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Published by membersonly, 2019-03-07 16:26:08


9th March 2019

Number 1324 (Items 510 - 641 & MR 37 - MR 42) (E-BLN 59 PAGES) 9 Mar 2019


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

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

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

BLN 1325 is dated Sat 23 Mar; please send contributions by Wed 13 Mar.

510] BLS Fixtures Standard Booking Terms & Conditions: Available on our website, or to members
by postal application with an SAE to Mark Gomm, a new section (23) has recently been added...
23. On occasions it is necessary to providceietpya. rStonceiertyo.rganisations, such as Train Operating Companies
and Heritage Railways, with details of participants. The details provided will be restricted to names
as provided when booking. Making a booking is deemed to represent acceptance of this requirement.

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

Sun 10 Mar Ashton Park Rly & Farewell to the Woodfield Light Railway 1323 MG OPEN

Sat 23 Mar The Marching Crompton II, Class 33; update in BLN 1323 1320 MG OPEN

Sat 23 Mar The Weymouth Walkabout to Weymouth Quay etc 1318 TG OPEN

Sat 23 Mar Weymouth Rio Grande Railway (10¼" gauge) during break 1322 MG OPEN

Sun 24 Mar The Ruby Vampire - The Second Bite; update in BLN 1323 1320 MG FULL

Sat 30 Mar 14.00 St Michael's 7¼" miniature railway - Tenbury Wells Below MG *OPEN*

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

Fri 26 Apr The Bo'ness Bonus (Bo'ness etc to Crewe single journey) 1322 MG OPEN
Sat 27 Apr The Gourock Growler; Track & Traction tour from Crewe 1322 MG OPEN
Sun 28 Apr The Sunday Shed (single journey Crewe to Polmont etc) 1322 MG OPEN

Sat 4 May K&ESR The Andrew Wilson (Brillo) Memorial Charter 1322 MG OPEN
16-18 May Island of Ireland IV; **NOW OPEN FOR BOOKINGS** Below MG *OPEN*

Sun 19 May Cork - Dublin Heuston (for evening flights), Rare Track tour TBA TBA Claimed

Thur 13 Jun Save the date, annual Pre-Peaks Challenge Railtour TBA TBA Claimed

7 and 8 Jul Sun and Mon; save the dates for Devon service train tracker TBA TBA Claimed

Sat 20 Jul *NEW* Class 37 main line hauled unusual lines railtour TBA TBA Claimed

Sat 27 Jul The return of Thunder Vac 50008 (D408), circular tour 1323 MG OPEN

26 - 28 Jul Society rare track tour in southern Austria; NOW OPEN 1318 PG *OPEN*

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

511] :St Michael's Meander; Sat 30 Mar 14.00-16.00:: Thanks to member Simon Mortimer and the
owner Brett Rogers, a visit to the St Michael's PRIVATE Railway, in rural Worcestershire nr Tenbury
Wells. A 7¼" gauge classic garden railway with a half dumbbell layout, several hundred yards long,
in private grounds. Brett owns TMA Engineering which manufactured the two diesel locos 'Captain
Howey' and 'JB Snell' at the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway. Tea and coffee available. Max 20
participants, £10 Members, £14 Non-Members. Leominster station is 7 miles; lifts can be arranged.
Please book online or by post with email address or SAE and membership No(s) to Mark Gomm per
back page. Please indicate if you can provide/would like a lift/s and do give the visit publicity.

ABOVE: Most of the Lewis family (all are Society members and future Committee Members perhaps?)
at the Crewe & Weston Railway with 'Bert' (that's the engine not the driver) during the 2018 Weston
Garden Fete. Apparently Neil was dragged on to the train by his children; at least that's his cover story.

512] :South Cheshire Miniatures; Sun 14 Apr 10.00-15.30:: (Railways not bottles - organiser's cheesy
joke...) A relaxing day visiting three miniature railways. Starting with the unusual and larger 9½" gauge
:Crewe & Weston Railway.: (Report BLN 1242.1811 of 3 Oct 2015 with pictures in e-BLN.) Open to the
public only at the annual church fete, and in the delightful grounds of a private residence, just a couple
of miles from Crewe station. Starting about 10.00 (to be confirmed) for all line coverage (as possible),
hauled by our loco for the day, 'Bert'. The three legged layout includes a turntable and a three road
shed. A 10 min car ride then takes us to the village of Willaston (Nantwich). Behind the 'Peacock Inn' is
the :South Cheshire Model Engineering Society.: This friendly railway has a ¼ mile outer 3½"/5" track
with a small inner elevated 2½/3½/5"gauge track. We will use both 'diesel' and steam locos, subject to
availability. Our final miniature is :'The Church with the Train',: a 75yd straight track in the grounds of
Nantwich Methodist Church in the town centre. We'll enjoy a ride behind a scale 7¼" gauge model of a
Kerr Stuart 'Joffre' 0-6-0; the full size loco was made in Stoke-on-Trent down the road. Tea and cake
will be served by our kind hosts before finishing around 15.30. Fare, including non-members, for all 3
fixtures (or fewer) £22; U18 (must be accompanied by a fare paying adult) £11. Please book online if
possible or by post to Mark Gomm (back page) with membership number(s) if applicable, an email
address or SAE. Please advise in the comments sections if you would like or can provide lifts from
Crewe station to the three fixtures. Other enquires to member Neil Lewis: [email protected]

513] :Island of Ireland IV, Day One, Thur 16 May:: By train, 06.05 from Belfast Great Victoria Street,
to Londonderry, for a short walk over the bridge for the Foyle Valley Railway Museum and morning
coffee. Our executive Ulsterbus Coach takes us to Donegal Railway Heritage Centre for a guided visit,
informative talk and optional lunch (pay on the day). Next is Castlerea, Hell's Kitchen Museum, the
largest private collection of rail memorabilia in Ireland and home to loco 'A55'. There will be time for a
cold drink in the adjacent bar, before travelling to Athlone for an Irish Rail Dublin Heuston service
then on to Cork (booked Charleville Down loop). BLS members only; £75 (or £50 without rail travel).

[BLN 1324]
514] :Island of Ireland IV, Day Two, Fri 17 May:: 07.00 train Cork to Limerick Junction, Limerick and
Ennis, to Galway (bay platform) for lunch. Return is via the Western Corridor and Limerick Junction to
Thurles for afternoon coffee. The town is a 10 min walk from the station. We catch the 18.57 to
Limerick via the limited service Limerick Junction Avoiding Line, before heading to Cork via Limerick
Junction for the evening. BLS members only; £65 (or 1p without rail travel - a website requirement).

515] :Island of Ireland IV, Day Three, Sat 18 May:: A full day exploring the area by executive coach.
07.30 from Cork to Clonakilty Golf Club for a ride on the two funicular railways, before calling at West
Cork Model Railway Village to view the exhibits and enjoy a private charter on their road train.
At Tralee, the stored exhibits of the Tralee and Dingle Railway will be seen before travelling to
Listowel to ride on the unique Lartigue Monorail and visit the museum. Finally, we take the Tarbert to
Killimer ferry to ride the West Clare Railway and visit the Moyasta Museum, where we expect our
private charter to be diesel hauled, before heading back direct to Cork to conclude our special day.
BLS members only; one fare all day £80. Please book for the three days online or by post per item 511.

516] :Carinthia Explorer; 26-28 Jul:: BLN 1318.2553 of 8 Dec 2018 had outline details of our railtour in
southern Austria. We are pleased to advise that this tour is open for bookings on our website, where
updates can be found, with priority for members until 14 Mar; THERE IS MUCH INTEREST IN AUSTRIA
AND IT IS EXPECTED TO FILL QUICKLY. There is no non-member surcharge on this occasion. Please
complete all the booking information required very carefully. Anyone who cannot access our website,
or does not know anyone who can for them, please apply in writing to Mark Gomm with an A4 SAE.

1324 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
517] The Beeches Light Railway: (BLN 1312.1920 has our visit report with a track diagram and photos.)
Adrian Shooter has announced that his 2ft gauge, 1 mile long railway (which we visited 25 Aug 2018)
will permanently close in May. However, it is intended to relocate it to a nearby site to open in spring
2020. The new layout will be a bit different, about 50% longer but will still feature significant gradients
and other features of interest. All the existing rolling stock will be transferred to the new location.

518] Keymer Jn - Lewes (incl) - Willingdon Jn; Falmer (excl) - Lewes Jn & Southerham Jn - Seaford
(incl) with 11 stations in total: (BLN 1319.2710 UPDATED) TCP/A from 7 Mar until 10 Mar 2019 for
resignalling and transfer of control to Three Bridges ROC. Trains are replaced by buses on all routes
from Lewes with no trains Lewes - Seaford, Wivelsfield - Eastbourne or Falmer - Eastbourne.

519] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered

BLN Start (incl) Reopened/s Location (stations exclusive when bracketed) bold=closed now

1322.242 28 Sep 18 Unknown CairnGorm Mountain Railway, 'Base Station' - Ptarmigan

1324.574 20 Oct 18 *Unknown *Reedham Jn - Berney Arms request stop - (Great Yarmouth)

1310.1673 18 Feb 19 9 Mar 19 (Taunton) - Tiverton Parkway - Cowley Bridge Jn
1319.2710 7 Mar 19 11 Mar 19 *Lewes - Keymer Jn/(*Falmer)/Seaford/Willingdon Jn

1311.1736 2 Mar 19 23 Mar 19 *(Rock Ferry) - (Hooton)

1317.2441 2 Jan 19 30 Mar 19 West Somerset Railway; Bishops Lydeard - Minehead
1324.574 23 Mar 19 1 Apr 19 *Whitlingham Jn - Lowestoft - (Oulton Broad S)/Acle - Yarmouth

1311.1736 25 Mar 19 3 Apr 19 (Hooton) - (Chester P7)

1311.1736 7 Apr 19 15 Apr 19 *Bidston East Jn - West Kirby, no DMUs to/from Bidston station?
1311.1736 15 Apr 19 23 Apr 19 (Bidston) - West Kirby, DMUs expected to run to/from Bidston

1323.380 31 Mar 19 6 May 19 *Cromer Jn - West Runton - Sheringham (Network Rail)

1311.1736 27 Apr 19 6 May 19 Bidston East Jn - New Brighton
1322.247 28 May 19 3 Jun 19 *(Kettering) - Market Harborough - Wigston North Jn

1323.382 23 Jul 19 27 Aug 19 *(Lisburn) - (Portadown) or (Moira) - (Portadown)

1316.2303 2 Jan 19 Late Jul 19 Mid Hants Railway; Alton P3 - (Medstead & Four Marks)

1324 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
520] Minor Railways 31st Edition: We are pleased to advise that the fully updated 2019 edition of
Peter Scott's annual list is expected to go out with paper BLN 1326 (dated 6 April). A paper copy is also
posted to all electronic full members, an annual benefit of your Branch Line Society membership.

521] Tyne & Wear Metro CHARITY AUCTION: Visit the T&W Metro Control Centre next to South
Gosforth Metro stop. It controls communications, signalling, OHLE, 600 CCTV cameras, help points,
electric supply in fact everything, a most interesting visit. For up to four over 18s (date and time, to
be mutually agreed). No reserve, all bids to John Cameron (back page) by 1 Apr, please be generous!

522] Diary: New members may not be aware of this service, kindly provided by our member Lee Nash,
and available on our website to logged in members. Across the 'Home Page' banner at 'More options..'
go down to 'Latest diary'. Best viewed magnified (and can be downloaded), it is a list of railtours on NR
and heritage railway galas etc. Last updated 26 Feb it covers until the end of the year.

523] My First Railway Memory: By Jenny Williamson. I was born before the railway nationalisation of
1 Jan 1948 but not early enough to have any pre-British Railways memories. I had an older brother,
and a railway employee and enthusiast father, so it was only natural that I was taken on trips out that
involved trains and loco spotting. My earliest railway memory takes me back to around 1949/50, at
our local station, Kings Langley & Abbots Langley, where I stood with the family group near the south
end of the platform watching a train arrive from the north. It drew to a halt with the engine close by,
and my memory has me tracing the engine number in the air with my finger (I could barely read at that
time). I read out the engine number slowly ….. 1..0..0..0..1. That was the memory.

I don't even remember if we joined the train! Did I have the engine for haulage? It was quite possible,
as we often took trips into London, and it was, I believe, in use on local stopping trains for a short
time. There is a project to resurrect twin sister Ivatt Diesel 10000, so maybe I can recreate the haulage.
:You: are invited to share and record :your: first railway memory, or alternatively what caused you to
develop an interest in trains/railways; not too long please! Please indicate if you wish to be named.

524] Mobile Signal Boxes: (BLN 1323.384) Thanks to AOMcD, not all are operational; for some only the
top of the signal box was moved. There are also several imported boxes on the Fawley Hill Railway.
●Arley Severn Valley Railway (Great Western Railway), ex-London & North Western Railway ●Yorton.
●Blythe Bridge Foxfield Railway, ex-North Staffordshire Railway ●Hockley Crossing.
●Bo'ness Bo'ness & Kinneil Rly (North British Rly), ex-Caledonian Railway ●Garnqueen South Junction.
●Chasewater Heaths Chasewater Railway (National Coal Board), ex-LNWR ●Hademore Crossing.
●Chappel South East Anglian Railway Museum, ex-East Lincolnshire/Great Northern Railway ●Fotherby.
●Downpatrick Downpatrick & County Down Railway (Belfast & County Down Railway), ex-Northern
…Counties Committee (railway) ●Kingsbog Junction.
●Eythorne East Kent Railway, ex-South Eastern & Chatham Railway ●Selling.
●Hadlow Road Birkenhead Rly (LNWR & GWR Joint), ex-North Staffordshire Railway ●Hassall Green.
●Hayes Knoll Swindon & Cricklade Rly (Midland & South Western Jn Rly), ex-GWR ●Rowley Regis.
●Hedingham Colne Valley Railway (CV&HR), ex-Great Eastern Railway ●Cressing.
●Henllan Teifi Valley Railway (Great Western Railway), ex-Brecon & Merthyr Railway ●Rhiwderin.
●Holt North Norfolk Railway (M&GNR), ex-MR ●Upper Portland (but MR was part of the M&GNR).
●Lydney Junction Severn & Wye Railway, ex-British Rail (London Midland Region) ●Heysham Harbour.
●Murton Derwent Valley Light Railway, ex-North Eastern Railway ●Muston Crossing.
●Nunnery Jn Colne Valley Rly (Colne Valley & Halstead Rly), ex-Great Eastern Railway ● Wrabness.

●Orton Mere Nene Valley Rly (London & North Western Rly), ex-Midland Railway ●Maxey Crossing.
●Pinesway Junction Gartell Light Railway, ex-London & South Western Railway ●Wyke.
●Sheringham West North Norfolk Railway (M&GN), ex-Great Eastern Railway ●Wensum Junction.
●Tenterden Town Kent & East Sussex Railway, ex-South Eastern & Chatham Railway ●Chilham.
●Wittersham Road Kent & East Sussex Railway, ex-South Eastern & Chatham Railway ●Deal Junction.
●Woodstone Wharf at Peterborough Nene Valley Railway (LNWR), ex-GER ●Welland Bridge.
●Wootton Isle of Wight Steam Railway, ex-Freshwater, Yarmouth & Newport Railway ●Freshwater.

ABOVE: Heysham Harbour signal box before it was moved to the Dean Forest Railway.
(Angus McDougall 18 Jun 1983; taken from the 'Cumberland Sausage' tour.)

525] BLN Pictorials: (BLN 1323.368) Available to logged in members to view, fourth across our home
page banner. There are now 10 to see with annotated photos of 25 former stations, all in colour, by
Angus McDougall. These are Banavie Pier, Bath Green Park, Bexhill West, Burntisland (original),
Chesterfield Market Place, Cork Albert Quay, Dartmouth, Granton Gasworks, Hampton Midland
Railway (at Hampton-in-Arden with one arrival at 08.40 from Whitacre, which returned at 09.30 SuX in
April 1910 serving Coleshill!), Lochearnhead, Maldon East & Heybridge, Melrose, Melton Mowbray
North, Millers Dale, Rowrah, Rowsley, Savernake High Level, Southport Lord Street, St Albans
London Road, Stamford East (a magnificent Grade II listed building), Stoke Bruern (OP 1 Dec 1892;
CP from 1 Apr 1893!), Tintern, Tunbridge Wells West, Tynan (in Northern Ireland) and Wolferton.
We are always pleased to receive material for more BLN Pictorials; the guidelines are at the top of its
web page. Queries and submissions to our member Phil Logie at [email protected] please.

526] Points & Slips: ●●BLN 1320.95] On the West Midlands Metro the OHLE work described, that
temporarily closed Grand Central - Soho Benson Road, was on the morning of Sun 13 Jan 2019 rather
than 13 Dec 2018. Unfortunately for some members who travelled especially the work finished early.
●●1321.151] Our Links & Loops Tracker tour was on 26 Oct 2013 rather than 12 Oct 2013.

●●1323.383] Clarborough Jn - Cottam ROG 12 Nov 1967 rather than ROP, although a few railtours and
passenger carrying trains have run (possibly the first was 11 Sep 1979, the RCTS Cottam Railtour?)
●●MR27] The e-BLN picture of the new track under Oswestry Gasworks Bridge was by Gareth Thomas.

[BLN 1324]
●●505] At the new Llangollen Railway Corwen station 10,000 tonnes of material is needed to fill the
gap in the embankment, the funding shortfall required is now £10,000 and the appeal is still open.
527] More walks in the Park: (BLN 1323.385) As Possilpark & Parkhouse qualified for the list, so does
Parkstone. Others are Northumberland Park on the Lea Valley line and Energlyn & Churchill Park.
Counting Possilpark & Parkhouse once, the 59 will become 63 with Reading Green Park. A technicality
is that Wavertree is actually 'Wavertree Technology Park' and Waun-Gron Park is Waun-gron Park.

Although there is nothing to distinguish it from any other NR line in the current Sectional Appendix,
several members reminded us that the Point Pleasant Jn - Wimbledon Park - Wimbledon former
British Rail (BR) line was transferred to London Underground on 1 Apr 1994 for £1 with privatisation.
This was the date that most, but not all, of British Rail's lines were transferred to Railtrack.

Regular passenger services between Waterloo and Wimbledon through East Putney were withdrawn
by the Southern Railway from 4 May 1941. The four current NR/LUL boundaries are on TRACKmaps
Book 5, p44A (Nov 2008). Access charges have to be paid to LUL to run the PSULs, diversions etc.

Prior to 1 Apr 1994 the ownership boundary was between Putney Bridge station and the Putney River
Bridge (which was a London & South Western Railway construction and not a LUL asset). Between
Putney Bridge and Wimbledon BR then effectively bought in the service and kept the sectional
revenue (based on usage not sales). After 1 Apr 1994 Railtrack, then NR, continued to operate the
signalling and perform some engineering functions, charging LUL as the line owner. LUL operated the
line, meeting all costs (net of revenue from access charges) and retained its own revenue. Diverted
and PSUL revenue relating to the line, such as they are, were (in 1994 at least) retained by the TOC.

1324 EAST MIDLANDS (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
528] Kirkby-in-Ashfield: A report into
how the 'Maid Marian Line' [Ironville
Jn (133m 18ch) - Kirkby Lane End Jn
(138m 31ch) in case you didn't know!]
could be reopened to passenger trains
is to be prepared. It is used by four
East Midlands Trains Robin Hood Line
ECS workings (two SSuO) and a few
freight trains. A passenger service
could run from Kirkby-in-Ashfield
calling at Langley Mill, Ilkeston, a new
station at Toton (for HS2), Ilkeston

and then to Nottingham. No doubt members will be able to give further suggestions to possible line
re-openings in the area and suitable names for them... (Ticket from Angus McDougall.)

529] East Midlands Trains: The franchise which began on 11 Nov 2007 and was due to end on 2 Mar,
has been extended until at least 17 Aug 2019 and may be further extended until 1 Feb 2020.

530] Market Harborough - Northampton: (BLN 1323.393) The summer dated SO 12.35 Leicester to
Hastings train had a balancing working at 10.51 from Hastings to Leicester (16.07). The Edinburgh -
London St Pancras sleeper train was withdrawn from Mon 6 Jan 1969 with closure of the 'Waverley
Route', part of the reason for transferring the sister Glasgow - St Pancras service to Euston instead.

A member travelled from Leicester to Euston on this train on Tues 4 Apr 1972. It was formed of five
coaches, two sleeping cars and a van, leaving Leicester on time at 07.52 hauled by Class 47 47627, the
loco was changed to Class 86 E3116 during a 12 min stop at Northampton. Speed over the line from
Market Harborough did not exceed 40 mph. The train ran Slow Line from Hanslope Jn, and with
several signal checks south of Leighton Buzzard made its weary way into Euston at 10.25, 4 min late.

From 1 May 1972 the sleeper was reduced to a Nottingham - Glasgow service, but with through
seating vehicles from St Pancras (not Euston) northbound. Our member argued in correspondence
with the Transport Users Consultative Committee (TUCC) and the Department of the Environment
(DoE) [Transport did not merit its own Ministry in those days!] that in consequence the Northampton -
Leicester service was being withdrawn without following statutory procedures. The TUCC passed on
the British Railways Board view that the Northampton - Market Harborough closure (18 miles long)
was covered by the previous approval of withdrawal of local services from 4 Jan 1960, and that they
had not intended to adopt any ongoing legal responsibility for the route by diverting the sleeper. In the
end, the DoE capitulated but it was a hollow victory. From 3 Jul 1972 a token service was restored in
one direction only, at minimal cost, by allowing passengers to use the 01.40 (SX) Euston - Nottingham
Carrington Street newspaper train but only between Northampton (02.53) and Leicester.

In a further twist the newspaper train was itself diverted to start from St Pancras from 7 May 1973.
To maintain the passenger service over the line, the 00.10 MX Northampton - Leicester parcels train
conveyed a passenger coach, which was returned empty on another parcels at 03.45 from Leicester.

NOTE (ABOVE): 'Northampton No1' was actually south of the station and the junction for Market
Harborough was in fact known as 'Northampton No5' although that signal box closed Feb 1965.

A member and a friend used this service on Sat 11 Aug 1973, paying £1.25 each for single tickets
(worth £15 now). Unsurprisingly, they were the only passengers, and staff were so surprised to see
them that the lights in Brake/Second M34455 had to be switched on specially! Behind the coach was a
bogie van (from Aylesbury to Nottingham), a six-wheel van (Northampton to Leicester) and a four-
wheel van (Northampton to Peterborough). Leaving Northampton on time behind Class 45 45110,
Market Harborough was passed in 35 min and Leicester reached 15 min early at 01.04, all in the dark,
of course. By this date closure formalities were in hand; the service ceased and the Market
Harborough - Northampton line CP for the third and final time from 27 Aug 1973.

Among the last specials was a Mystery Excursion that the Watford Area Manager ran for a few years in
the mid 1970s, as part of his Merrymaker programme. It was early in the year from Wembley or
Harrow to Carlisle, out via Northampton, Market Harborough, Toton, Killamarsh, Cudworth, Leeds
Whitehall Curve and Settle, returning WCML. It was a surprise the first year it ran, but a 'Mystex' with
similar timings advertised for about the same date a year later attracted quite a few enthusiasts!

Summary: From our PSUL compiler a 'summary history' of regular booked use:

Added to PSUL (Jun 1965 - Apr 1966) first ran 19 Jun 1965 for seasonal only use; last ran 4 Sep 1965:

20.20 FO Bradford Forster Square-Bournemouth West 08.55 SO Bournemouth West - Leeds City

08.35 SO Leeds City - Poole 10.34 SO Bournemouth West - Bradford Exchange
21.17 FO Sheffield Midland - Portsmouth Harbour 14.02 SO Portsmouth Harbour - Sheffield Midland

The two Bradford trains were 'balanced' by two trains in the opposite directions via the Great Central
Railway route with the northbound train terminating at Leeds.
The line regained service from 6 Jan 1969 for the transfer to Euston of overnight Glasgow - St Pancras
services. These were withdrawn with effect from 1 May 1972 with services reverting to St Pancras.
It regained a unidirectional (northbound) weekday service from 10 Jul 1972 (above) pending formal
closure process. This was withdrawn (after going through that process) with effect from 27 Aug 1973.
The initial closure (with the remaining intermediate stations) approved under the relevant legislation
was from 4 Jan 1960. After another bout (as it was argued that the use by the sleeper services from
1969 required the process to be repeated), the second such 'approved' closure was from 27 Aug 1973.
Following a 'farewell' DMU special on Sat 15 Aug 1981 the line closed the
following day when (allegedly) it was to be severed (BLN 424 p186). The official 'with effect from' date
was Mon 17 Aug 1981 - from British Rail, London Midland Region, contemporaneous sources.
531] Market Harborough: (BLN 1322.260) The new platform footbridge span was erected on Sun 24 Feb.

1324 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]

X.24] ABOVE: Laterally inverted lettering at a mystery location somewhere in London (Stuart Hicks).
532] Bowes Park: A café has opened in the building at the bottom of the stairs on the island platform.
533] Crossrail: (BLN 1322.271) West Drayton is to have its fifth platform, newly shown on TRACKmaps
Book 3, p3B (Jun 2018). The new P5 wall is nearing completion adjacent to the bidirectional West
Drayton Loop (P1 serves the Down Main and P4 the Up Relief). P2 and future P5 starting signals are
parallel but further towards London than the P4 starting signal. The new platform will extend to the
starting signal and Up Relief P4 is also being extended to its starting signal which is not so far forward.

Where P5 will run beyond the new limit of P4, a back wall has been installed part way across the space
between the tracks. While the platform walls were nearly complete on 23 Feb, nosings for the new P5
were in place over only part towards the London end. Infill between the extension to P4 and P5 had
yet to be provided but plastic cable ducts and manholes have been placed. The new P5 runs behind
the existing building to end parallel with the Reading end of P4.

At Westbourne Park new signs mark the NR/TfL boundary. A little further west are signs warning of
the change of signalling arrangements to or from CBTC. [See TRACKmaps Book3, p1A - Jun 2018.]

Crossrail Ltd is still unable to commit to an opening date for the core section, but hopes to have a new

estimate by Apr! ('Rail Technology Magazine'.) The recent '£15bn Railway' TV programmes revealed

that that there is still much work and testing to be done, every day of delay adds £3M to the cost. The

first is repeated on BBC2 on Sat 16 Mar at 01.25 and both are available on for a while.

X.25] Gospel Oak: ABOVE: Extra track is available in bay P3 as the London Overground EMU 378232
had to go to the buffer stops to fit on, the same happens at Barking P1. (Rod Miebs, 21 Feb 2019.)

534] London Tramlink: Over 1km of track is being replaced between Addiscombe and Blackhorse Lane
with foundation and the track alignment improvements. Service is suspended Sandilands -
Birkbeck/Elmers End on 16/17 & 23/24 Mar, and Addiscombe - Birkbeck/Elmers End on 30/31 Mar.

535] Heathrow Express: (BLN 1322.270) From 19 Feb contactless bank cards, mobile devices and
Oyster cards were accepted for travel, with the ticket gates at both ends of Paddington P6&7 coming
into use at the same time. Standard fares are charged and these will not be included in fare capping.

[BLN 1324]
536] Double crossed at Heathrow Terminal 5 or not? A member travelled from here twice recently
noting, before doing so, that there are two possible routes from P3 towards the Up Terminals line.
However, he found it impossible with glare from inside the coaches to confirm which route was taken.
'Tracksy' doesn't help, as the first data point after P3 is beyond both options. Can anyone say whether
the route nearer the station or that via the Down Terminals line and scissors crossover is preferred?

Another member thinks that the section of the scissors crossover referred to is not used. Both tunnels
are bidirectional but even running 'wrong line' there would be no need to use the crossover. As far as
he is aware, except with engineering works, normal Up and Down running applies. He is also not sure if
Terminal 5 P3 to the Down line then back to Up line is a signalled route anyway.

537] HS2: (BLN 1323.399) At Euston closure of P17/18 is delayed until 30 Jun so they can be used for
serious disruption while the 19 May timetable changes bed in. However P17B, the rarely used platform
face on the eastern side of the P17 track, will still be taken OOU from 19 May. This is to facilitate the
start of construction of the boundary wall structure that will separate P17/18 from the operational
station. A temporary stop block has been installed at Park Royal on the Wycombe Siding at 4m 72ch.

538] South Acton: (BLN 1302.728) TfL's 6-month forecast dated 18 Feb lists planned closure between
South Acton and Richmond on Sun 12 May, implying an all-day weekend chance to grice the normally
SSuX mid-afternoon only trailing crossover used by trains turning back in P1 towards Acton Central.

1324 NORTH EAST & YORKSHIRE (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
539] Queensbury Tunnel: (BLN 1322.283) Bradford Council has expressed formal support for the
Queensbury Tunnel Society's campaign to reopen the tunnel as a cycleway but says it cannot afford to
finance it. Bradford and Calderdale councils will work with the society to bid to the Transforming Cities
Fund. The result is unlikely to be known before the spring/summer. Highways England plans to start
the main phase of abandonment work then, although it has not yet submitted a planning application.

540] Wensleydale: (BLN 1322.280) Extra information to our recent major article on the Northallerton
area has emerged. An emergency passenger service was run after the mid-1950s. Because of heavy
snowfall in Upper Wensleydale on 31 Dec 1961, the roads were blocked with no buses able to run.
British Railways agreed to run a passenger service to Hawes on 2 Jan 1962. A snow plough fitted loco
cleared the line, crossing the passenger train at Wensley on its way back.

Wensley signal box was not downgraded to a gate box until 13 Nov 1969 and hand worked boom
gates were installed on 1 Aug 1971. (PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Looking towards Redmire; there was
only one platform and the loop was later removed.) Apparently, rail traffic at Wensley and Leeming
Bar was insufficient to justify motor operation, so the boom gates were always pushed by hand.

They were fitted with key locks, attached to the old gate stops lever. There is no sign of a motor ever
having been installed; 'handlebars' were provided (one is visible above on the nearer gate - white)
above the wheels to assist with the pushing, although the train guard is not using it!

Two return trips were made that day and, it is believed, another one on 3 Jan. Just over a couple of
years later Redmire - Hawes CA 27 Apr 1964, after a final tour on 25 Apr 1964:
Leeds - Knaresborough - Boroughbridge - Starbeck - Ripon - Northallerton - Hawes - Castle Hills -
Darlington - Barnard Castle - Middleton-in-Teesdale (CP 30 Nov 1964; 7 months later; CA 5 Apr 1965)
- Darlington - Leeds. The south curve to Northallerton West Jn was disconnected from 17 May 1970.

Bedale and Leyburn freight depots did indeed close 31 May 1982. However, Leeming Bar - Bedale was
not singled until 5 Feb 1985, when Leeming Bar box closed and Bedale was reduced to a gate box.
The returning loaded limestone train used the retained Down, then single, line for the first time the
same day. One Train Working (OTW), which had previously applied between Bedale and Redmire,
after closure of Leyburn box on 26 Oct 1983, was extended to between Ainderby box and Redmire.

BELOW: Ainderby Crossing with its unusual signal. (All Ian Mortimer from a brakevan trip; 9 Sep 1974.)

ABOVE: Shunting at Bedale coal depot to the south of, and behind, the passenger platform (off right).
BELOW & NEXT PAGE TOP: The Wensleydale pick-up freight shunting at Leyburn Goods Depot also on
9 Sep 1974. On the next page the brakevan can just be seen in the distance behind the wagon.

Later Ainderby box closed 19 Oct 1986,
resulting in OTW for the entire Redmire
branch, with the Train Staff kept at Low
Gates box. By then all the crossings, except
Bedale, were train crew operated; the
second man opened them and the guard
closed them. The daily freight carried a
brake van to facilitate both this and the
propelling moves in each direction between
Northallerton station and Castle Hills Jn.

Bedale gate box reverted to being a signal
box on 8 Apr 1990, with two OTW sections:
Castle Hills Jn - Bedale (train staff kept at
Low Gates box), and Bedale - Redmire (train
staff kept at Bedale). This was to enable the
Permanent Way Department to have greater
access to the branch when the limestone
trains were running. A member can think of
only one other example of a gate box
reverting to being a signal box. The present
Selby SB was originally Selby West. During
the first stage of resignalling the area, Selby
South box controlled everything with a
panel; this relegated Selby West to a gate
box. Later, everything was concentrated on
Selby West box, renamed Selby, and Selby
South box closed on 29 Apr 1973. Does any
member know of other examples of a gate
box reverting to a signal box?

541] Class 170 DMUs: As part of the Class 170 cascade from other parts of the network, Northern
proposes to extend their operation to the Sheffield - Hull, Hull - Scarborough and Scarborough - York
services. The additional lines on which they will operate are: Nunnery Main Line Jn - Woodburn Jn -
Mexborough; Holmes Jn - Rotherham Central Jn; Swinton South Jn - Doncaster; Doncaster (South
Yorkshire Jn) - Temple Hirst Jn - Selby; Doncaster - South Kirkby Jn; Carcroft Jn - Stainforth Jn; York -
Malton - Scarborough; Hull - Bridlington - Seamer and Doncaster - Thorne Jn - Gilberdyke.

542] Azumas: (BLN 1323.412) NR is to install 'Automatic Power Change Over' Eurobalises north of
Doncaster for Class 800 bi-modes to/from Leeds for routes other than via Wakefield Westgate. For
Down trains, automatic changeover to diesel power (with 'Zero balise' protection) will be used before
Hare Park Jn for Leeds trains via Woodlesford, and before Hambleton South Jn for trains via Garforth.
Up trains will change automatically to electric traction after the junctions. The balises are due to enter
service in 'mid-2019', in line with the planned introduction of the LNER Class 800 'Azuma' fleet. But...

BLN 1317.2471 reported that authorisation to run the Azuma trains with passenger is 'paused' over
safety fears that the carriage connecting cables could be used as a sort of rope ladder for trespassers
to reach the OHLE, where they might electrocute themselves. They are running on the ECML on test
and crew training. The very similar IETs of course, slipped through this latest safety net on GWR as
operation began before this risk was categorised as unacceptable. However, a member saw 800107
stabled in a platform at York on 26 Feb, as no doubt happens elsewhere. He notes that passengers are
not allowed to travel on them because someone who isn't on board might climb up the outside but
this risk apparently vanishes when they are sitting empty in a platform with a live OHLE above!

543] Haydon Brexit: LEFT: A member wonders how
passengers manage to exit Haydon Bridge station…..
Answers on a postcard an email please to the
Regional Editor! (Andrew Taylor, Feb 2019.)

544] That South Stockton Goods Depot… (?) or
floundering around in the flour: (BLN 1321.165)
There was debate amongst BLN contributors as to the
correct name (South Stockton or Stockton South) for
this former Stockton & Darlington passenger station
following its CP 1 Jul 1848 with OP of South Stockton,
south of the River Tees which Colonel Cobb shows as
being resited slightly east in 1858, then renamed
Thornaby (as it is now) in 1892. Both South Stockton
and Stockton South have been seen in use but, based
on the Handbook of Stations, opinion came down in
favour of South Stockton. However, Richard Maund
has now discovered a 1948 Goods Circular which
comes down firmly in favour of Stockton South - and
one for 1952 giving Stockton-on-Tees (South)!
At least this will provide something for historians to argue over in years to come. The list of customers
in the circulars reveals a vanished age but the Regional Editor was fascinated by 'Railway Executive
Flour Mound' concept - and even more so by the instruction that 'Livestock consigned by goods train
for delivery at Thornaby must be labelled to Flour Mound Siding….'. He is somewhat concerned as to
the likely state of the aforesaid flour mound, following the delivery to it of a trainload of livestock!
These 1948 and 1952 Goods Circulars are available as downloads with e-BLN to logged in members.

545] AV Dawson, Middlesbrough: (BLN 1308.1416) The new GBRf traffic flow of imported gypsum
from mainland Europe via this terminal to British Gypsum, Hotchley Hill at East Leake, originally due to
start in Sep 2018 began on Wed 27 Feb. The first train with 1,200 tonnes of Gypsum left AV Dawson at
00.03 arriving Hotchley Hill 06.30. The unloaded wagons departed 13.50 reaching Middlesbrough at
19.25, ready to make a similar run the following day. Due to the delay in this flow starting, GBRf had
previously run gypsum trains from Drax power station to Hotchley Hill (and also to Kirkby Thore).

546] Middlesbrough: (BLNs 1319.2748 & 1320.60) There is no agreement with TPE to extend services
to Saltburn. However, all being well they will be extended to Redcar Central in May, or Dec 2019.

547] Hull - Scarborough: Bridlington - Filey is closed on 3 & 9/10 Mar, with replacement coaches
between Bridlington and Scarborough. Beverley - Bridlington will be closed on 16/17 and 23/24 Mar,
with replacement coaches between Hull and Bridlington. This is all for a £2.8M 'track upgrade'.

548] Wakefield Kirkgate: On Sun 17 Mar all lines in the Altofts Jn/Methley Jn area are closed for
engineering work. Some Castleford to Leeds services run the long way via Knottingley, Featherstone,
Kirkgate and Westgate. Most services to Leeds are due to use the Wakefield Kirkgate Up Goole
(non-platform) line. Most services from Leeds are due to pass through Kirkgate P3 (Down Goole)
nonstop. However, subject to timekeeping, the 11.21 Leeds to Castleford appears likely to bypass
Kirkgate P3 using the Up Goole in the Down Direction when it passes at 11.36 as P3 has a Knottingley
to Leeds train booked to stop from 11.36-11.37. The Up Goole is bidirectional from Wakefield Kirkgate
West Jn to the crossover at 48m 5ch where the train can cross to the Down Goole. (Reports welcome.)

The Down Goole through Kirkgate P3 is also bidirectional from Wakefield Kirkgate West Jn to the
other crossover at 48m 5ch enabling trains in either direction to call at P3. Of note Leeds to Castleford
by this longer route is about 53 minutes (and no extra fare!) compared with about 17 minutes direct.
Castleford to Leeds buses are also being provided on Sun 17 Mar taking 41 minutes via Woodlesford.

549] Northallerton Longlands Jn: From 4 Mar the Down Slow to the Down Fast crossover (28m 68ch)
was clipped OOU, part of a four week programme to replace it and the Down Fast to Down Longlands
Loop crossover. Crossover gricers will obviously need to do them again once the new points are in!

550] Shaftholme - Knottingley: It is rumoured that Grand Central would like to 'stop' stopping at
Pontefract Monkhill, running their Bradford Interchange trains direct between Wakefield Kirkgate
and Doncaster. If so Shaftholme Jn - Knottingley West Jn would close to regular passenger services.

551] Marsden: P2 on the Up Main is closed from 18 Feb to the end of March to raise its height.
This was to be with a 'Harrington Hump', but extra funding has enabled the whole platform to be
done, removing the need for single door alighting and boarding. All affected trains use P3 instead.

552] Sheffield Supertram: (BLN 1320.55) The sections of the two separate Tram Trains damaged in
collisions within five weeks of each in Oct and Nov 2018 left Nunnery Square Depot on 21 Feb by road
en route to the Stadler factory in Spain. They were stored at the depot awaiting a decision on the best
way to make the repairs. The driver of the lorry involved in the collision on 25 Oct 2018 has made his
first appearance in court, charged with driving without due care and attention and driving through a
red light. One wonders if his insurance company may end up paying for the tram repairs.

ABOVE: Rotherham Central looking north towards Parkgate and Swinton. The low Tram Train
platforms are designated P3 (joining to P1) and P4 (joining to P2). The barrier between them is to
prevent passengers from just wandering across; note the style of overhead. (Kev Adlam, 6 Mar 2019.)

553] Oldest Railcar: The world's oldest surviving internal combustion engine railcar is running again
15 years after it was found abandoned in a bush, according to the Daily Mail
which refers to it as 'The world's oldest electric train' (oh dear). One suspects that Mr Magnus Volk
might have something to say about that, as he opened his electric railway in Brighton some 20 years
earlier! According to 'Railway History in Pictures North-East England' by Ken Hoole:

'The first experiments with internal combustion engine railcars were in 1903, when the North Eastern
Railway built two petrol-electric bogie vehicles. These were intended for use between Hartlepool and
West Hartlepool, but they actually started working between Scarborough and Filey in Aug 1904.
During the winter they worked between Billingham and Port Clarence before being transferred to
Selby in 1908 to work the Cawood branch.' ABOVE: In service, possibly at Scarborough. (Mike Heath).

At the time, the petrol engine was in its infancy and reliable diesel engines were not developed until
the mid-1930s. Despite the power of the trains, they were withdrawn from service in North Yorkshire
in the 1930s. One railcar was sold to a North Yorkshire landowner and turned into a holiday home near
Kirkbymoorside, west of Pickering, but was abandoned so bushes and woodland grew around it.

Carriage restorer Stephen Middleton spotted the railcar in photographs taken during the 1970s, so
knew it existed. 'So it was just a case of finding it and convincing the owner to sell it to me.' It had been
fitted with a tin roof and verandah, which protected it from the weather, so it survived there until
discovered in Sep 2003. The railcar was transported by lorry to the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam
Railway, where Mr Middleton and volunteers spent over a decade restoring it to its former glory. It

formally began operating on 19 Oct 2018 and
should be ready for passenger service this
year. It has been certified by the Guinness
Book of Records as the first internal
combustion engine railcar. In its restored
form it now has a diesel engine rather than a
petrol one (as the original had).

Tickets are available
for the first runs on 17 and 18 April (reports
welcome). LEFT: In use as a holiday home.

ABOVE: On the Embsay to Bolton Abbey Steam Railway, 19 Oct 2018. (All Mike Heath.)

554] York: The original bridge carrying the Scarborough line over the river Ouse northeast of the
present York station was designed and built by Robert Stephenson in 1845. It had a walkway placed
between the tracks (!), accessed by internal steps, great for spotting. When York station was moved to
its present location in 1873-75 (the original station was a terminus slightly south inside the city walls)
the current footbridge was installed. It remained largely unchanged for the last 144 years and over
3,000 people a day cross it despite access issues. At only 1.3m wide and with steep steps on both sides
of the river, the bridge is not readily 'accessible'. The new £4M pedestrian and cycle crossing will be
the first new city centre river bridge for 137 years. At 65m long and 3.7m wide it will be accessible
even when the river is in flood - not an infrequent event in York. On the southern side, a new path on
the embankment will give direct access between the station and the bridge, providing a traffic-free
and more scenic route to the city centre. The old footbridge was due to close at the end of January for
several weeks. The new bridge is scheduled to be complete and open to the public in March.

1324 NORTHERN GENERAL (Geoff Blyth, John Cameron & Graeme Jolley)
555] Transport for the North (TfN): TfN has published a 30 year draft Strategic Transport Plan for
infrastructure investment. With the accompanying Investment Programme it is estimated to cost
£70bn. Interventions planned for delivery before 2027, in development but as yet unfunded, include:
●Crewe Hub; ●Hope Valley line enhancements; ●Sheffield to East Coast Main Line electrification and
●Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway station. TfN is also calling for additional schemes including work on
the Leeds - Hull corridor (including improvements at Selby and Hull stations); Sheffield - Hull corridor
(with capacity enhancements and improvements at Doncaster station) and Sheffield - Leeds corridor
(including the Northern Loop from Sheffield station to HS2, new South Yorkshire stations and journey
time and reliability improvements via Barnsley).The plans include track and vehicle infrastructure
renewal on Sheffield Supertram to release capacity at Sheffield station for the HS2 services, a new
strategic road crossing of the River Tees (the only North East project), the new Skelmersdale rail link,
reinstating the Skipton - Colne line and a new Metrolink route to Manchester Airport Terminal 2.

556] Northern Trains: (BLN 1323.376) After the ceasefire in the Northern Guards' Saturday strikes, on
Sat 16 Feb the SO PSUL trains on the Gainsborough Trent East Jn - Wrawby Jn ran for the first time
carrying passenger since Sat 18 Aug 2018 and serving Gainsborough Central, Kirton Lindsey and Brigg
stations. The three pairs of trains had run ECS, driver only operated, since Sat 3 Nov 2018 to maintain
route knowledge. From Realtime Trains, Northern managed to run nearly all of its Saturday timetable
(including Stockport to Stalybridge) but a surprise to members was just how busy many trains were.

It was a lovely sunny day and some of the first Saturday passenger trains for six months on the Settle
& Carlisle line were full with standing throughout. The 10.14 Sheffield to Manchester Piccadilly local
service, a Class 142 'nodding donkey' was completely full and standing throughout the two-car train all
the way from Sheffield. Your East Midland area Editor took it right through paying homage to the soon
to be withdrawn units and was fortunate to have a seat. It struggled manfully through the Hope Valley,
losing time at each station as the local populace tried to cram ever more of a quart into a pint pot. At
no time (even at Edale where some walkers left the train) was the train ever less than rammed full -
pity the poor souls at stations after Chinley who simply could not join. Piccadilly arrival at 11.53 was
20 minutes late, purely due to the extended station stops at each call.

1324 NORTH WEST (John Cameron) [email protected]
557] Crewe: It is now possible to catch trains to Liverpool Lime Street via two different routes. London
Northwestern and Virgin Trains services continue via Runcorn, taking 37 to 45 minutes. There is also a
direct Northern EMU service from Crewe to Liverpool Lime Street via Manchester Airport, Piccadilly
and Newton-le-Willows taking 2 hours 12 minutes to complete its journey with typically 26 stops.
Crewe station staff have been heard patiently directing passengers for Liverpool away from the
Northern service to wait for the next London Northwestern train, which arrives over an hour earlier!

Of note to make the Northern trains come up (as through services) on journey planners you usually
have to click 'show slower trains', where this facility is available. Advance tickets are available for as
little as £3 end to end (or £2 with railcard) but only via the 'Northern App'. Train information displays
and announcements do show 'Liverpool' as the destination. In some places this has been changed to
the penultimate station (as BR often did) to avoid passengers catching a much slower service. At Leeds
the York via Harrogate trains are shown to Poppleton and at York they are shown to Burley Park.
At Oxford and Reading stopping trains to Paddington are similarly advertised as to Ealing Broadway.

558] Rochdale - Manchester: In early Jan Smithy Bridge, Castleton, Mills Hill and Moston had no
Sunday service at all; trains ran through nonstop. Quite a few Northern served stations have been in
the 'same boat' reportedly due to 'train crew not making themselves available on Sundays'. Services
resumed in mid-Jan only to be removed again on 27 Jan as Todmorden to Halifax was closed for work,
with trains running between Todmorden - Victoria serving Walsden, Littleborough and Rochdale only.

559] Rock Ferry: With the line closed south to Hooton from 2-22 Mar inclusive, for platform work,
trains from Liverpool are booked to turnback in bay P3 & 4, generally alternating for most of the day.

560] Hooton: With the line closed north to Rock Ferry from 2-22 Mar inclusive, trains from Ellesmere
Port are booked to turnback in bay P1 and Chester services in P3 (trailing crossover on departure).

561] Blackpool North: (BLN 1322.300) The 05.30 (SSuX) Virgin Voyager to Crewe runs to Euston.
At Crewe the 04.48 from Holyhead to Euston joins it. Normally, the front portion of trains that split/
join carry the headcode throughout. However, this combined train continues under the rear Holyhead
portion 1R13 rather than the front Blackpool 1K14, but the latter has only run since 10 Dec 2018.

562] Bolton: In the early hours of 22 Feb the final electric high-speed test run was completed between
Preston, Bolton and Manchester Victoria. This will allow the line speed for electric trains to be raised
from 75mph to 100mph. It is planned that 100mph EMUs will start operating during 2019. On 28 Feb
Virgin Trains ran its first ECS Pendolino working over the route leaving Longsight at 12.29 and reaching
Blackpool North at 14.02. It is understood that the first Class 350 EMU will use the line in March, when

Chat Moss is closed overnight. Anglo-Scottish TPE services are shown as returning to the Bolton line
from the 19 May timetable change but all non-stop except for the 14.12 (SuO) Edinburgh and 15.24
(SuO) Glasgow Central both to Manchester Airport (how frustrating for Bolton's citizens!).

Over Easter, Pendolinos will use the line through Bolton in service due to works south of Wigan NW.
All day Sat 20 & Sun 21 Apr there is an hourly service mostly Lancaster - Birmingham International,
calling at Preston then nonstop through Bolton and Manchester Piccadilly to call at Stockport (Virgin
Trains connection to Macclesfield, Stoke and Milton Keynes; Euston is shut), then Wilmslow, Crewe,
Stafford, Wolverhampton, Sandwell & Dudley and Birmingham New Street. On Mon 22 Apr the 05.57
Crewe to Lancaster, 08.11 Milton Keynes to Carlisle & 06.41 Preston to Milton Keynes are via Bolton.

563] Metrolink: The trailing crossover between Milnrow and Kingsway Business Park stops on the
Rochdale line was in use on the morning of Sat 23 Feb until 09.45, probably for the first time. This was
due to a man 'falling' from the 'wrong side' of the barriers of the Metrolink bridge above Milnrow Rd
(A640) just after 03.00 closing the road and Metrolink line. He was taken to hospital with serious
injuries. Trams departed north at Milnrow from the Rochdale
platform with passengers on [why?] past the crossover, a
person then operated the points and trams quickly reversed
to take the crossover back to Milnrow (Manchester
platform). A tram would often arrive into this platform
behind an earlier one, so two (singles) were present at the
same time, while the first one waited for departure time.

BELOW & RIGHT: (BLN 1323.420) Manchester Piccadilly P14
red line (there is also one on P13 to the right) - the
enforcement is variable. To be fair, it allows passengers to
alight quicker than if the door exits are blocked up with
people anxious to join a train. (John Cameron 20 Feb 2019.)

ABOVE: Electric train at Salford Crescent 12 Feb 2019, the first day of public service. (John Cameron.)

564] Gisburn: (BLN 1299.371 with pictures in e-BLN) NR has won an award for the restoration of the
157yd Gisburn Tunnel in Lancashire in the Structures Restoration category of the 2018 National
Railway Heritage Awards. The grade II listed tunnel has castle like portals with octagonal sandstone
turrets built by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway in 1876. The Gisburn - Hellifield section opened
through the Gisburne (with an 'e') Park Estate 1 Jun 1880 and the shallow tunnel (which should really
have been a cutting) was deemed necessary to prevent owner Lord Ribblesdale's horses from being
scared by train noise, and preserve the view. The turrets were restored following safety concerns that
a tree growing out of one had made it unstable. Engineers removed all the vegetation, improved
waterproofing and upgraded drainage as an extra precaution. They then repointed the stonework with
lime mortar. Each stone block was carefully removed before being replaced. It is intended that the
repairs will last another 150 years. There was no disruption to trains during the work.

565] Lime Street (1): Virgin Trains has applied to run five extra London return services per day from
10 Jun at 09.09, 11.09, 13.09, 15.09 & 17.09 with calls at Runcorn, Crewe and Stafford. Departures
from Euston are 08.33, 09.33, 11.33, 13.33 and 14.33. It is not clear if this includes weekends. Present
standard Virgin departures are XX.47 from Lime Street and XX.07 from Euston. Passenger numbers are
growing on the service by 5.5% per year. It may, or may not, be coincidental that London
Northwestern Railway is to (SuX) link up one of its two Liverpool to Birmingham services each hour
with a Birmingham to London via Northampton service. However, with all the stops and extra miles
the through Liverpool to London trip takes over four hours as opposed to 2¼ hours on Virgin Trains!
There will certainly then be new opportunities for through train journeys though.

566] Lime Street (2): (BLN 1322.297) The 'Mini museum' is in the Standard Class lounge (which was
previously a pub) above the shops between the concourse and P1-6 and is worth visiting. There is a
good view of P1-5 from the lounge, which is reached by stairs or a lift. However, it does not seem well
used and was empty when your Regional Editor visited while the station below was very busy. Perhaps
passengers are unaware of it. The First Class (Virgin) lounge is by the entrance to P9 and has very good
reviews. Sadly the current National Rail website station map still shows the station before remodelling.
Three 19th Century Yorkstone slabs from the original 1836 platform surface were unearthed during the
Lime Street upgrade. The stone came from a local quarry over 180 years ago but was hidden for years
until recently rediscovered. One of the slabs has been inscribed and laid into the new station flooring.

ABOVE: A recent view from and (BELOW) inside Lime Street Standard Class Lounge. The latter picture
is under 'possession' with a ghostly apparition of your NW Regional Editor... (Both John Cameron).

567] Chassen Road: (BLN 1323.426) A member recently visited and found that it is possible to see the
platforms of the next station in both directions, Urmston 42ch to the east and Flixton 65ch to the west
- which could partly explain the limited service at Chassen Road. This is due to the line being very
straight here and the relatively short distances between the stations.

568] Longsight: The former International Depot here has acquired CAF‡ logos. The STANOX code was
changed to 'Longsight DMUD Siemens' a while ago. It appears like that in Realtime Trains schedules,
but using that in searches fails although the old code of 'XLI' (Manchester International Depot) works.
‡CAF = Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (literally 'Construction & Other Railway Services').

569] Manchester Victoria: The ORR's safety team has upheld the 'Support The Oldham Rochdale
Manchester' rail lines group's complaint regarding the ventilation system at the station. Northern has
persuaded NR to upgrade the extraction system on the overbridge by the end of March and to install a
green living wall as a potentially effective method to control air pollution. [How about more
electrification‽] Arriva is monitoring its engine idling policy and conducting occupational Diesel Engine
Exhaust Emissions surveys, in addition to the automatic engine shut down system already in place.

570] Garstang & Knott-End Railway (sic): A fascinating new book ('The Pilling Pig') has been published
by The Cumbrian Railways Association about the history of the branch. The Company was incorporated
in 1864 to build a line from Garstang & Catterall on the West Coast Main Line to Knott End-on-Sea.

It ran out of funds after building the seven mile section to Pilling (OP 5 Dec 1870). The line only had
one locomotive which broke down in 1872, after well over a year of almost continuous use.
This caused a suspension of service, which led to the repossession of the locomotive, as the company
had fallen into in rent arrears. For the next three years only occasional horse-drawn trains were run.
A new engine was purchased in 1875 and regular passenger and good services were resumed.

In 1898 a separate company, the Knott End Railway, was incorporated to build the remaining 4½ miles
to Knott End-on-Sea (OP 29 Jul 1908), where a small passenger ferry ran from the pier to Fleetwood.
The line also carried traffic from Preesall Salt Mines, which had its own 1½ mile branch, OG in 1908.
At 1923 Grouping the Knott End Railway was the smallest component of the London Midland and
Scottish Railway. The line CP 29 Mar 1930; Pilling - Knott End-on-Sea CG/CA 13 Nov 1950; Garstang
Town - Pilling CG/CA 1 Aug 1963 and Garstang & Catterall - Garstang Town CG/CA 16 Aug 1965.

The 'Pilling Pig' was the nickname of an early loco on the line, the 0-6-0ST Hudswell, Clarke & Co, 1875
'Farmer's Friend', due to its whistle squeal. This 112 page A4 card covered book includes 12 maps, 4
drawings and 71 photos, many unpublished. See (price £15 including UK P&P).

571] Blackpool Trams: (BLNs 1322.301) Work continues on the Blackpool North extension on Talbot
Road. The worksite by the station is becoming emptier and work continues on the first stages of the
new single platform Talbot Square stop. The scissors crossover for Blackpool North tram stop is at the
works compound. Wilkinsons store will have to close and be demolished before it can be installed.

1324 SOUTH EAST - NORTH & EAST ANGLIA (Julian James) [email protected]
572] Cambridge: From 3 Mar No3 Reception Siding, the furthest loop line east from P8 and which is
not electrified, was to be diverted at the north end to be accessed via the former Wash Road track.

573] Cambridge - King's Lynn: The DfT has approved £27M of funding for NR to upgrade Littleport and
Waterbeach stations, extending the platforms for longer trains. Volker Fitzpatrick is the contractor.
Work is currently expected to start in Oct and be completed in the summer of 2020. Great Northern
expect to introduce 8-car EMUs (now 4-car north of Ely) to King's Lynn in Dec 2020 and they will also
be able to call at Waterbeach, unlike now. Cambridge North (OP 21 May 2017) which serves the UK's
largest new town (Northstowe - Phase 1 alone is 10,000 dwellings) had 488,878 passengers in its first
12 months of opening and is only 3m 6ch south of Waterbeach. However so far any abstraction from
Waterbeach station to Cambridge North seems to be minimal (SEE TABLE ON NEXT PAGE).

Waterbeach It is one of the first projects to progress to this stage with the new DfT/NR joint

passenger figures 'Rail Networks Enhancements Pipeline' process, now used to manage delivering

2017-18 430,050 new rail infrastructure. Contrary to previous reports, it seems an OHLE power
2016-17 440,142 upgrade is not now needed north of Ely. Plans to relocate Waterbeach further
2015-16 420,730 north with longer platforms and more facilities were approved by the local
2014-15 381,202 planning committee in Nov 2018 (BLN 1317.2497); presumably they then
2013-14 344,722 became stuck in the pipeline? The approved works are:
2012-13 335,660 >Waterbeach: Up P1 (93yd) and Down P2 (97yd), both extended to 182yd.
2011-12 312,216 >Littleport: Down P2 (93yd) will be extended to 182yd with provision of step
2010-11 301,376 access to Up P1 (but it remains 93yd long as at present).
>King's Lynn: New stabling lines for the longer trains.

The trains are well used and fares very reasonable, for example the Cambridge or Cambridge North to

King's Lynn off peak day return is £8 (£5.30 railcard) for over 82 miles total, (52 mins each way).

574] Norwich - Great Yarmouth/Lowestoft: (BLN 1317.2489) The next phase of works takes place over
nine days from 23 Mar at Brundall Jn (BLN 1323.381). It involves replacing all the track, reconfiguring
(rationalising) the junction and installing motorised points. Other work includes constructing a new
access ramp at Brundall station, reconstructing 55yd of platform and the provision of new power
supplies and cable installation with revised signalling control between Brundall and Reedham Swing
Bridge (only). Commissioning of this section is still expected on 1 Apr. Over the nine-days before,
services will be suspended Norwich - Yarmouth, Norwich - Lowestoft and Lowestoft - Oulton Broad
South. Ipswich services run to Oulton Broad South, with road services to/from Beccles. Reedham -
Berney Arms - Yarmouth (TCP 20 Oct 2018) ROP on commissioning at a future date to be announced.

PAGE AFTER NEXT, TOP: Reedham Jn 2015. This Norwich to Yarmouth via Berney Arms train has just
left Reedham station; the divergence is just round the corner. The double track curving sharply round
to the right is to Lowestoft; the Yarmouth line curves gently left. Far right is the Up Refuge Siding.

PAGE AFTER NEXT, LOWER: A similar view of the new layout on 9 Feb 2019. The Up Refuge Siding (far
right) has now been removed. There is a sleeper across the Berney Arms line just visible beyond the
overbridge to the left and the semaphore signal that once controlled trains arriving from that line has
had its arm removed. The whole layout now has just three turnouts (as shown) - previously there were
eight. To cover the new sections a journey is required from the Yarmouth line to Reedham and from
Reedham to the Lowestoft line. The Ship pub (by the swing bridge) has a few railway photos, including
the present swing bridge under construction and former single line bridge. (Both Bill Wilson.)

575] Southend Victoria: (BLN 1307.1298) NR has reprogrammed work to upgrade OHLE on the branch
following passenger feedback. The £46M project work to replace the entire overhead wiring system
and structures between Southend Victoria and Shenfield is expected to finish sooner than originally
planned, with 11 weeks fewer of midweek night works and six fewer weekend works compared to
previous plans. Most work finishes in Mar 2020, instead of May 2020. The changes have been made
possible by deploying additional resources and agreeing a nine-day closure of the branch line between
Wickford and Southend Victoria during half term at the end of May 2019, which NR says will allow
more upgrade work in less time. The OHLE and supporting structures are over 60 years old and the
wires can sag in hot weather leading to speed restrictions. A new auto tension system helps keep the
wires at the correct tension in the hot weather and avoid the need to impose speed restrictions.
Rail users, who have seen their trains replaced with buses late night, mid-week and at weekends, have
complained about the length of time the project is taking and the great inconvenience it has caused.

576] Stabling & maintenance: (BLN 1298.249) Greater Anglia (GA) is replanning its depot and stabling
arrangements following cancellation of the plan to build a new depot at Brantham, near Manningtree.
Crown Point depot is being expanded more significantly than originally intended; a £57M investment
underway has two new full length stabling roads already in place. GA will also use Wensum Curve and

Victoria Sidings (BLN 1321.187) for stabling. Ilford depot shed is being extended to accommodate the
Aventra fleet, while a further wheel lathe is to be provided at a location yet to be confirmed by GA.
The Manningtree location remains a partially cleared 'brown' field site. A major cost would have been
earthworks, track and signalling work to reach the lower level in relation to the running lines.

577] Flirting with bimodes: There are, it seems, two issues with the new Stadler Class 755 FLIRT (Fast
Light Intercity & Regional Train). Firstly, the weight of the 'power pack', and that the two articulated
bogies it rests on are very close together, may well require speed restrictions on certain bridges and
culverts (so not so fast or light perhaps then?). As was found out at Bromsgrove a few years ago, some
of the culverts may be undocumented until they start to collapse. The second issue is their fuel range,
rumoured to be only about 650 miles, less than half of those they are replacing. Our correspondent
understands that the only East Anglia fuelling points are at Ipswich, soon to be moved (BLN 1322.308),
Colchester and Crown Point. Only the last 'belongs' to Greater Anglia. The trains will, of course, be
able to operate electrically in certain places but only for a small proportion of their mileage.

578] Ely: From 3 Mar the notorious Ely Station North level crossing of Station Road (the former A142),
spanning four tracks (70m 38ch), was to be closed to road traffic and pedestrians, with boundary
fencing erected across the roadway and all other equipment taken out of use pending recovery at a
later date. There is an adjacent very low underbridge with just 9ft clearance. The opening of the Ely
Southern Bypass (BLN 1317.2494), the new A142 route, will have greatly reduced road vehicle use.

579] Chelmsford Parkway: (BLN 1293.2330) This is now the name for the new station with new Up and
Down passing loops first proposed in Apr 1999 northeast of Chelmsford. (A member with local
knowledge feels it will be a time keeping disaster unless scheduled run times are eased.) Previously
Beaulieu Park, the project received a major boost in the latest awards from the Government's housing
infrastructure fund. Concern had been expressed that it would be delayed, but Essex County Council is
working to bring this much needed project forward. Chelmsford is the busiest two platform national
station with 8.6M passengers in 2017-18. Parking and access to the existing station Down P2 side is
described as 'transformed' for pedestrians, cyclists and cars by the new rear entrance to the station.

580] Tring: Work started on 4 Mar to install new lifts, ramps and a footbridge at the station to ensure
step free access across all five platforms in a £5.8M upgrade which is due for completion this autumn.
The investment has come directly from the Department for Transport 'Access for All' programme.

581] East West Rail: (BLN 1322.304) The public inquiry into the East West Rail western section scheme
opened in Milton Keynes on 6 Feb and is scheduled for 12 weeks. (Transport Briefing.)

582] Reading - Didcot: (BLN 1312.1872) By 16 Feb platforms extensions had progressed as follows:
Tilehurst: Side platforms - at country end. More work is still to be done on completing these, joining
up with existing platforms and filling in various holes behind the coping stones, particularly around the
join. The island platform extension is at the London end - this needs similar work. Both appear to be
having a concrete base rather than the bricked versions of those further northwest.
Pangbourne: (Relief Lines only at the Country end.) Again, both are neatly bricked, fenced, signed
and lit and appear almost ready for inspection and opening.
Goring & Streatley: All four are at London end. All but Up Relief have new coping stones for the full
length, with some raising behind them. Again the extensions appear almost ready.
Cholsey: All four platforms (country end) extensions are bricked, mostly fenced and lit. They appear
almost complete but are not open as the fence between the Down Relief and Up Main is incomplete.
Joint inspection and approvals are probably waiting completion at Tilehurst and other minor items.

583] Tilbury: Construction by Forth Ports Group of the £200M, 148 acre 'Tilbury2' port, broadly on the
former Tilbury 'A' and 'B' power stations site, is to begin almost immediately, following the granting of
development consent. Opening is planned for spring 2020. There will be a roll on, roll off ferry terminal
for container traffic, new rail and road connections, a construction materials facility and car storage
areas. Train length accommodated will be 775m. (Lloyd's List.)

[BLN 1324]
584] Luton Limbury Road: At this Aggregate Terminal (Up side) south of Leagrave, from Mon 28 Jan
the former dead end Discharge Siding (No3), previously accessible only from the north became a
through line by being connected at the Luton (south) end to Siding 2 (as now shown on TRACKmaps
Dec 2018). This allows services from the north on the Up Slow to serve it; Cemex is primary customer.

PREVIOUS PAGE TOP: The new connection at Luton Limbury Road making No3 Siding a through line at
the south end. Looking south towards Luton, the Midland Main Line is right. (Both Robin Morel.)

PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Looking north towards Leagrave showing the new pointwork in No2 Siding
No1 Siding is on the left, and the new connection to No3 Siding branches off to the right.

585] Stevenage: (BLN 1323.439) Ground clearance work is well under way between Langley Jn and
Stevenage for the extra track on the Down side and the fifth platform (a bay). Construction work is
scheduled for completion by early 2020 but commissioning is dependent on a closure of the ECML.
These dates will be agreed in Apr 2019 and the allocation of this commissioning then decided.

586] Reading (1) - Don't lose your bottle: (BLN 1322.312) A machine for free drinking water refills has
appeared in P7 waiting room (west). It is like the one provided earlier on P8 & P9. It will fill bottles with
either cold or temperate water by pressing the relevant buttons. Posters at the entrances advertise
this. At Paddington, a different type of machine has been installed. It is tucked away on P12 next to
the small waiting room, with a drinking fountain and bottle filler (sensitive to the presence of a bottle).

587] Reading (2): (BLN 1308.1433) Completion of work to upgrade the second of two bridges at Cow
Lane means that from 25 Feb the busy route under the railway will allow two way traffic, without
traffic lights, for the first time. Increased clearance will also mean that higher vehicles including buses
and lorries will be able to use the route. The southern Cow Lane bridge was replaced in 2012 but the
northern bridge could not be replaced until completion of a new railway viaduct as part of the Reading
scheme. When the first bridge was replaced it was expected the new northern bridge would be ready
in 2015. To allow resurfacing of the road, Cow Lane was closed to all vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists
from 22.00 on 22 Feb through to 10.00 on 25 Feb. With reopening, work has continued to create a
new dedicated pedestrian and cycle route. During this work, traffic uses the new road; pedestrians and
cyclists will be able to use the 'old' bridge to pass through safely. The pedestrian and cycle route is
expected to be complete by the summer before this year's Reading Festival. (Transport Briefing)

On 26 Feb after the four day (road) closure traffic appeared to be using the new double lane
underbridge. A member visited on 2 Mar in the afternoon and traffic was flowing freely and there
appears to be room for double decker buses. There is a narrow passageway to the east side of the old
span being used as a footpath (pedestrians are discouraged from the new span - rare footage?).

1324 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]
588] Newbury: a plaque has been installed on the Down side of the station by
the former Didcot, Newbury & Southampton bay where passenger trains waited for a while before
proceeding south or north. It commemorates the role played by the railway in transporting service
personnel and military materials to Southampton prior to D-Day, 6 Jun 1944.

589] Wokingham; a bit of a hole: (BLN 1320.87) The station is being (as the poster says) 'improved' by
installation of two gate lines, that on the Up side (three ordinary gates and a wide gate) inside the new
building appear complete. Under construction is a Down side entrance with gates, appearing nearly
ready. Meanwhile access on the Down side is via a temporary hole in the wall near the level crossing.

590] Brighton - Falmer: During the 7-10 Mar Lewes resignalling closure, Southern will run a 40 minute
interval shuttle service between Brighton and Falmer with single line working (there is no crossover to
turnback). It is not yet known which line will be used. The running time is 9 minutes, so why a 30
minute interval is unachievable is not clear. There are local and 'fast' buses on the same route too.

591] Brighton Line: (BLN 1318.2623) During the 'half term' line closure from 16 Feb, there were five
main work sites broken down by geographical location, which further comprised 27 individual sites of
work. Balcombe Tunnel Jn has been dismantled, excavated and new track laid. Drainage works took
place at Balcombe Tunnel, Copyhold Jn and at Haywards Heath. Signalling upgrades have taken place
at Haywards Heath and Preston Park as well as from Hassocks to Patcham. At Preston Park, rails were
renewed and signals upgraded. Cable work and brick work repairs took place in Clayton Tunnel.

Conductor rail renewal took place at Burgess Hill. From Keymer Jn to Lewes, track work and general
maintenance took place and, from Cooksbridge to Lewes, signal upgrades have also taken place. At
Haywards Heath station, platforms have been undergoing timber repairs and the station given a deep
clean. Plumpton station footbridge was stripped and station timbers and platforms have been
repaired. At Cooksbridge station, station timbers have been repaired and platform work carried out.
Preparation for the level crossing works in March have also taken place. At Wivelsfield trestle slabs
and coping have been replaced for completion during the three follow-up weekend closures.

At Balcombe, the old footbridge has been removed and new installed. While clearing vegetation at the
Brighton end of Down P2 at Balcombe, engineers discovered a carving engraved in stone. The hand-
hewn carving commemorates a strike by the drivers and firemen of the London, Brighton & South
Coast Railway on Mon 25 & Tue 26 Mar 1867*. The dispute was over pay and working conditions and
was resolved by Wednesday of the same week. (*A record for late reporting in BLN - Regional Editor?)

1324 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon) [email protected]
592] Bedminster: (BLN 1323.448) The crossovers are now to be replaced without the speed enhancement.

593] HSTs: (BLN 1323.450) Possibly related to the Taunton - Cowley Bridge Jn line closure (Whiteball
Tunnel works), the final regularly timetabled GWR HST on the North and South Cotswold Lines was
actually on Fri 15 Feb, the original date for this of Fri 8 Mar is the last weekday of the line closure.

594] St Austell: The disused 1882 former Grade II listed footbridge was recently delisted, despite local
opposition, after a third appeal by NR. A new much wider fully accessible footbridge with lifts was opened
at St Austell in Jan 2015. The old riveted iron lattice footbridge is decorated with the 'GWR' initials and
supported by pairs of cast-iron columns with enriched bases and capitals. It was removed over the
weekend of 24/25 Feb for transport to its new home at the Helston heritage railway 30 miles away.
The rest of the station and signal box (closed 22 Mar1980 control transferred to Par box) remain Grade II
listed but Historic England felt that the footbridge alone did not merit listing outside the station context.

BELOW: The 1882 footbridge at St Austell when it was still in use in 2009. (Geof Sheppard.)

595] Shepton Mallet: This Somerset town (9 miles by road north of Castle Cary station) population
10,700, lost rail services in 1966 when the Somerset & Dorset line closed in the Beeching cuts. Mendip
District Council has now allocated £320k for a viability report assessing transport options for the town,
including a new 'Parkway' station (is that not Castle Cary?) on the Westbury to Castle Cary line.

596] Charfield: The West of England Combined Authority has approved £300k from its £30M annual
investment fund towards preparing an outline business case for a new Charfield station, south of the
loops, (about 113m 20ch) in South Gloucestershire between Cam & Dursley (105m 30ch) and Yate
(119m 60ch) on the Gloucester to Bristol line. This includes progressing work and discussions with NR.
Passenger services were withdrawn Jan 1965 although the station building remains in residential use.

ABOVE: Charfield station and ground frame operated crossovers (since removed) on 6 May 1987.
Looking south towards Bristol from the B058 Wooton Road overbridge. (Ben Brooksbank.)

597] Pilning: (BLN 1316.2776) Of the just 27 responses to the DfT consultation on closing Angel Road
station in North London, 21 urged that the footbridge be dismantled and re-erected at Pilning, [which
seems unlikely to be coincidental?] to replace the one removed in 2016 for electrification. Although
the station has just two Saturday only trains a week, both from Cardiff to Taunton, estimated use (plus
ticket sales without use!) increased by 107% from 230 in 2016-17 to 478 in 2017-18. There is a growing
campaign to restore a two way service. The Pilning Station Group has submitted a business case to
GWR for 'modest, cost-neutral and doable' service improvements including reinstating the mid-day
train (so that people can visit Pilning for lunch and return on the afternoon train), an early-evening
train during the summer months, enabling Pilning people to enjoy a full day out and still return home.
At present the last train is at 15.34 with a wait of 161 hours until the next for anyone who misses it.

1324 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]
598] Bridgnorth - Ironbridge & Broseley: A member has kindly supplied details of a recent walk by
Railway Ramblers along this ex-GWR line through peaceful, remote and attractive rural Shropshire
near the River Severn. Although closed 55 years ago the 8¾ mile trackbed is remarkably intact.
The route was joined at the north portal of the 559yd Bridgnorth Tunnel. has
everything you could possibly want to know about it, and more, including many photos inside (it is in
perfect condition). The tunnel was reached via a long, winding and steep flight of wooden steps down
the cutting side (a fireman's pole would be useful!). The 'S' shaped tunnel is securely blocked off; the

south portal is near a big vertical drop to the road just past Bridgnorth station, as the rail bridge here
over the B4373 Hollybush Road was removed due to its low headroom. Proceeding north from the
tunnel, the cutting opens out into parkland followed by an urban street on the trackbed. Beyond was
the only necessary diversion on the whole walk of over eight miles, via a riverside footpath parallel to
the trackbed which temporarily disappears in a golf course. The trackbed is regained at the far side
with close views of the River Severn almost throughout.

It is about 4½ miles to the first station, Linley (becoming Linley Halt after 10 Sep 1951), lunch being
taken about half a mile before beneath an ornate, castellated underbridge. This faces the very grand
castellated Apley Hall on the opposite bank of the River Severn set in the extensive Apley Deer Park
Estate. Originally a ferry was provided, but later a chain suspension bridge was built that gives the
appearance of a Scottish salmon river. Thomas C Whitmore, a Conservative politician and owner of this
large and prominent dwelling in the 1860s, objected to the railway construction and wanted it built in
long tunnels so he wouldn't be able to see it. Eventually he was placated with the otherwise remote
Linley station and the castellated occupation underbridge, although the side facing the railway is plain.

Linley was built as a full station in similar style to Coalport GWR station built in the same yellow brick;
two storeys on the single platform west of the line. It is now a private residence, well kept and with a
name board (original?). Passenger use was probably minimal as it appears to have only served Apley
Park and its lodge. It CP 1 Jan 1917 (with many other stations and lines that day) but ROP 2 Apr 1917.
The station CG 10 Sep 1951 with destaffing and became a 'Halt', then CP 9 Sep 1963 with the line here.

Further information (text not endorsed).

Most of the trackbed is now a private estate through road (no locked gates so it is easy to accidentally
drive right through) and some is not tarmacked, but there is permissive pedestrian and cycle access.

On 16 Feb 2019 it was very busy with charity
runners and stewards (normally you can do this
part of the walk and hardly meet a soul, see or
hear a vehicle). Coalport (West) GWR station OP
1 Feb 1862 is also a private residence, and very
well maintained. By Jan 1869 a second platform
had been added so that passenger trains could
cross. This has a small red brick waiting room,
similar to the building on the second platform at
Carrog on the Llangollen Railway. This second
Coalport platform has track with two ex-BR
1950s Mk1 coaches, available for self-catering
holidays from £92.50 per coach per night (based
on four nights). Back on 8 Nov 1981 the second
platform and its small building were completely concealed by vegetation. There was not time to cross
Coalport Iron Bridge to explore the Coalport (East) LNWR branch terminus site but our member
suspects that not a great deal still exists there. ABOVE LEFT: Coalport (West) 21 Aug 1964 with track
lifting in progress - sadly a common sight around the country at this time. (Angus McDougall.)

At Jackfield, the trackbed showed signs of the geological instability which has bedevilled the middle
reaches of the Severn Valley for many years. [Well if you will build a railway right next to a river…]
Nothing remains of the re-sited small basic wooden British Railways (Western Region) Jackfield
(second) Halt OP 1 Mar 1954. Between it and what is assumed are the remains of the first Jackfield
Halt 18ch further on, the foot/cyclepath stays on the trackbed through an open landscaped area which
was the location of a serious landslip. It destroyed several houses and the road
in Feb 1952, which slid into the river - the halt moved 25ft and a 5mph restriction was imposed on the
railway which needed constant attention. There are over 20 significant landslips documented nearby.

Nothing remains of the first halt, a basic GWR wooden platform OP 3 Dec 1934 but there are chunks of
blue engineering brick suggesting an overbridge (occupation bridge) collapsed in the landslip. It is on
the 1946 New Popular OS 1" map but had gone by the 7th Series 1957 (as had some of the road!).

Just past this presumed site of the first Jackfield Halt, the Parish Church survived the slips unscathed
and the next section of trackbed for about a quarter of a mile is now a road past the large building of
the former Craven Dunnill Co, nothing to do with cigarettes, but Jackfield (Encaustic) Tile Works.
Now Jackfield Tile Museum (and well worth visiting), the building has some 'wobbly' brickwork due to
the ground instability. Next is a single storey house, 'Crossing Bungalow' the former crossing keeper's
house, now a private residence. Beyond here is another level crossing site, with some track in situ and
a semaphore signal (which actually looks like a Midland Railway lower quadrant!). The level crossing
gates were absent, reputedly 'away for repairs' for some time. Of note a section of road (slipped?) on
the river side of the line on the 1946 map had been replaced by one the other side on the 1957 map.

Adjacent is a large, long, overgrown brick and stone platform, part of Jackfield Siding (CG 1 Oct 1957)
which served several local brick and tile works. From here it was a short slightly muddy walk to the site
of the next station, Ironbridge & Broseley. Only the back wall of one platform survives, the station site
being now a large car park. A restaurant 'The Station' helpfully makes a useful backdrop for photos.
The station was immediately adjacent to the world's first Iron Bridge of 1779 - which was very nearly
replaced by a concrete bridge in the 1930s! Now Grade 1 Listed and closed to road traffic since 1934 it
is only available to pedestrians (subject to recently completed repairs), due to pressure breakage of
some cast iron components. This walk is thoroughly recommended in either direction, there is a bus
service between Telford Central station and Ironbridge and also Shrewsbury. Bridgnorth has Severn
Valley Railway trains, of course, and buses from Wolverhampton, Shrewsbury, Ironbridge etc.

599] Hams Hall: (BLN 1316.2367) The southern access into Hams Hall ABP National Distribution Park
via the points in the Up Whitacre line (32m 07ch) was reinstated on Sun 24 Feb. The temporary stop
blocks installed on the East Arrival Line and Transfer Line were recovered and the Headshunt was
reconnected and made available for use. This was following completion of repairs to the significant
damage caused by the 12 Sep 2018 intermodal train derailment. For those not aware, in 1942
Hams Hall, in a previous incarnation, was the biggest electricity generation site in Europe. It was built
by the very forward looking City of Birmingham Corporation; the 'A' station opened in 1929 and was
then developed to 240MW capacity. The 'B' station (160MW) started generation in 1942 and the 'C'
station (357MW) was commissioned between 1956 and 1958. Naturally they were primarily coal fired
and there was an interesting internal railway forming a circuit around the site, covered by an internal
steam hauled Society railtour on 21 Nov 1976 with a second less extensive tour on 10 May 1981.
The now intermodal terminal rail connections were once used to bring in 1¼M tonnes of coal annually.

600] Shrewsbury: From the 19 May new timetable, West Midlands Railway (WMR) is operating extra
Birmingham New Street services, with two WMR trains an hour most of the day (SuX). Some existing
trains will have more capacity using DMUs released by Chase Line electrification. The new services are
additional to those provided by Virgin Trains and TfW, so nearly all day there will be three or even four
an hour each way. The extra services call at Wellington, Telford, Shifnal, Codsall and Wolverhampton
so are faster than the local services. From Wolverhampton they run via Portobello Jn (to eventually
serve the future Willenhall and Darlaston stations) to Bescot then mostly Soho with a few via Aston.

On Sundays TfW now runs an hourly all stations Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton shuttle which WMR
will take over and extend to New Street calling at Sandwell & Dudley and (some) Galton Bridge.
The 08.28 SuO New Street - Shrewsbury serves all stations. In May 2021 a second WMR hourly Sunday
service should start. TfW will still run its Sunday hourly fast Shrewsbury to Birmingham International
services originating from, or running through to Chester and Aberystwyth, alternate hours as now.

X.26] Redditch: (see BLN 1322.X11) NEXT PAGE TOP: Looking south, with a Class 323 EMU in West
Midlands Railway livery; the line once continued under the bridge to Ashchurch via Evesham.

PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: The station building has a booking office and small shop. 1.08M passengers
were recorded in 2016-17; up nearly 25% since the service was increased from two to three trains per
hour in Dec 2014. ABOVE: Looking north towards Barnt Green. (All Martin Baumann, 8 Feb 2019.)

601] HS2: Changes in the West Midlands to Crewe section include lowering of Kings Bromley viaduct,
a simpler Handsacre Jn to the West Coast Main Line and a new power connection, over 7km of high
voltage electricity lines, from HS2 at Newlands Lane to the east of the route. This is for temporary and
permanent power supply to Whitmore and Madeley tunnels, initially for the tunnel boring machines
and later for tunnel operation. A southward extension of Whitmore tunnel avoids complex surface
works where the A53 crosses the route. At and around Crewe station there are changes including
extending Up Slow P5 to accommodate the 400m long HS2 trains (part of the 'Crewe Hub' project).

602] London Overground to Stratford: No, not the wrong part of BLN, but Class 172 DMU 172006 has
transferred to Tyseley Depot and on Wed 27 Feb began crew familiarisation still in London Overground
livery, with two trips to/from Stratford-upon-Avon via the North Warwick (not Warwickshire) line.

603] Stratford-upon-Avon: The station, the busiest on the Shakespeare Line with 1.04M passengers in
2017-18, is having a £1.5M upgrade. This includes a new booking hall, waiting room, seating areas,
better retail facilities, accessible toilets and bike racks. Work began on 15 Feb when a temporary ticket
facility was set up outside the station. Major work begins on 21 Mar with completion due in July.

604] Birmingham, Heartlands Park (BLN 1323.455) Demolition of the ex-Metro Cammell (GEC Alstom)
works has now begun to clear the site for the HS2 maintenance and stabling depot. A member advises
that, according to his records, there was a connection to the site from Washwood Heath box on the
London & North Western (LNWR) Stechford to Aston line however its dates are not known. However...

ABOVE: The 1902 OS 25" to the mile survey. New Street is off bottom left, Derby and Nuneaton are
top middle, Stechford middle right and Aston top middle. The then 'Saltley Works (Railway Carriage &
Wagon)' - is off to the bottom, the present Heartlands Park ex-Metro Cammell (GEC Alstom) is off top
right and had not been built then. A single track running line can be seen from the LNWR (Washwood
Heath box shown as 'SB') dropping down towards the Midland Railway (MR) over Aston Church Rd. It is
present as late as the 1964-5 one-inch 7th Series map as a 'siding/mineral line'; the 25" map suggests it
was connected to the MR but it did never connected directly with the present day Heartlands Park.

605] Camp Hill: A presentation at Kings Heath on the new stations for the local services on the line in
Nov 2018 by the scheme sponsor, West Midlands Rail Executive, revealed the following details:
●Moseley: Station entrance/exit at both ends of the two platforms.
●Kings Heath: Entrance/exit at one end with an emergency exit at the other end of the platform.
●Hazelwell: Access provision has yet to be determined.
●Access to all stations will be by lifts and stairs, there will be no ramps.
●All stations will have two-car length canopies.
●All stations will have passive provision for potential future buildings (including booking offices).
●All platforms will allow six-car trains to call.
●Services will be half-hourly initially, and provided by new trains.
●Funding is in place for three stations, but there is no funding for the proposed Balsall Heath station.
●It is anticipated that the stations will open in Dec 2021 (ready for the 2022 Commonwealth Games).

1324 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]
606] Dublin Pearse: (BLN 1316.2388) Irish Rail's (IR's) project to renew and replace the life-expired
roof continues. Dating from the 1880s, it is in poor condition, with protective mesh netting in place in
recent years to protect customers and rail services, due to corrosion damage. Its replacement has
been identified by IR as a crucial safety project. Although not actually a protected structure, IR has
specified that the external appearance and character of the structure should be maintained.

The €17M project (was €10M), funded by the National Transport Authority, began in Aug 2018 and is
expected to take until Jul 2020. The vast majority of works do not affect rail services and are planned
to take place in the day to reduce impact on the surrounding areas. IR expects that the station will
need to be closed for up to 13 weekends (the first was 27/28 Oct 2018) over the period for round the
clock works, involving crane operation to install sections of the new structure. The next weekend
works are 9/10 Mar. ♣DARTs operate Howth/Malahide - Connolly and Grand Canal Dock - Greystones
only. ♣Tara Street and Pearse stations are both closed. ♣Dublin Connolly/ Rosslare Europort trains
will have bus transfers between Connolly and Bray. The subsequent weekend closure is 13/14 Apr.

Pearse Station (Westland Row until renaming after the Pearse brothers in 1966 to mark the 50th
anniversary of the Easter Uprising and their part in it) is Ireland's second busiest station and the
busiest commuter station on the network with 9M passengers in 2017. It opened on 17 Dec 1834 as
the original terminus of the Dublin & Kingstown Railway the first in the country (Westland Row to
Kingstown, which is now Pearse to Dun Laoghaire). It now has DART, Commuter and Rosslare services.

The roof has two areas and dates from the 1880s. The main station area roof has 40 barrelled roof
trusses over 38 bays, with additional gable end structure at both ends. The span of the roof trusses is
about 28m, with bays spaced at roughly 4.25m centre to centre. Along the length of the running shed
timber purlins longitudinally link the trusses (also braced laterally with ties and struts).

The roof fabric of the main station is in three sections: ●The upper glazed atrium section. ●The middle
metal decking on the timber section. ●The lower polycarbonate sheeted section (dating from 1990s).
Next to the main station roof there is a second similar roof over the station infrastructure area. This is
smaller with 19 tru ses over 18 bays. The second roof span is about 17m, with bays spaced at roughly
4.25m centre to centre. The roof fabric of this smaller roof is similar to the main running shed. The
main roof trusses provide the primary roof support. These trusses are either supported off a spandrel
section, its supporting cast iron column or off a brick corbel where there is no spandrel present.
The works involve replacing all the primary trusses with new steel trusses, or similar, and replacing
existing roofing materials with new ones chosen to maintain the external appearance and character of
the structure. A crash deck has been installed over the main station for the duration of the works.

607] Will Portrush be open for The Open? Colin McVea, NIR's Signal &Telecommunications (S&T)
Engineer, recently gave a talk to the Irish Railway Record Society London branch. A question after
concerned Portrush, specifically if the signal box would be opened to handle traffic for the Golf Open
Championship this summer (18-21 July). He explained that much of the knowledge required by the
S&T men had never been written down and was passed on by word of mouth. With men retiring, this
knowledge was increasingly difficult to sustain. No decision has yet been made as to whether the box
will be opened. However, he stated that, if it wasn't opened for the Open, it would never be used
again. Unfortunately, the odds appear to be on the side of it not being used. Our Ireland Editor advises
that with the hourly service it's almost impossible to path steam on the branch now and, as far as he is
aware, there are now just two signallers still passed for the box. The last steam train was 27 Aug 2017
(a Sunday). So, will all three platforms at Portrush be used again or indeed are they all now needed?

608] South Wexford Line: An Inspection Car ran from Rosslare Strand to Waterford on 26 Feb. Limited
to 40mph maximum it was booked from Greystones at 10.46 via Wexford Loop (13.11/13.22) to reach
Rosslare Europort at 13.53. After seven minutes of sea air it returned to Rosslare Strand where, most
unusually, the signal cabin was switched in specially. The inspection car was then booked to disappear
under the direction of the PICOP (Person In Charge Of Possession) at 14.10, into the wormhole known
as ''Absolute Possessions, Section T, Part III, Rosslare Strand - Wellingtonbridge and Wellingtonbridge
- Waterford''. All being well it would emerge at Waterford for 17.25. Of note these light weight
Inspection Cars are not guaranteed to operate track circuits and are signalled accordingly. The driver
was required to apply extreme caution in stopping short of all level crossings and ensure the gates
were closed to the public road. An Emergency Operator was provided at Belview No1 CCTV controlled
Level crossing. Low rail adhesion was also expected requiring additional braking distance.

1324 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe) [email protected]
609] Newton: On Suns 31 Mar until 28 Apr the bidirectional Newton South Connecting Line (Newton,
Hamilton Jn - Newton East Jn) is in use due to track renewals in the Rutherglen area. Trains using this
line are: Glasgow Central - Motherwell; Glasgow Central - Lanark (not 21 Apr); Virgin Trains Glasgow
Central (both directions) and 19.10 Manchester Airport to Glasgow Central. ScotRail services run via
Kirkhill and Bellshill. There are no CrossCountry or East Coast trains to/from Glasgow and only the one
TPE service from Manchester. At Rutherglen North Jn the facing crossover (at Strathclyde Jn) will be
used in service by trains from Glasgow Central low level on arrival to turn back at Rutherglen.

610] West Highland Line: (BLN 1319.2809) The 2017-18 station passenger figures show Locheilside
(300, down 19%), has 'undertaken' Beasdale (418, up 34%), as the least used station, though numbers
at both are very small. The busiest stations are as in 2016-17, except that Arrochar & Tarbert (17,800)
had more passengers than Crianlarich (17,586), but with little difference between the two.

611] Possil: (CP 5 Oct 1964) Just a short
distance north of the current Possilpark &
Parkhouse station are the remains of this
former Lanarkshire & Dunbartonshire
Railway (latterly Caledonian Railway) station
(Possil North after Jan 1954 - or was it?),
previously the terminus of a suburban
passenger service from Rutherglen with
through goods services. The Category 'C'
Listed street level station building survives,
but is in very poor condition - temporary
metal fences discourage pedestrians from approaching it. Staircases once led from the back of the
building to two through platforms and a bay, but there is now no trace of these. In the stonework at
the front of the building are the Caledonian's initials. Down at rail level the goods shed also survives
although it has been re-roofed and is in better condition. ABOVE LEFT: A 'Special Cheap Day Return'
from Glasgow Central; 10d or -/10 which was just under 4p. (Angus McDougall and previous page top.)

PREVIOUS PAGE TOP: The sad state of Possil station buildings at street level on 23 Sep 2007.

PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: ... and even worse, the platform side. (Dave souza 6 Oct 2006 at Wikipedia.)

612] Glasgow Queen Street: Just before Christmas the 74m long, 70 tonne steel west truss was
installed in three stages over the entrance on Dundas Street. A 750 tonne crane lifted and lowered
each section into position before securing them to steel columns by 2,300 bolts in total. The steelwork
was produced in Scotland by J&D Pierce Ltd, of Glengarnock, North Ayrshire. Installation of the steel
support structure continues until the summer. The frame will wrap around the existing arched train
shed, providing additional space to extend platforms. Work should be complete in spring 2020.

613] Glasgow Central: NR has begun a £13M, two year renovation project on the 200m long bridge
over the River Clyde on the approach to the station. New Clyde Bridge (also known as the Caledonian
Railway Bridge), was built between 1899-1905 as part of the expansion of Glasgow Central and carries
nearly 1,300 trains a day. The 'A' listed structure will undergo extensive refurbishment and repair with
engineers blasting off old paint, inspecting and repairing the steel beneath, before repainting the
bridge in its existing colour scheme. The refurbishment is staged, work started at the south (Tradeston)
side of the river later in Feb, with completion due by Dec 2020 when this Clyde bridge will be 'Bonnie'.

614] Edinburgh Trams: (BLN 1323.468) The agreement between the City of Edinburgh Council and
Edinburgh Trams Ltd (ETL) was approved by Councillors on 6 Dec, for completion by 31 Dec 2018. ETL
now takes full responsibility for all costs and income associated with the trams, as well as paying the
£8.5M asset fee to the Council for the use of its assets. In the short term it will move from being a

profitable to a loss-making company, with these losses being partly funded through the issue of share
capital to the Council. In the medium term it is anticipated that the company will return to profit.

●Maintenance costs will be met directly by ETL. Prior to negotiation/re-procurement of the contracts
ETL will reimburse the Council for tram, infrastructure, systems and ticket machine maintenance.
●Edinburgh Trams will continue to reimburse the Council for the costs of insuring the tram system.
●The Council will forgo any right to income received from advertising on the tram assets and the
operating and advertising agreement will be redrafted to reflect this.

These changes transfer maintenance responsibility to ETL so that its delivery and cost is optimised and
managed at an operational level. They enable ETL to operate an extended line if the full business case
for the Newhaven line is approved. They modify governance but allow the Council to retain control of
its tram assets and modify the payment regime to better reflect the costs of operating the tram line.

615] Edinburgh Trams to be hornier: The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has recommended that
the volume (air pressure) be increased on tram warning horns. Sadly this follows a fatal accident
between Balgreen and Saughton on 11 Sep 2018. The driver sounded the bell several times, but a
pedestrian crossed in front of the tram, apparently not hearing it. The horns sound automatically when
the emergency brakes are applied but were found to be quieter than the bells and below the industry
standard. Advice has been issued to consider if bells or horns should be used on higher speed sections.

616] Ayr: (BLN 1319.2801) Services returned to normal from Thu 20 Dec after work to safely 'contain'
the crumbling Station Hotel building was completed. However, the temporary ticket office and station
facilities remain. There were a few alterations on 19 Dec, but the regular hourly timetable to Girvan
ran for most of the day. Bay P1&2 are still both restricted to one EMU rather than a pair. A member
was told that when the Station Hotel closed, they did not drain the water tanks in the roof. The water
leaked out, causing considerable damage, the basement is now flooded. [What a water stopcock up.]

617] Perth: (BLN 1321.213) The points on approach to Muirton Yard (Perth New Yard) remain out of
use until 31 Aug. A chained sleeper and stop board are positioned at the entrance to the yard.

618] Reston: (BLN 165.1888) NR is working with Transport Scotland to develop proposals for a new
station on the site of that CP 4 May 1964, and expect it to be built during Control Period 6 (1 Apr 2019
to 31 Mar 2024). Campaigners who have long called for its reinstatement say that St Abbs, Eyemouth,
Coldingham and the wider area would benefit from its reopening. The previous station had three
platforms as it was the junction for the line to St Boswells (on the Waverley Route) via Duns.

619] Aviemore: The Up Sidings Ground Frame is being decommissioned between 3 and 26 Mar 2019.
The remodelled Down Refuge Sidings are now due to be commissioned on 28 Apr.

620] Blackford: From 3 Mar various signals were replaced with lightweight fold down LED signals.

621] Grangemouth: Following testing, the new overhead line electrification (Grangemouth Jn -
Fouldubs) was live from 10 Feb. [The aim is to energise the wires before metal thieves can steal them.]

PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Our 28 Aug 1982 August Bank Holiday (but not in Scotland) weekend,
Lanarkshire & Lothian Wanderer tour at Grangemouth No3 (Ian Mortimer).

622] Waverley: Extended P5 & 6 were recommissioned on 24 Feb and available to electric traction.

623] Shotts: The first test electric test train, light engine 86638, ran successfully on the line on 24 Feb.

1324 WALES & THE MARCHES (Chris Parker) [email protected]
624] Pontrilas: Although closed to passengers from 9 Jun 1958, on 15 Feb 2019 the 08.31 Manchester
Piccadilly to Milford Haven service terminated here (a Down working, so not in the unidirectional Up
Goods Loop!). This was because smoke and sparks were emerging from beneath the centre car of unit
175107 - the one repainted in the new TfW livery after a similar incident last year (BLN 1315.2274).
Fire and rescue services were called at 11.03 and about 80 passengers evacuated. TfW's Operations
Director reported: 'Thankfully no one was hurt, our train crew worked quickly and professionally to get
all customers off safely and onward road transport was arranged'. A full investigation was promised.

All services were suspended between Newport and Hereford and several were also cancelled between
there and Shrewsbury. Realtime Trains suggests that the line reopened shortly before 15.47 when the
10.29 Margam to Dee Marsh freight left Panteg after being held there (presumably in that Up Goods
Loop) for two hours. The first southbound working to run through was 12.32 Holyhead to Maesteg
which passed Pontrilas 21 min late at 16.44. has pictures and more details. By
1 Mar the offending unit was back in service minus its centre car (good job it was a 3-car set before…).

X.27] Aberthaw Cement Works: (It does too!) BELOW: Discharged cement tanks arriving off the main
line; a Class 66 loco is relatively unusual, normally a Class 70 is provided. (Tim Hughes 14 Feb 2019.)

625] Chester - Shrewsbury: According to an article in the Feb Modern Railways, intermediate block
signals are to be installed by the end of 2023 to break up the 11m 67ch Croes Newydd North Fork -
Gobowen North block section which has existed since Weston Rhyn box was abolished on 3 Aug 1991.
The increased capacity is required for the introduction of Liverpool-Shrewsbury/Cardiff services but is
a one year slippage compared with TfW's initial objectives announced on 4 Jun 2018 (BLN 1306.1238).

626] Unbranded TfW rebranding: (BLN 1322.349) The latest twist to this saga is that unit 158826 is the
first of its class to receive the new livery but with no branding whatsoever (work in progress?)!

627] Briton Ferry: (BLN 1322.347) PREVIOUS PAGE: A Martyn Brailsford 'before and after' (4 Mar 2019
resignalling and remodelling/'decimation'). Briton Ferry Sidings are reduced to just one as a run round
facility for the Baglan Bay to Chirk Kronospan timber traffic, losing the west end connection. Note the
new bidirectional signalling on both main lines with the new crossover. However, the bidirectional
signalling is lost (with the associated facing crossover) at the start of the Down (Swansea) District line.

This item reminds your BLN Editor of a Birmingham to Swansea day return (£8.80 - without railcard)
on Sun 22 Apr 1979, taking the 09.15 to Gloucester where Eastgate station (CP 1 Dec 1975) was being
demolished. The 11.00, an all stations 6-car DMU, was caught to Cardiff Central (General until 1973),
then the 12.58 HST to Swansea (departing 13.20). Ironically the HST from as the Severn Tunnel was
shut. Dave Monger was on board and waved! Anyway, both HSTs were diverted through Briton Ferry
Down Sidings due to Sunday engineering work, also doing the connections each end (the present
passenger station did not open until some 21 years later in 1994). The HSTs were still very new then
and it was wondered if they would be allowed to do slightly suspect 'freight lines' but they did and this
was the first new track your Editor ever did on a HST. Coming back, the Up Main was taken at Briton
Ferry (as booked) and, returning via Hereford, the 18.50 from Cardiff was hauled by a Class 45 loco.
This was followed by the 20.20 from Hereford to New Street, a 3-car DMU with very few passengers.

628] Cardiff Central: The Grade II listed main station building, reconstructed in Art Deco style with
(Westminster) Government financial aid in 1933-4 as part of an unemployment alleviation programme,
is currently undergoing refurbishment. This includes specialist cleaning of the Portland stone façade,
work to increase the capacity of the roof drainage outlets to make it more weatherproof and repairs to
the clock tower. In preparation for this, NR engineers have referred to drawings dated 1933 from the
(original) GWR Architects Office which show that the tower was originally designed to house a
ventilation system, with no clock in the design. The air intake system was later made redundant and
four clock faces were incorporated, retaining the architectural feature of the tower and giving it a
useful purpose! Extensive roof glazing was also incorporated in the original design to allow natural
light to enter the booking hall. Glazed sections of the ceiling remain today but artificial light is always
necessary as the roof above them has been covered with slate to match the adjacent roofing. Several
other changes have been made to the original design, including the addition of three entrances. The
work is expected to be completed in April. Of note it is not possible to renumber the platforms here as
the unusual curved glazed platform numbers in the subway tiles are also listed (hence P0 and no P5).

629] Cardiff Valleys: (BLN 1316.2414) The proposal to transfer ownership of most of the Valley lines
from NR to TfW is now the subject of an internal industry consultation from 22 Feb for one month.
The proposed sale date is 22 Sep with completion in Mar 2020, though this is expected to be subject to
ORR approval. Concerns have already been raised about the effects on open access agreements with
freight and charter operators and, potentially, additional passenger operator(s). The fact that this is
being pursued while the Williams Review of the whole UK rail network and franchising system (which
its chairman has said cannot continue in its present form) is in progress is also considered unfortunate!

630] Mystery Welsh station: (BLN 1323.418 - North East section, of course). Your BLN Editor's guess of
Gogarth or Abertafol (both request stops last timetabled 14 May 1984 and CP 30 Sep 1985) was close
but didn't score the bullseye. They were both near the A493 road; walking west from Gogarth would

be prevented by the Dovey Estuary closing in rather than a gate in a field. The consensus is that it is
probably another Cambrian Coast closure, Llangelynin; CP 25 Oct 1991 temporarily (but later made
permanent) on safety grounds as there was no lighting. This station, between Tonfanau north of
Tywyn and Llwyngwril south of Barmouth, fitted the description admirably except that sheep are
usually more common than bulls in the locality! A member advises that his family used it as the
starting point for just such a walk as that aborted by the original correspondent due to the bull, up and
over the hill to the still open Tonfanau station via Llabwst Farm and Rhoslefain.

631] Not very sporting: BLN items 1278.791 and 1301.652 alluded to the strengthening of Cardiff area
services for major sporting events. TfW have continued ATW's practice of 'borrowing' two of the extra
DMUs required from the lines perennially last in the pecking order (the Conwy Valley and Wrexham to
Bidston). On Sat 23 Feb, Wales v England rugby international day, 100% and 50% of their respective
services were buses and a recurrence is planned for 16 Mar. Sadly TfW's public announcements have
been misleading, to say the least, blaming this bus use on 'more trains than usual needing repair at the
same time' - reusing the phrase, then accurate, from last autumn's problems (BLN 1318.2666) and
known to have been trotted out on other occasions since. They fell short of their predecessors in that
no advance warning was apparent on their website and no details of the replacement bus services
were given. Sadly problems have been reported with introduction of the Class 230 Vivarail units on
these lines. Firstly they do not have selective door opening and are too long for some platforms
(particularly Wrexham Central which platform is 57yd long similar to Buckley and Heswall!). Secondly
they cannot work in tunnels (such as on the Conwy Valley) as they only have side and no end doors!

632] Ebbw Vale line: (BLN 1299.411) There is renewed hope for resumption of the redoubling project,
paused by the Welsh Government (WAG) because of escalating costs. [Shouldn't that be put into a
deep coma or 'flatlined' rather than 'paused' - Ed?] This explains the trees growing through the new
track on the branch with no sign of any new signalling or platforms. In mid-Feb Economy and Transport
Minister Ken Skates announced a reopening of a feasibility study into increasing train frequency to
four trains per hour by 2024 as part of the South Wales Metro. NR is said to have worked with WAG to
reduce costs, and make sure expenditure on the scheme delivers the required outcomes. NR will also
carry out the study which is due to be completed by early summer and will form part of a bid to the UK
Government for investing in Wales & Borders routes not being devolved to TfW. [See item 629 above.]

1324 MINOR RAILWAYS (Peter Scott) [email protected]
MR37] Great Central Railway, Leicestershire (MR p7): A member visited here on Saturday 9 February.
A two train service with three car DMU (51427, 59575, 50321) on the first turn and GWR 4-6-0 6990
'Witherslack Hall' with five Mk1s, including one of their restaurant cars (4830, 4630, 1962, 4857,
21162), formed the normal services. BR 2-6-0 78018 was working the 13.00 non-stop dining service,
which conveys one ordinary TSO (4948) for 'normal' passengers (like our visiting member) as well as
81343, 3092, 1525, 3126, 1898 and a saloon with balcony called 'Quorn'. Guided tours of the Loco
Shed at Loughborough were being offered, which is normally closed nowadays, from 10.30 onwards
and our reporter joined a group on the first tour. Inside were the National Railway Museum's 70000
and 30777 waiting for their owner to decide who will overhaul them and who will pay!

Being actively worked on, however, was one of the line's favourites - rebuilt West Country 34039
'Boscastle', whose boiler is now at the South Devon Railway while other work is undertaken. It is
hoped it will re-enter traffic in 2021. The guide pointed out various features of the locomotives in the
shed, including oiling points, water scoops and the special features of 34039, including its 'Boxpok'
wheels and electric lighting. Other locos in the shed were 46521, 48305, 63601, 78019 and D5410. At
Quorn & Woodhouse in separate sidings were Northern Rail's 319456 and 769434 - on site for testing.

On his way back to Loughborough Midland, our reporter diverted to take a look at the canal bridge,
which needs partial dismantling to see whether it is good enough to be repaired for use (otherwise it
will need to be replaced), and at the bridge installed above the Midland Main Line in 2017.

[BLN 1324]
At the east side of that bridge the embankment needs to be reinstated for a short distance, while on
the west of the main line there is a longer section needing building up as far as the canal bridge, and at
least part of a recently resurfaced factory car park will need be moved/replaced.

MR38] Telford Steam Railway, Shropshire (MR p7): Following a successful Christmas season running
the Polar Express specials (using a hired in steam loco from the Churnet Valley Railway and their own
Class 08), track removal is currently underway on the Doseley branch pending relaying with concrete
sleeper track. It is also reported that effort is underway presently to restore to working order the Class
37 locomotive as a priority to provide power for the steep incline up to Horsehay and Dawley.

MR39] Steeple Grange Light Railway, Derbyshire (MR p14) (BLN 1321.MR10): The history of the route,
which is now this 18" gauge railway between Steeplehouse and Middleton Quarry, is not well
recorded in published sources, even ones dealing with the world renowned Cromford & High Peak
Railway (C&HPR), though developments in recent years have been detailed in BLN Minor Railways.

BLN 1286.MR133 had a reminder from a reader who pointed out that, though a private line latterly the
Killers Branch was built by the London & North Western Railway (L&NWR), and worked by British Rail
(BR) right up to closure. The C&HPR, completed in 1831, was leased to the L&NWR by an Act of 1862,
and amalgamated into that Company by one in 1887. Meanwhile, the only documentary reference to
the building of the branch to and serving a quarry owned by Killer Bros, was in a Minute of 1884 of the
L&NWR's Way & Works Committee, authorising the construction. No statutory powers were obtained,
but this was presumably because all the land it ran through was owned by the Arkwright family, and
wayleave agreements were all that was deemed necessary. It is a common misconception that all
public railways needed Parliamentary approval, whereas Acts were mainly obtained for matters such
as land acquisition, there being no general Compulsory Purchase mechanisms in the 19th Century.

This case in Derbyshire is not unique [Baddesley/Birch Coppice branches were built by the Midland
Railway without any Act, under a 999 year lease from Dugdale estates who owned all the land and
collieries and to whom the lines reverted on closure]. The Killer firm was subsequently merged into
Hopton Wood Stone Firms Ltd and the branch was sold to that Company in August 1907, but even
when it had locomotives they seem only to have worked in the quarry, with the L&NWR and
successors working the branch right down to the BR closure of the final eastern section of the C&HPR
from 3 April 1967.

The quarry, and so the branch, were taken over by Tarmac in 1966, so when the Steeple Grange Light
Railway came on the scene some 20 years later it was with them that acquisition of the trackbed was
pursued. The section above the bridge carrying Porter Lane, including Dark Lane Quarry, was in the
fullness of time obtained by straight forward purchase. However, for the section under that bridge
(more a tunnel, in fact), there were problems arising from the road originally being a Turnpike and
with virtually no records traceable. The full story is too complicated to detail here, so suffice to say
that the Railway now has control of the whole of its line but responsibility for the road, which crosses
over it, is vested in the County Council as successor since 1885 of the Turnpike Trust.

MR40] Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR), Gloucestershire (MR p7): The Railway
picked up two major accolades at the Heritage Railway Association (HRA) awards ceremony in
Birmingham on 9 February. Both were for the Broadway extension and new station there. They were
the Association's award for large groups, and the 'Steam Railway' magazine award, chosen by readers
The latter was presented by its editor Nick Brodrick and the HRA annual award by Pete Waterman,
guest speaker and GWSR president. Mr Waterman described the 'incredible achievements' of heritage
railway and preservation groups throughout the UK, with many of the most outstanding represented
at the ceremony. He pointed to Broadway station as an example of what can be achieved by volunteers,
where a brand new station following original Great Western Railway plans has been created so that it
looks as if it has always been there. GWSR chairman Richard Johnson, who accepted the awards, said:

ABOVE: Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway; Class 20 D8137 prepares to head the 10.50 train
from Broadway. (Peter Scott 21 Apr 2018) We will have a future BLN item about those GWR trees...

This is a wonderful testament to the volunteers who have, over the past decade, recreated a country
railway station in a beautiful Cotswold village that saw its last train back in 1960. Not only that, the
opening of Broadway station boosted the railway's passenger numbers during 2018, by 44% to more
than 144,000. I pay tribute to every single volunteer on the GWSR. I feel very proud of all that they have
achieved and to be part of the extraordinary unfolding story of the beautiful 14-mile Cheltenham
Racecourse to Broadway railway. It is a considerable honour to collect these prestigious Awards on
their behalf and I am humbled by this national recognition .... The awards are a glass Steam Railway
trophy and a large brass plaque for the annual award which will go on display at Broadway station.

A member who visited Broadway station on 1 Jan 2019 confirms that the choice of bricks for the new
building has been meticulous and they do not in any of the details appear new. This is additional to
correct use of polychrome bricks and machined shaped bricks faithfully following the original design.

MR41] Garden & Woodland Railway, Oxfordshire (BLN 1259.1251): This private 7¼" gauge railway
was owned by Ted Martin, who sadly passed away in May 2010. The railway continued to be operated
by his wife and a group of friends. However, Mrs Martin died in June 2018 and it is thought the railway
has not run since August 2017. One of Ted Martin's locomotives is to be auctioned by Dreweatts of
Newbury on 12 March 2019. The 10ft long model of 4-6-2 LMSR 6230 'Duchess of Buccleuch' was built
by Harry Powell of Crewe, taking him 10 years. Its sister model sold for the record-breaking price of
£183,000 seven years ago and it is expected 'Duchess of Buccleuch' will top that sum. The locomotive
was completed in the late 1960s or early 1970s.

ABOVE: Garden & Woodland Railway; a well loaded train during an open day,
headed by GWR locos 4701 and 1004. (Peter Scott. 17 Jul 2008.)

MR42] Frimley Lodge Miniature Railway, Surrey (MR p24) (BLN 874.MR89): This railway is owned and
operated by the Frimley & Ascot Locomotive Club and is located in Frimley Lodge Park, in woodland
adjacent to the Basingstoke Canal. The track is 3½"/5"/7¼" gauge and forms a circuit of 1,000yd.

Public running days for 2019 are: Sunday 3 March, Sunday 7 April, Sunday 5 May, Saturday 18 May
(Surrey Heath Show), Monday 27 May, Sunday 2 June, Sunday 7 July, Saturday 20 July (Open Day),
Sunday 4 August, Wednesday 7 August (Teddy Bears Picnic), Monday 26 August, Sunday 1 September,
Sunday 6 October, Saturday 2 November (Halloween), Sunday 3 November, Sunday 8 December (Santa
Specials). Times are generally 11.00 - 17.00, but vary for the special events. has more.

1323 FIXTURES REPORTS (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
633] The Sopwith Camel, Sun 10 Jun 2018: (By David Palmer.) A beautiful summer afternoon saw your
fairly local correspondent arrive at Aylesbury station, looking forward to exploring the delights of
Calvert Refuse Transfer station and the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre (BRC), prior to a trip on what
would be the last passenger train between Claydon L&NE Jn and Gavray Jn before temporary closure

for the line to be transformed as part of the East West
Railway between Bicester, Bletchley and Bedford.
The Sopwith Camel Railtour had been organised in
conjunction with Chiltern Railways and the Quainton
Branch of the Royal British Legion, which had arranged a
special Fun Day at the BRC as part of the 100th anniversary
celebrations for the founding of the Royal British Legion.

(LEFT: Souvenir ticket by master ticketier Jim Sellens.)

Aylesbury station, which remains fairly intact after its 1926 rebuilding, was basked in sunshine as the
tour trundled into P3 comprised of two Class 165 units (165010 & 165034) to disgorge a considerable
number of the general public who had either spent the morning at the Fun Day in the BRC or taking
the penultimate passenger train between Claydon L&NE Jn and Gavray Jn. (There had been a morning
Aylesbury to Bicester public run for passengers from Bicester to Quainton Road.)

165010 was uncoupled from the train before the BLS tour participants joined (or rejoined) 165034 and
headed north out of Aylesbury via the bidirectional Aylesbury North Goods Loop, where we paused to
collect the token which would allow us to proceed beyond Aylesbury Vale Jn. All trains travelling to or
from beyond this junction have to run via the loop to collect/leave the token (ABOVE). Leaving the
town we passed the stylish Aylesbury Vale Parkway station (185,748 passengers in 2017-18, compares
with 1.18M at Aylesbury itself), is now surrounded by the housing for which the station was built. The
low hill which conceals Waddesdon Manor was passed on our left before we paused in Quainton Road
to allow some passengers off to visit the BRC and more to join, as our train next headed to Calvert.

Noting the remains of the Brill Tramway terminus (left) and the Aylesbury & Buckingham Joint line
(Metropolitan and Great central) to Verney Junction (right), we proceeded onto the former Great
Central Railway's London extension. At Grendon Underwood Jn (site) the line from Ashendon Jn once
joined left (latterly a branch to Akeman Street fertiliser depot - last train 31 May 1993). We headed
northwest through Buckinghamshire countryside to Calvert South Ground Frame (157m 63ch).
After a pause for the crew to operate the points we were treated to an all-line tour of the available
facilities, including the headshunt at the south end of the site. The terminal will be resited to the other
side of this line due to HS2, and the through line itself will be part of East West Rail (Aylesbury - Milton
Keynes). Participants noted the remains of the 'Mule' that ran between the rails on the eastern siding,
which once pulled wagons under the unloading gantry, although the equipment had clearly been out
of use for a good number of years. Shunting at this busy terminal is now done by the train locos.

Location Trip 1 Trip 2 Trip 3 Trip 4 Trip 5 Trip 6 Our exploration of the
Aylesbury 10.10↓ 13.03↑ 13.10↓ 15.33↑ 15.40↓ 18.33↑ Waste Transfer terminal
over, we passed the
Quainton Road 10.46↓ 12.40↑ 13.40↓ 15.10↑ 16.10↓ 18.10↑ former Calvert station
island platformwhich CP
Calvert Waste ↓ ↑ 13.57↓ 14.27↑ ↓ ↑ 4 Mar 1963 and left via

Bicester Village 11.33↓ 11.40↑ 16.50↓ 17.19↑

Calvert North Ground Frame (157m 5ch) to take the WWII connection to the Oxford to Cambridge
line at Claydon L&NE Jn, reversing to return to Quainton Road. Here your correspondent took a break
to visit the BRC, while the tour train made another return journey to Aylesbury. The warm summer
sunshine was a great backdrop to investigate the many treats available at the Centre, especially the
beautifully restored Oxford Rewley Road station building. [Grid times are booked per final Special
Traffic Notice, a special BLS 'rover' ticket was available covering any/all of the trains and was required
for the Calvert t(r)ip. This was so good and comprehensive that we, perhaps, should have tipped the
train crew? On the day the public could buy day returns between the stations for the other trains, and
a good number did. Thanks to Chiltern Railways and NR, all income went to the Royal British Legion.]

Now comprised once again of 165034 and 165010, your correspondent rejoined for what was the last
passenger train for now between Claydon L&NE Jn and Gavray Jn, returning first to the former. Slowly
heading west towards Bicester Village on what was a run-down, single-track secondary line with no
traffic, a shadow of its former main line double track status, gave your correspondent time to consider
the anticipated rejuvenation of the route, replicating the recent amazing transformation of the Oxford
to Bicester Village line. The two level crossings in Bicester, particularly the one across the Eastern
Perimeter Rd, may be challenging once East West Railway re-opens! We shall have to wait and see.

A brief pause at Bicester Village (reached by the rare facing crossover) prefaced a visit to what will be
part of the Up line east of Gavray Jn, now just a headshunt, before a return to Bicester Village for a
short break to stretch legs. Re-joining the train we made the final trip to Claydon L&NE Jn, before
returning to Quainton Road to collect final visitors to the BRC on our way back to Aylesbury. With the
sun still shining there ended an enjoyable short tour, providing a pleasant day out for visitors to the
Royal British Legion 100th Anniversary celebrations at the BRC and the railtourers. This was certainly a
day with a difference - but aren't they all‽ It raised £4,535 for the Royal British Legion, £1,591 of which
was taken on the trains (including the raffle). Many thanks to all involved including Kev Adlam, Chiltern
Railways, Network Rail, Calvert Waste Terminal and the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre.

PS: Claydon L&NE Jn (17m 75ch†) - (Bicester) Gavray Jn (18m 46ch† Up Bletchley / 18m 48ch† Down
Bletchley) temporarily closed from 21 Oct 2018 until at least 1 Sep 2022 and most has since been
lifted; our tour indeed made the final (four) passenger movements. (†Miles from Bletchley Flyover Jn.)

BELOW: Our train in Aylesbury P2. (All pictures by our Society photographer Geoff Plumb unless stated.)

ABOVE: Quainton Road looking north from the front cab; the first of six calls. This south to north line
will be part of East West Rail! BELOW: You've been framed! (The Mobile Operations Manager that is.)

ABOVE: The tipping point of the tour. Calvert Waste Terminal Siding No1 looking south to Aylesbury.
All off train photos were taken by authorised and suitably qualified people. BELOW: A discovery was a
former wagon 'Mule' here (disused) at the south end. (Neil Wilson - taken through train windscreen.)

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