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Published by membersonly, 2018-03-30 03:32:18


22 April 2017

Issue Number 1279 (Items 809 - 930 &IssMueRN6u1m- bMeRr 16296)8 (E-BLN 60 PAGES) 22 Apr 2017


Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)

Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from members;7a2n8i6n7te7rnational section is also available.
Opinions herein are not necessarily those of the Compilers or the Society.

BLN 1280 is dated Sat 6 May;Scoocniettryi.bSuotciioentys. must be received by Wed 26 Apr

Date Event Details BLN Lead Status
1274 KA OPEN
Sat 22/4/17 Y Triongl Gogledd Cymru, itinerary and map with e-BLN

Fri 5/5/17 Signal Box Visits Blackpool North line 1278 BC FULL

Sat 6/5/17 Scunthorpe Steel Wks 09.30-18.30 internal railtour 1275 PS2 ENQUIRE

Sun 7/5/17 The Vallum Hadriani Tracker, 09.00 - SEE NEXT PAGE 1277 JE OPEN

Sun 14/5/17 Moreton Park Railway 11.00 Track & Traction Tour 1276 SP OPEN

Sun 14/5/17 Titley Junction Railway Afternoon Track & Traction 1276 SP OPEN
10 to 15/5/17 Jordan Hejaz Railway LAST CALL FOR BOOKINGS (BLN 1276) 1272 IS Notify
18 to 21/5/17 Long weekend - Dublin / Republic of Ireland 'mixed' gauges 1265 KA

Sat 3/6/17 Preston trackbed walk 11.20 Bamber Bridge 1278 PS1

Sun 4/6/17 EMU Railtour Track tour, date for your diary TBA TBA Claimed

Wed 14/6/17 Rudyard Lake Railway 10.30 Track tour - new layout 1276 JC OPEN
Wed 14/6/17 5½ mile Trackbed Walk 17.30 after Rudyard Lake Railway 1277 JC OPEN

Thur 15/6/17 07.30 Stafford, DRS loco hauled tour; Lime Street 15.45 1278 KA OPEN

Sun 25/6/17 Middlesbrough Goods, (ITEM 930 BOTTOM OF LAST PAGE) 1279 JE *OPEN*

Mon 26/6/17 Guided Signal Box visits Northeast England TBA TBA Claimed

Fri 4/8/17 Northumberland Nocturnal Navigator 23.59 - 05.30 1279 KA *OPEN*

Wed 28/6/17 Kennet Service Train Tracker, guided group day out 1275 TG OPEN
27 to 30/7/17 Scottish Minor Railways Thu- Sun visits UPDATE BELOW 1272 TV PART FULL
Sat 9/9/17 Burton-on-Trent to North London, track & traction railtour TBA TBA Claimed

Fri 22/9/17 Swindon & Cricklade Railway 12.00 Track & Traction tour TBA TBA Claimed

BC Barnaby Clark, IS-Iain Scotchman, JE-Jill Everitt, JC-John Cameron, KA-Kev Adlam, PS1-Paul Steane,
PS2-Paul Stewart, SP-Stephen Phillips, TV-Terry Velvick, TG-Tom Gilby.

809] Minor Railways booklet 2017: ALL full members, including those who just subscribe to e-BLN,
should now have received their free copy of Peter Scott's new 2017 (29th) guide; updates will be
published in BLN. A 2017/18 membership renewal form was posted with it (hint!). If anyone has not
had these, please contact Dave Monger per back page and please be sure to supply your correct
postal address. All references to the Minor Railways booklet in BLN are now to this new 2017 edition.

810] E-BLN 1278: With apologies, due to a technical fault, the original email of Thur 30 Mar linked
to A4 paper BLN; a second corrected email went out on 31 Mar, the link is: Download 53 pages).

811] The Vallum Hadriani Tracker, Sun 7 May: Valium not included… the
booking form was also with BLN 1277 and is on our website (a First Class seat or two may also be
available). A reasonably timed, good value Class 185 circular tour day out with pleasant company,
including, unusually the Newcastle to Carlisle line, rare track and possible 'on the day' bonuses.
£69 standard class, non members £81, accompanied (only) under 18s: £5 discount. Manchester
Piccadilly P12 (PU 09.00) - Stalybridge P3 - Diggle Down Loop - Huddersfield (PU 09.35) -
Dewsbury Down Main - Leeds P16 (PU 09.56) - Church Fenton - Down Normanton - York - Loco
Line - Skelton Bridge Jn - Dn Slow - Northallerton Tunnel - Stockton Cut Jn - Hartburn Jn - Down
Cliff House Loop - Sunderland (Up) P2 - Down Pelaw Goods Loop - St James' Bridge Jn - Up
Sunderland - High Level Bridge Jn - Newcastle P7 - Ouston Crossover (rev) - Low Fell Single -
Hexham Middle Road - Wetheral (photo stop 14.10-14.15) - Carlisle P6 (rev) - Shunt Neck (rev) -
Through Road 'B' - Kingmoor (rev) - Kingmoor Up Pass Loop - Wall Siding - High Wapping Siding
(rev) - Carlisle P1 (rev) - Plumpton Up Goods Loop - Eden Valley Goods Loop - Tebay Up & Dn
Goods Loop - Grayrigg Up Goods Loop - Oxenholme Up Goods Loop (recently extended) -
Carnforth Up Passenger Loop - Lancaster Up Main - Preston Up & Dn Goods Loop P7 -Wigan NW
P4 (SD 18.05) - Wigan Up Goods - Eccles - Manchester Piccadilly (SD 18.46). Bookings/queries to:
Jill Everitt, Fixtures Team, BLS, 4 Barnside Way, Moulton, Northwich, Cheshire CW9 8PT.

X.53] Scottish Minor Railways, Thu 27 - Sun 30 Jul: (BLN 1272.6) Terry Velvick advised that the first
three days are now FULLY BOOKED. Our Sun 30 Jul morning special train at the standard gauge
Fife Heritage Railway (MR p10), previously known as the Kingdom of Fife Railway Preservation Society
is confirmed. There will be private ride/s over as much of the former Kirkland Yard lines as safely
possible with loco 'River Eden' and the 'Shark' brake van (BLN 1233.MR63). Public steam-hauled rides
in the Norwegian coach will then be available at 11.00 at normal fares if required. A few places remain
on this visit only; pay on the day but must be booked. Expressions of interest/queries with an A5 SAE
to: Terry Velvick, 'Hatherton' 75 Castle View Gardens, Westham, Pevensey, East Sussex, BN24 5HS.

812] Northumberland Nocturnal Navigator, Fri 4 & Sat 5 Aug: No, it's not a midnight Northumbrian
Moorland tour and you won't need an OS map! Thanks to our Victoria Line LUL friends, all available
running lines (well nearly!), with both Northumberland Park Depot staff platforms (Roads 19 & 60),
crossovers and sidings on 2009 Victoria Line Tube Stock. With the daytime service intensity, the tour
has to be at night; the itinerary fits between night tube services. Meet Walthamstow Central 23.59 Fri
4 Aug; for 00.30 start; finish about 05.30 Sat 5th Seven Sisters P4. A Northumberland Park Depot toilet
AGAIN); there are no other station stops. The only running line not covered is Seven Sisters P3,
available in daily service! Members £50, non-members £62; includes stocklist, souvenir map & ticket.
No junior discounts, all proceeds to Railway Children. Strict limit 200 evenly spaced across the whole
train for comfort. Bookings to Kev Adlam per back page (please mark the envelope outside 'Victoria')
cheques/CPAs 'Branch Line Society' with email address/SAE. Please help this tour to be a big success,
demonstrate our impeccable BLS behaviour and organisation - then there might be more to follow….

813] Brighton, Volk's Electric Railway, Aquarium - Marina (both incl) and Halfway (Paston Place)
station: (BLN 1267.2011) (MR p17) TCP after running on 4 Sep 2016; the 2' 8½" gauge, 1m 05ch long
line was lifted during the following two weeks. ROP is now postponed from Jun 2017 (see MR64).

814] Viridor Waste Haul Dunbar Rail Terminal, Oxwellmains (31m 13ch): (TRACKmaps Vol 1 p11C)
(BLN 1274.283) NRU since late Nov 2016 when waste trains ceased from Edinburgh Powderhall.

815] Cardiff, Penarth Curve South Jn - Penarth Curve North Jn: (BLN 1276.584) Since the final coal
train from Tower Open Cast Disposal Point to Aberthaw Power Station on 24 Feb 2017, this double
track curve is now just used regularly by ECS trains: 00.10 (MSuX) and 00.05 (SO) Barry Island to

[BLN 1279]
Cardiff Canton via Ninian Park (reverse) and Cardiff Central (rev) in this (Up) direction only. This is to
maintain crew knowledge for diversions. The others and Down ECS run direct via Cardiff Central (rev).

816] Dore West Jn - Dore South Jn: This single track bidirectional curve TCA in this direction Fri 24 Mar
due to a broken rail in Dore South Jn Up line points, which were plain-lined on 25 Mar. The Dee Ranger
UKRT railtour originally booked to use it reversed at Sheffield station instead. ROA Wed 4 Apr 2017.

817] Manchester, Heald Green North Jn - Heald Green South Jn: TCA in both directions from 12.17 on
30 Mar until 9 Apr 2017 (incl) due to a points failure at the former. All freight and long distance PSUL
trains (for route knowledge retention) ran via Stockport. Local trains all reverse at the Airport anyway.
818] Kirkby Thore British Gypsum (283m 30ch) (excl) - Petteril Bridge Jn (307m 12ch): (BLN 1278.691)
ROG (revenue earning traffic) Fri 31 Mar 2017 (TCA 06.14 on 9 Feb 2016). 66508 left York Yard South
04.30 (73 mins early) with 4M75 via Appleby (09.09) for Coatbridge Intermodal Terminal (arr 13.08).

819] Fort William Oil Terminal: (BLN 1227.107 - picture) CG, the final inward train from Grangemouth
ran Tue 28 Mar 2017. It is thought that the location will still be used to refuel sleeper locos (by road).

820] Lairg Oil Terminal: CG, final inward train from Grangemouth (and return tanks) Fri 31 Mar 2017.

821] Ilkeston station: (BLN 1274.241) ROP Sun 2 Apr 2017 at 126m 51ch. P1 is on the Down Erewash
Fast and P2 the Up Erewash Fast; both are 99m long, able to take a 4 coach train. (See 'East Midlands')

822] Cowlairs East Jn/Cowlairs West Jn - Cowlairs North Jn - Maryhill Park Jn - Knightswood North
Jn/Dawsholm Jn (and six intermediate stations) - Anniesland P3/Knightswood South Jn: TCA 08.27 on
4 Apr 2017. A landslip caused collapse of the retaining wall at 6m 71ch (the Possilpark side of Lochburn
tunnel east of Possilpark & Parkhouse station), blocking the Down line, with rubble on the Up line. A
damaged footbridge (with a large water main beneath it) had to be removed. ROA at 02.45 on 11 April.

BELOW: Some pictures of the damage and subsequent removal of the footbridge (NR Press Release).

[BLN 1279]
The Glasgow Queen Street HL to Anniesland DMU service was withdrawn; Fort William and Oban
services ran only to/from Crianlarich with Glasgow road connections not calling intermediately. The
sleeper service with seating accommodation served Helensburgh Upper, Garelochhead, Arrochar &
Tarbet and Ardlui (with extra local road services). The only booked freight traffic (alumina from Blyth
Alcan to Fort William and return wagons) unusually ran via Glasgow Central LL and also Queen Street
LL. On 10 Apr the Carnforth (West Coast) to Fort William 'Jacobite' ECS ran via Glasgow Central LL

BELOW: The unsafe footbridge was lifted out revealing the water main beneath it which was then
removed leaving the sides of the cutting to clear and make safe before trains could resume.

[BLN 1279]

BELOW: The North Blyth to Fort William alumina tankers at Exhibition Centre station, diverted via
Glasgow Central Low Level on Thu 6 April along the electrified Argyle Line. 66 737 'Lesia' is the loco.
It drew in slowly before coming to a stand at Finnieston East Jn - where it waited at the signal for a
couple of minutes for a path onto the main line from Queen St Low Level (Gordon Webster).

823] London Tramlink; Reeves Corner (excl) - West Croydon - Wellesley Rd - East Croydon (excl) and
East Croydon - George St - Church St - Wandle Park/West Croydon: TCP 8 until 17 Apr 2017 (Easter
holidays) for track renewal works in Wellesley Road (with shorter weekend closures at other times).

824] Immingham West Jn - Killingholme: (BLN 1278.707) From Mon 10 Apr between Regent Oil* train
crew operated level crossing (1m 04ch) and 2m 01ch to the north was temporarily reclassified as a
siding until 31 Oct 2017. This allows the previous 'one train working' with a train staff to be replaced
by a compliant Freight Operating Company (FOC) 'Safe System of Work'. Train movements on/off the
branch are now by communication between a nominated and competent FOC (DBC) representative
and Immingham West Signal Box signaller. With no run-round loop, loaded spoil trains from Kellingley
Colliery will be hauled to the unloading point and the unloaded wagons returned by a second loco
travelling light to the rear of the train. Otherwise Pilotman working would be required. Amending BLN
1278: from 2m 01ch to end of line at 2m 70ch remains OOU. [*became Texaco in 1967 - Regional Ed.]

825] Manchester, Ordsall Lane Jn - Deal Street Jn (Chat Moss Lines): TCP/A Thur, 13 to Sun 23 Apr;
also Manchester Victoria (excl) - Salford Central - Windsor Bridge South Jn: TCP/A Fri 14 to Mon 17
Apr 2017 for Ordsall Chord work. (BLN 1278.739) This included extensive remodelling, new signalling
and overhead electrification between Salford Central (new track in the redundant platforms) and
Victoria (all for later commissioning), widening Middlewood viaduct, demolishing and replacing most
of Chapel St bridge. New Bailey St bridge and the rest of Chapel St bridge were also strengthened.

826] Poole (excl) - Hamworthy - Holton Heath - Wareham (excl): TCP Good Fri 14 to Easter Mon 17
Apr 2017 for £1M repairs (2,000 staff hours) to Holes Bay, Poole Harbour sea defences (also 22 & 23
Apr). It was reported in the local press that passenger numbers drop by 50% over the Easter weekend.

827] Bethnal Green East Jn - Ingatestone/Billericay (both excl) and 12 stations (excl Stratford which
had services via Lea Bridge) also Romford (incl) - Emerson Park - Upminster (excl) and Bow Jn - Gas
Factory Jn (has services SSuO): TCP 05.00 Fri 14 to 04.00 Tue 18 Apr 2017 for Easter Crossrail works.

828] West Croydon (excl) - Sutton (excl) - Epsom Downs (services SuX) & five stations: TCP 14-17 Apr
2017 to transfer control from Victoria Area Signalling Centre (Clapham Junction) to Three Bridges ROC.

829] Stratford (excl) - Camden
Road (excl) & 5 stations: (BLN
1274.262) TCP Fri 14 until Mon
17 Apr (Canonbury and Highbury
& Islington had ELL trains calling
14 and 15 Apr) for installation of
Hackney Wick subway.

RIGHT: The new subway under
construction at Hackney Wick (NR).

830] DLR; Stratford P4A & 4B -
Pudding Mill Lane - Bow Church
(excl): TCP 14-17 Apr 2017 (both
incl). This was due to Crossrail
work at Pudding Mill Lane (plans
to double the rest of this section
have already been cancelled).

831] London, Metropolitan Line, Wembley Park - Rayners Lane/ Northwood & six intermediate
stations: TCP 14-17 Apr; Harrow-on-the-Hill had usual Chiltern services except 16 Apr. Resignalling
work which also caused:

832] LUL, Liverpool Street - Aldgate East - West Ham (all excl) & five stations: TCP 14 to 17 Apr 2017.

833] Leeds (excl) - Micklefield Jn - Church Fenton North Jn (Church Fenton P1-3 excl)/Gascoigne
Wood Jn and five intermediate stations: TCP 14-17 Apr 2017 for replacement and realignment of
Micklefield Jn to allow faster speeds through the junction between Leeds and York. Officially it will
move from 10m 63ch from Selby South Jn to 10m 64ch, and from 15m 62ch from York to 15m 63ch!

834] Post Office Railway: (BLN 1277.MR53) Opens in July sign up for details.

835] Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, Laverton: (BLN 1269.2232) A ¾-mile extension of the
passenger running line north towards Broadway is expected to ROP Fri 28 Jul 2017 (the first day of the
summer diesel gala); this includes (but is longer than) the section TCP after last running on 1 Jan 2016.

836] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) End (incl) Location (exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]

1266.1928 3 Jan 17 18 Jun 17 *( +/- Birkenhead North) - Liverpool Loop - ( +/- Hamilton Square)
1274.243 8 Jul 17 16 Jul 17 Wootton Bassett Jn - Bathampton Jn/Bradford South Jn
1276.500 7 Oct 17 16 Oct 17 Welsh's Bridge Jn (Inverness) - (Keith)
1275.365 11 Nov 17 26 Jan 18 Fylde Jn (Preston) - Kirkham North Jn - Blackpool South
1275.366 11 Nov 17 18 Mar 18 Kirkham North Jn - Blackpool North
1222.1799 20 Dec 14 Jan 2018 (London Blackfriars) - (London Bridge) Thameslink work
1222.1799 20 Dec 14 Jan 2018 (London Bridge), Spa Road - Bricklayers Arms Jn

837] Points & Slips: ●BLN 1278.694] The new Low Moor station (ROP 2 Apr 2017) is at 37m 39ch; P1 is
on the Up Main (to Halifax) and P2 the Down main (to Bradford Interchange). Each takes 5 coaches.
●X.44] The Heysham Port picture in e-BLN was by Martin Baumann (with apologies for mistyping).
●697] An analysis of Realtime Trains has shown that the Reading Relief Feeder is used by roughly the
same number of trains each way so a true bidirectional line. ●754] Between Leighton Buzzard and

Dunstable, the Totternhoe Cement Works branch diverged right, 620yd east of Stanbridgeford station
(SP970230) southeast where the new A505 now crosses the trackbed. This is 2.2 miles before (west of)
the former Dunstable North station. ●MR54] (& BLN 1251.MR32) The 170yd long, 2ft gauge
Chasewater Narrow Gauge Railway (MR p23) ran specially for our comprehensive visit of 8 Mar 2015
and also for the Industrial Railway AGM on 16 April 2016 (with extra coverage of the loops and sidings
described as in 'BLS style') but there have been no reports, so far, of any public running in 2015/16/17.

838] Piano Encore: (BLN 1278.706) A member scored a battered looking upright (it must have cost less
than a 'grand' then) between Manchester Oxford Road P4 & 5 circulating area inside the barriers.
Apparently it has been there for 'years'. Pianos are not his forte and we do know that many members
prefer blowing their own trumpets (!) - but since everyone else was ignoring it he gave it a try. Sadly,
its appearance was not deceptive: some notes were OOU while others were OOT (out of tune!). A sour
note has been sounded at Nottingham where a piano donated by the Derbyshire Miners' Holiday
Centre (playing in 'A' flat minor?) at Skegness has been removed by EMT. It had been outside 'Costa'
since June last year and 'misuse' has lead to complaints. Crewe has one in a rather obscure waiting
room on the Up island (P1-5). Descending from the footbridge on the stairs, turn left and left again to
go back on yourself slightly, there is a second waiting room with piano (entrance door key not
required). It is normally much quieter than the main waiting room (depending on who is trying to play
what)! Of 'note' this waiting room is not shown on 'Stations Made Easy' - is it a recent composition?
Meanwhile it's time to face the music at Ebbsfleet International where there is one on the main
station concourse. We might expect a piano to come in on Kew but there have been no reports so far.

839] Quick Quiz:
(1) Which NR stations on a through passenger line only have passenger services that terminate
from/start back to, one direction only. Your Editor can think of one and another that almost qualifies?
(2) Which line has passenger trains scheduled in the GB Public Passenger Timetable to take one, two,
three, four and five minutes between intermediate stops (not in that order and some journey times do
occur more than once), note that only whole minutes are used in this timetable?
(3): What are the shortest scheduled end to end journeys in the Public Timetable - not intermediately?

840] Rail Ale: NEXT PAGE: On Thur 30 Mar at 15.00 a new real ale bar/café opened on Carlisle station
P4 called '301 miles from London' despite planning objections, access concerns and many delays. It is
amongstthe extensive scaffold piers (for the major roof refurbishment) behind the footbridge and
internally has been fully restored with a high vaulted ceiling. On Fri 31 Mar when 'Flying Scotsman'
visited with the S&C reopening special, the bar was packed. Years ago London Charing Cross had a pub
by P1, the 'Channel Packet'. Other stations with real ale pubs within their curtilage include: Hartlepool:
Rat Race, York: York Tap, Sheffield: Sheffield Tap, Stalybridge: Station Buffet, Huddersfield: Head of
Steam. (The Head of Steam pub at Liverpool Lime Street has been taken over by JD Wetherspoon.)
Hartlebury has its own local brewery and Tap House as well as (now) a good train service which is
becoming well used. (Picture thanks to Rod Bryant.)

841] Derby: (BLN 1276.513) NR has submitted detailed plans for the remodelled station to the City
Council. This includes a new 340m through P6 to the east side on the current goods lines opposite to
the existing P6. Bay P5 will be abolished with the present P6 renumbered P5. The new platform will
have stairs and a lift. It already has planning consent, subject to certain conditions, under a section of
the Town and Country Planning Order 2015, which allows for railway developments. The goods lines
close in Dec with work completed during the 80 day closure of Derby station starting on 22 Jul 2018.

842] Bedford - Corby: (BLN 1276.515) Electrification piling work is due to start between Kettering and
Corby in May and between Bedford and Kettering in Oct. The whole route is intended to be energised
by Dec 2019 and will have cost £2bn (including redoubling, resignalling and infrastructure changes). NR
is predicting a 30% growth in passenger numbers along the Midland Main Line over the next 10 years.

[BLN 1279]
843] Scunthorpe: 7,000 tonnes of 'British Steel' have been used for 57km of new Crossrail track.

844] Ilkeston (BLN 1274.241) The new Ilkeston station (126m 51ch) on the Up and Down Erewash Fast
lines was commissioned and brought into use at 00.01 on Sun 2 Apr 2017; Down P1 and Up P2 are
both 99m (4-car) long. Hundreds of people, including at least two members, turned up for the arrival

of the first train, many with 'Union Jack flags'.
The 69 bay station car park (free for the first
fortnight, then £3 daily but £2.20 off peak) was
full, overflowing onto roadsides all around. Local
MP Maggie Throup and other invited dignitaries
joined at Langley Mill. In her constituency blog,
she invited local people to join her at Ilkeston
'Junction' for the first train! EMT manages the
station and had staff handing out ticket wallets
and small information booklets but noticeably
no timetables. No Northern staff were present
but timetables (printed by Northern) were
available at Nottingham station.

The first train, the 09.05 Sheffield to Nottingham, departed Ilkeston 5 minutes late at 09.49. It had
been strengthened from the usual 2 car to a 4 car set; 158817/872. The same units formed the first
northbound departure, the 10.08 Nottingham to Leeds, which is a PSUL via Attenborough and Toton.
As for many locations Realtime Trains etc had no times recorded at Ilkeston (at first) but they are now
shown. The station ticket machines started working 10 minutes before the arrival of the first train and
tickets from Ilkeston could be bought. However, despite being equipped with the recently introduced
'state of the art' ticket machines (the ones that produce miles of thin paper banners), the Northern
conductors on board could not issue tickets from or to Ilkeston as it was not on their data base.

Reports were that buying tickets to Ilkeston from machines at other stations was rather 'hit and miss'
initially. A Chesterfield station ticket machine did not recognise Ilkeston on 5 Apr. In another quirk, the
machines at Ilkeston do not recognise Low Moor, the station that also opened on 2 Apr! Apparently a
ticket between the two could be bought at Peterborough, but not at Crewe.

ABOVE and PREVIOUS PAGE: Ilkeston first day pictures, Sun 2 Apr 2017 (John Cameron).

There are 36 passenger services SuX; 28 SuO and 204 (83.6%) of the 244 weekly trains scheduled to
call at Ilkeston are run by Northern Trains. The station has been equipped with 59 CCTV cameras but
was subject to graffiti attacks prior to the official opening, although this had all been removed by the
big day. The public address announcement at Langley Mill has been poorly re-dubbed and proclaims
the next stop is 'Il'! We have heard of 'dropping your haitchs' but this is ridiculous! [Arriva Trains Wales
on train and station announcements had trains running to 'Anchester Piccadilly' for some years.]

845] Leicester: The OOU 'Knighton Old (Engineers) Sidings' at Knighton Junction have been newly
cleared of vegetation. [Presumably access is prohibited to young engineers - Ed?]

846] Market Rasen: A £464k grant has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore the
Grade II-listed 1848 station building, which is currently derelict. It was part of the original Manchester,
Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway station. Market Rasen Station Community Project is a specially
formed limited company of individuals, members of Market Rasen Town Council, Lindum Group,
Market Rasen Racecourse and Community Learning in Partnership. A previous Heritage Lottery
development grant of £72k was used to make the building watertight.

Part will become self-contained offices, for small and start-up businesses. The old booking hall and
stationmaster's office will become a community space with meeting rooms available for use by local
clubs, special interest groups and the public. The entrance hall will have interpretive works for visitors
about the station's history with anecdotes of past stationmasters and other railway workers.

Stonework at the entrance and windows will be replaced with locally sourced stone; brickwork will be
restored or replaced where needed, and windows will be restored using the existing frames where
possible. Trainees, apprentices and volunteers will be involved in the construction works which start
imminently. Site tours will be arranged to allow people to see the building at various stages.

Unfortunately the Heritage Lottery Fund will not stretch to funding Heritage trains to alleviate the
significant passenger overcrowding on the line (BLN 1277.616) - perhaps Crowd Funding might work?

847] Lincoln: A local Councillor has suggested (and not on 1 April) that traffic problems at the level
crossings in Hykeham could be easily solved if NR were to lower the railway tracks below the ground!

[BLN 1279]
848] Wellingborough (BLN 1278.709) The Stanton Cross development has 3,650 new houses, three
schools and a doctor's surgery. The 'enhanced' Wellingborough station is a key advantage, according
to the local promotional signs. The former North long-stay car park was closed several months ago
when the South car park (with short-stay and taxi facilities) was enlarged. A charming feature of the
Down main platform is the separate 'The Little R'Ale House' micropub (BELOW: Don Kennedy). The
name is from 'The Little Ale House' in Wellingborough town centre. It is situated in the former 'Ammo
Room', which is its address and is open 12.00 to 21.00 Tuesdays to Saturdays. Beers, including their
'Network Ale', are available to takeaway in reusable flagons. It is assumed that this name is because
detonators were originally stored there. Ciders wines and soft drinks are also available. The main
building also has a small buffet, now with a seating area in an adjacent, reopened room. This is one of
several local 'Bewiched' [sic] cafés, complete with a 'Now at Wellingborough Train Station!' [Oh dear,
oh dear!] loyalty card.

849] Brent Cross: (BLNs 1215.1233 & 1257.1000) 'Transport Briefing' reports that Barnet Council has
launched a consultation on proposals to build a new station on the Midland Main Line. The station will
be funded by a combination of a £97M government grant and ring fencing business rate growth from
an expanded Brent Cross shopping centre. This enables the rail-related projects to be brought forward
to 2022 instead of 2031. Associated developments, which will be consulted on over the summer,
include a new 24-hour access pedestrian bridge across the railway, relocated sidings and train storage
facilities and a rail freight facility smaller than that which was originally approved in 2014. The station
will be sited at the north end of the Cricklewood complex, with platforms on all four passenger lines,
and will displace the newly-built north sidings. These will be replaced by five new south sidings, which
will in turn displace the Waste Transfer Station to the new freight depot on the other side of the MML.
850] Canning Town: A new west entrance access to the new City Island development opened in 2016.

851] Copper Mill Curve: (BLN 1278.724) The Midland Railway's Notice for Aug 1885 to the Working
Time Table includes: Commencing on Saturday, Aug 1st, the Great Eastern Railway Company will work
a Service of Passenger Trains over the Tottenham and Hampstead Line to and from Highgate Road, on
*Week-days, with their own Engines and Carriages, at the following times: (11 pairs of trains are then
shown, with a pair of empty stock trains to and from Tottenham South Jn). It was then a Bank Holiday
weekend and the practice of starting timetables on the first of the month, regardless of the day of the
week, had not died out. This happened to be the first passenger service over the Copper Mill Jn - Hall
Farm Jn curve. Midland records show that Sunday services began 28 Aug 1885. [*Then meaning SuX.]

Regular all-year service over the curve was actually withdrawn by the GER from 12 Jul 1920, but the
LNER started a summer only daily service between Chingford and Gospel Oak from 1 Jun 1923 until it
last ran 5 Sep 1926. (A classic example of the with effect from closure dating 'convention' not suiting
seasonal services.) The signal boxes are named and shown on the 6-inch 1912/13 map ABOVE.

Note: Lea Bridge Jn is closer to the eponymous station than might be expected and the correct spelling
is Copper Mill, not 'Coppermill' or Copper Mills. This is backed up by a GER plan of 1921 and the 1960
Sectional Appendix. Although it is possible that the civil engineer distinguished two separate pairs of
turnouts at both locations, neither of the two signal boxes for the curve carried the word 'South'.

A member recalls that many years ago when he worked on modelling the original Crossrail route, it
was to run to Chingford in the east via Stratford and the Hall Farm curve.

852] Crossrail: (BLN 1277.625) (1) GWML: The Southall East Jn crossover OLE between the Up and
Down Relief Lines was available to electric traction from 9 April as was Crossrail Depot Lines 1 and 2.

(2) GEML: On 2 Apr there was a Sunday train service for the first time in eight weeks, although only
from Chadwell Heath, and a local member decided to take a trip to Liverpool Street. On the outward
journey the train ran on the Electric Line to Forest Gate, then over at Maryland East Jn to Main Line
P3, crossed to P10 at Stratford, then the Up Temple Mills Line to Bow Jn and back to the Electric Line
at Bethnal Green East Jn to its usual P16 at Liverpool Street. Presumably this was to avoid work at the
Crossrail tunnel mouth at Pudding Mill Lane. Returning a couple of hours later, the train did a similar
routing, via the Down Temple Mills Line, Stratford P10A, then the Main Line to Forest Gate P4 and the
Forest Gate Jn ladder to the Electric Line again. The only other trains running on the GEML were C2C
services via Forest Gate Jn to Barking, which were timetabled to use Stratford P10.

A break was made at Forest Gate to view the on-going station works there. Passenger access here (and
at Manor Park) was via the emergency gate off the side street to the Down Main P4. Normally P4's
edge is firmed sealed off by sturdy fences, with a path by the wall side leading to a massive temporary
scaffold footbridge high over the tracks to P1, 2 & 3. On this day the fence was open, but policed by
several platform staff, to allow use of P4. Steps to the ticket office have been removed, giving an
excellent view of the fine old station building (late 1890s?). This contrasts sharply with the 1940s
electrification works of connecting staircases in different shades of brick and typical LNER tiling.

As part of the Ilford depot rebuild, Roads 1 and 2, New Sidings 'A' to 'K' and Work Shop 'A' Roads 3 to 5
are to be energised and regarded as live at all times from 1 May.

(3) General: sets out the terms under which train operators can use the core
section of Crossrail and appears to be designed to make it all but impossible for anyone else to do so!
Some of the track layout and distances (km) are on TRACKmaps Vol 2 p2B, C, D & E (Oct 2016). The
GWML junction will be Portobello Jn (the third extant junction of that name on the national network).
At Royal Oak there will be one through and two dead end sidings. There will be crossovers at Royal
Oak (scissors), Fisher Street between Tottenham Court Road and Farringdon (trailing), Vallance Road
between Liverpool Street and Whitechapel (facing), Victoria Dock between Canary Wharf and Custom
House (facing and trailing) and at Custom House (trailing). The junction of the Shenfield and Abbey
Wood lines will be Stepney Green Jn and the GEML junction will be Pudding Mill Lane Jn. The junction
with the depot line at Plumstead will be Plumstead East Jn and the junction between the Abbey Wood
Transfer Line (east of Abbey Wood station) and the North Kent Line will be Alsike Road Jn.

853] Peckham Rye: (BLN 1225.154) A team of local architects has been overseeing the restoration of
the station's original Victorian features over the last ten years. The palatial upstairs waiting room and
cast iron access staircase will soon be accessible to the public; shows progress.

854] South Kensington: TfL is looking for a partner to create a joint venture partnership to restore and
develop the station. Step-free access to the District and Circle Line platforms will be provided via a
new entrance on the north side of the station in Thurloe Street and also to the subway leading to the
nearby museums. Commercial and retail units will be developed and the Grade II listed shopping
arcade leading to the main station entrance will be restored to its original state. Subject to planning
permission the scheme could be complete in 2022. Plans are progressing for a separate project to
reinstate the ex-Metropolitan Railway eastbound platform for use by eastbound District and Circle
Line trains, leaving the present island platform for use by westbound trains only. The ticket hall and
gate line will be expanded and a new emergency exit to the road bridge leading onto Thurloe Square
bridge opened. Subject to planning permission, works could start early next year.

855] Stratford: Approval was given in January for an additional south-western entrance to the station
from Gibbins Road, which will also give a link to the Queen Elizabeth Park without passing through the
Westfield shopping complex. There is already a staff entrance on the southwest side of the Jubilee Line
concourse area and this will be enlarged. ('London Railway Record')

856] Thameslink: (BLN 1278.725) The new EMU maintenance shed at the north end of Hornsey depot
was brought into use in Dec 2016. ('London Railway Record')

857] Waterloo: (BLN 1276.527) From 17 Apr the 0m 22½ch Up Main Slow/Down Main Slow Lines X/O
(Westminster Bridge) was renewed; the Down Main Slow connection is about 11yds nearer Waterloo.

858] Old Oak Common West - Northolt Jn: From the 21 May timetable change the 11.36 'PSUL' train
from Paddington no longer terminates at West Ruislip but runs non-stop to High Wycombe, so will
not be available to holders of Oyster Cards and Travelcards. It then runs ECS to Aylesbury. However,
the Up train to Paddington will still start from South Ruislip at 10.57 (ECS from Wembley Depot).

859] Tyne & Wear Metro: (BLN 1254.674) System owner Nexus took over operations on 1 Apr 2017
from DB Regio; a decision taken a year ago. Both Nexus and the DB subsidiary were unhappy with the
2010 awarded contract, which has failed to deliver the anticipated financial and performance benefits.
The outsourcing of Metro operations was then a condition of government funding for modernisation.

An 18-month, £6M upgrade of Newcastle Central Metro stop has been completed. It is used by 5.3M
people a year. Improvements have been made to disabled access, information displays and waiting
facilities. The three escalators and two lifts have been replaced.

860] Riverside Loop: (BLN 1278.733) A member recalls doing the line on 19 Aug 1971. He started with
the 04.25 Newcastle to Newcastle via the Coast (in those days there were just a couple of services
which did the complete circuit) although for some reason his Rover ticket was deemed invalid.
He then took the 06.58 Newcastle to Tynemouth via the Riverside loop, with very few passengers on.

Next it was the 07.30 Tynemouth to Newcastle via Benton East Jn to Benton Quarry Jn. After trips to
Sunderland and Corbridge, he took the 12.55 Newcastle to Benton via Benton Quarry Jn to Benton
Station Jn, and the 13.42 Benton to Alnmouth via Benton Station Jn to Benton North Jn. By closure on
23 Jul 1973 most Riverside services ran only to St Peters, with only a few continuing to Percy Main.

Your Regional Editor did the line on Sun 15 Apr 1962, clearly an engineering diversion. In fact he scored
a double diversion, as his Middlesbrough to Newcastle train was diverted from Stockton to Sunderland
via Norton - Ferryhill - Leamside - Penshaw and Hylton! The winter 1962-1963 timetable is above. The
life-expired 1937 North Tyneside EMUs (and equipment) were all replaced with DMUs by 17 Jun 1967.

To Tyne Dock To Hilda SB To Whitburn Jn
To Jarrow Metro
BEDE To coal
staithes Harton Jn

St Bedes SB

Green Lane Jn

BROCKLEY WHINS Pontop Crossing (flat)


To Pelaw

To Washington Tile Shed SB

To East Boldon

ABOVE: This 1960s plan(with T&W Metro stops added - solid red circles) is thanks to Dave Cromarty.

861] NER Boxes named 'Junction'; Harton Junction: (BLN 1273.731) This continues the series on the
relatively small number of NER signal boxes that carried the word 'Junction' (or an abbreviation) on the
nameboard. Harton Junction box (NZ357647) was just west of Tyne Dock station), worked to five other
signal boxes which included the convergence from the SW of three lines: ❶ From St Bedes SB, now
the Metro South Shields branch from Pelaw through Jarrow (OA 1 Mar 1872). ❷From Green Lane SB,
the line from Washington (OG 10 Sep 1834; OP 16 Apr 1835). Continued below…

ABOVE: Harton Junction in the early 1960s, the signal box survived until the early 1980s.
Note the lower quadrant NER semaphore stop signals on the left (Locoman 1966).

❸From Tile Shed SB the line to Sunderland (OG 19 Jun 1839, OP 5 Sep 1839; CA 9 Mar 1840; RO 1 Jan
1867; CA 14 Jun 1965). To the NE Harton Junction SB also controlled the divergence of lines to two
other boxes: ❹To Hilda SB on the line from Brandling Jn (three sections OA in 1839, 1842 & 1879; CA
1 Jun 1981) to South Shields via High Shields. ❺To Whitburn Jn the original Stanhope & Tyne Railway
line (OG 10 Sep 1834; OP 16 Apr 1835) to South Shields, later accessing the Harton Colliery Company's
system; since 24 Mar 1984 this is again the South Shields line (now Metro). The line from Green Lane
SB was latterly only to access Westoe Colliery, east of Whitburn Jn; the final train ran in Apr 1993.).

ABOVE: Harton Junction signal box in Feb 1981 with a simplified layout (Billy Embleton).
Wrights (top left) started making ship's biscuits in 1790; the factory closed in 1973.

ABOVE: Hendon Junction box 15 Jul 1971 during the return leg of a Society trip from Sunderland South
Dock to Silksworth Colliery. The live wires were all in the brakevan! (Angus McDougall).

862] Hendon Junction (Sunderland): (NZ409569) The northernmost signal box on the South Dock line;
It controlled the convergence of the line from Penshaw (OG (coal) 20 Dec 1852; OG 4 Apr 1853;
OP 1 Jun 1853; taken OOU 27 Nov 1984) and the original Durham & Sunderland Railway line from
Haswell, OG (coal) 5 Jul 1836; OG 9 Aug 1836; OP 19 Oct 1836; CP 4 Aug 1879 on the opening of the
line through the present Sunderland station. It also controlled the access to South Dock shed and to
Hudson Dock coal staithes*, respectively west and east of the line to Corporation Quay traversed by
our 29 Aug 2016 'Tale of Two Ports' railtour. An exception to the naming pattern it was actually in the
Hendon area of the city. It worked originally to Fawcett Street SB on the Penshaw line (some of which
is now the Metro line to South Hylton) but latterly under 'No Block' to Pallion station and to
Londonderry Junction SB to the south. Hendon Junction box was destroyed by fire on 13 Feb 1996.
[*Were they 'staiths' or 'staithes' or is either equally acceptable - BLN Editor?]

863] Preston (press on) or 'IF YOU DON'T TRY (AGAIN AND AGAIN) YOU DON'T GET:' A well known
member with green credentials moved to Preston in 1984. Before and since that time many, many
attempts had been made to do the Kirkham & Wesham (Westbound) Down Fast line on non-stop
trains, all without success. The (Eastbound) Up Fast was easily achieved by non-stop trains, but the
Westbound non-stop trains were (always!!!) routed via the station P1 Down Slow line. Knowing that
the Fast Lines were to be closed permanently, he decided to have a final attempt, spurred on by the
chance to look at the recent realignment at Poulton-le-Fylde Jn on the same journey (BLN 1278.740).
Happily, the 11.38 (see next item) Preston to Blackpool North on Wed 5 Apr 2017 (DMU 156463) took
the much-required route as Pacers were occupying both platform lines as he passed by. [Most people
are not that pleased to see Pacers - Ed.] Mission impossible finally accomplished after (too) much cash
had been spent over the years before, and especially since, 1984.

[BLN 1279]
The Poulton-le-Fylde realignment is fairly minor and is difficult to precisely define because of the
amount of new ballast spread liberally around the area. However, edging stones to P2 as the station is
entered have been removed for a short distance, so the Up track at least has been moved, presumably
to ease the curve. The junction to Burn Naze has been completely removed. It was noted that Salwick
Down Goods Loop has also been lifted. Blackpool North like Euston still only allows passengers onto
the platforms when the doors are unlocked a few minutes before train departure time. Presumably
this is from the days when a Control Ticket as well as a Travel Ticket was required to join some summer
Saturday trains at Blackpool. It seems very 'Over the Top' now and must have cost a tidy sum in
staffing costs over the years.

864] Preston (pressed on) the buffer
stops: At 14.50 on Sat 1 Apr, a passenger
carrying DMU (158758) struck the buffer
stops in bay P3C (RIGHT: Press release).
The train was travelling at about 6 mph;
several passengers suffered some minor
injuries. On Wed 5 Apr our local member
(previous item) went to view the site of
the collision (prior to his trip over Kirkham
Fast Line westbound) and see how much
extra track the train had covered. The
bent top bar of the buffer stops was lying
discarded on the floor behind the buffers.
In fact he was very grateful in a funny kind
of way because this caused him to miss the previous non Kirkham stop train which no doubt did not do
the Fast Line westbound as normal. He is also grateful he didn't wait until after his trip! [Actually it was
the phone call to your Editor about his intentions beforehand that did the trick/track and it was good
to receive a jubilant second phone call after the event.] The sequel…..

865] Kirkham & Wesham: From 9 Apr 2017 (part of the enabling works for the Blackpool North line
electrification), the Fast lines between Kirkham South Jn and Kirkham North Jn were taken OOU for
later recovery. Kirkham South Jn and Kirkham North Jn were secured for Slow line running only.
The Middle Siding and Kirkham On Track Machine Sidings were also taken OOU for later recovery.

866] Bolton: (BLN 1278.741) Electrification work at the station (which is due to be served by EMUs
from 10 Dec) began on 26 Mar when parts of P1 & P3 were fenced off. The layout will be altered,
platforms rebuilt and canopies cut back. Reinstatement of the fifth platform had already begun.

867] Irlam: Ambitious £30M plans to create a new heritage steam railway on the five mile former
Cheshire Lines Committee Glazebrook East Jn to Skelton Jn line have been launched, claiming it will be
'a huge new tourist draw for this area of Manchester'. It includes reopening Cadishead Viaduct over
the Manchester Ship Canal which is intact, and fenced off, but needs extensive and expensive repairs.

The scheme is the vision of a Salford millionaire, Telecoms mogul Neil McArthur who has already spent
£2M to transform Irlam station [and very good it is too!] and put £7M into the Irlam and Cadishead
community via his charitable trust. He submitted his reopening plans in a report to Salford and
Trafford Councils, TfGM and NR. It calls for political support from the statutory bodies to re-connect
communities along the line which lost its local passenger services in Nov 1964. The Glazebrook East Jn
to Partington Jn section was last used (by a light engine) 29 Jul 1982. Mr McArthur believes that the
re-opening of the line would create a tourist attraction as well as linking communities in Trafford and
Salford which are badly served by existing transport routes. He also calls for an extension of the
national cycleway scheme. Unrelated, he has also pledged £5M for a new local GP surgery if necessary.

868] Heaton Chapel: (BLN 1258.1099) £300k has been spent on the station which had a creditable
757,000 passengers in 2015/16. On 10 Feb members of the 'Friends of Heaton Chapel', the leader of
Stockport Council, Alex Ganotis and local MP Ann Coffey were given a behind the scenes tour. The roof
which partly collapsed on 4 Apr 2016 has been replaced and modern lighting installed on the internal
staircase. New window frames have been fitted, the inside of the building repainted, shelters cleaned
and art work put up on one of the walls. The work concluded recently and the normal station
entrances reopened replacing the temporary arrangements since the roof collapse.

ABOVE: Heaton Chappel, work in progress on the Manchester Piccadilly platform. A non-stop EMU
approaches on the Up Fast from Stockport. During the temporary closure of the steps, changing
platforms (as BLS members would) was via the ramps - a long way round (3 Apr 2017, John Cameron).

869] Racing for a train? During the 8 April Merseyrail strike an unusual service pattern ran for the
Grand National, normally the busiest day of the year. There were six trains from Southport between
09.22 and 11.12 calling at principal stations to Liverpool Central and six back in the evening from 19.46
to 21.38. In the opposite directions they ran ECS non-stop, some covering the 19 miles in 23 mins
(normally 45 mins with 15 stops). There were 25 departures from Liverpool Central (HL) between
10.06 and 13.43 calling only at Moorfields then non-stop to Aintree (returning ECS) - the crossover is
beyond the station; with 27 return workings from Aintree after the racing between 16.34 and 21.12
(again ECS in the opposite direction). There was a half-hourly James Steet P2 to Hooton P3, (reached
by the facing crossover on arrival) shuttle available to passengers in both directions from about 10.16
until 21.40. A similar service ran from James Street P1 to West Kirby, in both cases not calling at
quieter stations; of note Bidston only had the hourly Wrexham Central DMUs run by ATW!
No Merseyrail services ran to Chester, Ellesmere Port, New Brighton, Hunts Cross, Kirkby or Ormskirk.

X.54] Eccles: ABOVE: The 'new' (2014) station building which has yet to make an appearance on the
National Rail website 'stations made easy'; it still shows the previous 'facilities'! (John Cameron).

870] Navigation Road: (BLN 1277.634) Where the double track becomes single south of the station
(7m 30ch), the point remains clipped OOU pending replacement. Therefore all Chester to Manchester
trains take the facing crossover (7m 55ch) from the Up Main to the (fortunately) bidirectional Down
Main north of Altrincham station after receiving a 'feather' in P3 there. At some point this should end.

871] Earlestown: A recent episode here on 4 Apr here gives a good insight into the way problems are
dealt with and how the effects snowball…. At 16.00, the driver of the 15.20 Liverpool Lime Street to
Manchester Victoria EMU reported that a building before Earlestown station, near the Up Chat Moss
line, was leaning towards the railway. The 15.51 Warrington BQ to Lime Street DMU driver was asked
to examine this from the Down Chat Moss line, and reported at 16.05 that a wall was bulging, and in
their opinion it was unsafe to pass. Down services used the Down & Up Loop, as did Up services before
travelling via Vulcan Bank to reverse and proceed via Earlestown P4. At 16.23 it appeared unsafe to
run on any line. A Mobile Operations Manager arrived by 16.40, and reported slight damage to a
building. Services through the Loop resumed, and a Local Operations Manager arrived at 17.00. After
examination, the passage of trains on all lines resumed, although at caution on the Up Chat Moss line.

A Structures Engineer attended and at 18.22 stated that the building was outside their remit, but
advised that all trains be cautioned pending the arrival of the Route Asset Manager (RAM). The RAM
arrived and at 19.59 advised that the building was not at risk of collapse. It was agreed that the section
could remain open with a 20 mph Emergency Speed Restriction (ESR) on the Up Main and 50mph on
the Down Chat Moss. The ESR equipment was in position by 00.24. The incident caused six trains to be
cancelled throughout, four were partly cancelled and 124 trains delayed by a total of 1,262 minutes.

There are reports of the 16.42 Lime Street to Victoria EMU being diverted via St Helens, Bamfurlong
Curve, Lowton Jn and Parkside Jn - thought to be the first Class 319 to use the two curves in passenger
service. Can anyone confirm if this happened - obviously driver route knowledge would be needed?

872] Metrolink: 6 Apr was Metrolink's 25th anniversary - having tripled its
original size to become the largest UK tram network. On 6 Apr 1992, after 10 years of planning and
then construction, passenger services began between Bury and Manchester Victoria, were extended
to G-Mex on 17 April, Altrincham on 15 Jun and Piccadilly on 20 Jul that year. HM the Queen, never
one to refuse a new bit of track, opened the network on 17 Jul 1992. Fast-forward 25 years and the
network has grown out of all recognition with over 37M journeys made a year (and rising).

873] China by Rail: (BLN 1273.163) The first return service of containers to Yiwu in eastern China,
carrying a range of British goods including soft drinks and pharmaceutical products, departed from the
DP World London Gateway sidings [not the Pottery Group sidings, then?] on 14 April.

874] Didcot - Reading: A 12-car test Class 387 EMU reportedly ran on Fri 7 Apr without any problems.

875] Banbury: (BLN 1269.2261) Banbury North signal box was finally demolished over the weekend of
25 and 26 March. The interior equipment is reported to have been saved.

876] Shenfield: (BLN 1276.549) The new layout is to be introduced from 2 May; Shenfield Remodelling
Stage 9. Various crossovers will be brought into use on the Electric Lines, approaching Shenfield from
Brentwood. Firstly a facing crossover between 19m 64ch & 19m 67ch, then on the Up Electric (viewed
from Brentwood) trailing points followed by facing points, each part of crossovers between the Up
Electric and Down Main. Next is divergence left from the Down Electric to the new P6 line at about
19m 73ch. This is followed by a trailing crossover between the Down and Up Electric for moves from
P6 between 19m 75ch & 19m 78ch and another between the P6 track and the Down Electric between
19m 79ch & 20m 04ch. Up moves can be made from Down Electric P5 while a train approaches P6.

On the Main Lines a new trailing crossover will be brought into use connecting the Up Main with the
Down Main between 19m 62ch and 19m 65ch for Up moves from P3, P4 or P5 to the Up Main.

At the Brentwood end a new crossover between 19m 53ch and 19m 59ch connecting the Up Electric
with the Up Main includes a fixed diamond in the Down Main. These roads are not reversible, so this is
for Up moves only. Excluding this, there are three crossovers between Up Electric and Down Main.

At the country end of Shenfield station a trailing and then a facing crossover between 20m 22ch and
20m 25ch and 20m 25ch and 20m 32ch respectively access the three Shenfield Stabling Sidings and the
Southend Loop (No1 is nearest the Loop). A further crossover connects the Southend Loop to the Down
Main between 20m 34ch and 20m 45ch. Apart from the trailing connection of the latter there are no
changes at the Ingatestone end on the Mains or the Down and Up Southend. The pre-existing facing
crossover in the Mains permits trains from Ingatestone to access P4 or P5.

877] Murrow: (BLN 1250.267) The March to Spalding Great Northern & Great Eastern Joint direct line
was once crossed here on the level by the Midland & Great Northern Railway Peterborough to Sutton
Bridge via Wisbech line. BR put in a west to south connecting curve in 1961. The brick former signal
box at Murrow diamond (TF 3675 0649) is being enlarged to about double its size with a two storey
shallow pitched roofed extension to rear. The signal box has a flat roof. The large windows at front and
sides of the operating floor remain. It does not appear to be for sale. An earlier wood signal box is still
in place about 70m west on the formation towards Peterborough, together with an upper quadrant
junction signal with distant arm for the ahead route and home for a right divergence approximately
where such a signal would have controlled entry to the 1961 spur towards March. All is private land
but can be viewed from Mill Road which curves round three quarters of the outside of the box..

ABOVE: Also e-BLN 1250.267 with picture. The 1950 built Murrow (West) signal box on 17 Apr 1993;
looking south towards March, the double track Spalding line (CA 29 Nov 1982) was left of the box.
The M&GNR crossed it on the level this side of the box (Peterborough to the right and Wisbech North
to the left). The Jan 1961 BR curve was behind the box in this view. This was put in because a M&GNR
bridge north of Peterborough required extensive repair and that section of line could then be closed.
The new curve itself closed from 20 Jul 1966. (Angus McDougall).

X.55] BELOW: The 'other' signal box at Murrow now; the former Horsemoor 1899 box in happier times
on 20 Jun 2005. It was an intermediate sidings
box, with a level crossing, just southeast of
March on the ex-Great Eastern Railway line to
Ely. The box was abolished 13 Nov 1988 when
the crossing was automated. The top is now in
store at a builder's yard at Murrow in a poor
condition. The 1893 built 25-lever Dutton patent
frame is there, dismantled (Angus McDougall).

878] Ely: (BLN 1274.288) Plans to upgrade Ely
North Jn had been scheduled for development
during Control Period 5 (2014-19) but were
deferred by the Hendy review as the previously
agreed NR upgrade programme could not be
delivered with the money available. Now the
Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP
and New Anglia LEP (with a £2.2M Strategic
Freight Network grant), have agreed to pay NR
£8.8M to fund technical and feasibility work for
the Ely area, including Ely North Jn.

[BLN 1279]
This will provide options for funders to increase rail capacity to improve both freight and passenger
services from King's Cross to King's Lynn, Ipswich to Peterborough and Felixstowe to Nuneaton and
beyond. Stakeholders want to significantly increase freight and passenger capacity through the Ely
area to support franchise commitments, a future half-hourly Norwich to Cambridge service and local
economic and housing growth. The funding commitment will help flesh out details of the planned
scheme and increase its chances of securing funding for implementation in CP6. (Transport Briefing)

879] Cambridge North: (BLN 1273.185) Track and signalling associated with the new station adjacent
to Chesterton Jn Yard at 57m 75ch, was brought into use from Sat 1 April with the station remaining
closed to passengers. An 8-car class 317, the 10.47 ECS working from Cambridge, was the first train to
call at Cambridge North (bay P3) at 10.53 on Mon 10 Apr. Tests included 3 return ECS workings daily
from 10 to 12 Apr. All three platforms were due to be handed over to Greater Anglia on 21 April.
Developers Brookgate are now seeking permission for a 222-bed hotel and seven storey office block.

880] Reading: (BLN 1276.550) As well as on the north side, larger security bollards have already been
installed at the lower (west) level on the south side and are still being installed by the 'Three Guineas.'

881] Maidenhead: (BLN 1278.751) Reference here was to the current live limit at MP25, but it is
understood that the electrification between Airport Jn and Maidenhead was declared ready for use
over the weekend of 24/25 March. The initial EMU service should be introduced on 21 May; 10 to 12
trains per day between Maidenhead and Paddington, running Monday to Friday peak hours only.

This service does not need to use the Maidenhead sidings. It will also mean the end of the final pair of
Bourne End to Paddington through trains in the new timetable. There will be further changes in July
2017 when EMUs start running to Maidenhead daily. This service will require the new sidings there to
operate, though, when seen on 10 Apr, no further work had been done on the reversing siding
between the two Relief tracks, with unballasted sleepers, awaiting alignment and a buffer stop.
Electric trains are expected to start running between Maidenhead and Didcot in December 2017.

882] Kent: (BLN 1278.759) More proposals in the draft Area Route Study (consulting until mid-Jun):
★Ebbsfleet Southern Link: A connection to Ebbsfleet International from the HS1 to Fawkham Jn line
once for HS1 Waterloo access and recently used to store Eurostars. This would provide an alternative
route to Ebbsfleet, a developing area, and from south London (compare with BLN 1277.628).

★Canterbury Chords: (Rings a bell, an old chestnut proposed by BR years ago in case Dover to
Folkestone closed.) Two possible chords between the Ashford to Canterbury West and Faversham to
Canterbury East lines. A western chord in the Chartham area creates a direct Faversham to Ashford
route. A southern chord could improve network resilience with the exposed railway line between
Folkestone and Dover. (The latter is shown in TRACKmaps Vol 5 p9B (Nov 2008) as a proposal.)

★ New stations: Thanet Parkway, Camberwell, East Brixton, Otterpool Park & Gillingham Stadium.

883] Virginia Water - Reading: (BLN 1277.646) On 23 Mar the Virginia Water country end platform
extensions appeared nearly complete but not open. The new footbridge was open (with the lifts not in
use). The old footbridge was removed when the station was closed over the previous weekend. Some
tidying up work was required on the island platform, but the Up Reading line platform has been
resurfaced. Sunningdale: Country end platform extensions are in use. Ascot: The extensions appeared
to be almost complete (someone will be in hot water if they are not finished). The footbridge was not
yet open. A high metal safety fence has been erected along the P1 side (which is not used for boarding
or alighting) of the rather narrow P2 at the country end and will no doubt continue towards London
when other work is complete (P1 lies both sides of the reversible Up Main). Wokingham: Up, country
end open. Martins Heron: Open at the London end. Bracknell: The country end extensions are also
complete, and in the Down direction in regular use because the 8-10 car stops sign has moved west.

ABOVE: The 1892 Grain crossing gate box, on the southeast side of the B2002 Grain Road level
crossing. To the right is Thamesport container terminal that used to be rail served (last commercial
train 6 Nov 2013). The two chimneys on the left are at Medway gas fired power station on the Isle of
Grain. Although the gate box is not a block post it houses the traincrew operated NSKT (No Signalman
Key Token) at the 'non-signal box' end of the arrangement (Angus McDougall).

884] Grain: Medway Council has granted BP planning permission to renew their aviation fuel terminal.
Rail traffic was dispatched until 1991 at least; the track and network connection remain. Fuel will be
supplied from the existing storage tanks and suction pipework to new rail loading pumps adjacent to
the existing transfer/loading pumps. New rail loading sidings will be built in the area of the existing
disused sidings. 15 loading arms will be installed, with the ability to load trains on each side of the
arms. The loading platform area will be covered by a continuous roof for weather protection.

As well as the two sidings for fuel loading, two will be provided for empty wagons and a fifth siding for
locomotive fuelling and wagon maintenance. The initial operation will use one train of 20 wagons,
expected to load roughly daily. The fuel loading is designed so that trains will be on site for a minimum
turnaround of 5 hours to allow for shunting, fuel loading and quality and safety checks for departure.

The loading operation will include necessary checks that the wagons are empty and suitable for
loading, connecting the hoses and loading the fuel, disconnecting the loading hoses, connecting and
disconnecting the sample hose and taking a sample from a loaded wagon. Up to 10 wagons will be
loading at a time, each at a maximum controlled rate of 100m3/h. Approximately a year after starting
operations it is planned to bring an additional train of 20 wagons into operation. Normally at least one
train will be in transit. The sidings (not on NR land) allow a train to be stabled while the other loads.
The nearest part of the site is approximately 120m from the 1882 Grain Crossing Signal Box (Grade II
listed in July 2013), the only surviving example in the country of a Stevens & Sons signal box. It is a
timber frame structure clad in Stevens & Sons trademark vertical boards with the joints covered by

ABOVE: The box looks far smarter in this view from the crossing on 29 May 1999 (Angus McDougall). It
is externally intact except the windows were replaced in the later 20th Century within their original
openings. It is not considered that the proposed development would adversely impact on its setting. A
car park, various buildings and open land with bushes between the site and the signal box would help
to mitigate the impact of the development from the crossing.


Regional Editor : Darren Garnon, 3 Reader Drive, Marden, Tonbridge, Kent, TN12 9FD [email protected]..

885] Bristol prepared for Disruption: GWR have standing arrangements with local bus operators to
allow customers with valid GWR rail tickets to make the equivalent journey on buses when rail services
are disrupted. If no arrangements have been set up, customers must buy their own bus tickets but
these are refunded with any compensation claimed for the delayed journey. Separate GWR leaflets
show options for destinations from Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway, with details of the bus
services and their bus stops, journey time and operating times. (Do other GWR stations have similar
leaflets?) It also shows alternative rail options, such as via Bristol Parkway to Swindon if the direct
route from Temple Meads via Box is unavailable. Your correspondent used this facility to get to Clifton
Down when a Cross Country HST separated at Lawrence Hill and Severn Beach services could not
operate. His concerns that the bus drivers would not be aware of the arrangements were unnecessary;
it was even possible to get on and off at a bus stop nearer his destination than the station!

886] Pullman Dining: (Not a dating service for ladies.) Members who enjoyed the First Class Dining on
our 18 Mar VTEC tour may wish to sample GWR's silver service Pullman Dining; quote: Sourced directly
from the West Country (one wonders where in the West Country they source Welsh Back Bacon!)

These are available to all passengers, although First Class ticket holders have priority and can reserve
tables on departures after midday up to 3 hours before departure. Those interested are recommended
to try this before GWR's HSTs are replaced by IEPs as 'England's last dining cars' may not survive the
change. PS: As at Harrods, if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it‽

MEAL SERVICE (not weekends or Bank Holidays) LAST ORDERS

Welsh Breakfast 05.58 Swansea - Paddington Swindon

West of England Breakfast 06.55 Plymouth – Paddington Taunton

Welsh Brunch 10.45 Paddington - Swansea Cardiff

12.05/13.05 Paddington - Plymouth Reading

Lunch and 12.01/12.56 Plymouth - Paddington Taunton / Castle Cary
Dinner Menu 18.03 Paddington - Penzance Reading
18.03 Plymouth - Paddington Taunton

19.03 Paddington - Plymouth Reading

887] South West Franchise: With the expiry of the statutory 10 day stand-still period, the franchise
award to the First Group/MTR consortium is assured. However, some interesting questions relating to
far west train services remain. Buried in the 'Invitation to Tender' is an intriguing suggestion that the
South West Franchise's Westbury to Castle Cary service '...can be extended at either end of the route
at the bidder's discretion…' It doesn't specify how far they can go! Through trains from Waterloo to
Exeter (and beyond) via Taunton or in the other direction to Paddington? We also wait with interest as
to what happens to the 'experimental' service between Yeovil Pen Mill and Yeovil Junction.

Some areas such as Weymouth will have virtually all public transport provided by First – SWT; GWR
and First Hampshire & Dorset buses. There are checks and balances in the system to deal with this.

888] Bescot: NR has indicated that Bescot Down side is the preferred location for a new concrete
sleeper factory with up to 100 jobs. If approved, it will produce up to 600,000 sleepers per year
accounting for 60% of Britain's supply. The other 400,000 come from the Trackwork MOLL factory at
Doncaster opened 9 Dec 2013 (replacing Tarmac's Tallington factory in Lincolnshire that closed in
2011). NR will award a 15 year contract to manufacture concrete sleepers shortly. The Birmingham
Washwood Heath Cemex sleeper factory site is next to, but seemingly not needed for, the HS2 depot.

889] Birch Coppice: A regional-editorial walk around this site on 2 Apr found the sidings outside of the
main container terminal very rusty and disused. The former branch to the car parts terminal was also
disused although there were a pair of DBC FKA wagons parked on it which may be cripples. A public
footpath crosses the container terminal throat; footpaths also run the length of the terminal across to
the trackbed of the former Baddesley branch making viewing the (lack of) rail operations very easy.
It is intended to have some picturers taken on the walk in e-BLN 1280.

890] Castle Bromwich Jn - Water Orton West Jn: On 3 Apr a failed Class 66 on a Freightliner train was
marooned on the Up Derby Fast during the evening peak. Some northbound trains, including the 18.03
Birmingham to Edinburgh, were routed via the Up Derby Slow between the junctions to pass it.

891] Ironbridge: (BLNs 1248.90 & 1263.1645) The branch is still in situ although very rusty with no
traffic since the inspection train on 16 May 2016. There was a press report that the Power Station is in
the final phase of decommissioning, has recently been put on the market, and is currently in use for
the training and exercising of police dogs. The article also states the future of the site ... is still being
decided. It has been suggested that the branch might be used to remove materials from demolition -
HGVs were a local issue when the plant was operating and a factor in building the Ironbridge by-pass.

892] A Rubbish Item: During December NR was the unlucky victim of a serious case of fly tipping on an
industrial scale. Reports suggest that it was on the trackbed of the Wellington line just past the former
Lightmoor Jn (where the line joined the Ironbridge branch). Telford Steam Railway volunteers found
the estimated 25 lorry loads of partly processed household waste. Access from the A4169 is easy
where a locked gate provides NR with vehicular access to Lightmoor Jn via the Wellington line
trackbed, on which the Telford Steam Railway wishes to extend. The clear up reportedly cost NR £40k.

893] Norton Bridge/Stafford: (BLN 1277.656) The bidirectional single track East Chord is now booked
to be used by all London Midland Crewe to Euston services, except the 06.52 (SSuX) which is booked
via the flyover and calls at Stafford P3; this appears to be consistent. On 25 Mar unusually some Down
services (and Up XC trains) used the chord after a fatality at Stafford, and on 29 Mar possibly due to a
points failure at Little Bridgeford Jn. The new Norton Bridge flyover is now shown on the latest paper
OS maps (although available online for a while). Meanwhile at Stafford (where all platforms now have
bidirectional signalling) a Down Pendolino stopped at P1, by the station exit, on the morning of 1 April.

894] Rail-Air crossings: (BLN 1276.569) RAF Atherstone, some 2½ miles south of Stratford-upon Avon,
opened 5 Jul 1941 and the name was a problem from the outset. Drafting Officers, using railway maps
and timetables, issued most staff with tickets to Atherstone LMS on the Trent Valley line, many miles
away involving several changes of train to finally reach the base. The station was renamed RAF
Stratford in May 1942. Mainly a training base, it was used that summer for 1,000 bomber raids into
Germany. After a number of accidents and near misses, 'Airfield Emergency Signals', a home and
distant each way, were provided from 24 Apr 1943. If an aircraft broke the trip wire at the end of the
runway, an alarm sounded in Clifford Sidings Signal Box and in the base's Control Tower, placing the
signals at danger. This could also be done manually by the Tower if a distress message was received
from a plane about to land. Further problems, perhaps the accident mentioned in BLN 1276, resulted
in the signals being moved on 27 Nov 1945 to give trains greater braking distances. The system, which
was tested daily, required the box and Tower to agree before the signals could be reset to clear.
The base closed in June 1946 and the emergency railway signals were removed from 10 Dec 1946.

895] TPE: Club 55 'returns' until 16 May, buy from TPE stations or conductors.

896] Kirkstall Forge: (BLN 1260.1333) The forecast was that a total of 20,200 journeys would be made
to/from Leeds in the year following the station's opening last June. Remarkably 21,400 journeys were
made during the first five months alone after opening, a pro-rata increase of over 250%.

897] Sheffield Tram-Train: Initial testing and mileage accumulation for the seven Citylink tram-trains,
the UK's first, began on 5 Apr. They are expected to carry passengers next year. Three vehicles will run
on the Sheffield Supertram network, three will run as tram-trains between Sheffield and Rotherham
Parkgate, with one spare. The project, originally due to begin carrying passengers in 2015, has been
considerably delayed mainly due to traction supply calculation problems which have proved
problematic. Three different designs have been worked up. Driver training is due to commence soon
aimed to put the Citylink vehicles into service on the Supertram network in the summer. The vehicles
will be tested on the NR section early next year, before going into tram-train passenger service.

898] Portrush: (BLN 1270.3099) The 1923 built signalbox (which was downgraded to a shunt frame
from 14 Nov 2016) was signed back into use during the week ending 14 Apr 2017. The exact date is
uncertain as the instruction referred to 'Wednesday April 13th 2017' (actually a Thursday!). In any case
it is normally switched out with one train working on the branch between Portrush and Coleraine.

899] Shanganagh Jn: There are tentative proposals for a new station on the Dublin to Rosslare line
between Shankill and Bray. It may be called Woodbrook or Shanganagh. It is likely to be near the site
of Shanganagh Jn where the line from Dublin Harcourt Street (last trains 31 Dec 1958) joined the
surviving route. The new station could in due course also be the terminus of an extension to the LUAS
Green Line from Sandyford which has been proposed in the past but so far not acted on.

BELOW UPPER: Dublin Grand Canal Dock from the Down end of P1; the 16.20 originating train to
Hazelhatch is in middle 'bay' P2. BELOW LOWER: The new buffers south of P2 (looking towards Bray);
the slewed Up line towards Dublin now runs into P3 on the right (all Martin Baumann 7 Apr 2017).

ABOVE: Train in Hazelhatch bay P3, looking towards Dublin (Martin Baumann 7 Apr 2017).

900] Phoenix Park route: On 7 Apr our Ireland Regional Editor traversed the crossovers and platforms
available on the new service which began on 21 Nov 2016. Unit 22015 was joined at Connolly on the
15.10 ex-Newbridge (starting from the bay there and taking the trailing crossover on departure but
these were not required track). The aim was to do the crossover into what is now the middle platform
(P2) at Grand Canal Dock. It cannot be described as a true 'bay' as the full length is still in use from
when it was a through platform and the buffers are well past the south platform end. Perhaps our
friends from 'Kentrail Enthusiasts Group' who produce 'Baywatch' might describe it as a virtual bay?

The 16.20 Grand Canal Dock P2 to Hazelhatch was then taken throughout, first via the crossover move
on departure then via Dublin Connolly P7 and the Phoenix Park Tunnel. (He has travelled through the
tunnel many times on railtours but this was his first service train). The service is VERY generously

timed. For example 20 minutes from Drumcondra to Park West (9m 05ch)
but this helps keep things punctual and the train terminated in Hazelhatch
bay P3 (no discussion required about this one) exactly on time. There were
about 40-50 passengers leaving Connolly on the 16.20, most alighted before
Hazelhatch. The 17.25 return had about five passengers on leaving
Hazelhatch and picked up a couple more before Connolly.

901] Hazelhatch: Since rebuilding was completed in 2010 there are five
platforms, no two of which have the same mileage! Assuming milepost 10
(from Dublin Heuston) is accurately positioned on the Down fast P1, (LEFT)
and taking a combination of measuring from Google maps with GPS gives:

P1 Down Fast midpoint 9m 79ch
P2 Down Slow midpoint 10m 03ch
P3 Bay buffers 9m 78ch
P4 Up Slow midpoint 10m 01ch
P 5 Up Fast midpoint 9m 78ch
(Trains normally do not call at P1 & P5)

ABOVE & BELOW: 22015 in Hazelhatch bay P3 forming 1725 to Grand Canal Dock, looking towards Dublin.

[BLN 1279]
LEFT: The Crossovers for access to
Hazelhatch bay P3 on arrival from
the Down slow (right) and on
departure to the Up slow (left).

902] Ta Very Much: The 18.00
(SuX) Drogheda to Dublin Pearse
is booked to use the crossover
after Tara Street then terminate
in Dublin Pearse P1. It did this
when sampled from Connolly to
Pearse on 7 Apr 2017.

903] Ballinacourty / Waterford
the Local Authorities recently
opened the 'Waterford Greenway' a 46km footpath and cycle track mostly on the formation of the ex-
Great Southern & Western Railway Waterford to Mallow line via Dungarvan and Fermoy and
alongside the Waterford & Suir Valley Railway. The final normal passenger trains ran on 25 Mar 1967.

In 1969 Córas Iompair Éireann built a short branch to Ballinacourty just outside Dungarvan on the line
to serve Quigley's magnesite plant. Track lifting started from the Mallow end and hadn't passed
Dungarvan so the Waterford end was retained as a branch for this freight traffic. Waterford, Grace
Dieu Jn to Ballinacourty ROG 3 Apr 1970 until 1982. Traffic included Magnesite, sporadic Dolomite and
oil. Two passenger specials operated on 28 Jul 1982 and wagons were cleared two days later. In the
1980s there were occasional weedspraying trains but the line became derelict and the last known
movement was track recording car EM50 on 9 May 1990 with loco No146.

904] Irish Railway Stations Index: an incredible part of the 'Eiretrains - Irish
Railways Past & Present' website. High quality, well annotated pictures of the Irish Rail scene (it says
from 2001 but many are much earlier), includes diesel and steam locos, videos and stations. The
latter (via the link) are well organized; click on the letter then the station and finally the picture for
the annotation. Try 'Ballinacourty' which is how your Editor found the site. Many hours of interest!

905] Manx Electric Railway: (BLN 1269.2249) Single line working began on 26 Sep 2016 between
Onchan Head and Groudle for track relaying with completion planned for around the end of May. The
inland line is in use with trailing crossovers at Groudle and Onchan Head. At Ramsey the station lines
have recently been taken OOU, at least temporarily, with only possible limited use planned during the
motor racing 'TT' fortnight. The line now ends at stop blocks made of wooden sleepers on the Douglas
side of Parsonage Road LC (17m 63ch). All traces of the car sheds on the east and the sidings on the
west side of the line have gone. A scaled down version of the bus/tram interchange is expected now,
and the site of the present Ramsey bus station is then to be made available to build social housing.

906] Nairn: The buildings on P1 are being leased to Men's Shed, an organization which was originally
aimed at bringing together men who are retired or no longer work, to carry out small projects and
socialize. However, all ages and genders are most welcome. The lease commenced on 1 April and is for
six years. The premises were formerly a flower shop, and, before that, the Highland Railway Museum.

X.56] BELOW: As usual when it comes to railways, Scotland is ahead of the rest of the UK. The west
end of Edinburgh Waverley at the beginning of the month during trials of the new Permissive Moving
Block to increase capacity. Surely they could have fitted in a Parry People Mover or two in as well?

907] Forth Bridge: NR is progressing plans to establish a bridge walk on the Forth Bridge. Access will be
from the southern approach span. Groups of up to 15 will be hooked up to a harness and safety line
and escorted on the walk. 60,000 visitors per year are expected. This is a much scaled down version of
the 2013 proposals, which included a viewing platform at North Queensferry and lifts. The scheme
requires less capital outlay (£10M), and gives a quicker return. Consultation with interested bodies
should commence in the summer, following which planning and listed building consents will be sought.
It is hoped that the success (including the revenue generated) of the scheme will lead to further
development phases in future similar to the original plans.

908] Borders Railway: A study this month is looking into transport links between southern Scotland
and Edinburgh, Carlisle and Newcastle. As well as road improvements, it will look at extending the
Borders Railway south through Hawick (pop 14,000) to Carlisle. This would provide much better access
to the borders as well as a diversionary route when the Beattock line is closed. However, the Carlisle to
Edinburgh journey time would be about 2 hours as opposed to 1 hour 20 minutes via Beattock.

1279 WALES
909] Abergavenny (Brecon Road): The site serves as the 'Old Station Surgery', the only reminder of the
station building being an '1890' inscribed brick at the entrance, counterpoised by a '1990' version.
Photos of the old station and area are displayed within, and permission to view was readily given.
To the west, the A40 underbridge has gone, but the embankment survives, behind a property agents.
By scrambling up to the end of the car park where the A4143 Merthyr Road takes the railway
formation, this can be unofficially walked to just before the River Usk crossing. A plaque on the
retaining wall recalls the site of the nearby locomotive shed which once housed nearly one hundred
steam engines, [Is this number correct - Ed?] illustrated by a Webb Coal Tank in LMS guise.

ABOVE: The shed at the station 25 Jul 1954; on the right is 0-6-2T 58926. BELOW: Abergavenny Brecon Road
No2 Signal Box; this could easily be a picture of a model railway layout (both Angus McDougall 25 Jul 1954).

The road drops away to the left, and there are two sections of embankment before the river; both can
be unofficially accessed from the missing overbridge between and, with care, it is possible to walk to
just short of the river abutment. Support bases for the removed railway bridge are visible in the river
bed (exactly as they were in 1964). A display panel in the entrance to Castle Meadows opposite shows
photos of the bridge in use, higher than the road crossing. The western abutment also remains, and its
embankment can be accessed by an apparently open gate into a garden centre, although the presence
of a washing line perhaps suggested otherwise! The formation is walkable to the abutment and back,
through a fence, to where A465 link road cuts across its formation and a Waitrose store is located.
A footpath on the other side seems to continue the formation, but the elevated A465 soon cuts across.

910] Wrexham - Chester: (BLN 1266.1930) After a week's possession, the previously installed second
track from the new Rossett Jn (206m 48ch) to Saltney Jn was commissioned on 1 Apr, with signalling
changes, and provision of obstacle detectors at the four level crossings. DMUs are now permitted a
short 90mph dash on the Down line (with jointed track, so quite an experience!) from 207m 16ch to
208m 60ch, but on the Up line the new limit extends further from 211m 62ch to 208m 41ch.

911] Cardiff Central: A possession over the 1-2 Apr weekend saw installation of the 'missing' 9200
facing crossover from P4 to the Up Llandaff line (NOTE: NR spells the line names 'ff' and the station 'f'!)
and associated signalling. This had been delayed from the Christmas possession, and now enables P4,
designated the Up Barry Relief, to serve as a through platform for Valleys services should the need
arise, mirroring P8 on the Down side. P4 measures 265m, P6 and 7 are 196m, and P8 154m. Not that
Valleys trains are ever likely to utilise the full lengths, but permissive working is available on all four.

912] Fishguard: Stena Line has announced changes to their Fishguard to Rosslare ferry service, from
Sun 21 May with the timetable change (interestingly it was possible to book the previous sailings on
Stena's website for months ahead of this date until recently!). While it is claimed that crossing times
will be accelerated by 15 minutes, this is of small comfort to rail passengers, who will suffer a
considerably worse service. Ferry departures from Fishguard Harbour will be at 13.10 (connecting
train 11.00 from Swansea, avoiding Carmarthen and arriving 12.28) and at 23.45 (with the 15.30 train
from Manchester Piccadilly arriving 21.58). Arrivals from Rosslare are at 11.15 (train leaving at 12.50
for Cardiff Central, via Swansea District line) and 21.25 (with a 22.14 train to Carmarthen only - no
onward connection to destinations further east).
It remains to be seen whether IÉ alter any train times at Rosslare Europort, but they have seemed
frankly disinterested in providing connections in recent years. [During the summer school holidays only
there was a very risky 35 minute connection to the last Dublin train from the day sailing which your
Editor managed to do twice, unsurprisingly the only passenger to attempt this.] The new 13.10 sailing
from Fishguard makes a 90 min connection into the last Dublin train (75 minutes SuO)!

913] Cardiff Valleys: In an unusual move, on Fri 24 Mar ATW trialled changes planned for the Summer
timetable (SSuX), the object of which is to adjust the diagramming of 2-car and 4-car trains in order
better to meet peak time loadings. Associated changes included additional workings in the morning
peak. The 05.47 from Carmarthen forms an additional 07.52 from Cardiff Central non-stop to Barry,
returning at 08.13 (an unusual Up departure from Barry P3 via the Cardiff end trailing crossover on
departure) serving all stations except Grangetown, and forming the 09.12 Cardiff Central to
Cheltenham. The 06.47 from Treherbert meanwhile forms an additional 07.57 Cardiff Central non-
stop via the City Line to Radyr, reversing in P2 to form an 08.13 return all stations via Llandaf (with one
'f'). Repositioning of 4-car units prior to the evening peak unfortunately requires cancellation of one
early afternoon Cardiff Central / Barry Island and return and one Cardiff Central / Penarth and return.

1279 MINOR RAILWAYS - MR references are now to the new 2017 (29th) Edition.

MR61] Hayling Seaside Railway, Hampshire (MR p18) (BLN 1273.MR17): The railway switched its
operating base from Beachlands to Eastoke Corner from 27 February. All locos and stock are now
stored in th e new building at Eastoke and trains now start their journeys from that end of the line.

ABOVE: Swindon & Cricklade Railway - Class 09 D3668 runs-round at Hayes Knoll (26 Mar 2017 Peter Scott).

MR62] Swindon & Cricklade Railway, Wiltshire (MR p6): On Sunday 26 March services were being
operated by class 09 D3668 with three BR Mk1 coaches (M35043, E13303 'Laura' and E13323).
Formerly a FK, 'Laura' has been converted into an open coach with a small bar area (which was closed)
and is in a blue and cream livery. Trains ran between Hayes Knoll and Taw Valley Halt, with the loco
running round at each end. The 2017 leaflet states that trains only run north of Hayes Knoll to South
Meadow Lane when operated by the DEMU - but does not give any indication when this might be.

The DEMU (now a hybrid 207/205 combination) was under extensive repair in the shed at Hayes Knoll.
The 205 driving trailer needs modifying to enable it to work with the 207 power car. The unique 2-car
class 119 Gloucester 'Cross-Country' unit was stabled in the long siding between Blunsdon and Hayes
Knoll - volunteers were noted to be working on the seats in one of vehicles. The points at Hayes Knoll
were being worked from the signal box, but the signals are not yet operational - a flag being used
instead. Track has now been lifted from just before, and over, South Meadow Lane level crossing - a
section once used to store stock. An all-day adult ticket was £6 - but passengers were very few on this
day - no more than eight on the trips sampled. A ground level 5"/7¼" gauge miniature is being built at
Blunsdon. It starts adjacent to the car park, where a station is to be built and runs in an arc around the
small pond behind the picnic area, terminating behind the BBQ hut. The track is laid over the running
line, but sidings, turntable etc remain to be laid. Some stored material needs to be moved from the car
park to allow access and building of the station. It is not known when public opening is planned.

MR63] Barking Park Light Railway, Greater London (MR p17) (BLN 1124.MR225): From a passing visit
(while photographing new LT buses) on 24 March, a member noted this 7¼" gauge railway was all still
there (track in place and locked shed and also locked platform entrance) but the rails appeared rusty.
[The MR Ed's records note that operations aren't scheduled to start until Easter. However, the website
when checked on 25 March did not work and the Facebook page has seen no activity since 2014!].

MR64] Mountsorrel and Rothley Community Heritage Centre, Leicestershire (BLN 1277.MR52 and
e-BLN 1278.X50): Passenger trains on the Mountsorrel branch do not currently run beyond the trap
points on the branch before Swithland Sidings and do not run on to the Great Central Railway.
However, plans are afoot to improve the signalling at Swithland to allow through running to take
place. The GCR's signalling team has agreed to perform the work and the Mountsorrel and Rothley
Community Heritage Centre volunteers need to purchase the hardware, which will cost around
£75,000. In the near future they will be launching an appeal to raise this
money. They have very generous benefactors who have agreed to match any public donations.

The Mountsorrel branch was in operation over the weekend of 25 & 26 March - the first DMU running
of the year. The Sunday runs were well supported especially by families visiting the Heritage Centre,
Nature trails and Café. The DMU started from Nunckley Hill Platform (ABOVE: Upper right with the 2ft
gauge 1956 Ruston Hornsby 85049 at the lower centre). It then ran to Mountsorrel before returning
via the usual limit - just short of the catch point at No2 Ground Frame at Swithland, where trains on
the Great Central Railway could be seen passing. Work in the Quarry has seen the 2ft gauge layout
completed forming a triangle with a line running to a shed at the rock face alongside the standard
gauge shed, which has two roads inside with a third outside with a trailing point. This part is not open
yet. On display were standard gauge Ruston Hornsby 4wDM 393304, previously at Snibston, and 2ft
gauge version '85049' from the Derbyshire Dales Light Railway.

BELOW TOP: Nunckley Hill Quarry, the standard gauge sidings are on the left and parts of the
three sides of the 2ft gauge triangle can be made out (all pictures Tom Gilby, 26 Mar 2017).

BELOW BOTTOM: The standard gauge Ruston Hornsby 4wDM 393304 previously at Snibston.

[BLN 1279]
MR65] Volk's Electric Railway, East Sussex (MR p16) (BLN 1267.2011): The British Trams Online web
site reports that the railway looks set to miss its first summer season since its closure for the Second
World War between 1940 and 1948, following delays to the 'Saving Volks' (sic) Heritage Lottery funded
project. A previously unknown, but live, gas supply was found during the demolition of the car sheds
and this caused delays to the project. Demolition work had begun last autumn with Aquarium Station
and Car Sheds demolished in November 2016. It was at this stage that the gas supply was discovered.
This was inside a very old pipe that once supplied the Traffic Superintendent's office and was probably
capped off but not disconnected several generations ago. Gas specialists had to be brought in to fully
disconnect the supply, but this has meant the demolition work hasn't progressed as quickly as had
been hoped. As well as the gas supply there has been an elusive electrical cable, which took a while to
locate and isolate. Although this is bad news, the chance has been taken to completely replace the
eastern passing loop and all of the old concrete sleepers (dating from 1946). It is hoped that the loop
will be completed during April. Once this is done the entire line will be in good condition and shouldn't
need much attention for five years. It is hoped that services may be up and running again by the
autumn. The project is also seeing the restoration of some of the trains, which form the fleet: Cars
4, 6 and 10 have been moved to Alan Keef Limited. So far 4 and 6 have had their new underframes
constructed and many of the original structural components have been renovated and placed in
position. As many original parts as possible will be used in the restorations.

BELOW: Halton Miniature Railway - No7 takes the new alignment back to Mousetrap Hall station.
The connection to the right (in this view) of the train is now rare track! (Peter Scott 26 Mar 2017).

MR66] Halton Miniature Railway, Cheshire (MR p13) (BLN 1209.MR67): (ABOVE) This 7¼" gauge
railway was visited on Sunday 26 March, a glorious sunny afternoon. It was operating from 13.30 with
plenty of passengers. Being Mother's Day, mums were carried free. Motive power was No7, a petrol
'Toby The Tram' lookalike with full body kit. The layout has been simplified, trains now run
anticlockwise from the only station - Mousetrap Hall. The loop at Lakeside has been removed, while
the former loop at Norton is now just a siding. The loop at Tower View has also been removed and the
former bay platform at Hillside Halt has been disconnected. The curve from North Junction has been
relaid on a different alignment, further out, making the curve less sharp. This leaves a small section not
now in passenger use, which if used reverses the direction. Fares were £1 per circuit and a friendly
welcome was given. Also near is a café and toilets. It is well signposted with new brown tourist signs.

MR67] Elsecar Heritage Railway, South Yorkshire (MR p9) (BLN 1240.MR 139): On 17 February the
railway was given approval, for the highway aspects only, to reopen the two level crossings on its
extension to Cortonwood. Tingle Bridge Lane (1m 54ch) will be provided with train crew operated full
lifting barriers, along with the normal road warning lights. At 1m 29ch is the less busy Smithy Bridge
Lane; simple train crew operated manual gates will be installed. The railway now needs to apply to the
ORR for approval of the rail safety aspects of the installations. This is expected to take at least a year.

MR68] Hythe Pier Railway, Hampshire (MR p18) (BLN 1272.8): The 17 March 'Lymington Advertiser &
Times' reported that the Hythe Pier Heritage Association was hoping to raise £20,000 with its '£20 in
20 days' challenge, asking members of the public to raise £20 each by sponsored activities. The money
will go towards structural surveys of the pier as well as charity start up and legal fees. Peter Lay, White
Horse Ferries Director reportedly said that no decision had yet been made about the ferry's future.

X.57] Ravengalss & Eskdale Railway: (MR p14) BELOW: Eskdale Green crossing 12 Apr (Ian Hughes).

[BLN 1279]
MR69] Cornwall Miniature Railway, Newquay, Cornwall: The Cornwall Miniature Railway aims to
establish itself on a site adjacent to Mawgan Porth Village Hall, between Newquay and Padstow (near
Newquay Airport) and to open in the next year. Owner Richard Curtis from Newquay aims to realise his
'vision' after spending many years working on steam railways, which has been a lifelong passion.
A pre-planning application was submitted to Cornwall Council in November outlining the scheme prior
to a full planning proposal being put forward. The scheme involves establishing a miniature railway,
mainly powered by steam locomotives, on a 7¼" gauge with a ride length of ½ mile, lasting more than
five minutes. The railway will also include a single storey station building containing a station platform
with undercover overnight storage of rolling stock, a gift shop, coffee shop, snack kiosk, visitor toilets,
outside play area, picnic area and a car park for at least 40 cars. A LMSR 4-6-0 'Royal Scot', which has
been obtained from the Little Western Railway at Trenance Park in Newquay (MR p14) is undergoing
restoration and is due to be completed later this year. Another engine has been ordered that will
remain with the manufacturer until planning permission has been obtained and the site has been built.

Richard said: I am a proud Cornishman who has lived in Newquay and its surrounding area all my life,
in fact my mother's family are from St Mawgan. I have founded a company called Cornwall Miniature
Railway Limited with the intention of building a miniature ride on railway. Looking at various sites in
the county I came across a parcel of land south of The Park in Mawgan Porth which the company was
lucky enough to purchase. We also plan to landscape the site and plant native vegetation to reduce any
visual impact on the area. Having local family connections to the area of St Mawgan and Newquay,
I know the potential of such a project in an area where tourism plays a key role. Two years ago I was
lucky enough to purchase my own steam engine with the aim of one day building my own railway.
The engine is a 7¼" gauge steam locomotive which was in a rundown state. Since then I have been
restoring the engine. With the engine nearing completion and securing years of experience in the
tourism and railway sector, it was time to realise my vision. So I parted company with my employer,
which allowed me to focus all my time on the project. We'd like to work with businesses in the area and
will endeavour not to compete with other businesses in the village and only enhance each other.

The aim of this attraction is not a full day experience but instead will be an activity which can be visited
alongside other attractions or the beach. The 'Royal Scot' has previously spent 50 years working at the
Little Western Railway. Richard said: The locomotive we are restoring is named Royal Scot, of which the
full-size engine still exists and is currently operating throughout the country. Our engine has been in
Cornwall 50 years now and used to run at the Little Western Railway next to Newquay Zoo, but sadly
has not run for the past 20 having been kept in storage. However, a stronger, brand new engine has
been placed on order in the event of a successful planning application. It is already built and I have
already test driven it. Cornwall Miniature Railway will be run as a small business. During the design
phase we have been using Exmoor Steam Railway as our consultants who are one of the most
reputable builders of railways and rolling stock in the country.

NEXT PAGE, TOP: An otherwise deserted King's Cross station looking north. East Midlands Trains
43082 'Railway Children' in P1. It had arrived as the 03.30 ECS from Bounds Green (actually reaching
King's Cross at 03.30) to form 1Z40, the 05.30 BLS 'Bound for Craigy' tour. Together with Virgin Trains
East Coast's 43300 'Craigentinny 100' on the country end and set EC64. The tour also celebrated the
40th year of the introduction of the HST; taken at 04.38, Sat 18 Mar2017. (All Geoff Plumb unless
otherwise specified.)

NEXT PAGE, BOTTOM: A bespoke lamp iron bracket had been made to fit the 'Bound for Craigy'
headboard onto 43300 'Craigentinny 100' so that it remained in place during the high speed sections
of the tour! It was quite an operation to fit it at King's Cross before departure at 05.30; initial
destination was Bounds Green Depot!

ABOVE: Two of the VIP guests; Sir Kenneth Grange (left), designer of the distinctive HST nose cone
(amongst many other things), and David Maidment (right), founder of the Railway Children charity.

BELOW (THREE PICTURES): 08441 & 08670 coupled to 43082 in Bowes Park Reversing Siding, hauled
the HST into Bounds Green Depot and ran to the end of Maintenance Servicing Shed No9 Road.

1279 FIXTURES REPORT: 914] 40 Year CommemorationS, by Rod Miebs (member 1880); The first:
Got out of bed at usual time on 1 May 1968, breakfast at home. Walked with Dad to Hither Green
Station for an Electro Pneumatic Brake (EMU - those were the days!) to London Bridge then the
Northern Line to King's Cross. To P8 at 'The Cross', the assembled throng and on the adjacent
platforms were far too many for the seven coach train at the platform. Found our seats and waited for
the 'Right Away', which came promptly at 10.00. Escorted by the Argyll & Sutherland Highlander to Gas
Works Tunnel. Continued with no hesitation, repetition and only a slight deviation to Edinburgh
Waverley P10 at about 18.03 after a journey of 392m 69c. Greeted by the Lord Provost and a Pipe
Band in Highland Dress, Clan affiliation not known.

BELOW: 4472 approaching Newcastle on the non-
stop King's Cross to Edinburgh run (Rod Miebs).

Detrained and walked up to Princes Street. The
slight deviation was to go through the Down Goods
Loop at Berwick-On-Tweed, the signalman was
being cautious, a water tanker was parked there in
case 4472 (Flying Scotsman) needed water - it had
a double tender and did not (there were still a few
operational water troughs)! ... nearly 5 decades

The third (2017) -
Chronologically: Out of bed
02.55 on 18 Mar 2017. Left
home 03.58 driving with
one booked stop close to
Birkbeck station to pick up
my friend from the North.
He was on a lodging turn at
his nearby son's. No trams
or trains were seen on the
railway overbridge which I,
and many others I would
see during the day, had
crossed on our 442 Farewell
railtour six days earlier.
Parked north of the Euston
Road and joined the merry
throng by King's Cross P0/1.
The throng this time was limited to booked passengers, plus one I understand wanting to buy cake, for
the HST (in their 40th birthday year) in PI. Joined the HST, departed 05.32, two minutes down. There
was an amount of hesitation, repetition and deviation on the journey, I will list the first and third later.
The repetition ignoring crossovers was going through the Down platform at Bowes Park, going through
the Down platform at Bowes Park (twice).

My table companion to my left as we left King's Cross introduced a topic of conversation of a similar all
day round trip we did to Scotland. Euston 06.42 back 23.18, the Lea Valley Railway Club (LVRC) Clyde
Coast Pullman/Balloch Basher with eight Mk II Manchester Pullmans, a dining special on 7 Jul 1984.

It's that 40 again; 1984 the second: The LVRC tour was two days after my 40th birthday. My wife came
for the celebration, but she stayed on the main train to Wemyss Bay and avoided the Basher element.
The conversation on the leaving King's Cross was about the shortage of food in the kitchen car for the

Clyde Coast Pullman dinner; the train was probably stocked for 7 cars, the normal service train
formation, not the 8 on the day. Arrangements were made during the day to cover the shortfall. Fish!
This pleased my wife (always a good plan!) as it was more to her liking than what was on the menu.

ABOVE: The 'Balloch Basher' at Balloch Pier on 7 Jul 1984 with the 1953 built
paddle steamer 'Maid of the Loch'. Considering it was a rare track tour using a DMU, they missed a
trick here; the sign only says 'No electric trains beyond this point'! (Rod Miebs). BELOW: The 'Clyde
Coast Pullman'; 86229 running into Paisley Gilmore Street to pick up participants from the Balloch trip
for the return to London Euston (Rod Meibs '40 not out' on 7 Jul 1984).

[BLN 1279]
Back to the Third (2017): Fate had been tempted. Fate did not miss a chance. An announcement came
on the HST that dining would not be as the elaborate menu set out. The full contents had not been
loaded on to the train. The diners did not go short, but it was more in line with Virgin service train fare.
It was prescient of Kev to set up another mobile 'Bubble & Squeak' (our 9 Apr Chiltern railtour), a
healthier alternative to the one that dropped off the menu. A later announcement was that the bacon
rolls had all gone, but this would be rectified at the next station call (Doncaster - and it was).

Arrival at Edinburgh Waverley P19 was 2½ minutes late after a journey of some 401 miles. No Civic
Reception this time but, as we were winning track, Princes Street was thronged by Scottish Rugby fans
returning from Murrayfield after winning against Italy. Many had the Scottish National Flag round their
shoulders and/or a facsimile painted on their faces, so that could be said to be a reception.

The first (1968) Returns: Overnight in the Edinburgh
Hotel, back to Waverley P10 and boarded the same 7-
coach train we came up on the day before for a 09.15
departure. D97 haulage to London St Pancras (non-
International), booked 17.42, via the Waverley Route,
Settle & Carlisle line, Leeds Whitehall curve,
Cudworth, Wath Road Jn and Trowell Jn. I am told the
booked loco change at Engine Shed Jn did not happen.
I did not check the loco at St Pancras (409m 14c no
booked passenger stop). LEFT: D97 (steam heating!)
awaiting departure from Edinburgh (Rod Miebs).

The Third (2017) Continued: Back to Waverley from
Princes Street, re-boarded the HST for the return to
King's Cross; some 399 miles. No booked stop on the
drive home. Fast past Birkbeck, my friend from the
North had left intermediately to go home. Home
arrival was at 23.58 and 20 hours after setting off.

Hesitation: Two notable examples; the first at York
Yard North. Our tour was held to allow 1E64, six mins
late, to pass. It was delayed 8 mins at Colton Jn while
we crossed to the Down Leeds. The second was
approaching Drem; we ran behind 2Y03 from North
Berwick to Edinburgh.

Deviation: Comparing the loops listed with the Permit
to Travel letter the omission was Berwick-upon-Tweed
Down Goods Loop while West Slow No1 at Doncaster Decoy was replaced by West Slow No2.
Darlington Down Main was replaced by the Down Station Loop. Drem DPL was not on the list but was
in the timing sheet; it was not covered. More time would have been lost via the loop because of the
hesitant running above. However, there were track bonuses over those listed in the letter, the running
from Newcastle on the bidirectional Up in the Down direction to Benton Jn outward. Returning to
London: UPLs Drem, Claypole & Connington [these clearly didn't take 'Just a Minute' - Ed*]; I stand to
be corrected on both hesitation and deviation. (* for the younger readers.)

Other Things: Thanks to the Railway Performance Society (detailed logs with e-BLN), I now know that
GPS data measures 'Vertical Interval' in its output. The interest arose from measuring distances in the
past from maps. These were inaccurate as it is not possible to measure height gained/lost on climbs
and descents en-route. Outward the tour climbed 5,778ft and descended 5,607ft - gaining 171ft.

Looking at the OS 6" map (1842-52 editions), the King's Cross area spot heights average about 55ft. In
Edinburgh, on the 1894 OS 6", the Princes Street end of Waverley Bridge spot height is 215.6ft. A spot
height at the junction for the Abbey Hill branch is 104.1ft, the line climbs from there to Waverley. My
approximation was a net gain of 50ft from King's Cross. On the return, Edinburgh to Retford (data lost
for rest of journey) the train climbed 3,399ft and descended 3,480ft. I have not done Retford spotting.

The Railway Performance Society also kindly provided a speed profile that bore out my general
impression of how the train ran, with maxima as expected with an HST 125. I also learnt what gen is
provided by the Railcam group. The predictions of what was going to happen next were accurate.

Calendar Day Mileage Record: The Craigy total mileage of 900m 29ch in a calendar day is a record for
a one day BLS tour during our 62 years. The tour is also the new UK record holder for a one day charity
railtour, raising over £50k; the previous record of £38k was held by our Class 350 EMU 'Clyde Race
Tracker' AC EMU tour of 26 Apr 2014. The detailed Craigy route recorded below is thanks to Martyn
Brailsford (it was 'bound' to be!)… My LVRC Clyde Coast Pullman train, Euston to Wemyss Bay and back
was some 861 miles, those of us who did the Balloch Basher DMU from Motherwell to Paisley Gilmour
Street added another 9 miles, to cover 870 in the day (net of the main train mileage not covered).

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