Number 1307 (Items 1253 - 1359 & MR 116- MR 126) (E-BLN 66 PAGES) 7 July 2018
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Respice in praeteritum, praesens et futurum
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society - founded 1955
WEBSITE ADDRESS: branchline.uk
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.
…..B BLN 1308 is dated Sat 21 JulSyo;cpielteya. sSeocsieetnyd. contributions by Wed 11 July.
Date Event and details BLN Lead Status
Wed/Thur: BLS Cornwall Tracker: .UPDATE BELOW OPEN. 1302 JE *OPEN*
Sat 21 Jul The Dawson Cobra, Middlesbrough Goods, track & traction 1306 JE OPEN
1306 JE OPEN
1305 JE OPEN
1301 JE Enquire
Thur 2 Aug 12.45 Spa Valley Railway IMPORTANT UPDATE - BLN 1306 1305 JE OPEN
1300 JE OPEN
1299 JE *OPEN*
1305 JE OPEN
Sat 4 Aug 14.00-16.00 Wester Pickston Railway, Methven, Perth
Sun 5 Aug Invergarry & Fort Augustus Railway APPLY (WAITING LIST)
Sat 18 Aug 09.30 Summer Scunthorpe Steeler tour No16 limited space
Sat 25 Aug 09.30-10.30 Blenheim Park Railway (15" gauge) railtour
Sat 25 Aug 12.00-16.00 Beeches Light Railway ONE SPACE AVAILABLE
Mon 27 Aug The Marching Crompton track & traction Bank Holiday tour
Mon 27 Aug Llanelli & Mynydd Mawr Railway, riding visit & extra track 1305 JE OPEN
8 & 9 Sep Save the weekend; Minor Railways in Hertfordshire & Essex TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 29 Sep 13.00 Coate Water Railway, North Wilts MES, Swindon Below JE *OPEN*
Sun 30 Sep Save the date: A trip with 'Molly' in the north of England TBA TBA Claimed
Sun 21 Oct 12.00 Andover Model Engineers all line style visit *NEW* Below JE *OPEN*
26-28 Oct Yorkshire weekend AGM, various fixtures & film show/buffet TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 17 Nov East-West Midlands Railtour with an extremely unusual first TBA TBA Claimed
16-19 May Island of Ireland IV (2019) - reserve the dates TBA TBA Claimed
Long dated items may temporarily disappear, JE-Jill Everitt, TBA-To Be Advised, = book online at branchline.uk
1253] Regional Reshuffle: From this BLN Graeme Jolley now kindly covers the East Midlands area of
BLN: Derbyshire (except Buxton & Hope Valley), Leicestershire, Lincolnshire with South Humberside/
Immingham, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire (with NET) and Rutland. John Cameron now covers
the North West: Cheshire, Cumbria, Derbyshire - Buxton & Hope Valley, Greater Manchester (with
Metrolink), Lancashire (with Blackpool Trams) and Merseyside. Please always use the 'generic' email
addresses at the start of each section as these are forwarded automatically for holiday cover etc.
IMPORTANT: Peter Scott's 'Tesco' email is finishing, please use [email protected]
X.77] .BLS 'Cornish STP* Tracker'. Wed 11-Thur 12 Jul NEXT WEEK: Due to last minute cancellations
places are available again. Thanks to our member Mark Haggas for the considerable time and work he
has put into this. It is based on sleeper arrival in the Penzance area (or being in Cornwall already).
The plan has various options and contingencies. Overnight accommodation is required, the eastern
end of Cornwall or Plymouth area is recommended but using early and late services it is possible to
stay as far away as Penzance or Exeter and not miss any track. It will be the peak summer timetable, in
a lovely area with great company and hopefully great weather.
All track possible on a service train is included with a call at every platform at each station at least
once (some are request stops). This is everything from Plymouth station west (with its six platform
approaches from Cornwall). Participants can 'observe' most of the various sought after ECS shunts at
Par, Liskeard and Penzance for added interest. For the rare Penzance and Plymouth platforms more
than one service is included to increase the chances of success. Includes: Lostwithiel P2 - Par P3; Par
P3 - St Austell P1; Perranwell - Truro P3; Lelant Saltings - St Erth P2 - Penzance; Liskeard P3 - Coombe
Junction Halt; Penzance P4 - St Erth (return sleeper, can be in the 'seated' area); Plymouth P3 Bay to/
from Devonport. Other highlights are rarer stations: St Budeaux Ferry Road, Menheniot & Lelant with
HSTs calling at some short platform minor stations (mostly DMU served). One hour breaks available in
lovely St Ives and Looe (or repeat branch trip/s). A Bodmin & Wenford Railway alternative is possible.
Stepping back a train on the unusual Penryn platform covers both Falmouth DMUS. 'Ride Cornwall'
Day Ranger (£13/£10.75 railcard) gives many miles of travel, but tickets are needed for morning peaks.
*'Cornish STP Tracker': Not a 'Short Term Plan' but All the Stations! All the Track! & All the Platforms!
Book via website or Jill Everitt. Queries [email protected] (Mark Haggas). A souvenir ticket and
detailed track map will be provided; a great occasion with like-minded people.
1254] .Wester Pickston Winkle Picker. Sat 4 Aug 14.00-16.00: (MR p28) Glenalmond, Methven, Perth,
PH1 3RX, (NN 984 281). An all line visit with at least two locos; includes new parts of the extensive intricate
layout opened recently. There are only 4 public open days per year. Covers the new full outer loop from
Pickston to Ducks End and triangle there (one side not part of the public ride), Ducks End station new
through lines and new double track sections. £10 Members, £15 Non-members, Under 18s (must be
accompanied) £5/£10, with light refreshments. Online booking is far less work for us please. Only if
unavoidable, by post to Jill Everitt with membership number, email address/SAE. Lifts possible from Perth.
1255] .Coate Water Warbler: Sat 29 Sep 13.00: Coate Water Country Park, SN3 6AD, (SU 179 827),
three miles south east of Swindon station. With thanks to North Wilts MES here since the elevated line
began in the 1960s. Simon Mortimer has kindly arranged a special train on a non-public day with a
view to covering all the running lines https://goo.gl/D2JeDR (track plan) at this 1,400yd long 5"/7¼"
line. These include the Old Loop (not used for public running), Inner Loop, Outer Loop and Extension
Loop with several scissors crossovers, platform roads and the Richard Jeffries Bypass line (not used for
public running). The routes can vary slightly on public days but one visit would not give them all and it
would be difficult to cover all the platform lines and crossovers etc. Battery electric and/or internal
combustion locos expected, possibly double headed if support permits. The 'normal' public run is over
1,200 yards and does not include many of the elements above. Extra branches and sidings will be
sought as practicable. Teas, coffees and biscuits included; estimated finish 15.30/16.00. £10 members;
£15 non-members; Under 18s (accompanied) £5/£10. Please advise if you can give lifts (and number)
or would like one from Swindon station. Website booking saves much work (or please ask someone to
do this for you) or by post to Jill Everitt - please supply membership number/s and email or an SAE.
1256] .Andover Anchovy: Sun 21 Oct 12.00: Andover & District Model Engineering Soc, Winchester
Road (B3420), SP11 7HT, (SU 379 418) about 3¼ miles south of Andover station. With thanks to Simon
Mortimer. Andover MES was founded in 1945 and moved to their current site near Wherwell in 2009.
Set in woodland in the Test Valley, it was an old WWII munitions site; original Nissen huts survive
including the club house and workshop. The original ground level line see https://goo.gl/ziA6kB was a
430yd dual gauge 5"/7¼" loop (black on this plan); in 2012 a 820yd 7¼" extension opened (light blue);
in 2016 a further 520yd (dark blue) of 7¼" with yet another extension (red) in 2018 - so new that the
exact length is unknown! With passing loops, there are about 1½ miles of ground level track. Also the
elevated 2½"/3½"/5" line https://goo.gl/kvMSib (extended to 450yd in 2017) should be available.
The general public are not admitted to this site. Starts 12.00 to meet MES members and survey the
site. At about 13.00 during the MES lunch break https://goo.gl/qJtgJ4 is a recommended pub a mile
away before our visit resumes. It includes trips around all the circuits/loops and shorter offshoots as
practicable. £15 non-members; £10 members; Under 18s (must be accompanied by adult) £5/£10.
Please advise if you can give (and number) lifts or would like one from Andover station. Web booking
saves work or post to Jill Everitt - supplying membership number/s, an email address or an SAE please.
BELOW: Andover MES, a Kentrail Enthusiasts Group trip some years ago, second from the front is the
late John Salmon. NEXT PAGE TOP: Your BLN Minor Railways Editor Peter Scott, ready to take up the
reigns, is focused on taking notes, seemingly unaware of the photographer. (Simon Mortimer)
1307 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
1257] Waterford & Suir Valley Railway, Mount Congreve Gardens 'Platform': (BLNs 1294.MR235 &
1295.2489) OP† Sat 24 Mar 2018, the first train was at 11.00 from Kilmeadan. The platform has a
unidirectional service; trains from Kilmeadan pass through non-stop calling only on return from
Carriganore (or the site of the former Gracedieu Junction on Saturdays). Passengers may alight to visit
the gardens and return on a later train. The railway confirms that it is 1m 59ch from Kilmeadan station
and 4m 38ch from Bilberry at the Waterford end. †It was to have been the initial temporary terminus
of the railway but opening was delayed until 3 Aug 2002; services ran non-stop from the outset to
Carriganore. Bilberry station (on the former 5' 3" gauage Waterford South branch) is still available
only for pre-booked parties before or after regular service (such as our Sat 20 May 2017 Society trip).
1258] Aberdare Ground Frame (22m 37ch) - Tower Colliery loading pad - Hirwaun Pond (27m 15ch):
(NR boundary 26m 62ch) (BLN 1293.1240) Branch temporarily Out of Use from 31 May 2018 (saving on
maintenance costs and business rates). The final coal train to clear stocks left 18.17 Thu 11 May 2017;
UK Railtours ran the last tour, the 'Valley Legend', on Sun 30 Jul 2017 from Paddington (BLN 1276.592).
1259] Peak Rail, Matlock Riverside station: (BLN 1265.1825) The station, off the normal running line
to Matlock (NR) P2 and a significant walk from it for the passengers, is still used by passenger trains
occasionally such as on 5 & 6 Jun when only one loco was available so needed to run round the train.
1260] Ebbw Jn - Ebbw Vale Town: (BLN 1305.1015) TCP Mon 25 to Fri 29 Jun 2018 for electrification
work (again) at Ebbw Jn. Gaer Jn - Park Jn - Machen Quarry was TCG (same dates).
1261] Welsh Highland Railway, Meillionen Forest Halt (15m 23ch): (BLN 1302.684) ROP Sat 9 Jun
confirmed by WHR; the request stop TCP 24 Mar (the first date that trains could have called but did
not; last day of service 1 Jan 2018) no public access was available due to the adjacent holiday park
being redeveloped, although on 9 Jun the latter was nowhere near finished; much work remained!
1262] Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway, Thame Jn (0m 60ch) - Princes Risborough: (MR p7),
(BLN 1302.688) TCP for track work after public running Sun 3 Jun 2018 (to No5 line, part of the future
run-round facility). This connects the running line with the new Princes Risborough P4 line. ROP with
P4 expected Wed 15 Aug 2018 operating 'top & tail' (with good progress over the winter, the run
round facility could be commissioned Mar 2019). The first train at 12.00 from Chinnor is for invited
guests with public trains at 14.30, 15.35 & 16.45 (all non-stop to/from Princes Risborough, round trip
50 mins) with advance booking (from either end) only https://goo.gl/L9YBBf adult fare £12 return
(over 60s/national railcard holder £10) £2 fee per booking. 18/19 Aug trains start 11.00 from Chinnor
and 11.40 from Princes Risborough with tickets valid for one round trip. [Note that on Thursdays 16,
23 & 30 Aug trains will not be running to P4.] After Sun 19 Aug on subsequent weekends thickets will
be valid all day as usual. Through tickets are to be available with Chiltern Railways.
1263] Sheffield Supertram, Hillsborough (excl) - Middlewood (incl) with Hillsborough Park and
Leppings Lane stops: (BLN 1305.1021) ROP Mon 18 Jun - two days later than planned - after TCP Sat
26 May 2018 for replacement of tram rails at Middlewood stop and on Middlewood Road.
1264] Breich station: (BLN 1294.2433) TCP Sat 23 Jun; ROP expected Mon 17 Sep (services are SuX).
Britain's third least used national passenger station (48 passengers 2016/2017) on the Glasgow
Central (HL) - Shotts - Edinburgh line is temporarily closed for 12 weeks for a £2.4M (which is £50k
per passenger) upgrade for electrification. This includes raising and lengthening the two platforms,
new ramped access footpaths, improvements to lighting, CCTV and customer information systems,
new ticket machines, validators and waiting shelters. In the current timetable there is one morning
train from Glasgow to Edinburgh (SuX) and an evening return; it is hoped that patronage will increase
with a regular service but this could be by abstracting passengers from the adjacent stations.
1266] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) Reopens Location (exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]
1306.1144 13 Jun 18 9 Jul 18 *Glasgow, Cowlairs North Jn - Cowlairs West Jn (this direction)
1300.441 9 Jul 18 13 Jul 18 (Theale)-Westbury North Jn/Fairwood Jn (and four later periods)
1306.1149 7 Jul 18 23 Jul 18 *Aynho Jn/(Hanborough†)/(Oxford Parkway) - Oxford - (Didcot)/
(NB: Oxford - Didcot open 16-20 Jul) Didcot East Jn/Foxhall Jn. †(Moreton-in-Marsh) at weekends.
1305.1026 2 Jun 18 30 Jul 18 (Liverpool South Parkway P1-4) - Edge Hill East Jn
1305.1026 2 Jun 18 30 Jul 18 Hunts Cross West Jn - (Liverpool South Parkway P5 & P6)
1305.1025 14 Jul 18 30 Jul 18 Liverpool Lime Street - (Huyton)
1300.441 16 Jul 18 6 Aug 18 (Theale)-Westbury North Jn/Fairwood Jn (and three later periods)
1305.1022 23 Jun 18 9 Aug 18 Sheffield Supertram: (Birley Lane) - Halfway
1306.1154 28 Jul 18 9 Aug 18 *Manchester Metrolink (Cornbrook) - MediaCityUK/Eccles
1305.1022 10 Aug 18 20 Aug 18 Sheffield Supertram: (Gleadless Townend) - Herdings Park
1298.214 12 May 18 20 Aug 18 (Aberdeen) - (Dyce)
1305.1022 25 Aug 18 3 Sep 18 Supertram: (Gleadless Townend)-Halfway/Gleadless-Herdings Pk.
1305.1022 10 Sep 18 15 Sep 18 Sheffield Supertram: Donetsk Way - Halfway
1286.1612 22 Jul 18 0 8 Oct 18 (Derby) station/associated lines - a series of partial closures
1297.123 20 Oct 18 29 Oct 18 (Three Bridges) - (Brighton)/(Lewes) (also 16 to 24 Feb 2019)
1302.702 27 Oct 18 19 Nov 18 Bristol East Jn - Stoke Gifford No1 Jn; Filton Jn - Patchway Jn;
Feeder Bridge Jn - Dr Day's Jn & Narroways Hill Jn - (Clifton Down)
1265] Llangollen Railway, Corwen East/Dwyrain Corwen - Corwen: (BLN 1220.1574) ROP with the
new Corwen terminus (an island platform able to take eight coach trains one side and six the other)
with closure of the present temporary Corwen East (OP 22 Oct 2014) now expected 'by spring 2019'
1307 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
1267] Electronic Messages: (BLN 1306.1135) This is the second e-BLN with email notifications sent
by the widely used MailChimp system. After BLN 1306 there were a few queries from members who
had apparently not received a notification. In many cases we found that members had not set their
communications preferences when renewing their membership, so would not receive an email.
Others were able to confirm that the email had arrived but into their spam/junk folder.
The new system puts members in control of the messages they receive from us. Each message has
an 'update preferences' link at the bottom. If you are not receiving emails https://goo.gl/JqT61k
can be used. Also some members receiving the old Branch Line emails had not set any preferences.
They have now been added to the list of those who will receive the e-BLN notification. If you fall
into that category and wish to stop the emails, please do so by updating your preferences. For any
queries about non-receipt of paper/e-BLN, MailChimp or the messages the new email address is
[email protected] (other options for paper BLN are on the back page with contact details.)
Finally - to point out the obvious, members can view or download a new e-BLN from the website
once it is 'live' without having to receive the email; just check on the Thur evening before the date
of the BLN (per previous BLN masthead). Similarly to view or book new website fixtures as released.
1268] Oxford supplement: (previous pages) For Dons and the rest of you, thanks to Martyn Brailsford
(our Publications Officer and cartographer extraordinaire), this BLN has a double sided A4 track plan of
the old and new layouts with line directionality and new names after commissioning/resignalling from
Mon 30 Jul. https://goo.gl/UNBCfD is a link to a PDF version that can easily be printed.
1270] Signal Box Location Quiz, Answers: (BLN 1206.1160) With thanks to Angus McDougall…
•Beet Factory: Cupar, Fife •Jubilee Sidings: Stockport
•Bog Junction: Carlisle Goods Lines •Naval Base Junction: Inverkeithing
•Brickyard Crossing: Birmingham Camp Hill line •North East Junction: Cardiff Docks
•Common Branch Jn: Llantrisant to Treforest •Reception Sidings: Immingham
•Concentration Sidings: Mansfield •Sod Hall: Ormskirk to Preston line
•Crew Junction: Granton, Edinburgh •Subway Junction: Westbourne Park
•Exhibition Junction: Edge Hill, Liverpool •Swing Bridge East: Falkirk Grahamston
•Fairlie High: Fairlie station name prior to 1953 •Tank Yard: Miles Platting, Manchester
•Fork Junction: Stratford, London •Terminus Junction: Glasgow
•Forks Junction: Carlisle •The Hall: Nottingham
•Goods & Mineral Junction: King's Cross •Way and Works Siding: Derby
•Hospital Crossing: Bamber Bridge •Workshops: Warrington
1269] Points & Slips (1): ●BLN 1304.981 (& 1306.125): Concerning the Heritage period of the Derwent
Valley (Light) Railway, 23 Sep 1983 was actually the date of a 'ceremony' with three officials handing
over the line to the Yorkshire Museum of Farming, with the aspiration of public running the following
Easter. This did not happen and public services did not begin until autumn 1992. ●BLN 1306.1138:
On 14 Jun 2018 Her Majesty the Queen, whose gricing records are the envy of most, is thought to have
'red penned' the Halton Jn to Frodsham Jn line in that direction. Prior to reopening on 9 May this year
it was only available in the other direction. ●1149-1153: To be clear, the restricted single line working
between Oxford P4 and Didcot was on Sun 1 Jul and will be from Mon 16 until Fri 20 Jul only; some
trains use the Didcot avoiding line. ●1175: The very remote Waskerley station pictured in e-BLN
CP from Mon 4 Jul 1859; the last timetabled service ran on Sat 2 Jul 1859 - hard luck if you missed it.
●BLN 1306.1209] The Paddington to Long Marston specials ran on Wed 20 & Thur 21 Jun. On 20th the
return ran to Evesham where passengers detrained for GWR services to London because the London
end Class 73 had failed. The train then ran ECS to Worcester Shrub Hill where the country end loco ran
round and took the train to Eastleigh Works. Here the 4TC was exchanged for four Mk1 coaches and
that formation ran ECS to Paddington on the Thursday for the next working.
1271] New Volunteers: Following recent BLN requests, we are pleased that some of you have put your
names forward and in many cases are already helping the Society. Thank you all and welcome!
Phil Wieland, Webmaster [email protected] to receive queries from our website users
including access problems/support and work with Website Officer Ian Delgado in responding to these.
Mark Gomm and Mark Haggas now transfer e-BLN/BLNI and additions from the Editors' keyboards
to the website; Mark Haggas also maintains the website fixtures page for your online bookings.
Nick Garnham [email protected] worked with Ian Delgado to set up the new MailChimp,
system replacing the outdated and little-used Branch Line Yahoo group e-mails and simplifying the
e-BLN message. Nick is the email contact for paper BLN, e-BLN message & MailChimp problems etc.
Phil Logie [email protected] uploads Fixtures Reports to our Website and produces further
BLN Pictorials - please send photos with captions for these to Phil or any queries about BLN Pictorial.
Dave Cromarty [email protected] maintains Railway Rights of Way on the website.
Bill Davis prepared the 'Nosey Peaker' railtour seating plans to assist our Bookings Officer, Jill Everitt.
Lee Nash, last but not least, posts his UK Events Diary directly to our Website.
1272] Old BLNs wanted please! Martyn Brailsford with his Society archivist hat on, is looking for old
BLNs to complete our official collection. They are Series 2: No1 (8 Jan 1964) to 103 (10 Apr 1968), &
1018 (27 May 2006). Please contact [email protected] 07753377242 to help.
1307 EAST MIDLANDS .(NEW REGIONAL EDITOR: Graeme Jolley). [email protected]
New Postal address: Dolbryn, Penegoes, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 8NN
1273] Derby: From 18 Jun St Andrews Siding between London Road Jn and Peartree station was
abolished. The Derby project aims to modernise the layout in the station area and its approaches,
segregating routes as far as practicable to reduce reactionary time with more bidirectional capability.
The area is currently controlled from the 1969 Derby Power Signal Box with an Entrance Exit Panel and
Westpac MK III Geographical interlocking but will transfer to East Midlands Control Centre. Bay P5
(with a capacity of only 66m) is on a terminal prognosis - if anyone hasn't done it - and will be filled in.
P6 will become P5 with a new full length through P6 added to the east side and provision for the other
face to become a future P7. BLN 1308 is expected to have a 'before' and 'after' track plan of the area.
1274] Derby - Nottingham: Your 'new' East Midlands Regional Editor ventured into his area on the
18 Jun to visit Nottingham Express Transit (NET). After arriving from deepest Wales at Birmingham
New Street on time, CrossCountry then conspired to thwart the onward journey to Nottingham.
Apparently an earlier CrossCountry train had been cancelled after striking a bird (no, the species was
not given). Your Regional Ed had previously always thought of this excuse as the preserve of airlines.
There had also had been a train failure in the Burton area - again earlier in the day and, to compound
all of this, the next northbound departure to Derby and points north was at least 45 minutes late.
Eventually, after boarding two Nottingham trains which were then cancelled, a route out was found to
Derby on a heavily delayed, very overcrowded, four-car Voyager. There, after gathering breath,
it appeared that the next Nottingham departure would be a Matlock to Newark all stations. As this
was running in, an announcement was heard that the next train to Nottingham from the adjacent
platform would be a non-stop CrossCountry train (when it appeared it was the second of the two
earlier cancellations - now re-instated but very late).
Your Reg Ed could not be bothered to switch with the marauding hordes across to a two-car standing
room only train. And was glad he didn't. The East Midlands all stations DMU then sailed out of Derby
with the CrossCountry train following. WHY‽ Nottingham trams were a bit of an anti-climax after all
that CrossCountry excitement!
1275] Market Harborough: (BLN 1289.1479) The new 300 space car park opened on 18 Jun, allowing
the previous one to close so that it can be used for the track realignment to ease the curvature here.
1276] Kettering: The new timetable has a slightly bizarre 16.27 (SSuX) Derby to Kettering P1 (17.58)
on the Down Slow returning to Sheffield at 18.10. A Dagenham to Hope Sidings aggregates working
then runs through P2, the Up Slow, but stands about 25 min at Kettering North Jn, Meanwhile the
18.10 overtakes it, using all three crossovers (newly situated since remodelling) to the Down Main.
Our 27 Feb 2016 'North Midland Tracker' DMU tour with East Midlands Trains did this with the
previous layout. BELOW: Kettering and 222022 has terminated in P1 from Derby to form the 18.10
back to Sheffield so will take all three crossovers at Kettering North Jn. 66768 passes through P2 on a
Dagenham Down Yard to Hope (Earles Sidings) working. (Simon Mortimer Tue 19 Jun 2018.)
1307 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]
1277] LUL Sub-Surface Lines Resignalling: (BLN 1302.727) The first stage of the new Computer Based
Train Control (CBTC) system between Hammersmith and Latimer Road should have been introduced
last month. Over the weekend of 23/24 Jun the service was advertised as suspended between
Paddington (Suburban) and Hammersmith. In practice passengers detrained at Paddington and the
trains ran forward empty, switching to the new signalling at Latimer Road, with the intention to start
running through in passenger service if the tests went well. Unfortunately a number of problems were
encountered on 23rd, in particular the inability of the trains' on board computers to function correctly
when they reached the CBTC boundary. As a result the service was badly disrupted all day and on 24th
a normal service operated using the old signalling system. It is also thought that not all Train Operators
are trained on the new system. The next attempt to introduce CBTC is now likely to be on 20/21 Jul.
ABOVE: The weekly Woodford working waiting. (Simon Mortimer Sun 24 Jun at 22.40- that's keen.)
1278] The Weekly Train to Woodford! It is incredibly easy to embrace the multi-cultural nature of
London. Within 200m of Woodford station on Sunday 24 Jun, in the blazing sun of high summer, two
members were able to eat a Pukka pie (and chips) from Leicester, bought from a Turkish Kebab and
Chippy, washed down with a Romanian cider bought from the Lithuanian delicatessen, al fresco on a
handy blue plastic barrel situated outside what appeared to be a Polish estate agency! This was the
precursor to a foray to Canada Water to cover the trailing crossover on the 21.34 to Crystal Palace
booked to reverse there due to engineering works, but this was thwarted by the train's cancellation!
Thus phase two of the plan began. This was attempted because it coincided very nicely with the
weekly train to Woodford. There are of course trains every few minutes to Woodford, but this one is a
very special LUL weekly service. At the very end of its journey Train 24 SuO 21.50 from White City is
booked to use the facing crossover to the westbound track and gain the westbound-side bay P1. Not
even the bay is this rare, but the crossover is! At Stratford before 22.23 the list of services scrolled and
the Woodford service duly popped up right to time, although rather disconcertingly when it arrived it
was shown as 'via Hainault' on the platform train describer. They travelled on without any unusual
comment until South Woodford. Here the Train Operator made an almost impassioned plea for those
travelling beyond Woodford to 'leave now as it will be far less inconvenient to change trains here', just
the sort of inconvenience our members wanted to hear about! They bowled off into the night quite
briskly, but on the approach the Train Operator really dropped the anchors (trains on this section of
the Central Line are usually driven manually on Sundays to maintain driving knowledge) and they duly
weaved across the critical crossover and came to rest in the bay. The weekly train from White City had
arrived! (Very local Regional Editor's note: Bay P1 at Woodford is used quite often to reverse late-
running trains, which are correctly displayed on platform train describers as plain 'Woodford'.)
1279] Barking - Gospel Oak: (BLN 1306.1105) TfL held a 'launch event' at Willesden Depot with a new
Class 710 EMU on 20 Jun. However the class, not yet approved to operate over NR tracks, was towed
from Derby on 13 Jun and back on 21st. The class has a completely new design of Train Management
System; problems with this have reportedly delayed type acceptance. A TfL 20 Jun press release stated
that the first Class 710 units to be commissioned will be used on this line and they should enter service
by Nov. It also said that final OHLE equipment approval had been given the previous week and that
construction of the Barking Riverside extension should start this year, with services beginning in 2021.
The extra peak services mentioned in BLN 1306 (including the 08.11 Barking - Willesden Junction LL
SSuX PSUL) were all withdrawn after last operating Fri 29 Jun. The problem is that the new EMUs were
expected to be running by now and the two car Class 172 DMUs are owned by Angel Train Leasing who
has contracted to supply them to West Midlands Railway for 9 Dec timetable. The 'spare' DMU which
operated the peak extras was reclaimed over 30 Jun/1 Jul for assessment of the work needed on them.
1280] Thameslink: (BLN 1306.1172) A detailed analysis of all the problems: https://goo.gl/dViV9Z
('London Reconnections'). It suggests that late ordering by the DfT, late delivery by Siemens and a high
fault level on the Class 700 EMUs have contributed significantly to the disruption. Three Bridges ROC
Traffic Management System is not fully operational, putting pressure on signallers and controllers.
1281] Deep Tube Upgrade Programme: The first order has been placed under this programme to
provide new rolling stock, signalling and control systems for the Piccadilly, Bakerloo, Central and
Waterloo & City Lines (in that order). Siemens Mobility Ltd will design and build 94 trains for the
Piccadilly Line, at least some of which will be built in their proposed new factory in Goole. Delivery will
begin in 2023, enabling peak train services between Arnos Grove and Acton Town to increase from
24tph (trains per hour) to 27tph by 2026. They will be 6m longer than the existing trains with walk-
through, air conditioned cars. The contract also includes whole-life technical support and an option to
supply trains for the other three lines. A separate procurement process for the signalling and train
control systems for the four lines is underway, with a view to awarding this contract by mid-2020.
Beyond 2026 completion of a new automatic train control and signalling system for the Piccadilly Line
will allow a progressive increase to 33tph if a further seven trains are purchased. The system will have
the capability to handle 36tph, although that would require another eight trains. 'Underground News'
reports that major upgrade work will be carried out at Cockfosters and Northfields depots to
accommodate the increased fleet size and the Ealing Broadway District Line branch will become part
of the Piccadilly Line. This will enable the District Line service to Wimbledon and Richmond to be
increased. The initial commitment to resignalling will be for the Piccadilly Line only, with control from
the interim control centre at South Kensington (BLN 1306.1170). A single control centre for all four
lines will be built in conjunction with the Bakerloo Line upgrade.
1307 NORTH EAST (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
1282] Tyne & Wear Metro: Passenger transport authority Nexus has launched the pre-qualification
stage for the procurement of a new fleet. Formal tender documents will be released at the end of the
summer and Nexus hopes to award a contract by the end of 2019 to allow the new trains to be in
service by 2021. The successful bidder will be asked to design, build and maintain the fleet and
maintenance facilities that will serve Metro for the next 35 years, including building and running a new
depot at the existing site in Gosforth. Nexus wishes to improve passenger flow and dwell times at
stations through better seating layouts, wider doors with stand-back areas and wide aisles. There will
be air conditioning, space for luggage and improved WiFi etc for passengers.
1283] Newcastle: On Wed 13 Jun a member visited the area. The 06.30 Carlisle - Morpeth took the
Down Slow at King Edward Bridge South Jn to Newcastle P4, as in Realtime Trains (RTT), went left at
the platform end to the Up Main at Newcastle East Jn and crossed to the Down Main at Dean Street
Crossover. The 07.48 Glasgow Central - Birmingham New Street was routed (per RTT) via the Up and
Down Slow from Heaton South Jn and then to Newcastle P4. The 10.33 Middlesbrough - Hexham was
routed via Newcastle P7 (as in RTT). The member had noted in RTT that P8 was occupied from 09.04
by the 08.25 from Hexham until the departure of the 11.28 to Metrocentre. His train duly ran via P8
and then the Down Slow to King Edward Bridge South Jn in the Up direction. The 11.57 Hexham -
Middlesbrough was routed via the Down Slow at King Edward Bridge South Jn to Newcastle P5.
1284] Darlington: (BLN 1302.736) A plan to redevelop the station has been on the table since last year
as part of a joint project of the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA), Darlington Council and NR. It is
merely an aspiration; one of various projects across the country competing for investment and support
from the DfT. The mayor is prepared to bring forward an investment of up to £25M from the £59M
'Transforming Cities Fund' that was devolved to the TVCA from Government last year, and which it was
expected would be spent on bus services. However, he has insisted that that central Government will
need to contribute the rest. The TVCA has now agreed £3M for detailed design work on the project.
1285] Tyne Valley: On 5 June a Hitachi 800 set undertook gauging trials for passenger diversions along
the Tyne Valley on its way from Glasgow Central via Carlisle and Newcastle to Doncaster Carr depot.
1286] Whitehill Point: On Fri 10 May 1974 the society ran a brake van trip from North Blyth (Cambois)
via Percy Main to Whitehill Point staiths. As the present Regional Editor then knew nothing of the
lines south of Percy Main, and his only map was the Ian Allan Pre-Grouping Atlas, he has no idea where
the train went. OS maps of the period show two 'Whitehill Point' locations. He would be very grateful
if any of the other 10 participants on this trip (or another occasion) can advise of the precise location.
1307 NORTH WEST .(NEW REGIONAL EDITOR: John Cameron). [email protected]
Please send any postal items for forwarding to Paul Stewart, BLN Editor, per back page
1287] Windsor Bridge North Jn - Bolton - Euxton Jn: NR has announced the line closures required to
(hopefully) complete electrification. Work will continue overnight mid-week and all weekend until Sun
4 Nov. There will be a 9-day total closure Sat 25 Aug to Sun 2 Sep (inclusive). Since Amey replaced
Carillion, good progress has apparently been made. Recently there were only 3 problem foundations
to do (of 1,659) and 117 masts (total 1,519) to install. As well as widening, straightening and rebuilding
Farnworth Tunnel, there has been significant track remodelling and platform work particularly at
Chorley and Bolton, 14km of track has been relaid, 93 signals and 236,000m of cables laid.
X.78] BELOW: Allerton Junction Signal Box - due to close at the end of July. (Ken Lowe 21 Jun 2018)
1288] Blackpool North: The Office of Rail and Road has approved Alliance Rail's application to run
direct rail services to/from Euston. From May 2019 they will be permitted to run six return trips on
weekdays, five Saturdays and four on Sundays. The intention is to use redundant Class 91s with Mark 4
coaches and DVTs from the ECML in 6-coach formations. As non-tilting stock they are limited to 90mph
on the WCML, so planned calls at Crewe, Tamworth and Lichfield Trent Valley are no longer possible
due to timing constraints. However, calls are planned at Milton Keynes, Nuneaton, Preston, Kirkham
& Wesham and Poulton-le-Fylde (Pendolinos are unable to call at the latter two stations).
1289] Maghull North: (BLN 1306.1145) The new station, the 68th on the Merseyrail network, has 156
car parking spaces. 1,700 new homes are planned to be built in the vicinity.
1290] Metrolink: A new fare structure with four ringed fare zones, as in London and some other cities,
is proposed. This reduces the number of possible stop-to-stop fare combinations from 8,500 to 10.
The proposed zones are based on the same factors used to design the current system and include the
distance and time taken to travel as well as local factors which have been taken into account as the
network expanded. It is an evolution of the current system and has been designed to cover all costs
without public subsidy (as before). Fares would depend on the number of zones traversed. Returns
(peak/off-peak) would be replaced by daily travel cards with unlimited travel in the selected zone/s.
As in London, some stops on a zone boundary would count as being in both zones with a lower fare
according to the direction of travel. For example Stretford (Altrincham Line) would be in Zone 2 and 3.
•Stretford to Sale would be just a Zone 3 fare. •Stretford to Piccadilly would be Zone 1 + Zone 2 fare.
All existing and future ticketing and payment options, including contactless, 'get me there' (app and
smart card) and even paper tickets continue. The proposals do not affect the current rail ticket add-on.
Metrolink say that 16.5% of fares will increase by more than they otherwise would in Jan 2019. The
other 83.5% of fares are no different than they would have been. Public consultation is now closed.
1291] Middleton: Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is to consider a branch off the Bury
Metrolink line to Middleton. Rochdale Borough Council, which includes Middleton, supports the plan
and says it is the biggest gap in the network. It is one of only three Greater Manchester secondary
town centres not served by rail or Metrolink (the others are Haywood and Leigh). TfGM officers are
preparing a costed feasibility study and business case. The plans will include a major park & ride.
The nearest station Mills Hill, in the
borough of Oldham, does not serve the
west side of Middleton, and is far from
the town centre. During peak times rail
passengers are frequently left behind due
to overcrowding. There are also no plans
to increase the number of off-peak rail
services at the station.
1292] Mills Hill: Access to the station
requires the use of stepped and non-
compliant ramps. There is no ticket
machine on the Down platform. NR have
extensive alterations planned, and
apparently under the Disability
Discrimination Act must complete them
by Mar 2019 [is that really the case??].
1293] Kemira Fertilisers branch (LEFT):
(TRACKmaps Vol 4 p35.A) The current
CF Fertiliser Ince Works, south of the
Manchester Ship Canal, occupies 124 acres, has about 400 employees and produces 1M tonnes of
fertiliser annually for the grass and arable farming sectors. It has an Ammonia, a Nitrogen fertiliser and
three Nitric Acid plants as well as three fertiliser compound production lines. Established in 1965,
originally by Shell as Shellstar Fertiliser, the site has changed hands several times and been rebranded.
In late 1996 the then UKF Fertilisers Ltd (UKF) built a private line and started sending products by rail.
This mostly private branch, about 1m 18ch long, from Helsby, West Cheshire Jn (8m 12ch) curves
northwest, very briefly north then northeast round in a 'U' shape. UKF block trains initially served four
railhead stores but by 1970 there were 14 depots and, with subsequent 'growth', more; trains ran in
multiple portions to/from different terminals. This plant mostly supplied the south of England (there is
still a similar one at Billingham-on-Tees). Ammonia was also sent out by rail to Barton-on-Humber,
Seal Sands, Normanby Park, Immingham, Avonmouth and Thames Haven. Inward rail traffic included
Phosphoric Acid from Whitehaven, Immingham and Avonmouth. Nitric Acid was also carried by rail.
UKF owned or leased rail served terminals (at least) at:
•Lugton (East Ayrshire) •Aberystwyth •Maidstone West
•Carlisle •Diss •Andover
•Darlington (Hopeton branch) •Kennett (Cambridgeshire) •Bridgwater
•Harrogate •St Neots •Gillingham (Dorset)
•Birkenhead (Duke St) •Sandy •Lapford (Barnstaple line)
•Marsh Barton (Exeter)
•Sleaford •Braintree •Plymouth
•Whittington (Shropshire) •Akeman Street (nr Aylesbury) •Truro
UKF trains also served British Rail freight depots such as:
•Wick •Elgin •Montrose •Kirkcaldy •Gaerwen • Ipswich
•(Anglesey) • Banbury
•Keith •Aberdeen •Perth •Goole
BELOW: The then UKF factory sidings were very fertile ground for new track… with some of their
distinctive vans (left) during a cab ride on the branch. (All pictures Angus McDougall 18 Oct 1986)
ABOVE: On the UKF branch with Stanlow Oil refinery just visible background right.
The distinctive Shellstar/UKF privately owned (as opposed to British Rail state owned!) purpose built
bogie rail vans carried pallets of fertiliser bags that could be unloaded rapidly by fork lift truck for a
quick turn round. The Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Works originally built them in 1968 with
curtain sides. This was unsuccessful and Chas Roberts rebuilt the vans with doors in 1970-71. More
were then built with doors from new. They had various liveries from the 1970s to 1990s including,
from 1990, 'Kemira' but the traffic was lost to road in Jan 1993 and the vans were scrapped in 1994.
BELOW: A Class 47 loco brings a long rake of wagons in off the main line, the way the branch curves
round from West Cheshire Jn can be seen. The two chimneys on the right were at the rail served coal
fired Ince 'A' Power Station (opened 1957 to supply electricity for Uranium Enrichment at Capenhurst).
The plant closed in the mid-1980s and was demolished; the single cooling tower surviving until 1999.
Later that year the sidings at the plant were concreted over for use by lorries. The branch, from
West Cheshire Jn, has been disused since but most is still in situ. In late 2009 planning permission was
given for a major recycling complex ('Resource Recovery Park') with an Energy from Waste power
station (incinerator to you) rail served by the branch, but Runcorn Folly Lane facility was built instead.
From 30 Jul to 4 Aug 1985 the start of the UKF branch was used to reverse passenger trains (behind
the signal) diverted between Mouldsworth and Mickle Trafford Jn due to a bridge failure. Manchester
to Chester trains, very unusually, took a right after Mouldsworth station over the since closed direct
line to West Cheshire Jn to reverse, with a second reversal at Helsby Jn for Chester (or vice versa).
ABOVE: (BLN 1304.1000) UK Railtours 'Another Liverpool Docker' tour of Sat 23 Jun 2018, with many
BLS members on board, ran through the hopper house, as seen, on the Encirc Glass branch.
1294] Helsby, West Cheshire Jn (8m 12ch) - Elton Encirc (formerly Quinn) Glass: (BLN 1259.1180)
The glass works mainly manufactures glass bottles for the drinks industry. The first train, of bottom
unloading sand wagons from King's Lynn Middleton Towers, arrived on the morning of 1 Jun 2016,
returning to Arpley Sidings at 13.30. The new private siding branches off immediately at the start of
the retained but long out of use UKF branch (previous item) immediately west of West Cheshire Jn
(so virtually none is on the old UKF branch). A new point has been installed to access the UKF branch
off to the right; a short section is refurbished as a 'crippled wagon road'. The new single line runs
northwest; with the UKF branch to the right, gradually moving away from the Down Hooton line
(to the left) then heads west to parallel the latter, becoming twin track. The covered bottom unloading
hopper is right with a conveyor belt to the glass works for the sand. The lengthy bypass line (left),
taken by the 14 Jan 2017 Pathfinder 'Mersey Weaver II' railtour, is used to run round the wagons.
Near the end is a crossover (facing from the left hand hopper bypass line looking to the end of line).
ABOVE: At the end of line looking west. (Both photos Stuart Hicks when the train was stationary.)
After a headshunt on each line, they finish together at stop blocks 63ch from the junction just before
an internal road in the glass works. A train is scheduled to arrive Mondays to Fridays about 07.30 and
depart after unloading 1,400 tonnes of sand around 14.00. It runs according to demand, occasionally
on Saturdays. The recent 23 Jun 2018 UKRT 'Another Liverpool Docker' tour ran through the hopper
line to the end of line. Recycled glass has also arrived by rail from the Port of Tilbury (BLN 1297.1716).
The rail terminal, originally due to open Nov 2011, was a planning consent requirement when Quinn
Glass (at the time) obtained retrospective permission in 2009 for the plant (which was actually
constructed in 2005!). It took much more work (and cost far more) than originally envisaged. As an
interim measure in 2011, the former Cawood's siding at Ellesmere Port Docks (Manchester Ship Canal
Railway), off the branch west of Ellesmere Port station, was relaid 20 years after closing. The first train
of sand from Middleton Towers arrived there 8 Apr 2011; it was then carried to Quinn Glass by road.
1295] Northern Cuts: (BLN 1306.1141) Further reductions include between Blackpool North and
Manchester Airport. Other services between Blackpool North and Manchester Piccadilly turnback/
terminate at Manchester Oxford Road. Services are reduced on the Kirkby to Manchester Victoria line
via Wigan, and between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge. Of note an agreement has been made
with other rail operators that, until 29 Jul, customers with Northern tickets can travel with other
operators if they are unable to complete their journey due to delays or cancellation.
X.79] NEXT PAGE TOP: The same tour at the buffer stop at the end of the quay between Liverpool
Gladstone Dock No1 & No2. The former steel terminal (TRACKmaps Vol 4 p41A) to the left of the train
has been replaced by three large concrete silos for Biomass storage. NEXT PAGE LOWER: Passing
through Liverpool Bulk (Biomass) Terminal, two of these very tall silos can be seen. (Stuart Hicks)
ABOVE: A loco-hauled service ('Farronex'?) at a secret location that Northern would rather you didn't
know about…. NEXT PAGE TOP: At electrified (ahem..) Oxenholme P3. (Stephen Atkinson Jun 2018)
1296] Windermere: (BLN 1307.139) The loco worked West Coast Railways (WCR) service of six return
services (four SuO) ran daily Mon 18 Jun until Sun 1 July. According to the WCR Managing Director in
an interview with Radio Cumbria, Northern had no part in arranging it; she said they had been
uncooperative in fact! WCR reportedly took the initiative, contacting Tim Farron (local Lib Dem MP) to
see if they could help. Tim engaged the Community Rail Partnership who drew up a timetable which
was then agreed. WCR cleared all rules of operation with NR, then provided a train to run a test
journey on Sun 17 Jun. On the return that day the replacement road coach service had failed,
Northern were contacted as the train was available. At first they were obstructive but were forced into
a corner with a large number of passengers waiting to be transported. Tim Farron subsequently
cleared the service with Chris Grayling and funding was agreed, reportedly £5,500 per day. [This could
be 'recovered' by the DfT with funding cuts elsewhere, of course.] At no time was Northern involved
and all attempts at dialogue were reportedly ignored.
The service loaded well, did not appear on the National Rail or Northern website (but was on Realtime
Trains and there was much media publicity). Travel was essentially 'free' with no fares collected on the
train so as not to abstract revenue from the road services. A significant number of enthusiasts visited.
One member witnessed Northern staff 'railroading' passengers to the road coaches rather than the
train and selling train tickets that were not actually needed on the train. Northern restarted reduced
train services on Mon 2 Jul with more frequent coaches all day too.
1297] Lime Street: (BLN 1306.1178 & track diagrams BLN 1297) During the partial closure phase trains
from old P1 & 2 are using the long single track Up (Chat Moss) Slow. The pattern from Lime Street is
XX.21 (curtailed as originally planned to run to Blackpool North) & XX.49 both from P1 to Wigan NW
and XX.01 hourly to Manchester Victoria from P2. As before they stop part way up the platforms,
leaving room for one 4-car EMU in each. Trains cross from the Down (Chat Moss) Slow at Edge Hill
West Jn. On a recent visit all the other new track work on the station approach seemed to be in place.
Platform lines have now been re-laid except for old P1 & 2. Work continues lengthening the platform
for new P1 & 2, and finishing off the new stub end to new P3 & 4 and widening new P3 (old p4) over
former siding 'B'. Adjustments were being made to the new OHLE in new P4. Resurfacing continues on
new P6 & 10 (old P7 & 9 - P7 is being done for the second time.) The most noticeable change is that
the rest of the track in and approaching old P2 is obliterated by the new extension to old P2 & 3 right
up to the masonry entrance to the short Copperas Hill tunnel (not shown in TRACKmaps Aug 2013).
An interesting change (for those intimately acquainted with Lime Street) - the old Down Slow used to
feed directly into what is shown as the future Up Chat Moss Slow (in the station throat area beyond
the junction for the old P1 road). However, as with the Down Chat Moss Slow (DCMS), it has now been
slewed across onto the site of part of the old loco holding neck (now removed) to continue as the
DCMS into the station. Work was still taking place on the tracks in the throat (Signalling &Telecoms?).
As an aside, a change from last autumn, the Liverpool South Parkway to Southport Merseyrail EMUs
have remained half hourly on Sundays this summer (they used to add half hourly Liverpool Central to
Southport services). Presumably to maintain a 15 minute service to South Parkway during the Lime
Street closure, it seems the Kirkby trains are running non-stop from Liverpool Central to Parkway.
1307 SOUTH EAST - NORTH & EAST ANGLIA (Julian James) [email protected]
1298] Wickford: Until Wed 25 Jul the 21.45 MTWO from Liverpool Street to Wickford uses the
bidirectional facing crossover before the station to turnback in P3 - despite what online systems show -
(with a bus to/from Southend). Due to Southminster services others (as shown) may shunt ECS P1-P3.
1299] Cambridgeshire: (BLN 1294.2410) Lisa Barrett, NR's Senior Programme Manager, has told
Railfuture East Anglia that development studies into a new Cambridge South station will go ahead.
Current thinking is for four tracks between a grade-separated Shepreth Branch Jn and Cambridge.
At Ely £8M is being contributed by Local Enterprise Partnerships to a study due to report in 2019 into
increasing capacity from 7 or 8 trains per hour, probably to 11 (BLN 1305.1059). Flyovers and further
track work are probably unaffordable. A new station at Waterbeach is also being considered. At
Cambridge, the non-stop service to King's Cross has been advanced from XX.51 to XX.44 so passengers
from the Ipswich line arriving XX.41 have just 3 minutes to make the connection. Instead, they are
directed to the XX.54 Thameslink service, adding 25 minutes to their journey - if indeed it actually runs.
1300] East-West Rail: (BLN 1296.54) The target date to complete NR's GRIP4 governance process for
the Western section of East-West Rail (Oxford - Bedford) has been brought forward from December to
March 2019. The Transport and Works Act order is expected in autumn 2019, and final commissioning
by January 2024. Work to find a 'line on the map' for the Central section from Bedford to Cambridge
continues. NR envisages informal consultation on its initial proposal between October and December,
a final choice early in 2019, and then the development of alignments. (Rail User Express)
1301] Burnham - Twyford: (BLN 1306.1192) Burnham (BLN 1300.476) station looks effectively
finished, including toilets - on the Up Relief [where else?] side - but the lift is not yet in operation. At
Taplow the country end temporary footbridge is open and the old London end one closed. At Twyford
platform extensions to the Down Main, and the Up Main and Down Relief island, also appear complete
(compared with Pangbourne) at the country end but are not yet open. There is no sign of anything
happening on the Up Relief (only possible at the London end due to the Henley branch junction).
X.79] BELOW: Great Yarmouth, a loco worked Norwich service in P3 at the end of June with, bottom
left, the ground frame that controls the crossover for running round (not required by these trains or
many, if any, others). The short P1 track (far right) has now been lifted. (Stephen Atkinson)
1302] Reading: The works at Cow Lane under the main line west of Reading station to create two
parallel bridges appear to be substantially completed. However cars are still running only northbound
with a lengthy single line working road section. Local press has suggested that owing to drainage
problems and the costs of sorting them out, the council may stop work here. It was originally intended
to lower the road under the bridges to allow single deck buses to operate this way. It is unclear when
this will happen and whether two lanes of road traffic will be introduced anytime soon. The station
multi-storey car park has reopened after resurfacing of the top floors (11 and 12).
1303] Tilehurst - Pangbourne: (BLN 1306.1193) At Tilehurst, work is not far forward, with foundations
visible on the island and on the Up Relief London end. On the Down Main there has fencing work at
the country end. The Pangbourne country end platform extensions look complete but are fenced off.
1304] Oxford Panel: The 1973 Box closes 01.45 Sat 7 Jul when a 'T3' Possession is taken of the area.
In theory control transfers to the new Oxford Workstation, Thames Valley Signalling Centre, Didcot.
1305] Oxford: (BLN 1295.2524 & plans with this BLN) From 25 Jun for the Oxford Phase 1 Project early
works, facing points were to be installed on the Down Main between Oxford station and Oxford North
Jn immediately north of Up direction ground position light signal OX121. These points are secured in
the normal position until due to be brought into use on 23 Jul. From 2 Jul the Down Carriage Siding No1
and the Down Passenger Loop from immediately north of the station to Oxford North Jn inclusive
were to be taken out of use. Also from 2 to 23 Jul the three sidings which form the Down Tamper
Sidings (sometimes referred to as Engineering Sidings and shown on TRACKmaps as Oxford Old Loco
Sidings) and Down Carriage Siding Headshunt were to be temporarily taken out of use.
1306] Morris Cowley: From 9-16 Jul a temporary stop block is to be positioned at 63m 53ch [should
that be 61m 63ch - Ed?] on the Didcot side of 2014A points (9115B new points). It is to facilitate freight
trains accessing/egressing the Cowley branch 'top & tailed' at Kennington Jn from/to the south.
1307] Hanborough: From 9-23 Jul there will be a temporary stop block 200m on the Oxford side of the
station to facilitate Charlbury - Hanborough pilotman working during Oxford Phase 1 commissioning.
1308] London Underground: Recent figures show that the 10 least used LU stations are, in order of
increasing usage, Roding Valley (370,000 entries/exits annually), Chigwell, Grange Hill, Chorleywood,
North Ealing, Moor Park, Theydon Bois, Croxley, Chesham then Upminster Bridge (1.15M).
1307 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]
1309] Reading West - Newbury: (BLN 1301.612) As at 18 May the western extent of full OHLE was just
east of Bulls Lock Viaduct (the inflated name for the short bridge over the Kennet Navigation before
the Newbury Racecourse area). There was additional infrastructure for OHLE through Newbury
Racecourse P3 and the Down Passenger Loop to Newbury station, but not the two engineer's sidings
east of Racecourse. There was the advance earth/pull-through (whatever) wire through the station.
West of Newbury Racecourse the masts extend beyond the western end of Newbury some way along
the double track line, presumably overrun provision beyond the station (and further than shown on
earlier plans). On 22 May there was then OHLE through Theale P1 &2, but not then through P0/Theale
Goods Loop. This only extended east a few Turbo train lengths past the platforms. The advance
earth/pull-through wire went a bit further east and the masts, portals and registration arms, etc look
pretty complete to Southcote Jn. However the wires through the platforms were not joined to those
coming from the Newbury direction. There was still no sign of electrification through Reading West;
just south of the station was a short stretch of masts/portals, but not for most of the route to
Southcote Jn. Thatcham Up platform has been extended but was not surfaced. The rate of progress on
this work seems glacial. In June the level crossing was closed for two days for track relaying but the
road profile still causes about 1 in 3 cars to ground if they take the crossing at more than snail's pace!
X.80] ABOVE: A bonus day of services from
Southern (top left)? An engineering poster on
display at Porchester. (Stuart Hicks Sat .30. Jun.).
RIGHT: Brockenhurst 25 Jun 2018; our member
spotted that the luggage traverser appeared to
have gone when passing by train the day before
and kindly returned by car to check. Compare
with the (BLN 1306.1204) picture. (Julian James)
1310] Thanet Parkway: (BLN 1275.409) An application has been submitted for the proposed new
station on the Ashford International to Ramsgate line, south of the former Manston airport site and
just to the west of Cliffsend. The aim is to increase rail connectivity between east Kent, London, and
the wider county area by providing access to mainline and high speed services. A Kent County Council
spokesman said: Poor accessibility in east Kent is one factor that has discouraged major employers
from locating in the area, which serves to undermine regeneration and has limited the employment
catchment. Thanet Parkway station will capatilise on the HS1 services and the journey time
improvement scheme to bring Thanet to around one hour's journey time of London, thereby improving
the perception of east Kent as a place for investment. The application is being validated before it is
viewable. Once this is completed, people will be able to view and comment on the Kent.gov.uk planning
site, the spokesman added. Public consultations were held in 2015, and from Jan to Mar 2017.
1311] Hove: (BLN 1306.1202) Up sidings No1 & 2 were commissioned on 25 Jun for stabling Class 700
EMUS with the traction rails live. No operational changes have been made except improved lighting.
1312] Brockenhurst: (BLN 1306.1204) The unique former luggage traverser located adjacent the Up
Passenger Loop P1 and associated equipment had been removed by 24 Jun.
1313] Tonbridge: For the 150th anniversary of the birth of Colonel Holman Fred Stephens (30 Oct 1868
- 23 Oct 1931), the Colonel Stephens Society is to unveil a memorial plaque in the booking hall here on
Tue 10 Jul at 12.00. He ran his railway empire from 23, Salford Terrace, Quarry Hill Parade, Tonbridge.
1307 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon) [email protected]
1314] East Somerset Jn (BLN 1283.1304) Following the significant freight train derailment in Mar 2017
the junction points (120m 73ch) have remained plain lined. Access to/from Merehead Quarry branch
is via the points at 120m 50c and the bidirectional Up/Down Goods Loop which has permissive working
for freight. NR intends to reinstate the original turnout during planned renewal works in early 2019.
X.81] Filton Abbey Wood: ABOVE: A member was surprised to encounter this impressive new kit, a
modified multipurpose Turbo DMU on test recently, presumably part of Network rail's efficiency drive.
Perhaps we could hire it to allow keen members to reach the ends of lines? (David Guy 22 Jun 2018)
X.82] Corfe Castle, PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: A South Western Railway DMU on a through service;
Sat 30 Jun, these continue until Sat 8 Sep with a range of cheap fares (BLN 1305.1128). (Stuart Hicks)
1315] City of Portishead: (BLN 1305.1067) North Somerset Council is pursuing reinstating passenger
services just weeks after the DfT declined a 'Large Local Scheme' funding request. It will apply to the
Government 'Transforming Cities Fund' that aims to improve intra-city public transport in particular.
1307 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]
1316] Wolverhampton wiggle: On Wed 27 Jun a member was on an official Virgin Trains Voyager
charity cab ride from Shrewsbury Coton Hill Traffic Centre (although there rarely is any now) to
Birmingham New Street. This was the 15.24 Shrewsbury to Euston service. At Wolverhampton P2 a
green signal aspect was displayed for departure, but instead of the expected Up Stour, it took the right
crossover at the end of the platform to the Down Stour immediately returning to the Up Stour by the
trailing crossover after Crane Street Jn (used by all local Birmingham services from bay P1). He had
never done this wiggle before including when commuting. It did not show in Realtime Trains and the
driver commented on it even. A friendly signaller subsequently advised that this will now happen if
another train is signalled into adjacent P3 from the north (which it was) when a train has the route set
to depart P2 south. It is an automatic effect of the signalling safety overlap and interlocking to prevent
a collision if the P3 arrival passes the signal at red. There is no route indication needed for this as both
of the routes out of P2 are 15mph restricted so the driver will not need to specially adjust the speed.
1317] Worcester: In a very unusual development, bucking the general trend, a new barrow crossing
has been provided at the Birmingham/London end of Foregate Street station, linking the platforms at
the bottom of their slopes. This happened when a mile of single track from Shrub Hill Jn through
Foregate Street P1 to Worcester Viaduct was relaid urgently over the late May Bank Holiday. There
was no such crossing before then. Signs prohibit passenger access but it does provide a contingency
for staff-supervised level access between the platforms if either platform lift fails. A check rail has been
also been installed on the bidirectional single track curve between the two Worcester stations - again
there wasn't one before. Concrete sleepers have mostly been used with plenty of coarse ballast to
alleviate a chronic drainage problem. On the bridge sections there are much lighter weight hardwood
sleepers - interestingly ballasted with contrasting very fine ballast, normally used on walking routes.
1318] Walsall - Rugeley: The existing DMU service was accelerated from 20 May following track
improvements and re-alignment for electrification. Some Temporary Speed Restrictions remained.
1319] Telford: (BLN 1304.973) A large crane recently arrived to lift the new station footbridge on to
the pillars which have been secured in position between the station building and the existing bridge.
1320] A pilgrimage to Kenilworth: (BLN 1304.975) On Fri 22 Jun a member took the Class 153 DMU
'Dog Box' to bone up on Kenilworth 8 weeks after the station had reopened and sampled four mid-
morning trains. It is well situated; the building and facilities are far bigger and better than most new
stations of this size. Modern, smart, crisp and clean features are set in a traditional design of building.
The café has a good range of drinks and snacks (healthy options and quality coffee), plenty of tables
inside and out with two staff present. A notice encouraged passengers to buy tickets at the station (an
agency) rather than online. Unfortunately (and not for the first time) a computer fault meant tickets
could not be issued - but fortunately Coventry station has machines that issue tickets from anywhere
to anywhere. The new station has plenty of sheltered seating, accessible even when it is unstaffed, but
no ticket machine. The 70 space car park (only £2 per day) was encouragingly half full at 10.30.
The 109yd single platform has the signal with a right-hand feather for Kenilworth loop at its north end
and can take a four-car train. The present one-coach DMU was adequate for the 30-40 passengers on
each trip. A few passengers had e-tickets just showing a 'QR' code on their hand held devices and one
has to admire the skill of the West Midlands Railway conductors in being able to check the validity of
these with their naked eye - remarkable! 10-15 passengers joined each of four services observed at
Kenilworth and a few alighted from each in both directions.
ABOVE: Early morning on (at last) the opening day (Mon 30 Apr 2018) of Kenilworth station. We
would like to reassure all readers that this fine building has been constructed vertically.
BELOW: The interior with the double staffed café and ticket sales point, there are more tables and
chairs behind the photographer. (All Paul Griffin)
LEFT: Window decal on the first train.
Many were making their first journeys on the
new service and were excited about it - one
recalled joining a train there through to
Glasgow in the early 1960s. A single to either
Coventry or Leamington is £2.50, Anytime
Return £3.50 (£2.90 off peak) before railcard
discounts and a weekly season is only £14.
No one seemed to be risking venturing any
further at the time, but some travelled
between Coventry and Leamington on the
new service. With the extra trains, journeys
such as Coventry to Stratford-upon-Avon via
Leamington are more viable.
Despite two single line sections and tight
turnrounds each end, time keeping was good
this day. The Class 153s are also not noted
for rapid passenger unloading and loading,
particularly when bicycles, pushchairs and
heavy luggage are involved. Leaving the (far)
London end of Coventry P4, West Midlands trains have to take the bidirectional Up & Down Slow then
the two trailing crossovers to the left to reach the Up Kenilworth line. (The hourly CrossCountry
Leamington services use Coventry P2.)
The running is fast, giving little time for the conductors to check and sell tickets (but they did - the
West Midland Ticket machines are remarkably quick, particularly with contactless payment which they
encourage and even issue 'proper' tickets rather than the large paper banners). At Leamington Spa the
Up Bay P4 is mostly used by the Kenilworth trains with a swift five minute turnaround. On return the
now bidirectional Up Kenilworth line (revised name) is taken to Foundry Wood Jn (106m 39ch), a new
40mph crossover the train uses to reach the Down Kenilworth. Arrival at Coventry is marked by loud
squealing on the tight curve before passengers are deposited in P4 at about XX.17. The unit then has
to quickly scurry back round the corner out of the way to the Carriage Sidings or rather Carriage Siding
(No4 - the others are all out of use now) to allow the following northbound CrossCountry train from
Leamington to also call at said P4 (XX.25/XX.27). Then the DMU can return for its (hopefully!) XX.36
departure. This is a temporary arrangement until services run through to/from Nuneaton. It was all
working remarkably well on 22nd with two long intermodal services thrown in on the line too.
Back at Coventry our lifelong West Midlands member is embarrassed to confess he didn't know there
are two footbridges almost next to each other; one now a dead end, only from/to the lifts (but there
are no signs to this effect from P4 - with stair access). Birmingham International barrier gates wouldn't
open for his Kenilworth to Great Malvern return ticket and the staff gave him the third degree (they
hadn't heard of Kenilworth and didn't know where it was!); suitably educated they relented. Despite
criticism of Warwickshire County Council for the delayed opening (probably due to inexperience at
such a massively complex undertaking) they should be congratulated on delivering a fine station with a
good service (and some interesting features for the enthusiast) which appears to be off to a good start.
1321] Curzon Street: (BLN 1285.1524) Exploratory ground works recently began at the extensive site
of the new HS2 terminal station fronting on to New Canal Street. On the opposite (west) side of this
road, previously a grassed area, a large secure compound is being created area for offices, welfare and
other facilities for contractors. Fazeley Street city end is now completely closed. A very good view of
proceedings can be had from passing trains arriving at/leaving the east end of New Street station.
1322] Coventry: A contract has been awarded to design a light-rail street people mover. The tram-
style electric railway could connect Coventry station with the HS2 interchange station near the NEC.
The prototype vehicle will be able to carry up to 70 people (20 seated). The Warwick Manufacturing
Group, based at the University of Warwick, has been granted over £12M to develop the scheme from
government funding allocated to the West Midlands Combined Authority and the Coventry and
Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership. Transport Design International, based in Stratford-upon-
Avon, will create the driverless, lightweight, battery-operated vehicle. It will be tested at the Very Light
Rail National Innovation Centre in Dudley before a permanent tracked route is created in Coventry.
1323] West Midlands Metro: This is the new name
for Midland Metro from 24 Jun; the new in-house
operation by Midland Metro Ltd for Transport for
West Midlands. National Express had run the
franchise since it opened on 30 May 1999 and,
incidentally, never made a profit. The white and pink
trams will be reliveried in a 'striking' black and blue livery (we hope they won't actually strike anyone)
with the new West Midland transport logo. Its centre diamond is blue with four black triangles on each
face and a black diamond each side, all separated by white lines. West Midlands Railway uses the
same logo with an orange centre diamond; there is to be a different coloured bus version of it too.
Previously notorious for having some of the 'least light' light rail fares in the UK, new REDUCED FARES
(10% average reduction) were introduced on day one, including new Metro only unlimited day tickets.
Anytime is £5.50 adult (£4 child) cash/contactless or £5.40/£3.90 with a Swift card; off peak £4
(£3 child) for cash/contactless or £3.90/£2.90 with Swift - after 09.30 or all day weekends and Bank
Holidays. Previously the day ticket £6.70 peak and £5.20 off peak had to include local buses - these are
still available. Most Metro single and return tickets have also been reduced, except the already good
value £1 short hop in Birmingham and Wolverhampton. Singles are now £1, £2.50, £3.20 and £4
adults (previously £1, £2.70, £3.30, £4.20) returns are £2, £3.20, £5, £5.50 peak; £2, £3, £3.80 and £4
off peak (all 10p discount with a Swift card). A new Metro Group ticket is £8.50 in the day and £5 after
18.00. Ridership increased by leaps and bounds (29%) in 2016/2017 due to the new 'Short Hop' fares
and the Birmingham Grand Central extension with revenue up by 17.6%. However, the extended
closure from Wolverhampton St Georges to Priestfield to replace worn rail caused passenger numbers
to fall by 8.6% to 5.7M journeys in 2017-18. Of course, a Society railtour would increase ridership….
1324] Ellesmere: (BLN 1294.2246 with pictures) After being successfully advertised for sale in BLN, the
Grade II listed former station building is to be transformed as part of a wider redevelopment.
Shropshire Council's planning committee granted permission on 26 Jun for Homes England to build
58 dwellings on 3½ acres of disused industrial land with 7 apartments created in the station building.
Previous applications had failed and the difference with this application was the sensitive conversion
of the large Grade II-listed station building, securing its long term future by bringing it back into use.
1307 YORKSHIRE & NORTH HUMBERSIDE (Graeme Jolley; Geoff Blyth for North & East Yorks)
1325] Warmsworth: (BLN 1305.1035) The quarry here between Doncaster and Conisborough is a third
UK quarry producing Dolomite (as well as limestone). It was rail served until about 1977 and the rail
wagon loading hopper, alongside and to the left of the Sheffield line, is now used by road lorries.
1326] Bradford Interchange: (BLN 1305.1083) The trailing crossover (190m 75ch) for the former
Hammerton Street Loop (abolished 23 Apr after being out of use) has been removed but the facing
crossover (191m 13ch) remains. All previous signals have gone, but there is a new uncommissioned
signal some distance before the facing crossover at the Mill Lane Jn end which appears to have a shunt
signal below the main head. There is no new signal in the other direction as yet, but there is a new
concrete base with wiring which could be ready for one. The facing crossover was quite shiny recently.
X.83] Doncaster: (BLN 1296.100 & e-BLN 1299.X26) ABOVE: view west across the East Coast Main Line
to the Down sidings from the Pathfinder Tours' Trent Ouse Docker (Sat 30 Jun 2018) in Up Reception
Siding No4, reached via Low Ellers Curve off the South Yorkshire Joint line. It then went north through
Doncaster P1 in the rare direction to the Thorne line. (Mark Wallis) BELOW: When the lifts failed years
ago, with classic BR enterprise, a shuttle was run between the Up and Down sides - Gricers and those
wanting the Class 08 haulage were welcome to ride. (Martin Crompton)
1327] York: The City Council plans to improve the awkward and confusing entrance to the station by:
Separation of vehicles and pedestrians (the taxi rank and short term parking would be moved).
New public spaces with a more pedestrian friendly environment.
An improved setting for the City Walls and the other heritage buildings in the area.
These latter two objectives would be met by demolition of the redundant Queen Street bridge.
Easier interchange between different modes of transport.
https://goo.gl/tsD5cq has full details. https://goo.gl/puLS4V is a very well illustrated detailed 27 page
brochure with plans etc (note it is 60MB).
1328] Goole: (BLN 1300.637) Siemens beat Bombardier and Hitachi to win the long awaited £2.5bn
contract for new LU rolling stock. This will presumably trigger Siemens' commitment to build the
£200M factory at Goole employing 700 workers directly and a further 1,700 in the local supply chain.
1329] Hull: On 29 May a Hitachi 800 set undertook gauging trials, departing Doncaster Carr depot just
before 20.30 for Hull via Selby. It then continued to Lincoln via Doncaster.
1307 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]
1330] Londonderry: (BLN 1304.983) Preliminary work on the new station started on 27 Jun but so far
this has not affected existing infrastructure and P2 remains in service for now.
1331] Going Down: On Saturdays 23 & 30 Jun there was single line working for ballast cleaning on the
Down line between Ballybrophy south facing crossover and Laois Traincare Depot trailing crossover.
X.84] BELOW: 071 making its way cautiously along Commercial Quay, Wexford (very slowly due to the
speed restriction on this open railway). This is The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI) 'The
Second Strand Railtour' from Dublin to Rosslare Strand and return. (Chris Totty, Fri 11 May 2018)
X.85] ABOVE: Killarney station looking towards Mallow, with the RPSI 'Cork & Kerry Railtour' the same
weekend. (Chris Totty who comments that had it been a BLS tour it would have reached the stops!)
1332] South Wexford Line: Possibly the most inspected line now in the British Isles, yet another
inspection car ran from Rosslare Strand to Waterford on 19 Jun. Passenger trains last ran 18 Sep 2010.
1333] Western Corridor - Limerick junction: Galway has two platforms with the longer undercover
main one used by Dublin services (which have run to the end of line recently, previously they stopped
short due to concerns about ventilation of the diesel fumes), however at the far end is a short platform
used by trains to/from Limerick (some running through to Limerick Junction). A long disused turntable
is adjacent. Departing at 13.45 in the week the 2-car DMU was not particularly heavily loaded and a
fair number of passengers alighted at Athenry with a few joining. Ennis provided the greatest number,
several of whom were to join the Cork to Dublin train at Limerick Junction with a ONE minute cross
platform change (not unusual here and they do wait), arr 16.22/dep 16.23. It was also necessary to
change at Limerick itself for this, but at least it was cross platform! [Planning permission has now been
granted for the new Limerick Junction Down platform (BLN 1306.879) so connections from Dublin
might change.] Despite a signal stop the connection was made. Apart from three early morning and
two evening return through trains (more Sundays), most Dublin journeys involve changing at Limerick
Junction often to/from Galway trains. [Regional Ed note: If Limerick to Limerick Junction or vice versa
is a 22000 class, then a change will be likely at Limerick as Limerick - Galway is normally a 2800 class.]
The Rural Development Committee of the Irish Parliament investigated why Limerick to Ennis is so
frequently closed by flooding. In a typical decision they formed a working group to report in Jan 2019.
X.86] Sligo ABOVE: View from the buffer stops towards Dublin showing the remains of the overall
roof, the middle stabling siding and former arrivals platform on the right, also used for stabling. The
stub of the Sligo Quay branch trails in after this platform in the distance before the (just visible) former
signal cabin. (Robin Spencer during our visit on Fri 4 May 2018.)
1306 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley) Email: [email protected]
1334] Douglas Horse Tramway: (BLN 1304.986) The stables have been saved as a heritage attraction
after being bought by government for £600k. Douglas Council put them up for sale in 2016 and there
were fears that they could be demolished for redevelopment. A planning application for temporary
horse tram facilities on the Summerland site was approved in 2017. In a change of heart, the
Department of Infrastructure decided that buying the existing building was more cost effective, as well
as helping to retain part of the island's heritage. The Department of Environment, Food and
Agriculture (DEFA) has announced that the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway stables and 1-3 Tramway
Terrace have been entered onto the protected buildings register because of their special historic
interest. This prohibits the alteration or demolition of the structure or appearance of any part of the
building. The site includes the cobbled stone courtyard and brick forge. In its registration, DEFA
explains that the buildings are a 'unique survival' and are of more than national historic interest, given
it is the last horse tramway remaining in the British Isles. [There aren't many in the rest of the world.]
The site was bought by the tramway's engineer Thomas Lightfoot in 1877. He was responsible for a
new purpose built three-storey facility of stables with hay storage above and redeveloped the site of a
cottage into a three-storey three dwelling terrace on Tramway Terrace. Meanwhile, plans have been
submitted for a £1.5M project to demolish and rebuild the Strathallan horse tram depot in Douglas.
1335] Philately will get letters anywhere: The IOM Post Office issued a set of stamps on 30 Jun for the
125th Anniversary of the Manx Electric Railway (MER) opening from Douglas to Groudle Glen. There
are six different stamps https://goo.gl/hh3K2B a mint sent is £7.80, presentation pack £8.55 and a
first day cover with all six on is remarkably good value at £8.50. A 24 page MER illustrated colour
booklet about the line is also available with two full sets of the stamps includes (£7.80 or £15.50 for
the 'prestige' version). There is a week of special events for the MER 125th anniversary from 1 to 8 Sep.
1307 WALES .(NEW REGIONAL EDITOR: Chris Parker). [email protected]
New Postal address: 7 Three Trees, Station Road, Whittington, Oswestry, SY11 4DE.
X.87] Derry Ormond, BELOW: (BLN 1306.1240) A photo stop at the remote station on our 12 Sep 1970
'Milk Branches' joint railtour with the Wirral Railway Circle. It was the final tour to Pont Llanio before
the branch closed from 1 Oct 1970. This station on the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth line had CP from
22 Feb 1965 but over five years later little had changed The nameboard was still standing although the
fire buckets had gone from their hooks (to the right of the building). The Six Bells Junction report
https://goo.gl/pidtt2 is partly incorrect; the tour reached the very end of the line north of Pont Llanio
station and creamery (per picture in e-BLN 1306). Far more participants wore ties on railtours in 1970
than do so in 2018! (Julian James Sat 12 Sep 1970.)
ABOVE: One-inch to the mile 7th Series (1961) showing route of the then Little Mill Jn - Usk freight
branch, formerly on to Monmouth. Naturally, there is no sign of Glascoed Royal Ordnance Factory.
The Monmouthshire & Brecon Canals (plural) 'are' middle/top left. Pontypool Road station (with trains
across the valleys to Neath until withdrawn 15 Jun 1964) - now Pontypool & New Inn - is bottom left.
1336] Little Mill Jn - Usk: Plans to transform this former railway line, now used for farm access, into a
new off-road cycle path have been submitted to Monmouthshire County Council. Developers say that
the new route would link Usk with sustainable transport routes such as the rail and bus routes from
Pontypool. At the latter it would join the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canals and other cycle tracks to
Pontypool, Blaenavon, Blaenavon World Heritage Site, the Brecon Beacons, Cwmbran and Newport.
However, concerns have also been expressed, by farmers whose land is divided by the trackbed and
conservation charity The Woodland Trust among those objecting. Little Mill Jn was clipped and spiked
out of use on 31 Jan 1993 after the last train to Glascoed Royal Ordnance Factory earlier that month.
Little Mill Jn - Usk - Monmouth Troy (excl) CP from 13 Jun 1955 but due to a national ASLEF strike the
last train actually ran 28 May 1955. Glascoed ROF - Usk was retained for freight; CA from 13 Sep 1965.
1337] Shrewsbury - Aberystwyth: Celebrations on 22 Jun marked the completion of a £7.5M scheme,
funded by NR (£4.5M) and the Welsh Government (£3M) to abolished eight level crossings between
Talerddig and Carno. Work began in Jan 2017 and has included the construction of 2km of new
highway and two new road-over-rail bridges at Ystrad Fawr and Rallt. The crossings involved, as named
in an NR press release, in the Up direction from Talerddig, are: Ystrad Fawr Ystrad Fawr (Footpath)
Clawdd Coed Rallt Rallt (Footpath )Tyddyn-y-pwll Pikins Pikins (Footpath).
1338] South Wales Metro to Flourish: (BLN 1306.1238) Despite the media referring to the proposed
Cardiff Bay to The Flourish extension as 'on street', there is a strip of land alongside the road which
was designated many years ago for future rail use so, apart from needing a level crossing immediately
south of the current Bay station, it can be achieved without impinging on road space.
Some thoughts of a local member and former Service Planning Manager regarding the promised brave
new world for the Cardiff Valley lines: I cannot see how the proposed service pattern can work in
regard to the flat double-track junctions at the north and south ends of Cardiff Queen Street station,
especially with through running to/from Cardiff Bay. An Up train from the Bay toward Cathays has to
cross the Down lines and under current rules requires a three minute margin before and after the
move. I can only presume an intention to do something very clever with the signalling, and/or to
reverse the current platform usage from the current Up/Up/Down/Down layout to an Up/Down/Up/
Down layout. ATW, of course, resolved this problem by 'locking in' the Bay branch train as an
independent shuttle. It is also not clear how the promised journey time reductions are to be achieved;
the new fleet must have some pretty awesome acceleration and deceleration rates! There are extra
stops to be absorbed, and the extension from Cardiff Bay to The Flourish needs to be provided for.
1339] Cardiff Central: (BLN 1306.1147) Reduced traffic with the Bristol Parkway/Filton Jn - Severn
Tunnel Jn temporary closure for electrification work enabled a planned closure of Cardiff Central P1
and P2 from 18 to 21 Jun inclusive for platform improvement work with minimal publicity (posters on
site only!). Realtime Trains (RTT) indicates that the platforms actually reopened a day early on 21 Jun
and P0 had also been out of use as well. During the closure Up main line services generally used P3
displacing its usual Down services to P4 and therefore making good use of the new(ish) fully
bidirectionally signalled layout (available at every platform). RTT also shows no planned use of P0 - P2
for 25-29 Jun and 1-6 Jul, (with normal platforming on Sat 30 Jun and from 7 Jul). Whether any
subsequent closure of P3 & 4 is scheduled is unknown.
1340] Rhyl - Abergele & Pensarn: (BLN 1273.211) Only the Up Slow closed with Foryd Junction box on
30 Jan 1970; the Down Slow was in use until 14 Jan 1973. Even then the southern bridge remained in
use as the lines had been paired by direction; therefore it still carried the Down (ex-Fast) line while the
northern bridge only carried the Up line. This remained so until sometime between 25 Sep 1986 and
20 Mar 1987 when the Up and Down lines were realigned so that both were on the northern bridge.
(These latter dates based on photos from www.penmorfa.com can anyone be more precise please?)
1341] North Wales: (BLN 1306.1241) The recent 30 mile Shotton to Colwyn Bay (both exclusive) £50M
resignalling includes some remodelling (BLN 1302.792) and relaying. The 'low cost' modular system has
three 'islands' of signalling at Flint, Mostyn and Rhyl separated by plain line. In general this NR
specified 'plug in' modular system is suitable for lines with up to five stopping trains an hour and up to
three routes from a main signal but without banner signals or enhancements. 85,000m of double
insulated 'super-armoured' fibre optic cable (of no interest to cable thieves - so long as they realise
that before attempting to cut it); 40,000m of power cable and 45,000m of connecting multicore heavy
duty cables (called 'tail cables') were required. 30% of the cable is in troughing; the rest is 'anchored'.
The cost was about 75% that of conventional resignalling as supporting steelwork, trackside copper
cabling and heavy concrete foundations are not required, previously making up about 50% of
expenditure. Additionally standard rather than any complex bespoke components are used. There is
'redundancy' in the system so that if a route or connection fails there is an alternative (unless there is
an immediate second failure). A fibre cable runs west to Llandudno Junction, via the Conwy Valley
line, Ffestiniog Railway and Cambrian line to Shrewsbury with, incredibly, an alternative cable running
east to Chester and Shrewsbury where there is an existing router to Cardiff Wales Railway Operating
Centre. Now we can begin to understand the £50M scheme costs including the track work etc.
The signalling is ready for European Rail Traffic Management System. 56 digital LED signals replaced 96
mechanical/colour light signals and bidirectional running is now available between the new Flint Jn
(191m 00ch) with new facing and trailing crossovers and Rhyl. There are 92 new axle counter heads
and 21 points have been controlled or modernised and re-controlled. At Mostyn 2.4km of plain line
was renewed with 13 new point ends and a bidirectional loop was created requiring 24,000 tonnes of
ballast. At Rhyl there are 4 new point ends including a new London end trailing crossover and 220m of
plain line was relaid, at Abergele & Pensarn 540m of track was renewed with removal of the former
Down Passenger Loop. From Euston to Holyhead a train is now only semaphore signalled at Beeston
Castle & Tarporley between Crewe and Chester and then not until Gaerwen box on Anglesey!
The non-listed Prestatyn signal box, being away from the running lines, has been reprieved for
community use (BLN 1302.792). Tyn-y-Morfa gate keeper's box was removed overnight 25/26 Mar.
Talacre box has been sold to the neighbouring industrial estate for use as an office and the bottom
portion of the two storey Rockliffe Hall box is being retained as a rail training centre for Rhyl College.
1342] Glyn Valley Tramway (GVT): (E-BLN 1206 additional item) On 6 may a GVT Trust working party
of six volunteers uncovered part of the platform edge of Chirk GVT station and most of the lower
courses of brickwork for the booking office and waiting room. They also found an original door hinge,
some painted interior plaster, broken floor tiles and a small piece of the booking office fireplace tiling.
All will help make the intended reconstruction as authentic as possible; more excavations are planned.
ABOVE: Your new Wales Regional Editor, Chris Parker, (fourth from the left) with his Railway Ramblers'
hat on - you should see his BLS hat! A mystery location on the Glyn Valley Tramway, Mon 21 May
2018 during the final afternoon of the Railway Ramblers AGM weekend events. Details of the walk are
available to logged in BLS members on our website document archive; search for 'Glyn'. (Lisa Hebborn)
1343] Newport: Caerleon Road underbridge on the Maindee triangle south (main line) side is to
undergo a two phase refurbishment: 20 Jul to 30 Nov 2018 and Jan to Mar 2019. It is said to be 113
years old and is certainly much older in appearance than its near neighbour carrying the single track
east curve over the same road. NR has issued details of the resulting road closures and held a 'drop in'
event for residents and anyone interested on 5 Jul. There is no mention of rail services being affected.
1344] Onllwyn HS3? Welsh Transport Secretary Ken Skates has unveiled plans for a 'world-leading',
£100M rail testing facility to help develop train technology. Test track circuits of 4½ mile and two mile
ovals with a maximum speed of 100mph would be constructed, with platforms and tunnels. It would
be used to develop the next generation of hydrogen and battery-powered trains, test infrastructure,
deploy digital signalling technology and for storage, decommissioning, maintenance and servicing.
The project is still in its early stages and Skates said that it cannot proceed without local support,
private sector investment and the commitment of manufacturers, rolling stock companies, network
operators and other stakeholders. The preferred location is the Nant Helen opencast site at Coelbren,
mothballed since 2016. This would be linked to the Onllwyn branch, helping to safeguard its future.
ABOVE: (BLN 1304.999) A recent picture of North Elmham station, the Mid Norfolk Railway extension
target (just ¾ mile to go!). The level crossing gates are still in position but the station house is now a
private home on the Down platform; looking north towards Fakenham East and Wells-next-the-Sea.
BELOW: The same day and 1½ miles north is County School (TRACKmaps Vol 2, p13B Oct 2016) looking
north; a future MNR aspiration requiring a further Transport & Works Act Order. There used to be
three platforms with (far right) a north facing bay for the branch, to Wroxham via Aylsham South
CP 1952. At the other end of this the 15" gauge Bure Valley Railway runs on its trackbed. (Stuart Hicks)
1307 MINOR RAILWAYS (Peter Scott) [email protected]
PLEASE NOTE: Peter's personal 'Tesco' email address is ending; please use above address.
MR116] Mid Norfolk Railway, Norfolk (MR p8): Network Rail has worked with Mid Norfolk Railway
(MNR) volunteers to recover redundant equipment from Great Yarmouth to donate to the MNR.
In October 2017 staff on the Norwich Yarmouth Lowestoft (NYL) resignalling project removed all the
mechanical points at Great Yarmouth and replaced them with power operated points. The works left
behind large amounts of disused equipment, including point rodding, cranks, compensators, roller
stools and associated fittings. The MNR expressed an interest in the redundant components.
With confirmation that there was no demand for the parts elsewhere on the local network, the supply
chain organisation of Network Rail worked with MNR to arrange recovery. MNR volunteers submitted
their time through a gifting form and on Sunday 6 May, three Network Rail staff supervised seven MNR
staff to dismantle the equipment. The team worked in record temperatures and made good progress
in stockpiling the redundant parts for collection. The MNR team said: We are extremely grateful for the
opportunity to partner with Network Rail. It's a great example of collaboration with a win-win for all
parties. By being granted access to dismantle the run, we get to recover it in a condition suitable for
reuse on the heritage railway and it will allow us to progress the signalling at Dereham and develop the
heritage railway. In return, the costs of recovery are reduced for Network Rail.
MR117] Llanelli & Mynydd Mawr Railway, Carmarthenshire (MR p9): A senior member visited this
railway on Bank Holiday Monday, 28 May 2018 - one of four days this year they have public running.
The railway reopened a little under 10 chains at Cynheidre last September. This year they are running
28 May, 27 August and Santa Specials 8 & 9 December. Trains ran every 15 minutes 11.00 to 15.45.
Working the one coach train was Dutch 0-6-0DE 690, which propelled out (northwards) and hauled
back. Also on site were a Sentinel diesel, a Ruston diesel and a single DMU power car.
MR118] Brookside Miniature Railway, Cheshire (MR p13) (BLN 1122.MR206): It was reported in early
June that the current operator of this 7¼" gauge 950 yard long railway at Brookside Garden Centre is
finishing on 2 September 2018. The line will then close for refurbishment. (See item 1353 later also.)
MR119] South Tynedale Railway, Cumbria (MR p14) (BLN 1306.1143): After opening the Slaggyford
extension finally on Saturday 9 June 2018, a visit was made on Tuesday 12 June by a dedicated
member - the first normal running day of the extension - without the need to book in advance as was
required on 9 & 10 June. The first train at 10.45 from Alston was well-loaded, but not packed, and was
hauled by a mines flameproof loco named 'Naworth' (Hudswell DM819/1952) in smart green livery.
A lot of work has taken place in a very short time at Slaggyford, including installing the crossing gates -
indeed work was going on late into the evening to get it ready for the Saturday opening. On arrival at
Slaggyford the loco runs round but the gates have to be chained shut and padlocked with the key kept
with the Supervisor. A café has opened in a converted carriage in the bay platform, which is not
actually connected to the trackwork. The trains at the weekend were not as busy as suggested, due to
tickets being only available online and there seemed to be problems booking tickets via the website.
MR120] Steeple Grange Light Railway, Derbyshire (MR p14) (BLN 1302.675): The ceremonial opening
of this 18" gauge railway's final extension to a terminus (SK 280 555), close to Middleton village's main
street, on 30 April 2017 was reported in BLN 1283.MR102, including optimism about extending regular
passenger services over the 150 yards to the outer neck of the planned new station layout as early as
that autumn. In the event the work of levelling, packing and aligning the track on the reinstated
embankment has taken far longer than hoped, not helped by the severe late winter weather; targets
of Easter, then June, have not been achieved. Work on the layout, platform and sidings of the new
terminus itself has also been proceeding, but slowly and still a good way from completion. Getting the
extension to, even possibly into, the station, with track in condition for passengers to safely ride
beyond Sandy Hill level crossing by late summer is not ruled out, but the special Railway Ramblers
trains on 27 September could be the first. However, the only certainty is having the extension
complete and open for an event on 11 November marking an Imperial War Graves anniversary.
X.88] PREVIOUS PAGE TOP: The sad state
of Tralee Ballyard station on the 3ft gauge
disused Tralee & Dingwall Railway looking
towards Blennerville (which was the most
westerly station in Europe when it was
operational). Trains last ran in September
2009, (BLN 1298.MR24) almost nine years
ago. (All Chris Totty on 13 May 2018.)
ABOVE LOWER: All the chairs are GSR
(Great Southern Railways) and dated 1935
(the date is on other side). Chris Totty
comments that many sleepers will need
replacing before anything can run again!
LEFT: From the buffer stops looking back
at the station, the level crossing and line
MR121] Haigh Railway, Greater Manchester (MR p18) (BLNs 1292.MR216 & 1300.522 - 21 Jan 2018
our visit report): Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, trading as 'Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles' on behalf of
Wigan Council, has sought expressions of interest (the closing date was 15 June) from commercial,
voluntary or community enterprise organisations, for the repair, operation and maintenance of the
15" gauge railway concession within Haigh Country Park. The Concession is for a minimum of 3 years
commencing 1 July 2018. The Tender Information Pack gave some interesting background information
on the Park and the Railway. In 2015 Wigan Council, as part of an 'invest to save' programme invested
£3.6M into Haigh. The aim was to make the Park into an attraction of regional significance, attract half
a million visitors per year and thus make the Council amenity financially self-sufficient. Haigh Hall has
been transferred through a long-term lease to Contessa Hotels. The company is currently developing
the Hall into a 4-star heritage themed boutique hotel and spa. (Completion is due at the end of 2018.)
The railway opened in July 1986 and runs along a 1 mile (1,560m) track through a section of the Upper
Plantations of Haigh Woodland Park. The Pack states There are two stops along the track. One station
is currently a stop space (Haigh Hall North) situated to the south of the Walled Gardens. While the
main station (Haigh Hall South) includes a formal platform with benches and signage. There is a 'three
road engine shed' close to Haigh Hall South. The Railway has always been popular with visitors.
Generations of families from Wigan and beyond have brought their children to Haigh specifically to
enjoy and experience the railway. It is estimated that the railway currently hosts 15,000 passengers per
year. The railway rolling stock includes: 'Helen' Steam outline Locomotive - diesel engine powered. Built
by Alan Keef Ltd (operational). 'Konigswinter'. Diesel hydraulic Locomotive. Present reserve Locomotive.
(Non-operational). Main rake of articulated carriages (operational). Capacity for 60 passengers. Built
by Alan Keef Ltd. Second rake of carriages (guest stock). (Non-operational).
MR122] Mid Hants Miniature Railway Hampshire (MR p18) (BLN 1293.MR221): This 10¼" gauge
railway operates adjacent to Ropley station on the Mid Hants Railway. On Friday 1 June a member
visited during the standard gauge railway's Diesel Gala. In use was locomotive 'Nevada' with coaches
'Jacqui' & 'Jane'. Loco 'Patricia' was also in the station. Our reporter took a pleasant ride to the current
end of the line, but was told that it is planned to extend (there was a pile of track there already) into
the next field, which they own, with a balloon loop, although that will take a lot of earthworks, he
notes. Reportedly the line, which previously ran on Saturdays only, now runs on Sundays as well.
MR123] Welsh Highland Railway, Gwynedd (MR p29) (BLN 1302.684): The railway suffered a minor
derailment on 10 June at Clogwyn-y-Gwin South foot crossing. At around 12.30 the leading wheelset of
Garratt locomotive No143, hauling nine coaches carrying 74 passengers and 7 members of staff,
derailed following a suspension failure. There were no injuries but there was minor damage to the
locomotive and track. The Rail Accident Investigation branch investigated and will issue a safety digest.
BELOW: East Anglia Transport Museum - Blackpool 159 & Sheffield 513
wait at the Chapel Road terminus. (Peter Scott 7 June 2018).
MR124] East Anglia Transport Museum, Suffolk (MR p32) (BLN 1297.MR18): This museum is located
at Carlton Colville on the outskirts of Lowestoft. A visit was made on a bright and mostly sunny
Thursday 7 June. On this day the museum was open 12.00 to 16.30. It can be easily reached by
First Eastern Counties bus direct from Lowestoft bus station on routes X22 and 103, which stop right
outside the museum entrance. X2 runs nearby. Adult admission was £9. Running on the Tramway,
alternately, were double deck cars Blackpool 159 and Sheffield 513. Unlike during a previous visit, the
latter did run right to the end of the tramway, using the loop there as normal. Inside the tram shed,
and apparently operable, were London 1858 and Blackpool 11. Lowestoft 14 was undergoing extensive
restoration. City of Derby trolley bus number 237 was also giving rides around the site. The 2ft gauge
East Suffolk Light Railway (MR p24) was also in action running continuously, mostly with full trains
each time. In use was 4wDM No6 'Thorpness' (MR22209/1964) with coaches 10 & 11. This volunteer
run museum is well worth a visit with plenty to see additional to the tramway and railway. There is an
interesting display about road building and repair, a taxi garage, small road vehicle display and a large
collection of trolley buses. In mid June the expansion proposals were granted planning permission by
Waveney District Council (BLN 1297.MR18).
MR125] Saltburn Cliff Railway, North Yorkshire (MR p34) (BLN 1297.MR21): A member took a trip to
Saltburn on 22 May, and was disappointed to find the Cliff Railway closed. He had checked the website
the day before, so had expected it to be running. Signs indicated that restoration was due to be
complete in 'spring 2018', but work was still taking place and there were no carriages. Both stations
were fenced off. It was not possible to ascertain the current status, but at least work is taking place.
BELOW: Saltburn Cliff Railway - with no carriages during refurbishment . (Ken Hayward 22 May 2018)
MR126] Constitution Hill Cliff Railway, Ceredigion (MR p34) (BLN 1250.MR27): This double track
4' 10" gauge railway opened 1 August 1896 and is 778ft long. It is at the north end of Aberystwyth.
A member visited on 5 June - a fine hot summer's day. The bottom station building displays a date of
1896 above the door - another Victorian gem nestled in the rather attractive seaside town. The railway
was running a 15 minute service and was well patronised. The Adult return is £5, Senior/Child £3.50
and well worth the price for the spectacular views. The café at the top station was very busy. Our
reporter notes on his assent, a certain editorial gentleman of BLS fame was descending with his son.
He comments: It is quite amazing how many people you bump into quite by chance in this hobby.
[At Harlech yet another member coincidentally joined said editorial gent's train to Dovey Junction that
morning and had bumped into him at Porthmadog station the night before - both going to Pwllheli!]
X.89] LEFT: Gwili Railway, (BLN 1305.1117) the
highly unusual combination of 'Abigail' , Weltrol,
Toad, D2178 and coach/WB mess vehicle on our
21 Apr 2018 trip arrives back at Bronwydd Arms
from Abergwili Junction. (Don Kennedy)
X.90] The Great Whipsnade Railway: (MR p12)
(Report BLN 1294.2444]) Some pictures taken by
Whipsnade Station Master, Ron Goddard, during
our very comprehensive Animal Tracker railtour
organised by Bill Davis on Sat 7 Oct 2017.
BELOW: 'DANGER DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS!'
1307 FIXTURES REPORTS (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
1345] The Inverclyde First Aider, Sat 28 Apr 2018: ❶The Prologue: All Society Stewards undertake
regular accredited 'training' of various types, with written and practical examinations. Our charity
partner for the tour St John Ambulance (note no 's' after 'John') kindly laid on a comprehensive and
appropriate first aid course on Fri 27 Apr in Crewe. A registered charity, they provide more first aid
courses nationally than any other organisation. It is pleasing to report that all participants passed the
written and practical stages to achieve the First Aid qualification; a most interesting and enjoyable day.
NEXT PAGE UPPER: Here we are again… 37685 'Loch Arkaig' after arrival at Crewe P5 on the rear of
the 01.30 ECS from Carnforth Steamtown to form the 05.29 BLS Inverclyde First Aider tour. NEXT PAGE
UPPER: The other end of the train at Crewe. (All Geoff Plumb Sat 28 Apr 2018 unless specified.)
❷The Main Event: By Roger F Newman. In the early
hours of 28th, when only the milkman and the
postman can be heard but not seen, some well
familiar faces stealthily headed off towards Crewe
station. Humming on P5 was 37685 with 9 coaches
and 47772 on 1Z48. Changes to the advertised route
were deletion of Dallam Yard as it has not been
gauged in time, Quintinshill DPL instead of Lockerbie
UPL for timing reasons, the addition of Elderslie UPL,
Brownhill UPL and Thornhill UPL and a 'worm'
appetiser for the early birds - Crewe Down Siding.
From To Lead Miles After 90042 had departed with a late running
0m 56ch Up sleeper, 47772 stuttered across the
Crewe P5 Crewe Down Sdg 47772 26m 27ch southern throat and after 56ch entered the
1m 37ch Down (Dn) Siding, reaching another sort of
Crewe Down Sdg Dallam Royal 37685 0m 20ch sleeper across the line (157m 21ch). Retracing
Warrington BQ Mail Terminal P2. 220m 23ch its tracks with the Class 37 and 14 min after
209m 60ch leaving it southwards, our tour then passed
Royal Mail P2. Royal Mail P1 47772 194m 50ch through P5 non-stop northwards to then cross
104m 43ch right over to the Dn Slow. The late running
Royal Mail P1 136m 62ch 05.57 Crewe to Glasgow caused our tour to be
226m 69ch 6 min late at Winsford South Jn and with a
Wigan NW P5 Eastfield 37685 241m 79ch gentle approach to Warrington via Walton
Preston P7 Passenger Loop 253m 58ch Old Jn we left shy of 10 min late to post a
277m 66ch letter at the Royal Mail Terminal (RMT).
Carlisle P3 525m 32ch
Eastfield Preston P6
Wigan NW P1 47772
Warrington BQ P2
Ticket and miles are thanks to Jim Sellens
From the Up Slow we entered RMT Dallam using the rare middle crossover (183m 40ch) directly to P2.
47772 stirred to draw us back to P1 then 37685 took us over the 'other' rare middle scissor crossover
back to the Up Slow heading north. EMU 325016 was sleeping in Bay P3 (4-cars long before anyone
asks). At Bamfurlong Jn the tour left the Dn Fast for the Dn Slow continuing via the Dn & Up
Passenger Loop before lurching right, associated with weird crunching noises over the rarest crossover
of the day year to Wigan NW P5. Participants had been warned about the disconcerting noise from
running over zig-zag stainless steel strips welded to the rails to maintain the track circuit on an
otherwise very rusty rail. At Balshaw Lane it was the Dn Slow (many years ago quite difficult to do!) to
Farington Jn where there was a dilemma. The advertised route was then Dn Fast and by Dn Goods
inferring use of the former parcels platform (with normally no passenger access and there were
participants to pick up). The answer was to stay on the Dn Slow then the Dn Goods to Ribble Jn where
the train crossed the station throat.
After 'Clearing the throat' Preston P7 was entered (the Up & Dn
Goods Loop) for a pick up. A 10 min late departure meant that
faster passenger services were close behind, so it was Barton &
Broughton Dn Pass Loop instead of Penrith Dn Slow (P3) that
allowed the 06.16 New St to Edinburgh 9-car Pendolino and the
07.00 Manchester Airport to Glasgow Class 350/4 EMU to
overtake the tour. Passing Garstang 24 min late a non-stop run through Penrith P3 saved 12 min and
by Upperby Bridge Jn the deficit was down to just over 4 min. The Inverclyde First Aider crossed to the
DGL returning to the Down Main at Upperby Jn. Standby 57308 was glimpsed in Wall Sdg No3 as, after
a quick crew change and picking up the remaining passengers, the tour left Carlisle P3 just 3 min late,
now with 218 participants on board. Some had come here from Glasgow even to join.
Kingmoor sightings included 88001, 88006 and much vegetation in the marshalling yard once classified
as 'large' and the tour reached Scotland, home of the haggis. In 1955 the writer's first of many Scottish
holidays included Ayrshire passenger lines, so this tour brought back memories of clean 4-4-0s on fast
services from Glasgow St Enoch. At Quintinshill, unfortunately famed for the 1915 railway disaster, the
UPL was taken for 3 passenger trains to pass and, as they were to time, the loop was left 1½ min early.
With time in hand over Beattock Summit, a kindly signaller routed us through Abington DPL in spite of
which Carstairs South Jn was reached early. The topic of conversation was, after entering P1 how
would the Dn Main be rejoined? Was there a missing crossover on Nov 2017 TRACKmaps perhaps?
An Edinburgh to Glasgow service then left, allowing the tour to proceed to discover that P1 is on the
west side of the island, not the east - problem solved! The kindly signaller routed the tour non-stop
through Law DPL, probably knowing Shieldmuir Royal Mail Terminal was not possible on this occasion
as the single track was occupied by two stabled Class 325 EMUs with no driver available to move them.
Motherwell was passed 21 min early so another treat was the Down Braidhurst GL where 68007 and
88007 were in the sidings. At Mossend North Jn No3 the fascinating Down Reception (booked No4)
was taken while on the right the Up Sidings were well filled with Class 66, 86 and 90 locos in various
liveries. The Down Departure line brought our train out to the Down Coatbridge at the North Exit.
An extended break and leg stretch was taken in the sunshine at Coatbridge Central reducing the early
running. A slow passage through Coatbridge DGL (by the intermodal terminal with stacks of containers
showing height variations from 8' to 9' 6"), and it was left on to the 'Gartcosh Single' (the only
requirement of the day for one Baker 'Consultant') from Gartsherrie South Jn to Gartcosh Jn. The
latter was passed on time after an 11 minute signal stop. This was the start of the intensive Glasgow
suburban network with the non-electrified connection to St Rollox trailing in left; subsequently the
Eastfield Passenger Loop was reached via the direct connection at 0m 04ch.
BELOW: WCRC staff, BLS Stewards, St John Ambulance representatives and others (including members
of the Adlam family!) during the stop at Coatbridge Central station (Geoff Plumb)