Issue Number 1239 (Items 1519 - 1620 and MR 126 - MR 136) (e-BLN 32 PAGES) 22 August 2015
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 of the Society.
BLN 1240 is due on 5 September and all contributions must be received by 26 August.
Date Event Visit Type BLN Lead Notes
Fri 4/09/15 Strathspey Railway 12.30 Track and traction tour 1236 KA FULL
Sat 5/09/15 Caledonian Railway 10.30 Track and traction tour 1236 KA FULL
Sun 6/09/15 Royal Deeside Railway 10.00 Track and traction tour 1236 KA Open
Mon 7/09/15 Rail/Sail & guided walk 09.56 Wemyss Bay/Isle of Bute 1236 GB NOTIFY
Fri 18/09/15 Cleethorpes Coast Rly. 10.30 Railtour and lunch 1238 KA Open
Fri 18/09/15 Pleasure Island Railway 15.00 Special opening and trip, 1239 PS OPEN
…..NEW (2' gauge) Cleethorpes two laps of this 800yd railway
Sat 19/09/15 Scunthorpe Steelworks 10.30 All day railtour with food 1236 PS Open
Thur 1/10/15 LU signal cabins 10.00 Metropolitan line boxes 1237 PS FULL
Sun 11/10/15 Kent & East Sussex Rly. Morning DMU railtour TBA DG Claimed
Sun 11/10/15 Romney H. & D. Railway Comprehensive railtour TBA DG Claimed
Sat 17/10/15 Signal box visits No bookings or queries please TBA NJ Claimed
Fri 23/10/15 **Bo'ness & Kinneil Comprehensive railtour of the TBA TBA Claimed
……NEW …………Railway standard & miniature railways *NEW
Sat 24/10/15 **Ribble Steam Railway All line railbus tour (see MR130) 1238 JW Open
Sat 7/11/15 RBF Tracker railtour 08.00 Waterloo - Weymouth, 1239 KA NOW
NOW OPEN booking form expected with SWT 3 Depots & rare track OPEN
Fri 13 &/OR AGM WEEKEND AT YORK IMPORTANT: Following members' requests, our 60th
Sat 14/11/15 AGM is now scheduled for the evening of FRIDAY 13 NOVEMBER to allow
see BLN 1240 attendees to also participate in the UK Railtours trip to Goole Docks &
Dairycoates on 14 Nov.
Sun 15/11/15 60th AGM Tracker Mainline railtour from York TBA KA Claimed
DG-Darren Garnon, GB-Greg Beecroft, JW-John Williamson, KA-Kev Adlam, NJ-Nick Jones, PS-Paul Stewart.
**Timings will allow travel between these events and participation in both of them.
1519] North Lincolnshire Fixtures, Fri 18 & Sat 19 Sept: (BLNs 1238.1408 & BLN 1236.1211) Some
places remain on the comprehensive morning visit (with lunch) to the 15" gauge Cleethorpes Coast
Light Railway (bookings to Kev Adlam per BLN 1238.1408). An extra fixture, just a few hundred yards
walk south along the same road, has been arranged at 15.00 with special running (two laps) of the 2ft
gauge, 800 yd Pleasure Island Railway, DN35 0PL (TA323066). It is a day when the location is closed to
the public. £3 pay on the day but advance notification is required please to Paul Stewart to assess
numbers. NB: Adult admission to the site is normally £19.50. Then the Cleethorpes Coast Railway's Rail
Ale and Jazz Festival has 34-40 real ales, 30-40 ciders and additional brews from the large Griffin Hall
external bar or one of 'the smallest pubs in the planet' (opened August 2006), the eight foot square
Signal Box Inn! On 19 September at Scunthorpe Steelworks motive power is expected to be an
industrial loco never used on our railtours there before (some places remain). Please help to fill this so
that we may continue to support the work of the AFRPS volunteers and enjoy further visits there.
1520] RBF Tracker, Sat 7 Nov: In aid of the Railway Benefit Fund (see BLN General). A booking form is
enclosed (e-BLN subscribers will need to print it off) for this extensive all day tour with SWT from
Waterloo to Weymouth. It includes 'Baker lines', three main line Depots, much rare track and a break
at the Yeovil Railway Centre (standard gauge steam and miniature railway rides included; normally £7
adult.) Prompt booking is advised as there is a 5-car limit to fit into Southampton bay 'P5'.
The tiny 'Signal Box Inn' at the Cleethorpes
Coast Light Railway (see item 1519).
(Photo © John Shepherd and licensed for
reuse under this Creative Commons
1521] Unusual Track: Anticipated but should be re-checked e.g. at http://goo.gl/wwSbYv etc.
Matlock Riverside station (Peak Rail): 'Off Peak (!) Weekends' 9 Jan to 28 Feb and 9, 10, 16/17
Feb 2016. Rowsley South dep 11.15, 12.30. 13.45 & 15.00, returns 11.45, 12.30, 13.45 & 15.00.
Bath Spa, 22 & 23 Aug: All departures are timetabled west from P2 taking the trailing X/O to
the Down Main at 107m 28ch; some inward services may arrive at P1 taking the facing X/O.
Dublin Connolly P7 - Newcomen Jn - Glasnevin Jn, Sun 23 and 30 Aug, diverted 17.05 Connolly
Northern Ireland: (BLN 1224.94) From 30 August many of these rare moves finish due to
service cuts to save money (BLN 1224.930) with an end to most of the Newry railcar workings.
Stoats Nest Jn (facing X/O 14m 24ch), 23 Aug: 01.29. 02.30 & hourly to 05.30, Three Bridges to
Victoria, from Up Redhill to Down Slow (Stoats Nest) to the Slow Reversible at South Croydon.
Redhill P2 Dn direction 23 Aug: 02.00/03.00 & 04.00 Victoria-Three Bridges, 05.02 to Brighton.
Epsom, 23 Aug, facing X/O Up - Down Portsmouth to P1: 06.15 ex-Dorking, half-hourly to 23.15.
Claygate X/O (15m 06ch), 23 Aug:Cobham/Stoke d'Abernon - Wimbledon/Waterloo until 16.02.
Clandon trailing X/O, 25m 20ch, 23 Aug: 16.59 Clandon-Waterloo & twice an hour to 23.23.
Shenfield, P1 to Down Southend line, 23 Aug: 07.51 & 08.30 departures.
Kilburn High Road, country end facing X/O, 23 Aug: all Queens Park (P4) to Euston DC EMUs.
Stenson Jn, 23 Aug: 06.24, 07.29 & 08.29 ex-Derby & 09.02 ex-Sheffield, all to St. Pancras
International, and 10.06 Leicester to York all booked to reverse and use trailing X/O 4m 58ch.
Rutherglen, facing crossover at Strathclyde Jn, 23 Aug: 08.09 & hourly to 13.09 from Balloch.
Cork: P4 high occupancy by Dublin trains except 05.55 & 06.15 (both SuX) which depart P5.
16.30 (SuX) Cobh to Cork (15.54/16.55) is booked to run through P5 to Mallow (17.21).
18.15 (SSuX) Midleton to Cork (18.38/18.45) also runs through P5 to Mallow (19.11).
Any trains from Cobh or Midleton may terminate at Cork P5 for fuel or maintenance as needed.
Cork - Mallow short workings generally use P5, Cobh trains bay P2. Midleton bay P1, P3 is NRU.
Occasionally, if both P4 & 5 are full, the SuO 21.30 Mallow to Cork can run outside (south) of
the station and reverse at the south end into a bay platform. This has not happened for a while.
[BLN 1239.1521 – cont.]
Dun Laoghaire, bay P3 (BLN 1230.617 with link to a picture), the original terminal station, a 4-
car EMU reaches the buffers. SSuX 16.02, 16.31 & 16.47 from Dublin Connolly, SSuX 16.37,
17.03 & 17.22 to Howth. Note: use may cease early next year with increased DART frequency.
Limerick Junction, Main platform (reverse) to/from Limerick line: 07.40 (SSuX) Thurles -
Limerick, 16.25 (SuX) Dublin - Limerick, 05.30 (SuX) Limerick - Dublin, 08.55 (SuX) Limerick -
Thurles. A connection of strategic importance linking the Dublin to Cork line with the Limerick
line at Limerick Junction (most services run to/from the bay or use the PSUL avoiding line).
1522] FIXTURE REPORT: Chemin de Fer Touristique du Sud des Ardennes (CFTSA), Sat 8 Aug: 100/60.
Having neglected France since 2010 because of the combined negative experience of SNCF grèves
(strikes) and the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud fiasco, this surprise entry in the BLS fixtures list provided
an ideal chance to become reacquainted with at least a small part of this ever attractive but
sometimes perplexing country. A quick 'fancy this one?' discussion and it was agreed; we were ready
for the Challerange challenge. More in hope than expectation, we made our application for the tour
and started to examine travel and hotel options available for a long weekend style visit. Virgin and
Eurostar train travel was quickly discounted on cost grounds, as were flights to Paris from our North
West base. To get the best value for money a longer stay would be required enabling a more relaxing
schedule with a 'normal' holiday as a Plan B, should the projected tour not run. After a quick shufti at a
faded 1991 Ian Allan European Rail Atlas for France and an eye watering length of time examining
SNCF TGV and the more localised TER web sites, several route options were plotted and evaluated.
After much procrastination, a decision was made to keep it simple. Therefore the plan was: drive to
Gatwick, fly Easyjet to Strasbourg (a winning airport), TGV Est to Reims and return. Hotels suitably
identified for Gatwick, Strasbourg and Reims, it was now a case of hope and wait for the thumbs up
from the organisers that the trip was a definite runner.
A week or two later came the welcome 'good to go' email confirmation that we had hoped for. So it
was quickly back to the web to finalise arrangements: Book the flights (less than £100 each return),
confirm the hotels with an excellent value Park & Fly option at Gatwick Premier Inn and Novotel
Aparthotel adjacent to the main station in Reims. Last but not least order the TGV tickets for collection
in France, a €22 each outbound second class mid-week journey into Reims but a rather chingy €103
return weekend journey (a first class Duo fare gave a better price then second!). As part of the clear
and comprehensive tour instructions, a crib sheet with additional hints and tips was provided by the
tour organisers for newbies to France plus the offer of a €10 Euro packed lunch option ('Paniers-
Repas'). Yes please, sounded like a bargain and it was!
Following the obligatory nightmare southbound Sunday drive to Gatwick (in true UK style we left home
a day early just in case) and an overnight stopover at Gatwick, it was onto the South to North terminal
transit shuttle (right hand track as it was required) then into the Airbus (G-EZBJ for the plane spotters
out there). A nice smooth flight with particularly good aerial views of Monceau Yard at Charleroi,
Luxembourg Gare, the Saarland line through Dillingen and Völklingen and on final approach Strasbourg
locomotive depot. Disembarking at Strasbourg Entzheim airport, it was a short walk to the adjacent
TER ticket machine where we provided assistance to an elderly Spanish couple battling with the rotary
controls that seem to confound all but the seasoned visitor and locals. Tickets issued and validated
('composter' = punch) by inserting them in one of the ubiquitous bright yellow machines at platform
entrances, it was a short wait for the local TER diesel service (Unit 866611) and a 10 minute run into
Strasbourg central where there was a good selection of Class 25, 26, 67 locomotives visible amongst
the inevitable BiBi, TGV and other modern traction units.
After our two-night stay in Strasbourg, complete with 30oC+ temperatures and a day trip via Offenburg
to cover the Gäubahn route from Stuttgart to Singen, it was time to head off on the TGV Est to Gare de
Champagne-Ardenne-TGV and the short run from bay P7 into Reims. Fortunately, we arrived the day
[BLN 1239.1522 – cont.]
before the total closure of the TGV connection into Reims necessitated by bridge replacement work
just south of the main station over the river Vesle. [Replacing a major double-track river bridge in 4
days was very impressive though.] Then it was a couple of days to relax and enjoy this pleasant and
welcoming city, cover the tram system (apart from the short 'Gare' to 'Vesle' section which was subject
to the inevitable 'travaux', installing a new extension junction, but only a six week closure, could well
have been six months in the UK). This did result in use of a rare 'pocket' line and crossover.
At last Saturday arrived. A quick breakfast at the hotel and a five-minute stroll down to Reims station
where our Jacqueson provided coach was waiting. Two Committee Members were busy welcoming
participants, issuing tickets (suitably branded 'Société de la Ligne Secondaire') plus, for those who
requested them, lunch tickets. With one no show, who was given 5 minutes grace, we departed at
07.50 already grateful for the coach air conditioning. Heading through the quiet streets of Reims, we
saw the railway bridge replacement works as we took an anti-clockwise turn to the south of the city
ring road and drove through pleasant, undulating farmland towards the second advertised pick up
point at Rethel SNCF station for six more eager travellers. A short drive through country lanes brought
us to the village of Attigny. Crossing the quite narrow Pont D'Europe (aka 'The Bridge of Invasion' by
the locals), we turned into the station yard, base of CFTSA. There was a disconnected siding into a
former milk-factory (powdered milk) off the 'main' line, containing some veteran Citroën road vehicles.
It was the original CFTSA headquarters before they moved into the station area.
Our CFTSA hosts and volunteers were waiting on the platform, where we were given a warm welcome
in almost accent free English by 'Nicholas', our informative conductor and host/compère for the day.
The President of the CFTSA, an elderly gentleman, greeted us in the time honoured English fashion
with a French accent lilt that is so engaging. Two preserved Picasso units (No3850 & 3943) in red and
cream livery then entered the very low platform. These were thoughtfully coupled engine to engine
/cockpit to cockpit, giving passengers at each end a splendid outer end view. With the front vehicle
adorned with a blue miniature BLS headboard (BR Scottish Region blue obviously!) it was like home
from home. It was at this stage that a BLS Officer wandered over and asked if we would like to provide
some input to the visit report for the day. Gulp, never done that before, but OK then we will have a go.
We opted for the rear vehicle on departure from Attigny which is 9.9km from the branch junction at
Amagne-Lucquy (map BLN 1234.1028). With the train windows opening on one side only (a French
tradition to prevent drafts) in the fully down position, and a little extra ventilation from the gap
between the train doors, we were away more or less right time with 50 passengers on board. Soon we
passed, on the left, the remains of lengthy military platforms that once dispatched 121 trains of troops
and equipment in a single day during WW1, when the line was double track. With the local canal
intermittently visible to our left we rolled onward to our first photo stop of the day at Vrizy-Vandy
station (23.8km) passing intermediately through Rilly-sur-Aisne (15.7km) with its short 5m platform
and Voncq (19.0km); the track alternately runs alongside the canal and the River Aisne. The station
buildings are all built in a similar house style and mostly privately occupied or disused (the line CP in
1969). Track condition on the 40km, 25 mile branch is perhaps best described as 'variable' with one
section in particular causing the Picasso units to demonstrate their excellent suspension characteristics
by gently rolling side to side as if travelling in a dinghy caught on a wave. SNCF Reseau (the equivalent
of NR) plan to replace 2,000 of the wooden sleepers, (some disintegrating) but that is actually just a
drop in the ocean. Nicholas explained that a major attraction of using the Picasso units for the railway
was that they were a simple, cheap mechanical design using 1950s technology with a 300 HP diesel
engine, 4 gears and clutch that were easier for the CFTSA railway staff to maintain than more modern
digitally controlled vehicles. The front unit (No3943) was running with a gearbox fault that caused
rough running in fourth but we did not need to go above third gear because the line speed is 20 kph!
[BLN 1239.1522 – cont.]
The train then ran past a large area of stored tree trunks and timber that resulted from a major storm
in 1999 downing many trees in the immediate area and well beyond back towards Paris. We wondered
if the French weather man predicted that there was no Hurricane coming? Carrying on through to
Vouziers-Port (27.1km), large disused grain silos and rusting, partly lifted sidings were observed right
of the train. The silos are now too close to residential property to be used following a recent by-law
change specifying a minimum distance! A few minutes later we reached Vouziers-Sur-Aisne (28.2km)
where the village was to our right and a former narrow gauge line once crossed. Continuing our
journey south easterly with wooded countryside close to the running line we came to Savigny station
(30.3km) and another photo stop. Then the violent history of the region, as a front line during modern
mechanised warfare, was evidenced by the large concrete bunkers alongside the track as we ran down
the line towards Monthois. German artillery was used these during WW1 to shell Reims, some 50-
60km away. Further on Nicholas pointed out some low foliage close to the track concealing rusting
German steam locos which provided shelter for military personnel from aerial attack. Further still on
the right, was a small stone memorial flanked by two isolated trees in a field honouring the pioneer
aviator Roland Garros, shot down and killed here during WW1. Next stop (34 km) was adjacent to the
field where the locals hold an annual 15 August fête for the 'Assumption Day' national holiday.
At Monthois (37.7km) we passed some very large grain silos, sidings and the resident shunting loco,
(ex SNCF Y6431) that provide about half of the 120 freight trains per year off the branch. Typically,
each train of 20 cereal wagons is 1,800 tonnes and hauled by a Cl.75 diesel loco. Empties from
Charleroi are loaded, taken to Challerange in portions, assembled and forwarded. The rest of the
freight is from Alland-Huy (seen later, 6.2km from the junction). These trains keep 8,000 lorry loads off
the local roads, but the main reason farmers send grain by rail is vastly less paper work is involved!
Towards midday we finally rolled through the left side of Challerange station loop to the headshunt,
the remains of the line on to Grandpré. At 40km (25 miles) we halted just before the tall vegetation in
time honoured BLS fashion, beyond the normal limit of line operations; the first passenger train here
in over four years. Track continued to a powdered milk factory, but we were not insured nor covered
by SNCF to pass this point (and the track deteriorated). More photo opportunities followed and closer
inspection of the sleepers at the line extremity revealed some to be in an almost fossilised state. A
quick reversal and it was back into the other side of the loop (of course!) and a half hour lunch break.
Bang on time, 'Krystal' was on hand, sensibly parked in the shade ready to dish out 20 pannier reaps.
Fully expecting un mite and un jus de fruit it was a delight to peer into the paper bag and discover: a
cheese and bacon quiche, a potato salad in mustard vinaigrette with white pudding (boudin blanc cf
our black pudding) and cereals, sausage, cheese, bread roll, an apple or two and a bottle of water. Just
in case that was not enough, an ice-cold bottle of cider (The Ardennes Bubbles from the Captain
Orchards) was provided, very welcome on a hot, sunny day. Finding some shade to set up camp we
paused to savour lunch, for a look around the immediate station environs and to take some more
photographs. L'hotel de Gare was long since boarded up, passenger services at this once junction of
four lines finally finishing in 1969. In the station area there was rusting evidence of former activity and
overgrown loading bays or platforms to the northern side with a severed curve that used to go to the
local factory now run by Nestlé. This produces powdered milk capsules and suchlike, some distributed
by lorry to Telford. Rail traffic from the factory ceased when a United Nations contract for Iraq and
Algeria expired suddenly some years ago. Now in the facing Picasso unit we retraced our tracks
northwards ready to count down the fifty level crossings along the lightly engineered line. Many were
open farm track or property access crossings with barriers deployed where vehicular traffic traversed
the line. The barriered crossings were preceded by the only signalling equipment on the line which
displayed a double green when they were down. These were track treadle activated by the train or
worked by the train crew dialling a special number for each. All level crossings in France, previously
maintained by SNCF, are now the responsibility of a support company based in the Netherlands! The
[BLN 1239.1522 – cont.]
whole branch was 'one train working' with prominent 'S' instruction signs (Siffler = whistle). The width
of the trackded provided clear evidence of the former two track line and we were able to see some of
the track deviations necessitated through historic, conflict related, damage. The line was singled by the
occupying forces in 1941 with one track removed for use on the Russian front. Sinuous track slews
were made to retain the 'better' of the two tracks and still present 74 years later! After further photo
stops we arrived back at Attigny, where Krystal reappeared on the platform, this time to dispense
complimentary coffee and cake with bottles of Byre Blanche for €2. Nicholas invited us for a quick walk
to the station sidings to view generations of Caravel Autorails (8508 and 4719), diesel shunter Y6610
and a further two Picasso units X3898 and X3838. Of 261 Picassos built, about 60 are preserved, we
were told only 12 remain in France, the CFTSA being rightly proud to own four of these historic units.
On 'new track' for most, the tour departed north towards Amande-Lucquy, passing the impressive
MGR style loading hopper and grain silos at Alland-Huy, the line's other surviving freight traffic source.
The track appeared to be in slightly better condition than further south. As we approached the end of
our journey the site of the former locomotive depot, with two turntables, and a long gone curve
toward Charleville-Mézières, was pointed out. Shortly we halted at the 'S' indicator post declaring
'Arrêt de Train Touristique' the limit of CFTSA operations, within sight of the electrified main line. A
few metres beyond a double red signal protected the connection. Expressing our thanks and farewells
to our hosts, the party mostly disembarked, to be escorted along the railway to the road accessing the
SNCF station; the more intrepid travellers staying behind to take the Picassos back to Attigny.
It was a short walk to Amande-Lucquy SNCF station in good time to connect with the 15.37 train to
Reims. A couple of locals waiting on the platform were amazed to find the station so busy as were the
incumbent passengers and ticket checker when we boarded unit 76691 ('Ah, l'anglais, qui explique
tout!'). The CFTSA president waved us off, a very nice touch. Given the relative remoteness of the
location and apparent lack of local interest for the railway, it is hoped that it will survive. At Reims it
was time to split up, via the usual diversity of homeward or further afield routes that demonstrated
the ingenuity of our members. For us it was another night in Reims and then back the way we came,
except this time using the bus replacement service (impeccably organised by SNCF) from Reims to the
impressive, temple like facade of the Champagne-Ardenne-TGV station. A couple of Infra class 67
diesels (253 and 273) were stabled in the bay platform, duly photographed along with a cracking shot
of a Black Redstart chick calling for food. Then it was onto the on time TGV from Bordeaux to
Strasbourg via a stop at Lorraine TGV (a winning loop and platform for us).In conclusion, this was a
really enjoyable trip with good company and extremely welcoming and accommodating hosts. Many
thanks are due to Bert Blissett, Geoff Blyth and Paul Griffin for the organisation and execution of this
excellent fixture that delivered on all advertised aspects. A worthy 100th fixture and another country
visited for our Diamond Jubilee year!
1523] 'Ketton Express' Headboard Charity Auction: Those who visited the cement works Open Day on
Saturday 6 June or participated in our very comprehensive railtours on Sunday 7th saw the specially
commissioned 'Ketton Express' metal headboard. It was also pictured in the recent Railway Herald
article about the Society. As part of Hanson's charity fund raising, members have the exclusive chance
to bid for this unique railway artefact. The winner will visit Ketton to receive their headboard, have a
special 'behind the scenes' site tour including the rail operations and enjoy a celebratory lunch with
the Plant Manager. All bids (minimum £250) and contact details by email or writing to the Fixtures
Secretary by midnight on 31 August. Please do not send any payment. Only the winner will be notified
to make their payment, to a Hanson nominated charity, within 14 days.
1524] Ketton Cement Works branch: With thanks to Martyn Brailsford, the present (solid lines) and
previous layout (dotted lines) is shown at this Hanson works railway on the next page. It is still known
in railway parlance as 'Ward Sidings' from Joseph Ward who expanded the works in 1927 and was the
brother of Thomas W. Ward (chairman of the group), well known in the scrap metal business etc. The
existing lines were all traversed by our four comprehensive charity track tours on Sunday 7 June, other
than the short sections occupied by rolling stock. The works local quarries' (high quality silica clay and
limestone) internal lines were replaced by large dumper trucks and conveyors as production rapidly
expanded to 700,000 tonnes annually in the 1970s. One factor in the expansion of the plant over the
years was its close proximity to the Leicester to Peterborough railway; the NR connection, top right on
the map, is at 7m 60ch just west of Stamford. There is a daily bulk powdered cement train SSuX to
King's Cross (still known as 'Churchyard Siding, Castle Cement', the latter being the brand name in the
1980s); the dedicated four-wheeled tankers are discharged pneumatically. Other locations are served
less frequently and coal is brought in by rail occasionally from Immingham, Hargreaves Coal Terminal
and New Cumnock to the relatively new branch extension (top left) to the coal unloading terminal with
its run-round loop. Its first passenger trains were our June trips. A range of waste materials is burnt at
Ketton to reduce coal use, including tyres and plastic mixed with shredded paper. A 12MW solar panel
farm (amazingly 50,644 modules on 27 hectares) at the quarry produces 13% of the works' electricity.
Left : The 12.00 BLS Ketton tour on Sunday 8
June heads towards the exchange sidings,
taken from the overbridge on the branch and
featuring the special 'Ketton Express'
headboard, on the right hand lamp bracket of
the loco (left of the picture), which is now up
for sale (see item 1523). The locos are 08 622
and 08 375 which are the resident motive
power for day to day working at Ketton. Note
the 'cement livery' of the locos! (Gary Pullan)
The public runs on Saturday 7 June for Ketton
Cement Works open day were steam hauled.
Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST 'Sir Thomas Royden'
(works No 2088) heads the train waiting in the
works at the temporary specially constructed platform. This loco, built in 1940, is now based at the
Rutland Railway Museum (Rocks By Rail) at Cottesmore. Before preservation it worked at the CEGB's
Stourport Power Station. (Garry Pullan)
[BLN 1239.1524 – cont.]
1239 HEAD LINES
1525] Slough West Jn - Bath Road Jn 'Slough West Curve' (Royal or Queen's Curve): (BLN 1238.1466)
OP 1 May 1898 (through trains Windsor & Eton Central to/from Basingstoke) CP from 2 April 1917 as a
WW1 economy and never restored. Booked rail traffic (ECS workings) ceased from 1 January 1968;
from 6 May 1968 (in association with singling of the branch, the closure of the terminus signal box and
transfer of control to Slough PSB) it was then available for 'special or emergency use'. Taken OOU 26
July 1970 its final recorded use was 30 January 1970 to clear and turn an empty train on the triangle.
Re (BLN 1238.1466), the through trains were actually shown in February 1917 (not 1927) Bradshaw.
1526] Swindon & Cricklade Railway, Taw Valley Halt (SU 1195 8813): (MR p6)(BLNs 1187.845 &
1220.MR187) OP 9 March 2015, the first day the public were allowed to arrive and depart from the
halt on foot to join and leave trains, after opening of the new access footpath from Mouldon Hill
Country Park to the south (there is no road access). Public trains have served the site since Saturday 25
August 2012 (non-landing). The first documented example of alighting and re-boarding was during the
35thanniversary diesel gala on Sunday 17 November 2013 for photography. Alighting from and re-
boarding trains (only) became 'official' for all trains from Good Friday, 18 April 2014.
1527] Dudley, Black Country Living Museum Tramway, Tram Depot - Racecourse Colliery (BLN 1237.
MR114) ROP Monday 20 July 2015 after Phase 1 of track replacement works on this 525yd long 3'6"
gauge line. (TCP after last running on Sunday 24 November 2013 due to condition of track etc.) The
complete line to the Tram Depot is expected to reopen in September (advice of date appreciated).
1528] Shanklin Cliff Lift: (BLN 1237.1318) ROP was delayed from 21 July until 09.00 on Thursday 30
July for repair of a control system fault. A video clip https://goo.gl/QFR7mc (TCP since 30 March 2015).
1529] Ashford 'E' Jn - Minster (excl.) and five intermediate stations: TCP 26 (at 20.10) to 30 July 2015
(04.10), an 8-car passenger train struck a herd of cows at Godmersham between Wye and Chilham,
derailing it hitting a river underbridge parapet, damaging 400m of track signalling and conductor rail.
1530] Kilmarnock - Dumfries (both excl.): TCP/TCA part at least, 1 to 16 August inclusive, initially for
two days of engineering work; extended when an engineering train (with loco 66428 which was
derailed and badly damaged) ran into the back of another one at Logan between Auchinleck and Bank
Jn. Significant track damage resulted for 1,500yd and 18 wagons were derailed. A survey for old mine
workings was required before a temporary road could be built to bring in a 1,000 tonne crane.
1531] Oxford North Jn - Oxford Parkway: From 9 August, the existing length of line OOU between
Oxford Parkway and temporary buffer stops at 29m 27ch was extended closer to Oxford North Jn at
30m 05ch, where temporary buffer stops were to be located (the sleeper across the line can be seen
from passing trains there). Points at Oxford North Jn were clipped and padlocked in the normal
position. Signal routes to and from the 'Up & Down Bicester Line' were disconnected. [In summary the
line is closed for reconstruction, including Wolvercot Tunnel track lowering for electrification between
Oxford North Jn and just short of Oxford Parkway; freight is being handled from the eastern end.]
1532] Bermuda Park station: (BLN 1237.1334) OP Monday 17 August 2015, a two platform station (SP
3594 8932) between Nuneaton and Bedworth with an hourly service to Nuneaton and Coventry.
1533] Whitehead (excl.) - Larne Harbour (incl.) and 4 intermediate stations: TCP (TCA part) after
22.45 on 21 to Sunday 30 August 2015 (incl.) for bridge replacement near Glynn station (NI Translink).
1534] Crowborough (excl.) - Uckfield stations (incl.) and Buxted station: TCP is expected 4 January to
20 February 2016 inclusive for platform lengthening work to allow introduction of 10-coach trains.
1239 BLN GENERAL
1535] Thameslink Tracker: (BLN 128.1416) Thanks to all the participants on our tour from Bedford to
Herne Hill on Sunday 12 July, a total of £9k was evenly distributed between three cancer charities.
1536] Railway Benefit Fund (RBF): http://goo.gl/TnHe4K This is the working name of the 'Railway
Benevolent Institution' which was founded in 1858 and incorporated by Royal Charter in 1949. This
national charity supports current and former railway workers and their families by the relief of short
and long term poverty and provision of appropriate and individual support and advice. New services,
new partners (including our Society) and specialist staff are the main elements of the biggest changes
to the RBF in decades. The charity is introducing further ways of helping those in need as well as its
more traditional method of providing assistance through financial grants. An official launch of the new
services takes place later this year. RBF is aiming to become the preferred destination for current and
former railway workers looking for support and advice; where those in need can call up and either
receive direct assistance or be directed to a partnering organisation who may be more specialised in
certain areas. To achieve this RBF will initially work in collaboration with Manchester Citizens Advice
Bureau (CAB) and 'Turn2Us'. A new telephone helpline will be the first point of contact for all welfare
enquiries. These may include bereavement counselling, support with elderly parents, maternity and
childcare advice. Manchester CAB is able to give specialist advice on complex cases. People wanting to
seek help without phoning in can do so via the 'Turn2Us' portal on RBF's website. The overall aim is to
offer assistance in a wider variety of forms tailored to individual situations. In future RBF is hoping to
diversify into other services. The charity now has a business arrangement with Argos so that goods
requested by applicants such as fridges and cookers can be sourced from one location to ensure
consistency in quality and service. There is an annual fundraising target of £160k to provide these
services; our RBF Tracker on Sat 7 November with SWT is part of this (booking form with this BLN!).
1537] No1 Member's No1: (BLN 1238.1439) Prequels to 'The Middleton Branch Brakevan Railtour',
described in BLN 1238, included his first industrial fixture on Sunday 13 March 1966 for the LCGB, over
the Cooke and Nuttall paper mill branch. See http://goo.gl/lKaNUi and https://goo.gl/vFDpOB for
monochrome pictures of the trip on this standard gauge line that carried imported wood pulp from
Preston Ribble Dock. The trip was in open wagons up the steeply graded line to Blackrod exchange
sidings, with Andrew Barclay 0-4-0 No2230 'Douglas' (subsequently preserved). Further visits that
day were to the railways at Bolton Gas Works and Thos. Walmsley of Bolton. There was no charge for
these unique fixtures but, unfortunately, support was very poor, only nine members attended...what
response would fixtures like this bring today? The lack of support ended No1's enthusiasm for trips like
these. However, in 1983, he was instrumental in arranging the first BLS riding visit at Clitheroe, Ribble
Cement. Support was fantastic, three trips carried 36 members and, as they say, the rest is history.
1538] Mobile Maintenance Unit: A very impressive bit of independent multitask kit in action here
https://goo.gl/3MQpwk the clip is a bit commercial, understandably, but amazing stuff nevertheless.
1539] Points and Slips: BLN 1238.1393] Co-acting signals: the example reported at Worksop remains
operational and there is a similar colour light arrangement at Beverley at the end of the Up P1 (i.e.
towards Hull), due to sighting difficulties with the station's overall roof. The preserved Embsay station
has a co-acting signal. 1416] Was St. Albans unusual in having so many Mental Hospitals/Asylums
including Hill End, Napsbury, Cell Barnes, Harperbury, Leavesden and Shenley? 1421] It transpires that
Cromar White rather than Severn Lamb have installed the NRM Miniature Railway at York. 1433] A
Hereford member advises that the actual nameplate on the front of 'Aylstone Hill Signal Box' as
shown on railway documents and signalling diagrams was without the 'e', unlike the shelf plate inside!
1441] From the east end of the triangle at Hall Lane Jn the former Midland Railway line went through
Staveley Town and Clown(e) & Barlborough to Creswell Jn. Regular passenger services (withdrawn in
[BLN 1239.1539 – cont.]
1954) ran between Chesterfield and Mansfield. Off this route at Seymour Jn, the Midland circuitous
'Doe Lea Branch' to Pleasley Jn ran via Bolsover, Glapwell to Pleasley (West). Regular passenger trains
(also between Chesterfield and Mansfield) were withdrawn in July 1930. MR125] Worcestershire
'phosphorous' company should be 'phosphorus'. Finally, 1512] Steam on the Met is actually on
Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 September.
1540]: Guess the location: (BLN 1238.1437) The lovely BR Western Region sign, illustrated in e-BLN:
'PLATFORM FOR STRATFORD-UPON-AVON, LEAMINGTON SPA, BIRMINGHAM (SNOW HILL) AND
CHELTENHAM SPA (ST. JAMES)' was on Cheltenham Spa Malvern Road station Up (to Stratford)
platform. It OP 30 March 1908 as 'Cheltenham Malvern Road' so that long distance services to/from
the Stratford line did not have to reverse in and out of Cheltenham Spa St. James terminus. Malvern
Road had one long island platform with a short cut out north end bay on the Down (east) side for local
push-pull auto-trains between Honeybourne and St. James to reverse in. This is why 'Honeybourne' is
not mentioned on the sign. These trains, known as the 'Coffee Pot', served the original stations and
halts now on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire line. The station CP 1 January 1917, ROP 7 July 1919,
and was renamed 'Cheltenham Spa Malvern Road' from 1 February 1925; final CP was from 3 January
1966. Part 2: the sign can now be found hanging from the roof of the private Gotherington station
platform (opposite the single platform Gloucestershire Warwickshire's public Gotherington Halt.).
1541] Worcester Tunnel Junction Signal Box: Is this the signal box nameplate with most characters?
1542] Criss Cross Quiz: (BLN 1238.1440) Sections of lines exclusively served by
1) Birmingham, Grand Jn - Water Orton - Tamworth - Burton-on-Trent - North Stafford Jn.
2) Water Orton East Jn - Nuneaton (P6 & P7) - Hinckley - South Wigston - Wigston North Jn.
3) Manton Jn - Stamford - Helpston Jn (north of Peterborough).
4) Birmingham, Bordesley Jn - Small Heath South Jn.
5) Coventry North Jn - Leamington Spa Jn.
6) Stoke Works Jn - Abbotswood Jn, and the following 'PSULs' (mainly to retain route knowledge):
7) Whitacre West Jn - Kingsbury Jn.
8) Lichfield Trent Valley (High Level) - Wichnor Jn.
9) Birmingham, Soho South Jn - Perry Barr South Jn.
10) Birmingham, Galton Jn - Smethwick Jn.
11) Didcot West Curve Jn - Foxhall Jn (via 'Didcot West Curve').
12) Sheffield, Woodburn Jn - Rotherham Central Jn.
13) Edinburgh, Slateford Jn - Craiglockhart Jn - Niddrie West Jn - Portobello Jn. (Any more?)
Stations which are exclusively served by XC (with the station managing TOC in brackets):
1) Water Orton (LM) 4) Willington (EMT) 7) Narborough (EMT)
2) Wilnecote (LM) 5) Coleshill Parkway (LM) 8) South Wigston (EMT)
3) Burton-on-Trent (EMT) 6) Hinckley (EMT) 9) Stamford (EMT)
1239 ENGLAND – EAST MIDLANDS
1543] Towcester, Olney Branch Jn - Ravenstone Wood Jn: (also 1217.1374) BLN 1211.971 stated that
traffic had ceased over this Stratford-upon-Avon & Midland Junction Railway (SMJ) line in May 1958.
The contemporaneous Weekly Operating Notice shows that the line was severed at the M1 overbridge
construction site (SP78125243) on Saturday 28 June 1958 'to further notice'. Electric Token Block
working between Towcester and Ravenstone Wood Jn was suspended (the wording confirms it was
fully intended to restore this later). The M1 motorway (there) opened on 2 Nov 1959; but the railway
only reopened for wagon storage (BLN 1236.1240). From 5 July 1960 the line was re-designated as a
siding (the track was still broken at the M1 bridge) worked from each end and the token withdrawn.
[BLN 1239.1543 – cont.]
On Sunday 28 August 1960, its railway bridge (SP75895105) over the WCML south of Roade station
was removed to avoid the expense of rebuilding or raising the SMJ bridge for WCML electrification.
Towcester station (closed to regular passengers ervices April 1952 so coloured white) is bottom left on
this extract from the OS 1" to a mile 7th Series map (fully revised 1950, major new roads such as the
M1, added 1961). Heading north east the 'multiple track' splits into two single lines at Olney Branch
Jn; the line in question runs across the upper part of the map north of Stoke Bruerne, where there was
a station, not shown (BLN 1236.1240). It continued over the WCML just south of the then still open
Roade station (CP from 7 September 1964). Before this, was once Roade Jn (SMJR) with a curve (open
1891 and closed from 25 May 1917) leading north to join the WCML just south of the station at Roade
Jn (LNWR) allowing through running between Towcester and Roade. Although not shown as 'track of
old railway' or such like on this map nor the OS 6th series its route is still evident on Google Earth etc.
Following the railway east leads to the M1 overbridge, which was actually constructed even though a
train never passed underneath it. With the eye of faith, the map can be interpreted as showing the line
as severed here (as it was). It then passes north of Salcey Forest through the former station of that
name, not shown, (BLN 1236.1240) to join the former Midland Railway Northampton to Bedford line
at Ravenstone Wood Jn (top right).1544] Nottingham NET: A competition was advertised on the NET
website for people to attend a 'VI Preview Tram experience' to travel from the new Park and Ride sites
along the extensions; entrants had to specify which trip they wished to make. A trip from Toton Lane
Park and Ride ran on 11 August with the Clifton trip on 12 August. Public opening was expected on
Monday 17 August. It has been reported that there is an additional trailing crossover just before
Meadows Way West tram stop, not shown on our NET track plan (BLN 1224.63) where trams could
reverse (BLN 1238.1445).
1545] Robin Hood Line: (BLN 1238.1446) Only the south east, Shirebrook Jn - Warsop Jn, curve would
be used for a reintroduced passenger service between Ollerton/Edwinstowe/Warsop and Mansfield/
Nottingham. The northeast Shirebrook East Jn to Warsop Jn would not be needed unless it was
intended to run a direct passenger service to/from Worksop from these three stations.
1239 GREATER LONDON
1546] Crossrail: (BLN 1238.1451) On 27 July it was noted that track had been laid on the bed of the
former North Woolwich branch where it passes under the DLR near City Airport station.
1547] Hackney: (BLN 1238.1448) From the new walkways it is possible to look at the shored-up bridge
abutment for the Hackney Downs line and see traces in the brickwork and an old handrail which would
have formed part of the original pedestrian connection leading up from P1 at Hackney Central station.
1548] LUL Sub Surface Lines Resignalling: TfL has finally signed a contract with Thales to resignal the
entire sub surface network, including an overlay to the existing signalling on the lines to Wimbledon
and Richmond. Conventional signals will also be provided for control of Piccadilly Line trains where
these work over the same tracks as District Line trains, with similar arrangements for Chiltern Railways
trains on the Metropolitan Line. Thales will supply a system for signalling and automatic train control
that is similar to that in use on the Jubilee and Northern Lines, but using radio rather than 'wiggly
wires' in the four-foot to transmit commands to the trains. This sub surface project has had a troubled
history; two previous contracts have been abandoned. The building to house the control room has
already been built near Hammersmith (H&C) station by Bombardier as part of the previous contract.
This will eventually replace the Metropolitan Line Signal Control Centre at Baker Street (visited by the
Society on 2 March this year) and all LUL's remaining signal boxes. A considerable number of changes
to track layouts are planned, some of which will be implemented prior to the resignalling.
Commissioning of the new signalling is expected in stages between June 2019 and January 2022;
service enhancements will be implemented between December 2021 and May 2023. Signalling on the
new Croxley Link to Watford Junction will initially be of the current type as far as the NR boundary, as
the line is planned to open before resignalling takes place.
Unfortunately, the delay to the SSL project means that the 'New Tube for London' project is delayed
until after the former is completed. This will provide new control systems and trains for the Piccadilly,
Bakerloo, Waterloo & City and Central Lines. Expected completion dates are now 2026, 2028, 2032
and 2033 respectively. By then the Piccadilly Line 1973 Stock and 1972 Bakerloo Line Stock will be
decidedly long in the tooth! Meantime, a new control room for the existing signalling is proposed for
the Piccadilly Line at South Kensington and expressions of interest have been invited for life extension
work to the Bakerloo Line signalling control system. (Information partly from Underground News)
1549] Northern Line: Plans to increase the peak service to 33-36 tph by April 2023 rely on the line
being split in two (Edgware-Kennington/Battersea Power Station via Charing Cross and High Barnet-
Morden via Bank) in order to eliminate flat crossing junction movements at Camden Town. However
before this can be achieved, Camden Town station will have to be rebuilt to cope with the additional
interchange traffic. A previous attempt to do this failed in 2004 because of extensive opposition to the
plans, but LUL are now progressing a new scheme. (Rail Technology Magazine)
1550] Newbury Park: (BLN 1237.1352) Two members continued covering unusual moves on the LUL
network with a recent attempt on the loop (31 siding) here. This has one booked working, train 47
05.53 ex Ealing Broadway, calling at Newbury Park at 06.52 bound for Woodford. It was boarded at
Leytonstone after the route had been checked with the driver. Upon arrival at Newbury Park and
looking out from the front car for the route indicator arrow at the end of the platform, the driver got
out of the cab briefly and much to our members' surprise told them that the route had not been set
for the loop, but en route from Leytonstone he had made a special request with the signal operator for
its restoration. He confirmed the loop is used about once a week but its use is definitely not regular;
any members attempting it might do well to ask before reaching Newbury Park. Naturally the driver
was thanked profusely before our members made a 15 second connection at Woodford!
1551] Chadwell Heath: (BLN 1238.1452) A local member was impressed by the efforts made by TfL
Rail, with at least three extra platform staff and a supervisor to oversee the terminating trains. All
electronic signage on the platforms and trains was correct. It was noticeable how many passengers
were ignoring the Up bus replacement service and taking Down trains to Shenfield, to catch the next
London-bound train. Our member did the same and the Class 321 unit he caught set out on power up
to Ingrave summit, where at about 20mph the pantograph was lowered (as indicated by the lights
going out). At Shenfield on some drivers made an announcement that the lights would probably go
[BLN 1239.1551 – cont.]
out in the course of the journey and not come back on until the pantograph was 're-raised' (sic) at
Gidea Park. Down the 1:176 Brentwood Bank it gathered speed to an estimated 50mph before briefly
braking at Harold Wood platform and then running to a smooth stop in Gidea Park platform. Once
halted, the pantograph was raised again. The only units seen were Class 321s, with no locomotive-
hauled trains. Are these units the only traction capable of operating in this manner? A member was
surprised that 6½ miles of coasting was allowed, having never done this for such a distance before. He
feels it was a common sense solution which worked perfectly but wonders what the contingency plan
was if a train had to come to a halt in this section; they could hardly use another unit to push it!
1552] Old Oak West Jn - Greenford: (BLN 1238.1431) On 4 August a member used the PSUL services in
and out of Paddington, which conveyed two passengers each way. In each direction the train ran via
the Greenford loop rather than Park Royal. Our member was informed that this was to enable the
driver to learn the route. To the best of your Sub-Editor's knowledge, Chiltern Railways drivers have
only ever known the route to Paddington via Park Royal, so it may be that this is a prelude to diverting
trains prior to the Park Royal route being severed in 2017. There is no significant time penalty.
1553] St. Pancras International - Stratford International: Oyster Pay As You Go and contactless cards
may now be used on high speed services between these locations. However, these fares are not
included in daily or weekly price capping; Travelcards and Freedom Passes etc. are still not valid.
1554] Upminster: On our 18 July visit to the IECC the CIS screen on P6 was noted to only show times,
as the destination (Romford), intermediate station (Emerson Park) and operator are embedded on the
surface, the operator still being shown as one! Announcements do now refer to London Overground.
1555] Walthamstow Central - Seven Sisters: (BLN 1228.443) As expected, various rail replacement bus
services have been provided while this section is closed for the installation of a higher speed crossover
on the approach to Walthamstow Central. However, such is the volume of displaced peak period
traffic that additional action has had to be taken. Before 09.30 SSuX St. James Street is exit only and
Clapton is closed, as Up services from Chingford are expected to be full leaving Walthamstow Central.
Additionally the small number of Up AGA trains which normally serve Edmonton Green in the morning
peak are not doing so, as trains are expected to be full with passengers heading for Seven Sisters
instead of Tottenham Hale to transfer to the Victoria Line.
1556] Thameslink: (BLN 1236.1248) (1) Traffic Management System: Hitachi Rail Europe has won a
contract to install a traffic management system to complement the ATO (Automatic Train Operation)
and cab signalling in the core section. The contract covers a distance equal to 20 minutes' travel time
on either side of the central section between Blackfriars and St. Pancras International. In addition, the
contract includes options to expand the scope to cover the whole of the Brighton Main Line and part
of the East Coast Main Line. The system to be installed is a software and hardware package that looks
at where all the trains are in an area and then predicts where they will be in the future, so that
signallers and controllers can make informed decisions. The NR press release describes it as being like
'an omnipotent and computerised Fat Controller'! It also offers a simulation function, usually called
'plan/re-plan', to allow signallers to test their hypotheses, e.g.: 'If I hold train A here at East Croydon,
what will the effects on trains B and C be?' In normal service, the traffic management software 'talks'
to the signalling system and can run it automatically, with the signaller overseeing it.
(2) Bermondsey Diveunder: An informative article http://goo.gl/9bo754 ('London Reconnections').
1557] Tottenham Court Road: (BLN 1231.736) The Eduardo Paolozzi mosaic tiling that cannot be
retained there is now to be moved to the Edinburgh College of Art for restoration and then display.
1558] Waterloo: (BLN 1217.1382) A planning application has been submitted by NR for work needed
to integrate the former International terminal with the rest of the station. Firstly, strengthening three
bridges on the approach to P20-24, as well as changing the layout of the track and platforms. The
proposed works involve filling in the gaps between the existing three separate railway bridges carrying
the platform approach tracks. Connecting these bridges will allow track layout changes to make it
suitable for domestic train use. If permission is granted, preparation work is expected to start in
October 2015 with construction taking place between November 2015 and the end of 2016.
Associated track and signalling work will then continue until mid-2017. (Construction Index website)
1239 NORTH EAST
1559] North Eastern Railway (NER) Tile Maps: These were authorised by the railway's directors in
1900 for various stations. The dramatic and iconic map is made up of 8 rows of 8 glazed tiles each
being 8" x 8" with (4" x 8") along the top displaying the company name; the whole framed with
decorative brown glazed relief cornice tiles. The map shows the whole NER system (once the world's
largest railway company), lines over which the NER had running powers and a few other lines. The NER
was extensive, from Carlisle to Withernsea and almost Berwick-upon-Tweed to Rotheram and in places
it was also intensive. Some features (where near the lines) such as lakes, lochs, country houses and
their grounds, battlefields, castles, abbeys, cathedrals and monasteries were also shown. The tiles
were made by Craven Dunhill Ltd. of Jackfield, Ironbridge in Shropshire. The design for each tile was
etched onto copper then used to print a transfer which was fixed to the tile (a very skilled job),
corrections could be made by hand before firing in the kiln. The first one was thought to have been at
King's Cross, 160 miles from the NER! There are quite a few errors on the maps such as misspelling of
Bamburgh and Felixkirk; Knottingly was missed off some (all inadvertent and not for copyright
purposes!). The Malton layout is incorrect and the North Holderness Railway (shown) was never built.
All the tile maps were on display by 1910. It is surprising they were not installed at Berwick-upon-
Tweed, Northallerton and Harrogate. Apart from King's Cross, the only non-NER station was
Normanton, where the Midland's permission was presumably required, although the NER had running
powers (and a loco based at the MR shed there). In August 1987 nine maps still existed at their original
stations: Beverley, Middlesbrough, Morpeth, Saltburn, Scarborough, Tynemouth, (West) Hartlepool,
Whitby and York. The map at Bridlington was purchased by a private individual and Tyne Dock's was
destroyed by fire in 1970. Other than Tynemouth, on the Tyne & Wear Metro, one other map survived
until at least 1987 at South Shields behind a wooden screen.
According to NER minutes there were 23 stations with the tile maps:
Alnmouth Hexham Newcastle Central Tyne Dock
Beverley Hull Normanton West Hartlepool
Bridlington Leeds City Saltburn York
Darlington London King's Cross Scarborough
Durham Middlesbrough Selby
Goole Morpeth South Shields
There is a modern reproduction at Pickering which never had an original. Malton also reportedly had
one but it has not survived if so (and would be the 24th, one source reports there were 25 maps in
total, does anyone have any further information about this?). https://goo.gl/LbwLi7 There is of course
the solitary large L&YR tile map at Manchester Victoria, part of the war memorial, but that was
painted onto a white tile background rather than in the tile glaze. A website https://goo.gl/vXO4K0
about glazed tile railway maps. Finally, every home could have one http://goo.gl/3OxmHn and should!
1239 NORTH WEST
1560] Manchester Victoria: On 11 August as part of the Metrolink work for the new 'Second City
Crossing' route to St Peter's Square, trams to Shudehill were taking an unusual routing from the stop.
Leaving the southernmost platform, they crossed right over to the second city crossing route and
immediately back to the Shudehill track. In the opposite direction Shudehill to Victoria trams were
taking the direct route. It is not
known how long this unusual
arrangement would last. The red line
on the photo shows the route over
the two crossovers, looking south.
1561] St. Peter's Square: (BLN
1234.1069) Metrolink expect the line
to reopen through here on 28
August, as planned, as a single
bidirectional line whilst work
continues (presumably worked
similarly to when this happened at
Victoria with a 'section staff'). The
new stop is due to open in autumn
1562] Lancashire: 'Community Rail Lancashire' publishes a booklet of walks from local stations. They
all start and finish near a station, include maps and some are linear between stations. The leaflet can
be obtained from local stations or http://goo.gl/zeB28u is the online version.
1563] Blackpool North: Alliance Rail, a subsidiary of DBS owned Arriva, has secured ORR backing to
operate 'open access' off-peak London services. The company failed in two previous attempts to run
WCML services, but succeeded after reducing plans to run three trains every two hours and dropping
proposed trans-Pennine services. Instead, Alliance will run one train every two hours in each direction
from 2018 using short tilting high-speed Pendolino trains branded 'Great North Western Railway'.
1564] Leyland: Work recently started on a £4.5M station upgrade for completion in summer 2016.
There will be three new passenger lifts, a new footbridge, three new staircases and an access ramp.
1565] Leigh: (BLN 1195.1468) In early August the guided busway (under construction on the trackbed
of the LNWR line between Leigh and Ellenbrook) was busy with men and machines along the whole
route. The formation is now undulating as all road crossings are now on the level. Concrete 'rails' are in
position for much of the route east of Tyldesley, and the station sites in Ellenbrook and Tyldesley
Astley Street can be identified. There is no public access, and several footpaths are temporarily closed,
but construction can be viewed from road crossings, although the cinder track Millers Lane seems to
be the only open crossing between Tyldesley and Leigh. Completion is due in spring 2016.
1566] Stockport - Stalybridge. On Friday 7 August the weekly train consisted of 'Sprinter' 150215 and
'Pacers' 142014/27. About 12 passengers boarded at Stockport and one at Reddish South. Most were
enthusiasts, but at least one was a 'normal' passenger using this train as part of a longer journey. It
was a few minutes late at Stalybridge, delayed by a goods train on the single track north of Heaton
1567] Carlisle, Waverley Viaduct: (BLN 1217.1390) (NY383565) This took the double track Waverley
Route over the River Eden on the northwest outskirts of Carlisle and closed as a railway with most of
[BLN 1239.1567 – cont.]
the Waverley Route from 6 January 1969. It has been proposed for reopening as a cycleway and
footpath but the main issue is the farmer at the north end who bought the trackbed. He steadfastly
refuses to allow public access to/from the end of the viaduct, nor is he willing to sell sufficient land. In
his defence, his farmland would become readily accessible to the local yobs who inhabit the Raffles
estate south of the viaduct. A few years ago, after vandals had largely destroyed the original parapets,
stout wooden fencing was erected to make it safe and, although access to the viaduct was not
encouraged, it was not prevented. The vandals quickly tore the fencing down and threw it into the
river, so steel fencing closing the viaduct was erected. The embankment northwards was removed as
part of a flood alleviation scheme following severe flooding in Carlisle in 2005.
1239 SOUTH EAST – NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
1568] Unusual LUL Moves: At Debden the loop (siding 22) has one booked working from siding 21 at
Woodford and entering passenger service as the 05.33 Debden to Epping. On our member's early visit
to Woodford it did make this move though it appeared that the signalman had first intended to 'edit
out' the move but changed his mind, so the train duly ran via the loop! Our correspondent spoke to
the driver as he got off at Theydon Bois to pass on appreciation that the route was taken as booked.
At Loughton the west end facing crossover and east end trailing crossover are booked to be traversed
by the 05.33 from White City. It weaves via P2 as a rusty rail working mainly for the benefit of the
country end points and it can be reported this happened. It is reported and indeed later our
correspondent was told this move happens with daily regularity although it has no other traffic.
1569] Theydon Bois: Your Sub-Editor recently visited and the Great Eastern Railway '1865 large
station'. The buildings remain intact on the eastbound platform, albeit with three of the four sides of
the station master's house rendered, obliterating the raised quoins and string courses and spoiling an
otherwise excellent example. In this instance it is understood the tenant had the work done before LU
could stop it and though the appearance is ruined forever, a number of GE 1865 houses are extant
elsewhere, some Grade II listed. Annoyingly, the on-train announcement for the station pronounces
the name as 'Theydon Boyce' rather than 'Boys', which is a usage the Sub-Ed has never previously
encountered (but is mentioned on Wikipedia). A claim to fame is that the village has no street lighting.
1570] Sundon Loop: (BLN 1238.1462) This 1m 6ch (useable length) new Up loop from Harlington Jn
(37m 00ch) just south of the station to Sundon Jn (35m 49ch) was commissioned and made available
from Sunday 9 August, with intermediate signals. Its main use is for southbound loaded stone trains.
1571] Brentwood: (BLN 1237.1365) A new date, 17 August, was given for commissioning of the
crossover, with a new LED signal with route indicator being brought into use, allowing movements
from the Down Electric P4 to the Up Electric in the Up direction.
1572] Oxford Parkway - Bicester: (1) Signalling: (BLN 1235.1165) Passenger opening on 26 October of
'East West Phase 1' will introduce new assets and changes on connected lines. Features not previously
mentioned in BLN are a number of new two and three aspect signals and additional aspects on some
existing signals to shorten train headways between Princes Risborough and Bicester North. There are
also splitting distant signals on the approach to Bicester South Jn (8m 23ch) – amongst the 64 new
signals. Splitting distant signals have an advantage over flashing yellow signals; with a flashing yellow
aspect, the driver has to assume that the junction signal will be displaying a single yellow aspect,
slowing down more than the junction requires. This is on the basis that the signal after the junction
must be treated as still being at danger, whereas full aspect information is available with splitting
distant signals. This is particularly important at Bicester South Jn as the next signals after the junction
on the Up and Down Bicester South West Chord Lines are located on a 1:103 falling gradient, and
[BLN 1239.1572 – cont.]
protect Gavray Jn (19m 00ch). These signals have a high likelihood of being at danger due to the
presence of London Road level crossing just beyond the junction. The signal head which refers to the
main or highest speed route is always higher, so for left hand divergences as at Bicester South Jn, the
primary head is higher and the offset head to the left is in a lower position. The signalling does not give
the driver any indication whether the route set is to the Down or Up Bicester South West Chord line,
as both have the same permissible speed restriction, and both are reversibly signalled. Part of the new
chord is on a 1:33 gradient. All signals are controlled by the Marylebone Integrated Electronic Control
Centre (BLN 1237.1350). There are three-state (one being green) banner repeater signals at Islip.
Signals between Oxford Parkway and Gavray Jn (inclusive) are prefixed OB (Oxford/Bletchley), both
lines are reversibly signalled, and signals between Bicester South Jn (inclusive) and Princes Risborough
are prefixed ME (Marylebone). There are two locations on this route where the route designation
/direction changes: Gavray Jn (for trains routed to or from the Bicester South West Chord lines) and at
the 18½ mile post (near Jarvis Lane LC on the single line between Gavray Jn and Claydon L&NE Jn).
(2) Infrastructure: Bicester Central Ordnance Depot: improved access has been provided i.e. Bicester
Depot Goods Loop which is accessible from each end namely Bicester Depot East Jn (19m 63ch) and
Bicester Depot West Jn (20m 40ch) crossovers are available both ends. It has its own Bicester Depot
run-round Loop on the depot side of the line. Bicester Village station (19m 40ch) has offset staggered
platforms and a trailing crossover to its east (for Bicester COD access). P1 (Up, towards Oxford) is
240m and P2 (Down towards Bletchley) is 230m, taking 9 coach DOO trains. Islip station (25m 35ch)
with two 194m platforms (Up P1 and Down P2) takes 8 coach DOO trains, Water Eaton Jn (27m 39ch)
is the access, with a trailing crossover, for Banbury Road aggregate siding with its own run round on
the main line side of the layout. This terminal has been moved east to make way (on its former site) for
Oxford Parkway station (27m 50ch); Up P1 is 224m, Down P2 is 225m which take 9 coach DOO trains.
1573] Banbury: (BLN 1237.1369) From 25 July the previously unnumbered north bay between P1 and
P2 was designated P1B. It has not been used for passenger trains for many years, but was covered by
our 'Semaphore & Sidings Tracker' railtour of 2 August 2014. Further north, the Up Main to Up Goods
Loop points and OOU facing main to main crossover at 87m25ch (the latter not on TRACKmaps), which
is opposite the Down Goods Loop ground frame, have been named Reservoir Jn.
1574] c2c: On 27 July c2c published passenger projections for the timetable which starts in December
2015. These provide 1,400 extra seats and room for over 3,000 more passengers in the morning peak,
with gains for passengers at Basildon, Benfleet, Chafford Hundred and Ockendon. Connections are also
improved. Details of the new timetable, including how busy each train is likely to be in the morning
peak, are available on the c2c website. Equivalent figures for the current timetable have also been
published, which show that the new timetable provides 25% more stops with seats available for
passengers than today, and a 'reduction in the number of trains that are full' (sounds like coded
language to me; Sub-Ed). Operator c2c has also unveiled a new-look train interior, which is planned to
be introduced for 20% of the trains over the next six months. These trains, which will be focused on
the shortest journeys at peak times, each provide room for 150 more people onboard by creating
more space that can be used by standing passengers. The first passenger service for such a train was
the 07.41 from Pitsea to Fenchurch Street via Rainham on 27 July. This is part of a £12M upgrade
programme of all of c2c's trains, which will eventually see every train 'refreshed'.
1575] Radlett: (BLN 1230.646) On 3 July St. Albans Council decided not to further challenge the
decision of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to permit development of a
rail freight interchange here to proceed. The council's leader said that the Council had considered it to
be harmful to the Green Belt. (Modern Railways)
1239 SOUTH EAST ENGLAND – SOUTH
1576] Lewes: (BLN 1238.1472) To illustrate and amplify this item an extract (below) from an OS 6" to
the mile sheet surveyed 1872/73 and revised 1898. SB = Signal Box, SP = Signal Post. Lewes East Jn is
bottom right, further southeast but off the map is the still extant Southerham Jn where the Seaford
branch diverges from the main line to Polegate and Eastbourne. Bottom left is the line to Brighton.
From Lewes station the present line to Keymer Jn and Haywards Heath heads off northwest, firstly in
Lewes Tunnel then a cutting. Top middle is the now demolished line closed in 1969 to Uckfield, off
which until 1958 (at Culver Jn) diverged the line to East Grinstead via Sheffield Park (now the Bluebell
Railway). Railway Lane (where the buried siding has recently been unearthed) is the unnamed narrow
one running firstly south then southeast from the end on junction between School Hill (now High
Street!) and Cliffe High Street on the map. This is just east of the Uckfield line overbridge. The lane
follows and is west of the River Ouse, south of where the river passes under the road, finishing level
with the 'W' in 'Wharf' in the map below.
1577] Another Windsor Link? (BLN 1204.380) The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead has
started a formal, statutory consultation on the proposal to link the former Great Western and
Southern branches at Windsor together and provide a connection to Heathrow Airport to combine the
Western and Southern rail access to Heathrow. There is an online survey to let the council know
supporters' views - the support of the council is necessary for the scheme to go ahead. The recent
Davies Commission report recommendations on expanding aviation capacity seeks a southern rail
access to Heathrow as well as the western rail access already planned via Langley, but does not
envisage the solution proposed by the Windsor Link Railway, or even a western curve at Staines to
allow services from Woking and Guildford to reach Heathrow. See http://goo.gl/8TbX37 for a map etc.
1578] Strood: On 3 August all three platforms at Strood were extended at their London ends for 12 car
operation. P1, the Down North Kent, by 62m to 283m; P2, the Up North Kent, by 65m to 276m and P3,
the Up Loop Line by 64m to 286m. The curves on these platforms, including the extensions, are very
marked and would probably not be permitted on a new station nowadays.
1579] Rochester: (BLN 1244.78) When seen by your Sub-Editor on 12 August, platform construction at
the new Rochester station still had a long way to go. On the Down side supporting block walls and
longitudinal load bearing concrete beams were in place and surface preparation, below finishes, was in
progress. A large steel and glass shelter at the London end had been positioned for concreting in place
with the installation of platform surfacing. A separate steel canopy was in place and electrical services
installation on this was in progress. On the Up side progress was much less, limited to supporting
block walls and some of the longitudinal concrete beams.
1580] Thanet: At Margate our correspondent has visited the 1926-built, as he believes, SR goods
depot, which still exists. Road access is up its open ungated road access, in a yard which looks like the
UK's worst fly tipping site ever! The SR put in a new connection from the LC&DR station to the SER
Margate Sands branch, a short stretch of which, perhaps half a mile, was used for the goods depot and
headshunt. Beyond the goods depot some of the trackbed is built on, including a private road off the
parallel Tivoli Park Road, but beyond the housing a section of heavily wooded trackbed, including a
substantial yellow brick underbridge is explorable with care. All trace of Margate Sands SER station is
long gone and it is not obvious where the SER would have passed under the LC&DR, unless it is the
present All Saints Road underbridge. Ramsgate's (current) 1926 Southern Railway station is a long way
from the seafront. Walking to the latter along Station Road, which seems roughly to follow one of the
two SER lines converging on the site of Ramsgate Town SER station, all trace seems to have gone under
redevelopment. The name of a nearby pub is a giveaway: the South Eastern Tavern.
1581] Hamworthy: (BLN 1163.683) The Hamworthy Goods branch, over which the last stone train ran
on 1 June 2012, ending regular traffic, is being crossed by a new steel overbridge for pedestrian and
cycles from Hamworthy Park south of the line to the Harbour Reach development north of the line.
Construction (taking five months and
costing £780,000) has begun and it is
expected to open in December.
Left : A view of the Hamworthy branch
taken on 17 August looking east with
Hamworthy Park on the right. The bridge
will be close to the structure visible in the
distance in the centre of the picture.
1582] Ryde - Shanklin: (BLN 1238.1469) As
well as requiring major expenditure and
new (or at least less old!) rolling stock, the
'Island Line' passenger service between
Ryde Pier Head and Shanklin is reportedly
losing £3M per year. Apparently it was a significant factor in the failure of the SWT franchise extension
talks (BLN 1238.1473). The IOW Council have commissioned a study by transport consultants into its
future. The Council says it does not have the money to finance the proposed transport task force, so
has ordered a study by Atkins Global Consulting costing up to £20k. This will look into the costs,
benefits and risks of the different approaches to the future provision of rail services on the 8½ mile
route. Government cash to pay for the proposed task force has not been forthcoming, according to the
[BLN 1239.1582 – cont.]
authority. Council officers travelled to Whitehall to meet with DfT officials*. The Atkins report is
expected to be completed by the end of August for the government to see before its spending review
deadline of 4 September. Council leader, Jonathan Bacon, said: 'In an era governed by the national
austerity agenda, we must consider the possibility the government could omit Island Line from the
South West franchise altogether in order to secure greater financial benefit from the wider franchise.
The council must be in the best position to influence the DfT's deliberations on the subject from an
informed point of view. We must be clear about the potential for maintaining and improving Island Line
as part of the franchise, while setting it against the serious risks arising from it being left out.' Wise
man. Atkins have been used by the Council before, overseeing management of the PFI contract. (Isle of
Wight County Press) *STOP PRESS: Global Rail News recently reports that theafter a very positive
meeting with the DfT the IOW Council has now received assurances that the Island Line will be
included in the future SWT franchise which is due to be tendered in Spring 2017.
1583] Kempton Park: On 10 August the trailing crossover at about 16m 26ch between the Down and
Up Shepperton lines on the Hampton side of Kempton Park station was plain lined.
1239 SOUTH WEST ENGLAND
1584] Tavistock (North): The former Southern Railway station (CP/CA from 6 May 1968) is on the
market http://goo.gl/L5zvtY for £550k. The 1890 Grade II listed building has been converted from the
former Porters' Office and Ticket Hall to create two 'beautifully presented feature-packed cottages'
used as 'luxurious' holiday-lets. The station, awarded 'Best Restored Station' by the National Railway
Heritage Association in 2011 is a site of special historic and architectural interest. It was acquired by
the current owners in 2007 in a semi-derelict state. Just one question, when is the next train?
1585] Bristol Parkway: Posters at the station and on FGW's website advertise that from 7 September
the station lifts were scheduled to be under repair for 12 weeks. Passengers unable to use the stairs
are warned there is no access in the absence of a 'Barrow crossing' or equivalent. They are advised to
go via Temple Meads instead, with extra journey time. Charter passengers face either driving to/from
the previous or subsequent station. More significantly, if the charter leaves Parkway before services
from other stations arrive, and/or returns after last services depart, there is no access, which they may
not appreciate when booking. Charter operators are hopefully aware of this and the needs of all their
passengers and therefore will need arrange road transport. PS: FGW's website was updated on 5
August stating that Parkway's lifts are already out of order 'until further notice'.
1586] Cheltenham Spa: On 6 August due to a track fault, some Up (Northbound) services ran through
the Alstone Loop. They paused briefly in it then continued. NR staff were in attendance at the north
end exit points. The 18.46 Cardiff to Nottingham and 18.37 Bristol to Worcester trains used the loop.
1587] Portishead passenger service: (BLN 1233.990) NR has appointed Arup to provide outline project
design including enhancements at Bathampton and Avonmouth, track, drainage, structures, points
heating, signalling power, telecommunications, OLE, environmental consulting, civil, mechanical,
electrical and geotechnical engineering. The project is subject to a Development Consent Order, a type
of planning permission for major infrastructure projects. Passenger trains should be running in 2019.
1239 WEST MIDLANDS
1588] Baddesley: There has been development activity on the 60 acre former colliery site (mining
ceased in February 1989 and the branch was lifted by August 1995). A planning application has been
made to Warwickshire Borough Council for a new Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Distribution Depot. There
are three points that JLR have made. Firstly, no immediate rail use is intended but there is a safeguard
for future railway use of the track bed. 120 HGVs per week are mentioned in the planning document
[BLN 1239.1588 – cont.]
and JLR would like 80 more. Thirdly, JLR wish to operate 24/7 deliveries. The former branch from the
colliery site to Hall End Jn is clear and free of obstruction with all bridges and a viaduct still in situ.
1589] Cross City Line: It has been noticeable recently that Revenue Protection activities on the line
within the Centro area (Longbridge to Blake Street) have increased. Your Sub Editor recently had his
annual season ticket checked after boarding at Sutton Coldfield, an event that he cannot remember
happening before on this section of line. (Ironically he was travelling on it because his intended Cross
Country service from Wilnecote had been cancelled.) Ticket checks have also increased beyond Blake
Street, possibly due to the forthcoming rebidding for the LM Franchise.
1590] Great Malvern: The LM-managed station has been awarded a certificate of excellence by Trip
Advisor based on positive customer comments. This follows the recent awarding of Grade II listed
status to its covered pedestrian walkway (known as 'The Worm' due to its appearance, it also looks as
though it burrows into the ground) and the accompanying Goods Tunnel. The tunnels, dating from
about 1863 and thought to have been designed by EW Elmslie, form firstly a sharply curving
pedestrian approach from the Down platform and secondly a straight single track previous goods
siding entrance to the basement of the former Great Malvern Imperial (railway) Hotel (now Malvern
St. James' Girls School). The former goods tunnel still has ancient and disintegrating bullhead rail laid
on wooden ballasted sleepers, and even an overgrown and more incredible a buried wagon turntable
in situ outside its entrance. This used to be set in a private siding alongside the Down line. (These
features and The Worm were seen on the Society's first ever visit to a girls boarding school during our
'Three Counties Visits' of 24
September 2012.) The goods
tunnel entrance door is clearly
visible, following recent
devegetation just before Great
Malvern station (on the left)
arriving from Malvern Link.
Deliveries of coke (as in boiler
fuel) and saline from Droitwich
Spa were made by rail, the tunnel
worked by a capstan and cable
moving one wagon at a time
on/off the wagon turntable.
There was a private siding
agreement. Most goods traffic
was handled at Malvern Link
station goods yards. Picture : the former Great Malvern Imperial Hotel, now Malvern St. James' Girls
School (Photo © Philip Halling, licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike
2.0 Generic licence.)
The tunnels were listed for the following principal reasons: Intact survival, both the tunnel and
walkway have undergone few changes and retain a high degree of their original appearance and
structure. Group value, the walkway and tunnel form an inter-connected grouping of transport and
hotel buildings which include Malvern St James' Girls School (Grade II), the Railway Bridge to Great
Malvern Station (Grade II) and Great Malvern Station (Grade II). Social interest, both the tunnel and
walkway give a clear indication of the functioning of a luxurious spa hotel in the mid-19th century.
Disability interest, the gently-sloping walkway is an early example of a structure which was specifically
designed to help the infirmed and those in need of assistance accessing a building. Rarity, the
walkway, with its arched roof of corrugated iron and decorative window frames and cresting of cast
metal is a rare survival of a mid-19th century building; the metal roof has a unique corrugation pitch.
[BLN 1239.1590 – cont.]
The Worcester and Hereford Railway Act was passed in 1853 and led to a series of buildings at Great
Malvern connected with the railway. The station opened in 1860, as was the Imperial Hotel, a spa
hotel, built to the east of the line and both were designed by EW Elmslie. The passenger tunnel was
referred to in a 'Private agreement' of July 1863 between the Hotel and the West Midland Railway
Company. However, this would appear to have been drawn up after the walkway was built, as an
article in the Worcester Chronicle of June 1862 and titled 'The Imperial Hotel, Great Malvern' states
'On alighting from the railway carriage at the station the intending visitor will be directed to a covered
way leading from the platform to the hotel. Unpleasant exposure to wind, rain, or other inclemency of
weather will thus be prevented.' The structure appears from early photographs to have been originally
painted in the livery of the West Midland Railway Company. Title passed when the hotel became a
girls' school in 1919. The tunnel was blocked in the 1930s with a wall of cinder blocks at its northeast
end to prevent boys entering, it is said! The separate goods tunnel and entrance to the north appear
to have been built at the same time as the pedestrian tunnel. Although the agreement to build the
tunnel dates from 1863, it is apparent from the construction of the road bridge and the basement level
of the hotel, that a form of direct entrance from the station to the hotel was planned from the start.
1591] Henwick: Railfuture reports that the installation of the 'Henwick Road turn-back' will allow new
FGW IEP trains to avoid running to Great Malvern (which thereby loses though London services!), and
return east from Worcester. This frees up paths for LM to offer additional through trains to Great
Malvern. Work on the turnback is planned to start this year for completion late 2016. The 'Up Refuge
Siding' at 121m 72ch served such a purpose for some years before starting signals were installed at
Foregate Street station enabling terminating services to turn round in the platforms. It is long enough
to take an HST but has not been used recently and presumably will be refurbished.
1592] Iarnród Éireann success: According to the 2014 annual report, an additional 1 million passenger
journeys were made (19,000 per week), an overall increase of 3.0% over 2013 to 37.8M and the first
increase since the economic crisis began. (This is well short of the 47M achieved in 2007). DART annual
passenger growth has more recently been running around 6% (BLN 1237.1387) and freight is picking
up well. Some 4,135 IÉ passenger trains run each week, carrying an average of 173 passengers each. It
is noticeable from posters displayed at stations that reliability is often 100%, a train cancellation is a
rare event, and punctuality is generally over 90% despite the mostly single track lines. The Tralee line
recorded 7% growth to 571,000 journeys, Galway 6% to 1.55M whilst Cork to Cobh grew by 17% to
745,000, helped by the Irish Open Golf Championship at Fota Island and over 50 cruise ships calling at
Cobh. The most growth was 75% from 29,000 to 50,000 journeys on the 'Western Corridor' Limerick to
Galway route due to increased advertising and online booking with promotional fares. However this is
still only 137 passengers daily, an average of less than 10 per train. A staggering statistic is that the
Ballybrophy to Limerick via Nenagh, Western Corridor, and Limerick Junction to Waterford lines
combined cost €15M per year to provide and carry 100,000 passengers in total; an average of €150
(£106) for every passenger journey. They are very interesting and scenic lines, so readers are advised
to go and get their money's worth while they still can! For comparison DART carries more than 44,000
passengers daily. Despite this, the overall IÉ 2014 deficit reduced to €2.2M (€16.4M in 2013) on total
revenue of €218.0M; up 11.7% on the previous year. Government subsidy 7.6% less at €117.4M on the
year before. Prior to closure from 18 September 2010, the Rosslare Strand to Waterford line with one
passenger train each way SuX had been covering just 1% of its costs.
1593] Dublin Connolly (P7) - Newcomen Jn - Glasnevin Jn: Unusually on 16 (and booked for 23)
August the 17.05 to Sligo was diverted this way as Drumcondra station was due to be occupied then by
a local train awaiting passengers after the All-Ireland Hurling Semi-Final that afternoon.
1594] Manulla Junction: (BLN 1216.1340) the 'new' (2007) connection onto the Ballina branch was the
highlight of the recent very successful and enjoyable loco-hauled IRRS/RPSI railtour on 28 July with a
good number of Society members on board. That railtour achieved the unusual feat of passing Manulla
Junction (a true exchange platform where passengers cannot book tickets from or to, start or finish
journeys) four times non-stop within a few hours. All regularly timetabled trains between Dublin and
Westport stop to make connections to and from Ballina in both directions, possibly giving that branch
its best ever service. On the return to Dublin, the railtour managed to traverse different sides of loops
at a number of locations compared with the outward journey and in particular unusually run through
P2 at Claremorris. On Saturday 8 August, at very short notice, IÉ unusually ran an 11.25 Ballina to
Dublin through extra train which returned at 21.10 for the last GAA Football All Ireland Senior
Championship Quarter Final at Croke Park. There were also additional trains from Westport (two
returning) and Sligo as well as on the Maynooth and Longford commuter services.
1595] Ballybrophy: On 16 August for the All Ireland hurling semi-final at Croke Park, a potential extra
train formed of a 3-car intercity railcar was scheduled from Birdhill at 09.10 to Heuston returning at
19.40 to Limerick (ECS after Birdhill). The run in both directions was 'if required' (i.e. according to the
previous hurling match results!). The bay P3 run round loop has been removed and the platform track
has been shortened slightly, but the now single track will take a good length of train. A multiple unit
can run into the bay from the Nenagh Line to reverse then out to Dublin, and this can be done in that
direction quite easily. The through shunt from Dublin to the Nenagh line, since the junction was
changed, is believed exceptionally unusual but permitted by the layout, a triple reversal being required
(including one of the Down to Up crossovers) with 20 minutes being allowed on this occasion.
1596] Kilkenny: Between 17 August and 6 September points at the end of P1 and P2 at the station and
those giving access to the Sundries Sidings were to be renewed. During this period routes were to be
secured and train movements to involve passing signals at danger.
1597] Fraudulent travel: From January to June this year on Iarnród Éireann 5,269 persons travelling
with no ticket or an incorrect ticket were fined €100 or more, the greatest fine being €900. Also 350
misused travel passes were confiscated and there were 266 convictions and fines in the courts.
1598] Galway: The turnout connecting the bay platform to the main line at Galway was to be renewed
on 9 August and relocated 6m closer to Galway. The associated signals that control movements from
the bay were to have been moved 9m closer to Dublin on 6 August. This results in a longer berth and a
shorter transit over the turnout saving seconds (Sub-Ed).
1239 ISLE OF MAN
1599] Ramsey: (BLN 1193.1295) The August issue of Manx tails had a short article about the pier, and
reports that a new rescue package is being put together which may take the historic structure out of
government control. The Queen's Pier Restoration Trust https://goo.gl/Q3CSHp is to lease the pier
with a pledge to put together a realistic and credible restoration programme. Ideas under
consideration include the re-establishment of a railway from the pier entrance to the end of the
structure, maybe flywheel based. Parts of the old railway still exist with some rails on the structure
itself and rolling stock in the transport museum at Jurby. There have been a number of attempts over
the last 15 years to kick start a re-building of the pier but unfortunately each time they have failed. It is
to be hoped that this time the outcome will be different.
1600] Laxey. (BLN 1237.1389) The driver of the (ECS) tram and trailer on 7 July when the trailer
derailed on Laxey north crossover and overturned has now resigned. No other information is available.
1601] Mossend: (BLN 1220.1644): Scottish government ministers have approved, in principle, a
proposal by the logistics firm PD Stirling for the creation of Mossend International Railfreight Park This
had been refused last year by North Lanarkshire Council on account of local residents' objections (BBC
NEWS/Railscot 4 August); North Lanarkshire is considering its position. P.D. Stirling has had a rail
presence at Mossend since the 1970s at least.
1602] Wemyss Bay: (BLN 1234.1108) The blockage of P1 has been extended until 28 March (No284
points are clamped). Due to train dispatch sighting, P2 remains OOU beyond a temporary buffer stop
at 9 miles 1,706yd, with trains stopping at the three/four car stop board. Our local member reports
that scaffolding is being removed from the trackless platforms, used (in part) for car parking. Work on
the canopy appears complete. Scaffolding has recently been erected over the concourse. Among the
reasons for work taking longer than planned is that lead-based paint was discovered. It had been
thought that had all been removed during the 1993/94 renovation. The Caledonian Maritime Assets
Ltd. work on the pier building appears almost complete, but that on the pier structure and ramp,
including installation of the new Chinese fenders, is not scheduled to start until October.
1603] Royal railtour: Due to a points failure at Cowlairs East Jn, the punctual 13.51 Edinburgh to Spean
Bridge 'Royal Scotsman' on Friday 7 August was diverted via Cowlairs West and Sighthill West Jns. It
then took the City Union line and Queen Street Low Level line reappearing just 17 minutes late on its
booked route at Westerton. Although 40 minutes late from Craigendoran Jn, good all-round railway
operating had the Class 47-hauled train on time from Rannoch.
1604] Anniesland: (BLN 1238.1494) With regard to it being the Up line and branch infrastructure
principally affected by the ongoing engineering work here; Realtime Trains for Sundays 25 October and
1 November shows only a bus service for Anniesland, and no indication of any use of the Down line.
1605] Borders Railway: (BLN 1238.1498) Her Majesty the Queen, who has covered quite a bit of rare
track in her time, is to perform the official opening of the line on Wednesday 9 September (a date not
included in ScotRail's website steam offering for the line!), accompanied by the First Minister Nicola
Sturgeon. This is also the day The Queen becomes our longest reigning monarch exceeding Queen
Victoria's reign, so the new railway is sure to make the news headlines. She is then due to travel on the
(10.52?) steam working from Edinburgh behind 60009 'Union of South Africa'. We wonder if she is
aware of the alteration and disruption the special train will cause to timetabled services. Perhaps the
Royal Party will encounter the 'ambassadors' being recruited by Scottish Borders Council to welcome
passengers at the stations in their area: Stow, Galashiels and Tweedbank. They will have a good
knowledge of local tourist attractions and onward travel in the region, and are to provide information
and advice from the railway's opening weekend in September until November.
1606] Fife: Riding on the euphoric wave of recent rail re-openings, both the 'LevenMouth Rail
Campaign' and 'STARlink' (BLNs 1233.1004 & 1213.1130) are pushing for the political will to rejoin
Leven and St. Andrews to the rail network (Herald/Railscot 10 August). St. Andrews closed on the same
day as the Waverley Route, 6 January 1969, whilst Leven lasted until 4 October 1969.
1607] Highland disgruntlement (1) Oban: A member forwarded an article from the Oban Times of 2
July recording the ire of local folk unable to purchase a Highland concession card rate for the 08.57 SuX
(not a problem SO) to Glasgow, as it is classified by Abellio as a peak service (i.e. pre-09.00). Neither
can they overcome this by purchasing an ordinary ticket to Connel, as the Strathclyde Concessionary
Travel Scheme Joint Committee (thankfully abbreviated SPT and, yes, they do come this far north)
conditions 'do not allow the purchase of a combination of tickets to complete a journey'. However, an
[BLN 1239.1607 – cont.]
SPT spokeswoman states that one ticket should be purchased and charged a half price fare.
(2) Newtonmore: A member is in receipt of an article from a recent Strathspey Herald, forwarded from
a former neighbour in Kincraig. This relates to the not-isolated failure of the 19.44 SuX Edinburgh to
Inverness to make its booked call at Newtonmore if it runs with 6 cars due to the limited platform
length. This omission is known to have been announced at Waverley, but people have been seen on
the platform at the shinty stronghold as it runs through (ScotRail does not have CCTV there and cannot
'see' if anyone is waiting). Comparison is made with other stations such as Beauly, reopened for single-
door operation. The Up Sunday King's Cross HST does call at Newtonmore (presumably it's all about
Selective Door Opening?). Ironically, the extant but trackless former Up platform would be long
enough. Another source of ScotRail-wide disgruntlement is visible in the article's accompanying
photograph of 170472; one of the 170s without First Class regularly used on 'Intercity' services!
1608] Lochailort: A local member reports suspension of traffic on the Mallaig Extension due to a track
washout here on 10 August. The 14.40 'Jacobite' from Fort William terminated at Glenfinnan and the
14.24 Crianlarich to Mallaig terminated at the Fort. On Tuesday the morning Jacobite was cancelled,
and the afternoon run diverted to Crianlarich (18.15 return). Normal service resumed next day .
1609] Barmouth Bridge: Gwynedd Council currently pays NR £30,800 per year to permit free use of
the bridge as part of the popular Wales Coastal Path and National Cycle Network. Despite the nearest
alternative crossing involving a detour of 18 miles (or a 1m 50ch train journey between Barmouth and
Morfa Mawddach!), financial pressures mean that the Council is now considering withdrawing the
subsidy, prompting petitions https://goo.gl/0TnbG9 and protests. [In the 1970s there was a toll paid at
the Barmouth end of the bridge; as a penniless student your Editor recalls having a 'freebie' over the
bridge by walking up to the toll booth gate from the Fairbourne side, turning round and walking back.]
Barmouth Bridge. The toll booth, closed 2013, The toll charges were still on display on 12 August
is the smaller building in the centre. 2015. (Both photos Dave Cromarty)
1610] Machynlleth: Work is in progress to upgrade the footbridge for disability lift access to P2.
Trains in both directions are meantime mostly using Down P1, although this is not always the case: the
17.55 arrival from Pwllheli uses P2, before turning into an unadvertised 18.00 to Aberystwyth, which
carries passengers and then forms the 18.30 to Shrewsbury. There were about a dozen passengers on
this 'ghost' train on 5 August, enjoying the unusual experience of passing non-stop through Borth; an
intending passenger from the coast for Borth was advised to stay on board and alight on the return.
1611] Caerphilly: It is no longer a signalled move for an Up train to reverse in Down P2; such
manoeuvres must now all normally use bay P1 (i.e. all terminating trains from the Cardiff direction).
1612] Virgin Trains: Although rather outside its operational area, Virgin Trains is helping to sponsor a
major music festival weekend, 'Festival No6', taking place at Portmeirion. Festival-goers can receive a
25% discount on Advance Purchase tickets to Bangor, and the 'Festival No6 Train' is to operate three
additional services from Crewe on each of 3 and 4 September, and three back on 7 September,
featuring 'entertainment, cocktails and a few special touches'!
1613] Ebbw Vale: (BLN 1238.1506) Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council has confirmed that the
limited operating hours of the 'Ebbw Vale Cableway' (official title per notices at the top and bottom
station) reflect the need to ensure someone is 'on call' to
rescue anyone trapped by a breakdown. Opening hours follow
those of the nearby educational establishment. Recently
inspected by member No13, it runs from Diamond Jubilee
Square a few hundred yards northwest of the Town station to
the (unnamed) Newport to Merthyr A4046 road, close to the
main street. With it being unstaffed, a member wonders if
someone has to open and close it each day or if this can be
done remotely? Quite a few members have now ridden, one
reported that local children treat it as a toy riding up and down
for fun (perhaps BLS membership applications should be
available?). However, they push the emergency stop button
and run off, so it is hardly surprising it is out of use so much.
The journey is much shorter than the manufacturer's '3
minutes' and their claim of 18-25 passengers fitting in seems
excessive, perhaps a dozen standing in comfort. The alternative
walk to the town centre is long and via a steep hill.
Picture: the opening hours of the Ebbw Vale Cableway.
Further down the branch, work on the track re-doubling continues, with trackbed clearance, ballast
spreading, sleeper dropping and spacing, clipping of rails and, then, in some places, burying the lot in
ballast. The single track at the Ebbw Vale end is about 13 minutes running time in either direction; so a
30-minute interval service will lead to passing of trains very near the north end of the loop. [Two
platforms are then plnned for Ebbw Vale -Ed]. With the next passing opportunity some 15 minutes
away in the Park Jn direction, this does not give optimism for a high degree of reliability.
1614] Heart of (Central) Wales Line: Amending BLN1238.1505, the term CTC refers to Centralised
Traffic Control, (a system originating from North America) rather than Train Control. It is believed that
this would probably have been based at Llandovery, where there was a Control Office which was
thought to have been an outstation of the Swansea District Traffic Superintendent.
1239 MINOR RAILWAYS (27th EDITION) 2015 SUPPLEMENT No2 - ©Peter Scott 2015
MR126] NEW ENTRIES p9 NORTHERN ENGLAND
Yorkshire Wolds Railway, Fimber, East Riding of Yorkshire 0.04 NER (SE911608) 01377 338053
(New line opened 24/05/15)
p21 NORTH YORKSHIRE National Railway Museum Miniature Railway, York
7¼" C 790yd (SE593519) 0844 815 3139 (New line opened 22/07/15)
p22 SHROPSHIRE Canal Central Miniature Railway, Maesbury Marsh, Oswestry 7¼" O 400yd
(SJ309249) 01691 652168 (New line opened 23/05/15 on trackbed of former 10¼" gauge line)
[BLN 1239.MR126 – cont.]
p7 Snibston Colliery Railway Delete entry (Museum closed 31/07/15, last booked running 30/07/15)
p9 Wensleydale Railway Amend to: 01677 425805
p14 Safari Railway (Now known as South Lakes Railway). Amend layout to: B. Amend length to: 400yd
(Extension fully opened 07/07/15)
p19 Knees Woodland Miniature Railway Amend layout to: B. Amend length to: 220yd
(Extension open by 06/15)
p24 Electric Railway Museum Miniature Railway Amend layout to: B. Amend length to: 150yd
(Extension opened 11/04/15)
p26 Woodland Railway Delete '' (Reopened on regular basis to day visitors 03/05/14)
p26 Peatlands Park Railway Delete entry (Line out of use, last ran 29/09/13)
p27 Cavan & Leitrim Railway Delete entry (Line out of use, last ran 08/14)
p28 Wester Pickston Railway Amend length to: 900yd (Extension opened 05/04/15)
P29 Teifi Valley Miniature Railway Amend length to: 300yd (Extension opened spring 2015)
[Previous stated length should have been 250yd]
p32 Southport Pier Tramway Delete entry (Line out of use, last ran 25/05/15)
AMENDMENTS to SUPPLEMENT No1
Telford Steam Railway should read "(Extension to Lawley Village opened....)"
Telford Steam Tram extension opening date should read 4 April 2015
MR127] Helston Railway, Cornwall (MR p6) (BLN 1235.MR80): Cornwall Council has (yet again)
refused planning permission for development at Prospidnick (photo below, by Robert Green) with a
permanent station. This was despite the railway making a number of amendments to the proposals
including moving the station further north and restricting the number of operating days. The railway
plan to appeal again.
MR128] Somerset & Dorset Railway Heritage Trust, Somerset (MR p6) (BLN 1164.MR107): Contrary to
their 2015 leaflet, there have been no trains running this year at Midsomer Norton and there will not
be during the remainder of the year. They still have the same problems as when our correspondent
visited in August 2013: legal, administrative and an apparent internal dispute. They hope to be
operational again in 2016. (We had an 'extended' trip for our Bristol AGM on 16 October 2011.)
MR129] Swindon & Cricklade Railway, Wiltshire (MR p6) (BLN 1221.1662): A Member visited this line
on the morning of Saturday 18 July. One train was running, apparently without an official timetable,
although preparations were being made to cater for a wedding party in the afternoon. The train ran
between Hayes Knoll and Taw Valley Halt, also calling at Blunsdon. North of Hayes Knoll the track was
occupied by stored stock. Our member asks two questions: (1) Public trains used to continue north of
Hayes Knoll as far as South Meadow Lane, evidently as part of the normal service. When did these
journeys cease? (2) BLN1220.MR187 records that Taw Valley Halt 'opened' Easter 2014 but at 17
October 2014 there was still no public access to it. (Access was granted from 9 March 2015, see Head
Lines.) [MR Ed: The answer to question one is seemingly they have not ceased. Another member who
visited comments: 'the northern end still goes no further than South Meadow Lane, non-landing'.]
MR130] Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, Derbyshire (MR p8): In 2015 the Ravenstor branch 1:27 incline
is now operated by the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway Association, as a separate service with a separate
fare. It is steam worked, in contrast with the main EVR service, which normally uses heritage DMUs.
However, the Ravenstor service this year is reduced to Bank Holidays, weekends in July, August and
September and during Santa Specials (the first three weekends plus WO 9, 16 & 23 December). It also
operates on 'special events' other than diesel galas http://goo.gl/X51cak 01629 823076. Of note, an
adult day return is available from Derby to Wirksworth for £12.50 (or vice versa, no railcard discounts).
The trains will come up on the National Rail Enquiries website but not the fares (but they do on EMT's
website). Connections are good at Duffield, typically 16 minutes with a journey time of 56 minutes.
MR131] Ribble Steam Railway, Lancashire (MR p8): Running over part of the former Preston Dock
system, this railway boasts a number of unusual features. Passenger trains start and terminate at
Preston Riverside station, adjacent to three large modern buildings containing the Running
Shed/Workshop and Museum - the third is shared with the Furness Railway Trust. To the west the line
continues, providing access to the Running Shed/Workshop and Museum, and also serves the two
road Preston City Council locomotive shed at the far end of the line. This section does not appear to be
in regular use. In the other direction from the station the line comes down to single track just before a
siding diverges left. This serves the Total Bitumen depot, which receives a loaded train from Lindsey
Oil Refinery generally daily (SSuX), worked by mainline locomotives to the exchange sidings (see
below) and then by the railway's own diesels. After passing over Lockside Road level crossing, the
railway swings right and crosses the access channel to Preston Dock on its feature attraction; Ashton
Swing Bridge. This bridge, on which rail and road (Navigation Way) share the deck, is controlled by
Preston City Council from their adjacent Riversway Control Centre. The bridge and adjacent Maritime
Way level crossing are protected by flashing road lights and barriers. Sand Drags either side of the
bridge protect the railway. Running straight now, the line reaches Odeon Sidings; the exchange sidings
mentioned above. These are formed by two parallel loops on the south side of the running line. Just
before Strand Road level crossing, a short spur used by terminating Ribble Steam Railway trains
diverges right. Immediately on the other side of the level crossing is the boundary with NR. Their line
continues up a steep incline through Fishergate Tunnel to Preston South Jn to join the WCML Goods.
On Saturday 4 July motive power was supplied by a blue 0-6-0ST without name or number, but
identified by its works plate as HL3931 of 1938. Stock was three BR MKI coaches. The 16.00 from
Preston Riverside was sparsely filled and ran without incident to Odeon Sidings. Here the locomotive
[BLN 1239.MR131 – cont.]
ran-round using the furthest south line. It then propelled the train towards Strand Road level crossing
and into the short spur there. The locomotive then hauled the train back to the station. The adult
return fare was £6. The short ground level 7¼" gauge line inside the Museum shed (laid on a concrete
walkway between two roads) was noted to be virtually all lifted, with the panels split and moved to
one side. This was due to 'damage to the track' according to a notice. We have an 'all available lines'
visit to this interesting and unusual railway on Saturday 24 October (BLN 1238.1410).
MR132] Weardale Railway, County Durham (MR p9) (BLN 1210.858): The passenger service in 2015 is
similar to 2014's service; i.e. just Stanhope - Wolsingham, with the same operator as in 2014. But the
season is longer this year (Easter to 31 October, instead of 14 June to 12 October). Trains run SSuO
plus Bank Holiday Mondays, and Wednesdays and Thursdays during school holidays.
MR133] Wensleydale Railway, North Yorkshire (MR p9) (BLN 1221.1674): The recently reopened
portion of line between Leeming Bar and Northallerton West is running in 2015, on Wednesdays and
Saturdays only. This restriction might be caused by the need to staff level crossings en route and a
limited supply of volunteers. On Saturday 11 July, of the seven 'TMO' (Trainman Operated) crossings,
only one (Ainderby Gates) was un-staffed. The one-train service was being operated by 3-car hybrid
DMU W51400/59509/55032. The 10.36 Leyburn to Redmire then 11.00 to Northallerton West and
12.15 to Leyburn were sampled. These were fairly quiet, but busiest between Leyburn and Bedale. At
the latter, the station buildings are now open and there is a café. The DMU also had a small buffet
operational. 'BR Priv.' fares are available on this line; the full line day rover is £14 for those holders
(otherwise £18). Unusually 'day rovers' can be purchased for unlimited travel between any two named
stations (e.g. Finghall Lane to Leyburn for £8.50, concessions £6.50, singles £5 and £4). On 11 & 12 July
there were Aysgarth station 'Open Days'. Visitors were few on the Saturday afternoon, but a fair
number of people used the station to park for the falls; at £2 it was 50p cheaper than the nearby
National Park's car park! Site admission is free and the goods shed and signal box were open for
viewing. A short stretch of track has been laid behind the goods shed with a solitary Ruston diesel, out
MR134] North Yorkshire Moors Railway, North Yorkshire (MR p9): A visit on Monday 6 July 2015
found the railway short of steam power. The 11.00 from Pickering left from P1 with six almost full
coaches hauled by diesel 20142. This made a very noisy climb up to 'Newton Dale Halt' (as the
platform sign has it), where a sharp stop was required at this request station. No doubt the driver was
hoping he would not have to stop on the steep gradient! On departure it appeared to need all the class
20's power to get the train on the move and up to the line's summit! On arrival at Grosmont the train
terminated in P3, where 20142 ran-round and propelled the stock into the carriage sidings. Travel onto
Whitby was on the 12.00 ex Pickering (13.15 Grosmont) from P2 with 2-6-0 BR standard 76079 in
charge of seven packed coaches. This ran into P2 at Whitby as expected. Here the loco ran-round and
departed with the 14.00 to Pickering. Arrival at Grosmont was in P3. Here our reporter alighted to visit
the sheds. Return to Pickering was on the 15.40 from Grosmont with the same stock as used in the
morning - this time hauled by diesel 37264. Travelling in a compartment in the front coach was a very
loud, but enjoyable, experience as the class 37 made a full-blooded climb up to Goathland - mostly at 1
in 49. At Pickering, the train ran into P1, from where the locomotive propelled the stock back into a
siding north of the station. The only other operational locomotive running (not sampled) was class 25
D7628, which was employed between Grosmont and Whitby on trains not hauled by 76079. Better
than a diesel gala on some lines perhaps?
MR135] Blackpool Zoo Miniature Railway, Lancashire (MR p19) (BLN 884.MR209): This 15" gauge
railway opened in the grounds of the Zoo in July 1972. It originally featured two Severn-Lamb built Rio
[BLN 1239.MR135 – cont.]
Grande steam outline 2-8-0s and two sets of stock. Laid as an "E" layout, 720yd in length, the line was
given an American Western theme. One terminus, "Wells Fargo", was close to the then main Zoo
entrance. An intermediate station called "Injun Creek" was provided with a passing loop and the line
terminated at "Dodge City". For the most part it ran around some the Zoo perimeter. There were no
run-round loops at either end and trains were propelled in one direction. One of the locos and a set of
coaches later left to go to a new line at Fleetwood. During the winter of 2010/2011 the line was
shortened by around 220yd and Dodge City station was closed. A new terminus station was then
constructed - its platforms being on a new alignment.
A visit on Saturday 4 July 2015 found the railway in operation and very busy. Now un-named, the
former "Wells Fargo" has a run-round loop and turntable. There is also a short siding off the turntable
opposite the platform and this contained an out of use coach. The original station building survives.
The site of "Injun Creek" is marked by another similar station building, but the platform and passing
loop are long gone. The track here appears to have been realigned between the former running line
and loop. After passing over a gated level crossing (serving a peak season entrance), the old alignment
swings left across a pathway (the change in tarmac is still visible), while the current line runs direct into
the 2011 station, which is unnamed. Like the other terminus, this has a run-round loop and turntable.
It also possesses a short canopy and the train is probably stabled here when not in operation. The rest
of the former alignment to "Dodge City" is clear, but no trace remains. However, the site of the stop
block at the station is clearly marked by two rails mounted vertically in the ground. The station
building may survive here, but it is unclear, as it looks new, or perhaps reclad. In use was Rio Grande
steam outline 2-8-0DH (SL 7219 of 1972) in green livery, but without name or number, which ran-
round and was turned at each terminus. Passenger stock was three open bogie coaches also in a green
livery. Fares were £1 single and £1.50 return - for all. Tickets were a coloured titled thin card - issued
by the driver. Trains were running continuously, with a short delay apparently due to some animal or
bird on the loose although seemingly nothing was found! To gain access to the railway, Zoo admission
(adult £16.50) has to be paid. However, the former "Wells Fargo" station can be clearly seen from the
approach road; to check if the train is operational look for the "A" board outside the station.
MR136] Cavan & Leitrim Railway, County Leitrim (MR p27) (BLN 1082.MR19): Narrow Gauge News
No329 (July 2015) reports, from a visit on 22 April 2015, that this 3ft gauge railway no longer operates
passenger trains, having 'closed down in 2014 when public insurance costs could no longer justify
opening for regular public use'. The railway's own web site says passenger trains were withdrawn
(apparently sometime during August 2014; the news item was posted on 16 August) due to track
maintenance work. The site, by Dromod station (Sligo line), remains open as a static museum MSSuO.
1239 OTHERS' DOINGS:
A service to members; details must be checked with the organisers. Please mention the Branch Line Society when booking/enquiring. .
1615] Fifield Private Railway (REPORT): (BLN 1237.1404) A member kindly reports that the annual
village Fun Day did take place on 1 August, this being the only occasion the railway site is open to the
public. Peckett 0-4-0ST 1756 of 1928 'Ironside' did the honours; with two open seated wagons and a
brake van, giving rides round the standard gauge circuit (a 'teardrop' layout involving a reversal at the
sharp end). On view was Finland 4-6-2 No1016 (restoration well under way) and a Barclay 0-4-0 Diesel.
1616] Greenford Signal Box visit: (BLN 1238.1509) Wed 26 Aug, 19.00 contact [email protected]
1617] Settle & Carlisle 2016 calendar: Now available, a perfect Christmas present. Cover, 12 date
leaves and a backboard, A4 size with 13 colour pictures of steam and diesel trains in scenic locations.
£10.50 including P&P. Peter Shaw Photography, 33 Temple Rhydding Drive, Baildon, Shipley BD17 5PX.
1618] The Mini Tug, 2 Jan: Pathfinder Tours, Bristol Parkway, stations to Stourbridge Junction. Round
Oak, Worcester Up Through ('Goods') Line, Cowley branch, Hinksey Yard (rev) and DGL, Didcot West
Curve, Steventon DGL, Swindon DGL & Bath West DGL http://goo.gl/qB6qtF 01453- 835414/834477.
1619] Eurotunnel, European Heritage Open Days: An event was planned for Sunday 13 September
2015, with 90 minute guided coach tours of Eurotunnel's Folkestone terminal, unfortunately this has
now been cancelled. Contact [email protected] for advance notice of such future events
(the second weekend in September 2016 looks like a good bet). This is an informal contact list for
those interested in the Heritage open Days only (no other purpose). Since opening in 1994 some 350M
passengers, 70M vehicles (including 21M trucks) have used the 31.4 mile Channel Tunnel, the World's
longest sea tunnel. (Thankfully, the dreadful name 'Chunnel' did not catch on.)
1620] Thames Rover: Unlimited rail travel, London Paddington to Banbury, Moreton-in-Marsh,
Bedwyn, Basingstoke, Redhill and also the branches to Greenford, Windsor & Eaton Central, Marlow
and Henley-on-Thames. (Perfect for all the many new lines at Reading.) Available on FGW, Chiltern
(that would be the FO 23.58 Banbury to Oxford and 00.39 (SO) return weekly route refresher!),
Southern, SWT and XC services. After 09.30 (SSuX) or when Cheap Day Returns are valid, whichever is
earlier; all day weekends and Bank Holidays. Three consecutive days: Adult £46.10, Child £23.05,
Railcards (including Network Railcard) £30.40, Two Together after 09.30 Mondays to Fridays except
Bank Holidays (all day). Seven consecutive days: Adult £80.90, Child £40.45, Railcards (including
Network Railcard) £53.40, Two Together after 09.30 Mondays to Fridays except Bank Holidays (all
day). For comparison the Paddington to Bedwyn (or vice versa) off peak adult return without a railcard
is £27.90, Banbury is £29 and Moreton-in-Marsh £38.90 so this rover is very good value for money.
E-BLN 1238 Guess the location : the clues might well have helped!
This tunnel contained the unidirectional, sharply curved, single track,
Down 'Hotel Curve' at Kings Cross, on a steep rising gradient which
emerged at the Suburban station (P16) there which was opened by
the GNR on 1 October 1863. P16 was in use from 1 February 1878
until CP from 8 November 1976 as part of the initial electrification of
suburban services to Hertford North and Letchworth.
Distribution: Dave Monger, 6 Underhill Close, GODALMING, GU7 1NU. [email protected] 07592 585230.
Branch Line: Nick Garnham, [email protected] Subscribe: [email protected]
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General Secretary: Tim Wallis, 10 Sandringham Road, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. [email protected]
Chairman: John Williamson, 'La Marguerite', Croit-E-Quill Rd., LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7JD. [email protected]
SALES: Mark Gomm, 84 Mornington Road, STOKE-ON-TRENT, ST1 6EL. [email protected] 01782 769960 (daytime).
NEWS TEAM: Wales: Paul Jeffries, 54 Heol Erwin, CARDIFF, CF14 6QR. [email protected]
South East England, East Anglia & Ireland: Julian James, 58 Nelson Road, WORTHING, BN12 6EN. [email protected]
London: Geoff Brockett, 155 Onslow Gardens, South Woodford, LONDON, E18 1NA. [email protected]
Midlands & South West England: Brian Schindler, 15 Sudeley, Dosthill, TAMWORTH, B77 1JR. [email protected]
Northern England & Isle of Man: Graeme Jolley, 3 Laurel Cottages, Rencell Hill, LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7BJ. [email protected]
Scotland: Bob Watt, 18 Kilmailing Road, GLASGOW, G44 5UJ. [email protected]
Minor Railways (British Isles): Peter Scott, 93 Josephine Court, Southcote Rd, READING, RG30 2DQ. [email protected]
International: Paul Griffin, 7 School Bell Mews, Church Lane, Stoneleigh, COVENTRY, CV8 3ZZ. [email protected]
E-BLN (Distribution problems and for image submission etc): Dave Cromarty, [email protected]
Editor/Head Lines: Paul Stewart, 4 Clarence Close, MALVERN, WR14 3HX. [email protected] 01684 562862 or 07790652351.
Printed by Deva Enterprises, Waters Edge, The Drive, Ifold, LOXWOOD, West Sussex RH14 0TD, tel: 01403 752837, [email protected]
or [email protected] . Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Rd, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947