYS (Peter Scott) [email protected]
:>>> MR references in this BLN are still to the 2018 booklet <<<:

MR48] Swindon & Cricklade Railway, Wiltshire (MR p6): This railway was visited on a sunny but windy
Sunday 10 March for their Diesel Shunter running day. Edmondson tickets are issued in a variety of
colours (Adults blue - £7 all day; Seniors yellow - £6; HRA purple). GWR 5619 is on hire for the year
from the Telford Steam Railway (other than a Severn Valley Railway guest appearance) and was stored
in the open at Blunsdon station Up end. It will work many of the steam services this year as the Polish
tank 3135 'Spartan' is overhauled. A Class 08 was running with coaches 25869 & 34941 on the normal
end to end service. This year the lunchtime train has a longer wait at Hayes Knoll so that a short
guided tour of the workshops and running shed can be given. The building has been extended from its
original two roads to three and then five (covering tracks already there). The last two are effectively
the running shed and separated by a wall to keep dirt and noise out. Apparently, the railway was about
to buy the field opposite Hayes Knoll for a 20 vehicle carriage shed when the vendor farmer died.

[BLN 1326]
At Hayes Knoll works were: PWM 651, Class 73 E6003 (for minor repairs), 3135 'Spartan' and coaches
Taff Vale 73 and GW 3898. In the overhaul section were GWR top light coach 7545, D3261, a tamper,
D2020, Mk1 coaches 13303, 34053 and GWR Hall 6984 (loco only, nearly finished might be out next
year - the tender is on hire to Buckinghamshire Railway Centre for 'Wightwick Hall') and the recently
acquired Hampshire DEMU driving trailer. Outside in the siding and betwixt Hayes Knoll and Blunsdon
were the other MK1 coaches, DEMU vehicles 60127 & 60669, and DMUs 51074, 51104 & 59514.

MR49] Great Central Railway, Leicestershire (MR p7) (BLN 1324.MR37): A member correctly points
out that the NRM owned Britannia here is 70013 'Oliver Cromwell'. 70000 itself is serviceable at Crewe.

MR50] Hythe Pier Railway, Hampshire (MR p18) (BLN 1312.MR172): Blue Funnel Ferries has donated
Hythe Pier and the railway to Hythe Pier Heritage Association, which is now working to raise £3M to
renovate the pier. The aim is to have the project complete in 2022, when the electric locomotives, now
102 years old, will have been working on the pier for a century. has more.

BELOW: Great Central Railway - 70013 'Oliver Cromwell' at Quorn & Woodhouse on a Loughborough
(10.15) to Rothley Brook van train. Ex-Class 319 Hybrid 769434 is right. (Peter Scott 18 Nov 2018.)

ABOVE: Paultons Railway; this 15" gauge railway is closed during the 2019 season.
Severn Lamb 2-8-0DH RG.11.86 hauls a lightly loaded train. (Peter Scott. 16 Jun 2012.)

MR51] Paultons Railway, Hampshire (MR p18) (BLN 1243.MR174): The 15" gauge railway does not
appear on the 2019 park plan and it transpires the line last ran at the end of October 2018. However,
it is expected to reopen in May 2020 as part of a new attraction - possibly in a slightly different form.

MR52] Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, Powys (MR p30) (BLN 1303.MR77): A grant of £89,000 has
been made to the Railway by the Welsh Government, from the Tourism Amenity Investment Support
scheme, part of the Rural Development Programme 2014-20 funded by the European Agricultural
Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government. At Llanfair Caereinion, almost exactly
halfway between central Shropshire and the Welsh Coast, two electric vehicle charging points will be
provided. The charging points will complement a recently completed environmental programme at the
Railway, which has included the installation of solar panels, setting up full recycling facilities, the
elimination of single-use plastics in the tea room, LED light conversion and composting.

At Cyfronydd station a siding will be reinstated to allow the stabling of special trains or heritage goods
trains, and a cattle dock reconstructed similar to one that once stood on the site, as a marker of the
original function of a rural light railway. A historic grounded brake van from the London & North
Western Railway will also be restored as a shelter. Sylfaen Halt will also be improved - one of the most
visible intermediate points on the Railway - located alongside one of the few lay-bys on the A458 to
the Welsh coast. Already a popular spot for motorists to pause their journey and watch the trains pass,
the Halt will see the passing loop reinstated, an improved passenger shelter and information boards.

At Welshpool shed extensions have already been commissioned that will double the covered space
available to protect historic carriages, wagons and other large artefacts. Funding provided by the grant
will make the sheds suitable for public access, provide lighting and security for the exhibits and
support interpretative material to explain their role in operating the original railway. It will also enable
the sheds to provide undercover facilities to host special events such as exhibitions. The Welsh
language will be prominent across the improvement programme, with all new signage provided in
bilingual form to emphasise the Railway's roots in the community. The Railway has also recently
earned much praise for a programme to improve access to its trains for passengers using wheelchairs
or having other mobility issues. A £42,500 UK Government grant allowed the purchase of wheelchair
lifts for the two termini and refurbishment of two bogie carriages, to take larger modern wheelchairs.

MR53] Mid Hants Railway (MHR), Hampshire (MR p6): A member visited on Friday 8 March for the
Steam Gala. The day dawned cool but sunny. Until the end of July this year services only run between
Medstead & Four Marks and Alresford, owing to the bridge works near Alton, so a special coach
service was laid on using 'Top Marks' coaches of Four Marks (elderly B10 VHL). There were only three
journeys and not exactly well connected with either SWR or MHR services. In the Down direction they
left Alton at 09.20 (with about 24 on), 10.20 (about 12) and 11.20, scheduled to take 20 minutes to
Four Marks Tesco (on the main road). Given that SWR services arrive around XX.10 and XX.40, this was
a reasonable connection. Our reporter couldn't make the 09.20 with an off peak ticket. Return coaches
from the stop on the main road (several minutes from the station) by the Co-op were at 16.15, 17.27 &
18.35, scheduled to arrive 20 minutes later, but probably managing a slightly quicker journey. Given
that MHR trains arrived at 15.40, 16.10, 16.45 and 17.25, and SWR leave at XX.15 and XX.44, this was a
rather odd scheduling. The first journey back had around two dozen aboard, including our reporter.

Two visiting locos were advertised and were in service: GWR 0-6-0PT 5786 (as L92 from the SDR in LT
livery but due to be repainted green soon, apparently) and USA 0-6-0T 30070 (as Longmoor 300 'Frank
S Ross' from KESR in a rather bright blue livery). Also running were home locomotives BR 76017, LMSR
41312, SR 925 'Cheltenham' (but not on the Friday) and BR 92212. '925' was in light steam in Ropley
Yard ready for Saturday. There were four trains running at roughly half hourly intervals and laying over
about 35 minutes each end. At Alresford both platforms were used alternately, but at Medstead trains
pulled out empty towards Alton and the relieving locomotive then pulled the train back in. One of
these four trains was a freight and travel in the brake vans was available for an extra £10. The other
three were passenger rakes. One five car (4823, 1973, 4822, 35329 & 3906.) - the Countryman lunch
set with the kitchen car serving hot and cold snacks and drinks to the two adjacent SOs (branded first
class). The hot broccoli and stilton soup and roll at £2 were just what was wanted mid afternoon! The
other two rakes were reduced to four vehicles for the smaller visiting locomotives (4423, S4211, 3769,
& 1851 and 14023, 3738, 4600 & 1105). On Friday that was sufficient for the traffic offering, which was
not that great. Whether the poor weather, the difficulties in access or the increased fare (up from £25
to £30 for a day with a shorter run) was responsible will no doubt be evaluated in due course by the
Railway. The loco workshops and carriage works at Ropley were both open to visitors who could see
the two Bullied coaches under restoration, with a Mk1 CK almost finished, along with 34105 & 30506.

X.39] Ffestiniog Railway: (MR p29) BELOW: The extensive expansion work now in progress at Boston
Lodge. The new carriage sheds are seen from a service train 'going round the bend', Sun 30 Mar 2019.
This helps to explain why our North Wales visits were postponed this weekend. (Jenny Williamson.)

MR54] Ashton Park Railway, Somerset (MR p23) (BLN 1322.MR19): The future of the railway now
looks secure after its operators, the Bristol Society of Model and Experimental Engineers (BSMEE),
agreed a new lease with Bristol City Council. The future of the railway was thrown into doubt last
summer as the Council considered not renewing its lease, saying the attraction generated 'very little'
money for the authority. The railway has operated on the same four acre site near a golf course since
1972. Following the news, volunteers set up a petition which collected 10,000 signatures - 6,000 of
which were from people in the Bristol area. Now, following months of negotiations with Bristol City
Council, the BSMEE are confident they have agreed a new five year lease which means it can stay.
BSMEE chairman Norman Rogers said: We have been negotiating with the City Council for several
months and believe we have reached an agreement that we are all happy with. The new lease
agreement still has to be finalised and we are awaiting the paperwork. We hope this will be ratified by
the end of the month. The railway currently has a temporary licence with the Council, which will
remain in place while the finer details of the new lease are sorted. Mr Rogers added: We had a
meeting with the City Council last week which was very positive. We are delighted at the outcome of
the negotiations which means we do not have to up sticks and find a new home.

MR55] Heaton Park Tramway, Greater Manchester (MR p32) (BLN 1281.MR88): The 2019 running
season is on Sundays from 17 February to mid-November, depending on conditions, and on Saturdays
from 4 May. Special events include 'Season Startup' on 7 April and 'Tramtastic' on 7 July.

MR56] Beamish - the Living Museum of the North, County Durham (MR p32) (BLN 1302.MR68):
On 6 February Manchester '765' from Heaton Park Tramway arrived at Beamish for a 6 month loan
period. It is to take part in the April Great North Steam Fair then be used at weekends until late June.

BELOW: Royal Arsenal Narrow Gauge Railway, Gerry Balding (Narrow Gauge Railway Society) 28 Mar.
TOP LEFT: The temporary halt looking towards the depot, 200yd of the 765yd of track is now laid.
TOP RIGHT: Looking towards the railway's depot, the new station and loop will be on the right.
BOTTOM RIGHT: Sir Peter Bazalgette, great great grandson of Sir Joseph after naming the loco.
BOTTOM LEFT: 'Bazalgette' and coach entering depot compound.

MR57] Royal Arsenal Narrow Gauge Railway, Crossness Pumping Station, Greater London (BLN
1299.MR36): This is a proposed 18"/2' dual gauge railway that will carry passengers from the local car
park to the pumping station, which is inside the Thames Water Sewage Treatment works. Restoration
of the Severn-Lamb built locomotive 'Busy Basil' and a rake of coaches is nearly complete following a

donation of £29,800 from Enovert Community Trust. Over the past few months, crowdfunding has
been employed to raise funds to buy track materials and points. The target was reached on 4 March,
having raised £13,286 from 119 supporters. Thanks to the public donations, 765 yards of track can be
laid from the front gate to the pumping station. Adding to the heritage of the railway, it is thought that
the alignment of the railway happens to follow that of a temporary railway, which was built for the
construction of the treatment works during the 19th century. [Over 200yd of track (in 2ft gauge only)

has now been laid and ballasted, with an engine shed and platform constructed. The loco is Severn
Lamb DH 'Busy Basil' originally built in 1986 for the Stoke-on-Trent Garden Festival but latterly running
at Bygones Village near Great Yarmouth. At the 'launch' of the railway on Thur 28 Mar it was renamed
'Bazalgette' to mark the 200th birthday of Sir Joseph Bazalgette, the builder of Crossness Works. - PAS.]

The what can only be described as 'extremely extensive' standard, 18" and mixed gauge original Royal

Arsenal Railway covering Plumstead and Erith Marshes dating from 1859 (all closed by 1967) is shown
on Joe Brown's excellent London Railway Atlas (on the 5th Edition, Sep 2018, it on p42 (mainly) and the

bottom of p29. The brownfield site was subsequently developed as 'Thamesmead' housing estates.

1326 FIXTURES REPORTS (Paul Stewart) [email protected]

FROM The Blackpool Balloon Sat 26 Jan 2019 TOTO IN USE km

Rigby Road Depot Gates Tower Crossover Northbound (NB) Line 713 1.19
Tower Crossover NB Line Starr Gate Depot Access Crossing 713 4.70
Starr Gate Depot Access Crossing Depot Road 5 End of Line (EOL) 713 0.13
Depot Road 5 EOL Starr Gate Depot Access Crossing 713 0.13
Starr Gate Depot Access Crossing Depot Road 6 EOL 713 0.13
Depot Road 6 EOL Depot Headshunt 713 0.25
Depot Headshunt Depot Road 3 713 0.18
Depot Road 3 NB Line, clear of Depot Crossovers 713 0.22
NB Line, clear of Depot Crossovers North Pier North Crossover, NB Line 713 5.20
North Pier North Crossover, NB Line Foxhall Crossover, SB Line 713 1.06
Foxhall Crossover, SB Line Manchester Square Crossover, NB Line 754 [+713] 0.17
Manchester Square Crossover, NB Line Foxhall Crossover, NB Line 713 0.17
Foxhall Crossover, NB Line Blundell Street Siding 713 0.53
Blundell Street Siding Blundell Street Siding, Limit of Ops 754 [+713] 0.07
Blundell Street Siding, Limit of Ops Rigby Road Depot, 1/2/3 Road Points [713] 754 0.13
Rigby Road Depot, 1/2/3 Road Points Paint Shop Doors [713] 929 0.10
Paint Shop Doors Rigby Road Depot, 1/2/3 Road Points 929 [+713] 0.10
Rigby Road Depot, 1/2/3 Road Points North Pier Heritage Stop Loop 713 1.53
North Pier Heritage Stop Loop Tower Crossover Southbound (SB) Line 713 0.32
Tower Crossover SB Line Fisherman's Walk Crossover, SB Line 713 14.80
NB Line, south of Foxhall Crossover 19.30
Fisherman's Walk Crossover, SB Line NB Line, Foxhall Crossover 713 19.40
NB Line, north of Foxhall Crossover 0.01
NB Line, Foxhall Crossover NB Line, south of Foxhall Crossover [642] 713 0.04
NB Line, north of Foxhall Crossover North Pier Heritage Stop Loop 713 1.08
North Pier Heritage Stop SB Line 12.40
NB Line, south of Foxhall Crossover Rigby Road Depot Gates 713 13.80

921] The Blackpool Balloon, Sat 26 Jan 2019: By Jim Sellens (who also complied the distance table).
Blackpool in January - probably not the first choice for a day out, but 80 hardy souls thought otherwise
and were rewarded with an interesting and eventful trip around the Blackpool Tram network. First of
all, actually making it there was something of a challenge for those travelling by rail, due to the then
continuing Northern Saturday industrial action (although there were trains running), but a late
morning start gave enough time to travel from Blackpool North to Rigby Road Depot from the first
arrival of the day, 09.32 (SO) from Birmingham New Street (390115) by various means, including Tram
147 from North Pier making a special extra stop at Manchester Square to set down tour passengers.

After the departure of Tram 711, in use as a shop for the Heritage operations at North Pier, and some
shunting of Engineering Tram 754, to feature later, Tram 713 emerged from the depot to form our
Tour. Departing from Hopton Road, it made its way first to Tower, reversing alongside the famous
landmark, before heading to Starr Gate, the southern end of the line, and base of the Flexity trams
that provide the normal service. A trip round the Depot Loop, with a short delay to manually open the
gate - sand, salt and water don't mix well with the electronics in the transponder that should open the
gate - led through the washer (a dry run) to the depot apron and shunts covering depot Roads 5 & 6;
to the end of lines, naturally. After visiting the headshunt, our tram tour covered about half of Road 3.
This allowed us to see all the Flexity trams not in service that day in the two sides of the building.

After a shunt onto the main line, a second run around the Depot Loop was made, this time with the
washing plant working, before heading back north along the promenade to North Pier, where works
were underway for the future Blackpool North station branch. Another reversal here took us back
south to Foxhall crossover. Here we met up with Tram 754 to cover one of the sections missed on our
last tour on 19 Nov 2016, the crossover at Manchester Square - missed for the obvious reason it is not
wired! However 754 can also operate on diesel power so it dragged us over the crossover before
detaching and returning to Rigby Road; our tour followed it back via a reversal at Foxhall Crossover.

More use of '754' as motive power along Blundell Street, alongside the Depot Fitting Shop, then took
us onto the (now) de-wired section of track, formerly a through line with a connection back to the
mainline at Foxhall. Building work in the area precluded a long run, the two trams forming an effective
roadblock on Rigby Road while reversing. '754' then propelled the tour back and onto the depot before
being detached, which allowed a traction change, into a sort of tram replacement road service...

BELOW: North Pier '713' (left) on our tour during the lunch break, '147' & '011' (Angus McDougall).

ABOVE: Although our tram had not broken down this was motive power on the non-wired section
ahead and round 180O (to the left) from here to the paint shop at the rear of the building seen.

Blackpool No929 is an ERF 'B Series' recovery truck, able to attach a tram coupling bar. Thus equipped,
it was used to push our tram around the direct curve into the depot and through 270 degrees left
round to the Paint Shop doors, returning back to the tram sheds. This was another non-wired section
most thought they would never do. The unusual combination of road and rail together was a first for
many, even bringing out tram staff for a photo. A short break was taken to look at the heritage fleet
and take a few photos before heading to North Pier by more conventional means and a lunch break.

Suitably refreshed, and in deteriorating weather, participants settled back for the long ride to
Fleetwood, via Bispham and Thornton Gate centre roads, and back to Fisherman's Walk to reverse
again. Then it was back around the Fleetwood Loop, noting the North Euston Hotel on the left, this
time using the outer line; a short photo stop was made in the rain alongside the Pharos Lighthouse.

Another long run followed, to Pleasure Beach turning circle, covering two sections missed in 2016, the
Bispham Centre Road north connection, and outer line at Pleasure Beach Loop. There was another
short stop for a leg stretch and photos (still raining) before setting off again and into a problem.

Coronation Tram No642, one of the six in 'Heritage' service that day, had come to a stand in front of us
at Foxhall. The Engineering Team were quickly on hand and our driver went forward to offer help.
Despite their best efforts, including lowering and raising the pantograph to reset (turn it off and turn it
on again...) '642' would only work in one direction, and, of course, not the direction it should be going!
So, out with a coupling bar again for us to push '642' past the crossover, allowing it to return to Rigby
Road. It nearly worked, but '642' stopped again on the crossover, now blocking both lines. Eventually
Tram 711 arrived from its retail duties earlier at North Pier and the pair were banished to the depot.

ABOVE: Our tour tram outside Blackpool Rigby Road Depot, the line in the distance curves right (and
becomes double track) heading towards the promenade. (All pictures Ian Mortimer unless specified.)

With the line reopened, the delays allowed a clear and fairly rapid run back to Little Bispham for the
turning circle, [after all one good turn deserves another] and likewise back south, before finally
arriving back at Rigby Road Depot, still ahead of our booked time, to finish the day. This completed
64.35km (almost exactly 40 miles!) with three different traction units and definitely reached the parts
that others cannot reach. Many thanks to Gary Conn and his very friendly and helpful Rigby Road staff
for their superb organisation of the event and to Drivers Dave and Chris, and Conductor Andrew for all
their efforts during the day as well as our Kev Adlam. With fares and raffle revenue, the tour raised a
fantastic £3,600 for the Heritage operation; some will be used to get Brush Car 634 back into service.

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