Issue Number 1268 (Items 2103 - 2205 & MR 211 - MIRss2u2e5N) u(mE-bBeLrN152468PAGES) 5 Nov 2016
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)
Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Ave., Epsom, Surrey, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from members, an international section is also available.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or the Society.
BLN 1269 is dated 19 November; all conStorciibeutyt.ions must be received by 9 November
Date Event Details BLN Lead Status
Fri 4/11/16 Epping Ongar Railway 08.30 Very comprehensive tour 1257 DG OPEN
Sat 5/11/16 East Kent Railway/AGM 08.30 Very comprehensive tour 1257 DG OPEN
Sat 5/11/16 BLS 2016 AGM, 12.00 to 15.00, Shepherdswell Village Hall 1265 TW OPEN
Sat 5/11/16 18.00-20.30 Ian Mortimer's presentation & interval buffet 1257 DG OPEN
Sun 6/11/16 Kent & East Sussex Rly 08.30 Extensive railtour 1257 DG OPEN
Sat 19/11/16 Fisherman's Friend Explorer 10.30 Blackpool Heritage Trams 1265 KA FULL
Sun 20/11/16 Penrhyn Railway 11.00 Comprehensive railtour 1266 JC OPEN
Sun 11/12/16 The Rylstone Cowboy 11.50 & 14.50 (option 'C' is full) 1265 KA OPEN
Mon 26/12/16 Boxing Day 10.00 private 10¼" railway in Worcestershire 1261 PS OPEN
Sat 7/1/17 Scunthorpe Steel Works (09.30 - dark) Extensive railtour 1265 PS FULL
Sat 14/1/17 Vossloh Voyager tour 08.40-18.42 London Waterloo 1267 JE *OPEN*
Sun 29/1/17 Burnley & Pendle MRS 12.00 Comprehensive railtour 1267 KA *OPEN*
To Be Advised Jordan Hejaz Railway Full details and date pending 1250 IS Notify
19 to 21/5/17 Annual long weekend - Republic of Ireland 'mixed' gauges 1265 KA Notify
DG-Darren Garnon, IS-Iain Scotchman, JC-John Cameron, JE-Jill Everitt, KA-Kev Adlam, PS-Paul Stewart, TW-Tim Wallis.
2103] E-BLN Extras: With e-BLN 1267, all subscribers received e-BLN International as usual, as well as
BLN Pictorial (BLNP) featuring minor lines in the UK. Also included was our 14 Oct West Midlands
Service Train Tracker schedule, if anyone wants to repeat any of it, with a regional map and route
itinerary kindly produced by our local member Dave Cromarty who also compiled BLNP. There was an
interesting Llangollen Railway chronology and pictures produced for Railway Ramblers, with thanks to
our member Chris Parker. The pictures were taken and the trackbed walk was arranged on non-
operating days, with permission of course! As usual, all subscribers also received BLN, and BLNI
printable versions in A4 continuous and A5 booklet formats to assist with home printing.
E-BLN 1268 includes a BLNI Polish Railways supplement with some very interesting pictures. The
itinerary from our recent Wensleydale Railway event with PLEG and a detailed line mileage table are
included as is Ian Delgado's Unusual Track available in association with our imminent AGM. There is
a free 51-page BLS production 'LRT/Tram System Track Diagrams 2016'; this is all original work by
our Publications Officer and de facto Cartographer Martyn Brailsford. It has recent updates to the
diagrams (particularly Manchester Metrolink, Midland Metro and Crich National Tramway Museum).
Some are included that have not been in BLN before, such as the Tyne & Wear Metro, Sheffield
Supertram, Manchester Metrolink and Croydon Tramlink. The plans are enhanced by updated stock
lists, kindly provided by by Gary Lonsdale. Thanks to Martyn and Gary for their hard work and time.
2104] Vossloh Voyager railtour UPDATE: The Waterloo departure for our EMU charter of the two
Class 455s, with the Vossloh Kiepe three-phase AC traction motors (5732 & 5870), is now at 08.40.
Included is the Windsor Reversible Line, Queenstown Road (PU), then Clapham Yard, East Putney,
Surbiton P4 and the flyover line to Hampton Court. Returning via Wimbledon Park Depot and
Clapham Yard (rev) to Clapham Yard Sidings (rev) then Waterloo. Next is Fulwell via Wimbledon to
Strawberry Hill Depot at Shacklegate Jn and Kingston Down Bay P1. Return to Shacklegate Jn (rev),
Wimbledon (P5) and East Putney to Clapham Junction (rev), Barnes to Windsor & Eton. To follow is
Staines EMU Berthing Sidings, Addlestone Junction and a fast run to Waterloo (18.42). RCTS and
Southern Electric Group members are welcome to book at BLS rates - please supply membership
numbers. As usual with Kev Adlam railtours, on the day surprises are distinctly possible! A revised
booking form is attached to this BLN and is also available https://goo.gl/8pNtWA on our website.
X.168] Thompson Park Railway, Sun 29 Jan, 12.00: Colne Road, Burnley, BB11 2AA, (SD844333).
(MR p19) The Society is delighted to have been invited to this lovely 1,000yd long complex railway
operated by the Burnley and Pendle Miniature Railway Society https://goo.gl/qnBHkx for an 'all
available lines' visit. Starting 12.00, tea and coffee will be provided in the clubhouse. Construction
began in 2001; the railway was extended in 2005 and 2013. Track coverage includes the 'not normally
used connection'. A variety of traction is expected at this lovely 7¼" gauge railway in a delightful park
setting. £11 adult BLS members. Bookings to Kev Adlam per back page (no need to email).
1268 HEAD LINES
2105] Gloucester Warwickshire Railway, Laverton Stop Board (7m 03ch): (MR p7) (BLN 1249.MR12)
From 5 Mar 2016 (start of season), the passenger line was temporarily shortened by 34ch to 7m 37ch
(miles from Honeybourne East loop), for lifting of the former Laverton loop points for use at Broadway.
ROP of that section is expected 4 Mar 2017 (start of season) with ROP of the extension to Broadway
and that station on Good Friday, 30 Mar 2018. Only engineering trains may pass the new stop board.
2106] Birmingham, Bordesley Down Yard: (BLN 1667.2077) NRU since the two works trains used for
conveying New Street platform refurbishment materials/waste were withdrawn at the end of Sep.
2107] Thameslink, Canal Tunnels Jn - Belle Isle Jn: (BLN 1263.1596) Commissioned 11 Sep; in the first
week of Oct a Class 700 EMU ran to make a route learning film. The first ECS, 700110, was on 17 Oct;
05.00 from Three Bridges Up Depot to Cambridge (first Class 700 there) then to Cricklewood Depot.
2108] St Pancras International (Eurostar platforms) - Regents Canal Jn - Silo Curve Jn - York Way
North Jn: (BLN 1203.245) OG 27 Oct 2016 commercial traffic (first test train was 1 Feb 2014); Eurostar
trains for scrapping, departed 00.12 via Peterborough, Leicester, Coalville and Tamworth to Kingsbury.
2109] Gwili Railway, Bronwydd Arms (excl) - Abergwili Junction Station (incl): (BLN 1195.1457)
A gauging test train with 'Welsh Guardsman' ran on 22 Oct to check final platform and loop clearances.
2110] Edinburgh Gateway station: OP expected Sun 11 Dec 2016 (new timetable) with the 08.48 to
Edinburgh (07.24 ex-Dundee) & 09.27 to Aberdeen (09.15 ex-Edinburgh); a new two platform station
between South Gyle and Dalmeny on the Edinburgh to Forth Bridge line. It has 61 services each way
SSuX, 60 SO and 35 SuO all provided by ScotRail; there is direct interchange with Edinburgh Trams.
2112] South Tynedale Railway (2ft gauge), Lintley Halt (3¼ miles) - Slaggyford (4½ miles): ROP is
expected Easter (15-17 Apr 2017) (BLN 1265.MR178); standard gauge branch CP/CA by BR 3 May 1976.
2113] Norton Bridge station: A Section 30(3)(b) of the Railways Act 2005 closure proposal (for on, or
after, 15 Oct 2017) was published by the DfT on 10 Oct 2016. The station TCP from Mon 24 May 2004
(last train Sat 22 May as there was no Sunday service) for the WCML upgrade. (See 'West Midlands'.)
2114] London Paddington (incl) - Ealing Broadway (excl): (Supersedes BLN 1261.1389) TCP 25 to 29
Dec 2016 (incl); extended Christmas shut down for major engineering work. Long distance and limited
local services terminate/start at Ealing Broadway (Marylebone/Waterloo diversions are cancelled). On
reopening Paddington P1 to P10 are in use; (P11, 12 & 14 ROP 3 Jan 2017 with P13 remaining OOU).
2111] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) End (incl) Location (exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]
1264.1706 Tue 25 Oct Sun 6 Nov (Barnt Green) - (Droitwich Spa) / Abbotswood Jn
1255.784 Thu 3 Nov Various Nov *(Antrim) - Londonderry and Coleraine - Portrush branch
1264.1703 Mon 2 Sep End Nov Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway, Manuel station - 'High Bridge'
1198.1659 15 Feb 2013 12 Dec (Oxford Parkway) - (Oxford) ROP with new timetable
1268.2114 Sat 24 Dec Thur 29 Dec *London Paddington - (Ealing Broadway) and associated lines
1268.1390 Sat 24 Dec Mon 2 Jan (Liverpool Street) - (Ingatestone) / (Billericay)
1257.979 Sat 7 May Feb 2017 Tottenham: South Jn - East Jn & West Jn - Seven Sisters Jn
1253.554/5 Sat 4 June Feb 2017 (Barking) - South Tottenham - (Gospel Oak from 24 Sep)
1251.334 9 Feb 2016 Mar 2017? (Carlisle) - (Armathwaite); to end March 2017 (provisional)
1266.1930 Fri 24 Mar Sat 1 Apr *(Chester) - (Wrexham General)
1266.1928 Tue 3 Jan Mon 29 May *(+/- Birkenhead North) - Liverpool Loop - (+/- Hamilton Sq.)
1222.1799 20 Dec 2014 Jan 2018 (London Blackfriars) - (London Bridge) Thameslink work
1222.1799 20 Dec 2014 Jan 2018 (London Bridge), Spa Road - Bricklayers Arms Jn
2115] Greenford P2 - West Ealing Jn and three intermediate stations plus Acton Main Line station:
TCP 24 Dec 2016 to Mon 2 Jan 2017 (both incl): Extended Christmas shut down for engineering work.
Note: The Greenford branch is then a shuttle from/to West Ealing bay P5, except the first train of the
day from, and the final departure to, Paddington. On Sat 7 & 14 Jan, all are to/from Ealing Broadway.
2116] Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3 (excl) - Heathrow Airport Jn / Heathrow Terminal 5 (incl): TCP 24 to
29 Dec 2016 (both incl). A free daily (including 25/26 Dec) shuttle runs between T2 & 3 and T4 only.
2117] Old Oak West Jn - Northolt Jn: TCP 24 Dec to 1 Jan 2017 (both incl) Chiltern 'PSUL' trains.
2118] West Ealing and Hanwell stations: TCP 24 Dec to Sun 1 Jan 2017 (both incl).
2119] Burnham and Taplow stations: TCP 24 Dec to Tue 3 Jan 2017 (both incl).
2120] Maidenhead (excl) - Marlow and three intermediate stations: TCP 24 Dec to 3 Jan 2017 (incl).
2121] Cardiff Central station: TCP 25 to 28 Dec 2016 (both incl); extended Christmas closure for
remodelling and resignalling, with all lines from Cardiff Central TCP to: ●Newport, Ebbw Jn - Gaer Jn/
Park Jn, ●Rhymney, also Queen Street to Cardiff Bay, ●Coryton, ●Pontypridd (excl) via Cathays (incl),
●Radyr via Ninian Park, ●Bridgend via South Wales main line, ●Bridgend via Vale of Glamorgan line,
●Cogan Jn - Penarth, ●Barry Jn - Barry Island. 50 stations are TCP (including all in the City of Cardiff).
2122] Happy Christmas Cardiff consequences: 27 Dec to 2 Jan: Ebbw Vale Town trains run to/from
Gloucester (bay P3) or Newport via Park Jn to Gaer Jn (from 29 Dec a few revert to Cardiff Central).
On 1 Jan, a Sunday service runs to Newport; a date that other valley services (except the Vale of
Glamorgan) do not operate per franchise specification. Bridgend bay P3: Maesteg shuttle 27 & 28
Dec and (except first train, which is unusually from Cardiff via Barry) Mon 2 Jan. On 27 & 28 Dec
Pontypridd: P2 facing X/O to Abercynon line; all trains to Merthyr & Aberdare (Treherbert services
are shown arriving P2 and departing P3 without ECS shunts!). 29 to 31 Dec: A two-track railway
operates Cardiff Central (P3 &4) to Newport. 2 Jan: Cardiff Bay through trains to/from Rhymney
and Treherbert branches. At Cardiff Central, only the Ninian Park, Vale of Glamorgan lines and P6,
P7 & *P8* are open. Cardiff Central P6 west departures: To Radyr (first stop), Merthyr/Aberdare all
day. Cardiff Central P7 west arrivals: All day ex-West Wales via Vale of Glamorgan. Cardiff Central
P8 west arrivals: 3tph local Barry Island shuttle. From 2 Jan: Cardiff Central P8 west end, first train
05.05 to Barry Island then Barry Island shuttle (3tph), it is mainly used by trains to Penarth (SuX, P8
has no booked use). Cardiff Central P8 east end: First arrival is 3 Jan, 05.47 ex-Treherbert, then
mainly trains from the Rhymney branch to Penarth (SuX, P8 no booked use). Cardiff Central P0 west
arrival: From 3 January until 9 Dec 2017 the 13.29 (SSuX) ex-Fishguard and 16.47 (SO) ex-Llanelli are
booked to arrive from the west in service (not possible with the previous signalling); Sundays vary.
2123] Cambridge North: (BLN 1262.1531) This new £50M three platform station
is on track to OP Sun 21 May 2017.
2124] Hythe Pier Railway: (MR p18) It has been reported that the 2ft gauge
700yd long line and Hythe Ferry http://hytheferry.co.uk/ to Southampton is
'unlikely to continue operating' long term due to falling passenger numbers
(attributed to poor contingency planning if the ferry fails) and the cost of pier
repairs. Hampshire County Council makes a £50k annual subsidy but says it is low
priority. One reason for not progressing the Fawley branch reopening was the
potential negative effect on the ferry. An interesting collection of Aug 2013
pictures https://goo.gl/XKVvZS (click right arrow to see rest). LEFT: Hythe Pier
Railway and ferry on a 1956/60 one-inch 7th Series OS map.
2125] FIXTURES REPORTS, Wensleydale Wilton Shunter Spectacular, Sun 25
Sep: (BLN 1264.1681) By Ian Loveday (aka 'Selby') PLEG Group Leader and BLS
Member. Some things are never easy but with the right people involved you
know you'll get there in the end and this day out, in delightful Wensleydale, was
an excellent example of just that. We first started to discuss this event in 2015. In
its original form, the plan was to visit Wilton International on Teesside for a track
bash of their system with haulage behind their 08s. Terry Waldron at Wilton
International was extremely helpful and supportive but, given the nature of the
industrial site, it became clear in February this year that safety and legal
concerns were likely to prove prohibitive and on 8 Mar our plans to visit Teesside
were finally dropped. However, not to be put off, the next day Jerry Dickinson (of
Wensleydale Railway (WR) diesel gala organising fame) was contacted to see if
he would be willing to host the bash and an affirmative reply was received the
very same evening. So it was back to Terry to ask if he would let the 08s move to
Wensleydale; he was, so plan 'B' was on track!
BELOW: Leeming Bar on the morning of Sunday 25 Sep (Alan Sheppard).
During the Spring and Summer, when most people didn't even know about the event, many hours
were spent seeking, and ultimately gaining, sign-off from the Boards of Wilton International and the
WR. That hard work was completed not by me, but by those who mattered: Kev, Jerry and Terry.
Once the WR Summer diesel gala had been successfully completed in mid-July, attention could be
turned to the detailed plans. Due to the high cost of moving locos by road, we needed a formula which
would attract track bashers and enough haulage bashers too. We decided on a diesel gala which would
take in the Redmire MoD ramps. Plans finalised, a 'save the day' e-mail for the chosen date of Sun 25
Sep was issued on Fri 29 July (from my hotel room in Melbourne, Australia).
Bookings opened on 18 Aug under the stewardship of Jill Everitt. Reid Freight Services Limited issued
the Class 08 movement orders on 25 Aug, with the locos transferring from Teesside to Wensleydale on
8 Sep. Once on site the locos were inspected, prepared and test run by Harry Needle Railroad Co staff.
By 15 Sep bookings had passed break even and on 19th tickets were issued. We were all set.
Event day, Sun 25 Sep, started overcast. On arrival at Leeming Bar it was pleasing to see the mobile
breakfast van doing good business and the BLS well-oiled stewarding machine, assisted by PLEG, in full
swing. A quick status update revealed that 01529 seemed to be having one or two early morning
issues, like me (!), and 37674 had been failed (unlike me!). 47715 had been allocated to cover 37674's
late afternoon turn; this wasn't a significant issue for us as 37674 had not been advertised to perform.
With regard to the stars of the show (08743+08903); 08903 was having compressor problems so Jerry
decided that it would be prudent to run them in tandem on the uphill run to Redmire. Running locos in
tandem is a contentious issue as there have been numerous occasions in the past when the rear loco
hasn't provided power and thus can't be counted for haulage (the latest occasion being 09002 when
paired with 09009 at Whitemoor Yard on the otherwise excellent GBRf15 tour). Therefore, much
reassuring of the passengers was required; we were aware of the problems tandem running can create
and that the crews would ensure that both locos would definitely power on the run up to Redmire.
Loco/s BLS/PLEG Wensleydale Wilton Shunter Spectacular, Route by Alan Sheppard:
01544 (b) Leeming Bar - Leeming Bar west (running line) See also: https://goo.gl/Hv7iaI
01544 (b) Leeming Bar west (running line) - Leeming Bar - Leeming Bar LC
08743 & 08903
08903 Leeming Bar LC - Leeming Bar run - round loop - Leeming Bar west (running line)
08743 (d) Leeming Bar west (running line) - Leeming Bar
08743 (d) Leeming Bar - Bedale - Leyburn - Redmire east
08743 (d) Redmire east - Redmire
08903 (c) Redmire - Redmire MoD, No2 siding (further from running line)
08743 (d) Redmire MoD, No2 siding - MoD Points
47715 (d) MoD Points - Redmire MoD, No1 siding (nearer to running line)
26007 (e) Redmire MoD, No1 siding - Redmire
Redmire - Redmire headshunt (end of line)
Redmire headshunt (end of line) - Redmire - Redmire east
Redmire east - Redmire run-round loop - Redmire headshunt
Redmire headshunt - Redmire run-round loop - Leyburn - Bedale - Leeming Bar west
Leeming Bar west - Leeming Bar
Leeming Bar - Bedale - Leyburn
Leyburn - Bedale - Leeming Bar See also: https://goo.gl/j8gDxR
Rear loco (a): 01544 (b): 01529 (c): 08743 (d): 08903 (e): 47715 (f): 26007
BELOW TOP: Fame at last for us; at Leeming Bar before departure (Alan Sheppard).
BELOW BOTTOM: Bedale (station left); heading west over the level crossing for Redmire (Allan Brooks).
The issues with 01529 were quickly resolved by the crew and the charter departed 12 minutes late at
10.42 with 01529 and 01544 in 'Top and Tail' mode to cover the Leeming Bar run-round loop.
The choice of these two particular 01s was deliberate as they had no known passenger workings. The
loop was duly covered and 10 minutes later we were back in Leeming Bar platform to re-engine from
the 01s to 08743+08903. During this 20 minute break, a number of the passengers who had parked on
the road leading to Leeming Bar station were instructed by the police to move their cars!
Departing 14 minutes late with a superbly satisfying 213 passengers on-board we headed towards
Redmire. Everyone was in good spirits and the buffet and bar were nice and busy as we made our way
through Wensleydale. It is remarkable that these two
locomotives, for many years in store and not even
visible for spotters, were now powering this charter on
their first loaded run. However, by Leyburn, 08903's
middle axle bearing was getting a bit hot under the
collar and it was time to take a break. Thus everyone
was allowed to detrain for an impromptu 15 minute
stop while things cooled down a little. By arrival at
Redmire, some two hours after leaving Leeming Bar,
the sun was out and it was a beautiful Autumn day.
And now the fun really started…
The issue was that the charter was booked to visit every inch of track at Redmire but a rake of
passenger coaches and freight wagons were stored there. Therefore shunting was required using the
08s to clear these out of the way, to allow access for the charter. While this was taking place, there
were so many people standing on the grassy mounds photographing the charter, the general public
must have thought a steam special from Garsdale was about to pass through! 1 hour and 40 minutes
after arriving, all the track had been covered: Redmire end of line (22m 12ch) beyond Hargill Lane
underbridge, both MoD loading ramps and the run-round loop. The stored stock was shunted back and
we were ready to return to Leeming Bar, with 08743 leading and 08903 at the rear.
BELOW: Approaching Redmire (Allan Brooks).
ABOVE: Afternoon sun at Redmire station with rolling stock being cleared from required track; the
charter train is in the background. The MoD sidings are beyond (west of) the platform to the right,
some of the participants are on the MoD loading ramps - no onlooker is on any track. (Allan Brooks).
By now we were 1 hour 15 minutes late, of concern to some of those relying on public transport and,
in particular the 15.40 bus from Leeming Bar back to Northallerton. Happily, it calls at Leyburn at
15.20, so we advised passengers for it to bail there when we arrived at 15.13. About 20 did leg it, to
the amusement of the locals. Once we were sure they had made the bus we continued to Leeming Bar.
The great atmosphere on-board continued for the return trip and Constable Burton loop was covered
along the way in the non-preferred direction. On arrival at Leeming Bar West, one of the quickest loco
changes I have known in the UK took place where 08743 was removed in favour of 47715, but arrival
back in the platform was still some 1 hour 45 minutes late! At this point around half the passengers
took their leave having covered the rare track and ridden behind the rare locos.
08903 was replaced by 26007 which set the scene nicely for a 'thrashtastic' run. Departing still 1 hour
45 minutes late, the decision was taken to reverse at Finghall rather than Leyburn to save time. The
Class 26 run was superb, although sadly curtailed; Leeming Bar was reached at 17.58, then 1 hour 13
minutes late, saving a good 30 minutes. This brought to a conclusion another excellent BLS/PLEG event
which covered the entire advertised track, produced all the advertised locos and raised £1,250 for
each of Wilton International's two nominated charities; Zoe's Place and The Junction Foundation.
The 08s returned to Teesside back into store on 29 Sep, with our grateful thanks. This event was
successful only because of: The passengers who bought a ticket, Terry Waldron (Wilton International),
Jerry Dickinson and all the staff and volunteers at the WR, Harry Needle Railroad Company, Reid
Freight Services Limited, Kev Adlam and Jill Everitt of the BLS and all the BLS and PLEG stewards.
2126] Postscript, Wilton Visit, 21 Oct: By Colin Rising. Two participants were lucky enough to win the
raffle prize of a guided tour of the 'Sembcorp' site. Thanks to our superb host Terry Waldron, who
quickly made arrangements and, after the required safety video and registration, met us. We spent 90
minutes touring the complex in his car, learning of the vast array of industrial and chemical processes
carried out and the number of globally based companies operating. Terry was not exaggerating when
he described the site as being like a small town! We visited the biomass power station control room to
see a simulated emergency exercise in progress and also the fire and security station.
Of railway interest was the most recently completed power station on site, fired by waste brought in
by rail from Merseyside. It is conveniently located adjacent to the main sidings on site, although there
was no rail activity at the time of our visit. A surprising amount of track remains beyond the main
sidings to the east and south, but disused and blocked by vegetation. At the conclusion of our visit,
Terry drove us the short distance to Zoe's Place Hospice, one of the two charities to benefit from the
railtour. It provides respite care for children up to the age of five who have serious and likely life
limiting conditions. We toured the Hospice and met some of the children there. To say that this is a
worthy cause would be an understatement and it was a real privilege to see the Hospice close up.
2127] Eastleigh Lake Railway, Fri 30 Sep: (MR p18) (Report from Gillingham and How Wood.) Arriving
early, it was encouraging to find the booked locos, D1994 'Eastleigh' and 'Eurostar' 3221, gleaming in
the mild autumn sunshine on two rakes of stock. A long train, as requested (= clearer shed roads!), was
ready for the main line and a short train in the bay platform for the sidings (= better access). As the
mixed 7¼/10¼" gauge railway was closed to the public for the day, the first task was to find the way in!
BELOW: Eastleigh Parkway station (all pictures Jill and Howard Everitt).
No need to worry though as a disembodied voice, filling the entire spectrum of human hearing and
then some, bellowed across the airwaves: 'go round there' (a potential locum if the foghorn in the
Bristol Channel ever fails, then). So following the sound, we went round there and it was problem
solved with a: 'Oh Hi Glen, we didn't see you there'. We were invited to explore the site, visit the sheds
and photograph the very impressive array of steam power stabled inside Eastleigh Parkway station
(and how many minor railways have a 'parkway' station?) shed. During the next 45 minutes, our party
expanded and was boosted to 23 by Carol, who came as a pay on the day guest: because the weather
is good today and it would be nice to see what you all do. Really, Carol - are you quite sure about that?
Assembled and ticketed, the party divided into two similar sized groups at the request of railway staff.
Group one departed from the Parkway main line platform behind the diesel to cover (guess what?)….
the main line. Group two populated the short train for the sidings area and awaited the 'Right Away'.
Once the main line train had cleared the semaphore signal gantry and entered the colour light
signalled section, the Eurostar departed, but not before a request to set back one and a half coach
lengths to touch the buffer stops. As a test of how well a visit might go, a cheerily accepted request
from a co-operative driver is always a good indicator of the day to come. Our driver passed with flying
colours. The sidings train then headed south via the first two crossovers, reversed through the third
then back up the Parkway station platform avoiding line and into the station headshunt to the buffers.
BELOW: Eastleigh Parkway is left, the running line goes through the shed behind and the traverser is
right in front of the loco shed and workshop. The 'Platform Sidings' are left of the traverser where the
shutter type door is partly raised, left of that is the though line with a further dead end siding.
A double reversal positioned us to cover the three shed
approach lines: to the shed doors in two cases. The traditional
debate ensued regarding the supplied track map versus the
actual layout; John Cameron won this by one turntable
overrun and a traverser connection to nil.
On the main line Monks Brook loop and station were passed
nonstop, with the train heading toward the impressive tunnel
and main line back up to Parkway. Onboard speculation commenced regarding the feasibility of doing
the 'much requested' scissors crossovers or would they be cut out? As if by telepathy (it was cutting
edge train planning), driver Simon brought the train gently to a halt beyond Monks Brook 1 crossing.
The guard, spanner and lock key in hand, released the points with minimum fuss enabling the train to
propel back across the first half of the scissors, around the loop then back over the other half to
reposition, right line, for an express run back to Parkway (clever stuff!).
The sidings train, having completed some more of these to the maximum of safe working and a couple
of turntable transits, was waiting passengers off the main liner. The track moves were then all
repeated, leaving all with the same 'haul' of through lines, headshunts, sidings and cross-overs. At the
conclusion of the parallel universe experience, everybody detrained at either the Parkway or the
sidings and walked across to board the 'mystery train' stabled in the far siding. Hauled by shiny red
'D92 Florence', it cleared the siding, giving overlap between the two trains, to just past the South level
crossing, returning for disembarkation. This avoided moving this stabled set more than once.
We would like to thank Clive for hosting our visit (he even came out especially at the end to check we
had done all we wanted to!), also Simon and the train crew for a very enjoyable trip. In conclusion,
Eastleigh Lakeside Railway delivered all sensibly available track and a bonus locomotive.
2128] Royal Victoria Railway, Netley, Fri 30 Sep: (Report from How Wood & Gillingham.) (MR p18)
There is always a moment of excitement when the first railway artifact is spotted at a new location, in
this case Chapel Road platform signal box. Parking near said box, evidence of the former standard
gauge branch (map e-BLN 1240.1686) is still visible as is the famous chapel/tower (a visitor centre)
from the otherwise demolished military hospital that the branch served. The 10¼" gauge railway's HQ
is on a plateau at the top of a rising gradient and, as we approached through the trees, a line of
familiar faces were peering expectantly over an impeccably maintained green ironwork fence. The
Eagle had clearly landed at Tranquility Base.
Lined up at the impressive new station/stabling building at Kirk Terminus, gleaming in the afternoon
sun, were the two booked Class 52 diesels in Green and (Golden Ochre/Desert Sand/Yellow) - delete as
preferred (NEXT PAGE BELOW). Parked at the opposite end of the yard, as if preparing for a medieval
joust, were steam locos 'Trevithick' and 'Isambard Kingdom Brunel'.
We were ahead of the agreed arrival time, so it was on with the orange vests and search for the way
in. As if by divine intervention, a breathless young lad on a bicycle arrived straight from school to open
the gate for us and in we followed to check-in with our hosts Peter and Helen. Little did we realise at
the time but the young lad was also the volunteer guard and a keen train and track buff (any money
you like that he will, one day, be travelling with the BLS if his extensive volunteering roster permits!).
Introductions over, the site was opened and Peter welcomed visitors, two at a time, to the engine shed
to see the maroon [marooned?] Class 52 (awaiting a new engine) and a steam loco boiler under repair.
Helen took control, welcoming participants to the new terminus building, handing out fact sheets
about the locos and giving a briefing on the two-train operation. Boarding 'Western Independence' on
the southern road we set off, passing a row of stored steam locomotives, before veering right down
the incline to join the main public loop just to the east of Piccadilly station. A stub of track was spotted
to the right of the train disappearing off into dense foliage; part of a planned extension loop.
[BLN 1268.2128 - cont.] Passing the northern siding lines converging from the left and descending
further, the Chapel Road avoiding line was taken, bypassing the very rusty platform line (much
muttering here), before climbing again to complete the circuit into Piccadilly station platform. Clearing
the incline junction, we propelled up the incline to halt outside the terminus building with a clear line
of sight to photo the stored steam locos. Vehicles were then boarded in the terminus middle road to
explore the northern extremities. Green 'Western Explorer' took the train through the tunnel shed
along the northern extension up to the OOU points onto the main loop. Reversal was made back to the
terminus northern road where stabled red steam loco 'Peter the Private' had been manually heaved
onto the turntable to make room for us.
Next a walk through the tunnel road to see the non-passenger track and the other side of the sheds.
The tunnel loop lines, unavailable for riding, were occupied on one side by bric-a-brac donated to the
railway, faintly reminiscent of 'The Generation Game'. (For our younger generation, a 1970s TV
programme in which contestants tried to memorise passing items on a conveyor belt and then repeat
them back to win them - cuddly toy anyone?) Immovable wagons were on other side - they were too!
Returning to the train, departure was imminent when through the green fence appeared the GS
(making 24 participants), not on the Eastleigh visit and arriving at the indicative start time. With rapid
boarding completed, it was back through the tunnel heading for the southern track of the north sidings
(the loco testing line; not yet connected to the main loop). Proceeding to the end of track, the plan is
to install a diamond crossing here for the top end of the extension loop. A further reversal took us into
the loco shed and workshop to the retaining wall. Returning to the terminus to alight, Helen arranged
another run down the top siding for the GS who needed this in daylight and dry weather (don't ask!). A
kind offer maybe not so appreciated by the volunteers who had just locked in the protecting fencing
then had to undo it (but the GS was certainly grateful)!
[BLN 1268.2128 - cont.] ABOVE: Royal Victoria Railway, Netley. The tunnel/shed
is left which has a centre through line and a loop each side. Right is the loco shed
and workshop; far right is the line litterally 'down' to the main running loop.
Having ridden over all the agreed track, the Chapel Road platform road and a
couple of terminus yard connections were still required (for sound operational
reasons). With the Westerns switched off, and fully expecting this to be the end
of our riding visit, it was a pleasant surprise when Helen came over and asked if
we would like to take the scooter out to do the odd bits of track. Next instant,
Peter appeared carrying a hand propelled, single seat vehicle (gricycle?).
(LEFT: Your suggestions for suitable captions to the Editor please.)
Confirming that we had freedom to roam, the only request was if you take the
scooter down the bank be very careful and bring it back up.Playtime ensued with
an Italian style queue forming to board the scooter in the terminus yard. Then,
and no doubt wondering what on earth was happening, Carol, still with us from
Eastleigh, gracefully exited with: 'I think I know what you do now, but not really
why?' Anybody able to answer is probably a potential Nobel Prize winner, so it
was a quick 'Hope you enjoyed the day and thanks for coming'.
Returning from a much needed PNB and fully expecting to discover less of a
melee for the scooter and smiles all round, it suddenly became one of those
'Oh no, where is everybody?' panic moments. Short answer: the Rt Hon BLS
Member for Rhyl, having scootered the yard area, was over the hill and just
arriving at Chapel Road as we stumbled through the undergrowth to catch up.
This time a pair of disorderly huddles formed at each end of the loop as the
scooter was hand-operated, with banking assistance in some cases, through the
elusive and rusty platform road to the point blades each end.
Platform road 'scootered', the next question was: Has
everybody done their 'missing link' in the top yard?
'No!' came a scowling chorus, so it was back up the hill
for the remaining stalwarts to complete any missing
connections and the headshunt. As a milestone day for
the GS, (earlier in the day he had been awarded the
Freedom from the City of Bristol) who had missed our
previous public loop run, he fully deserved the honour
of piloting the scooter across the short link back into
the shed. Here we expressed our thanks and bid our goodbyes to our very accommodating hosts.
Postscript: The Royal Victoria Railway operating and funding conditions mean that the volunteers are
stretched to the absolute limit. To accommodate our private visit, the railway was uniquely open to us
on a Friday (the one day a week the volunteers have off) and staffed well beyond normal operating
day levels, requiring people to take time off work etc. For that, we thank Helen, Peter and all the team
for their enthusiasm, friendliness, knowledge and patience in making our visit a success. If you get the
chance go and visit them, ride the public trains or try a steam footplate experience, you will not be
disappointed. Their only request is 'If you want to come again, please avoid Fridays!' (Sorry, FS…) There
is a railway/nature themed walk in the area; search for 'Hamble Rail Trail' on the internet.
Post-postscript: Some members walking to Netley station after were delighted to see standard gauge
rails still in situ where the road crosses over the former hospital branch by the overbridge beforehand!
2129] West Midlands Service Train Tracker, Fri 14 Oct: By Tom Gilby. In the latest (4th) of the Society's
days out by service trains, four hardy souls joined the 09.18 from Hednesford to do the
facing crossover on their return at 00.12 the next day! When the station first ROP Apr 1989,
Hednesford was the temporary terminus* with hourly arrivals over the crossover, until the extension
to Rugeley Town OP in Jun 1997. In 2016, leaving Walsall P2 the train took the first crossover
(6m 21ch) as usual, to the Down Walsall Fast, and ran via Duddeston, the crossovers at Proof House
Jn and the Down Stour into Birmingham New Street P5, (to form the 10.12 back to Rugeley TV via the
Soho loop.) [*Your Editor flummoxed a Kidderminster booking clerk on day one by asking for two day
returns to Hednesford; after a couple of clearly puzzled minutes on the ticket machine keyboard he
was asked 'how are you spelling that please' - the tickets did then appear!]
More participants had assembled on New Street P12 to join the 10.22 to Redditch, gaining a further
member at University (who had also been the first ever passenger to join the first train there when it
OP 8 May 1978), making a total of 14 which nicely fills the front section of an EMU/DMU. For some the
long 'dynamic loop' through the new Alvechurch station was a first. After changing ends at Redditch, a
rather slow return was made to New Street, where nothing was running to Galton Bridge due to a
trespasser at Wolverhampton. Most left by the 'B' exit onto Corporation Street to take a Tram to Bull
Street stop for Snow Hill station (there is no point in going to Snow Hill tram stop, which does not have
convenient access to that station!) and the 12.17 to Dorridge as far as Moor Street. Back on plan, the
group travelled from bay P4 in the comfortable stock of the 12.55 to Marylebone with 68008 'Avenger'
as far as Solihull for the following 13.34, a 2-car Chiltern
DMU from Moor Street booked via the Up Dorridge
Passenger Loop. The CrossCountry train due to overtake it
here was significantly late but the kind signal box fairy was
looking out for us and the loop was traversed. Alighting at
Dorridge, the refurbished ex-GWR waiting room on the
Up platform was admired then it was the 14.21 to
Stratford-upon-Avon via the Hatton North curve. This
now has significantly more trains than the south curve!
A very tight 'connection' was made at Stratford-upon-Avon Parkway (a first for most) by rushing over
the bridge for the 14.41 (which was arriving on the other platform as we did), rather to the surprise of
the conductor on this Chiltern service to Leamington Spa (bay P4). With its return at 15.32, the Up &
Down Claverdon loop, Hatton London End crossovers and the unpredictable Stratford-upon-Avon P3
were covered. Thanks again to the good signal box fairy. The DMU waits there from 16.12 until its next
working at 17.36 to Marylebone. Then the 16.26 for Stourbridge Junction via the North Warwick (note
not Warwickshire!) line, which came within a hair's breadth of closure in 1969 and was only saved by
some local authorities obtaining a last minute High Court injunction over the replacement bus services.
In fact, our train was so busy the conductor announced that it would call at all the 'request stops'
anyway - and there were passengers for each. Alighting at Whitlocks End the large car park was
pleasingly full. The group crossed to the Down platform to join, along with quite a few 'normals', the
17.19 departure over the crossover, then to Tyseley. Here we joined the busy 17.47 London Midland
service to Leamington Spa, surprisingly via the Up Dorridge loop again to allow the 14.35 Newcastle to
Reading to pass. Members alighted at Warwick for the 16.24 from Marylebone, a real slow coach,
overtaken at Bicester and, hats off to the train planners then back on again at 'Hatton' in P3, where,
(after 68011 had passed through P2 non-stop on the 17.15 Marylebone to Kidderminster) it took the
choice link to the main line. For most the highlight of the day. We continued to Snow Hill P2 and
returned at 19.17, so stayed on back over the facing (platform not tunnel) crossover to Moor Street.
The 19.44 back to Snow Hill P3 gave the facing tunnel crossover on the 50ch journey; then there was
the option of a fill in to Moor Street (yet again) before making to Stourbridge Junction for the facing
crossover there into P2. Next a trip on that old favourite of BLS members, the 62ch Stourbridge Town
branch with its distinct Parry People Mover, amazingly now carrying over 600,000 passengers per year.
The return to Snow Hill was via the crossover out of Stourbridge Junction P3 on the 20.57. After a
break (of which there were conveniently several throughout the day with plenty of food and drink
outlets available), we were off for 'moor' on the 22.12 Snow Hill P1 to Moor Street P1 via the tunnel
trailing crossover to complete the set. A few went to New Street for the Hednesford train and
crossover as a finale to a very sociable, interesting and enjoyable day. A detailed schedule, Dave
Cromarty's West Midland area map and route notes were included as a download with e-BLN 1267.
2130] Crich Tramway Village Tracker II, Sun 23 Oct: (First visit report: BLN
1255.1257) On a mildly sunny but cool breezy day, 29 members met in the car
park just before 10.30 for what turned out to be an extremely comprehensive
and most rewarding tour of this rather delightful rural tramway. Your reporter
had no real idea what to expect as it was a first visit, other than knowing trams
and rare track were involved! [Just one piece of new track then, as a first visit -
Ed?] Jim Sellens' special tour souvenir tickets were handed out and we were
introduced to Gordon, our distinguished tour conductor. Then it was a short
journey on foot descending to Town End terminus where our tour tram Leeds
'399' was waiting on the rare west siding line not used by service trams.
More introductions were made to our drivers and the various members of
engineering staff who would be taking care of not just track points, but
overhead wire points too. Amusingly the President of the tramway society had
been 'promoted' to the role of pointsman for our tour! Incredibly, the first
tram (horse-powered), ran at Crich as long ago as 2 Jun 1963.
Departing at 10.49, after waiting for some last minute stragglers to board, a
journey was made to the far terminus at Glory Mine (where passengers have
only been able to alight since 2014), pausing at Wakebridge to pass a well
loaded service tram. Then we ran to the end of line, before reversing into the
loop where service trams pick up.
ABOVE: Our tram in Glory Mine siding; some are laughing as the photographer was precariously balanced
on a very steep wet grassy slope. Three of our youngest members were present. Funny how there is always
one who doesn't look at the camera; on this occasion the organiser, John Cameron (Simon Mortimer).
The tramway tracks continue for 35m or so beyond the reversal point, but are blocked by spoil on the
track and de-electrified so could not be covered. [Does anyone know when/if it was ever used and
when it was taken OOU; there is a pole for overhead at the end with a short piece of hanging wire?]
Our conductor issued the rare special orange 'pass' tickets (ABOVE, PREVIOUS PAGE) for unlimited
rides on the service trams for the rest of the day at no extra charge (that was positive then!).
We now had to wait for the next service tram to arrive as our next manœuvre to Glory Mine siding
required the yellow single line token (on the incoming tram). Once obtained, we moved forward onto
the single line, changed the points and then back into the siding. Travelling over points without a frog
causes a jolt as each wheel rides (or hops) over it; a new experience for most on board. Service trams
do not do this. It is a very rare move and at one 'point' we nearly dewired as the overhead pointwork
here is seldom used. The ever vigilant Crich crew did watch the tram wheels and overhead pole very
closely at all times during the tour, using whistles to control movements promptly and effectively.
BELOW: Glory Mine looking north, a leap frog is needed over the rail where the rails cross to the siding.
BELOW LOWER: In close up, the (grooved) passenger line runs left to right (Simon Mortimer).
Once in the siding, the token was returned and the service tram departed. The customary group
picture was taken before returning to Town End. This was uneventful except for a set of sprung points
at Wakebridge requiring leaf fall residue washing out before they would spring back correctly. (Spring
points don't like autumn.) At Town End, we ran past the normal public set down point at Stephenson
Place (an ECS move only done by mobility impaired passengers on the adapted accessible tram!) to the
passenger pick up point and the end of east siding. Another reversal and we took the facing crossover
back up the line to just past the depot entrance; the points were changed and it was in to the depot.
BELOW: Running into the 'disused' depot headshunt (with special permission) looking north towards
Glory Mine; the depot connection is right and further right a rare trailing crossover (Simon Mortimer).
ABOVE: The lower deck of the tour tram inside the Road 2 shed, about halfway along, with
Gordon our ever-helpful conductor and knowledgeable guide (Jenny Williamson).
The tour ran to the doors of No1 road, quickly reversing to enter No2 and half way along the shed pit
road, being stopped by a stabled Blackpool boat tram; so a boat length from the end of the line! After
road 3, we reversed much further than needed to access road 4, a special on-the-day bonus that the
crew had arranged for us - the depot headshunt. This is normally considered OOU, however having the
tramway's Health and Safety inspector on board clearly helped. Word was that one of the tram crew
got down on bended knee and begged for this track to be included! After roads 4, 5 and 6 there was a
short break (for spotting, photos etc) in the centre siding between roads 6 and 7, normally occupied
but cleared specially. During this a couple of stabled items were moved from 'needed' track to track
we had covered (great planning). By now our tour was gaining an interested audience of bemused
members of the public, watching a tram going back and forth into each of the depot roads in order!
ABOVE: The BLS special tram '399' (c.1926) on the 'middle siding' which never sees trams, during the
break! This line between roads 6 and 7 is normally the residence of ex-Croydon Tramlink works vehicle
058 (right, moved specially for us) which arrived at Crich in 2010. It is a Diesel mechanical two-axle unit
with a hydraulic crane; ex-DB Class Klv 53 manufactured in 1978 by Sollinger Hütte (Simon Mortimer).
Reboarding, sequential coverage continued of roads 7 to 11 inclusive. Road 7 was empty so the far
shed wall was reached (further than the stabled trams on the other roads!) and greatly appreciated by
all. A third of road 8 was covered and similarly on road 11 accessed by crossing the traverser.
Then the pièce de résistance; things started to get
really interesting as reversing back from road 11,
we stopped on the traverser. The lights went out as
the trolley pole was lowered and the crew told us to
remain seated. We then started to move sideways!
The full length of the traverser (166ft) was covered
before returning back towards road 11. A video
https://goo.gl/DUiGTM by Jenny Williamson.
ABOVE: The 26ft gauge 166ft-long traverser with its
four rails; road 15 is the far end (Simon Mortimer)
A Hull member of repute from the venerable 'front
of train' gang may have been slightly disappointed
to discover that he was sitting 'on the wrong side' of
the tram to ensure maximum traverser coverage at
the far end! Four normal looking flat bottomed rails
were evenly spaced across the width of this 'very
broad gauge' (about 26ft on Google Earth)
traverser. LEFT: As Simon Mortimer said about his
picture: 'A classic branch line scene'; taken from the
top deck in Glory Mine siding.
ABOVE: The traverser looking the other way
from the far end; our driver is the man in
orange in the distance, right. (Did he know
something that we didn't?) (Simon Mortimer)
RIGHT: As the entrance to the Children's Play
Area in the Great Exhibition Hall is reached a
Crich Tramway volunteer holds the curious
crowds safely back (Jenny Williamson).
This gave remarkable, near 100% coverage of
the electrified depot yard lines and available
shed lines (a few are not wired, and there
were only very short 'stubs' clear on roads 12-
15), so we left the depot. The crew were not
done with us however, and there followed a
quick run back down to Town End to cover the
final set of trailing points (not used in
passenger service) by the depot exit road.
We were told that we were making a short run from Town End up to Wakebridge and back - referred
to by the crew as the 'Wakebridge Flyer'! This is not common, and on arrival required the trolley pole
to be moved across to the overhead on the other side of the loop so that, on reversal, it was on the
correct wire to return. This took a little while due to the need to turn the pole wheel 90 degrees to
contact the wire, but did give the unusual sight of a tram departing with its pole at a right angle to it,
picking up current from the wire above the adjacent track in the loop, until the points were reached!
The depot crossover was taken in the 'wrong' direction back to finish on depot road 2. Once the power
was turned off, the party alighted for an unexpected workshop tour. (Each depot wire is individually
switched separately from the yard overhead; red lights show which wires are live and which are not.)
BELOW: Our excellent tram tour ended in depot road 2 for a workshop tour (Simon Mortimer).
The crew explained the various projects that were going on and how parts were refurbished. We were
most impressed by the painstaking dedication and enthusiasm of the volunteers. Considerable work
(and expense) is required to restore a tram with its many intricate parts. It is like a complicated three
dimensional jigsaw puzzle to reassemble. The visit ended at 13.30; our crew was duly thanked in the
traditional BLS manner. The Museum enjoyed the visit so much that they issued a special press
release! There was a report and pictures https://goo.gl/0v0pjP in 'British Trams on Line' - a comment
to which was: What a strange activity!! Sounds like fun! Many participants had lunch here (the
facilities are very good) and 20 reconvened at the Goodluck Lead Mine, while a few stayed on to travel
on the three service trams that were out running and have a look round the museum etc.
1268 BLN GENERAL
2131] Thur 29 Dec 2016: As a service to members, anyone travelling by train to the UKRT 'Old Father
Thames' railtour is advised to check engineering work very carefully, especially possible overruns.
Paddington station is closed (services terminate/start at West Ealing) as is the Great Eastern Main Line.
2132] DB Cargo UK: (Ex-DBS) In response to freight traffic losses, including 78% fewer coal trains and a
33% reduction in the number of steel trains, in mid-October it was reported that DB Cargo is to make
all of its 1,116 drivers and 530 ground staff redundant and create 725 new drivers and 285 ground
staff positions instead. The new drivers will not be based at a particular depot but allocated to one of a
reduced number of 19 new 'hubs' with multiple book-on locations within a set radius of it. There will
be mandatory lodging, removal of restrictive rules around PNBs and greater flexibility for drivers to
decide when to take their breaks during shifts. There will be one driver grade and all will be expected
to work on the mainline. The locomotive and wagon fleet is to be reduced as well.
2133] Have you done all these yet? - Part II: (BLN 1266.1938) Crossovers and or bits of track with a
regular sparse service. X/O = crossover, C/E = country-end, L/E = London-end. All SSuX unless stated.
Amersham: P2 to Down Main [W18]; SO 07.02 Amersham to Aylesbury.
Branksome: L/E crossover from P2 to Up Main [S31]; 09.15 Branksome to Southampton Central.
Broxbourne: Down Passenger Loop [E11]; 16.30 Stratford to Bishops Stortford.
Chelmsford: L/E X/O from P2 to Up Main [E05]; 07.49, 08.09 & 08.30 Chelmsford to Liverpool Street.
Craigendoran Jn: West Highland Loop [Sc06]; SuX 10.37 Glasgow Queen Street to Oban.
Hatton: C/E spur from P3 to Down Dorridge [M15]; 16.24 Marylebone to Birmingham Snow Hill.
Hereford: P1 south-end [W27]; 05.26 (05.42 SO) Hereford to Barry Island.
Hereford: P1 & P2 north-end departure and X/O, many but not all, LM departures after 11 Dec.
Leamington Spa: Bay P1 [M14]; 07.08 Leamington Spa to Kidderminster.
Manchester Oxford Rd Jn: C/E facing X/O Up to Down Oxford Road; 06.19 ex-Liverpool Lime Street.
Pontypridd North Jn: X/O Down Main to Up Main [W29]; SuX 10.34 Pontypridd to Merthyr Tydfil.
Preston Ribble Jn: X/Os Up Slow to Up Fast; 08.54/16.50 ex-Blackpool North to Hazel Grove/Buxton.
Stowmarket: L/E crossover P2 to Up Main [E06]; 07.03 & 18.10 Stowmarket to Liverpool Street.
Welwyn Garden City: L/E facing X/O Down Fast to Down Slow [E15]; 19.33*Kings Cross - Letchworth.
Winchburgh Jn - Dalmeny Jn [Sc12]: 17.33 Glasgow Q St to Markinch & 07.13 Kirkcaldy to Queen St.
Thanks to member Ian Delgado of the Unusual Track website https://goo.gl/atct2m which list many
unusual workings over the whole of England, Wales and Scotland. (*Needs everything to be on time.)
2134] PSUL 2016 - UPDATE 4: The previous update appeared in BLN 1266; this is not
repeated below. Minor retimings are ignored but the latest version of PSUL can always
be found on-line http://tinyurl.com/psul-intro or http://snipurl.com/psul-intro
Page 15: Little Bridgeford Junction - Lower Heamies: 1D19 22.52 SSuX Birmingham
New Street – Holyhead seems particularly susceptible to diversion via fast line; add:
1H77 21.51 SuO Euston - Manchester Piccadilly.
Page 16: Wolverhampton Crane Street Junction - Portobello Junction and
Darlaston Junction - Pleck Junction: 2J02 06.38 SO Wolverhampton - Walsall
restored to this route instead of via Soho North Junction - Perry Barr North Junction.
2135] Railway Rights of Way: A pathway survey of unused railway lines or 'passengers once more'.
(1): Thanks to our members Rhys Ab Elis and Jerry Holmes, the latest (Oct 2016) free updates are
available. Anyone with the CD can request all the updates from [email protected]
(2): Please also notify any further amendments or new Railway Rights of Way for future inclusion to
Jerry Holmes at that email address or to Rhys Ab Elis, 14 Rhes-Y-Twnnel, Casnewydd, NP20 4BT.
(3): The CD Rom is £10 including P&P from Mark Gomm (back page); please email to check stock.
2136] Points & Slips BLN 1267.2008] Our 'Welshpool & Llanfair' (15 Sep 1956) and 'Yorkshireman'
railtours of 2 Jun 1957, had in common that both involved participants riding in open wagons.
In the case of the former for the whole trip (famously on station benches borrowed for the occasion
from the standard gauge Welshpool station) and the latter for the Alne to Easingwold section. 2019]
One of our ever precise (or something like that) members correctly points out that Flying Scotsman
was not the first train to stop at Burrs Country Park Station (as its opening plaque claimed) on the East
Lancashire Railway. As a train it is actually the four hour scheduled 05.40 (SSuX) Edinburgh Waverley
to King's Cross service that runs non-stop from Newcastle. However, the first train was hauled by the
Flying Scotsman steam engine! 2020] The 'Charleroi' trailer (pictured in e-BLN 1267) is an SNCV tram
relic from that city in Belgium. 2022] Difflin Lake Railway, Oakfield Park: Despite what we were told
on our 10 Sep visit it has (perhaps inevitably) emerged that Wrights Hill North Jn to Long Run East Jn
was traversed by a Modern Railway Society of Ireland charter train on 25 Jun 2005. The other rare side
of both triangles (Long Run South Jn to Wrights Hill West Jn) was done on an 18 Sep 2004 visit - our
member who kindly reported this was on both trips.
Item 2028/1996] Forest Mill station opened as 'Kincardine' in 1850; the name was changed in 1893
when Kincardine OP at the end of a branch from Alloa; both CP in 1930. 2030] On the Chesterfield
Market Place to Lincoln 'Dukeries' line (part of which is now the Tuxford RIDC Test track), the residual
trains from Nottingham Victoria, withdrawn from 2 Jan 1956, terminated at Edwinstowe rather than
Ollerton. 2036] Great Glen station was known as 'Glen' until 18 Jan 1897. 2088] At Portrush steam
locos run-round in P3 where there is a loop, not P2. 2043] Regarding the LUL 24 hour service, the
'previous item' should be 'subsequent item' (the Jubilee Line Microgricing piece). 2056] Station
nameboard oddities: Deansgate NR platforms still show the route to the 'GMex Centre' although it
was renamed 'Manchester Central' In Jan 2007. 2073] Stafford Up Bay has been OOU since the
Stafford area resignalling (1 Sep 2015). 2074] The final railtour to Stafford Salop Branch siding was on
15 Nov 2008, Pathfinder's Industrious Trader which also visited Coventry Prologis Park and Ironbridge.
2137] Sending the Wrong Signals (1): (BLN 1267.2021) Leamington Spa panel was very familiar to a
member who worked in BR Research in the building now occupied by Signet Solutions at the Derby
Railway Technical centre back in 1985 when the first ever BR Solid State interlocking was deployed at
Leamington. The panel at Signet was never installed in the signalbox but was used at BR Research as
part of a simulation of the system to test out the hardware and software before it went live on site.
The real panel at Leamington Spa also had four character LED train describer displays next to each
signal. After Leamington was commissioned the panel and a set of SSI hardware was retained at
BR Research to allow investigation and troubleshooting of problems reported from SSI installations
around the network. After privatisation this setup was taken over by Signet for training purposes.
2138] Sending the Wrong Signals (2): (BLN1265.1823) In the signal box visits report the description of
Harrogate says that the line to Armley Jn is controlled from a 'small switch panel'. This is incorrect - as
the e-BLN photograph lower down the page shows; control is via an IECC (Integrated Electronic Control
Centre) type workstation with a trackerball and keyboard. This is unique; the only IECC workstation in
a mechanical box, and the only one without any automatic route setting. There is a switch panel as
well, but this controls a CCTV level crossing. Angus McDougall's photograph is almost a history of
signalling, from the train register book and block instrument (19th century technology but the BR 1950s
version), to the switch panel (1960s style) and trackerball (1990), plus a modern mobile phone!
1268 EAST MIDLANDS
2139] Thoresby Colliery Jn: This unlikely location now
boasts NR's newest semaphore signal (T27), recently
installed and set in a significant block of concrete, with
a new signal post and ladder. (Malvern Wells
previously held the record where two were
commissioned in August.) The 1926 ex-Great Central
Railway style signal box recently had its windows
replaced and covered in wire mesh after vandalism. At
07.50 on Tue 25 Oct 66539 arrived here for Tuxford
RIDC with four brand new Plasser & Theurer High
Output Ballast Cleaners for staff training that had
come through the channel tunnel. MGR coal wagons
are stored on the arrivals/departures line and run
round line (shown as OOU on TRACKmaps Sep 2006).
LEFT: The new signal on 25 Oct 2016 (Derek Wilson).
2140] Leicester: There is an online petition about the
alleged high cost of rail travel from here. An
investigation by the Leicester Mercury newspaper
https://goo.gl/5kelgw claimed that passengers who
travel between Leicester and London pay 'significantly'
more on average than those at other Midland stations.
It is sometimes cheaper for people starting their
journeys at Nottingham than passengers joining the
same train at Leicester. The investigation found that on a randomly chosen date, it cost £59.50 to
travel to London from Leicester but only £28 from Rugby, £18.60 from Peterborough, £59.40 from
Nottingham and £41.10 from Derby. [One wonders if they were comparing like with like - Ed.]
2141] Nottingham - Newark: (BLN 166.1942) Update: new signalling and equipment was due to be
commissioned between 26 Oct and 7 Nov and brought into use between Bleasby station (10m 60ch)
and Staythorpe Crossing (15m 00ch). The new signalling is being commissioned in a 'rolling' fashion.
2142] Litchurch Lane Works: Bombardier has announced it is shedding 7,500 posts worldwide, two
thirds of them from its rail division. It is not yet known if this now very busy plant will be affected.
2143] Scunthorpe: TPE are planning general station improvements although lifts are not included, so
the stairs will still be used to change platforms. Work should be complete by 2018, the 90th anniversary
of the current station (OP 11 Mar 1928 as 'Frodingham & Scunthorpe', the prefix was dropped in
1963). The first train was the 9.05am New Holland to Penistone stopping service, and there was a
modest ceremony with its arrival at 10.15am. Scunthorpe's first station OP 1864 as 'Frodingham', near
Brigg Road bridge half a mile east of the present station (and more convenient for our AFRPS visits!) It
became 'Frodingham & Scunthorpe' and was later replaced by one 200yd to the west until the present
station opened. From 1906 until 1925, the town had another passenger station in Dawes Lane for the
North Lindsey Light Railway, which at first ran to West Halton and later Winteringham then Whitton.
2144] Hucknall : Station Road bridge reopened on 20 Oct after extensive rebuilding by NR. The 140
years old bridge, used by 9,900 vehicles daily, has been strengthened and the road surface replaced.
X.169] Ilkeston: (BLN 1264.1717) (BELOW) The new station under construction on Mon 24 Oct 2016.
Seen passing is 66775 with 6M73, the 10.52 Doncaster Decoy to Toton. At one point it was thought
that the station would open with the new timetable on 11 Dec (when EMT trains are then shown as
calling on Realtime Trains, but not yet Northern although it already appears in their driver schedules).
Workmen on site advise that the end of January is likely for opening. (©Howard Waite)
1268 GREATER LONDON
2145] Waddon: The Croydon Airport Society is researching a branch built in the 1920s off the West
Croydon to Sutton line near Waddon to serve the National Aircraft Factory No1 next to 'Croydon
Aerodrome'. They have a drawing showing a single track crossing the main Stafford Road, probably
on a level crossing and diving into three sidings but there is no other information or pictures. It does
not appear on OS maps (possibly 'classified' information?) and has unusually escaped Joe Brown's
London Railway Atlas! It is known that on 5 Feb 1923 a passenger train ran to the airfield so that VIP
passengers could alight to view a special air display, part of the International Air Conference taking
part in London then. Any information/pictures about this elusive branch would be appreciated!
2146] Barking Riverside: (BLN 1254.658) Following the application for a TWA Order, a public enquiry
was held from 18 to 21 October, the result of which is awaited.
X.170] BELOW: A London Paddington P9 screen on 20 Oct, showing the 21.58 ECS to Old Oak Common
Depot, via 'Not In Service' (near Nottingham?) calling at Old Oak Common Depot Only (Stuart Hicks).
ABOVE & LEFT: Queens Park with train '225' the 00.02
SuMX from Elephant and Castle stands in P2 having
arrived over the facing crossover; the only passenger
train booked to do so - see later… (Simon Mortimer).
2147] Bow East Yard: (BLN 1265.1831) Almost 11,000 people have signed a petition to the London
Legacy Development Corporation (who will decide on the planning application) opposing the proposed
development. The objectors are concerned about high levels of lorry movements, noise and pollution.
2148] National Grid Monorail: (BLN 1229.541) More details https://goo.gl/zMs4au with photographs
and a map of this fairly new 20km underground private monorail used for tunnel/cable inspection.
2149] Continuing Movements in the Dark - Even Above Ground! (BLN 1265.1837)
(1) Acton Town 75 Points: Another foray to London after some gyrations around Welwyn Garden City
and Stevenage found the usual two suspects 'reporting' to the very helpful Acton Town Passenger
Information Office. Having been here so many times, two of the staff recognised the enquirers and the
now time honoured query: if it was planned to run train '317' from Northfields at 22.12, across
No75 points from the Eastbound Fast to the Ealing Common Eastbound through Acton Town P4 and
back across on departure. After being here at least five times before and failing to achieve this or
simply being told the points were defective even before trying, imagine their delight to be advised that
so long as all continued on course this was indeed planned!
So they sat at Northfields and each train and its passing were checked off to the second (everything to
plan) until train '317' ran into P4 and proceeded along the Eastbound Local to Acton Town! Now this is
rare, but had been done before on a similar outing so back to the office. They were almost expected as
the staff had monitored '317' and seen what had happened. Some enquiries were made and it turned
out that a later train was likely to use No75 points. Therefore, it was hotfoot back to Northfields and in
position with minutes to spare. The specified train arrived in P3 (good start!) and set off; after several
slowings and speeding up again, it seemed to really slow then lurched left, the lights went off and
Acton Town P4 came into view, success! This tells us two things, No75 points do work again and train
'317' should do the booked move, but it is worth calling on the very nice people at Acton Town first!
2150] LUL Track Diagrams: (BLN 1267.2042) The track plan at https://goo.gl/HU6doX is an impressive
piece of work. However, it is dated May 2009, so does not contain recent layout changes. A Mar 2016
diagram https://goo.gl/RUolHq of the central area, which includes the DLR and London Overground
BELOW: Elephant & Castle Bakerloo Line entrance recently with its 'green wall' (Stuart Hicks). A girl
born here in 1924 was the first baby to be born on the Underground network! The Bakerloo terminus
may become a through station if the proposed Lewisham extension poceeds (BLN 1248.48).
2149] (2) Queen's Park South End Facing Crossover: This left a little spare time to head back into
central London for train '225' on its last southbound run to Elephant & Castle. Given its quite long
layover there, it was possible to chat to the train operator as he wandered back along the platform
about the train's modus operandi at Queen's Park. Earlier in the day, after parking the car outside, the
staff there suggested the operation into P2 and then '23' road while normal did not always happen, as
it can be accessed via the usual P3. However, he seemed very confident it would run as booked, so at
00.04 a late night trundle was partaken with a confident heart. This was justified, as at Kilburn Park
the train operator announced that the train was running into the southbound platform; those for
further north would have to cross by the footbridge. Surfacing, it slowed to a crawl, lurched right, the
lights briefly died (giving a better view!) then re-lit and '225' drew into Queen's Park P2 at 00.36.
2151] Camden: Vaults built to link the winding engines originally used for cable haulage from Euston
up Camden bank still exist under the tracks and have recently been drained of water. A description of
the work involved and of the cable operation https://goo.gl/HU6doX on the 'Rail Engineer' website.
2152] Lewisham: (BLN 1767.2041) Originally the 'temporary' flyover simply sat on concrete bases. The
supports were concreted in during 1982, shortly before its silver jubilee. Perhaps if it had been left
alone, there wouldn't now be a problem! The day of the 1957 crash is etched in one member's
memory. Late that afternoon he was travelling home from school on a '36' bus from Camberwell to a
stop a short distance from its terminus at Hither Green station. The route crossed the Lewisham to
Nunhead line just north of the flyover, the derelict and still extant Lewisham Road station platforms
(CP 1 Jan 1917) being visible from the top deck. He was a bit concerned that the bus would not
complete the journey because of the fog. His family home was nearby and further down the road lived
some of the 90 passengers killed in the accident. A short while after the crash he took part in a visit to
Hither Green shed. The foreman thought that the permit was to be cancelled as 34066 'Spitfire', the
locomotive involved, was stored on shed with a tarpaulin over the front end, but the visit went ahead.
BELOW: The 1957 'temporary' bridge at Lewisham 50 years later on 26 Oct, from the station. (Rod Meibs)
2153] Train Restoration: (BLN 1264.1728) The full Southern train service between East Croydon and
their northern outpost of Milton Keynes Central was restored from 24 Oct.
2154] Thameslink: (BLN 1267.2047) Track laying has now commenced in the Bermondsey diveunder.
2155] Ilford/Crossrail: (BLN 1267.2039) NR has applied for planning permission for a new station here.
This will have a glass façade, larger ticket hall and significantly longer gateline. Lifts will serve all
platforms. Some interesting photographs https://goo.gl/i8mWxI of the main Crossrail project.
2156] Mansion House: (BLN 1264.1733) The bay platform track and pointwork were removed on
8/9 October, although the large hydraulic train arrestor was still in place on 15th. The one train booked
to reverse there has been extended to Tower Hill, although in practice the bay is thought to have seen
little recent use due to safety issues relating to 'S' Stock. Future work will involve realigning the
eastbound track at the entrance and exit of P3 to remove 20mph speed restrictions. This will only have
a minor effect on the platform, with just some adjustments to the nosing stones needed.
1268 ISLE OF MAN
2157] Douglas Bay Horse Tramway: (BLN 1264.1680) On 18 Oct the new Infrastructure Minister was
under pressure at Tynwald's session over the Douglas Promenade re-surfacing. He agreed that the
issue was becoming increasingly urgent and reported that options were being reviewed in relation to
major work starting as soon as practicable. In relation to the Horse Trams, the relocation of the tracks
to the seaward side of the road would require planning permission and reduce the number of parking
spaces. He therefore suggested the tracks remain in the middle of the road, with no requirement for a
planning application (with its attendant delays) and no reduction in parking spaces. Later that week
the local press widely reported this and much space was devoted to the fact that £1M has been spent
(so far) in trying to reach a decision about the tramway; the latest thoughts being to leave everything
as is! Subsequent interviews with the Minister highlighted that work on the northern end of the
carriageway would start very shortly with the tramway staying in the current position. For the haulage
fraternity, 'Andrew' a new self-fuelling 1hp hay burning Trammer, made his first public service trip on
19 Oct (09.20 from Derby Castle and the 09.40 from the Sea Terminal). New horses run with a driver
and outriders each side at first, to ensure that they stay within the tracks. (BELOW: Jenny Williamson)
1268 NORTH EAST
2158] North East Rail Management Board: This new body has been established as part of a 'one-of-a-
kind' agreement between the DfT and local authorities. It includes representatives from the North East
Combined Authority, the Tees Valley Combined Authority, Cumbria County Council and North
Yorkshire County Council. It now oversees all Northern services in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear,
County Durham and the Tees Valley, including those to Carlisle and Whitby. At its first (5 Oct) meeting,
members discussed the timetable for delivering changes to Northern services which Arriva promised
when it took over the franchise in April. These include replacing the infamous Pacers, increasing
services from 16,000 trains per week to 18,000 and introducing free wi-fi across the network.
1268 NORTH WEST
2159] Corbridge: (BLN 1249.134) Work has been completed at the site of the major Farnley landslip
east of Corbridge (Carlisle to Newcastle line). Months of heavy rain and the unprecedented winter
floods of December left the slope saturated and unstable. By the time it gave way on 6 January, the
movement was so powerful that it swept away dozens of trees and fractured a Northumbrian Water
sewer pipe which ran through the hillside. Over 50,000 tonnes of earth has been dug back into the
land and levelled, and an intricate system of underground drainage pipes installed. A large trench has
been dug in the offending field and coated with an impermeable layer to withstand future water run-
off. Some 10,000 tonnes of granite was brought from a quarry at Middleton-in-Teesdale (unfortunately
not by rail of course!). The work was complicated by the presence of three Roman forts, which are
scheduled ancient monuments. Corbridge (Corstopitum) was a major town and supply base for
Hadrian's Wall. Although the forts were not excavated, geophysical surveys were made and the results
given to Historic England. As noted in BLN 1249, Corbridge (Farnley Scar) tunnel always had stability
problems. Built for single line, a section gave way on 28 Dec 1844 during work for double tracking.
Further repairs were required in 1871. This chequered history eventually led to the tunnel being taken
out of use and replaced by the deviation line on 27 May 1962. Both portals are now Grade II listed
structures. Plans to backfill the tunnel to preserve it were recently abandoned by NR due to the cost.
BELOW: 7th Series 1" map (1952/56) showing the old Farnley Tunnel route east of Corbridge; the line was
diverted south from 27 May 1962 in a cutting - the slew required a one day closure - those were the days!
TOP OF PAGE: Farnley slip on completion of work (NR) compare this with e-BLN 1249.134 (i.e. before).
ABOVE LEFT: Farnley tunnel west portal. ABOVE RIGHT: Farnley Tunnel east portal (March 2015)
© Copyright Mike Quinn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
2160] Carlisle: By 19 Oct demolition of the former G&SWR Currock engine shed was well underway,
sadly. It became a wagon repair works in 1924, which closed in 2007 and was cleared of stored stock
on 21 Jan 2009. The area is being redeveloped for housing. In the 1970/80s the works was visited by
our Class 08 hauled 'Carlisle Carrier' brakevan trips - named after Mike Carrier, then BR Area Manager.
2161] Platform Tickets: Further to BLN 1248 (9 Jan 2016), item 41, like ATW and EMT stations Leeds
(managed by NR) charges 20p for platform tickets and Carlisle (like Gloucester recently) refuses to sell
them. Our member believes that platform tickets were 10p at the time of privatisation so it is perhaps
surprising that they can still be purchased for that amount at some stations.
2162] Ordsall Lane Jn: (BLN 1264.1740) From 31 Oct a new trailing crossover was to be provided west
of the junction (30m 14ch) between the Up and Down Chat Moss Lines for Xmas commissioning. East
of Eccles station, the Down line will become bidirectional via the existing facing crossover (27m 51ch).
2163] Maghull North (BLN 1247.1233): The full business case for the £13M new station between
Maghull and Town Green on the Ormskirk line was approved by Liverpool City Region Combined
Authority on 21 Oct and a planning application has now been submitted to Sefton Council.
2164] Trafford Park: On 13 Oct the new £350M Metrolink 5.5km branch from the Eccles line at
Pomona was approved. 'Passive provision' was made there in the existing Eccles line viaduct concrete
with support for the junction rail. It will be straight on where the Eccles branch turns sharp right. The
Secretary of State for Transport made a Transport & Works Act Order (originally applied for on 11 Nov
2014). The branch runs along Trafford Wharf Road, Warren Bruce Road, Village Way, Park Way, Barton
Dock Road and terminates at the Trafford Centre. Work could start by the end of the year and it may
be open in 2020. There will be six new stops: Wharfside, Imperial War Museum, Village, Parkway,
EventCity and Trafford Centre. When it opens, Metrolink will extend to 106.5 route km (66 miles).
X.171] BELOW: Four-tracking the viaduct by Liverpool Road; eventually quadruple track should extend to
Manchester Piccadilly East Jn but this stage is part of the Ordsall Lane Chord. (Angus McDougall Oct 2016.)
1268 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
2165] Oulton Broad North: The Norwich-bound platform has been 'extended', by reinstating a disused
section at the Lowestoft end; clearing vegetation, resurfacing and fitting new nosing. This was nearly
complete at the time the new franchise award was announced, so is not linked to the new bi-mode
articulated units. These will be no longer than an existing 3-car Class 170 DMUs, as individual sections
on an articulated unit have to be shorter if the vehicle width is to remain the same. (Due to the
overhang on curves, articulated stock potentially has reduced end throw and increased centre throw.)
The reason for the platform extension is to allow the resiting of signal 'OB30', the Up Starter, right by
the level crossing. It is to be moved back (and presumably replaced by an LED colour light), so that
trains can enter the station without the crossing barriers lowered - thus reducing traffic delays on what
is a very busy road. Currently (as observed on our 1 Aug 2015 signal box visits) the barriers have to be
down before the signal further east can be cleared as there is no overlap. When seen a couple of
weeks ago, there were new signs in place (covered up) showing where trains will stop - about two
carriage lengths short of where they stop now, meaning passengers will have to walk further. There
were also markings on the platform edge for the repositioned 'OB30' and 'gate', plus evenly-spaced
white blobs indicating the location of fence posts to keep people back from the platform edge
between the new signal and the station entrance. The operative platform length will thus not increase.
2166] Ipswich: The refurbished station concourse and P2 buffet opened in the second week of August.
2167] Felixstowe branch: Capacity improvement is planned, doubling Westerfield Jn and a new
Trimley loop (extending the North Quay branch from the present single connection along the
formation towards Derby Road). Extra signalling includes Derby Road loop becoming bidirectional.
2168] Witham: It is proposed to extend the Up and Down Passenger Loops in the Kelvedon direction.
2169] Maidenhead: (BLN 1259.1223) The connection between P4 and the Bourne End branch west of
the station is expected to be removed during the Christmas 2016 blockade. Final use may be 23 Dec.
1268 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH
2170] Farnham - Wanborough: In August 2015 nothing remained at Tongham* (CP 4 Jul 1937) station
site, next to the High Street. A trackbed footpath leads east to Ash Jn (ABOVE: centre upper right on
this 1956 map), about two miles away. Between the two, Ash Green station, latterly Ash Green Halt, is
in open country with no other house in sight. (Pictured LEFT in Dec 1960 with a goods train for
Tongham, then worked as a branch from Ash
Jn to the east, it CG/CA from 2 Jan 1961.
Tongham to Farnham Jn (where there is a
sharp bend between Farnham and Aldershot
seen lower left on the map) CA 21 Nov 1954
but rail traffic is thought to have finished with
the end of passenger services on 4 Jul 1937 -
Harold Pond.) End ramps remain for both
platforms and the main station building is a
private residence, easily viewable from the
road. The householder has an SR style target
above the front door reading 'Ash Green'.
At the site of Ash Jn, the footpath ends at a NR steel paling fence beyond which there is jungle-like
vegetation. However, hard as it is to believe from appearance, the operational railway between
Wanborough and Ash is barely 20m further on. Ash* SE&CR station is totally modernised with a new
small red brick ticket office on one platform and a minimalist shelter on the other. The goods shed is
still there and in light industrial use. (*March 1956 'Railway Magazine' has good photos p189 & p192.)
2171] Fareham: It appears that the junction work renewal at the Swanwick and Hedge End ends of the
station will retain most or all routes, with resiting of points limited to that permissible without major
signalling work. The little used bay P2 is being retained. It could not be restored as a through route as
the two single track Portchester end underbridges now align only with the P1 and P3 through tracks.
2172] Ashford - Ore: (MarshLink route) Last year the Bexhill Rail Action Group marked the 10th
anniversary of its formation to contest the proposed cessation of Bexhill's through London Victoria
services via Haywards Heath. It has worked closely with its Chamber of Commerce, mobilising local
businesses to send out letters championing the cause of fast through links with London for economic
benefits. In early June NR replied that such a scheme was not fundable and that they were looking to
break the MarshLink Upgrade Programme into smaller schemes to reduce the overall cost, spreading it
incrementally over several Control Periods. This came after the third annual 'Hastings Summit' in
March, organised by local MP Amber Rudd, at which NR declared that their work had indicated there is
no business case to electrify the MarshLink route. This accentuated concerns about NR's commitment
to the project to enable HS1 services to reach Bexhill. Then just a month later, there is:
●A different Transport Secretary from the one who attended the first Summit.
●A different Rail Minister from the one who attended the second Summit.
●A different Chancellor of the Exchequer from the one whose July 2015 Budget Report declared that
the DfT asked that extension of HS1 services to Hastings and Rye be included in the Kent Route Study.
●Two changes of NR Route Director! The combined patronage of the six intermediate stations along
MarshLink between Ore and Ashford International has grown from less than 250,000 in 1998/99 to
almost 600,000 in 2014/15. (railfuture) The line had previously come precariously close to closure.
2173] Folkestone - Dover: (BLN 1265.1813) The origin of the name 'Shakespeare Cliff' is explained in
Rail Engineer which also presents some interesting information on the works to restore rail services.
(Prithee, the playwright was at Dover in 1597 to perform some of his plays with his travelling
players and was struck by the drama of the local cliffs and their setting. He included the locality in the
later play, King Lear, specifically Act IV Scene VI where the characters conversing on the cliff top are
suitably awestruck by the scale of the landscape.)
Where possible, the line is carried on shelves cut into the chalk face. Heading west from Dover town
and harbour, the available space for the route narrows until, for the last few hundred metres as it
approaches Shakespeare Cliff and Tunnel, the alignment was taken across the beach itself at the base
of the cliffs. In 1849, a long timber trestle viaduct was built for the railway across this area. Following
accumulated attrition to the seawall on the side of the viaduct, the entire space behind this new wall
was filled with chalk spoil in 1927, burying the timber viaduct up to the soffit of the track structure.
Following the Dec 2015 line closure, the solution selected to replace the previous damaged structure
was construction of a reinforced concrete raft, supported by bored piling. This new viaduct is 235m in
length. The final design used 134 bored, cast in-situ, reinforced concrete 900mm diameter piles. These
were typically 30m in length, being roughly 10m through made ground and 20m into bedrock.
The superstructure of the new viaduct is a 600mm deep reinforced concrete raft, which was cast in
four pours. The volume of concrete required for the raft alone was 1,933m3. The pours were planned
to be carried out at weekends, mainly to reduce the risk of delays in concrete delivery to site that
might have been experienced in weekday traffic. The immediate priority of reopening the route has
been achieved, but much work remains to be done before the site will be decommissioned in May.
Firstly, the public footbridge to the beach is being reconstructed, with fibre-reinforced plastic as the
structural material. Most importantly, 130,000 tonnes of rock armour from Norway has to be placed
alongside the new viaduct. Other work carried out during line closure included renewal of 2.5km of
track (done midweek to avoid impacting resources already committed for weekend renewals) drainage
and repointing in tunnels and general vegetation management. The opportunity was even taken for a
full emergency evacuation practice from a Javelin train in Shakespeare Tunnel.
1268 SOUTH WEST
2174] Ashton Gate - the Final Whistle: (BLN 1267.2070) A member bought 'cheap day returns' from
Bristol TM and travelled to North Filton Platform on 2 Nov 1972 and to Ashton Gate on 11 Nov 1972.
He still has both tickets and thinks that they were issued on the train, thick paper with scruffy written
destinations in biro indicating that neither was printable by the ticket machine. Stapleton Road station
was 'unmutilated' then, bubble car DMU W55032 worked the Severn Beach branch and Clifton Down
station (there wasn't an Up one!) had a restaurant 'Bahnhofstube'. Michael Quick's chronology
suggests that the last train at Ashton Gate may have been an excursion from Leeds on 17 Feb 1974.
2175] All in a good causeway? The Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling visited Dawlish on
20 Oct to guarantee that the line will be protected. NR staff there outlined two schemes to protect the
line from cliff falls. Either to regrade the cliff faces (a 6-12 month line closure), or a rather surprising
£500M plan to rebuild the line on a causeway along the beach, further from the fragile cliffs but about
30yds closer to the tides, which often overtop the line! This solves the cliff falls problem and the land
inside the causeway would be 'reclaimed'. While funding has yet to be identified for either scheme,
the Minister recognised the importance of the line to the tourism economy and local fears that
rebuilding of the line further north (Okehampton) would be 'catastrophic' for the coastal area.
2176] Gloucester: A member was fascinated to find a staff information display screen visible to all at
the P2 footbridge base. This covers all four routes into Gloucester, being a track diagram with all trains
shown as moving headcodes. There is a full description of passenger trains with actual and expected
times as well as number of coaches and where to locate any first class. The extremities of the area are
Grange Court crossovers on the Chepstow line, Cheltenham Spa carriage sidings north of that station,
Kemble station, and Berkeley Road at the start of the Sharpness branch on the Bristol line. His train
had already overtaken the discharged Murco oil train for Robeston at Westerleigh and he was able to
follow its progress through the area when Gloucester had extra traffic due to nearly all Birmingham to
Bristol trains reversing there and waiting time during the modified service as part of the Bromsgrove
blockade. (With extra time for the Kidderminster diversion, Gloucester and New Street waits, they
then take the path north or south an hour later than normal). The oil train had 29 bogie tankers and
ran through P1 and P2. Your Regional Editor notes there is still a similar display, near to the lost
property office in the subway at Bristol Temple Meads, and wonders if there are other examples
elsewhere? [At Marylebone 'slave' screens of the IECC display are by the gate line and at Salisbury
station the signal panel is visible if you know the right window! - not the same but still interesting.]
2177] Carry on Camping? (BLN 1251.348) The GWR Staff Association owned Camping Coaches near
Dawlish Warren are now for sale as a going concern, http://goo.gl/FRv4hY with the associated land.
The holiday accommodation closed at the end of the summer season after around 50 years. The
coaches were run by the association on a 'not for profit' basis, but despite breaking even continued to
require considerable upkeep and restoration to remain as close to original condition as possible.
2178] More Patchway Connections: (BLN 1267.2072) A new trailing connection has been installed
(OOU) on the Down Tunnel line at 112m 60ch between Stoke Gifford Jn No2 and Patchway Jn.
2179] Pilning: (BLN 1265.164) The Down platform was 'OOU' in the Sectional Appendix from 22 Oct.
2180] Tunnel Vision: NR has shared images http://goo.gl/YSg8u4 of their work inside the Severn
Tunnel in preparation for electrification. The article also details the 'Severn Tunnel Flyer', various road-
rail vehicles including a buffet and toilets, which ferried staff to the subaqueous worksite during the
possession. The staff and equipment will be used in Box and Chipping Sodbury tunnels in due course.
2181] Bude: A packed public meeting recently considered the somewhat unlikely prospect of the
railway here from Okehampton reopening. The meeting was organised by local theatre producer
Richard Wolfenden-Brown on the strength of a 'just for fun' referendum he conducted among the
audience of his school production 'The Last Train to Bude…?' in March. While public opinion was
clearly still on the side of rail transport and its benefits and 'mighty oaks from little acorns grow', some
were more pragmatic ('sure, we might have to knock down a Waitrose…'). Meanwhile, campaigners for
a regular service on the Exeter to Okehampton route were on hand to detail their own work, with a
consultation meeting due on 12 Nov to explain work undertaken to date.
1268 WEST MIDLANDS
2182] Norton Bridge: On 19 Oct the Department for Transport (motto: 'Moving Britain Ahead') began
consultation on their proposal to close Norton Bridge station on/after 15 Oct 2017 and to withdraw its
special rail replacement bus service that has run since the Mon 24 May 2004 (timetable change).
The final trains (also at Barlaston and Wedgwood) on the Stafford to Stoke-on-Trent local service were
on Sat 22 May 2004 (amending e-BLN 1267.X167 & BLN 1265.1870) as there were no Sunday services.
This so called 'temporary closure' was in connection with the West Coast Modernisation Project.
A DfT review showed that reopening the station is 'neither an appropriate nor responsible use of
resources'. What precipitated this proposal is that the replacement bus service is part-funded by the
DfT through the West Midlands Rail Franchise, operated by London Midland; a 'temporary situation'
that needs to be resolved by the next franchise.
The cost of building a new station which would serve a
population of only 600 is given as £18M. The additional
cost of a new station in terms of increased journey time
and 'increased performance risk' for other rail
passengers is said to be £19.7M. The proposal states
that a consequence of the station closure is that the
special bus service (between Stafford and Norton
Bridge) would no longer need to be provided, saving a
subsidy of £40K per year. The 38 return bus journeys
per week average one passenger (subsidy about £10 each) per journey, mostly concessionary pass
holders travelling free - the average number of rail passengers per week is two. Ticket sales may now
increase by those wanting souvenirs! The anytime single from Norton Bridge to Stafford is £1.30.
Really good value is Norton Bridge to Stone single at £1.60 which allows the bus ride to Stafford then
a train from there to Stone (the train fare from Stafford to Stone is £3) and enjoy the £10 subsidy. The
journey provides entertainment for between 36 and 90 minutes. Tickets are available on line, staffed
ticket offices and conductors. (Don't tell them but some of the buses continue between Norton Bridge
and Stone taking just 13 minutes!) ABOVE: One of the two Norton Bridge rail tickets issued this week.
For those members really into this sort of thing try a 5-stage (SuX) Norton Bridge to Wedgwood trip,
(5¾ miles by rail), a bargain at only £2.90 single, taking 125 minutes minutes per National Rail website:
1: 07.53 Norton Bridge station walk to Norton Bridge Station Drive (07.58).
2: 07.59 Norton Bridge Station Drive bus to Stafford (08.28).
3: 08.55 Stafford to Stoke-on-Trent train arrive (09.12) Note: The Stafford to Stoke single is £5.30!
4: 09.12 Stoke-on-Trent bus to Wedgwood Old Road (09.52).
5: 09.52 Wedgwood Old Road walk to Wedgwood station (09.58).
It is interesting to see the unintended consequences of attempting to close a station by the back
door!There is a deadline is 3 Feb 2017 to make representations on the Norton Bridge closure proposal
and https://goo.gl/nhP6r6 has more. One wonders how much the whole closure procedure is costing!
X.173] PREVIOUS PAGE TOP: (BLN 1264.1791) Sun 23 Oct, Rail Operations Group's Class 37 hauled
tour from Derby at Malvern Wells, curiously heading west to Worcester (but via Hereford, Maindee
Curve and Gloucester!). It is passing a brand new semaphore signal installed in August (with a second
one alongside it out of sight on the Down Loop to the right) when the track was relaid and the layout
modified. PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: The train, with a Class 47 on the rear, passes Malvern Wells signal
box and takes the curve for the 1,586yd Colwall New Tunnel through the Malvern Hills. (Both Richard
Putley.) ABOVE: The 30 arch 372yd Grade II listed Ledbury Viaduct west of the station (Ralph Ward).
2183] Midland Metro: (A new track diagram download with this e-BLN) The Midland Metro Alliance
(MMA) has applied for a Transport and Works Act Order on behalf of the West Midlands Combined
Authority (WMCA) to build and operate the 1.7km Birmingham Eastside extension from Bull Street to
Digbeth. Subject to any public inquiry, work is scheduled to begin in 2019 with the line opening in
2023. The estimated cost is £137.2M, including seven new Urbos trams, to increase the current fleet to
28 and provide a six-minute service frequency. There is a triangular junction with the existing line
where Corporation Street and Bull Street meet. The new route runs along Lower Bull St past the
southern edge of the proposed Martineau Galleries re-development to Albert St. It then crosses Moor
St Queensway towards Curzon St, continues along New Canal St before running into Meriden St and
turning left onto Digbeth High St. There will be four stops with a terminus on Digbeth High St (junction
with Milk St) serving Birmingham Coach Station with a scissors crossover beyond. Work will be carried
out by the MMA, a team of planning, design and construction specialists working with WMCA.
2184] Cross City Line: Like the St Albans Abbey branch, this suffers badly from leaf fall problems with
the frequent stops. A revised timetable operates between 24 Oct and 10 Dec, SuX inclusive, with the
normal timetable after about 20.00 SSuX and on Sundays. There are still 6tph between Four Oaks and
Longbridge but two run non-stop from Sutton Coldfield to New street and a different two miss out
Bournville, Kings Norton and Northfield. No one journey requires more than one change and one train
an hour calls at all stations except Duddeston (which always has fewer Cross City services anyway).
2185] Dudley: (BLN 1224.83) The £27M 'Very Light Rail (VLR) Innovation Centre' at Castle Hill has been
approved by Dudley Council. The hub will be to design and build VLR vehicles with Research and
Development facilities. Previously Dudley Freightliner Terminal (CG 29 Apr 1988) the site was formerly
that of the significant Dudley station which had six passenger routes, (CP timetabled trains 6 Jul 1964).
2186] Wednesbury: A VLR system is under discussion linking the bus station to Great Western Metro
stop. It would be similar to the Stourbridge Town 'Parry People Mover'. The proposal is for a 2km loop
line around the town centre with the track laid on top of existing road surfaces to reduce costs. The
next step is a scoping study in 2017 and the system could be up and running by 2019.
2187] Hereford: (BLN 1262.1546) From 11 Dec with the timetable change, many but not all London
Midland services are booked to depart from P1 in passenger service over the north trailing crossover.
P3 was previously used for all northbound departures except for the weekly 19.59 (was 20.00) SO to
New Street which reliably used bay P4 and continues to be so booked! GWR departures still use P3.
Once a week there is a booked north departure from P2, the 22.39 SuO to Worcester Shrub Hill.
1268 YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE
2188] Sheffield Cannabis: NR makes much of how it supports small growing businesses using railway
arches but this sort of enterprise https://goo.gl/0D18d7 was probably not what they had in mind!
2189] Queensbury Tunnel: (BLN 1233.996) According to 'Railway Herald' this 2,501yd tunnel on the
former GNR line between Bradford/Keighley and Halifax has been designated a 'Historical Engineering
Work' by the Institution of Civil Engineers. However, despite the positive report in BLN 1233 about
reopening as a railway path, the Historical Railways Estate the successor to the former BRB Residuary
Body, plans to abandon it at a cost of about £3M. (Come on, play by the Queensbury rules, chaps!).
The Queensbury Tunnel Society claims it could be repaired for a similar amount and converted into a
cycle path. Holmfield to Queensbury with the tunnel, OG 1 Dec 1879; OP 15 Dec 1879, completing the
GNR line between Bradford and Halifax. It CP 23 May 1955; Queensbury - Holmfield CA 28 May 1956.
Queensbury station was one of the few in the UK at triangles which had platforms on all three sides.
[Resisting the obvious temptation we won't set a quiz on which were/are the other stations.]
BELOW: The Queensbury triangle and station, upper middle, on the 6th Series One-inch 'New Popular'
map (1947 - fully revised in 1920 with later corrections). Queensbury tunnel runs to the bottom left
(to Holmfield and Halifax), top right is Clayton tunnel on the line to Bradford while the third route
(top middle) is to Keighley (where it joins the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway at great Northern Jn).
For more information about the Queensbury Tunnel Society https://goo.gl/4qMkib and the tunnel.
2190] Harrogate (or Why is there a right-angled bend in the line and a rather circuitous route here?):
The current railway geography of the area is relatively simple but the development of the network in
this area was complex. The map above is thanks to Martyn Brailsford and also helps with Member
No1's Wetherby report (BLN 1252.492) and Angus McDougall's signal boxes report (BLN 1265.1823).
See also https://goo.gl/vW12Ck which is very helpful, can be enlarged and navigated around.
The first line was the York & North Midland (Y&NMR) branch from Church Fenton via Wetherby,
extended from Spofforth on 20 Jul 1848 on completion of the Crimple Valley viaduct with 31 arches,
(1,875ft long and 110 ft high) to Harrogate 'Brunswick' terminus, named after a nearby hotel, south of
the present station. This was through the 400yd https://goo.gl/cFOcoi Harrogate Brunswick tunnel.
Somewhat bizarrely, the next line was an isolated section of the Leeds & Thirsk Railway (L&TR), later
the Leeds Northern Railway (LNR) between Wormald Green, north of Harrogate and Nidd Bridge (on
the map above), and Weeton to the south, on 1 Sep 1848 both extremities being termini.
This managed to avoid Harrogate completely and ran under Crimple viaduct and then via Starbeck as
the height difference was too great for it to climb directly from the south into the town itself.
However, isolation only lasted 12 days as Wormald Green to Ripon OA 13 Sep 1848.
The most important line, between Leeds and Weeton, finally OA 10 Jul 1849, delayed by the difficult
task of excavating the 3,763yd Bramhope tunnel. Meanwhile the York, Newcastle & Berwick Railway
OA 30 Oct 1848 York Skelton Jn to Hay Park Lane just east of Knaresborough. It was unable to open
further west due to the collapse of the almost completed River Nidd viaduct, 338ft long and 90ft tall.
There seems to be some uncertainty about the opening dates of the lines to Knaresborough. The Cook
& Hoole NER Historical Atlas gives OA 21 Jul 1851 for the one mile from Knaresborough to Hay Park
Lane, where the (by now) York & North Midland Railway made an end-on junction with the Leeds
Northern Railway branch from Starbeck, OA 18 Aug 1851, after the Nidd viaduct was rebuilt.
The unsatisfactory situation of two Harrogate stations, unconnected by rail and some distance apart,
lasted for another 11 years. It seems strange that the LNR built the Knaresborough branch but not the
more important Harrogate branch, for which the L&TR had obtained powers. Following formation of
the North Eastern Railway in 1854, the situation was rectified, with ●Dragon Jn to Starbeck North,
●Brunswick Jn to Bilton Jn and ●Pannal Jn to Crimple Jn links all opening on 1 Aug 1862. This resulted
in the closure of Brunswick station but it is not known when. No traces remain of the station or the
west end of the tunnel. Little is known about the Stonefall to Belmont Jn curve, which OA in 1864 and
had been severed at Belmont Jn by 1900. The old route between Pannal Jn and Starbeck continued in
passenger use until an unknown date after grouping; LMS trains from Leeds making a circular trip via
Starbeck and Harrogate. It CA 1951 south of Stonefall sidings, quoted as 'May', 26 Jun or 14 Oct.
To complicate things (!) there were also branches to Pateley Bridge (OA 1 May 1862; CP 2 Apr 1951;
CA 2 Nov 1964) where the Nidd Valley Railway continued north, and Boroughbridge (OA 1 Apr 1875,
linking up with the branch from Pilmoor OA 1847; CP 25 Sep 1950; CA 5 Oct 1964).
The LNER introduced the 'Harrogate Pullman' between King's Cross and Newcastle via Leeds and
Harrogate (a spa town) in July 1923 to the benefit of those 'taking the waters'. It was extended to
Edinburgh in 1925 and in September that year was rerouted via Shaftholme Jn, Knottingley and Church
Fenton, avoiding Leeds. This use of what was a minor line was only brief and the Pullman reverted to
running via Leeds (and was renamed the 'Queen of Scots') on 1 May 1928. It was withdrawn in 1964
due to lack of patronage north of Harrogate. An ordinary express ran via Church Fenton until 1947. To
avoid a reversal at Leeds City, most through trains between Manchester and Newcastle via Harrogate
ran via Wetherby until Crimple Jn to Wetherby CA 6 Jan 1964, (CP to Cross Gates and Church Fenton).
Harrogate to Northallerton CP 6 Mar 1967 despite vigorous opposition, with CA of Dragon Jn to Bilton
Jn and Melmerby to Northallerton. All the signal boxes were closed and Starbeck to Melmerby was
reduced to 'one engine in steam' on the former Up line. A travelling signalman accompanied each train
to work the level crossings and Ripon box. After a serious accident near Thirsk on 31 Jul 1967, (an
ECML express collided with a derailed cement wagon), a futile attempt was made to operate services
over the Up Slow, the only track unaffected. The following day the more radical solution was adopted
of reopening the line between Starbeck North and Northallerton for just one day for northbound
trains only. All nine intermediate boxes were staffed operating under permissive block. It CA north of
Ripon when Melmerby MoD Depot closed at the end of 1968 (final train 31 Dec 1968). Ripon CG 5 Sep
1969 for public traffic, but private siding traffic continued until the last train, apparently on 9 Oct 1969.
2191] Belfast - Coleraine: From 5 Jul catering was reintroduced on four services in each direction after
a ten-year absence. Castlerock loop closed after traffic on Mon 31 Oct. The final train to use it was the
21.10 Great Victoria Street (GVS) to Londonderry. On 1 & 2 Nov the 07.13 ex-Londonderry and 06.05
ex-GVS crossed at Coleraine instead. The 16.13 ex-Londonderry and 17.55 return were buses. The loop
had already been partially lifted (overnight) by 09.33 on Wed 2 Nov! BELOW: Pictures all taken on
30 Oct at Castlerock with its somersault semaphore signals during the RPSI tour. The Castlerock to
Coleraine block instruments had failed the previous day and were not repaired until 1 Nov, meanwhile
there was temporary pilot working between Coleraine and Castlerock in both directions.
The key token was still in use for the Londonderry section. The RPSI train was scheduled to use Killagan
loop in both directions but in the event only used it in the outward direction due to delayed service
trains. The final train on the old system was on 2 Nov, the 20.15 ECS from Londonderry. (Jonathan
Condell previous page bottom left, all others Martin Baumann and all on 30 Oct 2016.)
2192] Phoenix Park line: (BLN 1265.1874) The proposed services do not serve Heuston station and
Portlaoise connections are poor. Four train sets will be needed in the morning and five in the evening.
2193] Belmond train: (BLN 1267.1648) The 10 coaches painted dark blue carry county names as well
as numbers and initially at least were coupled in sequence: Carlow (electric generating van and crew
mess), Donegal (crew sleeping coach), Fermanagh, Leitrim, Waterford, Down, Kerry (all sleeping cars),
Sligo (formal dining car), Wexford (casual dining car) and Kildare (lounge and observation car). An 11th
vehicle stables at Dublin North Wall.
2194] Wemyss Bay: (BLN 1267.2090) The 5 Oct train was not the first resumed use of P1; it was in use
the day before and may have ROP on 2 Oct during the Sunday closure for the Inverclyde resignalling.
2195] Ardrossan Harbour: This 74ch electrified single-track branch from Holm Jn is not much longer
than the Stourbridge Town branch. There is an intermediate station at Ardrossan Town CP 1 Jan 1968;
ROP 19 Jan 1987 when the branch was singled and the Harbour station was moved the other side of
the level crossing. This shortened the branch to allow movement of high loads and cranes in the dock
area with electrification. Initially the service was hourly to 'Town' extended to 'Harbour' for ferry
connections. Both stations now have an hourly service all day except Sundays when they run to
connect with the Arran Ferry to Brodick. The EMUs are generally quiet except when there is a sailing.
The line is prone to disruption with storms and high seas, which are becoming more frequent with
climate change. The 'Arran Banner' paper recently reported that Associated British Ports (ABP) at
Troon is making a bid to 'poach' the ferry with an offer of £8M to create a state of the art passenger
ferry and new pier. ABP claim that this would improve the reliability of the service which is 'dogged by
weather conditions' at Ardrossan as Troon has a very sheltered harbour. They also cite better roads
and the rail service (4tph each way) to Glasgow. Transport Scotland have a taskforce wading through
the issues at Ardrossan Harbour but has not ruled out the ferry moving to Troon. Brodick is 18 nautical
miles from Troon but only 12 from Ardrossan; the Glasgow train journey time to both ports is similar.
X.172] Panteg and Coedygric Junction - Hafodyrynys:
(BLN 1266.X157) Note: 'Coedygrig' should be 'Coedygric'.
The line was the last section (at this end) of the railway to
Neath via Crumlin Viaduct (which CP 15 Jun 64, CA west of
Hafodyrynys to Crumlin Jn 9 Feb 65). However, it was not
accessed in passenger days by this route which became
possible in 1959 when a running connection (south to
west) was put in at Trosnant Jn, where the lines cross at
the top left of the OS map (LEFT) - the spur is not shown on
this 1956 map. The line the coal train pictured in e-BLN
1266 is standing on was double track towards Blaenavon
before that date. Rail traffic ceased at Hafodyrynys in April
1979, the trackbed was required for road 'improvements'.
ABOVE: A typical South Wales Valleys railtour in the 1970s;
the RCTS (Bristol) Eastern Valleys Railtour of 8 May 1971 at
Hafodyrynys https://goo.gl/LptrhP (Angus McDougall).
2196] Wales & Borders franchise: (BLN 1266.1989) The Welsh Government confirms that it has
obtained powers, via an agency agreement with the DfT, to take on responsibility for letting the next
franchise, due to start on 14 Oct 2018. Transport for Wales has been set up to oversee the process.
Four companies have responded to an initial invitation to provide outline proposals covering matters
such as capacity, journey times, accessibility, rolling stock and customer services including developing
the South East Wales Metro. Responses have been requested by the end of November, and a 'pick and
mix' proposal based on these will be issued for public consultation in the New Year. From this, a
preferred option will emerge and formal bids sought, with a view to awarding a contract by January
2018. This is a very different process to the DfT's usual prescriptive franchise definition. The Welsh
Government is likely to seek a 15-year franchise, with break points at five and ten years, and much
more flexibility than was provided for in the current (2003-18) franchise. It will be very interesting to
see what proposals emerge in respect of the Cardiff Valleys; pressure to use (or lose) EU funding may
mean that time and cost considerations mean solutions other than 25kV mainline style electrification.
2197] Cardiff Central: (BLN 1267.2096) From 31 Oct a new facing crossover was to be installed at
Cardiff East between the Up and Down Llandaf lines, and also the new line through Cardiff Central P8,
connecting into the Down Barry Main at Cardiff West Jn. All are OOU until the Christmas shutdown.
2198] Ebbw Vale (What doesn't go up brings you down): (BLN 1236.1290) Some correspondents
report ongoing disappointment in attempting to use the cableway at Ebbw Vale Town, with closures
(speaking to technicians there) due to repeated vandalism and the resulting repair work. The stairway
paralleling the lift is for staff use only, and no alternative walking route is signposted, but a member
did find a pathway taking an anti-clockwise loop to the top, a walk of some eight minutes.
Further south, work on extending re-doubling between Aberbeeg and Crosskeys ('South East Wales
Metro Stage 1' project) shows good progress, with considerable lengths of track laid and ballasted but
without the rails welded up, but work is now progressing very slowly. There is no sign of construction
of additional platforms, re-siting of signal PJ1929 or indeed any signalling work. The Ebbw Vale line,
like Maesteg (BLN 1266.1988) and Wrexham Central, is one where it seems common practice for
southbound passengers from Parkway to join a northbound and detour via Town station.
.Stop Press:. The Ebbw Vale Cableway, or 'Mechanical Link' as signed by the higher-level 'stop', was
operating on Wed 26 Oct. At early lunchtime, it was in continual use in both directions, the car,
balanced by a weight moving in the opposite direction, is build number DAA0000037 of 2014.
2199] Pontrhydyfen Branch: A curious piece of railway was that identified as 'Railway No8' in the
Rhondda & Swansea Bay Railway 1892 Act, a branch between South Wales Mineral Jn (Pontrhydyfen)
and South Wales Mineral Branch Jn (near the Gyfylchi Tunnel eastern end). Built in 1899 and lifted in
1917, without being opened to traffic, it now forms a well-marked public footpath, with hard surface
suitable for mountain bikes.
1268 MINOR RAILWAYS
MR211] MINOR RAILWAYS - 28th EDITION - 2016 21XX]
7 CHANNEL ISLANDS & SOUTHERN ENGLAND
Coulsdon Old Vehicle & Engineering Society, Finmere, Buckinghamshire §
0.15 GCR SP629313 Open Days: Mid August
(Open Days commenced 13/08/16)
25 WEST YORKSHIRE
Churwell Woodland Railway, Community Field Centre, Morley
7¼' B 150yds SE265293 07836 363161
(New line originally opened Easter 2014 & completed 12/2015)
26 COUNTY KILDARE
Lullymore Heritage Centre, Lullymore, Rathangan (New line opened 30/07/16)
3' O 1,160yds N699250 00 353 45 870238
6 South Devon Railway Amend to: 01364 644370
7 Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway Amend length to: 3.56 (Extension to Princes Risborough
7 Cambrian Heritage Railways (Oswestry) Amend length to: 0.37 (Extension south of Middleton Road
Bridge opened 27/08/16). Amend to: 01691 728131
7 Cambrian Heritage Railways (Llynclys) Amend to: 01691 728131
8 Mid Norfolk Railway Amend to: 01362 851723
13 All-in-One Miniature Railway Delete entry (Line closed. Garden Centre closed 31/07/16)
14 Derbyshire Dales Narrow Gauge Railway Delete entry (Line out of use. Last ran c09/14)
14 Markeaton Park Light Railway Delete entry (Line closed. Last ran 18/09/16)
15 Paignton Zoo Jungle Express Amend to: 01803 697500
15 South Devon Miniature Railway Amend to: 01364 644370
16 Barnards Miniature Railway Amend length to: 1,840yds (Angel Green Extension opened 04/09/16)
18 North London Model Engineers Amend length to: 900yds (Extension opened 04/05/14)
20 Pleasure Island Railway Delete entry (Line closed. Last ran 29/10/16)
21 Lynnsport Miniature Railway Delete (Line closed. Last ran 25/10/15) (Moving to new site nearby)
22 Mortocombe Miniature Railway Delete entry (Line closed. Believed last ran in Autumn 2015)
22 Bath & West Railway Amend to: 01749 870662(e)
23 Westonzoyland Light Railway Amend to: 01278 691595. Length to: 150 yds (correction)
23 Amerton Railway Amend to: 01889 271337
23 Rudyard Lake Steam Railway Amend to: 01538 306704
25 Littlehampton Miniature Railway Amend to: 07436 562933
S1 Fenn Bell Miniature Railway Amend layout to: C. Amend length to: 270yds (Extensions opened by
27/08/16) © Peter Scott October 2016
BELOW: Markeaton Park Light Railway, Markeaton station; 4w-4wDM D5905 (1995) (Peter Scott 31 May 2014).
MR212] Markeaton Park Light Railway, Derbyshire: (MR p14) (BLN 1266.MR191) On 18 October track
was still present on the shed roads and up to the first level crossing next to the shed. This was open,
the loco and stock were on site, but the railway's owner who was there, advised that they were due to
leave for the Lappa Valley Railway (MR p13) in Cornwall during the first week in November. Staff from
the North Bay Railway, Scarborough (MR p22) were present collecting rails, which left on two flat bed
lorries. By 23 October all rails had gone except for some very short level crossing sections and a few
points by the shed; most of the wooden sleepers were still in the ground as was all of the ballast.
MR213] Great Central Railway, Leicestershire (MR p7): Concepts for the Railway's proposed £18
million Main Line Museum have gone on show to the public. After being narrowed down from 72
architectural designs, the final shortlist of six has been put on display at Greenacres, Leicester North
station. The project is being funded by a £10M Heritage Lottery Fund grant - the largest ever given to a
scheme in Leicestershire. It is being co-run by the Great Central Railway (GCR), Leicester City Council
(LCC) and the National Railway Museum (NRM). Submissions on the shortlist are contrasting concepts,
including structures created from more traditional materials such as timber and stone, to more
contemporary structures built from metal and glass. A panel of judges, made up of representatives
from the council, GCR and NRM, will chose the winning design. A planning application for the project is
expected to be submitted to LCC in June 2017 and the museum is due to open by 2021.
BELOW: Great Central Railway - adjacent to the site of the proposed new museum, GWR 'King' 6023,
'King Edward II' runs-round at Leicester North. The lighter brick raised section on the overbridge
parapet in the background to the right is the bricked up entrance to the original Great Central Railway
Belgarve & Birstall station (OP 1899 to 1963) with a typical island platform (Peter Scott 27 Jan 2013).
MR214] Nene Valley Railway, Cambridgeshire (MR 8): The Railway's 2016 timetable leaflet (first day
of use 7 February 2016) suggests that three stations have been renamed: Ferry Meadows is now Orton
Waterville for Ferry Meadows, Orton Mere is Longville Junction for Orton Mere and Peterborough
Nene Valley is Peterborough West (Nene Valley). [MR Ed: I seem to recall reading somewhere these
renamings were not taken forward due to the cost of amending documentation in connection with
Network Rail. The Railway's web site still uses the original names for all three stations].
MR215] South Devon Miniature Railway, Devon (MR p15) (BLN 1190.MR144): This 7¼" gauge railway
runs in grounds adjacent to Buckfastleigh station on the South Devon Railway. On Saturday 1 October
trains were being hauled by 0-4-0PH 'Phoenix' in black livery with one sit-astride coach. This loco was
bought in 1996 from Roanoke, based in North Devon. To enable it to haul a heavier train and to meet
more modern regulations it has had some quite major modifications; these include the fitting of train
brakes, a brand new hydraulic system, a bigger engine (being increased from 5.5hp to 8.5hp), new cab
controls to accommodate all of the new systems and a new electrical system, to include a compressor
and alternator. The staff were very friendly and a tour of the sheds was readily offered and gratefully
accepted. Newly completed is a brake van and it is planned to offer brake van rides in the future from
the station to near the tunnel mouth, where a small platform is under construction.
ABOVE: Barnards Miniature Railway the Pullman 2-car battery electric railcar stands in the impressive
Burtonshaw Terminus station during the railway's end of season gala. (Peter Scott 16 Oct 2016)
MR216] Barnards Miniature Railway, Essex (MR p16) (BLN 1256.MR81): The final running day of the
season at this lengthy 7¼" gauge railway was Sunday 16 October, which saw an 'End of Season Gala'.
Three members attended in the morning. A 15 minute interval service was in operation, with the XX.00
and XX.30 departures from Burtonshaw Terminus running over the new extension (opened on Sunday
4 September 2016) to Angel Green. The XX.15 & XX.45 departures ran only to Sitooterie Halt. An £8
adult rover ticket, allows unlimited riding. The 11.00 departure was hauled by 47548 'The Silcock
Express', which ran round at Angel Green. The 12.30 was operated by a smart 2-car battery electric
EMU No3010 in Pullman brown and cream livery. Five steam locos worked, some double heading.
MR217] Poplar Miniature Railway, Essex (MR p17) (BLN 1208.MR61): This 7¼" gauge railway is
located at Poplar Nurseries, Marks Tey. On Sunday 11 September, American style 2-4-2 No.12 'Alice',
black liveried (signed for Bridgton and Harrison with works plate showing 'J Stubbs Horbury 1995') was
in charge of one sit-astride coach and two sit-in coaches. Fare was £2 for one circuit of the double loop
layout around the ornamental gardens. A paper roll ticket was issued. Blue liveried American type,
double bogied diesel No3 'Poplar Lady' (maker's plate unreadable) was outside one of the two sheds.
MR218] North London Model Engineers, Hertfordshire (MR p18) (BLN 1264.MR170): A visit was made
here on Sunday 16 October, the final running day of the season, which started at 14.00 with the
ground level and elevated lines in action. The non-public elevated line around the boating lake was not
in use. Trains were very busy all afternoon with the ground level operating out of the new station at
Orchard Junction with two trains using the new alignment around the tunnel area; the elevated line
has also been extended in the same area and now runs over the ground level line near the tunnel on a
separate bridge. A ride was taken from Tyttenhanger Station behind a 2-6-2T loco 67669 for a very
spirited run along this impressive elevated railway. Light refreshments were available from the
clubhouse and members were on hand for any questions.
MR219] Mortocombe Miniature Railway, Oxfordshire (MR p22) (BLN 1265.MR181): A member
reports that the railway was certainly running on 20 September 2015, since he rode on it. It was an
out-and-back journey from the station to the end of the line. Our reporter was hoping that he might
be able to persuade the driver to go round the loop as well but was told that the track wasn't in
sufficiently good condition. There was a steam locomotive on site and in steam, but for some reason it
could not be used, and the ride was behind a Union Pacific lookalike engine. There was no indication
that the railway might close. Did any member visit after 20 September 2015 please?
MR220] Welsh Highland Railway, Gwynedd (MR p29) (BLN 1263.1600): It is expected the current
station at Caernarfon will be closed at the end of the season. Next season the railway will be operating
from a temporary station building but using the same platform. The target completion date of the new
station building is spring 2018. Therefore, it is only the existing (original but also officially temporary!)
station building that does not reopen next year - no track/mileage will be closed.
MR221] Margam Park Railway, Neath Port Talbot (MR p30) (BLN 1076.MR197): Despite thousands
attending a Classic Car Show at Margam Castle on Sunday 18 September, the railway stuck to its
timetable of just four round trips, leaving most people to face the steep climb on foot. Departures
from Orangery Halt/Arhosfan yr Orendy were at 11.00, 12.00, 13.00 and 14.30, returning from Castle
Halt/Arhosfan y Castell 30 minutes later. Steep gradients and sharp curvature mean speed is low,
making for a scenic 15-minute journey. There is no intermediate station or depot, and the former Play
Castle loop is out of use and partially disconnected. Balloon loops at each terminus are taken clockwise
direction. 2ft gauge 0-4-0 DH 'Margam Park' (Alan Keef 65/2001) was hauling three covered bogie
coaches, each having four 6-seat compartments. Paper roll tickets were headed 'N.P.T.C.B.C.'
(Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council) at a very reasonable fare of £2 single (£1 child or senior).