Issue Number 1249 (Items 111 - 212 & MR 9 - MR 21) (E-BLN 41 PAGES) 23 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 1250 is dated 6 February and all coSnotcriiebtuy.tions must be received by 27 January.
Date Event Visit Type BLN Lead Notes
Sat 23/01/16 EDF Tracker railtour Carnforth to Cleethorpes pay 1245 JE & SEE
*SEE UPDATE BELOW* on the day available cash/card KA BELOW
Sun 24/01/16 Kylie's Encore with 10.45 NRM Shildon, Locomotion 1248 AM SEE
EXTRA TRIP PLEG (loco 08484)
extra traction event 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 - 18.20 UPDATE BELOW 1247 KA OPEN
Sat 27/02/16 North Midlands Tracker 07.20 Crewe, to Heritage lines 1248 GJ OPEN
Sat 5/03/16 Southend-on-Sea area 10.30 - 15.30 five different visits 1247 RB OPEN
Sun 6/03/16 Mainline Tracker tour With a bounce, save the date! TBA KA Claimed
Sat 12/03/16 Signal box visits York to 09.15 Malton station for visits 1249 NG *OPEN*
*NOW OPEN* Scarborough line to signal boxes (see below) *NEW*
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
Sat 19/03/16 City of Newport Model Mid-afternoon; all available 1249 PS *OPEN*
….*NEW* Engineering Society track ground level & elevated *NEW*
Mon 28/03/16 AFRPS Scunthorpe Steel 09.30-18.45 Easter Monday tour 1248 PS OPEN
Thu 31/03/16 Crich Tram Museum *NEW* 09.00 Visit & rare track TBA JC Claimed
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/mainline 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, JC-John Cameron, JE-Jill Everett,
KA-Kev Adlam, NG-Nick Garnham, PS-Paul Stewart, RB-Rod Bryant, SM-Simon Mortimer, TV-Terry Velvick.
111] BLN South West: Please note that from the next BLN (1250), Mike Newman is taking over as
Regional Editor again. Mike's contact information is on back page; see South West section also.
112] EDF Tracker, Sat 23 Jan: Those who had booked will already know from Kev Adlam's update that
recent events have caused a change in the operational and security arrangements at West Burton
Power Station and unfortunately they can no longer accept our tour. It was included in our 'Barrow Hill
Farewell' railtour of 23 March 1991 (and other tours before and in November 1992). However, there is
still much other interesting track booked for the Tracker tour on Saturday 23 January including…
• Carnforth P1 wrong road departure (X/O) • Grimsby (Pasture Street) loop
• Hellifeld Up loop • Cleethorpes P4
• Skipton P3 with associated crossovers • Barnetby down reception
• Kirkstall Up loop • Brigg Line (Northorpe loop requested)
• Whitehall curve • Worksop Down reception
• Hemsworth Up loop • Sheffield sidings (reversal)
• Doncaster Bridge Jn - Sand Bank Jn • Kilnhurst Up goods loop
• Up West Reception (most west) - Decoy North • Cadeby Up goods loop
• Back Road - Decoy South - St. Catherine's Jn • Hexthorpe Jn, Up Sheffield goods
• South Yorkshire Joint Line • Hemsworth Down loop
• Worksop Up Reception • Whitehall curve
• Brigg line • Kirkstall Down loop
• Barnetby Up slow • Hellifield Down goods loop
It will be a great day out with like-minded people and rare Class 37 haulage. Card bookings accepted
up to Fri 22 Jan (01270 662396 between 20.30 and 21.30 please) or pay on the day by card or cash.
BLN 1249.113] Kylie's Captain Encore, NRM Shildon, Sun 24 Jan: (BLN 1248.1) Both trains are full so
Locomotion are kindly running more along the main line after the 10.00 trip returns, until everyone
there has ridden behind 08484. Report to a steward on the platform (10.45). Everyone will have at
least two return trips; more if no new passengers are waiting to board (conditions as before); £10 cash
on the day. To book and gauge expected demand email [email protected] finishes by 11.30.
114] Merseyrail Tour, Sun 7 Feb: The updated and enhanced full route with some choice extra
moves and times: Hooton Bay P1 (PU 09.47) - Dn Helsby (REV) - Hooton P3 - Rock Ferry P2 (PU 10.06) -
Hamilton Square - James Street P1 (PU 10.24 / REV) - Birkenhead North P3 (REV) - ML1523 GPL (REV) -
Up & Dn Through Siding (REV) - Birkenhead North Depot Charlie Road (REV) - Up & Dn Through Siding
(REV) - Stock Interchange Line - Liverpool Central - Hunts Cross P2 (REV) - Liverpool Central North Jn -
Up Southport - Leeds Street Jn - Dn Southport - Sandhills P2 (REV) - Sandhills Reversing Siding (REV) -
Sandhills P1- Up Southport - Bootle Jn - Dn Southport - Southport P1 (BREAK/REV) - Southport Signal
112 (REV) - Birkdale Sidings No2 Road (REV) - Formby (REV) - Hillside (REV) - Sandhills (REV) 'bang road'
to Kirkdale Depot (14 and 15 road requested) - Walton P2 (REV) - Leeds Street Jn - Dn Southport -
Liverpool Central Reversing Siding (REV) - Stock Interchange Line - James Street P2 (SD 17.34) - Rock
Ferry Bay P3 (SD 17.45 / REV) - ML722 (REV) - Rock Ferry P2 - Hooton P2 (SD 18.20 / REV) - Eastham
Rake P2 (SD 18.26). Birkenhead Depot back road has been inspected and is confirmed OOU, so the
tour is going on to the depot instead. Hall Road siding requires 200 sleepers changing to accommodate
the tour and this cannot be done in time. There is the option on the trailing crossover at Hooton North
Jn at the end of the tour. The booking form was supplied with BLN 1247 and is on our website (events).
115] York - Scarborough line, signal box visits, Sat 12 Mar: Thanks to our member, Nick Garnham.
Malton station 09.15 (08.40 train ex-York) expected to include Seamer (controls Scarborough station
and to just beyond Hunmanby towards Hull), Barton Hill, Kirkham Abbey, Weaverthorpe & Malton. A
£25 (cash on the day) charity donation applies. Bookings/queries to [email protected]
or post (with SAE, two for an acknowledgement) to 82 Baron Court, PETERBOROUGH, PE4 7ZF. Please
advise if you have an orange high-viz vest, any spare and how many, or if you need to borrow one.
IMPORTANT: also please advise if arriving by car (and how many lifts you can provide) or by train.
116] City of Newport Model Engineering Society, Sat 19 Mar: To follow the morning Pontypool &
Blaenavon Railtour, on which a few places remain (BLN 1246.2149), and less than 30 minutes away by
road, a mid-afternoon (about 14.30/15.00) 'all available lines' visit has been arranged. There is 2,000ft
of 7¼" gauge ground level track and a short 5" elevated line. £12 per head bookings (cheque or CPA to
'Branch Line Society') to Paul Stewart per back page or in person on a forthcoming Society tour/fixture.
117] Crich Tramway Museum, 09.00 Thur 31 Mar: (MR p32) Thanks to local member John Cameron a
morning visit has been secured to this 4' 8½" gauge line including some rare track. Bookings open in
BLN 1250.To follow, a possible visit to the 15" gauge Sherwood Forest Railway (MR p22).
118] Unusual Track: Anticipated but should be re-checked http://goo.gl/wwSbYv (See last page too.)
Carlisle bay P8: Virgin Trains Glasgow shuttle via G&SWR during WCML Lamington closure.
Rochdale bay P2: Sundays 24 Jan onwards (18 weeks) all services to/from east (roughly hourly).
Up/Down Sleaford avoiders: 30/31 Jan, 6/7 Feb ECML diverted all Saturdays/Sunday mornings.
Haymarket P0: 21 Mar - 5 Aug, 07.13 (SSuX) from Kirkcaldy (Glasgow Queen St. closure).
Wellington (Salop) through lines: 25-28 Mar, some WCML diversions (see West Midlands).
1249 HEAD LINES
119] Warrington Avoiding Line 'The Straight'; Sankey Jn - Padgate Jn: (BLN 1248.59) OG 13 Aug 1883,
OP 7 Sep 1883. TCP (scheduled service) 1 Jan 1917 (WWI), ROP 1 Oct 1920 (timetable change date)
Midland Railway St. Pancras to Liverpool Central service, one train each way without Manchester
Central and Warrington stops. TCP (scheduled) 11 Sep 1939 (WWII), ROP 6 May 1946 with 07.30 SuX
Liverpool Central to Manchester Central only and from 28 Sep 1948, the Up/Down Liverpool -
Colchester (later Harwich boat train). All-year passenger service may have ceased from 10 Sep 1962 (or
9 Sep 1963). From 15 Jun 1964 there was summer seasonal use only and it was added to 'PSUL', until
withdrawn from 3 Jul 1967. Regular goods traffic ceased 20 May 1968 and it CA 22 Jul 1968.
120] Stratford, Channelsea North Jn - Stratford Central Jn West - Stratford P11: (BLN 1248.18) OP
Mon 18 May 2015, Connection of Strategic Importance, a new PSUL used in this direction only. The
18.30 (SSuX) ex-Clapham Junction London Overground service (would normally use Stratford bays P1
or 2, which are then otherwise booked). ECS then runs to Wembley Central LO Carriage Sidings.
121] London Bridge terminal platforms (originally P8-P16 incl): (ex-LB&SCR station) Initial P14-P16 CP
19 May 2013 (BLN 1186.780) for rebuilding and Thameslink work. All (as then) TCP 23 until 31 Aug
2014 (incl) (BLN 1216.1307) and from 20 Dec 2014 until ROP 5 Jan 2016 in their final format (P10-15).
122] Blackfriars Jn - Southwark Jn - *Metropolitan 'B' Jn: (BLN 1248.20) Former Thameslink passenger
route. TCP after end of service on 19 Dec 2014 (early hours of 20th). ROP expected January 2018 (BLN
1222.1799). Thameslink through services were then diverted away from London Bridge, via Elephant
and Castle. Some (SuX) are provided between London Bridge (terminal platforms) and Brighton. *TCA
after end of service on 24 Dec 2015 from (the point where the Reversible Blackfriars Spur joins the
Metropolitan Reversible line) - Metropolitan 'B' Jn - Metropolitan 'C' Jn - London Bridge station etc.
123] Blackfriars Jn - Southwark Jn - Reversible Blackfriars Spur - Metropolitan Reversible - 'in/out'
Cannon St. Line - Cannon Street ('South Jn'): (amending BLN 1248.20) TCA 24 Dec 2015 RO 4 Jan 2016
for SSuX ECS movements only between Cannon Street and Grove Park Carriage Sidings via Blackfriars
Carriage Holding Siding (rev), Denmark Hill and Lewisham. Ex-Cannon Street (SSuX) at 08.08, 08.24,
08.29, 08.47 & 09.11 and ex-Grove Park at 16.05, 16.46, 16.51, 17.08 & 17.32. NR originally planned to
remove the Cannon Street curve section with the Thameslink works, but there are insufficient paths
via London Bridge for all peak ECS workings to/from Cannon Street, so it is being retained.
124] Up/Down Charing Cross Slow lines slew (in former Up/Down Slow towards Ewer Street Jn) -
Metropolitan Jn 'B' - 'in/out' Cannon St. Line - Cannon St. ('South Jn'): (BLN 1248.20) CP (TCA to
where it joins 'in/out' Cannon St. Line) after the 00.50 Charing Cross to Orpington 24 Dec 2015.
In summary, the connections to the Charing Cross lines at Metropolitan Jn have been removed.
125] Up/Down Charing Cross Slow lines slew (in former Up/Down Slow towards Ewer Street Jn) -
Ewer Street Jn - London Bridge station: OP 4 Jan 2016 route via the new Borough Market Viaduct.
126] Folkestone Central (excl) - Dover Priory (excl): TCP from 11.30, 24 Dec 2015 'for several months'.
127] Minster West Jn - Minster South Jn: (PSUL 'Minster Curve') TCP after running 24 Dec 2015 (Dover
to Folkestone line closure) ROP 4 Jan 2016 (now 08.05 (SSux) Ramsgate - Dover Priory & 15.55 return).
128] IÉ Gorey (excl) - Rosslare Europort (incl) also Enniscorthy, Wexford & Rosslare Strand stations:
TCP during 30 December 2015 due to severe flooding at Enniscorthy, ROP 8 January 2016.
129] Glasgow, Larkfield Jn - Muirhouse Jn: TROP Tue 12 Jan 2016, (some) diverted Caledonian Sleeper
services due to the Lamington WCML closure (previously cancelled or diverted via ECML).
130] Coventry Arena & Bermuda Park stations: (BLN 1248/17) OP Mon 18 Jan 2016 instead of 11th.
ABOVE LEFT: The first train to call at Coventry Arena, 153354 on the 06.11 to Nuneaton, Mon 18 Jan
2016. A collection of people from the contractors and council prepare to board (our local member was
the only 'normal' passenger!). RIGHT: Ten minutes later, it was also the first train to call at Bermuda
Park. A ticket could not be purchased because neither of the stations' ticket machines recognised their
locations, and they were not on the database of the conductor's ticket machine. Apparently, the
decision (finally) to open both stations was taken only four days earlier. A report from a Society
member who would prefer not to be named and who was on board https://goo.gl/6FTRwp the actual
train. As Coventry Arena is within the Centro West Midlands area (unlike Bermuda Park), Day Trippers,
N-Network Travelcards and West Midlands evening returns (£2.40 no discounts) are all valid.
131] Gidea Park; Station Jn - Carriage Sidings - Country End Jn: TOOU from 18 January until end
March 2016 for remodelling in connection with Crossrail. Trains will be stabled at other locations.
132] IÉ, Sligo line; Longford (excl) - Carrick-on-Shannon (excl) and Dromod station: (BLN 1248.19)
ROP 07.00 on 11 Jan 2016 (TCP 2 Jan 2016). River Shannon flooding.
133] Llandudno Junction (excl) - Blaenau Ffestiniog (incl) & nine intermediate stations: (BLN1248.26) TCP 28
Dec 2015; TOU from 16 Jan 2016 due to extensive storm damage for reconstruction. The access points at
Llandudno Jn have been secured OOU; a temporary stop block has been placed at 1m 60ch. The Local
Operations Manager has possession of the token. ROP is now targeted for late February.
134] Prudhoe - Hexham (both exclusive) also
Stocksfield, Riding Mill & Corbridge stations
TCP (TCA part at least) on 7 Jan 2016 (after the
06.47 Newcastle to Glasgow Queen Street via
Carlisle ran); expected until 31 Jan 2016 at
least. This is due to a significant unstable
landslip from fields 120ft above the railway in a
deep cutting on a BR built deviation (16m 72ch
- 17m 08ch) which opened on Sunday 27 May
1962. This bypassed the Grade II listed 170yd
Corbridge Tunnel (also known as Farnley Scar
Tunnel) which has had stability problems since
opening in 1834. Interestingly BR was then able
to slew the double track line here in two places
during just one day! The deviation is still
marked on TRACKmaps see Vol.2 P46E (Sep
2006); 50,000 tonnes of material needs to be
removed to stabilise a 60m section of cutting.
PREVIOUS PAGE, BOTTOM LEFT / RIGHT: The unstable land deteriorated rapidly over a few days.
ABOVE: The view on 7 January at track level looking towards Newcastle. (All NR press releases)
135] Girvan (excl.) - Stranraer & Barrhill station: TCP 8 Jan after the 15.00 Stranraer to Kilmarnock;
expected until 31 Jan 2016. Flood damage to Laggansarroch Viaduct (NX 1990 8865) over the River
Stinchar between Pinmore and Pinwherry. Buses have been running, with Barrhill served by taxis. In
September 2014 local concerns were raised that the scour protection armour rock reinforcing then
added to the central support was too small and loosely filled to stay in place when the river flooded.
ABOVE: Laggansarroch Viaduct 17 Sep 2014 after this work had been carried out; the River Stinchar
used to flow round the central pier and has been narrowed. It is noted her for being very forceful
when in flood. (Inset: the view from the other direction). (Ayshires River Trust http://goo.gl/LefChQ )
136] Perth (excl) - Aviemore (excl) and six intermediate stations: ROP 11 Jan 2016 for normal service
after TCP (TCA part at least) about 10.00 on 30 Dec 2015 due to storm and flood damage.
137] IÉ, Athenry (excl) - Ennis (incl) & Craughwell & Ardrahan stations: (BLN 1248.16) ROP 16 Jan
2016 after TCP since 31 Dec 2015 due to flooding at Kiltartan, north of Gort. (Still TCP to Limerick.)
138] West Ealing Jn - (Greenford) single line, P5 track point: From 4 Jan 2016 a new connection of
strategic importance. The new layout is presently used by the half-hourly Paddington to Greenford
service (SuX) but will become NRU when that is diverted to West Ealing bay P5 (? from 16 May 2016).
139] Bath Spa (excl) - North Somerset Jn - Bristol East Jn /Dr. Day's Jn and Oldfield Park & Keynsham
stations: TCP (TCA part at least) due 2-10 Apr 2016 incl. Bath to Bristol closure clearance work for IEP
trains. Weymouth trains terminate at Bath or Westbury; Portsmouth services are diverted to Swindon,
the GWR Brighton trains will not run. Paddington HSTs alternate to Bath via Chippenham and Bristol
TM via Filton Abbey Wood (some call). Buses will operate Bristol to Bath fast and stopping, also Bristol
to Castle Cary and Bristol via Bath to Frome in the peaks (all similar to the previous Bath line closure).
140] Aberthaw Cement Ground Frame (6m 36ch) - Tarmac Cement Works: ROG expected, possibly 16
April (test train) bagged cement to Theale (possibly Westbury/Moorswater). The connection has been
upgraded with a new ground signal (instead of the ground frame) added to Cardiff Signalling Centre.
141] Kirkby (Merseyside), Knowsley Rail Loading Transfer Station ROG expected in April, compacted
rubbish for incineration at Wilton, Teesside Incinerator; (site of Knowsley Freight Terminal 28m 28ch).
Schedules are in the system for up to two return workings per day and DBS has begun route learning.
142] Lackenby, Shell Jn - Wilton Branch: (BLN 1223.1854) ROG expected April 2016; rubbish for
incineration at the new SITA 'energy from waste' facility (NZ 564 218) around 444,000 tonnes per year.
The project http://goo.gl/jK2jzF is costing about £300M and the contract is until 2043.
ABOVE: Our 'Hundred of Wirral Railtour' (joint with the LCGB), nine brakevans with 135 participants,
awaits departure from Birkenhead Woodside on Sat 6 Aug 1966. (Jeremy Suter Railway Photographs.)
143] FIXTURES REPORTS: 'Hundred of Wirral Railtour', Sat 6 Aug 1966: This was the first BLS tour our
Member No1 organised (joint with the LCGB North West Branch), negotiating with BR. Another long-
standing member since 1956, John Ryan, wrote and produced the itinerary and maps (which are being
sent out as an e-BLN 1249 supplement). BR made some last minute deletions and other mistakes,
which remains a great disappointment to No1 over 49 years later but resulted in a then substantial five
shillings (25p) refund of the 45 shilling (£2.25p) fare to each participant. The brakevan tour of branches
http://goo.gl/fqIslP in the Wirral/Chester areas would no doubt fill several times over now. Sadly, it
seemed jinxed from the start with errors and late refusals to parts of the original route specification.
Proposed route and times: From BLN 61 (20 Jul 1966) 10.30 Monks Ferry (or Birkenhead Woodside) -
Green Lane Jn - Tranmere Pool Branch - Green Lane Jn - Chester No5 - 'Chester Cutting' (avoiding line) -
Saltney Dee Wharf/Oil Works branch - Saltney Jn - Chester General - Mickle Trafford, Cheshire Lines
Committee (CLC) connection - Chester Northgate avoiding line - Shotton HL - Connah's Quay Dock -
Shotton LL - Connah's Quay Dock - Shotton HL - Neston - Bidston GCR Yard - Birkenhead Docks South Jn
- Bidston Iron Ore Dock branch - Birkenhead Dock Lines (MD&HBR) - Brook Street Jn - Rock Ferry 17.30.
Despite the best efforts of 'No1' and John, with his professional railway experience, Monks Ferry was
declined early in the planning due to imminent closure and the state of the track, as was Tranmere
Pool. On the day 'Crab' steam loco 42942 with nine brake vans left Birkenhead Woodside at 11.02
main line towards Hooton (totally different from now), for a photographic stop. BELOW: Hooton in
1966, the tour on what was then the Up main line, (now 'Platform Zero' accessing the non-electrified
'long siding'). The station buildings right, survive nearly 50 years later as the ticket office, staff quarters
and 'Mtogo' shop; but that footbridge and the buildings on the left did not. Next to the train is the
Down main, now the electrified P1 bay where our railtour of 7 Feb 2016 starts. Modern P2 is the other
face of this island (then finished in traditional cracked flagstones), far left. The Up and Down relief
lines, now the surviving double track, were that side of the station. (All Harold Bowtell/Manchester
Locomotive Society collection except where shown, thanks to Charlie Hulme and Paul Shackcloth.)
ABOVE: Taken from the other side of the train. The buildings on the left are actually on the second
island platform across, (the roof is further south than on the first island). The Relief lines ran between
the two islands and on the far side were (but trackless by 1966) the Up & Down West Kirby branch
platforms. With an additional bay to the right of the photographer, Hooton at one time had seven
platforms. (Jeremy Suter Railway Photographs.) BELOW: The out of copyright 1906 Railway Clearing
House Junction Diagrams of the Chester and Saltney areas (showing the GWR Dee Oil Works branch).
At Chester No5, the Chester avoider was taken to Chester No6, where ex-GWR Pannier Tank 1638 (now
being renovated on the K&ESR) was substituted. It was in poor condition and the brakes leaked on in
Chester cutting. After a troublesome journey to Saltney Jn, 1638 struggled to Mold Jn No3. Here a
highlight of the day was the bonus of traversing the through siding from Mold Jn No3 to No4. The
brakevans were propelled around this little known curve, effectively the Mold Jn avoiding line used for
turning locos. This was to make up for the omission of the Saltney Dee branch. Mold Junction was the
main (and a large) marshalling yard for the North Wales Coast Line; the triangle remained until it
closed. By this time, 1638 was deemed unfit to take the train to Helsby and the Crab was summoned
from there to rescue it. The run went without any further problems before setting back into the Helsby
branch platform for a short stop.
BELOW: The loco change at Helsby branch platform (modern P4) note more cracked uneven flagstone
platform paving. (Jeremy Suter Railway Photographs.) Compare this with the BLN 1238.1433 picture.
The tour reversed back onto the main line and headed off towards Chester. At Mickle Trafford the
tour diverged on to the CLC 1942 connection towards Chester Northgate (the CLC/Great Central
terminal) and Chester East Jn, 19 minutes down, not too bad considering the Pannier's failure.
Chester Northgate station (CP 6 Oct 1969), with a full complement of CLC and GCR lower quadrant
signals, was passed using the avoiding line, i.e. Chester East Jn to Liverpool Road West Jn. The stations
at Liverpool Road (CP), Blacon, Saughall (CP) and Sealand were then seen before the next enforced
change of route at Dee Marsh East Jn. Originally, as can be seen from the itinerary with e-BLN, the tour
should have gone left to the Connah's Quay branch over the Dee Marsh East to West Jns curve (later
CA 7 Oct 1968). Instead, it took the right fork from Dee Marsh East to North Jns which survived along
with the rest of the line from Mickle Trafford for another four years. Both curves had passenger
services in 1966. That line served Shotwick Sidings which then also received iron ore trains from
Bidston Dock, usually powered by 9F 2-10-0s. John Summers Steel Works diesel shunters took over at
the exchange sidings. The works had stood here since 1895; the site is now occupied by Shotton Paper
and a Tata Steel Company rolling mill. BLS railtours comprehensively traversed the former internal
railway systems at both locations on 9 July 1993.
BELOW: The tour curves right at Dee Marsh East Jn towards Dee Marsh North Jn to join the Great
Central line from Wrexham Central, which runs parallel to the distant row of wagons. It would then
head off to Bidston. The buildings seen are part of Shotton steel works.
Meanwhile the BR brakevan tour climbed up to Heswall Hills, the next photo stop. At Bidston Dee Jn,
the tour went right onto the ex-GCR Bidston goods avoiding lines, then the very rare and distinctive
alignment to Birkenhead North No2 box. The train actually crossed the busy (now Merseyrail) electric
line on a level skew crossing, before reversing at Bidston North Goods, noting the original loco depot
and the 1866 passenger terminus here of the Hoylake Railway. This was the original Birkenhead Docks
Station CP 1 Apr 1876 with the opening of Birkenhead North Station. The tour reversed and ran via
Bidston East Jn to Bidston North Jn then swung right on to the Bidston Iron Ore Terminal branch
reaching the end of the double track before it fanned out into the exchange sidings. 'Rea Company'
internal diesel locos shunted iron ore wagons at the quay. After reversal, it was back to Birkenhead
North No2 for the highlight of the day, the Mersey Docks and Harbour Railway private lines along
Beaufort Road through the Birkenhead Dock Complex. This was extremely slow with frequent stops
for point clipping. Ironically, as the dock lines closed and the layout was simplified, it later became an
accepted railtour route. The brakevans gave good views of the then extensive dock system! At Canning
Street North the train diverged right, into a cutting and tunnel to Green Lane Jn back to the line the
tour had earlier traversed from Woodside terminating 48 minutes late (17.43) at Rock Ferry station.
ABOVE: Bidston Dee Junction, on the independent ex-GCR (pink on the map below) goods lines. Right
is the west end of Bidston station island platform. The two-car DMU is likely to have been a Wrexham
Central or Chester Northgate to New Brighton service (diverted there from the Seacombe branch
when that terminus CP 4 Jan 1960), running via the Bidston West Jn to North Jn curve. The connecting
EMU would be from Liverpool Central Low Level (terminus) to West Kirby; it would be another 11
years before the Liverpool loop opened. Note some tour participants are very responsibly enjoying a
1966 style 'photo stop'. Bidston ex-GCR goods depot is off to the bottom left.
ABOVE: The 1913 Railway Clearing House Junction Diagrams of this complex area, which benefits from
magnification to 200% to see the detail of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Railway. (Out of Copyright.)
On the day, a letter was given to participants explaining that the Monks Ferry and Dee Branches had
been out of use for some time and the track had deteriorated too much. Additionally the Tranmere
Pool and Connah's Quay Dock branches had been refused by the Ministry of Transport (remember
them?) just three days before the tour and after details had been posted. 49 years on, N01's 100 had
been a massive learning curve but he went on to organise many tours for the LCGB, BLS, and others.
Would you book it today? No1 certainly would (your Editor was taking his '11 plus' the year of the tour
and would book too!) Thanks to our member John Ryan for assistance with this report
144] RBF Tracker, Sat 7 Nov 2015: (By Phil Logie, BLS 1800) http://goo.gl/xwgb4D The idea for this
came after reading a February 2015 interview with Tim Shoveller, the new Railway Benefit Fund (RBF)
chairman who was looking for ways to boost the charity's profile and fund raising. Having experienced
our very successful TPE Tracker tours, I thought that the Branch Line Society would be an ideal partner
to assist. As he was MD of the (now defunct) Network Rail/South West Trains alliance, I wondered if
perhaps we could organise a railtour with South West Trains (SWT - Tim is the MD too!) to raise money
for the charity. I contacted our Fixtures Secretary and he 'set the wheels in motion'.
ABOVE: Our 7 Nov 2015 RBF Tracker railtour at London Waterloo P10 before departure at 08.02.
After the initial discussions, I was asked to propose a railtour route with suggestions to include
Salisbury depot and the Yeovil Railway Centre at Yeovil Junction. After some head scratching, a route
was devised visiting several choice locations on the way. However, this proved to be somewhat
overambitious in terms of the locations, route availability of the stock and driver route knowledge. As
a result, a suggestion was made by SWT that perhaps the best approach would be to have, on separate
days, a DMU 'outer' tour and another EMU 'inner' tour. After further work by SWT, a route was
proposed for the DMU outer tour, which was thought to be the optimum with the traction and
available time. This was put to NR for validation and our first RBF Tracker tour began to take shape
There was a slight personal complication when the proposed tour date was advised, as I had planned
to be away on holiday! However, slightly amended plans enabled an arrival back the day before the
tour. Fortunately, this was on schedule unlike my luggage, which decided to enjoy an extended break!
On the morning of Saturday 7 November 2015, arrival at London Waterloo found a large crowd of
familiar faces eagerly waiting beside the barriers. The train had yet to arrive but already there was an
air of enthusiasm, this increased as participants were allowed through the barriers and contact was
made by one of the stewards with someone on the ECS. The stock arrived at 07.51 formed of 159003
and 159103 at the country end. Departing as 1Z61 at 08.02 from P10 the tour proceeded as booked to
just before Woking station, then crossed to the slow line and then back to the fast after passing
through Farnborough station. This was due to a track circuit failure at Woking! At Basingstoke at 08.51
the station monitors advised that the tour was the 08.46 to Weymouth formed of 6 coaches. Whilst
this was correct, it seemed to cause some confusion amongst the non-railtour passengers ('normals').
After picking up the remaining participants, the DMU traversed the first highlight of the tour at 09.32,
the Laverstock loop. It then headed for Southampton and on approach to the station crossed from the
Up slow to the Down slow and into P3. From here, the next highlight was Northam Traincare Depot
Reception Line. After a reversal here, the RBF Tracker proceeded to Southampton Down goods loop to
reverse and run into Southampton Down Bay Siding (formerly bay P5, not used as such now), for a
short break and the customary group photographs and charity cheque presentation on the platform.
BELOW: The former P5, now Southampton Central 'Down bay siding' (platform is to right of the train).
Departing at 10.38 the train traversed the Down Bay Siding, Down goods loop extension, departure
road and arrivals/departures line (all reversible and forming 2¾ miles of continuous rare track!). After
passing the fuelling point and running behind the back of Redbridge P2, return to the Down main was
at Redbridge Jn. Next at Totton East Jn it was on to the very rare (and normally rusty) 1,302ft Fawley
branch/Totton Yard goods loop at 11.23 and back to the Down main at Totton Jn West. As the tour
was some 15 minutes behind schedule we were unsure if it would be to be routed via the very rare,
(for through trains), Brockenhurst P4 (the only section of track on the tour required by one member of
note who happens to be an ex-SWT driver!) as it was occupied by a Lymington Pier service due to
depart at 11.42. Approaching Brockenhurst the train was checked and shortly afterwards a cheer went
up as the hoped for 'feathers' lit up left into P4, where a quick stop was made to replenish the stock of
milk. Four pints of milk later it was off towards Branksome via the facing crossover at Brockenhurst Jn
with a rejuvenated catering trolley that subsequently experienced renewed demand for hot drinks!
A remarkably swift reversal was made in Branksome P2, departing 12.11 and, for many, the highlight
of the day, Bournemouth West. The depot approach involves right hand running (to reduce conflicts);
both lines are unidirectional. Then along No6 road (the longest) and, as tradition seems to demand at
depots, through a carriage washer. The train halted at 12.35 about 20yd from the buffers, which are
just before what would have been Bournemouth West station's (CP 6 Sep 1965) throat. Thunderbird
locos 73133 in green livery and 73235 in SWT livery were seen despite the damp conditions outside.
Leaving the depot area for Branksome and the West again involved right hand running taking the
opposite line to the inward journey. Unfortunately, we were unable to traverse Poole sidings as they
were occupied by ECS due to earlier overrunning engineering work delaying trains. Weymouth P2 was
reached at 13.40. There was an option of an hour's break, or a 'pull over' to Jersey Sidings (should
have been on Cardigan Bay!). Needless to say most remained on board to experience siding 1, reaching
just short of the run round trailing points. Reversing it was back into Weymouth P2 for a short break.
Restarting at 14.41, Yeovil was next for a speedy reversal at Pen Mill P1. Then ascending the reversible
'Pen Mill Single' spur and directly into Yeovil Junction Down loop siding (NR call it 'Heritage Platform';
the former P3) at 15.35; a slight change from the anticipated shunt, for a 65-minute break at Yeovil
Railway Centre. Impressively, former Chairman Robert Green had come from Minehead to see us.
ABOVE: Steam and sunshine at Yeovil Junction; train returns to 'P4'. (All Phil Logie 7 Nov 2015.)
Prior to arrival here, those on each coach were advised to which of the three standard gauge rides
they had been allocated. Your reporter was in the first group so made straight for the 'Clifton Maybank
Rambler'. Andrew Barclay 0-4-0 steam engine 'Lord Fisher' was on the west end with War Department
Brake Van 1018 (a Southern Railway design), DMU centre coach 59515, Great Western Toad 35923,
and Fowler 0-4-0 diesel engine No44 'Cockney Rebel' on the east end. Once the whistle sounded, there
was a surprise west departure, opposite to that expected, to the turntable which the leading loco
crossed. Reversing, part of the ex-GWR Clifton Maybank Goods branch formation (CG 7 Jun 1937) was
taken, beyond the normal passenger limit. With all three groups accommodated, there was time for a
couple of bonus trips which some used to their full advantage, repositioning themselves to maximise
the track in true BLS style! Elevated miniature railway rides, sales and refreshments were all available.
A popular question in the café was 'What was in the bread rolls?' The answer was nothing, as they
accompanied the soup! A most efficient and enjoyable perfect railtour break; plenty to see and do.
Departing at 16.40, very unusually Gillingham (as in 'Gill' not 'Jill') Down Loop was taken in the Up
Direction and it was off to Salisbury (17.41) to visit the third traincare depot of the day. After waiting
on the reception line, the tour took the Carriage Wash line (naturally) to virtually the end of headshunt
(84m 35ch from Waterloo), on what had been part of the ex-GWR Salisbury to Westbury line until 29
Oct 1973, then Bristol trains were diverted over the LSWR route to Wilton via a BR connection there.
The return to Waterloo included, after Basingstoke P3, the second Up fast to Up slow connection, then
staying on the slow until Brookwood where the fast was taken to set down at Woking P2. Beyond
Byfleet & New Haw it was back to the Up slow, for P1 at both Surbiton and New Malden to Wimbledon
P5. At 6m 73ch the Up fast was taken past Durnsford Road Staff Platform then, impressively, across
twice to the Up slow for Clapham Junction P10 and Vauxhall P7. Finally, at Carlisle Lane Jn it was Up
main fast to Down main fast and after over 330 miles into Waterloo P5 at 20.30 (booked 20.29).
This excellent day out raised a very impressive £17,315 for the RBF with ticket sales, raffle, sale of RBF
items and catering. Thanks to all those in SWT, NR and the RBF who made this possible. Bill Bryson
would be most impressed (next item) and we look forward to the forthcoming EMU tour. As a
postscript, we are pleased to report an announcement on 18 January that Tim Shoveller (a railwayman
for 25 years) has been promoted to the new role of Managing Director of Stagecoach Group's UK Rail
division with effect from 1 February. This currently includes South West Trains, East Midlands Trains,
Virgin Trains East Coast and the Supertram light rail network in Sheffield.
1249 BLN GENERAL
145] The Branch Line Society, Fame at last…! Author Bill Bryson has been studying our website, and
quotes it in his book 'The Road to Little Dribbling'; the UK's best selling hardback in early January…
"I recently happened upon a website for the Branch Line Society, which exists to visit and
celebrate little-used railway lines. Here is an extract from their newsletter describing a day out
attended by 160 people - 160!- in 2013: so it was we took the Up Relief at Parson Street from
the first available crossover and stayed 'Relief' through to Bristol Temple Meads where the Up
Through was taken, before reversing at Bristol East Jn and terminating in P9, most impressively
just a minute down on schedule. With 302m and 61ch under the belt, goodbyes were waved to
the train crew, stewards and passengers and we promptly started counting the huge pile of
booking forms collected during the day for the Power Hall Tracker on 3rd November!"
It is that exclamation mark that brings joy to my heart. And this was just a tiny part of what they
get up to at the Branch Line Society. Here are some of the other exciting days they have had:
'Toton Centre to Trowell Jn', 'Thrumpton West Jn to Retford West Jn (High Level P2)', 'Dinting
West Jn to Dinting East Jn, avoiding Glossop' (and who could blame them?), and my favourite
of all, 'Irk Valley Jn to Oldham Mumps'. I can't tell what comfort this brings me. Anytime I am
feeling low, when I am tempted to think that life is pointless and empty, I go to one of these
societies' websites and read about their latest outings, and I realise just how rich my life is."
146] BLN 2015 Index: With thanks to members Angus McDougall for considerable time and effort and
Mike McCabe for proof reading, this is enclosed; the printed version covers paper BLN. The e-BLN
version needs to be downloaded and includes the extra items, plans, maps and pictures not in printed
BLN. In 2016 e-BLN additional items are being numbered preceded by an 'X' (for 'extra'). If a mistake is
discovered or a significant update occurs in the three days between BLN being printed and e-BLN
release then the latter will be updated so as not knowingly to send out wrong information. Any such
amendments are noted in the following BLN. IMPORTANT: The compiler and your Editor are keen to
know if members actually look at and use the indexes. They are a very significant piece of work and
add to the cost of paper-BLN subscription (but not e-BLN). Should the paper and electronic versions
continue in their present format? Please advise Angus at [email protected] or Paul Stewart.
147] Points and Slips: BLN 1248.7] ABOVE (Ian Mortimer) Both the old (left with tour train) and new
(middle right of picture) Londonderry Waterside stations were visited by our 'Ulster Enterprise I'
railtour on 26 May 1990. Opening the new station actually slightly lengthened the line. 23] The
Kellingley colliery branch has been signalled from Ferrybridge signal box since 27 May 2014, as have
the Eggborough and Drax branches. Sudforth Lane (demolished) and Hensall (Grade II listed) boxes
were then closed. 25] At Waterloo International it was the track layout that constrained Eurostar
trains. They normally used the Windsor Reversible Line and the timetable was arranged as if Waterloo
was at the end of a single-track branch line from Nine Elms! This was because of the intensity of the
domestic service on the Windsor Lines. 37] At Radley/Culham Oxford PSB fringes with Didcot Thames
Valley Signalling Centre. Swindon 'B' box is closed. 41] It is a licence requirement that platform tickets
are available at all stations; station operators may charge. However, if a passenger requires assistance
to or from a train, an assisting person must be allowed free access for such purpose. As the previous
correspondent noted, not all stations are willing to allow access with or without charge. Not to do so is
a breach of the licence conditions. At Leamington Spa Chiltern charges 10p for platform tickets, (our
member reporting this uses them in preference to visiting shops and art galleries with his wife...).
Item 43] In paper BLN the 'Railway Benevolent Fund' should have been 'Railway Benefit Fund' or 'RBF'
the working name of the 'Railway Benefit Institution'. 48] Some ground level former station buildings
still exist at Camberwell (CP 3 April 1916!). 58] Blackburn Galligreaves Street was a LNWR goods
depot, north of, and alongside, the line from Preston around where the Bolton line came in. 53] LUL,
Farringdon sidings have not been decommissioned and were clearly in use with engineers' vehicles on
14 January (and previous occasions). 65] On the Liverpool Seaforth branch the level crossing just past
the NR boundary where the double track of the Bootle Extension line singles is 'Regent Road Level
Crossing' rather than 'Regents'. 74] On 5 January, it was announced that the new Cambridge Science
Park station will be delayed from December 2016 to May 2017 due to a further revised planning
application being submitted by NR. Cambridge County Council has completed their part of the scheme.
X4] In the e-BLN black and white picture of Maerdy passenger station and exchange sidings, the
hillside buildings referred to on the left are actually the NCB engine sheds. The curve topped building
in the bottom right corner is the former carriage shed. The man standing on the former run round/loco
release road looks very much like the last lamp man for the Porth area Mr Edward 'Eddie' Huggins.
Before being made redundant when the passenger services ended on the Branch, 'Eddie' was a former
signalman at Ynishir signal box but was later the Signalman's relief for the branch. MR4] A 5 January
Swanage Railway press release announced deferral of the trial passenger service from June this year
to the first quarter of next. Special non-standard equipment has to be replaced rather than restored
on two ex-BR 1960s DMUs being used.
148] Print Your Own BLN: With e-BLN 1248, for the first time members received a download of the A4
and the paper print A5 versions. E-subscribers can now print their own BLN as soon as e-BLN arrives
(the Thursday before the cover date) identical to how it would arrive through the letterbox some days
later. Following feedback, the margins of e-BLN will be narrowed from this issue to match the printed
version, which slightly enlarges the text. Members will thus be able to take advantage of the new £12
annual e-BLN subscription rate from 1 May and still have a paper BLN. IMPORTANT: This service will
continue if it proves to be popular, please let Dave Cromarty or Paul Stewart know.
149] Don't be Caught Short…! New pages at our member Ian Delgado's excellent website 'Unusual
Track' includes 'Stopping Short' a comprehensive list of non-terminal stations by TRACKmaps book
areas at which regular services either start or terminate; Incredibly there are nearly 400! Another new
page lists stations where this will be happening as a variation to schedule or special train path over the
next couple of months. The website also contains searchable data about forthcoming unusual track.
Also new for 2016: many new crossover entries, etc checked for ad-hoc services, 37 crossovers with no
previous or very sparse regular services have been identified and five new diagrams (Bicester - Oxford
Parkway, Bromsgrove, Norton Bridge, Rochester and Anniesland) have been added to that section.
Access is available for a one off donation of £10 (minimum) http://goo.gl/wwSbYv to Railway Children.
1249 EAST MIDLANDS
150] North Lincolnshire resignalling: (BLN 1248.47) The final stage was completed on schedule with
the possession lifted at 04.30 on 11 January. Passenger services to Barton-on-Humber (the first two
were buses as advertised, until the stock arrived) and Cleethorpes recommenced. A Class 60 light
engine made several test runs (a railtour!) on 10th visiting all four Cleethorpes platforms, Grimsby
Town bay P3, New Holland (rev) and the start of the Grimsby Docks branch: finally was Cleethorpes to
Marsh West Jn (rev), The Grimsby Light Railway, Immingham East, Ulceby, Brocklesby and Scunthorpe.
The Grimsby Light Railway is NRU and opens 'as required', usually if there are problems on the main
route to Immingham from Ulceby and for railtours! Great Coates No1 and Pyewipe Road boxes survive
in the reduced form of the re-signalling project. Immingham East box (opened only as recently as
December 2012) is retained as a 'token exchange point', staffed just when the Light Railway is in use.
During the resignalling closure replacement buses were unable to access Thornton Abbey, Grimsby
Docks and New Clee stations; a phone number was provided for would be passengers to ring instead.
151] Castle Donington: (BLN 1243.1911) The 'Examining Authority' appointed to look at the 250 acre
East Midlands Gateway Rail Freight Interchange development (with a new branch line) recommended
that development consent be refused because of the three year timescale for the construction of the
link to the Castle Donington line. The Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, overruled
this and has allowed the development. He is satisfied that rail facilities will be provided but not
necessarily by the opening of the development. The plans accommodate freight trains of 'the optimum
length' (up to 775m) with potential east and west facing connections onto the Castle Donington line.
The new branch would 'in due course' be able to handle 16 trains daily each way. Let us hope there are
actually some trains, unlike at nearby M&S's massive rail connected Castle Donington facility.
1249 GREATER LONDON
152] Crossrail: (BLN 1248.52) An informative 'Rail Engineer' article http://goo.gl/nxf27M gives details
of the tunnel fitting out procedures. The tunnel construction team installed concrete to just below slab
track level along with walkways on either side of the tunnels. Four multi-purpose gantries will operate
along the walkways laying sleepers and rails on the tunnel floors with five types of track support:
1. About 80% of the tunnels will be laid with standard track slab using fibre reinforced concrete.
2. Direct fixed track will be used in the Victorian-engineered Connaught tunnel.
3. High attenuation sleepered track, will be used in a few small areas to reduce noise and vibration.
4. Floating track slab (light) will be used between Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street to
minimise noise and vibration impacts on nearby recording studios and hotels.
5. Floating track slab (heavy) will be installed to reduce noise and vibration underneath the Barbican.
Two gantries will operate from Plumstead, a third from Westbourne Park and the fourth will install the
floating track slab underneath the Barbican estate. Plumstead is the larger of the two railheads with
eight tracks, an overhead gantry crane to supply engineering trains and an operations centre to
coordinate the activity. At Westbourne Park, the previous railhead for the transport of excavated
material from the western tunnels is being replaced with a new three-track terminal. This has been
under construction and is now connected to the national network…
ABOVE: A Crossrail engineers' train (with rail on the wagons) outside the portal at Royal Oak reached
via the connection (OG 9 Jan 2016) from NR at Westbourne Park. (Iain Scotchman 18 January 2016)
The materials for the western tunnels fit-out will be stored and loaded on to construction trains at Old
Oak Common temporary storage depot and brought to Westbourne Park. Most of the track slab will be
laid from the concreting train, which is a 465m-long mobile concrete batching factory based at
Plumstead. Slab in the tunnels between the Royal Oak portal and central London will be supplied by
the concreting 'shuttle' which will be loaded with pre-mixed fibre reinforced concrete from a batching
plant in Paddington New Yard. Rail will be delivered to both Plumstead and Westbourne Park. Power
will be supplied from a rigid overhead conductor bar, with bulk supply points from the National Grid at
Pudding Mill Lane and Kensal Green.
153] Thameslink. (BLNs 1248.56 & 1243.1917) The stock for the 04.57 to Dartford on 4 January was
indeed left in Cannon Street for the whole 10 day shutdown! Presumably, the traction current was
switched off but, as it was two Class 376 units, there were no toilets that might freeze up!
154] London Overground: (BLN 1236.1247) All the Class 378 EMU fleet has been lengthened to five
cars; presumably the power supply upgrade north of Harrow & Wealdstone was carried out earlier.
155] Clapham South: (BLN 1215.1235) TfL has secured planning permission and listed building consent
to turn the rotunda building that forms the entrance to the Clapham South deep level tunnels into a
new restaurant or café with exhibition space. The space will be leased to a private company, with
shared facilities that the LT Museum will use as part of their pre-booked 'Hidden London' tours of the
deep level shelters. An exhibition of their history will be available when the tours are not operating.
The tunnels have Grade II listed status, being the only deep level shelters remaining that retain much
original signage and some of the few to retain many of the original bunk beds. These were rapidly
constructed at multiple sites specifically as WWII air raid shelters when it was realised that the sub-
surface stations provided inadequate protection from bombing raids. The tunnels were adjacent to
underground stations with a view to being connected up after the war to form a deep level 'rapid
transit' railway. Passenger demand dropped and finance was not available to develop the project.
Details of various 'Hidden London' future LT Museum tours http://goo.gl/uG708v when released.
156] Metropolitan Line Microgricing: (The last such guide was at BLN 1038.231 in March 2007, when
Chesham still had a shuttle and the Fast and Main Lines were in use all day long!) The current WTT is
numbered 338 (dated 25 Oct 2015), although it did not operate unmodified until 2 January due to leaf-
fall and Christmas holiday adjustments. North of Baker Street Jn all running lines, crossovers and
platforms are in passenger use all day every day except the following, for which the booked service is
given. Where helpful, arriving train running numbers are shown [square brackets].
•Southbound arrivals at Baker Street P2: SSuX 05.44½ , 06.12½ , 06.22½ ; SuMX 00.32
; SO 05.44½ , 06.01 , 06.12½ ; SuO 00.40½ , 07.03½ , 07.17½ ,
07.32½ , 07.43½ . (Reminder: the number sequence for platforms is 6, 5, 1, 2, 3 then 4)
•Baker Street P4: SSuX many until 10.49 arr = 10.57½ dep , then 11.25=12.09 ,
12.18=13.00½  (★), 13.10=13.53  (★), 14.10=14.53  (★), 15.02½=15.46 ,
16.03=16.08½ , then many to 20.18½=20.28½ , 21.02½=21.45½  (★), 21.51½=22.34½
 (★), several from 22.47½=22.58 , , , , , ; SO a few (, ,
) until 06.35=06.42½ , several from 22.47½=22.57½ , , , , , ,
; SuO several (, , , 435]) to 08.13=08.24 , several from 22.44=22.52 ,
, , , , , . (★ Conditional turnback; may run to and from Aldgate.)
•Trailing crossovers at Swiss Cottage, Rayners Lane, Ruislip Siding, Chalfont & Latimer: ECS use only.
•Willesden Green: A headnote is defined for trains to call but none are booked to.
•Connections with Jubilee Line between Neasden and Wembley Park: No booked use.
•Harrow-on-the-Hill: Trains are generally platformed to give a straight run out (not P5 & 6)…
•P1: To northbound Main (Moor Park non-stop) Line (Chiltern Railways and peak-hour LU).
•P2: To Marylebone.
•P3: To the Local Line (Moor Park stopping).
•P4: To Uxbridge.
•P5: From Uxbridge.
•P6: From the Local Line.
Remaining exceptions and trains using the Fast and Main Lines:
• P1 from Fast (all continue to Main): SSuX 16.29½ , 17.14 , 17.46 , 18.02 , 18.18
, 18.50½ , 19.06 , 19.22½ , 19.38½ , 19.54½ , 20.27 .
•P2 arrivals: all southbound Chilterns and 21.19 SSuX arrival  (then ECS to Rickmansworth).
•P3 from Local: all day daily but less frequent in SSuX evening peak.
•P3 from Fast: SSuX plenty to 09.01½ , 16.35½ , plenty until 20.37 ; SuMX 00.23
; SuO 00.23 .
•P3 to Uxbridge: SSuX several 09.45½ until 11.16, 20.23; SO 23.59½; SuO 01.04; MO 00.23½.
•P3 to Main: SSuX 17.30½, 18.34, 20.11.
•P4 from Fast: SSuX 06.04½ , 06.46½ , 07.19 , several (09.21 , , , ,
) until 10.46 ; MO 00.16½ .
•P4 to Local: SSuX 11.11½, 16.41, 20.21½.
•P5 to Fast: SSuX 09.46.
•P5 from Local: SSuX many (06.23½ , , , , , , , , , ,
) until 09.22 , 18.49 , 19.44½ , 19.56 , 20.16 , 21.07½ , 21.12 ;
SuMX 00.40½ ; SuO 00.40½ .
•P6 ex-Uxbridge: SSuX several (06.33½ , , , , , ) to 09.49 , 11.04
, 20.49½ , 21.10½ , 21.18 , 21.46½ ; SuMX 00.36 ; SuO 00.36 .
•P6 from Main: SSuX many (06.26 , , , , , , , , , ,
, ) until 09.39 .
•P6 to Fast: SSuX all P6 departures 06.26½ until 09.41.
•P6 to Local: SSuX all P6 departures (deps) to 06.17, all P6 deps 09.44½ onward; SSuO all P6 deps.
•Uxbridge Line Trailing X/O: NRU, likely to take trains turning back when line blocked to south.
•Main Line Trailing X/O: ECS only, likely to take trains turning back when line blocked to south.
•Uxbridge: No fixed platform use except Piccadilly Line has exclusive use of the platform shown at
times shown: P1 (SuO) 13.10-18.10. P3 (SSuX) 12.05-15.05, (SO) 08.35-13.10 & (SuO) 08.32-22.50.
•Northwood & Rickmansworth trailing X/O: ECS only, trains turning back when line blocked to north.
•Watford N Curve: ex-Watford SuMX: 00.49 and MO 00.29; ex-Rickmansworth: SSuX 05.32 & 06.08,
..SO 05.32, SuO 07.00.
•Rickmansworth (arr.P2) via X/O: SSuX 23.32½  ex-Baker Street; SuMX 00.58  ex-Watford.
•Chalfont & Latimer P3: no booked use.
•Amersham: Generally P1: Chiltern north, P2: LU arrivals, P3: Chiltern south & LU depatures. Except:
•P1 LU arrivals: SSuX 05.32 ; SuMX 00.59 ; SuO 00.59 ; MO 00.34½ .
•P1 south dep: ECS only.
•P2 south dep: SSuX 05.47½; SuO 00.20. (Via the more southerly trailing X/O; the more northerly is
used only by Chiltern turning back in the south siding.) P2 north dep: SO 07.22 Chiltern Railways.
(Special thanks to our member Bill Lynch who spent so much time and effort compiling this list.)
157] Caledonian Road: (BLN 1248.34) Islington council is seeking a judicial review of TfL's decision to
close the station during lift replacement. It wants one lift to be replaced at a time so that local elderly
and disabled people are able to continue to take advantage of its step-free access.
158] King's Cross: Hazel Reeves' statue of Sir Nigel Gresley will be unveiled on 5 April (time not yet
known) to commemorate the 75th anniversary of his death. The (so far unsuccessful) campaign to
include a mallard on the statue continues: http://goo.gl/r95IIu - Gresley's Mallard, a streak of genius?
159] North Pole Depot. (BLN 1246.2159) The IEP depot is housed in the six-road building at the west
end of the site, labelled Servicing & Inspection Shed on TRACKmaps (Vol.5 p1R, Nov 2008). Numbering
is still with Road 1 nearest the GWML and all roads have had inspection pits installed. Road 4 includes
a bogie drop and Road 5 has an overhead crane. Because the IEPs are shorter than Eurostars, it has
been possible to install a wheel lathe on Road 6, so it is no longer necessary to have one in a separate
shed. Three roads have overhead power lines and a small shunter is also available for moving trains.
The sidings to the south of the building are available for stabling and have facilities for fuelling,
discharging toilets and replenishing water tanks. The sidings are controlled by a Bombardier locally
operated points system. In Eurostar days the depot was connected to the rest of the network via North
Pole Jn on the West London Line but access is now from the GWML at the London (east) end of the
site. The four-road maintenance shed at the east end is not part of the current depot, it was originally
considered for a relocated Heathrow Express depot now to be at Langley. (Rail Engineer)
160] Hayes & Harlington: (BLN 1244.2018) Bay P5 was brought back into use on 11 January. Initially it
remains the same length but work is underway to lengthen it.
1249 NORTH WEST
161] (Manchester) 'United Football
Club Halt': To kick off this section, it is
reported that this halt has closed 'for
security reasons'. Presumably, after
the 'Stade de France' bomb attacks.
Can any local member confirm (if so is
it temporary or permanent?) and the
date the halt was last served please.
See http://goo.gl/vCXRxz RIGHT: Seen
on 20 Oct 2009. It was opened 21 Aug
1935 by the CLC with one timber-built
platform and was served, on match
days only, by a steam-hauled shuttle
from Manchester Central station. In
the last year (2007/08) figures were
reported the halt was used by 50,000
passengers. There have been plans to
close and replace the halt with a
regularly served nearby station at
White City. Its track ('platform line')
forms a reversible loop between
Trafford Park East Jn (this end) and
West Jn (far end), the latter is the
junction for Trafford Park intermodal/
freight depot. (https://goo.gl/g6AT7N)
162] Mid-Cheshire Line: From December 2017, or earlier, an additional (SuX) hourly semi-fast service,
at least between Northwich and Manchester, is to be provided and Sunday services doubled to hourly.
Passenger figures have grown spectacularly from the end of the summer. Since September, with the
recruitment of new on-train Revenue Protection Assistants (RPAs), there has been a much higher level
of revenue protection with ticket checkers at Navigation Road, Knutsford, Northwich, Greenbank and
Hale. This, with the new Stockport ticket barriers installed last August, has greatly reduced the level of
ticketless travel. Interestingly, revenue growth on the Mid-Cheshire Line has far exceeded expectations
and is well ahead of growth for Northern overall and further RPAs are being recruited.
X6] ABOVE: The end of a boring story; the new (straightened) Farnworth tunnel seen at its north end
from Farnworth Up platform, looking towards Manchester. On the right is the old Down tunnel used
from 4 May to 11 Dec 2015 for single line working with its track now disconnected. Its final (third)
temporary slew away from the new Down platform (off camera right) is evident. The change from the
view in e-BLN 1230.642 taken from the other platform is dramatic. (Angus McDougall 16 Jan 2016)
163] Liverpool Lime Street: The 1948 built miniature lever frame signal box (one of only two* still in
operation on NR) is to go in 2018 with extensive remodelling and resignalling costing £100M. A two
month station closure will be required. The three middle stabling sidings (between P1/2, P3/4 and
P5/6 respectively) will go. P2 & P3 are being extended for Pendolinos. P4, 5 & 6 will be widened and
two new platforms created between the present P7 & 8. Finally, P9 will be lengthened over the site of
the signal box. NR has submitted a planning application to Liverpool City Council. Edge Hill box will also
close and area control will be at Manchester ROC. *The other one is Maidstone East (BLN 1241.1768).
164] Rochdale: (BLN 1246.2204) Original Northern Hub proposals were for one or two west facing
bays, for trains running through Victoria from the west to terminate at Rochdale instead of cluttering
up Victoria's through platforms. Experienced railway people pointed out that a through loop (maybe
reopening the disused Up Island platform) would be operationally much better. It would be more
expensive with the required step-free passenger access etc but would allow slow Calder Valley trains
to be overtaken by fast trains and provide a freight loop. However, NR decided this would cost too
much, a decision opposed by both Northern Rail and TfGM. Work is now in progress on a single bay at
the Manchester end of the station. As work has started, it is evident that a basic loop could easily be
provided, although shorter than the 900yd originally proposed. The Up Manchester bound mainline
will swing away from the existing P3 face immediately west of the concrete bridge over the underpass.
A facing turnout in the trackwork could be provided into the new bay line to make a loop.
165] Ordsall Chord / Manchester, Museum of Science & Industry (ex-Liverpool Road station): (BLN
1248.30) Tuesday 5 January, as well as being the final day of running over the previous internal layout,
marked the start of work on the new chord. Ground clearance and erection of fencing began ready to
lift much of the track on site. Reportedly, lifting would include the whole line north of the 1830
warehouse. The buffer stops were to be moved to the new end of the running line, by the old
passenger station. The other end of line is to be a 'tracklength' inside the gate. There are apparently no
plans for any new internal track work, but there is likely to be a half-term running day mid-February.
BELOW: A special event for the final day of operation of the old layout. Unfortunately, this first class
coach had brake trouble and had to be removed. (Ian Mortimer 5 Jan 2016). See Addenda also.
1249 SOUTH EAST – NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
166] Crossrail: 'Engineering work is taking place between London Liverpool Street and Ingatestone/
Billericay and between Colchester and Marks Tey in connection with the Crossrail Programme.' (from
National Rail website 3 January). TfL is known to be keen to expand its railway operations, but isn't
that taking it a bit far? (Perhaps someone mixed their Sudburys up?)
167] Cambridge Science Park: (BLN 1248.74) The Thameslink train service proposals show the
Cambridge to King's Cross semi-fast service running to/from Brighton. Also Ely News reports that NR
and developer Brookgate are seeking to redesign much of the entrance to the new station. These plans
move the 450-space car park next to the railway line, making it easier to turn it into a multi-storey if
necessary. Vehicles going into the car park will now share the access road with the NR maintenance
compound, while the main station access road will be straightened. The disabled parking will also be
moved closer to the station and there will be more room for the centrepiece station square. The
developers say the new layout has been made possible by relocating the sidings. It should make the
station easier to use and allow a more ambitious long-term redevelopment programme around the
station. Tree planting is included in the car park while Brookgate says it will also make improvements
to the nearby Bramblefields nature reserve. The station buildings, platform and 1,000-space bicycle
parking are unchanged. A source involved with the project said that the new station would be finished
and open in December 2016 or in May 2017. It has already faced significant delays. NR took the project
over from Cambridgeshire County Council and re-applied for essentially the same planning permission,
with an original target opening date of December 2015. In a further development, city MP Daniel
Zeichner has written to both Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire district councils to express his
concern that the Section 106 agreement for the £44M new station has not been signed. This package
of developer contributions involves improvements to mitigate the impact of the new station. Mr
Zeichner warns that a hold-up in signing this agreement could delay construction of the station. The
new town of Northstowe, eventually to have 10,000 dwellings, is under construction nearby.
168] Great Yarmouth: East Norfolk Transport Users' Association report that improvements made by
Abellio Greater Anglia (AGA) to Norwich to Great Yarmouth services in summer 2015 helped with a 5%
increase in passenger numbers in the peak summer months of July and August. Over 105,000 journeys
were made during this period in 2015, (100,000 in 2014). AGA provided two extra summer Saturday
return services and four on Mondays and Fridays over the school holidays. The two Class 37 locos and
carriages hired from DRS gave more seats, luggage space and helped performance and reliability
169] High Wycombe - A Sign of Past Times? (BLN 1248.78) The London end running in board on P2
(original GWR style black background and white lettering) does indeed on that side read:
'HIGH WYCOMBE FORMERLY THE JUNCTION FOR THE MARLOW AND MAIDENHEAD LINES'
From the other, Bay P1 side it reads (BR Western Region, chocolate background with cream letters):
'HIGH WYCOMBE JUNCTION FOR THE MARLOW AND MAIDENHEAD LINES'
ABOVE: These are opposite sides of the same sign, (and no it's not 'Guess the Location'). LEFT: The
view seen by most passing through the station on P2 (Marlow & Maidenhead Passenger Association
2015). RIGHT: The rear seen from bay P1, the fence reminds us that since lengthening of this platform
to take seven cars, alighting has been from the other side of the train. (© Simon Jennings )
Someone may know something about Chiltern's future expansion plans! High Wycombe (South) to
Bourne End (excl) CP/CA 4 May 1970 including Wooburn Green and Loudwater stations. The current
GWR did run a service on 27 and 28 Dec 2015 between Maidenhead and High Wycombe. Not a rail
reopening but a rail 'replacement' bus/coach service in connection with the closure of the direct route
to Paddington station. Quicker access into London was available by this route for onward Chiltern
services into Marylebone than with replacement buses towards Ealing Broadway from Slough. Some
buses/coaches ran direct from Maidenhead but others served intermediate stations to Marlow
170] Burnham: There is another lengthy stretch of overhead wire above the relief lines to Taplow
stations and on the Down main next to the section already installed on the relief east of Pangbourne.
171] Reading: About 40 commuters and schoolchildren were left bruised and shocked when a
stationary escalator up which they had been walking at Reading suddenly started moving recently.
Reportedly they were thrown in the air and landed in a pile at the foot, leaving the platform littered
with belongings and smashed spectacles. This may well have been the up escalator from the relief line
platform that has been out of use since. Your Sub-Editor has been observing recent signed strictures
on use of escalators at various stations and subtleties in the variations of the wording, often with
second meanings. What is one supposed to do when 'dogs must be carried' if you don't have a dog?
172] Didcot: Much work was done over Christmas with electrification masts erected through the
station and most of the spans lifted into place. The masts are on the island platforms, other than one
in the station forecourt (to avoid using P2/3), left of the main entrance (looking into the station). Its
partner has been neatly inserted on P4/5 through the roof without causing much damage. West of the
station down to Foxhall Jn there are many masts. On the first and last Sundays in February and every
Sunday in March, the Didcot to Reading, Swindon and Oxford lines are closed for electrification work.
1249 SOUTH EAST – SOUTH
173] Staines: The facing crossover on the Down Windsor Line leading to the former Staines West Oil
Terminal at approximately 19m 50ch was to be removed and the track plain lined from 11 January.
1249 SOUTH WEST
174] New SW Regional Editor: Please submit future contributions (per back page) to Mike Newman,
the Regional Editor from June 2010 to May 2012. Special thanks to Brian Schindler for performing the
task so ably from Wilnecote over the last three years; Brian will be focusing on the Midlands areas.
Mike's biographical note: My interest in railways can be traced back to a fascination with the Advanced
Passenger Train in the 1970s but soon developed into a fascination with the intricacies of the network,
its operation and planning. Prior to a break from the hobby to pursue domestic matters, I was a
regular on track-based railtours, and have travelled much of the network collecting lines. I have been a
BLS member for a number of years, meeting many fine and knowledgeable people along the way, and I
served previously as South West Regional Editor from the formation of the current editorial set-up
until 2012. Aside from railways I read copiously and write modestly on the history of London, enjoy
music, board games and walking – especially canal and riverine routes. I am a life-long public servant,
working as a Strategic Planner for Social Services in my home area which is in the Southwest.
175] Gloucester: The Pathfinder Mini Tug tour on 2 January showed the usefulness of bi-directional
signalling. Due to be recessed in Haresfield Up loop for eight minutes at 07.24 to let a Cross Country
train (XC) overtake, the loop points were found to be defective. (The loop was traversed in the evening
on the second pass, a true 'circular tour'.) Instead, in the morning, the train took the Down Line at
Tuffley Jn and crossed back to the Up at Gloucester Yard Jn, having been overtaken (or is it
undertaken?) at speed as planned. This was the first time our correspondent had used the Down line
bi-directionally, but such use of the Up has happened several times, for example to allow a late-
running southbound XC on the avoiding line pass a stopper exiting Gloucester. It is not possible to
reach the station from an Up train on the Down line as the cross-over is just after the station turnout.
[It is deliberate avoiding conflict during an opposite move as above - Ed.] Bi-directionality has been
experienced on the Up from Yate South Jn to Westerleigh Jn, to let a late running XC train overtake.
1249 WEST MIDLANDS
176] Norton Bridge: (Trackplan e-BLN 1233.933) As part of the Stafford Area Improvement Project the
implementation of the new layout here is planned by NR to be commissioned in two stages.
Stage 1, Easter commissioning on 29 March involving the following works:
• A new flyover will be brought into use, carrying the new Up and Down Norton Bridge lines between
Searchlight Lane Jn (138m 55ch) and Yarnfield Jn (2m 50ch) over the fast lines.
•The existing Down Slow from Little Bridgeford Jn (137m 42ch) to 140m 00ch will be taken OOU.
• A new straighter Down Slow line alignment to allow trains to be routed to the Down Norton Bridge
Line. It re-joins (no junction) the existing Down Slow alignment near Heamies Bridge (140m 00ch).
•A new diverging junction will be provided at 138m 55ch, Searchlight Lane Jn.
•A new Down Norton Bridge line from Searchlight Lane Jn to Yarnfield Jn.
•A new Up Norton Bridge line from Yarnfield Jn to Little Bridgeford Jn.
• Norton Bridge North Jn to Norton Bridge South Jn will be taken OOU, points and crossovers secured.
• The existing Norton Bridge lines (Yarnfield Jn - Norton Bridge) will be taken OOU for construction of
the new bidirectional single track Norton Bridge East Chord joining the Up Fast line at 138m 41ch.
• The existing Up & Down recess line will be taken OOU.
Thus, from 29 March to 27 May all trains between Stafford and the Stoke line will use the new flyover.
By 31 May, the following works will also have been carried out:
•All crossovers and points forming Norton Bridge South and North Jns recovered and plain lined.
•The OOU points in the Down slow line at Little Bridgeford Jn recovered.
•The Up fast line slewed onto the alignment of the Up & Down recess line.
•The crossover and points that will form the new Norton Bridge Jn (138m 41ch) installed OOU.
Stage 2, Spring Bank Holiday commissioning on 31 May involving the following works:
•The new Norton Bridge East Chord between Yarnfield Jn & Norton Bridge Jn will be brought into use.
•The Norton Bridge Jn (138m 41ch) facing crossover, Down fast to Up fast, will be brought into use.
177] Wellington: Due to the Norton Bridge work (above), some trains booked via the 'through' lines:
Up Wellington (through) line: From 25 to 28 March Virgin Trains services from Preston, Lancaster or
Edinburgh to Birmingham New Street/International. On 25 and 28 March ATW 04.13 from Chester and
on 27th 18.25 from Holyhead, both to Birmingham New Street.
Down Wellington (through) line: 25 and 28 March, ATW 22.52 Birmingham New Street to Holyhead.
27 March, 22.54 Birmingham New Street to Holyhead. Also on 26 March, from Birmingham New
Street: ATW 04.47 to Holyhead, also Virgin Trains 06.28 to Glasgow Central, 07.28, 09.28 and 11.28 to
Edinburgh and from Birmingham International 13.10 and 15.10 to Edinburgh and 17.10 to Preston. The
other Down services over the four days, are shown via P2 rather than the 'through'. In both directions,
a stop is shown at Shrewsbury but this may only be for a crew change. Wolverhampton based drivers
will work between the south and Shrewsbury and it is thought that Preston drivers will work north.
178] Midland Metro: (BLN 1225.177) With thanks to Martyn Brailsford an updated and enhanced
trackplan follows to compare with BLN 1225 (of 25 Jan 2015). The new Snow Hill (St. Chad's) stop is
still under construction and utility diversion work has been taking place beyond Grand Central
headshunt on the Centenary Square extension. Work is also in progress to convert the disused (north)
side of Wolverhampton St. George's terminus into a coach stop. Tram services are not affected.
179] Birmingham New Street: Navigation Street footbridge is closed from 17 January until 1 May for
refurbishment but still available for emergency use, which is what it was initially provided for! It was a
quick interchange between the 'B' end platforms but latterly only in use as a station exit.
180] Walsall: (BLN 1243.1950) Rebuilding of the 143 yd Park Street Tunnel (as named by NR, some
might consider it a bridge!) immediately north of the station resumed in October 2015 for Rugeley line
electrification. It is due to be completed by Easter. Work was delayed after engineers discovered that
the 1930s structure did not correspond with the original plans! A new plan has been drawn up to
remove all of the components by crane. Despite the delay, NR confirmed it would not affect the
scheme's schedule which is due for completion by the end of next year. The logistics and expense of
clearance here partly led to the cancellation of electrification plans beyond Walsall in the 1960s.
BELOW: The view from street level on 18 January, the track visible is the Down Walsall fast.
ABOVE: …but not for much longer! (sign bottom left). Looking north from Walsall P3, where work
(Phase 2 part 2) above the fast lines on 16/17 January had opened the middle section of Park Street
'Tunnel' allowing daylight in. The removed concrete beams will be replaced with raised thinner ones to
create the clearance required for electrification. This has already been done on the section nearer the
camera. Note the rising track gradient towards Walsall North Jn which can be seen in the distance,
where the four lines merge into two the other side of the 'tunnel'. The bedrock and drainage/flooding
problems means the track bed cannot be lowered here. The slow lines tunnel on the other side of the
station will done separately to maintain access to the shops above. (Both Richard Hickman Jan 2016.)
181] Bromsgrove: (BLN 1238.1430) Over Christmas a life-expired culvert was replaced under the new
layout. The new £17.4M station, 200m south of the present one, is still expected to open this spring;
initially using the two inner platforms with the current signalling and timetable. Then the existing
station will be demolished to allow the line 'Up' (in both senses of the word) the Lickey Incline to Barnt
Green Jn to be electrified. Bridge clearance work has been carried out and resignalling from Blackwell
to north of Ashchurch is progressing. A 12-day blockade is scheduled in October for major remodelling
and resignalling work with commissioning of the two outer platform faces (loops) of Bromsgrove's twin
island platforms for enhanced electric services to start next year. Control will switch from Gloucester
PSB to the West Midlands Signalling Centre. Some level crossing protection signals deemed not to
meet current standards, are being relocated (and further behind as necessary) to maintain adequate
braking distance. Examples are Pirton, Wadborough, Oddingley and Dunhampstead crossings.
BELOW: Bromsgrove's new station, the Up side (to Birmingham) in mid-January. The new Up island
platform is behind the lift/footbridge tower on the left. It is good to see the 1964 BR double arrow
symbol, which is one of the most recognised logos throughout the world. (Stuart Hicks from a XC HST.)
1249 YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE
182] York: The Station and National Railway Museum and are in line for expansion and a major
overhaul as part of a plan to redevelop one of the largest brownfield sites in the country. Parts of the
Leeman Rd area could be closed to traffic or diverted under the proposals, to give the museum more
space to expand and modernise. 120,000m2 of office space and 2,500 new homes could be created
with public squares and green spaces. The Government recently announced that the site will become
'York Central' Enterprise Zone. A new bridge over the ECML to the city centre is included in the project.
183] Sheffield Tram Train: Changes to signalling in the Tinsley area are being made due to this project.
184] Leeds: A major new south station entrance opened on 3 January, accessing the city's growing
South Bank area. With escalators, lifts and stairs, it has step-free access from the station's footbridge
to Granary Wharf, Little Neville Street and Dark Neville Street, saving a five minute walk and relieving
congestion at the main entrance. A widened bridge over P15-17 provides an upper station concourse
deck overlooking the River Aire with information screens, ticket vending machines and automated
ticket barriers. Leeds station is the second busiest station (28.8M passengers 2014/15) outside
London; one fifth of passengers, up to 20,000 a day, are expected to use the new south entrance.
1249 ISLE OF MAN
185] Port St. Mary: (BLN 1245.2124) (MR p12) In February 2015 the IOM Steam Railway Supporters'
Association applied for the 1902 goods shed at Port St. Mary, to be 'registered'; one of 11 buildings
the group has sought this protection for since 2012. Of those only three, Santon station and Colby
Level and Ballagawne gatehouses have been listed. The Association says the registration process had
stalled and it believes the Department of Infrastructure is intent on selling off the goods shed, an
important piece of Manx railway heritage. It believes that the building should be retained by the
railway in government ownership. Just over 10 years ago considerable work was carried out on the
building including rebuilding both gables, re-roofing and installing power and lights. In contrast, the
goods shed on a closed section of the line at Ballaugh has been lovingly restored by the local heritage
trust. Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne MHK said: 'The department as owners are certainly wanting
to sell it but I'm also very keen that it should be registered. I'm very supportive of the Steam Railway
Supporters' Association and believe they have got it spot on - it should at least be considered for
registration. Whoever it is sold to would know full well it is up for registration so in that respect there is
a degree of protection on the building already'. Haven Homes was granted planning consent in
September to build 20 homes on the old gas works site next to Port St. Mary station.
186] Manx Electric Railway. Permanent way work is taking place between Baldrine and Laxey part of
culvert replacements. This work has resulted in a Manx version of a 'Virtual Quarry' (it is only a small
mound compared to the UK versions…) just outside Laxey. Much work has also been completed at Port
Jack just a few hundred metres from the Douglas terminus renewing the road surface by the tracks.
187] Borders Railway extension: (BLN 1243.1967) Langholm was the terminus of a seven mile branch
line (CP 15 Jun 1964; CG 18 Sep 1967) from Riddings Junction station on the Waverley route and will
be considered as part of a potential Carlisle extension. The commitment has come from Infrastructure
Secretary Keith Brown who said the Scottish government remained committed to supporting the
development of a feasibility study on extending the route through to Carlisle. The southeast transport
partnership, SEStran, planned to appoint a contractor early this year to carry out the initial research. A
direct route through Langholm was proposed by the Caledonian Railway (CR) in its efforts to keep the
North British Railway out of Carlisle. That was thrown out by Parliament; the irony is that whereas the
line actually constructed was over the difficult and isolated Whitrope summit at 1,006ft (home of the
present Border Union heritage railway), it is stated that the CR line summit would have been 849ft.
188] Railway Heritage Awards: (BLN 1218.1487) The 2015 Taylor Woodrow Partnership award went
to Gleneagles recognising the station improvement work there by NR, ScotRail and IDP Architects. Fife
Historic Buildings Trust and Ladybank Development Trust won the Supporters' Award for restoration of
the Laird's Waiting Room at Ladybank. [Should have been the Ladies' waiting room at Lord's perhaps?]
189] Community Rail Partnerships (CRP): The Highland main line between Dunkeld & Birnam and
Carrbridge will to be promoted by a CRP, inaugurated with a ceremony at Pitlochry on 9 November,
along with a £1M fund to boost Scotland's local lines. The country's latest (Strathallan CRP), was
launched at Gleneagles on 15 December; it also includes Bridge of Allan and Dunblane stations.
190] Lamington viaduct (62m 64ch - 62m 70ch) closure: (BLN 1248.28) At first through tickets were
valid via CrossCountry and Virgin Trains East Coast services. When it was evident the WCML closure
would be for a while, a temporary timetable was developed. TPE are running seven DMU services each
way (five on Sundays) between Manchester Airport, Bolton and Lockerbie (for, with apologies, an ECS
shunt beyond the platform!) with road connections for Glasgow and Edinburgh. From 9 January, Virgin
have run hourly Voyager (or loco-hauled Pendolinos) shuttles between Carlisle (dep 08.00-19.00) using
rare bay P8 and Glasgow Central (dep 07.22-17.22) via Dumfries. On Sundays they run between 09.22
and 18.22 from Glasgow and 12.00 to 20.00 from Carlisle; there is road transport at other times.
Unusually, from Monday 11 January all signal boxes between Annan and Barrhead were to be open 24
hours to accommodate the extra passenger, sleeping car, mail and freight traffic. Paths were also
made available for a range of freight and parcel workings, using the Annbank branch,which is
positively busy. Route clearances have now been obtained for intermodal traffic, including 9' 2'' boxes
on IKA wagons, and Class 325 EMUs, Class 86, 87, 90 and 92 electric locos to be hauled dead. Within a
few days of the WCML closing, it was expected that the line would be closed until at least 1 February.
However, by 12 January, repairs were suspended overnight following further heavy rain and concern
as to the effect on the previously undamaged pier 3. To save pier 2 from collapse rocks were placed in
the River Clyde making a dam (seen in e-BLN 1248.28 second picture) to divert/reduce the flow which
them damaged the adjacent pier 3 to the south. By 15 January the anticipated 60m3 of concrete being
poured into Pier 2 to stabilize it has turned into well over 350m3 (showing how big the flood water
void was). Pier 3 has been stabilised and the bridge was saved, a new replacement would take months.
X7] ABOVE: 1,400 tonnes of coal is transported off the Killoch branch heading for Longannet Power
Station on Tuesday 12 Jan 2016. Traffic resumed in early November, generally two to three workings a
week. The train had arrived at Killoch from Barrassie Yard nearly an hour late at 10.45, but loading
was very efficient. The road tipper was pouring coal into the middle part of the train literally within
seconds of the empties pulling in. This continued while the Class 66 ran round, then it pushed the train
right up to the buffers so the loader could access the wagons by the loco, then it drew forward to load
the back of the train. The train was able to leave 14 minutes early at 13.30. Coal traffic into Longannet,
which closes on 31 March, has declined considerably recently to one or two trains daily and some days
none. The line straight ahead (to top left of picture) is to Mauchline Jn which was closed from 1 Apr
1985 until 19 Mar 1988 inclusive and is currently much busier than normal with diverted freight traffic
due to the WCML closure. The WCML at Lamington viaduct is now expected to reopen on 29 February.
ABOVE TOP: A panoramic view of Killoch loading site from the south; easily accessible from the A70.
An East Ayrshire Council report dated 18 Dec 2015 stated: 'Hargreaves Surface Mining Ltd who operate
the coal processing and distribution facility are currently undertaking works to modernise and refurbish
the coal processing and preparation plant. That will ensure that the plant remains fit for purpose for
the next 10 years of operation and is capable of producing the 'added value' products that the
specialist coal market demands. The works represent an investment in the site of approximately £1M
and demonstrates the commitment of Hargreaves to maintaining a viable business in East Ayrshire.'
From the pictures, the facilities certainly do appear to be modern. ABOVE LOWER: The train at Killoch
loading pad; coal arrives by road from opencast sites. A website mainly about the former Killoch
Colliery https://goo.gl/2LlxFT with a 2016 map (click on 'detailed map' link and zoom in/out). It
includes Killoch's construction; sunk in 1953 (BR built a new branch, opened in 1959, from the former
Drongan Jn). Production commenced in 1960 and finished in 1987. (All Nick Jones; 12 Jan 2016)
191] Kilmarnock: As a result of the WCML Lamington closure and the remaining single track sections of
the G&SW line (i.e. Barrhead to Lugton and Lochridge Jn, south of Stewarton, to Kilmarnock), eight
ScotRail local services have been replaced by buses in each direction between Glasgow and Kilmarnock
(SSuX). The Virgin Carlisle to Glasgow shuttles are calling at Kilmarnock to compensate. It is fortunate
that some double track was reinstated south of Lugton in September 2009 to increase the Glasgow to
Kilmarnock service and double track was reinstated between Annan and Gretna Jn.
192] High Level engineering: (BLN 1248.105) Altered services due to the Glasgow Queen Street HL
closure have been appearing in online planners. Online timetables will be available from 20 February
http://goo.gl/y47gqM and on paper from 6 March. The 20-week closure (20 March to 8 August) is for
electrification work (mainly replacing the 40-year old slab track in the tunnel). There are to be queuing
systems in Dundas Street and North Hanover Street (west and east of station respectively). Lenzie and
Bishopbriggs passengers are encouraged to use the (more frequent) bus services. The Kirkcaldy (SSuX)
through train diverts to Haymarket (platform 0); the evening return is cancelled. Services (SSux):
•Aberdeen/Inverness services are diverted to Glasgow Central (via Carmyle and Cumbernauld).
•Anniesland (P3)-Cowlairs North/West Jns-Springburn-Cumbernauld-Falkirk Grahamston runs hourly.
•Queen Street LL (Down platform): From/to Dundee/Perth/Dunblane or Stirling arr xx20 and Alloa
xx50, via Cowlairs West Jn, Springburn and Bellgrove Jn; then returning via the circuit (ie Anniesland,
new facing X/O & connection, Cowlairs North/East Jn). West Highland departures (ECS from Eastfield).
•Queen Street LL (Up platform): From/return to Edinburgh xx31 and xx01 running anti-clockwise
round the circuit and not covering the new Anniesland X/O. West Highland arrivals (ECS to Eastfield).
With generally 4/5 extra trains an hour in each direction on an already busy line, a serious operating
challenge will exist, both at junctions with the added conflictions involved, and at Queen Street LL's
confined platforms. 2-3 minutes is allowed for a train to empty and refill (except for any BLS members
who might stay on!). Of note, strangely, Maryhill line trains run between Ashfield and Anniesland only
on Sundays and other days are reduced to hourly but extended to Falkirk Grahamston as above.
193] Mossend extends: (BLN 1239.1601): *STVA Logistics, with DBS, has opened its 'Finished Vehicle
Multimodal Terminal' (translation: 'terminal for new road vehicles') at the yard. This was marked by
naming DBS Loco 90018 'The Pride of Bellshill'. *Société de Transports de Véhicules Automobiles and
for those who were wondering, a subsidiary of SNCF founded on 25 Oct 1950 to transport cars by rail.
194] Borders on Benefits: (BLN 1247.2352): The Tweedbank line is credited with a 20% increase in
visitor numbers at some local attractions. 'VisitScotland' said that four out of five Galashiels shops
reported takings have doubled. Most cafés and restaurants there have reported 50% more trade. Sir
Walter Scott's Abbotsford House has admitted 18.4% more since the September reopening. Visitors
have stayed in local accommodation and been to attractions including Abbotsford House, Melrose
Abbey, Rosslyn Chapel and Scotland' National Mining Museum (next to Newtongrange station).
195] ATW dispute: The now long-running dispute between Arriva Trains Wales and the ASLEF and RMT
unions over drivers' terms and conditions finally boiled over into an all-out 24-hour strike on 4 January,
with all ATW services cancelled. An overtime ban is causing ongoing problems, and a further 24-hour
stoppage is scheduled for 1 February unless agreement be reached meantime.
196] Rhyl: Loose bolts/rivets falling from the footbridge at Rhyl station on 11 January caused closure of
down P2 for over 24 hours; the Chester station duty manager issued 'Not To Stop Orders'. Passengers
arriving from the east were told to travel on to Colwyn Bay and double back to Rhyl, but less frequent
late evening Down trains used the crossover to P1 (a signalled move) and reversed back .
197] Carno: The Welsh Government Transport Minister has confirmed that ATW and NR broadly agree
with an independent report recommending reopening Carno station (CP 14 Jun 1965). Pending further
review, she has asked the companies for an analysis, including performance and punctuality issues. It is
on the longest section of line in Wales without a station (Caersws to Machynlleth at 21.7 miles).
198] Cardiff Central: (BLN 1245.2136) During a New Year possession, points were installed for a new
facing connection (OOU) from P2 Newport end to the Up main, and for further crossovers to create a
ladder junction east of the Cardiff Bay branch overbridge (Newtown West Jn). New signal gantries
were erected, at each end of the station; at the Newport end over six tracks (former East Siding to P3)
and at the Swansea end four tracks (P4 to former Riverside siding). No signals have yet been installed.
199] Welsh trivia: (BLN 1246.2271) An article in the latest 'Welsh Railways Archive' indicates that
Abercynon station cannot claim its place amongst the oldest continually open passenger stations in
Wales. Apparently it was (under its then name of Navigation House) closed by the Taff Vale Railway on
28 October 1855 due to a dispute over access to the station through private land. Merthyr line
passengers were redirected to Incline Top station, whilst the Aberdare Railway was in effect closed to
passengers between Mountain Ash and Navigation House. The station reopened on 1 May 1856.
200] Station usage: Figures recently published for the 2014/15 year indicate that, as expected:
(1): Cardiff Central with 13.69M journeys/interchanges was by far the busiest Welsh station.
(2): Cardiff Queen Street with 3.51M is second.
(3): Newport 2.96M.
(4): Swansea 2.25M.
(5): Bridgend 1.56M
(6): Cardiff Bay 1.14M (perhaps surprisingly; not so long ago there were just eight trains daily SuX!).
The least used was Abererch with an estimate total of just 326, albeit this is charitably annotated with
a reminder that the line was closed for the first six months of the year. The Maesteg line stations
showed a significant fall, explained in part by unusually high figures the previous year, when trains had
been conveying pupils to and from Bridgend and Pencoed when bus transport could not be arranged.
There was also a loss of traffic in 2014/15 due to intensified bus competition between Maesteg and
Cardiff. This has since been withdrawn and local information indicates that rail usage is now rising.
201] North/South link: (BLN 1238.1502) The Traws Link Cymru (TRAWS) project to link Bangor and
Carmarthen via Afon Wen, the Cambrian Coast line, Aberystwyth and Lampeter is gaining momentum
after recent publication of a Scoping Study for Phase I (Aberystwyth to Carmarthen), commissioned by
the Welsh Government through consultants AECOM. The cost of land acquisition, construction and
contingencies is put at £500-£750M, despite 97% of the 56-mile line being clear of development. Two
major items are the possible need for a tunnelled southern approach to Aberystwyth, avoiding houses
built on the line near Trefechan, and a deviation north of Carmarthen to avoid the Gwili Railway, which
occupies the trackbed for several miles. A journey time of 90 minutes would significantly better the
current bus alternative (before the original line closed in 1964, the 56 mile rail journey took 2½ hours).
The report also suggests examining alternative routes from Aberystwyth to South Wales, including a
route southeast from Lampeter through a 2km tunnel and down the Talley Valley to join the Heart of
Wales line at Llandeilo. This would avoid the Gwili Railway and provide a shorter route to Swansea and
Cardiff, but would not serve Carmarthen. The Transport Minister is to call a 'peer group review
workshop' of stakeholders (NR, GWR, ATW, Ceredigion and Carmarthen Councils and TRAWS
representatives) to consider a way forward; a full feasibility study would cost an estimated £350k.
202] Rhondda Tunnel: (BLN 1233.1009) Following a favourable Sustrans scoping study report,
commissioned by Welsh Government, the Rhondda Tunnel Society is able to progress to the next stage
of its project to re-open Wales' longest tunnel to cyclists and walkers. The report predicts a positive
economic impact of £7-14M over a 30 year period. £300k is needed to progress a planning application
and to finalise construction costs, with £55-60k immediately to clear the portal for vehicle access and
to conduct bat and frog surveys. It is hoped that the Heritage Lottery Fund will provide this support.
1249 MINOR RAILWAYS
MR9] Yeovil Railway Centre, Somerset (MR p6): Santa Claus and our roving reporter visited this site on
a sunny Sunday 20 December 2015. In use was 0-4-0ST Lord Fisher (AB1398/1915) propelling GWR
'toad' brake van 35923 (see RBF Tracker report) and DMU trailer 59515 from the depot platform to the
far end platform - and hauling back. The adjacent elevated miniature railway was not operating.
MR10] Watford Miniature Railway, Hertfordshire (MR p18) (BLN 1234.MR74): Much of Christmas Day
in Watford was wet and windy. So, when our roving reporter walked to Cassiobury Park at 14.00 to
view the 10¼" gauge railway, he found it closed with no sign of any action. A sign indicates the current
fare for a ride to be £1.50. He first visited on 20 September 1959 and in 1972 the fare was 3p!
MR11] Dean Forest Railway, Gloucestershire (MR p6): The Railway Magazine for June 2014 (p30)
records that St Mary's Halt (at 8m 41ch, between Lydney Junction and Lydney Town) has been closed
since November 2013. This station is not mentioned in the railway's 2015 timetable leaflet, so
presumably this closure is permanent. The railway's web site (when checked on 23 December 2015)
fails to mention the station entirely. The online timetable also does not list it.
MR12] Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, Gloucestershire (MR p7) (BLN 1228.MR28) On 27
December the reinstated second platform at Cheltenham Racecourse was substantially complete
except for signage, lighting for the installed lampposts and some form of passenger access. It is rather
shorter than the other one already in use. A senior member of the railway confirmed, as advised in
BLN 1228, that Laverton Loop (the present northern extremity of passenger operation) is to be
removed during the non-operational season. Final use by a locomotive for running round was on 1
January 2016. During the Christmas period it was renamed 'Lapland' according to signs covering over
the three normal ones. The next GWR operating day is Saturday 5 March and in the 2016 timetable
only DMUs are booked to run to Laverton in the public service. Any loco-hauled services there for
special events etc will need to be 'top and tailed' in future. The points and track are to be reused at the
reinstated Broadway station (CP 7 March 1960) where the very smart authentic looking new GWR
style signal box is externally complete on the Up (from Cheltenham) platform. By 27 December a
couple of signals had been installed, but no track yet. Both platform walls were also finished and
steelwork erected for the substantial station buildings on the Down platform. They are much bigger
than the original GWR ones demolished by BR in 1963. The building will be in authentic GWR-style with
this steelwork hidden. Passenger trains are now expected from the start of the 2018 season. For
details and how to assist see http://goo.gl/dKCdmQ or contact 'Friends of Broadway Station' (who
started work there in 2009), c/o The Railway Station, Toddington, Glos, GL54 5DT. There is informed
debate in the current GWR Trust's magazine about further extensions north to Honeybourne or south
one mile through Hunting Butts Tunnel to a new station at the Prince of Wales Stadium a half a mile
walk along the old trackbed to Cheltenham High Street and 1.4 mile walk to Cheltenham Spa station.
The latter extension seems more favoured with particular support from Cheltenham Borough Council.
MR13] Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway, Kent (MR p19) (BLN 1245.2063): Two more open level
crossings have had half-barriers added - Hull Road and Taylor Road - both between New Romney and
Dungeness, the work being completed on 22 October 2015. On the same section, Williamson Road,
Seaview Road and Baldwin Road were similarly converted earlier in 2015. The railway was unsuccessful
in its appeal to the local council to close Hull Road, despite being near to Taylor Road. Dungeness Road
remains to be treated to complete the railway's crossing upgrade programme.
MR14] Rudyard Lake Steam Railway, Staffordshire (MR p23) (BLN 1210.MR78): This 10¼" gauge
railway has been sold to the Leek and Rudyard Railway Limited and changed hands on 18 December
2015. New owner Simon Clarke has plans to bring extra track and equipment from the Mull & West
Highland Railway, which he purchased following its closure on 1 September 2011 (he has been unable
to find a suitable new site for the railway in Scotland). Mr Clarke purchased the railway at Rudyard
Lake from owners Mike and Eileen Hanson, who have run it for 15 years, after they obtained it from
founder Peter Hanton. The couple had put it up for sale for almost £349,950 with Knightsbridge PLC at
the beginning of 2015 after deciding to retire (BLN 1226.308). The sale included the railway, which
runs for 1½ miles from Rudyard Station alongside Rudyard Lake on the trackbed of the former North
Staffordshire Railway line north of Leek towards North Rode. The Hansons will retain ownership of two
steam engines, three carriages, and a brake van, which will be on loan to the new company for two
years. Their final trains ran on Sunday 29 November 2015 and Mr Clarke operated his first trains on
New Year's Day. Mr Clarke said 'We have lots of improvements planned including a new engine shed
which was granted planning permission earlier this year. For (this) year it's very much 'business as
usual' while the new team get used to things and I bring down my equipment from Scotland and then
things will slowly change. The engine shed will be done next winter for example'.
MR15] Derbyshire Dales Narrow Gauge Railway, Derbyshire (MR p14) (BLN 1033.MR2): This 2ft gauge
railway runs for 170 yd at Peak Rail's Rowsley South site. IRS Bulletin 966 (January 2016) notes that
'passenger trains were cancelled during 2015' - without any further explanation. The Peak Rail web site
(when checked on 30 December) merely states 'All services are cancelled until further notice. We
apologies [sic] for any inconvenience caused'.
MR16] Twycross Zoo Miniature Railway, Leicestershire (MR p19) (BLN 1243.MR177): Despite the
hopeful statement quoted in BLN 1243, the railway has closed and the locomotive and rolling stock are
apparently for sale. When checked on 23 December 2015 the railway had been removed from the Zoo
website map. It has been reported that the track was to be lifted in November to redevelop the area.
MR17] Hemsworth Water Park Miniature Railway, West Yorkshire (MR p25) (BLN 1035.MR22): This
7¼" gauge railway, originally opened on 24 July 1993, has closed. It seems the existing locomotive had
become unreliable and owners and operators, Hemsworth Town Council, were also having problems
finding suitable staff. At their 20 October 2015 meeting, the Leisure Committee of Hemsworth Town
Council discussed its future as reported in the minutes: 'Members discussed the problems being
experienced with the operation of the Miniature Train and the costs involved in maintaining and
staffing this service, breakdowns and cost of repairs, all of which were proving uneconomical to run the
service. RESOLVED: That due to the service being uneconomical to operate the Clerk arranges for the
train track to be dismantled and disposed of along with the trains/carriages and that Members look to
consider providing a different attraction in this area'. The railway probably ran for last time in early
October - or possibly earlier if the locomotive was failed at that time!
MR18] Fintown Railway, County Donegal (MR p26) (BLN 1144.MR150): This 3ft gauge railway runs
from the Fintown station for 2¼ miles along the shore of Lough Finn on the trackbed of the Glenties
branch of the County Donegal Railway. The railway reports it has had two relatively quiet summers
with flat passenger numbers and no funding is therefore available for any projects - such as a new
point and secure storage to allow the proposed relocation of Barclay 0-4-0T Fair Maid of Perth from
Bo'ness to give the railway a steam presence. For the second year running it was decided not to
operate any Halloween or Santa trains. The railway is still solvent, but 2016 will be 'make or break' - if
more passengers cannot be attracted, what money it has will be gone.
MR19] Canal Central Miniature Railway, Shropshire (2015, Supp 2) (BLN 1190.MR150): This 7¼" gauge
line (laid on the formation of the former 10¼" gauge, which closed 9 September 2012) opened on 23
May 2015. However, operation after that was suspended until some Halloween runs on 31 October.
On this date, the train was ready around 10.00 and gave our member two runs round the basic 400
yards circuit. In use was Joanne in blue livery with two coaches. After about an hour a steam loco
arrived - a GWR tank loco '1101'. A small battery loco was also in action. The fare was £1 per trip. After
a quiet start, the site was busy and also on offer were horse drawn barge trips with Cracker, a Welsh
cob, being used as motive power. A very nice setting and the café and gift shop are well worth a visit.
Regular operation of the line is awaiting a provision of a shed to allow rolling stock to be stored on site.
MR20] North Somerset Railway Company, Radstock, Somerset (BLN 1240.MR148): The Company,
formed in 1989 to reinstate and operate the line from Radstock to Frome, held its first 'AGM' for 15
years on 24 October (!). The Secretary announced the astonishing news that a former volunteer has
left a legacy of £292,449 to the company. This will enable it to purchase the track, which still exists
parallel to the cycle path, albeit buried in the undergrowth, and secondly to develop a site at Mells
Road. The initial plan would be to run trains along a short section towards Frome and then realise the
original intention of a service over the whole line. The last freight train ran from Marcroft Wagon
Works at Radstock on 29 June 1988 proving that even after 27 years, old branch lines refuse to die.
MR21] Littlehampton Railway, West Sussex (MR p25) (BLN 1129.MR20): The operator and concession
holder of this 12¼" gauge railway pulled out in December 2015 - the last trains running on Sunday 1
November. Their Facebook page carried this press release dated 14 December: 'It is with regret that
Thirty Inch Railways Ltd today announces that it is withdrawing from the Contract to operate the
Miniature Railway at Littlehampton, known as Littlehampton Railway since 2011. We have found it
impossible to reconcile our own level of commitment in time and resources to the railway in the light of
other business and personal commitments. In addition forthcoming developments and specifically the
lack of clarity with regard to the future of the Swimming Pool, do not give us confidence that we will be
able to continue to develop the Railway successfully over the remaining period of our original
concession. We have worked very hard over the last three months to seek alternatives but have not
been able to come to any satisfactory agreement. We therefore think it is appropriate for us to step
aside and let others take forward what we have built upon. Since taking over in 2010 we have invested
heavily in the Railway including major upgrades to track and Stations and creation of the Visitor
Centre. In addition, we have built a strong online presence through our website and Facebook page and
will be happy to pass these on to whoever takes over the concession. We have also collected a
substantial amount of archive materials, some dating back to the opening of the railway and would be
happy to pass these on in due course. We would like to thank our staff for the hard work and
dedication they have shown, especially those who have been with us right from the beginning. We have
been really grateful for the opportunity to give so much enjoyment to so many people over the last five
years and will miss all our visitors. It has been a very hard decision and we really appreciate all the
support and understanding we have received from many people, particularly today. We wish the
Railway and the new Operator (whoever that should be) well in the future'. Arun District Council will
now have to find a new operator.
A service to members; Please mention the Branch Line Society when booking/enquiring. . ..Details must be checked with the organisers.
203] Romsey Signal Box: (BLN 1228.474) The January http://goo.gl/K1uXwE newsletter. 2016 public
open days are 12.00-16.00 on the third Saturday each month until 19 November and first Sunday until
4 December, plus 5 March and 11 September, http://goo.gl/ERvrrg or 01794 500523/07743 942576.
204] Nottingham NET, £2 Sunday Rovers, 24 & 31 Jan: Unlimited travel. Also '5 for £5' group ticket
travelling together, unlimited travel after 17.00 (SSuX) all weekends and school holidays. Peak Group
(up to 5) anytime £9; all available from ticket machines on the day. Free parking at Park & Ride stops.
205] Chiltern Railways return to/from London £15 (£9.90 with railcard): Online only until 6 March, for
travel until 5 April http://goo.gl/1vSxNB from Birmingham Snow Hill, Moor Street, Solihull, Dorridge,
Lapworth, Claverdon, Bearley, Wilmcote, Stratford-upon-Avon/Parkway, Warwick/Parkway or
Leamington Spa to London Marylebone or vice versa. Print at home or collect at station. Arrive London
(seven days per week) 13.00 or after, return up to month. Travel 11.00 to 15.30 or after 19.30. No
restrictions on return journeys into London, No break of journey, normal railcard discounts apply.
206] ScotRail Club 50 members: To 19 March, £16 standard class return anywhere in Scotland (return
up to a month after outward travel.) ScotRail services or TPE (Lockerbie only), max two per member,
proof of membership required. Anytime weekends; not to Glasgow Queen St., Central, Edinburgh,
Haymarket, Dundee/Aberdeen before 09.30 (SSuX), except through journeys; i.e. not those requiring a
change. Not from Queen St., Central, Edinburgh or Haymarket (SSuX) 16.43-18.10 or the 18.15 Queen
St. to Edinburgh and vice versa. Annual £15 membership includes regular discounts & free hot drinks.
207] The Somerset & Dorset Railway 50 Years on, Sat 5 Mar: By kind invitation of Railway Ramblers
(SW). Meet 10.30 Templecombe station (Waterloo dep. 08.20). 50 years after the final steam-hauled
railtours over the S&D. Gerald Box, coach driver for the day, started work at Henstridge station shortly
before the railway closed. Firstly, the Gartell Light Railway, special opening, signalled with full size
semaphores, partly on S&D trackbed south of Templecombe. A steam charter over their whole
network twice, including the northern extension over Common Lane. A Buffet lunch is included. Then
trackbed walk from Sturminster Newton to the restored Shillingstone station with 'something in
steam'. This section was inaccessible and fragmented due to private ownership and a missing river
bridge until the Dorset local authorities developed the 'North Dorset Trailway'. This is gradually
recovering the S&D between Stalbridge and Poole as a multi-use trail at huge cost, including the new
bridge at Fiddleford Mill, craned into position over the River Stour in late 2006. The scenery is gently
undulating, typical of the southern part of the S&D; the ancient hill fort of Hambledon Hill overlooks
Shillingstone station. Then more trackbed south to rejoin the coach for Templecombe. Possible Extras:
(under investigation) Templecombe Steam Shed access (used by Thales Underwater Systems Ltd) also
Stalbridge and Henstridge station sites. Cheque for £30 per head (all inclusive) payee 'Jeff Vinter' to 1
Victoria Road, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 7HY. Must be pre-booked only 50 places are available.
208] Ilfracombe Branch, 'Combe Rail': A registered charity aiming to establish a community and
heritage railway on the trackbed of this former double track line from Barnstaple (CP 5 Oct 1970). It
included gradients of 1:36 and there was a failed preservation attempt in the 1970s (BR wanted £410k
for the line, £5.6M now). See http://goo.gl/DgPQNJ for information, pictures or to join/ help.
209] Eardington Flyer, Fri 22 Apr: (BLN 1233.942) In aid of the 82045 Steam Locomotive Trust,
building a new Riddles BR 2MT 2-6-2 tank http://goo.gl/63mSsL (none is preserved), an ideal size for
heritage line use. A special train recreating the early days of the SVR from Bridgnorth after a breakfast
buffet (included in cost) with GWR Autotank 1450 and recently outshopped GWR stock. Non-stop to
Highley then back to Eardington for a rare extended stop, including historical tours of the site and
'organised jollies'; return for Bridgnorth for shed visits. £19.65 or £24.64 to enter draw for one of four
footplate rides on the trip. FILLING QUICKLY!! Cheques: '82045 Steam Locomotive Trust' & SAE to:
Bryan Clarke, Oak Tree House, 10A Love Lane, Bridgnorth, WV16 4HD. [email protected]
210] St. Phillips Marsh Depot, 'HST 40 Open Day, Mon 2 May: Date for your diary, details welcome.
211] Penrhyn Quarry Railway: (MR p29) (BLN 1242.1811) Felin Fawr off the B4409 at Coed-y-Parc,
Bethesda, Gwynedd, LL57 4RY (SH 699 470) to St. Ann's Hill. About ¼ mile 2ft gauge line. 25/25 June:
09.00-18.00 one DeWinton and two vertical boiler locos with resident Ruston giving rides. Possibly a
Penrhyn Hunslet and a working horse for the 215th anniversary of the horse drawn 'Penrhyn Railroad'
opening (the oldest in Wales). 17/18 September: 09.00-17.00 for the 140th anniversary of the line
being relaid for steam locos to haul slate trains from Penrhyn Quarry to the Porth. Rides with three
locos intended. Vintage bus service both weekends; for pictures http://goo.gl/3ZI4vO and history.
212] Valley Lines Explorer: Unlimited travel ATW only, weekends and Bank Holidays and after 09.15
SSuX. £11 adult £5.50 child (Jan 2016) no other discounts (the same as the Maesteg/Ebbw Vale day
return). Valley Lines Night Rider any day after 18.30 adult only fare £5.50. Validity: Ebbw Vale Town
('cableway' runs 07.00-19.00 SSuX), Rhymney, Coryton, Merthyr Tydfil, Aberdare, Treherbert, Maesteg,
Cardiff Bay, Penarth, Barry Island and both Cardiff Central to Radyr and Bridgend routes. Also all South
East Wales Stagecoach and Thomas Coaches Rhondda routes. For our 'Valley Lines Tracker' weekday
rare track itinerary of 13 Aug 2015 and report see (BLN 1241.1731).
1249 E-BLN ADDENDA
X8] Manchester, Museum of Science and Industry, formerly Liverpool Road station: (BLNs 1248.30 &
1249.165) Track lifting was underway on Monday 18 Jan 2016 in preparation for construction of the
Ordsall Chord. The loop that ran alongside the normal running line had been lifted beyond the gate,
and the running line itself was being lifted, from the same place. As can be seen, the buffer stops have
been relocated to about 10yd inside the gate, showing where the greatly curtailed internal rides will
run to in future. No work had then been carried out to the north side branch, the elevated 'Banana
Road' (other than the buffer stop removal) although track lifting and preliminary work is due to be
completed by the end of the month. On 18 consecutive Sundays, starting on 24 January Manchester
Victoria is due to be closed to passenger traffic for Ordsall Chord work. In another development Mark
Whitby has recently been given leave to further appeal against the construction of the Ordsall Chord
and this will be at no cost to himself. he is deemed to have no personal financial interest in the project
and it is considered by the court to be a 'matter of public interest'. (See also BLN 1246.2206.)
ABOVE: Looking back towards the passenger station from the gate, a location which is accessed via the
pedestrian walkway to the right. The buffer stops came from the former end of the 'Banana Road' (a
sleeper has also been chained to the line and a red light fitted for good measure! - see below...)
ABOVE: Looking back at the buffer stops and mainline as a TPE unit passes, the track was being lifted
beyond the gate (BELOW). (All Ian Mortimer 18 Jan 2016)
X9] Unusual Moves 23/24 Jan: Thanks to, and with permission of, member Stephen Ebbs:
Sat 23 Jan only: (All should be checked in advance before travelling and may not happen.)
Pitsea: To Barking/London via Basildon from P1; to Fenchurch Street via Grays from P3.
Basingstoke: 08.51 and hourly until 19.51 the Salisbury services start from P3.
Gillingham: Dover Priory and Ramsgate services start from P2.
Sat 23 and Sun 24 Jan:
Bolton: Blackpool North, Preston and Wigan Wallgate services start from P3.
Barnes: Kingston service and Sunday, the Barnes (first stop Mortlake) and Windsor services start P2.
Faversham: Saturday, to/from Ramsgate; Sunday to/ from Ashford International and St. Pancras
…International via Whitstable all use P1.
Kingston *Bay: in regular use all weekend (should that be in the International section?). *P1.
Sole Street: Victoria trains start from P2 and cross from the Down to the Up Main Chatham.
Sun 24th Jan only:
Brockenhurst: Poole and Weymouth services start from P1.
Newton Abbot: Exmouth services (except 18.10), and additionally 11.08 to Manchester Piccadilly
…and the 23.18 to Exeter St David's start from P1.
Stockport: P3A (bay) in regular use throughout the day for arrivals and departures.
Stockport: P1 north departures 09.22, 11.15, 13.19, 15.19, 17.21 & 19.19 to Southport; 21.19 to
Wigan …Wallgate and 23.37 to Manchester Piccadilly.
Halifax: Reversing in P1 from the south (facing X/O on arrival) 08.14 & 09.08 Leeds to Rochdale via
Brighouse; all Rochdale to Halifax services and the 20.28 & 22.55 Rochdale to Leeds via Brighouse.
Ipswich: 08.30 and hourly to 19.30 also 22.30 Liverpool Street to Ipswich terminate in P2. The 21.02
…and 22.02 Liverpool Street to Ipswich services terminate in (bay) P2B.
X10] Top Links:
https://goo.gl/p1kbSl An interesting Freightliner 50th anniversary video; the correspondent
asked how many locations members can identify.
http://goo.gl/rCBgqM East Anglia film archives.
http://goo.gl/gziWk3 Of particular interest to our new SW Regional Editor, about the APT.
http://goo.gl/mraEcT The Princetown branch.
http://goo.gl/rLKAvI An old favourite, the UK Rail Map Online with new features and details.
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]
East & West Midlands: Brian Schindler, 15 Sudeley, Dosthill, TAMWORTH, B77 1JR. [email protected]
South West: Mike Newman, 19 Plover Close, Worle, Weston-super-Mare, BS22 8XB. [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, 01403 752837, [email protected] or
[email protected] Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Rd, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947.