Issue Number 1248 (Items 1 - 110 & MR 1 - MR 8) (E-BLN 37 PAGES) 9 January 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 1249 is dated 23 January and all coSnotcriiebtuy.tions must be received by 13 January.
Date Event Visit Type BLN Lead Notes
Sat 23/01/16 EDF Tracker railtour Carnforth to West Burton PS 1245 JE OPEN
Sun 24/01/16 Kylie's Captain Specials, 09.00 & 10.00 track & traction 1248 AM SEE
SEE BELOW NRM Shildon 08484 OPENS SUNDAY 10 JAN at 19.30 BELOW
Sat 6/02/16 Wirral Heritage Trams 11.00 Tram Trip & Museum visit 1248 JE *OPEN*
Sun 7/02/16 Merseyrail Tracker 09.32 Hooton Class 508 EMU tour 1247 KA OPEN
Sat 27/02/16 North Midlands Tracker 07.20 Crewe, to two Heritage 1248 GJ *NOW*
*NOW OPEN* *SEE BOOKING FORM* lines with East Midlands Trains *OPEN*
Sat 5/03/16 Southend-on-Sea area 10.30 - 15.30 five different visits 1247 RB OPEN
Fri 18/03/16 Didcot Railway Centre Date for your diary TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 19/03/16 Pontypool & Blaenavon 10.30 Comprehensive railtour 1246 SM OPEN
*NEW* Mon AFRPS Scunthorpe Steel 09.30-18.45 Easter Monday 1248 PS *OPEN*
28/03/16 Works Railway Railtour (with two food breaks)
8-11/04/2016 Jordan Hejaz Railway Special train; rare lines in Jordan 1246 IS NOTIFY
7-9/05/2016 Rare track in SW Spain Heritage line & two freight lines 1244 GB Enquire
20-22/05/16 Northern Ireland Long weekend, minor/mainlines TBA KA Claimed
3-4/06/2016 Scottish Minor Railways Aberdeenshire/Perthshire 1246 TV NOTIFY
AM-Andrew Mitchell, GB-Geoff Blyth, GJ-Graeme Jolley, IS-Iain Scotchman, JE-Jill Everett, KA -Kev Adlam,
PS-Paul Stewart, RB-Rod Bryant, SM-Simon Mortimer, TV-Terry Velvick.
1] Kylie's Captain Specials, Sunday 24 Jan, National Railway Museum 'Locomotion', Shildon, DL4 2RE
(NZ 238 255): Joint with PLEG, following our EDF Tracker railtour to West Burton Power Station (a few
places remain) the day before. The first ever passenger workings of 08484 here (with 03090). Two
trains are booked to cover Roads 5, 6 & 7 in front of the museum (the three furthest from the main
line), and as far as possible on the main running line in both directions. Train 1 (09.00) should cover
more track and run to the museum doors. The museum opens at 10.00, so Train 2 (connects with the
09.47 arrival from Darlington) will stop short of the doors. Please book for Train 2 if you are not
particularly interested in track. £10 per person (cash only correct money please) pay on the day to BLS
and PLEG stewards; it will be handed over in full to Locomotion. Limited accommodation (50 per trip),
two brake vans only on each train; ADVANCE BOOKING ONLY. Souvenir map, ticket and stock list will
be provided. Locos and track are subject to availability. PLEG, BLS and/or Locomotion will not accept
responsibility for any costs incurred should 08484 be moved away (not envisaged) or be unavailable,
or if access to any advertised track is not available on the day for any reason. BLS
http://goo.gl/TR1nWQ terms and conditions apply to all participants. Bookings open Sun 10 Jan at
19.30; first come first served. To book, please provide full name, email address, train
preference, and names of others you wish to travel with to [email protected]
2] Wirral Heritage Tramway, Birkenhead, Sat 6 Feb, 11.00: (MR p32) 950yd long. No1
Taylor Street, Birkenhead, CH41 1BG. (SJ323893) 270yd from Conway Park Merseyrail
station. To complement our railtour the next day; starting before public running
(13.00). A comprehensive tram ride with rare track not covered in passenger service,
a visit to http://goo.gl/Q5NVkp the Mersey Tramway Preservation Society Museum
also tea and biscuits. £11 members, £14 non-members, includes track map, stock list
and souvenir ticket (cheques dated 2016 'Branch Line Society') or CPA to Howard & Jill Everitt, 4
Barnside Way, Moulton, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 8PT. Please supply phone number and email
address or an SAE. Queries [email protected] or by post (SAE). BLS Third Rail Centenary Tracker,
Sun 7 Feb: This charity tour complements our 18 Jan 2015 Merseyrail tour. It includes significant 'Baker
track': The ECS stock interchange connecting line between the Northern and Wirral lines, Birkenhead
North Depot, carriage sidings at Southport, Kirkdale Depot and much more at the micro-level. On the
booking form distributed with BLN 1247, note that Sandhills turnback line is followed by Sandhills P1.
This is a large capacity train so please give the tour, for two worthwhile causes, maximum publicity.
3] North Midlands Tracker, Sat 27 Feb 07.20/20.00: A booking form for our new
Class 156 DMU railtour from Crewe to Ruddington, Great Central Railway (Nottingham) and Barrow
Hill (extended bay platform) is enclosed. E-subscribers will find it as a download that needs to be
printed off. On GCR(N) prototype HST Power Car 41001 and Class 56 56097 will make a return trip of
the line in 'top and tail' mode At Barrow Hill VF3272 0-4-0ST (1918) 'Vulcan' with stock will give rides
over the Springwell branch. Please support this innovative track and traction tour.
4] Scunthorpe Steel Tracker, Easter Mon 28 Mar: An interesting and unique experience in the year
2016, enjoy it while you still can, and strike while the iron is still hot, at one of the UK's final 24 hour
operational integrated steel works ('200 acres totally unspoilt by tourism'). Mothballing of the Plate
Mill is expected soon. There are over 100 miles of standard gauge track at present and a great way to
see an operating steel works at close quarters. Starting 09.30 at the AFRPS platform until around 18.45
(NB extra daylight, the clocks change the previous day) for 19.08 train from Scunthorpe. An extensive
full day railtour with two comfort breaks at the AFRPS shed (view and photo the locos). Subject to
engineering work etc, Birmingham and London rail connections are available. Interesting motive power
is anticipated. Maximum 47, first come first served, £46 members, £51 non-members, includes two
lots of food and drink, a detailed track map, stock list and souvenir ticket. Our tour supports the good
work of the AFRPS. Bookings and queries to Paul Stewart (back page) with any specific line requests
(must be in advance). Please supply an email address or an SAE (two for an initial acknowledgment).
Note: subject to demand, and circumstances at the plant, this may be our only 2016 Scunthorpe tour.
BELOW: Line up of locos at the AFRPS shed in Scunthorpe Steelworks. (Martin Crompton, Dec 2015)
5] Unusual Track: Anticipated but should be re-checked e.g. http://goo.gl/wwSbYv etc.
Dumfries P1 - London end trailing X/O: 06.18 (SuX) to Newcastle (the only passenger train).
Gaer Jn-Park Jn: 9 Jan - 3 Apr all Saturday and Sunday Ebbw Vale trains are to/from Newport.
Macclesfield Up & Down Passenger Loop (P3), facing and trailing X/Os: Down trains scheduled
to wait for overtaking moves, if there is an overtaking move (otherwise may use P1) i.e. 12 - 23
Feb, 07.59 (SSux) Stoke to Piccadilly. After 15 Feb, 22.18 (SuX) Stoke to Piccadilly. NB: 12 - 23
Feb (Alderley Edge to Crewe TCP). Frequently available (SuX) in Up direction without the X/Os.
Deansgate facing X/O: 13-23 Feb, most diverted ATW services from Crewe (when using P1).
Wilmslow country end trailing X/O Styal line: 13, 14, 20 & 21 Feb all departures (from P2).
X1] (BLN Extra) Unusual Moves 9/10 Jan: Thanks to, and with permission of, member Stephen Ebbs:
Sat 9 January only: (All should be checked in advance before travelling and may not happen)
Barking to Fenchurch Street service starts from P7.
08.09, hourly until 21.09 Waterloo-Basingstoke 19.39, 20.39, 21.39, 22.10/22.39 terminate P4.
07.25 & 08.25 from Manchester Airport to Manchester Oxford Road terminate in P4.
Southampton Central: 07.33 & hourly to 19.33 (not 12.33) ex-Weymouth terminate P4. Trains
from Salisbury (via Redbridge) terminate in P3B. The 11.11 from Westbury terminates in P3A.
09.43 and hourly until 20.43 and then 22.30 and 23.30 to Poole start from P2B.
Sat 9 and Sun 10 January:
Basingstoke: The following services from Waterloo terminate in P3: Saturday 06.39, 06.42,
07.39 and hourly until 15.39 from Waterloo and on Sunday the 08.05 and hourly until 23.05.
Southampton Central: SO XC trains from Bournemouth reverse in P1 except 14.06 (P4) and XC
trains to Bournemouth reverse in P1. SuO XC trains north start or reverse P2. 15.27 Manchester
to Bournemouth in P4, the 16.27 and 17.27 P2. All XC trains are via Laverstock Curve.
Faverham to Ashford/St. Pancras International via Whitstable trains terminate in/start from P1.
Gillingham to Dover Priory/Faversham/Ramsgate services start from P2.
Sole Street to Victoria from P2 and cross from the Down to Up Chatham Main on departure.
Port Talbot Parkway: SO 08.44, 10.44, 11.44, 12.44, 13.44, 14.44 & 20.20 to Paddington, 15.36
to Abergavenny and 17.35 & 19.36 to Cardiff Central & SuO 14.35, 16.11 & 18.11 to Paddington
and 19.55 to Cardiff Central all start from P1 and cross Down to Up Main at Port Talbot East.
Saturday 21.29 & 22.29 ex-Manchester Airport and Sunday 13.04 ex-Chester via Stockport
terminate in Manchester Oxford Road P3. Saturday 06.54 then 09.54 hourly to 19.54 & 20.56
and Sunday all Manchester Oxford Road to Manchester Airport start from P2.
Sun 10 Jan only:
East Croydon: the 07.22 and half-hourly until 22.52 trains from London Bridge terminate in P2.
London Bridge trains to South Croydon (terminating there in P4) call at East Croydon P6.
Redhill to Bognor Regis/Littlehampton/Portsmouth Harbour services start from P2.
Gatwick Airport: Brighton services terminate in P5; Eastbourne/Ore services terminate in P6.
Ascot: Service from Reading terminates in P2.
Southampton Central: From 08.39, services to Poole start from P1.
Barking service from Fenchurch Street terminates in P8.
Chelmsford: 07.52, 08.30 and 23.59 to Liverpool Street start from P2.
Witham: 09.47 to Liverpool Street starts from P3.
Colchester: 08.09 & 09.09 ex-Ipswich and 17.45 ex-Peterborough terminate in P1;
07.00, 08.00, 09.00, 21.00 and 22.00 ex-Norwich & 19.47 ex-Peterborough terminate in P2.
Basingstoke: 08.44, then hourly until 23.44 to Waterloo and the 16.16 start from P2.
Edgeley Jn No2: ATW Chester to Manchester Piccadilly (not 20.36) cross to the Down Fast.
Crossing Up Slow to Up Fast at Loughborough North Jn: 06.27 from Derby and 07.08 from
Nottingham to St. Pancras (via Toton Centre, East Midlands Parkway P4 and Loughborough P2).
Between the 08.10-10.20 Euston to Manchester, Down trains are via Rugby P4 and in the Down
direction along the Up Trent Valley Fast crossing to the Down Trent Valley Fast at Nuneaton
North Jn (LM services calling at Atherstone will cross to the Down Trent Valley Slow).
Long Lawford Jn Up to Down Coventry: Trains from Rugby P4 to Coventry, until the 11.23.
Stockport P1 to Manchester Oxford Road, 09.22 departure starts from P1.
Stockport bay P3A: in use all day by Manchester Piccadilly shuttles.
Pontypridd to Aberdare/Merthyr Tydfill/Treherbert from P2. At Pontypridd North Jn Treherbert
trains use Down to Up Branch X/O; Aberdare/Merthyr Tydfil trains the Down to Up Main X/O.
Taffs Well: Cardiff end X/O in use by terminating services from Cardiff Central/Barry Island.
1248 HEAD LINES
6] Pinhoe station: CP 7 Mar 1966 one of nine closed*, with the withdrawal of the Exeter to Salisbury
local service (amends BLN 46 of 15 Dec 1965 - back page which gave 3 Jan 1966**). ROP 16 May 1983
by 'Network Southeast' at the start of the summer timetable (amends BLN 466 p113 that gave 13 Jun
1983). The reopening was 'experimental', initially under the so-called 'Speller Amendment' or 'Speller
Act'. Antony [Tony] Kirby Speller, (1929-2013) MP in North Devon introduced the Transport Act 1962
(Amendment) Act 1981 (C.32). It created a new Section 56A within the Transport Act 1962 (services
are often referred to as 'Section 56A services'). Pinhoe station and the Penistone to Barnsley line (ROP
the same day) were notable as the first to take advantage of the legislation. However, the official
British Railways Board notice to this effect was with effect from 13 Jun 1983 (BLN 465.36). The initial
commuter service was successful and Pinhoe now has regular passenger services seven days a week.
*The eight other Exeter to Salisbury line stations CP 7 Mar 1966 were Broad Clyst, Chard Junction,
Dinton, Milborne Port, Seaton Junction, Semley, Templecombe (ROP 3 Oct 1983) and Wilton South.
**Withdrawal of service was originally agreed by the Minister of Transport, Barbara Castle, from 3 Jan
1966 (along with the Somerset and Dorset Railway passenger services, also serving Templecombe).
One of the road operators withdrew their licence application to provide some of the alternative road
services, delaying the closures by nearly three months and retaining steam on the Western Region.
7] Londonderry (Waterside): The original 1852 station CP 24 Feb 1980 the final timetabled train was
09.05 ex-Belfast Central and 11.30 return. The first train from the new, rationalised and resited station
was 17.40 to Belfast Central, the set was already present. The original station ROP for one day, 8 Aug
1987 (special trains for a political demonstration, one each from Ballymena, Belfast and Portadown).
On 12 Dec 1987, because of a bomb threat at the new station, a train ran to the old one.
8] Blackpool Electric Tramway, Norbreck North stop: (BLN 1247.2302) The former ground level stop
was last served on Sun 6 Nov 2011 and CP with effect from 7 November that year, the end of the
heritage only operation (after the illuminations) when the number of stops was reduced from 61 to 37.
9] Philips Park West Jn (No1 Jn) - Philips Park South Jn (No2 Jn) - Ashburys West Jn: CP from Sun 13
Sep 2015, when the weekly PSUL train, 10.03 (SuO) Liverpool Lime Street to Newcastle was rerouted. It
was prone to being diverted or altered to start from Manchester Piccadilly rather than run via Victoria.
The equivalent train now leaves Lime Street 11 minutes later and runs the usual route via Victoria.
10] *Claydon L&NE Jn (excl) - Bicester, Gavray Jn (excl): NRU from 28 Sep 2015; Banbury Road Siding
& Bicester COD traffic was then diverted via Bicester Chord. The final working (to Bicester), was on 17
Sep 2015. (*Claydon Loop remains in regular use for Calvert Tip trains to run round.)
11] Bicester South Jn - Gavray Jn: OG Mon 28 Sept 2015 (also date of the first COD train); Didcot to
Bicester Central Ordnance Depot (COD) and Acton Yard to Oxford, Banbury Road aggregate traffic.
12] Milford Jn - Gascoigne Wood Jn: CP from Sun 1 Nov 2015, the weekly PSUL train, 20.18 (SuO)
Leeds to Hull (also via Castleford) was rerouted to the direct route, saving 11 minutes on the schedule.
13] Annbank Jn-Drongan Jn-Killoch Washery: (BLN 1247.2293) ROG (Longannet coal) 'early' Nov 2015.
14] Southampton Up Yard (ex-Bevois Park Sidings): ROG 14 Dec 2015, south of St. Denys station, trial
train 01.45 from Dowlow Briggs Sidings (Hindlow) with 66018; arriving 13.57 and returning 17.52 to
Wembley European Freight Operations Centre. The sidings, OOU for about 30 years, have been relaid.
15] IÉ, Limerick, Check Cabin (0m 56ch) - Ennis (incl.) and Sixmilebridge station: TCP 15 Dec 2015 due
to Ballycar Lough flooding from 'Storm Desmond' (the whole of the Western Corridor was TCP on 16th).
Flooding also TCP the Cork to Cobh and Midleton branches at Glounthaune on 15 December only.
16] IÉ, Athenry (excl) - Ennis (incl) and Craughwell & Ardrahan stations: (BLN 1247.2288) ROP 17 Dec
2015 after TCP since 6 Dec 2015 due to flooding. TCP again 31 Dec 2015 due to flooding at Kiltartan.
17] Coventry Arena & Bermuda Park stations: (BLN 1247.2298/2299) OP now due Mon 11 Jan 2016.
18] Stratford, Channelsea North Jn - Stratford Central Jn West - Stratford P11: OP Mon 14 Dec 2015,
a Connection of Strategic Importance and new PSUL used in this direction only by the 18.30 (SSuX)
from Clapham Junction. Such London Overground (LO) services normally use Stratford bays P1 & P2,
which are otherwise booked. The ECS then runs to Wembley Central LO Carriage Sidings out of service.
BLN 1248.19] IÉ, Sligo line; Longford (excl) - Carrick-on-Shannon (excl) and Dromod station: (BLN
1247.2289) ROP 13.00 on 22 Dec (TCP 6 Dec 2015). TCP again 2 Jan 2016, River Shannon flooding.
BELOW LEFT: Dromod on the Sligo line.. RIGHT: Gort on the Western Corridor. (Both IÉ 8 Dec 2015)
20] Metropolitan Jn (B) - 'in/out' Cannon St. Line - Cannon Street ('South Jn'): (BLN 1243.1901) This
25ch SER built single track curve TCA after the 00.50 Charing Cross to Orpington on 24 Dec 2015.
21] Folkestone Central (excl) - Dover Priory (excl): TCP from 11.30 on 24 Dec 2015 until further notice,
due to high tide with strong winds on Christmas Eve undermining and damaging the seawall at many
locations. Major repairs with reinstatement of 250m of track are required. (See regional section too.)
22] Folkestone East Jn - Dover Priory (excl): TCA in part at least from 24 Dec 2015, as above, with a T3
total line possession between 71m 23ch and 76m 35ch until further notice, due to seawall damage.
ECS workings are running from Folkestone Central P2 to P1 via Folkestone East Train road (to reverse).
23] Kellingley Colliery Branch Jn (SE 5318 2334) - Kellingley Colliery (SE 5189 2364): (BLN 1209.783) A
¾ mile UK Coal private branch. CG after the final train of UK deep-mined coal (up to 900 tonnes was
produced per hour) left at 12.14 Christmas Eve, Thursday 24 Dec 2015, arriving Drax 12.45. All six coal
trains ran on 22nd but none on 23rd. The empty wagons went to Scotland via the Settle & Carlisle line.
LEFT: A very sad day at the Sudforth Lane box
panel; it was Friday 18 December 2015, the day
Kellingley colliery ceased mining. Coal trains ran
for another week to clear stocks at the pithead.
One set of wagons could make six trips a day
to/from Drax Power Station which was just 10
miles away; a remarkably efficient operation.
24] Princes Risborough; Chinnor branch: Shown
as OOU in the Sectional Appendix from 26 Dec
2015. This is the NR stub end of the line now reached by reversing on the access track to the Down
Sidings behind P3. Last used as a through route on 10 Oct 2013; The Chinnor & Princes Risborough
Railway was temporarily connected up to NR (BLNs 1196.1511; 1512 & MR212 also 1198.MR234).
25] Waterloo station P21-24 (incl) - International Jn: (BLN 1246.2170) TCA from 27 Dec 2015 with
decommissioning of associated signalling, for work on the Wessex Capacity Improvement scheme. The
approach bridges were designed to take one international train at a time and are to be strengthened
to allow multiple trains to run simultaneously and the layout modified. All the former international
platforms will be available when P1-4 close in summer next year for lengthening to take 10-car trains.
26] Llandudno Junction (excl) - Blaenau Ffestiniog (incl) and nine intermediate stations: TCP 28 Dec
2015, due to extensive flood damage. Water was above platform height between North Llanrwst and
Llanrwst stations with over 100 washout sites between (7m 15ch) and (9m 73ch). Damage included a
collapsed wall at (14m 30ch) allowing a stream to flow onto the railway, nine more washouts (12m
12ch) to (12m 21ch) and undermined slab track at a bridge (12m 21ch). ROP expected 18 Jan 2016.
27] Perth (excl) - Aviemore (excl) and six intermediate stations: TCP (TCA part at least) about 10.00 on
30 Dec 2015 due to four landslips and flooding, particularly at Dalguise Viaduct over the River Tay
which needs repairs, north of Dunkeld & Birnam near Kincraigie. There was a serious washout further
south at Inchmagrannachan (what a fantastic name!). ROP was expected around 11 Jan 2016.
28] West Coast Main Line, Lockerbie (excl) - Carstairs (excl)/Carstairs East Jn TCP 08.53 on 31 Dec
2015 (expected to 31 Jan 2016) due to serious flood damage to a pier of Lamington River Clyde Viaduct
(NS 969 301). A large 0.5 tonne sandstone block had been washed out and a 4-5ft crack appeared
above it with significant dipping of the tracks. Further sandstone blocks were being dislodged. The last
train through was 08.12 TPE Edinburgh to Manchester Airport. The 05.58 TPE Airport to Edinburgh was
turned back at Lockerbie to Carlisle. Carstairs (excl) / East Jn - Beattock TCA.
ABOVE: Underneath Lamington Viaduct on the River Clyde (1 Jan 2016), with the missing sandstone
block evident and damaged area highlighted in red. BELOW: The work site on 4 January; the damage is
to the right far side of the middle pier, where the white water can be seen from the stone introduced
to reduce the force of the river and stem further damage to the structure. (Both NR Press Releases)
29] Dalmeny Jn-Winchburgh Jn: (BLN 1247.2290; apologies for misspelling) ROP 4 Jan 2016 (TCP 7 Dec
2015 to enhance Forth Bridge services) 07.13 (SSuX) Kirkcaldy to Queen St. & 17.33 return PSUL trains.
TCP is due 21 Mar to 5 Aug 2016 during the Queen Street High Level station engineering work closure.
30] Manchester, Museum of Science & Industry (former Liverpool Road station): Internal steam train
trips ceased in their previous format, after running on Tue 5 Jan 2016, due to work starting on the
Ordsall Lane Chord with most of the internal layout closing. Track lifting was due to start immediately
for completion on 6 January. From Good Friday 25 Mar 2016 'a new form of ride' will operate.
Subscribers to our 'Branch Line' email service were given prior warning and some made a farewell trip.
Public rides on Wed 30 Dec 2015. ABOVE LEFT: Train near the platform (off left) alongside the 'Power
Hall' looking south, with 0-4-0 'Agecroft No1' (from the former Manchester Power Station of that
name; visited by the Society in August and September 1979 including steam engine footplate rides); to
the right is the track towards the main line. ABOVE RIGHT: Looking west, the single track 'Banana
Road' is on the viaduct right (used by the train after reversal out of sight beyond the 1830s warehouse
building in the middle). BELOW LEFT: Looking east at the point where the train reverses, the
warehouse building middle left is the opposite end of the one shown in the previous picture. Left is the
'Banana Road' right is the line to the 'Power Hall'. This single track is the Museum end of the NR
connecting line now lifted (BLNs 1944.2010 & 1245.2116) beyond the NR boundary (behind camera).
BELOW RIGHT: Train heading off the 'Banana Road' towards the reversing point, the mainline
electrification masts are extreme left. Track (NR) is lifted past the yellow gate. (all Ian Mortimer). The
layout was well covered (including some not used by these public trains) by our main line 'Power Haul
Tracker' railtour into the site on Sun 3 Nov 2013. The 5 Jan 2016 was the final operation of this layout.
31] Merseyrail, Moorfields P1: (BLN 1246.2179) P1 TCP is due Mon 4 Jan to Fri 8 April 2016.
32] Crewe North Jn - Alderley Edge (excl.) & four intermediate stations: TCA Sat 13 Feb to Tue 23 Feb
2016 (incl) for £17M worth of repairs to the Grade II listed Holmes Chapel and Peover Viaducts with
repair of damaged brick work, removal of water stains and waterproofing. Strengthening is to be
carried out to Hungerford Rd bridge (Crewe), Shipbrook Rd bridge (Rudheath), Whatcroft underbridge
and the Trent & Mersey Canal bridge (both at Davenham). Work is also taking place on Wilmslow
station subway (under the tracks, not a food outlet!). Closing the line saves £0.5M on the cost. ATW
trains will run non-stop between Crewe and Manchester Oxford Road (not Piccadilly), taking a similar
time, generally P1 via Warrington and Earlestown. Virgin, XC and freight trains are diverted via Stoke-
on-Trent. Both weekends the closure extends to Cheadle Hulme (excl), when Wilmslow (only) will have
passenger services via Manchester Airport. Also both weekends, freight services do not run through
Middlewich and Sandbach South Jn to Salop Goods Jn (Crewe, Manchester Independent Lines).
BELOW: Holmes Chapel Viaduct between Crewe and Wilmslow. (NR press release)
33] LU Northern Line, Tufnell Park station: (BLN 1230.624) ROP is now expected on Mon 7 Mar 2016,
(two weeks ahead of schedule) after TCP since 8 Jun 2015 for replacement of both lifts.
34] LU Piccadilly Line, Caledonian Road station: (BLN 1244.1999) TCP Mon 14 Mar 2016 (deferred
from 4 Jan) until late Oct 2016 for lift replacement. (Avoids closure at the same time as Tufnell Park.)
35] Whitley Bridge Jn - Energetický a Průmyslový, Eggborough Power Station - Whitley Bridge Jn:
(BLN 1241.1737) On 4 Dec this nearly 50 year old plant was reprieved. Payments will be made to retain
it after 31 Mar 2016 (normal operation will still cease) but as an occasional emergency backup only for
winter 2016/17; probably two of the four 500MW units. There is likely to be little, if any, rail traffic.
36] Lynemouth: (BLN 1266.2184) £100M of European Union cash has been confirmed to convert this
420MW power station (enough for 450,000 homes) from coal-fired to biomass. It used to supply the
adjacent Alcan Aluminium Smelter until that closed in March 2012. The conversion will take about 18
months (when the branch is likely to be OOU) then a significant increase in rail traffic is expected.
37] FIXTURES REPORTS: BLS Signal Box Visits, Sat 5 Dec: The original objective of the day was to visit
the two Banbury mechanical boxes, due to close on 23 July 2016 with an engineering blockade for
major track alterations and resignalling. Banbury South Box will be immediately demolished as the
Down Relief is to be realigned through its footprint. Thanks to some splendid co-operation from NR
staff across a route boundary, the programme was extended to take in Oxford PSB and Leamington
Spa as well. This allowed 21 participants to be split into four small groups, rotating between the sites
by train, with military precision planning. Each group took a different sequence; this is your reporter's:
(BLN 1265.1164) The Oxford instructions were intriguing; 'Assemble on the Down platform north of the
footbridge by a gap in the palisade fencing where there is a small window through which the signaller's
attention can be attracted'. This turned out to be entirely accurate; the PSB is an anonymous 'tin shed'
behind Down P2 but the signallers have a remarkably good view out of the small window of the trains
past the legs of any passengers who happen to be there. The room is quite small; most of the building
must house the relay interlocking. It is a 1973 Henry Williams 'domino' type NX (Entrance-Exit) panel
controlling BR Western Region (WR) E10000 relay interlockings. Unlike earlier WR panels which used a
combination of switches and buttons to set routes (turn-push), this one uses buttons only (push-push),
which by the 1970s was becoming the BR standard approach. There were two signallers on duty, who
share the work over a 12-hour shift (nights and Sundays are usually single-manned). The controlled
area is not large: Radley/Culham (fringes Swindon 'B' signalling centre, not the PSB) to Heyford (fringes
Banbury South) and Charlbury (fringes Ascott-under-Wychwood) plus the Cowley branch. It used to
control the Abingdon branch (TOU 9 Jun 1986) and to Claydon L&NE Jn. Marylebone IECC now control
the latter to the Bicester Southwest Chord, not (yet) fringing with Oxford. The restricted Oxford layout,
with only two through platforms, one unidirectional, and many trains that terminate, split or join in
the station keeps the staff busy. The PSB had been due to close this year, but with the electrification
delay and priority being given to the Paddington to Bristol route, re-signalling seems to have been
delayed indefinitely to be linked with the proposed new Oxford station (two island through platforms).
Presumably, the reinstated Down Relief will be controlled from here later in 2016 (BLN 1246.2223).
Leamington Spa (BLN 1227.337) is a nondescript brick building past the overflow car park northwest of
the station. It now has a modern Westcad workstation with a Westlock electronic interlocking, but the
box's claim to fame is that, in 1985, it was the first live BR Solid State Interlocking (SSI) installation that
introduced computerised electronics into a safety critical signalling application. This visit was a trip
down memory lane for your reporter who worked on the project in BR Research at the time. The
development of SSI was a joint undertaking between BR and the two main UK signalling suppliers of
the period, GEC and Westinghouse. It was very successful with over a thousand interlockings of this
type in the UK and on overseas railways: Belgium, France, Portugal, Australia, Indonesia to name but a
few. Somewhat remarkably, SSI modules are still being produced today, even though they still use an
ancient type of 8-bit microprocessor a fraction of the processing power of the cheapest mobile phone!
The initial installation was a conventional push button panel controlling the station area and a few
miles around. In 2004 this was extended to the Cherwell Valley route through Fenny Compton fringing
with Banbury North, when the original panel was replaced with a Westcad computer workstation. In
2006 it was the trial site for the Westlock interlocking; the Siemens (ex-Westinghouse, ex-Invensys)
second generation SSI. Control is to pass to the West Midlands Signalling Centre (WMSC) at Saltley and
should be a relatively easy migration as WMSC has the same type of workstation and fringes the box.
Banbury North (BLNs 1192 p355 & 1227.337) is a GWR 1900 built Type 7b box with a 95-lever frame
installed in 1957 when there was major remodelling with rebuilding of the station. The frame is at the
back of the box as it was installed while the original 1900 lever frame at the front of the box was still in
use. Therefore, unusually the signaller pulls the levers with his back to the main running lines, The box
has a noticeable lean away from the main line attributed to the heavy frame being on the 'other' side
now. The condition of the frame and the instruments on the block shelf was superb; clearly well loved
and looked after by the signallers; one of whom has even painted the lever frame in 'proper' GWR
colours. There is a working coal stove; apparently one of only a handful still in use in NR boxes.
Another interesting feature was that in preparation for the resignalling in 2016, switches have been
installed in the track for new crossovers. Despite being clamped OOU, they have been added to the
box diagram and alarm circuits to alert the signaller if they are not detected in the normal position.
BELOW: Members in the immaculate Banbury North signal box with the stove left. (John Cowburn)
Banbury South is a similar GWR 1904 box with a 1944 lever frame. Originally 87 levers, it was reduced
to 67 in 1991 to make room for a small panel (from 1992) controlling Aynho Jn. To avoid renumbering
the right hand end of the frame signals, there is a gap in the numbering. Levers 1-61 are original, then
three levers which were originally in the 62-67 block are now renumbered as 83, 84, 86. The very close
proximity of the two Banbury boxes makes for some interesting (and very rapid) bell codes. Despite
being track circuited, the short section between them is still worked Absolute Block and of note the
final section of railway between London Paddington and Glasgow Central that is! An interesting mix of
colour lights controls the main lines with upper and lower quadrant semaphores elsewhere. Very rare
permissive instruments are available for the Up goods loop, although they are no longer used as such.
A most interesting and enjoyable day of contrasting visits at these very busy locations where members
were made most welcome by NR staff. £1,000 was raised for charity thanks to our donation and NR
match funding. Special thanks to the NR Operations Managers who facilitated the visits and to our
members John Cowburn and Nick Garnham for coordinating all the arrangements.
BELOW: Reading Model Engineers Society, split level photo stop! The Class 50 and 58 are both 5"
gauge; however, the riding vehicles are of different gauges. (Simon Mortimer, 12 Dec 2015)
BLN 1248.38] Reading Model Engineers Society (MES), Sat 12 Dec: (BLN 1245.2141) Although kindly
organised by KEG (thanks to Simon Mortimer), nearly all the participants were Society members. The
rain had just about cleared north under low cloud and, with a blustery chilling wind, 14 participants
gathered in front of the Reading MES clubhouse in Prospect Park on the outskirts of Reading. The
group was greeted and briefed by Peter Harrison, the Club Secretary. Indeed, it was a most welcoming
speech pointing out the tea making facilities and asking us to do whatever our mission here entailed
within reason and safety! When Peter enquired where the attendees had come from answers like
Preston, Carlisle and Bristol left him staggered. 'Have come here just to visit us?'... was the gist of his
reply, although for one prominent member it was 15 minutes from home on foot! Operations on this
members' day had barely commenced, so teas and chat were the order of the day but soon a 5" gauge
class 58 battery electric locomotive was deployed on the 440yd ground level line hauling a 7¼" gauge
coach. So began what would become a complete traversal of the ground level lines involving the full
circuit, both station and depot access loops and both spurs into the depot in both instances crossing
the turntable. With the reinstated (in 2012) and modified platform loop, a missing point blade meant
the train had to back up over the frog to within an inch of the rails end, complemented by another
reversal to the buffers on the short spur off the loop. Participants also enjoyed trips on the 2½"/3½"/
5" elevated line signalled with colour lights plated 'RR' for 'Reading Raised' as opposed to those on the
'RG' 'Reading Ground' on the 7¼" line; clearly Thames Valley Signalling Centre had not reached here
just yet! Some locos on the elevated line were very small 3½" gauge examples, and seemed to work
furiously and require frequent watering and steam raising to make a circuit hauling up to three adults
including the driver! (Can you count that 3½" line if the coaches travel on the 5" rails?). After running
the locos everywhere they practically could go (including with the original 7¼" loco here, 'Cyril
Kimber'), there delicate hand propelling over all available roads off the turntable. There were frequent
shouts of 'flaps up' and 'flaps down' (more like a flying circus!) referring to the locking plates at the
turntable each end of the turntable; hardly a track panel was not covered. After 2½ hours participants
bade farewell. Peter mentioned that they might extend the circuit in two to three years, so pencil it in
BELOW: 'Cyril Kimber', the original 7¼" gauge loco, at Reading MES begins to draw off the turntable
back onto the connecting spur. (Simon Mortimer, 12 Dec 2015)
1248 BLN GENERAL
39] WANTED! Locum Regional Editor(s): If any member is potentially interested in standing in 'as
required' to provide cover for the Sub-Editors' holidays, sabbaticals etc as part of our BLN 'continuity
plan' - please contact the Editor. If this motivates you, it is an excellent way to 'make a difference' and
try your hand at helping to construct BLN without any long term commitment and see if the task suits.
40] Points and Slips: BLN 1245.2090] At New Holland the signal box is named Oxmarsh Crossing. BLN
1246.2153] Balloch Central was 'Balloch' until 30 Jun 1952 (not 20th). 2219] As well as the 'bubble
cars', Chiltern's loco-hauled slam-door set (BR Blue and Grey livery) is also labelled 'Heritage' in their
timetable. It now works the 06.10 (SSuX) Banbury to Marylebone and 17.21 return. 2225] An Islip
easement is that passengers can now travel to/from Marylebone via Oxford Parkway as well as direct;
the fares are the same from both stations. In the 'Scotland' section item numbers 2167/68 should be
2267/68. 2270] At Cardiff, recovery of the former Newton West Jn crossovers should be at Newtown
West Jn. BLN 1247.2296] The units stabled at Ilford, Aldersbrook Sidings on Fri 11 Dec left early
morning on Mon 14 Dec 2015. 2331] Tweedbank branch: the original station at Galashiels is actually
southeast of the new one, on the west side of the new line (which is what the text meant although
could be ambiguous) and the map is correct. 2334] Although not originally planned, Eccles tram
services had (generally) been running through to Piccadilly from 28 Aug 2015 when the single line
reopened through St. Peter's Square, as it was found they could be accommodated through it. 'Lower
Moseley Street' should be 'Lower Mosley Street'. 2341] A member has measured Bellarena's west end
new loop points from GPS as 75m 05ch rather than the 75m 00ch given in the Weekly Notice. In the
South East England - South section (paper BLN) the Epsom Downs item should have been No '2349'.
BLN 1248.41] Platform Tickets: It may surprise
some to learn that these are still available
although ticket staff can be reluctant to issue
them, as it can be difficult to allocate the
revenue at big stations and they fear fraudulent
use for travel. 'Open' stations usually will not
issue them, as they don't see any need. Platform
tickets are still valid for one hour but the once
nearly uniform price of 10p has been increased
to 20p by some TOCs (e.g. ATW and EMT). Our
member who collects them is not sure if
TOCs/NR are required to provide them. Years ago, when wanting to assist his aunt at Lincoln (where
they refused to issue him a platform ticket fearing revenue extraction), he found a DfT page about
them which has now vanished. However, the NR website 'Railway Enthusiasts' page does advise that
platform tickets may be required to access platforms! In his experience, if you ask nicely at a quiet
time, most ticket clerks take it as a challenge! See http://goo.gl/VzFIff also. Station platform ticket
machines were converted (on decimalisation, 15 Feb 1971) from 1d to 2p, as the coins were of similar
size, so he aims to acquire tickets priced from 1d up to 20p at penny increments. Your Editor
remembers them at Birmingham New Street, 3d in 1970, with hours marked round the edge but they
were never clipped (there) so was no time limit! Two of the well-known red and white wall mounted
machines that formerly sold paper platform tickets have sold for reasonable prices at auctions.
BLN 1248.42] The Times They Are a-Changin': Some of the new timetable changes from 13 Dec 2015:
Oban: (SO) 09.56 Glasgow Queen St. to/16.11 return summer services now all year. (Oban now has
…six trains each way SuX plus an extra Dalmally working SSuX and three trains each way SuO all year).
Stirling: 05.26 (SSuX) to King's Cross (15.00 return) and a 05.21 Dunblane to Edinburgh connection.
Girvan & Maybole: Now mostly hourly, 38 trains (SuX) & 10 (SuO) [was 30 (SSuX), 29 (SO) & six SuO].
Stranraer: (SSuX) two-hourly departures 07.00-21.00 to Kilmarnock, (eight daily instead of six). Two
…are to Glasgow. SuO: five departures, all to Ayr (was three). Ayr to Kilmarnock, two extra trains (SuX).
Sunderland: (Virgin Trains East Coast) 05.40 (SSuX) - King's Cross arr 09.08; dep 20.00 back at 23.22
…also (SO) Leeds 09.40/21.21 - King's Cross 11.51/19.04 (SSux) and 20.28 Hull - Doncaster (was ECS).
Beverley: First Hull Trains new through train to/from King's Cross Saturdays & Sundays (was SSuX).
Apperley Bridge (BLN 1247.2297), Cranbrook (BLN 1246.2173) & Rochester (new) (BLN 1247.2350) OP.
New Clee: Now served (on request) by all Barton-on-Humber trains with the installation of lights!
Manchester - Bolton: (BLN 1246.2175) Normal service with double track through Farnworth Tunnel.
Alderley Edge: ATW SuO services at 09.46 & 21.46 to Manchester; 09.53 to Cardiff & 22.54 to Crewe.
Cambridge - Stansted Airport: New weekend Abellio Greater Anglia EMU services (were SSuX).
Hythe (Essex) new hourly Sunday service (services between Liverpool Street and Clacton call).
Ninian Park: (BLN 1246.2152/2269) Extra stops for 'operational purposes'; Canton Depot is adjacent.
Milton Keynes - Kensington Olympia - South Croydon: service cut back to East Croydon.
Thameslink: The all-night Bedford service is doubled from hourly to half-hourly frequency.
Clapham Junction: P2 anticlockwise LO trains run to Dalston Junction. West Croydon trains are
…extended to Highbury & Islington P7/8. Two changes are now needed to do an LO 'circuit' of London.
Moorgate: All day service seven days a week (inner suburban services diverted from King's Cross),
…was 06.34 to 22.03 (SSux) and no weekend service; but only hourly on 13 Dec (driver's overtime ban).
Romford - Upminster: Later Saturday trains (as Monday to Fridays); new Sunday half-hourly service.
c2c: (BLNs 1239.1574 & 1246.2174) Major recast; half-hourly Liverpool Street service all weekend.
…Nearly all trains stop at Barking, East Ham & Limehouse. Laindon terminators/originators extended.
SWT: Additional services west of Salisbury, including Yeovil Junction - Pen Mill (BLN 1243/1947).
Three Oaks and Winchelsea each have regular (mostly) alternating two-hourly Sunday services.
Reigate/Tonbridge: (SuX) Southern run fast Redhill - East Croydon then Victoria (not London Bridge).
BLN 1248.43] PSUL 2016: With thanks to our member Richard Maund for his time consuming and hard
work, the latest edition with the Dec 2015 timetable changes is being sent out with this BLN. There is
much new information and many links. As agreed at our recent AGM, electronic subscribers will
receive it as a download which can be saved and/or printed. Extra paper copies are £5 (post free) from
Sales Officer Mark Gomm (back page) or on tours. http://goo.gl/0wbGtM has past years /updates. We
are pleased to be donating £500 to the Railway Benefit Fund in lieu of Richard's royalties.
44]……….…...…..…..…..……………PSUL 2016 – UPDATE 1 (JANUARY 2016):………....…..………………..…………
Minor retimings of a few minutes either way are ignored but the latest version of PSUL can always be
found on-line via http://tinyurl.com/psul-intro or via http://snipurl.com/psul-intro
p6: Camden Road Central Jn - Copenhagen Jn: ¶ Diversionary use advertised for Caledonian Sleepers:
Sunday nights/Monday mornings 10/11 April until 8/9 May 2016:
1S25 20.28 Euston – Inverness; 1S26 21.45 Euston – Glasgow Central; 1M11 21.44 Glasgow Central –
Euston; 1M16 20.26 Inverness – Euston. Similar diversions apply on night of 2/3 May.
p7: Pouparts Jn - Longhedge Jn: Thameslink trains, check http://goo.gl/BdVe2L in Filtering Options,
search on TIPLOC = POUPRTJ and TOC code = TL (only VAR schedules for class 1 and 2 trains qualify).
p8: Metropolitan Jn - Cannon Street: Route withdrawn from timetable at December 2015 timetable
change but operated on a "weekly notice basis" until last running on evening of 23/24 December 2015.
p9: Add (after Parks Bridge Jn - Ladywell Jn entry):
Channelsea North Jn - Stratford Central Jn West (59) LC02; SSuX: 2L52 18.30 Clapham Jn - Stratford.
p13: Reading station, Caversham Road Jn - Oxford Road Jn: Trains booked (in working timetable) to
use the Feeder Lines are: All Up trains from the Newbury line running through to Paddington (except
1A98 17.31 SuO from Penzance); Other arrivals at Reading from Newbury or Basingstoke lines: SSuX:
00.26 MX, 06.35, 07.26, 08.06, 08.32, 08.50, 11.44, 12.05, 12.33, 16.34, 20.30 (from Newbury), 21.00,
23.51; SO: 00.26, 06.55, 07.08, 07.18, 08.08, 08.19, 09.08, 10.08, 10.35, 12.08, 12.35, 13.08, 14.08,
14.35, 16.34, 18.35, 18.44, 19.08, 19.20, 20.08, 21.08, 23.31; SuO: 10.04, 12.16, 19.03, 23.16, 23.45;
Departures from Reading to Newbury or Basingstoke lines: SSuX: 05.15, 06.05, 06.13, 12.12, 19.42,
23.06; SO: 05.10, 06.07, 06.12, 06.39, 06.47, 07.11, 07.46, 07.48, 09.46, 13.48, 21.50, 22.50; SuO:
10.52, 12.44, 19.52, 21.52, 23.22. All other trains are booked to use the Westbury Lines.
p20: Add (after SCOTLAND sub-heading):
Knightswood South Jn - Dawsholm Jn (Anniesland Single Line) GA12 This connecting line restores the
link between the Anniesland branch and the Singer lines, and from 20 March until 7 August 2016 forms
part of a balloon-loop route for trains diverted away from Glasgow Queen Street high level station.
Anniesland branch trains run to/from their terminal bay P3, by the parallel 'Anniesland Platform Line'.
p20: Cowlairs North Jn - Cowlairs East Jn and Sighthill West Jn - Cowlairs West Jn: ¶ Diversionary use:
20 March until 7 August 2016: during track relaying work in Glasgow Queen Street high level tunnel;
Dundee, Perth, Dunblane, Stirling, Edinburgh and Alloa trains are diverted to run a balloon-loop service
via Anniesland, Glasgow Queen Street low level and Springburn (or vice versa).
p20: Springburn (Sighthill West Jn) - Cowlairs South Jn: Glasgow Queen Street high level – Falkirk
service restored after Hogmanay. Suspended again from 20 March until 7 August 2016.
p20: Add (after Springburn (Sighthill West Jn) - Cowlairs South Jn entry): Coatbridge Jn - Langloan Jn
GA11 ¶ Diversionary use: 20 March until 7 August 2016: during Glasgow Queen Street high level.
tunnel track relaying - trains between Aberdeen or Inverness and Glasgow diverted to Glasgow Central
p21: Dalmeny Jn - Winchburgh Jn: service restored after Hogmanay but are due to be suspended
again from 21 March until 5 August 2016.
p22: Add (after Leckwith Loop entry): Newport: Gaer Jn - Park Jn (127) PB080
¶ Diversionary use: SSuO 9/10 Jan until 2/3 Apr 2016: Trains between Newport and Ebbw Vale Town.
45] On the Level: NR has 6,300 level crossings; http://goo.gl/Yt3sS6 is a list and picture of every one in
alphabetical order with location map, its 'use census', train frequency, speed, risk assessment and
other information. Following the fatal Halkirk accident near Georgemas Junction station in 2009, the
Rail Accident Investigation Branch report identified automatic open level crossings as those at greatest
risk of collision on public roads. NR is working on those assessed as highest risk. 66 have had modular
barriers added since 2012, fitting into the existing signalling and avoiding the considerable expense of
conversion to a conventional barrier design. £100M has been spent on level crossing safety since 2010.
The last level crossing fatality was February 2015, the longest period without one since 2010:
NR has appointed Level Crossing Managers (nine cover the Western route).
Nearly 1,000 level crossings have been closed in five years; at least another 250 are to go.
1,100 have had work to improve sighting.
494 crossings have been fitted with brighter LED lights.
113 have spoken audible 'another train coming' announcements.
66 have time delay preventing inadvertent raising of barriers (Moreton-on-Lugg 2010 fatality).
Over 20 have approved red light safety cameras, recording motorists jumping the lights.
British Transport Police use 15 level crossing safety camera vehicles (number plate recognition).
81 level crossings are having power-operated gates fitted.
Lower cost modular footbridges have been developed to replace level foot crossings.
The Tweedbank line has no crossings. The Oxford Parkway line has one (35 were eliminated).
1248 EAST MIDLANDS
46] Kettering North Jn: As part of the Kettering to Manton Capacity Project (stage 4) a new facing
crossover was to be installed (OOU) over the weekend of 26/27 December on the reversible Up Fast
(73m 75ch) with an additional line installed, between the Up Fast and the Up and Down Slow lines.
ABOVE: The end is nigh for Ulceby (South) Junction signalbox on 28 December. (Martin Crompton)
47] North Lincs Resignalling: (BLN 1245.2078) The final semaphore signalled train through Barnetby
was a 20.55 Northern Rail ECS from Cleethorpes (the Barton-on-Humber branch unit) returning to
Sheffield via Brigg on 24 Dec 2015. At 22.00 a possession was taken from Doncaster Marshgate Jn,
Wickenby (on the Lincoln line) and Gainsborough Trent Jn to Barton-on-Humber, Immingham and
Cleethorpes. On Mon 28 December, the possession was shortened back to Holton-le-Moor to allow
passenger services from Lincoln to serve Market Rasen (ECS to/from Holton-le-Moor cross over). On
Tue 29th Doncaster to Scunthorpe ROA and mid-morning the first test train ran east of Scunthorpe
with the new signalling.
ABOVE: The first test train (Top line), past Scunthorpe Foreign Ore Branch Jn (the fringe with
Scunthorpe panel) using the new signalling at York Railway Operating Centre. It is on the renamed 'Up
Scunthorpe' heading towards Appleby (Lincs), mid morning on 29 December. The middle pair of tracks
is the continuation through Elsham east towards Wrawby Jn and Barnetby. The bottom line is the line
to Brigg, the double track section of which is now renamed 'Up Cleethorpes' and 'Down Cleethorpes'.
ABOVE: New signalling at Wrawby Jn (right is the recently closed signal box). Empty oil tanks from
Kingsbury to Humber Oil Refinery snake off the Lincoln line, approaching Barnetby at 14.38 on 5 Jan
2016. There were extra freight workings after the five day Christmas line closure. (Martin Crompton)
On Wed 30th at 05.00 Immingham to Scunthorpe, Gainsborough and Holton-le-Moor ROG. On Monday
11 Jan Cleethorpes and Barton-on-Humber are due to ROP. Prior to that EMT were serving Market
Rasen, TPE and Northern ran to Scunthorpe and the SO Brigg line service ran as far as that station on 2
& were scheduled on 9 January. Cleethorpes and the Barton branch had buses throughout. Control of
the resignalled sections of lines east of Scunthorpe, Holton-le-Moor and Brigg is now from York
Railway Operating Centre, North Lincolnshire Workstation. To observe the signaller's real time view
and the trains running http://goo.gl/ExQc9a which also shows the new signals and sections. The box at
Stallingborough, with its Entrance/Exit panel and only opening as recently as 2007, was one of those
that has closed.
1248 GREATER LONDON
48] Bakerloo Line Extension: (BLN 1219.1509) Following detailed consideration of the responses to the
public consultation, the favoured option https://goo.gl/bZzf0R is to extend the line from Elephant &
Castle to Lewisham via Old Kent Road. There would be two intermediate stations on the Old Kent
Road and one at New Cross Gate. TfL will begin detailed technical work this year which would allow it
to seek Government permission by 2020, with construction starting in 2023 and opening by 2030.
Further planning will now be carried out before another public consultation. A future phase beyond
Lewisham will be considered further in collaboration with NR. With Camberwell not on the preferred
route, TfL, NR and Southwark Council will now investigate the possibility of reopening the main line
station (CP 3 April 1916!), half a mile north of Loughborough Junction station, for Thameslink trains. It
might be possible for this to be done to coincide with the launch of the Thameslink upgrade in 2018.
49] Bank: (BLNs 1245.2093 & 1148.1084) The Transport & Works Act (TWA) Order for the major
station upgrade has been granted and work will start this year. As well as a new southbound Northern
Line tunnel and platform to create additional circulation space, two new moving walkways will provide
a new interchange link with the Central Line. The new ticket hall will now be on Cannon Street.
50] Bow East (formerly Bow Olympic): (BLN 1236.1220) A raised low-loading pad has been built
midway along the right hand siding. Spoil has been arriving by road daily on a large scale with generally
two-three train departures to Calvert per week. Stone traffic inwards (most recently limestone grit
from Dowlow) uses the left hand siding. Traffic has run from Burngullow and Ipswich Griffin Wharf too.
51] Barking Riverside: (BLN 1234.1065) The majority view of respondents to the previous public
consultation was a preference for 'Alignment B'. The eastbound route would diverge from the Down
Tilbury Main just over 180m west of Renwick Road overbridge, continue eastwards under the bridge
and then cross the Tilbury lines, freight terminals and Choats Road before continuing to the new
station. The westbound route would use the same viaduct as far as Renwick Road, where it would
continue over the alignment of the former Down Goods Line, joining the Up Tilbury Main about 500yd
east of Barking station. All London Overground services would use P7/8 at Barking, but bay P1 would
be retained for use during service disruption. Passive provision would be made for an intermediate
station at Renwick Road. TfL has now launched a further consultation on the details of the scheme
https://goo.gl/bLrOf1 with maps. If it goes ahead, a TWA Order application would be made in early
2016, with construction starting in late 2017 and train services commencing in 2021.
52] Crossrail: (BLN 1247.2312) (1). GEML: (BLN 1245.2094) Platform lengthening is taking place at
Brentwood, Harold Wood, Gidea Park and Goodmayes (country end) and Romford, centre island only
and Chadwell Heath (London end). (2). Kensal Green: (BLN 1246.2195) The Engine Siding and new
crossovers between the Down and Up Relief Lines and Up Relief and Carriage Lines are electrified.
53] Farringdon LUL: The sidings were decommissioned over the weekend of 17/18 October. Lately
they had only been used for engineers' vehicles, as they were too short for the new 'S' Stock trains.
Booked stabling of 'C' Stock finished in December 2013. (Underground News)
54] King's Cross Metropolitan Line: (BLN 1245.2076) During closure of the north side of the Circle Line
between 25 and 30 December, the trailing crossover at the east end of the station was replaced by a
scissors crossover at the west end. This will make reversal here at times of service disruption or during
engineering work much easier. For insomniac micro-gricers there is a booked passenger service over
one leg of the new crossover MSuX; train 175 the 00.07 from Aldgate Outer Rail via South Kensington,
Edgware Road (00.42) and Baker Street (00.46) which arrives at King's Cross Inner Rail P1 at 00.53.
55] Old Oak Common: (BLN 1229.542) TfL has secured €4M of funding from the EU to progress the
development of options for the two new LO stations proposed here. This will be match-funded by TfL.
56] Thameslink: (BLNs 1247.2319 & 1239.1556) Over the 17/18 October and 31 October/1 November
weekends a train successfully operated under the control of cab signalling between Kentish Town and
Elephant & Castle. The tests used the Class 313 EMU that has been trialling the European Train Control
System (ETCS) on the north end of the Hertford loop. The transition between traditional signalling at
either end of the central section and the ETCS-controlled area was also achieved successfully.
57] To close or not to close: (BLN 1243.1901) Despite Metropolitan Jn to Cannon Street supposedly
CP after the 00.48 to Orpington on 13 December, engineering work during the following two weeks
reopened the curve! Monday to Thursday nights of the first week and Monday to Wednesday of the
second, Charing Cross departures from the 23.52 to Dartford to the last at 00.50 to Orpington called at
Cannon Street and London Bridge. The actual last passenger train was the 00.50 Charing Cross to
Orpington on 24 December. There was some discrepancy over advertising the Cannon Street calls in
some of the trains. The Integrated Timetable Planning System showed several of them as unadvertised
but SouthEastern advertised them all. When diverted via Cannon Street, the 00.15 (Tonbridge Tuesday
mornings; Tunbridge Wells on the others) ran direct via Grove Park, not New Beckenham.
1248 NORTH WEST
58] Blackburn King Street: (BLN 1247.2284) There was at least one further BLS internal visit to this
Coal Concentration Depot. Organised by Chris Wall on Fri 25 Aug 1989, it followed a Society tour of
Preston Dock internal railway; the latter is documented in our 1995 '40 Year Book' but not the former.
Participants were late (due to a failed HST) and, on arrival, they were advised that the loco driver had
gone home, so it would be a DIY job. The BR boundary was inspected beyond the open gate. On 9
December train crew and station staff at Blackburn station advised a member that there are to be six
stabling roads at King Street covered by a shed and due to be complete by 17 Mar 2016. One said that
he had seen the NR plans. It is confirmed that the rails are now all clear of vegetation. The sidings will
presumably be in the cleared area of land north of the two-track iron/steel bridge over Galligreaves
Street where there is plenty of space and an access gateway off Brunswick Street. There appears to be
insufficient space between boundary fences south of the rail bridge. There is still much to remind a
visitor of past railway activity here. The high (around 12ft) depot boundary walls of red brick with large
decorative panels still stand. Behind these are derelict remains of buildings and sleeper built 'bunker'
walls. At the North East abutment of the bridge over Galligreaves Street is a metal coal hopper
presumably formerly for transferring coal from rail at the higher level to road transport at the lower.
This bridge is only about seven feet above pavement level but the road between has been sunk to give
a limited headroom of 12' 6''. The level of the railway here has been raised 7ft above street level but
otherwise the rest of the railway site and the branch track is level with the street. At the corner of
Harrison Street and Sumner Street is a former commercial hotel whose gable end advertises the
town's former nearby Dutton Brewery's stout in faded black paint against the brick work.
59] The CLC Warrington Avoiding Line: (BLN 1247.2335) This ran from Sankey Jn at its west end (near
where, amending BLN 1247, the RAF Burtonwood* branch went off westward) to Padgate Jn in the
east. OG 13 Aug 1883, OP 7 Sep 1883; regular traffic ceased on the avoider 20 May 1968 and it CA 22
Jul 1968. It was to have been the 'main' line through Warrington with the station located where that
line crossed Winwick Road. Local representations resulted in the loop line being built via what became
Warrington Central on the edge of the town centre, a little over ½ mile to the south. There were
goods lines (amending e-BLN 1247.2335) running east from that end of Central station on the north
side of the line, to a junction with the main line at 'Workshops' signal box. Occasionally they were used
by Sunday passenger engineering diversions, including some carrying BLS members immediately prior
to closure on 11 Nov 1973 when 'Workshops' signal box was abolished. The present type 15 signal box
(second hand from Platt Bridge Jn) was then erected at Warrington Central station.
The original straight route became the Warrington avoiding line, with no intermediate station. Locally,
this was referred to as 'the straight'. It was used by the more prestigious long distance trains not
deemed to justify a Warrington stop, running non-stop between Liverpool and Manchester. The line
was a challenging one for a lad whose local station was Padgate, such as our Chairman whose one
claim to have 'Bakered' the line involved a schools' cruise from Liverpool to Manchester on the
Manchester Ship Canal. A special train picked participants up from his school at Urmston station then
ran non-stop to Liverpool Central via 'the straight'. [*Further to BLN 1247, the Signalling Record Soc.
has 24 Oct 1965 as Burtonwood Signal Box's closure date; a replacement ground frame opened 27 Jul
1975. They agree with our closure date for this of 9 May 1993 and with the base closing 2 Jun 1993.
Strangely, the frame was renamed from Burtonwood DoE to Burtonwood USAF from 27 Feb 1975.]
ABOVE: Warrington is a town that suffers from being split on some OS maps; a composite 1:25,000
map, approximately 2½" to a mile from 1953/56. Warrington Bank Quay station (actually 'High Level')
is the 'Sta' at the very bottom, left of centre, on the West Coast Main Line which then runs north. Bank
Quay 'Low Level' station is beneath and slightly east on the line along the bottom left side of the map.
This was east to Stockport via Lymm, the 'Sta' on it middle bottom is 'Arpley'. This line is still open west
to Fiddlers Ferry Power Station and Ditton Jn. The nearby River Mersey is evident. The CLC 'straight'
Warrington Avoiding Line runs from Padgate Jn top right west to Sankey Jn middle left, near the
marked 'Sankey Viaduct'. Just west of this, the Burtonwood Branch (not shown like most MoD
establishments and railways in this era) went off westwards. (BLN 1247.2335). The loop to the CLC
Warrington Central station dips south, that 'Sta' is evident to the east of the main road running north
south down the middle of the map. The goods lines are east of the station, to the north of the line.
60] Cumbrian Coast coal? (BLN 1247.1332) West Cumbria Mining (based in Haywards Heath!) has
obtained extensive coal samples from the area offshore of St. Bees Head. Its suitability for coking to
make steel is being analysed. In a community newsletter the Company states that no coal would move
by road; rail traffic is anticipated to Scunthorpe Steel Works and Workington Docks (for smaller vessels
to Port Talbot and parts of Europe) also Hunterston or Blyth for larger vessels to Europe. A planning
application for the mine is expected in early 2017 with commercial production commencing in 2019.
ABOVE: Caldew Jn at lunchtime on Sun 6 Dec 2015; perhaps surprisingly, the first train ran as soon as
two days later, full normal signalling and working was restored on 20 December. (NR Press release)
61] Carlisle & North West (or 'North Wet'): (BLN 1247.2336) Caldew Jn, accessing the Goods Lines and
Kingmoor Yard, was restored to full normal signalling at 07.07 on Sun 20 December, after severe flood
damage two weeks before. Seven sets of point motors were replaced; six location cabinets built from
scratch; new signalling cables and equipment were installed and tested. During the disruption, trains
were 'talked by' two non-functioning signals in each direction on the Up and Down Main lines, with
Caldew Jn 'clipped and scotched' in the 'normal' position. Those on the Down needing access to
Kingmoor Yard had to run in 'top and tail' formation and were routed Down Main from Carlisle station
to Mossband Jn, crossing over onto the Longtown Branch, reversing and then entering the Yard via the
Up Goods, ie from the north. Trains departing the Yard south had to run north along the Down Goods
to Floriston then to Beattock or Dumfries to reverse (if 'top & tail') or run round. Down to Up reversals
at Annan are un-signalled and Eastriggs headshunt was too short. A couple of services departed the
Yard on the Up Goods and reversed at Kingmoor Jn onto the Down Main, then reversed again into the
Up Passenger Loop and then South via Carlisle station!
The week before normal working began, Caldew Jn was unclipped (from 23.00 to 05.30 each night) on
the Down Main and 'clipped and scotched' in 'reverse' to allow access to the Down Goods. All trains
then ran via the Down Goods between Caldew Jn and Kingmoor Jn, those not requiring Kingmoor Yard
continued onto the Down Main. The two Down Sleepers and Postal services ran via the Down Goods,
as well as the booked freight. The Up Main was unaffected, trains still being talked by the two signals.
62] Unsettled & Carlisle: At 14.31 on 15 December,
devegetating staff at Armathwaite identified a small
landslip between the station and viaduct on the Up
side (297m 53ch) which had exposed some sleeper
ends. 12m of the wing wall of Bridge 322 (297m
55ch) had collapsed and ballast was displaced.
Single Line Working was implemented over the
Down line on Wed 16 Dec from Howe & Co's Sidings
where Up trains reversed through the trailing
crossover (302m 68ch) then reversed again on the
Down line. The facing crossover has been removed
and the former reversible loop on the Down side is
now a siding accessed from the south only. Two
large diggers were in attendance at the site of the
slip. At Culgaith the trailing crossover was taken
(284m 55ch) to regain the Up line. Delays were
compounded by having to run at reduced speed and
passengers going south waiting on the wrong (usual
platforms!) at Armathwaite, Lazonby and
Kirkoswald & Langwathby stations. Normal working
resumed 12.00 on 21 December but not before
quite a few of our members had made the
pilgrimage! LEFT: The landslip on 15 December (NR).
63] Wigan South Western: (BLN 1246.2205) The 'Swan & Railway'
pub recently erected a new sign. Although beautifully painted, it
does not represent local engine history. In the foreground a mute
swan stands on the left, flapping its outstretched wings. Behind,
upper right, steaming into view is the front half of an air smoothed
Southern Railway pacific in Malachite Green livery with yellow
lining. 21C12 'Launceston' is accurate in every detail, even the red
metal ring plate with the letters 'SOUTHERN' round the smokebox
door handle! Uncommon in Wigan, although swans can be found
at local 'flashes' - lakes formed by mining subsidence. [Black
swans? Perhaps the sign was intended for Swanage - Ed.] RIGHT:
The Swan & Railway's new sign. (Courtesy of the Swan & Railway)
64] Metrolink: On Boxing Day, due to severe flooding, Bury trams
turned back at Whitefield, using the trailing crossover on
departure in service and Rochdale services ran as far as Newbold.
65] Seaforth: A member has observed that rakes of new GBRf
hauled Drax biomass wagons for the Liverpool Bulk Terminals have
been appearing in both sides of the rounding loop on the approach
to the former Seaforth Container Terminal at weekends. This
terminal has only had intermittent use by trains recently; more
usually it is used to park cars for export. Real Time Trains suggests that this is probably one train
(4M08) arriving empty from Drax at 07.58 (SO) stabled between the two loop sides. The wagons seem
to be reformed to return as 4M15 for loading at the bulk terminal (after reversal before Regents Road
Level Crossing) at 22.00 SuO. Does anyone have any further information please?
X2] BELOW: The Northwest electrification programme continues apace; after 13 weeks of overnight
possessions, the results on the Ribble branch at Preston are impressive… (Kev Adlam on 24 Oct 2015)
66] Manchester Victoria Junctions: NR has Victoria West and East Jns. Should the new Second City
Crossing Metrolink junction there be Victoria South Jn (it is south)? Is there an official designation?
1248 SOUTH EAST – NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
67] Banbury: (BLN 1246.2222) Two new points were installed by 7 December, this time south of the
station between Manor Farm crossing and the trailing crossover south of the divergence of the Down
Relief. These new points will form a crossover providing facing access (85m 59ch) to a new Banbury
Depot Departure Line. On 2 January the new Chiltern depot area, a former steam shed site (remains
evident), was fenced off and ground works had begun. The facing divergence left from the Down Main
is at (85m 56ch). From the King's Sutton end the new junction work comprises a facing crossover, a
trailing crossover (both between the Mains) and then this new facing connection secured OOU until
July 2016. Also from 7 December, Banbury Down Relief Ground Frame was to be taken OOU and points
2B on the Down Relief clipped and secured OOU. This was north of Banbury South signal box.
68] Liverpool Street - Chelmsford; Coast to Coast: (BLN 1242.1844) The design of the new overhead
line equipment on the GE main line is known as 'Great Eastern Furrer and Frey' (GEFF) electrification
hardware, a variant of their type on the GWML. As far as Shenfield the structures originally installed
for 1500V DC are used. The previous equipment was fixed-tension, the new is auto-tension. The old
required speed restrictions when temperatures reached 25⁰C whilst the new can operate at up to 40⁰C
without this. The old system required a four-year maintenance cycle whilst the new is designed for six
to eight year cycles. An interesting feature for the work permits adjacent tracks to remain in traffic
whilst electrically isolated with trains coasting, ensuring safety from electrocution for staff on the track
being worked upon and increasing output. 700 trains have already operated in this way, coasting a
cumulative distance of over 3,000 miles! In planning, a full risk assessment was carried out and safety
features incorporated. Operational risk was also considered and again assessed to facilitate
acceptance of the process. Over the isolated section pantographs are lowered, then raised. This can be
done at line speed (a routine practice in some mainland EU countries). Trains braking or coming to a
stand are not seen as high risk as electrification staff are on site and re-energisation of the isolated
track can be quickly and safely arranged. (Rail Engineer)
69] Needham Market: (BLN 1233.979) In reporting the rebuilding of the Up platform, this item was
silent on the state of the Down platform. This was because your Sub-Editor's travels have brought him
back to London via either Beccles or Thetford. However, the view from a Norwich to London train on 3
December confirmed that the old platform remains, with buildings, and is in good condition.
70] Six Mile Bottom: (TL 5771 5680) (CP 2
Jan 1967) When your Sub-Editor visited on 7
December, the station buildings were intact
and the platform alongside the Cambridge
to Newmarket single track was complete
with nosing (edging). The owner was having
a new high wall built in the same style on
the non-track side to increase privacy from
the adjacent A1304 road passing over the
level crossing (LEFT: 13 Aug 2007 in the
Greater Anglia days https://goo.gl/xnDxrs).
71] Hitchin - Shepreth Branch Jn: The only closed station on this line is Harston (CP 17 Jun 1963, CG
(CA) 13 June 1964). The village today can be reached by bus, hourly on weekdays between Royston
and Cambridge, a ten minute walk from the station site. All trace of the station buildings and platform
has been removed, apart from a concrete block goods loading dock on the south side of the level
crossing (52m 46ch). The station house, heavily cement rendered, is a private residence. The next
hourly bus took our correspondent to Foxton station level crossing. Here an unexpected bonus was a
rake of empty wagons being propelled off the Barrington branch, into the Down platform. After 10 to
15 minutes, they departed from here, wrong line, gaining the Up line beyond the station (50m 45ch).
The main Up building is used for passengers to wait in at this unstaffed stop. Foxton and Harston were
GER owned, but it seems the GNR always worked the line. Foxton crossing gate box is GNR style.
72] Croxley - Watford: (BLN 1246.2221) TfL has confirmed that construction of the Metropolitan Line
Extension will begin in 2016 following Mayor Boris Johnson's decision to provide an additional £2.73M
funding. Opening in 2020 with new stations at Cassiobridge and Watford Vicarage Road; a 400m
viaduct, new and rebuilt bridges are included. Contractors are to be appointed and designs finalised.
73] Ely - Peterborough: On 22 December, the DfT designated the line as a community rail service,
meaning passengers in north Cambridgeshire will have more of a say over local rail services as part of
the 'Hereward Community Rail Partnership' (CRP). Hereward was the name chosen for the service
three years ago ('Hereward the Wake' was based locally). Abellio Greater Anglia, Cross Country and
East Midlands Trains operate services on the 29-mile route and will now 'enjoy' the support of the
CRP. The partnership will comprise local organisations, operators, councils, rail users and other
interest groups, all expecting to have direct input in securing better services and station facilities. The
decision follows an eight-week consultation period, from July to September 2015, with responses from
Abellio, CrossCountry, DB Schenker, NR, Chiltern Railways, Transport Focus and several councils and
rail partnerships. The responses indicated overwhelming support for establishing a CRP, with only four
answers being neutral. 19 rail lines around the country have been designated as community rail lines
since 2005 and another 20 are under consideration. (Rail Technology Magazine)
74] Cambridge Science Park: (BLN 1241.1765) The planned track layout for the new station includes a
bay P3 on the Down side. This will be accessed from the entrance to Chesterton Jn Sidings, the return
route from the bay south taking the trailing crossover at Chesterton Jn. This minimalistic provision
does not preclude relaying as the geometry and condition of the existing track may be unsuitable and
some realignment is understood to be needed. Completion is due in December 2016*. A footbridge
over the freight lines will provide platform access. The following service is proposed:
Existing hourly fast trains between King's Cross and King's Lynn.
An hourly King's Cross to Cambridge semi-fast extended to terminate in the bay platform.
Hourly Cambridge to Norwich service.
Further peak services include Liverpool Street to Ely and King's Lynn services.
The current Freightliner Siding, not named as such on TRACKmaps (Vol.2 p11C, Sep 2006), beyond the
arrival/departure and run-round tracks, is to be relocated for the planned car park. *E-BLN Update: On
5 January, it was announced that the new station will be delayed to May 2017 due to a further revised
application being submitted by NR. Cambridge Count Council have completed their part of the scheme.
75] Soham: (BLN 1231.755) Cambridgeshire County Council and East Cambridge District Council are
working with NR to advance estimates for Soham station reopening to GRIP stage 3. The report did not
make clear what financial contribution the councils may be making. The 1879 station CP 13 Sep 1965
76] Manningtree: From 2 January the trailing connection in the Down line to and from the Down
Refuge siding was to be taken OOU in connection with station platform works. This siding extends
behind Down P3 to end on the London side of the station and is partly electrified.
77] Shenfield: On Boxing Day two large road cranes were in use to install enormous OHL gantries
spanning from P3 and P4 at least to the street side of the new P6, under construction. Observations
were restricted as Mount Avenue car park was closed with a security person preventing access.
78] Chiltern, Boxing Clever: (BLN 1246.2224) Two members sampled what the Company's website said
was the first train from Oxford to London on 26 December since 1944! Over 40 passengers joined said
08.56 from Oxford Parkway and around another 25 at Bicester Village. Impressively, car parking was
free all day at served stations, which were staffed normally, and most refreshment facilities and other
station outlets opened. Unusually all trains (ranging from two cars, packed at times, to four) used the
currently rare Oxford Parkway P1 (rather than P2) and the 'westbound' line bi-directionally. This was
possible as services had a brief turn round at Oxford and passed each other just south of the Bicester
Chord. A 'hot spare' three-car DMU was ticking over in P2, probably waiting to strengthen the first
London train after the Bicester Village Outlets closed. Some passengers were confused at the latter's
station with trains in both directions using 'westbound' P1 (incidentally, significantly longer than P2).
Between 24 December and 3 January Off-Peak and Super-Off Peak tickets were valid on all Chiltern
trains (normal Oyster and Travelcard restrictions applied). The 'Chiltern Only' Off-Peak Day Return
between Oxford Parkway and Haddenham & Thame Parkway was a bargain £5.60 (senior railcard
£3.70). Our reporter alighted at the latter to find that the first train from Marylebone (a four-car train
full ans standing), which he should have passed just south of the chord, was 30 minutes late due to an
unspecified 'operating incident'. This did illustrate the benefit and flexibility of the new line layout and
reversible signalling, as it took the right Chord line in the unusual direction, then the facing crossover
and terminated at Bicester Village P2. A swarm of shoppers left and it returned from there to London
only slightly late. Meanwhile the next train from Marylebone was able to follow just four minutes
behind it and take the left Chord line to Bicester Village P1 and on to Oxford without further delay. At
Oxford Parkway the extensive 850-space railway Car Park is separate from the bus Park & Ride car park
for Oxford. Car parking at either is free for one hour, up to 11 hours £2, 11-24 hours £4 and 24-48
hours £8. The city bus runs from the latter, hence the long walk to/from trains previously described.
Chiltern advises passengers wanting to use this bus to buy an Oxford 'Plusbus' with their rail ticket.
On 26 December, there was a long rake of empty wagons in the new 'Kidlington Stone Terminal',
resited east to build Oxford Parkway on its former location. In railway parlance, it is still Banbury Road
Aggregate Siding; DMUs stable on the run-round loop overnight. The Bicester COD Depot connection,
where the Bicester Military Railway last operated on 12 Mar 2014 (BLN 1216.1283) is now at the
Oxford end of, and bypasses all the still intact but very rusty former 'exchange sidings'. Main line locos
work container trains in and out of the Depot. The NR connection used to be at the Bicester end where
the former exchange sidings now join into a headshunt through a COD gate ending at a buffer stop.
A trip to Marylebone later in the day found the nowadays strange sight of all six platforms and sidings
empty but plenty of people on the concourse. London Underground Boxing Day services were frequent
and quite busy. Also noted was the large 'High Wycombe Formerly the Junction for The Marlow and
Maidenhead Lines' restored sign on the London end of that station's Down platform. It was amusing
to speed over the M25 early in the afternoon to see the anti-clockwise direction road traffic stationary
(maybe more lines should follow Chiltern's welcome initiative and have Boxing Day train services?).
1248 SOUTH EAST – SOUTH
79] Folkestone - Dover: Work had already been in progress for several days on strengthening sea wall
defences when, on Wed 23 Dec 2015 at 11.11, the driver of the 08.25 St. Pancras International to
Ramsgate train (table 194, continuing as a service back to St Pancras via Ashford, table 207) reported
rough riding on the Up Main (the sea side track) near Shakespeare Tunnel. Trains were cautioned and
P Way staff attended. At 12.59 a 5mph Emergency Speed Restriction was imposed as seawater had
undermined the track bed and a watchman was stationed. Ballast fell into sinkholes. Holes in the
sea defence wall below the track grew overnight and at 10.20 on Christmas Eve, the 'Up line' was
blocked. After high tide, more sea wall damage was evident and the track had subsided by nine
inches with loss of troughing from the Up cess. The Down line was blocked at 10.41 after further
movement; the last train through was the 08.33 Charing Cross to Dover Priory. The following 09.37 St.
Pancras to St. Pancras (anti-clockwise) via the Kent Coast returned to Folkestone Central. Staff were
then withdrawn due to the danger. Very high tides with strong winds caused further damage with
sinkholes two to three metres deep along the sea wall, which will need to be rebuilt. The footbridge to
the beach has closed. NR described the closure as expected to be for a 'considerable period of time'.
ABOVE: 1" to 1 mile OS 7th Series map of the line, fully revised 1957. Folkestone East station is the red
spot, bottom left (CP 6 Sep 1965). The steeply graded Folkestone Harbour branch (BLN 1241.1770) is
shown heading southwest down to the Harbour, in the bottom left corner. Heading northeast along
the coast, (Folkestone) Warren Halt is the 'white spot' indicating a station closed to passengers.
Shakespeare (Cliff) Halt is not shown but was on the west side of the second tunnel that passes
behind that cliff, Dover is top right showing 'Marine' station labelled as such (renamed Dover Western
Docks from 14 May 1979) which closed to passengers in 1994 after the opening of the Channel Tunnel.
Adjacent is the 'Train Ferry' that was used by the 'Night Ferry' through First Class sleeping car train
between London Victoria, Paris and Brussels, via Dunkirk and last ran on 31 Oct 1980.
When constructed in the 1840s, the Folkestone to Dover line was described, perhaps ironically, as 'The
Eighth Wonder of the World'; but, to paraphrase one member, it has been falling down virtually since
the day it was built! The railway is notorious for landslips and has a trip wire alarm system on the
Down side for nearly two miles from the entrance to Abbotscliff Tunnel to the site of Shakespeare Staff
Halt (shown on TRACKmaps). At one time, it was said to be the most expensive stretch of railway in the
country to maintain. About 30 years ago, the regular BR Southern Region's General Manager's
Conference, which took place between senior managers four (?) times a year and whose minutes were
distributed around the Region, had a permanent item 'Folkestone Warren and Canterbury Chord'. It
was feared that, the coastal line would become impossible to maintain and have to be abandoned. If
so, a new Canterbury Chord was planned to enable through running between Ashford, (Chartham) and
Canterbury East. Canterbury City Council supports the chord and it is still mentioned in the latest Kent
Route Utilisation Strategy http://goo.gl/DT4Gos and a version is shown in TRACKmaps (Vol.5, p9B
2008)! In the 1980s, the worry was that it might happen when the Channel Tunnel opened and the
good people of Dover would see it as an excuse to close the existing line. That was never intended. An
interesting article http://goo.gl/8HCO3U about landslips at Folkestone Warren includes a massive
(1.9M cubic yd of chalk) one over two miles long that derailed a train and closed the line from 19 Dec
1915 until August 1919 pushing it 53yd towards the sea. The route is also seen as vulnerable to climate
change and rising sea levels. The line's final claim to fame is in having had three (at various times) staff
halts at Folkestone East, Warren Halt (72m 02ch) and Shakespeare (Cliff) Halt (75m 09ch).
80] Rochester: (BLN 1247.2350) Track, with conductor rail has been installed along P3, from the
London end to buffer stops for the yet to be commissioned Down loop short of the signal box which, as
previously reported, stands where the loop will continue. This new track is signalled and appears to be
able to operate as a bay. At the Chatham end the points on the former Down loop are still in place
though the loop alignment is beneath the new P2 & P3 with the track west of these points is lifted.
81] Reading Green Park: (BLN 1234.1081) Delayed Reading to Basingstoke electrification may mean
that the present DMU local service will be unable to call at this station. Expected to open in December
2018, the problem is extension of the end-to-end running time beyond what the timetable can
robustly accommodate. The Hendy review left the electrification scheme development in CP5 but put
work back to CP6 (2019-24). Reading West's MP raised this with the Rail Minister on 15 December.
82] Eastleigh; BLS Members Are Not Slow on the 'Uptake': (BLN 1246.2230) The new Up Slow runs
from the new Stoneham Jn (74m 37ch) north to Eastleigh West Jn (73m 42ch). The connection from
the Up Main to Eastleigh P1 is still as shown on TRACKmaps (Vol.5 p28A, Nov 2008). Our 'Gensheet'
leader kindly reviewed passenger services using the line in early December over seven days (11.45 to
19.05). Between three and thirteen were shown daily online*. On 8 December, 30 passenger trains
seemed to run that way in 24 hours including 'The Swaythling Bands' UKRT railtour from Fawley (which
did). The 11.46 Southampton to Newcastle was observed to take it, but was incorrectly recorded as
'Fast Line'. The best contenders, unsurprisingly, call at Eastleigh P1; i.e. the xx.46 to Romsey and xx.03
ex-Southampton Airport Parkway to Waterloo. Of 61 passenger services recorded using it, only three
did not fit this pattern. Southampton Airport Parkway is the best place to wait as more trains stop. A
member arriving at 12.21 on 10 December had to wait until the 14.46 to Romsey for the left feather to
light up on the signal just north of the Up platform. Between the waiting room and the London-end
footbridge there is a convenient bench with a clear view of the signal and the station has a Pumpkin
café! *Observations are that online data here is not always accurate as to which line a train took.
1248 SOUTH WEST
83] Huntspill: The former Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF37) Puriton site, owned by BAE systems and
formerly served by a branch from the GWR near Highbridge (Huntspill GF (ST 318 442) was abolished
12 March 1995) could become part of a new 'Huntspill Energy Park'. Its Enterprise Zone status was
approved by the Chancellor in his autumn statement; it is a joint project including Sedgemoor District
and Somerset County Councils. The branch could possibly be reinstated but a steep gradient was
introduced either side of its M5 overbridge when the motorway was built to provide clearance.
84] Weymouth Tramway: (BLN 1152.1113) After
helping to create a railway history DVD, 14 year old
railway enthusiast and student, James Newall, has
gained significant social media support for his
Weymouth Quay Heritage Campaign to reopen the
line. OP by the GWR in 1865 and said to be the only
place in the UK where full-length mainline trains ran
along a main road. The last train is thought to have
been a Pathfinder railtour https://goo.gl/kI1HW1 on 2
May 1999. The campaign is the latest proposal to turn
the line into a tourist attraction, with tram services. If
it gathers wider support the idea will be discussed
with NR and Dorset County Council. The latter said
that the line is NR's responsibility; NR has extended its
temporary OOU status to 8 May 2016 (BLN 1233.922)
while they work with Weymouth & Portland Borough
Council to see if it will form part of the Weymouth
Town Masterplan. Once agreed the process will be
followed to either re-open or close it. See
http://goo.gl/xKpHjk with an online petition with
almost 2,000 names for anyone who still needs it, or would like to see it reopen, to sign and pass on
to others. ABOVE: Approx 2½" to a mile OS map 1958, the present 'Weymouth station' is northwest of
the map centre, the branch to Portland and Easton is bottom left and Weymouth Quay station is part
way along 'Pile Pier'. A 1966 clip https://goo.gl/3C9DRH and see also http://goo.gl/F9Cff6 website.
1248 WEST MIDLANDS
85] Midland Metro: (1). Extensions: Connections to HS2 have been announced, part of an £8bn
investment in the West Midlands, which includes £2bn of transport schemes. There are new tramlines
from Curzon Street HS2 station to Birmingham Airport via Bordesley Green and Chelmsley Wood,
and between Wednesbury and Brierley Hill (Merry Hill Shopping Centre), a destination aspired to by
local planners even before the first section opened in 1999 between Snow Hill and Wolverhampton.
(2) St. Paul's - Bull Street: (BLN 1247.2292) The first passenger carrying tram on 6 December was the
07.28 from Wednesbury Parkway which broke through a banner across the track on arrival at Bull
Street. It formed the 08.00 departure. Midland Metro advise that the first tram under its own power to
Bull Street was a 'gauging run' on 1 December rather than 2nd. The country end trailing crossover here
(used by passenger departures from the inbound platform) is unusual in that it is aligned straight with
the platform line to join the Wolverhampton direction track which itself curves sharply out of the
other platform. This means that trams now using it can take off at a good speed; other crossovers on
the line are generally sharply curved and taken at very slow speed. The catenary was erected quickly in
the end, extending all the way to the very long head shunt past 'Grand Central' i.e. a tram length clear
of the second trailing crossover towards Victoria Square (per BLN 1225.177 track plan). However, on
17 December most of it was just a guide and tensioning wire with pulleys where the actual conductor
wire had still to be installed. Work was proceeding on the 'Wolverhampton' platform at Corporation
Street stop but at 31 December had not even begun on the the staggered platform for Grand Central
(just a bump in the pavement surrounded by barriers). OP of the extension is expected in February.
Amending (BLN 1247.2292) on 17 December track remained at both of the closed Snow Hill tram stop
platforms and was only lifted for a short section at the Wolverhampton end of the former single line.
86] Norton Bridge: Workers on the new grade-separated junction, due for commissioning at Easter,
have claimed a record by laying 4,017m of uncommissioned track on 12/13 December; 3km in eight
hours (375m per hour). The previous 48-hour record was 3,932m (but that was replacement so not
strictly comparable to 'new build'). 11 new bridges, six miles of new track and ¾ mile of new road have
been built in total. There are four river diversions and over 1M tonnes of earth has been moved
including a new cutting. Perhaps they should offer to help out with the GWML electrification?
87] Soho: 'Today's Railways UK' recently mentioned loco 37884 hauling EMU 323212 (for tyre turning)
from Soho to Tyseley via Walsall, presumably routed via the Soho Curve, Walsall, the Sutton Park line,
Landor Street and Bordesley Jn? These workings are as required. 37884 is the first loco to be converted
by specialist train operating company Rail Operations Group for routine movement of EMUs. Couplings
have been changed and control systems altered. (Modern Railways January p89)
88] London Midland: The franchise which began on 1 November 2007 has been further extended by
DfT direct award from 31 Mar 2016 to 31 Oct 2017. The deal includes an extra daily return St. Albans
Abbey branch service, two more Euston to Trent Valley stations evening services and earlier Sunday
services to Birmingham from Rugby, Lichfield, Longbridge, Dorridge and Whitlocks End. Free WiFi will
be provided on long-distance Euston to Northampton, Birmingham, Crewe, Stoke and Liverpool trains.
The aim is to have free WiFi on all services by the start of the next franchise. New and upgraded ticket
machines will be installed at some stations, with contactless and 'click and collect' options. Over 400
extra car parking spaces will be provided at Hemel Hempstead, Watford Junction and Tamworth.
89] Track Disappointment: Just north of Droitwich Spa station the trailing crossover point in the Down
Main has recently been plain lined, as has Henwick Up Refuge Siding point (121m 72ch), though there
is a longer term plan to have a 'turnback facility' again here for Worcester Foregate Street station
90] Ironbridge: (BLN 1247.2286) Thanks to our cartographer, Martyn Brailsford, a map of the branch
showing its four components, including at the extremity, 58ch of original Severn Valley Railway (SVR).
Amending BLN 1247, Coalbrookdale (excl.) to Buildwas (East) Jn, 'the missing link' including the Albert
Edward (as in the eldest son of Queen Victoria not her husband) Bridge over the River Severn (the twin
of the Victoria Bridge south of Arley on the current SVR) OA 1 Nov 1864. Unless anyone knows better,
it has been concluded that the temporary 1979 BR 'Telford (Coalbrookdale)' station and the 1987- 90
BR 'Ironbridge Gorge' (NB not 'Coalbrookdale') station were at the same location. This was 161m 20ch
(SJ667047), as shown on the map, between the former Green Bank Halt and GWR Coalbrookdale
station (BLN 888.885). There is no evidence that there was ever a temporary platform at 160m 20ch as
shown on TRACKmaps (vol.4 p21D, Aug 2013), this would have been the wrong side of the River
Severn with no access to the town or museums and within the power station perimeter fence. A
picture of the 1979 platform on an excellent website http://goo.gl/gFtWnh with many first generation
DMU pictures and see the adjacent picture, 106. There was only one platform on the Up side. In 1979
DMUs ran into the power station to cross from Down to Up, later they ran 'wrong line' from Lightmoor
Jn to the platform. When the branch was singled
following a landslip in 2001 (and it was found that
double track was not needed) the Down Line was
retained, the Up remains in situ but very overgrown.
Ironbridge was the first fossil-fuelled power station
in the world converted to biomass. LEFT: In 1959
'Ironbridge A' Power Station is just northeast of
Buildwas Junction station; passenger lines ran in four
directions. The Severn Valley Railway is roughly West
(from Shrewsbury) to East (to Bridgnorth); the line
southwest is to Much Wenlock and Craven Arms;
northeast to Lightmoor Jn, Wellington/Madeley Jn.
1248 YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE
91] A Paragon of Virtue: The FS was delighted to be able to complete an arrival and departure from
each of the six operational platforms at Hull recently on a Wednesday afternoon and evening, while
enjoying a trip to Bridlington and Nafferton too! After concluding a business meeting in Brough, the
11.52 was taken arriving in Hull P7 at 12.09 and on to Bridlington bay P6 at 12.55. The 13.11 return
reversed in Hull P6 leaving for Brough at 13.57. A quick journey over the footbridge there for the 14.18
back gave a P4 arrival at 14.32, then it was back again on the 14.38 from P3. The return from Brough
was also into P3 at 15.34, in time for the 15.57 out of P2, the lowest numbered operational platform.
(P1 is now very short, outside the station building on its south side, a stabling siding that has not been
used by a passenger train since the mid 1980s.) A break at Brough from 16.08 to 17.05 enabled a catch
up on emails before arriving Hull P2 at 17.26. Dinner was consumed in the excellent café at the station
before the 18.49 from P4 back to (yes, you've guessed it) - Brough! Arriving at 19.00 for the 19.54
through to Nafferton resulted in arrival and departure from Hull P5. After seven minutes at Nafferton
it was back to Hull (P6 again) before retracing to Brough to pick up the car and return home. A great
success in under 10 hours. [We can see why he is the FS!] Can anyone plan a more efficient sequence?
At one time there were 14 platforms at Hull Paragon as shown on TRACKmaps (Vol.2 p38C, Sep 2006).
92] One Good Turn Leeds to Another (and not past its Selby Date): The item above reminds the GS of
a similar Saturday afternoon move which still applies, covering the limited-use Leeds East facing bays
and Selby bay with a West Yorkshire Day Ranger and add-on day return to Selby. The 17.56 Leeds to
Selby leaves from bay P7, arriving in bay P3 at 18.33. Return at 19.20 (Selby P2) non-stop into Leeds
bay P14A (19.43). An optional add-on from Cross Gates at 17.21 gives a Leeds bay P7A arrival at 17.29!
93] Apperley Bridge: (BLN 1247.1247) A member asks if there ever has been a direct train between
Ribblehead and Apperley Bridge stations. There is now; the 21.00 hours (SSuX) Ribblehead to Leeds!
94] Doncaster: On 30 December the pointwork and most of the track had been laid for the new bay P0
and the platform wall was nearing completion. Due for completion later this year, it is totally separate
from the main station and will be connected to P1 & 2 by a new footbridge and lifts. There are quite a
few terminating trains from Hull and Thorne and Cleethorpes services will be using it to avoid conflict
with the ECML. Some through trains between Cleethorpes and Manchester will continue.
95] Belfast - Dublin: Translink (Northern Ireland Railways) introduced the first upgraded 'Enterprise'
set into service on 16 November as part of a £12.2M upgrade programme. This was financed through
the European Union's INTERREG IVA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body with
support from Northern Ireland's Department for Regional Development and the Department of
Transport, Tourism and Sport in the Republic of Ireland (!!). Refurbished train interiors include new
seating upholstery, lighting, toilets and electronic seat reservation displays. The catering car has been
redesigned. A new audio and visual system has been installed for passengers and other electronics,
including CCTV and the public address system, have been updated. Externally there is a new red,
purple and grey livery. The three sets, each of eight vehicles, were due to be finished by the end of
2015. The service began in 1997 and Monday to Saturday eight Enterprise services run in each
direction between Dublin Connolly and Belfast Central stations with five (six are planned) each way on
Sundays. The IÉ led, EU funded, major Drogheda Viaduct refurbishment was finished on 7 December.
96] IÉ Timetable: Public consultation on timetable changes ended on 8 December. The draft 31
January 2016 schedules were online for customers to review and give feedback. Proposals include:
DART Monday to Friday: 10-minute all day frequency, increased from every 15 minutes.
DART Weekend: 15 minutes Saturday and 20 minute Sunday frequency (without present gaps).
Dundalk/Drogheda: Two extra morning peak (SSuX) Enterprise/express services to Dublin.
Dundalk: Three new services (SSuX) to and from Dublin.
Dublin - Belfast Enterprise: More regular service, earlier start/later finish (BLN 1247.2342).
Dublin Connolly routes: Many revisions to times and stopping patterns to accommodate above.
97] New Year 2016: Services were to operate in the early hours of 1 January at normal fares:
01.30 & 02.30 Dublin Pearse, all stations to Howth (pronounced 'Ho--thh').
01.30 & 02.30 Dublin Connolly all stations to Greystones.
01.40 & 02.40 Pearse, Tara St., Connolly and all stations from Howth Junction to Dundalk.
01.20 & 02.50 Pearse, all stations to Maynooth.
98] Sydney Parade - Booterstown: IÉ has Tweeted a video http://goo.gl/OD9w0f of a car transporter
with trailer demolishing two of the four gates at Merrion Gates when the driver passed red lights. This
is one of the busiest and most complicated four barrier level crossings in Ireland for rail and road
traffic. The duration of the red (road) light phase before barrier lowering starts will have been set for
the longest legal vehicles, maximum permissible speed and driver reaction time, though the camera
angle and start time of the clip prevents the light change being seen. The 'truckwit' hash tag went viral.
99] NIR New Timetable: (BLN 1247.2342) Proposed from 31 January, this has been postponed to later
in the first quarter of 2016. The changes were mainly for the 'Enterprise' revision but included some
Portadown services. A person in the know advises that too many complaints were received, including
from a BLN reader. The new service managed to miss connections to Derry-Londonderry (two hourly
off-peak) at Belfast Central, typically by seven minutes. This does shows it was a genuine consultation.
X3] ISLE OF MAN: Was There Rain, Dear, before Christmas, Douglas? (BLN 1247.2343) 'Dasher' was
the first of last year's Christmas 'reindeer'. ABOVE: Winter (closed) car No1 was pulled out of the car
shed ECS then 'Dasher' ran round (or more likely 'trotted round') to take it just beyond the north end
of the car shed. There he ran round again before loading commenced. Father Christmas waved
everyone off, including her worship the Mayor of Douglas, and went back to his grotto, ready to greet
the next group of happy, smiling, young people! Car 1 had fairy lights, though not lit on the first trip.
'Dasher' may be seen in the summer, working under the alias 'Ian'. (Jenny Williamson 19 Dec 2015)
100] Deeply Depressing Weather: (BLN 1229.584) Storms Desmond and Frank (5/6 December and 30
Dec to 1 Jan) and to lesser extent 'Eva' in between, with resulting flooding and gales had considerable
detrimental effects on Scottish rail infrastructure. Lines particularly badly affected have been
Kilwinning to Largs and Dumfries or Kilmarnock to Carlisle. On Wednesday 30th the Edinburgh to
Glasgow Central semi-fasts via Shotts were cancelled up to about 18.00 due to flooding but the Class 2
stopping services ran. Sleeper trains have been diverted via Aberdeen and the ECML (see Head Lines).
On 30/31 December, Kyle of Lochalsh services were road replacement between Garve (the 'Rough
place') and Achnasheen ('Field of the rain'!) due to a landslip; the line was reopened quickly for the last
train in each direction on 31 December, but with through passengers changing at Garve.
101] Forth crossings: (BLN 1247.2351): In the aftermath of stinging criticism of the handling of the
circumstances leading to the Forth Road Bridge closure, the bridge was reopened to other than HGV
traffic at 06.00 Wed 23 Dec (some repairs having been carried out); disgruntled HGV folk were
expected to have to wait until 4 Jan 2016. Our Correspondent advises that the DBS and DRS loco-
operated shuttles using Haymarket P0 were stood down from Thursday 24th. The ScotRail-operated
additional DMUs (including amended empties and consequential alterations) ran until 31 December.
102] Edinburgh trams: (BLN 1247.2354) On 10 December the City Council voted to waive their right to
requisition land for the Haymarket to Granton Line 1b (loop) now roughly paralleling the former
Caledonian Railway branch. Compulsory purchase rights expire if the land is not bought by May 2016
and would then require a further act of parliament or a Transport & Work Act order to proceed.
Council leaders feel that this is an unnecessary expense as there is no guarantee that the line will ever
be built. City leaders voted to begin preparation works for the £162 million project line 1a extension
from York Place to Newhaven, but delayed making a final decision on whether to actually go ahead
until after the next election in 2017. Preparation works, including setting up a project team, site
investigation and starting footway enabling works on Leith Walk, will now take place over the next 18
months at a cost of £3.25M. City leaders declined to reveal when work will start, but said it would be
co-ordinated with ongoing signal improvements, road resurfacing and cycle lanes, as well as the St.
James Quarter development. The council will hear from Lothian Buses towards the end of summer
2016 on whether it can afford to hand over a £20m 'extraordinary dividend' to finance the extension.
103] Scotland Route Study: (BLN 1245.2088) A major redevelopment of Edinburgh Waverley station
was proposed by NR on 10 December with a new mezzanine level to free space for more platforms. It
said this could be needed to cope with passenger numbers more than doubling over the next 30 years.
Waverley is Scotland's second busiest station with 20M passengers a year. Commuter numbers are
expected to increase by 114% between 2012 and 2043. Other highlights of the route study:
o Edinburgh Suburban line: Electrification to divert freight away from Waverley and Haymarket.
o Wallyford to Prestonpans: Extra tracks.
o Perth station: Remodelling. (Surely seriously overdue; even ten years ago Signalling Technicians
were having to be pretty inventive in carrying out repairs to long-obsolete equipment!).
o Edinburgh to Perth and Dundee: electrification.
o Inverness to Aberdeen: Further upgrades (BLN 1247.2353).
o Wick/Thurso lines: Upgrade and possible Georgemas Chord for direct running to Thurso.
o Ayrshire and Inverclyde: Longer trains.
o Glasgow to East Kilbride and Barrhead lines: Electrification.
104] Bedtime reading: (BLN 1240.1705) The Fort William portion of the Caledonian Sleeper has been
named the world's best sleeper route in Lonely Planet's 2016 'Best in Travel' guide. Ironically, this
came at the time when the Rail, Maritime and Transport union was confirming strike action, which
cancelled all Sleeper workings on the nights of 22 and 23 December. For months staff have been
reporting a range of faults, allegedly including defective smoke alarms. Looking forward though, it was
confirmed that the Fort William portion would serve Oban on three weekends next month (12-14, 19-
21 & 26-28 Feb 2016), while engineering work takes place north of Crianlarich; passengers will be
transferred by bus to/from Oban. Operator Serco wishes to test the water there, getting public opinion
from potential Oban passengers ('guests') and local businesses to inform their long-term plan.
105] Glasgow Queen Street HL: (BLN 1233.1002) NR has issued 'Invitations to Tender' for the £112M
station revamp. The work, lasting until 2019, involves replacing the 1970s entrance. The Millennium
Hotel's huge 1970s extension and Consort House will be demolished. There will be a 500m glass
façade, new lighting, redevelopment of the concourse, ticket office and staff block, and improved
entrances at Dundas Street and George Square.
106] Milngavie: (BLN 1160.539) Railfuture Scotland has appealed to Transport Scotland and the NR/
Scotrail Alliance to progress plans for a new station at Allander, between Hillfoot and Milngavie. This
would include 400 park and ride spaces. Despite 2005 and 2008 reports suggesting that a station
would be a positive addition to the local rail network and the universal backing of councillors, limited
progress has been made. Inadequate parking at Milngavie (pronounced 'Mill-Guy') is thought to be
discouraging many people from travelling by train including from Strathblane and Blanefield, Killearn
and Balfron (ironically all once rail-served). It has been admitted that on the single track line with 4tph
each way the infrastructure and timetabling would have to be considered before any developments.
107] Anniesland (Re)-Connection: (BLN 1247.2300) Our Society cartographer has found photographic
evidence that the northeast end is almost in Canal Tunnel; the southeast end is by an original single
OHL mast off Anniesland P3; Google Earth measurement makes it 20ch (411m) long. Dawsholm Jn (NR
also use Dawsholme Jn) is the new junction in the single track from Anniesland P3 to Maryhill Park Jn.
X4] Maerdy: The pictures and map in e-BLN 1247 (between items 2358 and MR 204) prompted Angus
McDougall to kindly send this classical atmospheric picture of a 3-car DMU for Porth at the Maerdy
terminus on 18 Aug 1962. It is looking north (right) to the colliery exchange sidings. The hillside
buildings left of the rows of wagons in the distance are at Maerdy No1 & No2 shafts (abandoned 1932).
1248 MINOR RAILWAYS
MR1] Royal Deeside Railway, Aberdeenshire (MR p10): With the completion of the station building
the railway is re-focusing on the task of extending the line west towards Banchory. The first goal is the
Bridge O'Bennie, which will almost double the length of ride. However, there are numerous items that
need to be addressed to enable passenger trains to reach Bridge O'Bennie. These are: Birkenbaud
crossing signs, run-around loop completion also purchase of 570 concrete sleepers, 400m of rail, 800
tonnes of ballast, turnout components and fencing. It has also been decided to build a halt adjacent to
Birkenbaud crossing. The cost of these materials is substantial and to achieve all the above will cost
the railway an estimated £30k. Income from fares and the shop covers operational costs and
maintenance; however the railway relies on donations for infrastructure development. If you would
like to ride over the extended line sooner rather than later you might like to consider a donation to the
railway for their extension appeal. See http://goo.gl/BbjcuW (slow to load!) and http://goo.gl/RpUhr4
01330 844416 or write to The Royal Deeside Railway, Milton of Crathes, Banchory, AB31 5QH.
MR2] Peak Rail, Derbyshire (MR p8): It was announced in mid November that plans to extend the
railway from Rowsley to Bakewell and Hassop have taken a step forward. Representatives from Peak
Rail and Derbyshire County Council have been 'ironing out' issues of competing proposals in recent
weeks. Now it is hoped that shares in the railway will be on sale to members of the public by mid 2016.
A planning application for the project is likely to be submitted by the end of the year. Paul Tomlinson,
development director at Peak Rail, said: 'This is really great news, I think some people believed we
would never get this far. We have had to resolve a number of issues with the county council, but we
have a clear timescale to work to now. It's an expensive job to complete the project, we are looking at a
multi-million pound investment'. The largest obstruction is the missing bridge over the A6 north of the
railway's current terminus at Rowsley South. The completed railway could generate an additional
£20M for the Dales and Peaks economy. Based on other heritage railways, they typically generate
three times whatever investment is put into them. Once completed, the railway would require around
100 full-time members of staff. There have been issues in the past with plans for a new Peak District
cycle trail. However, the railway will coexist with cyclists and walkers, using the trail.
MR3] Merseyside Live Steam & Model Engineers, Liverpool (BLN 1222.MR204): This society has
elevated 3½"/5" and ground level 5"/7¼" gauge lines off Harthill Road adjacent to Calderstones Park,
Allerton. The ground level line was reported as being out of use in 1999 as no members then had 7¼"
locomotives. In January 2008 it was still out of use and the track needed resleepering; this was
underway in spring 2009. The line was back in use by November 2010, but not reportedly for public
use due to access being across the elevated track. However, it now seems it does carry passengers
again! The Fixtures Secretary and his two young children called in on Sunday 13 December after a
shopping trip to Liverpool. Santa was expected to be in attendance but had been delayed. Due to poor
weather, only the 3½"/5" gauge elevated track was in use (much to FS's displeasure!). However, an
enjoyable ride was had on 5" gauge metals behind (perhaps deliberate) Santa Fe battery electric
2267127 with one riding truck. As usual, there was no fare but donations were greatly appreciated. On
special request, two laps were provided with a 'fast' run through the station after lap one! A friendly
Elf was on hand on the return providing a packet of sweets for the little ones. A delightful railway with
very friendly volunteers. http://goo.gl/tPYQku Normal opening times are Sundays all year 13.00-16.00.
MR4] Swanage Railway, Dorset (MR p6) (BLN 1227.376): The railway announced in early December
that June 2016 was its target date for the trial DMU service between Swanage and Wareham. The new
£500k level crossing across the Wytch Farm oil field and a park and ride access road at Norden has
been funded by BP and Perenco. Work has also been carried out replacing 1,700 wooden sleepers with
concrete ones and clearing embankments and repairing bridges, fences and drains between Norden
and Worgret Junction. Issues including ownership of the line and nearby hibernating animals led to
delays in the work earlier this year, which resulted in the trial date being put back.
E-BLN UPDATE: On 5 Jan 2016 (after this item had been written) the Swanage Railway issued a press
release that the trial passenger service has now been deferred from June this year to the first quarter
of next. This is because of the need to replace, rather than restore, nonstandard specialist equipment
on two ex-British Railways 1960s heritage diesel trains being upgraded to exacting main line standards.
MR5] Tyseley Locomotive Works, West Midlands (MR p7): An open weekend was held here on
Saturday & Sunday 24/25 October 2015 and our roving reporter visited on the former date. Rides were
available behind L94 0-6-0PT (NBQ/1930, former GWR 7752) plus ex-BR coaches W9101 & W5157 and
LNWR 1054 0-6-2T - from Warwick Road platform. Shunting up and down the adjacent line was No1
0-4-0ST (P2004/1941). Various larger locomotives were also in steam around the turntable. Admission
was £15 for all ages for which an un-numbered credit card size ticket was issued. Our reporter feels
that the event should have been better advertised.
MR6] Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum, Hampshire (MR p18) (BLN 1199.MR242): A visit was
made here on Sunday 14 November 2015 by our roving reporter on a rare dry day! The 2ft gauge line
was being operated by Ashby 4wDM (MR8694/1943) with two covered coaches. Steam loco 0-4-0ST
Wendy (WB2091/1919) was noted to be very out of use with some of its wheels sets missing. The 7¼"
gauge line was operating with No4 0-4-0PH (Purbeck 1999) plus two sit-astride coaches. This loco is
from the now closed line at the Purbeck School, Wareham (BLN 923.MR101).
MR7] High Legh Railway, Cheshire (MR p13) (BLN 1148.MR189): A visit to this 7¼" gauge railway by
the Fixtures Secretary on Sunday 13 December 2015, to take his two young children to see Santa, was
rewarded with a couple of unusual moves. Travel to Santa's Grotto was once again by rail, departing
(unusually) clockwise from P1. After the second curve, the service took the left hand side of the loop
(nearest to the boundary fence). This was a required move for Brodie, but not Logan or Dad! The
service terminated at a temporary station located to the rear of the sheds, ready to join the queue to
see the big man. The diagram continued after set down ECS back to High Legh. Despite the poor
weather, it was very busy with two Santa services in operation, one powered by 0-4-2PH (R Kay/1983)
Jerry. The Metrolink T68 set 1029 (J Pinder/2000) was in P2 to provide rides for anyone not visiting
Santa, but was not used during the visit, therefore the routing of that diagram was unconfirmed.
MR8] Elham Valley Line Trust, Kent (MR p19) (BLN 1211.MR92): A visit was made here on 7 November
2015. It is on two sites; one each side of the Elham Valley Railway embankment. At the Countrylife
Museum are two Channel Tunnel construction locomotives. The Railway Museum contains a very
realistic 0-6-0T mock-up. The 7¼" gauge miniature railway is located at the railway museum. Only
about 100 yards in length, it is in the form of a circuit, with the passenger platform on a short branch
off the circuit, joined to it by a triangular junction. A ride consists of a start from the station, round the
complete circuit, and then returning by the third side of the triangle. Working was Santa Fe 5631, Bo-
BoBE. Spare was Bo-BoBE (DB electric loco) along with a 4wBE dismantled for repair. Admission to the
museum was £2, with a ride on the railway £1.50. Access is possible via the No17 bus from Folkestone
Central to Newington with an hourly frequency. It is then half a mile walk to Peene village and the site.
1248 OTHERS' OFFERS & OPPORTUNITIES
A service to members; Please mention the Branch Line Society when booking/enquiring. . ..Details must be checked with the organisers.
108] London Railway Memorials Part 3, Sat 13 or 20 Feb: Our member and former BLS Chairman, Don
Kennedy, London Railway Historian of note, has kindly invited members to join a private 'mystery tour'
by rail and on foot. Meet at Charing Cross mainline station at 10.00, finishes Victoria by 17.00. Max 20;
advance bookings only. Please notify interest/preferred date (Don's is 20th) ASAP or for a weekday
repeat in due course [email protected] 02085674397. A charity collection will be made.
109] Unusual Transport Systems: By our member Rod Bryant. A fully revised and updated fifth (2016)
edition will be available on our 23 January and 7 February railtours sales stands (if not sold out). It
complements Peter Scott's 'Minor Railways' annual guide perfectly. New sections are Amphibious
Crafts, Hovercrafts and Vertical Observation Towers. Also includes Monorails, People Movers, Cable
Guideways, Cable Cars, Hanging Gondolas, Chair Lifts, Electric Railway, 5" Gauge Railways, Short Public
Railways, Vertical & Inclined Lifts, Transporter Wheels, Fixed Ferris Wheels, Guided Busways, Tethered
Balloon Rides, Heathrow Airport 'Pods', Passenger Boat Lifts, Sea Ferry Tractors and Travelators. £7
including P&P from Mark Gomm Sales Officer, below (CPA/cheque dated 2016: 'Branch Line Society').
BLN 1248.110] 'The Generating Finale', Easter Sat 26 Mar: SUBJECT TO FINAL CONFIRMATION.
Eastleigh (06.10/ 23.45); certain stations, via Reading West Curve, Oxford (08.00/21.55), Dorridge
(09.15/20.40), St. Andrews Jn, Landor St. Jn, to Burton-on-Trent (10.10/19.45), Castle Donington,
Toton Traction Depot reception line/Line 17/loco arrival line, Toton North Jn, Ironville Jn, Mansfield,
South Yorkshire Jt. to Hatfield & Stainforth (rev), Doncaster N. Chord, Askern, Knottingley East Curve,
round Eggborough Power Station loop, Ferrybridge Power Station loop, Pontefract Baghill, Swinton,
Westthorpe Run Round (rev), Sheffield to Burton-on-Trent and return as outward. From £92 Adult.
Check when open for bookings with Pathfinder Tours http://goo.gl/Fo7sz2 01453-835414 /834477.
1248 ADDENDA X5] Guess the Location, e-BLN 1247: ABOVE: A class 24 loco at Aberystwyth on the
morning of 19 Jun 1975, then P3 as shown in (TRACKmaps vol.4 p23, Aug 2013) now actually P1. It has
just arrived with the overnight mail train from York, including passenger accommodation. Our male
member had travelled on it from Stockport; the return working left late afternoon. Of note, left the BR
drivers' uniform, multiple platforms in use, the post office red van, a once traditional sight at stations
and the semaphore signals behind. Top right is the Vale of Rheidol Light Railway (1' 11½" gauge) which
used the then P5 with some of its rolling stock painted BR Rail Blue in the distance, immediately right
of the second roof column. Until December 1964 that side of the station was used by three trains daily
(SuX) to/from Carmarthen via Lampeter; the 56 mile journey took 2½ hours. There is still a crossover
and loop for running round at the platform shown, the only one now used by standard gauge trains.
Aberystwyth has its best ever train service with 16 passenger arrivals and departures SuX and 12 SuO.
Distribution: Dave Monger, 6 Underhill Close, GODALMING, GU7 1NU. [email protected] 07592 585230.
Branch Line: Nick Garnham, [email protected] Subscribe: [email protected]
Fixtures Secretary: Kev Adlam, 53 Kemble Close, Wistaston, CREWE CW2 6XN. [email protected] Twitter: @BLSGeneralSec
General Secretary: Tim Wallis, 10 Sandringham Road, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. [email protected]
Chairman: John Williamson, 'La Marguerite', Croit-E-Quill Rd., LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7JD. [email protected]
SALES: Mark Gomm, 84 Mornington Road, STOKE-ON-TRENT, ST1 6EL. [email protected] 01782 769960 (daytime).
NEWS TEAM: Wales: Paul Jeffries, 54 Heol Erwin, CARDIFF, CF14 6QR. [email protected]
South East England, East Anglia & Ireland: Julian James, 58 Nelson Road, WORTHING, BN12 6EN. [email protected]
London: Geoff Brockett, 155 Onslow Gardens, South Woodford, LONDON, E18 1NA. [email protected]
Midlands & South West England: Brian Schindler, 15 Sudeley, Dosthill, TAMWORTH, B77 1JR. [email protected]
Northern England & Isle of Man: Graeme Jolley, 3 Laurel Cottages, Rencell Hill, LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7BJ. [email protected]
Scotland: Bob Watt, 18 Kilmailing Road, GLASGOW, G44 5UJ. [email protected]
Minor Railways (British Isles): Peter Scott, 93 Josephine Court, Southcote Rd, READING, RG30 2DQ. [email protected]
International: Paul Griffin, 7 School Bell Mews, Church Lane, Stoneleigh, COVENTRY, CV8 3ZZ. [email protected]
E-BLN (Distribution problems and for image submission etc): Dave Cromarty, [email protected]
Editor/Head Lines: Paul Stewart, 4 Clarence Close, MALVERN, WR14 3HX. [email protected] 01684 562862 07790652351.
Printed by Deva Enterprises, Waters Edge, The Drive, Ifold, LOXWOOD, West Sussex RH14 0TD, tel: 01403 752837, [email protected] or
[email protected] Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Rd, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947.