Number 1313 (Items 1931 - 2060 & MR 181 - MR 194) (E-BLN 76 PAGES in A4) 29 Sep 2018
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Respice in praeteritum, praesens et futurum
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society - founded 1955
WEBSITE ADDRESS: branchline.uk
Membership Enquiries, Alan Welsh [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from member7s2; 8a6n7i7nternational section is available.
Opinions herein are not necessaarivlyaitlahbolsee. of the Compilers or the Society.
BLN 1314 is dated Sat 13 OScotc;ieptlye.aSsoeciesetyn. d all contributions in by Wed 3 Oct.
To maintain the page size after the Landscape pages set to full screen viewing.
Date Event and details BLN Lead Status
Sat 29 Sep Llangollen railway Track & Traction event with PLEG 1312 B/O *FULL*
Sat 29 Sep 13.00 Coate Water Railway, North Wilts MES, Swindon 1307 B/O OPEN
Sun 30 Sep 10.00. 11.00, 12.00 & 13.00: Ribblesdale Cement Works 1312 B/O OPEN
Fri 12 Oct 10.15 Bangor, Anglesey Boxes - FULL & FULL WAITING LIST 1310 BC FULL
Thu 18 Oct 09.42 Derby New Track Tracker; FULL - APPLY WAITING LIST 1311 TG FULL
Sun 21 Oct 12.00 Andover Model Engineers all line style visit 1307 B/O OPEN
Fri 26 Oct 10.30 Kirklees Light Railway; FULL - APPLY WAITING LIST 1311 B/O APPLY
Fri 26 Oct 15.30 National Coal Mining Museum (England) Mine Train 1311 B/O OPEN
Fri 26 Oct West Yorkshire Service Train Tracker - NOTIFY INTEREST 1312 MH NOTIFY
Sat 27 Oct 09.00 Middleton Railway tour; FULL - APPLY WAITING LIST 1311 B/O APPLY
Sat 27 Oct 12.00-15.00 Annual General Meeting - please book online 1311 TW OPEN
Sat 27 Oct 15.00-16.00 Middleton Railway 'Behind the Scenes' tour 1311 B/O OPEN
Sat 27 Oct 16.30 Railway Film Presentation with Fish & Chip supper 1311 B/O OPEN
Sun 28 Oct 10.20 The Ruby Shoesday Merseyrail Charity Railtour 1311 B/O OPEN
Wed 31 Oct Chesterfield Roundabout, half term conducted railway walk 1311 NL OPEN
Sun 4 Nov 08.55 The Ruby Vampire; FULL WITH A FULL WAITING LIST 1312 B/O FULL
Sat 17 Nov 08.29 The Screaming Valentas charity HST tour with EMT BELOW B/O *OPEN*
Sun 25 Nov 09.30 Perth, for Highland Line Signal Box Visits Part 2 BELOW NJ *OPEN*
Sat 8 Dec Carnforth Charity Cracker FULL WITH A FULL WAITING LIST 1312 B/O *FULL*
Sat 5 Jan 09.30 Scunthorpe Steel Works Railtour No17, save the date TBA TBA Claimed
Sun 24 Feb Save the date for a railtour in the north of England TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 13 Apr Weston, Nantwich Methodist Church & Willaston Railways TBA TBA Claimed
16-19 May Island of Ireland IV (2019) - reserve the dates TBA TBA Claimed
B/O= Bookings Officer Jill Everitt, MH=Mark Haggas, NJ=Nick Jones, NL=Neil Lewis, TW=Tim Wallis, = book online.
1932] .The Ruby Vampire, Sun 4 Nov & .Carnforth Charity Cracker. Sat 8 Dec: For the record, and
contrary to other reports, any member booking on 'The Ruby Vampire' by 03.48 Fri 7 Sep via our
website was accommodated, they had six hours and not just 45 minutes mentioned elsewhere. The
Carnforth fixtures had places available for 30 hours until 15.13 Fri 14 Sep. https://goo.gl/WeH6b7 is
the link to sign up for emailed fixture alerts or follow BLS Facebook (now with over 1,000 followers).
1931] 2018 AGM Officer Reports and Draft Society 2017-18 Accounts: These are available with this
BLN as a supplement or with e-BLN as downloads from our website. In the interests of economy, extra
paper copies will not be available at the AGM - please bring them with you or on your portable device.
1933] .The Screaming Valentas. Sat 17 Nov 2018: A low-cost day out with a difference! We partner
with 125 Group and (EMT) to take a newly refurbished EMT (ex-Grand
Central) 6-coach HST set from Derby to the Great Central Railway (Nottingham) - GCR (N), via the
Loughborough South Jn connection. Traction is expected to be two EMT buffer fitted power cars to
Ruddington, where one will be replaced on GCR(N) by 125 Group's prototype power car, 41001.
Drinks and light refreshments will be on sale from the Buffet Car, including a choice of real ales.
The charter will raise funds for 125 Group in support of their recently launched HST Depot Appeal.
See www.125group.org.uk for details. 125 Group and BLS‡ sales stands will be provided, with
famous industrial designer Sir Kenneth Grange autographing souvenirs and memorabilia. As usual, a
charity raffle (with all the revenue going to 125 Group) will take place with some fantastic prizes on
offer. Timings and routing are provisional and have been submitted to Network Rail for validation:
Derby P6 (PU 08.29) - Chaddesden Sidings (NEW Carriage Road 1, 3 or 4 requested) (rev) - Pilot Line
(new layout) - Derby Service Platform (P7 - no booked passenger use) - Pilot Line - Loughborough
South Jn (rev) - Rushcliffe Up Platform - 50 Steps (rev) - Ruddington Fields P1. At GCR(N) various
unusual moves are planned including Ruddington Relief Road, Rushcliffe Up Loop in full, Rushcliffe
bay platform, 50 Steps Loop both sides and Rushcliffe Halt (ABOVE) main platforms. Return route:
Ruddington Fields P1 - 28 Points (rev) - Ruddington Fields P2 (rev) - 50 Steps (rev) - Loughborough
South Jn - Leicester Up & Dn Slow - Knighton Jn (rev) - Leicester P1 (SD TBA) - Up & Dn Goods
(Humberstone Rd) - Toton High Level Goods - Ilkeston Jn (rev) - Toton Centre - Derby P5 (SD 18.38).
Standard Class only now available £41.01; U18s (must be accompanied by an adult) benefit from a
£20 reduction in all fares. (‡Contact Mark Gomm per back page to bring particular requested items.)
1934] .Highland Line Signal Box Visits (2). Sun 25 Nov: Thanks to Nick Jones. 09.30 Perth station, for
the signalling training school (on P4) then Perth Signal Box followed by the very interesting Hilton
Junction Box, two miles south of Perth which has some unusual features. Next is Blair Atholl about 45
mins drive and finally the lovely signal box at Pitlochry early to mid afternoon. There are no passenger
trains north of Perth. Now open for definite bookings to [email protected] (NB two
underscores) or, with SAE, 57 Blar Mhor Rd, Caol, Fort William, PH33 7HR. Please advise if you are
arriving by car (and how many lifts you can give) - we may need to minimise car usage. BLS Members
only, maximum 12; Hi-Viz orange jackets required. A £25 (minimum) on the day cash charity donation
applies including anyone who books and fails to show or cancels at short notice and can't be replaced.
1313 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
1935] Saltburn Cliff Tramway: (BLN 1307.MR125) As referred to locally. ROP Sat 18 Aug 2018. The
207ft long 4' 2½" gauge double track 1 in1.7 gradient water balanced (the oldest still working in the
UK) funicular had been closed for an extensive refurbishment since last running on Thur 5 Oct 2017. It
is advertised to run 10.30 until 19.00 daily and is not far to walk from the station. Single journey: £1
Adult; 50P Child; £2.50 Family (2A&3c or 1A&4C); Annual tickets: £20 Adult; £15 Child; £50 Family.
1936] Appledore - Dungeness: TCG/A 19 to 27 Aug 2018 while 'endangered newts' nesting under a
sleeper were relocated. This only prevented one nuclear flask train from running during the period.
1937] Kilmarnock Jn - Barassie Jn: (BLN 1312.1830) ROP Mon 10 Sep (after TCP from Tue 28 Aug 2018
due to Ayr Station Hotel being unsafe). The 18.04 (SSuX) from Kilmarnock has been replaced by a bus
to Girvan via Ayr, the 23.05 (SuX) from Kilmarnock is a bus to Stranraer via Ayr. A bus from Stranraer
leaves Ayr at 17.59 (SuX) to Kilmarnock with another at 22.36 (SuX) from Ayr both replacing trains.
There are usually 11 trains Ayr - Kilmarnock with 10 in the other way SSuX, 9 SO and none on Sundays.
1938] Water Orton East Jn - Whitacre West Jn - Kingsbury Jn (PSUL)/Nuneaton P6 & 7 (excl) and
Coleshill Parkway station: TCP 15.00 on Wed 12 Sep to 16.01 (first passenger train 20.22 Birmingham
New Street to Melton Mowbray) on Sun 16 Sep with full normal service from Mon 17th.
This was due the rear 6 wagons of the 14.50 Hams Hall to Felixstowe South Freightliner Terminal train
derailing. Some contained hazardous loads but the tanks were not breached. The derailment occurred
100yd inside the depot on Associated British Ports Infrastructure but at Whitacre West Jn 200yd of NR
infrastructure was severely damaged as a result. On the Up Whitacre line this included broken rails and
switches with less damage to the Down line. After the Rail Accident Investigation Branch had attended
the front non-derailed portion of the train was authorised to go forward to Peterborough at 23.50.
An hourly non-stop Birmingham (leaving 15 mins before the normal departure time of the Stansted
Airport service) to Leicester via Castle Donington service was provided, connecting at Leicester with
an hourly Nuneaton (generally turning back in P7) to Stansted Airport service. There were buses
between Birmingham and Nuneaton; ticket easements included travel being permitted via London.
After the initial clear up and repairs a 20mph Emergency Speed Restriction applied to the Up Whitacre
line and the eastern side of the Hams Hall Terminal was inaccessible pending remedial track work.
1939] Porth (excl) - Treherbert (incl) and 7
other stations: TCP 19.46 Thur 20 Sep due to
a significant 150 tonne landslip (LEFT -
Network Rail) between Porth and Dinas
Rhondda with some DMUs trapped at
Treherbert. ●Pontypridd (excl) - Porth (incl)
& Trehafod station: TCP 13.20 Fri 21 Sep.
The line ROP normally from start of service
on Tue 25 Sep 2018.
1940] Midcalder Jn - Shotts (excl) & 5 stations: TCP Sat 22 Sep; ROP Tue 25 Sep 2018; resignalling
work. Trains ran (SuX) Glasgow Central to/from Shotts. Local stations Midcalder Jn to Slateford were
served as usual by the limited peak ScotRail calls on the Glasgow - Carstairs - Edinburgh route.
1941] Breich station: (BLN 1307.1264) ROP Tue 25 Sep (TCP Sat 23 Jun 2018 for a £2.4M electrification
upgrade) this was longer than the originally anticipated 12 weeks, partly due to the previous item.
There seems to have been minimal publicity (perhaps the regular passenger was told in person‽).
1942] T&W Metro, Chichester (excl) - South Shields (incl): TCP Mon 1 Oct until Sat 3 Nov 2018 (incl)
for track and signalling work in connection with the new transport interchange at South Shields which
is due to open in 2019. An ECS shunt is expected over South Shields end crossover. After ROP 4 Nov
services will be unable to call at Chichester (pronounced 'Chai-Chester') P2 until 'about' Aug 2019 due
to 'signalling constraints'. Passengers towards Newcastle should board a South Shields service at P1
and remain onboard; those from South Shields to Chichester travel to Tyne Dock and double back.
1943] Larbert (excl) - Stirling - Perth (excl)/Alloa (incl) and 4 stations: TCP Sun 14 Oct until Sun 21 Oct
for 'intensive electrification works' (but not past Dunblane!). The SuX service is generally Glasgow
Queen St - Falkirk Grahamston - Edinburgh - Larbert P2, bidirectional from Larbert Jn, (reverse) -
Glasgow Queen Street. A NR 20 Sep press release advises electric trains will be introduced in Dec.
1944] (Norwich) Whitlingham Jn - Brundall Jn - Reedham Jn - Oulton Broad North Jn and ●Brundall Jn
- Great Yarmouth (incl) with nine intermediate stations: TCP Sat 20 until Sun 28 Oct 2018 (incl) - local
school half-term. This is part of the £68M Norwich to Yarmouth and Lowestoft resignalling project.
1945] Reedham Jn - Great Yarmouth (excl) and Berney Arms request station: TCP/A 20 Oct 2018 until
Apr 2019. This is for major remodelling of Reedham Jn, (BLN 1298.248) which has an unusual layout,
with the new pointwork clipped out of use (so that trains can run between Norwich and Lowestoft)
until commissioning. As usual there are no alternative arrangements for Berney Arms where 1,126
passengers were documented in 2016-17; however most use is between late spring and early autumn.
The trains that normally run via Berney Arms are diverted via Acle during the closure. The service is
SuX 08.01 & 12.03 to Norwich and 15.24 to Great Yarmouth; SuO 08.24, 10.24, 12.24 & 14.24 to
Norwich and 08.01, 10.03, 12.03 &14.01 to Great Yarmouth. As the service is so infrequent long
distance passengers are allowed to travel from/to Norwich in either direction. It is understood that
The Berney Arms public house itself is still closed as is the restored windmill. The walks are pleasant!
1946] Pantyffynnon Jn (10m 04ch♣) Gwaun-cae-Gurwen Open Cast Disposal Point (16m 67ch♣): It has
been reported that the associated open cast site is to cease extracting coal in October this year, then
one train a week is expected until Mar 2019 to clear the stock pile. [♣Miles from Llandelio Jn.]
1947] Allerton East Jn - Garston Jn (Garston Chord): (BLN 1292.2194) This line is due to be reinstated
Wed 2 Jan 2019 when all lines currently controlled by Allerton Junction and Speke Junction Signal
Boxes transfer to Manchester Rail Operating Centre (the new Wavertree West workstation). This
includes entry and egress from the Garston Intermodal Terminal previously known as the Freightliner
Depot. From 29 Oct 2017 the Down Allerton Goods and Up & Down Allerton Goods line, forming this
then (effectively) long term disused electrified double track curve were formally taken out of use with
associated signalling / track changes. This leaves just one question: when is the first railtour?
1948] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) Reopens Location (stations exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]
1312.1830 28 Aug 18 ???????? *(Ayr) - Stranraer
1309.1505 25 Aug 18 8 Oct 18 Ambergate Jn - Matlock with Belper & Duffield stations
1309.1498 22 Jul 18 8 Oct 18 (Lichfield Trent Valley High Level) - Wichnor Jn (PSUL route)
1309.1503 1 Sep 18 8 Oct 18 Chesterfield South Jn - Ambergate Jn - (Derby)
1308.1394 15 Sep 18 8 Oct 18 Bristol P'wy-(Patchway)/(Filton Abbey Wood)/(Yate)/(Swindon)
1311.1735 6 Oct 18 11 Oct 18 (Connel Ferry) - Oban
1300.441 8 Oct 18 12 Oct 18 (Theale) - Westbury North Jn/Fairwood Jn (and 1 later period)
1311.1736 20 Oct 18 29 Oct 18 Walton Jn - Aintree (back reference has all the Merseyrail closures)
1311.1736 20 Oct 18 10 Nov 18 Aintree; [(Aintree) after 29 Oct] - (Ormskirk)
1302.702 27 Oct 18 19 Nov 18 Bristol East Jn - Stoke Gifford No1 Jn; Filton Jn - Patchway Jn;
1300.441 19 Nov 18 Feeder Bridge Jn - Dr Day's Jn & Narroways Hill Jn - (Clifton Down)
1312.1835 17 Nov 18 23 Nov 18 (Theale) - Westbury North Jn/Fairwood Jn (last significant closure)
1311.1736 12 Nov 18 24 Nov 18 *(Worcester) Norton Jn - (Moreton-in-Marsh)
1299.337 10 Dec 18 17 Dec 18 Bank Hall station (trains run through non-stop)
1297.123 16 Feb 19 Greenford West Jn - Greenford East Jn - Park Royal - Old Oak Common West CP
24 Feb 19 (Three Bridges) - (Brighton)/(Hove)/(Lewes)
1313 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
1949] Supplemental Synonymic Signal Boxes: (BLN 1312.1838) Regarding NR signal boxes (in use for
signalling) with the same location name, extra to BLN 1312 a member suggests: ●Bedlington North &
South; ●Oulton Broad North & Swing Bridge and ●Reedham Junction & Swing Bridge. He also
suggests, possibly: ●Llandudno Junction & Station - the latter as now shown on the box nameboards
and the current Sectional Appendix (but they are 3 miles apart) and ●Immingham West Junction &
East Junction. [The last does not qualify as Immingham West Junction is an Associated British Ports
box but is NR staffed; since the Jan 2016 resignalling Immingham East is only a token exchange point.]
Your Editor thinks that are still four signal boxes all with 'Crewe' in their name: ●Crewe, Crewe Coal
Yard, Crewe Sorting Sidings North & Crewe Steel Works also ●Manchester may arguably have four:
Manchester South, Manchester East Signalling Control Centre (SCC) - in the same building as 'South'
Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Rail Operating Centre (ROC). More possible pairs: ●Acton
Canal Wharf & Acton Wells Junction; ●Canterbury Wye Area Control Centre & Canterbury West;
●Gainsborough Central & Trent Junction; ●Goole & Goole Bridge; ●Newhaven Town & Harbour;
●New Mills Central & South Junction; ●Rugby SCC & ROC; ●Selby & Selby Swing Bridge; ●Wembley
Mainline SCC & Wembley Yard Power Signal Box (PSB); ●Warrington (PSB) & Warrington Central and
last but not least ●Willesden Carriage Shed North & South.
1950] Points & Slips: ●●1887 & 1883] These items were inadvertently identical - 'Two for the price of
one' rather than 'Spot the Difference'. ●●1915] The Railway Ramblers walk of the normally submerged
Blaenau F(f)estiniog Central branch trackbed in Llyn Celyn Reservoir is provisionally on Tue 16 Oct
(not a Wednesday). ●●1917] A local member advises that ATW's Class 143 Pacers have been internally
refurbished, repainted and had corrosion attention except the four owned by Bridgend and Rhondda
Cynon Taf local authorities (143601/09/10/14 - the only ones that look in poor condition outside).
1951] BLN QUIZ 4: (With thanks to Robert Green) stations/features may be open, closed/abandoned.
(1): What is the significance of this sequence of figures (in each case the letter is only a clue):
Q226, H112, L90, A89, (T75), H49?
(2): Why was the demolition of a viaduct in South Wales interrupted in 1965?
(3): Some passenger stations were named, at some stage, to serve two places. Where else before the
…'and' did these stations serve … Stanford Park, Dorridge, Sennybridge, Stokesay, Newlands?
(4): What, in religious order, might link a junction on the North London Line with …
…the driver of the first main line train into London, Lincoln, Southport and Bedford?
(5): What were the usual destinations of passenger trains passing these junctions on to the branch:
…Fodderty Jn, Roudham Jn, Curry Rivel Jn, Peasmarsh Jn, Bellwater Jn, Plumpton Jn?
(6): Although there should be more, the apostrophe occurs only 6 times on TfL station names. Which?
(7): Which four words, initially of daily interest, could be placed in front of these stations to give four
…different stations … Berwick, Norton, Newport, Bank?
(8): What word(s) connects these sites? (Different words are required for each.)
a) A West Midlands junction & the silhouette of a Scottish engine shed?
b) An engine shed in the north-west & a light railway in Warwickshire?
c) Used to be Trees in Bucks & Sales from Stalls in Norfolk?
d) An equine colour near the Mersey & a crossing of the River Lea?
e) A former 'Brylcreem' cricketer, a high quality car, and 30A?
(9): In which year did steam-hauled trains finish in regular service on British Rail?
(10): Where is this station (BELOW - Robert Green)?
1952] One Liners: On the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway passenger numbers are up
50% overall on last year since the Broadway extension opened on 30 Mar 2018. On the Ffestiniog
Railway the previously disused connection from Boston Lodge Works towards Minffordd has been
completely removed. Compare TRACKmaps Book 3 p36C (Jun 2018) with Book 4 p24E (Aug 2013) to
see the changes in recent years at Boston Lodge and Porthmadog.
The Swindon & Cricklade Railway was donated several track panels from the disused internal track
at Didcot 'A' Power Station, for their extension to Fairfield Lane Halt. When they went to collect it,
realising there was much more they asked and can now have 'all available tracks'. So, anyone who
didn't do it at the Power Station…
If you do 'haulage' at Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog (MR p34) a new train has been
operating this year on the 420ft underground 1:8 funicular railway which is otherwise unchanged.
NEXT PAGE: S &C work (that is Swindon & Cricklade Railway) at Didcot Power Station (Press Release).
1953] SWR Performance Review: (Covers three BLN areas.) In introducing the recent report on
performance, South Western Railway (SWR) and Network Rail (NR) recognise they have not delivered
the standard of service expected or that they want to deliver…
'A number of challenges have contributed to this and we took action earlier this year to commission an
independent review of performance on the network. Following the completion of that review, chaired
by Sir Michael Holden, we now have a blueprint to help us improve performance - and the good news is
that many of the recommendations in the report had already been identified and are underway.
NR is also investing a record £2bn over the next five years to run the (SW) railway and help give
passengers more reliable journeys. The independent report commissioned by South Western Railway
and independently chaired by experienced railwayman Sir Michael Holden, looked at every aspect of
performance on the South Western Network to establish why it has been in decline since 2011. The
report concludes that a number of factors have caused a loss of timetable resilience and a degradation in
service recovery capability during and after disruption over a number of years. It lists growing passenger
numbers, the management of train crew, the operation of longer trains, increasing numbers of speed
restrictions, and ageing infrastructure as having contributed to the decline over the last eight years.
More recently the Waterloo works in Aug 2017 and the move of the joint Control between NR and the
train operator to Basingstoke in early 2017 have exacerbated the situation. As well as identifying the
causes of decline the report makes a number of recommendations to address these issues. In some
cases these areas had already been identified and remedial action has been underway for some time.'
The actions in hand include:
>A review of the control centre to ensure better management of disruption and minimise the effect on
passengers. SWR will procure support software to be installed in the Control Centre in early 2019 to
improve the way decisions are made during disruption, taking account of rolling stock and train crew.
>SWR has taken significant steps in addressing the inherited shortfalls in driver route and traction
knowledge which can hamper service recovery and rostering. It began recruiting additional drivers
impressively even before it took over the franchise and the first of these is about to complete training.
>NR has invested in technology to better monitor key infrastructure assets to stop them failing, and
additional maintenance teams to respond to incidents faster.
>NR is already delivering a robust plan to remove speed restrictions across the network and expect to
have removed 60% of them by the end of the financial year.
The report also highlights the potential performance improvement opportunities that a consistent
suburban fleet would offer, something SWR identified before the start of the franchise, when it
ordered a 750-vehicle fleet of modern trains, offering not only performance benefits but also WiFi,
air conditioning and a range of features to improve customer journeys. The £895M fleet will cover the
entire suburban network, and is due to start to enter service from late 2019.
A member comments that one reason South Western Trains was the most profitable franchise was
because Stagecoach bore down relentlessly on costs. This included employing the bare minimum of
train crew and restricting their route knowledge. For instance it seemed that Bournemouth train crew
did not know the diversionary route to Waterloo via Virginia Water. Recently a freight train failed in
the Andover area and our member's train, already faced with an extended journey time, was nearly 20
minutes late away from Salisbury awaiting a pilot driver, as the booked driver did not know the
Southampton route. More generally, this has been a major factor in ensuring that when a serious
incident affects the South Western main line in the morning peak the service falls apart all day.
1313 EAST MIDLANDS (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
BELOW: Sign on the new P6 at Derby station in case anyone things they have arrived at Friargate or
anywhere else by mistake perhaps?... (Chris Davis 29 Jul 2018.)
1954] Derby: Derby Cathedral School, the first Church of England Secondary School in the city, opened
on 10 Sep at the Midland Railway 'Midland House' building Nelson St next to the Roundhouse. This is
temporary accommodation for three years while new facilities are built at the massive, long disused
Friargate station site. (Perhaps it ought to be Derby Railway School?) On 14 Sep Derbyshire police
issued a warning against setting fires on Friargate Goods Yard site, which are now a major problem.
1955] Derby (2): Meanwhile at the ex-Midland station, on 20 Sep the wagons had gone from P5 & P6
and at the north end of the station all eight lines (currently out of use) had sleepers chained across
them. The new inspection and fuel lines were not yet laid and some excavation was going on just
south of the overbridge - or to be more exact much peering into said excavation! No regular booked
passenger use has been identified for the new facing crossover north of Peartree at LNW Jn between
the Down Tamworth Slow and the Up Tamworth Slow which are both bidirectional. An addition to the
BLN 1308 track plan is that the two bidirectional lines firstly between the Up Tamworth Slow (to/from
P3) and the Down Main, and secondly between the Down Tamworth Slow (P4) and the Down Main,
are known as Lines 'E' and 'F' respectively. It is not known if there is an 'OFF' indicator for Line 'F'.
1956] Market Rasen: From Dec 2021 with the new Train Service Requirement, the Lincoln - Grimsby
service, which has severe overcrowding at times, should increase from roughly two-hourly to hourly.
1957] Welton Oil Terminal (35m 74ch): Access to this terminal between Lincoln and Market Rasen
was plain lined after a derailment on 30 Jun 2015. NR has recently proposed extending this short term
notice change for another two years as the current one expires in Oct. The last outward train of locally
extracted crude oil left at 11.34 on 16 May 2008 to become more refined at Lyndsey Oil Refinery.
1958] Beeston: The station was mentioned in Parliament on 12 Sep when the local MP called for
improvements. A report prepared by the Friends of Beeston Station shows the beauty of the Victorian
station, but highlights that passengers unable to use the footbridge (ie wheelchair users) between the
two platforms are given the phone number for East Midlands Trains Assisted Travel who will arrange a
taxi. Apparently, EMT used to advise passengers to take a train to Long Eaton and to use the lifts there
before returning by train to the other platform but this has now been removed from the website.
1959] Barton-on-Humber: On this archetypical branch with heritage/museum features, a recent
report highlighted that, this year, 102 services were cancelled or curtailed out of 2,858 (that is 3.6%
meaning 96.4% of trains or over 19/20 actually ran in full). The problems were usually signalling issues,
unit failures and lack of crew, but also heavy winds and snow, and two suicides. Delays are frequent
though and cancellation or missed connections with the two-hourly service badly knocks passenger
confidence. Turnarounds are tight, particularly at Barton although many were surprised that the
service (for withdrawal in the first Beeching Report) survived the Humber Bridge opening and even
increased to hourly. BR later reduced it to generally two-hourly due to rolling stock shortage. Arriva,
Abellio and Stagecoach should by now have submitted bids for the new (18 Aug 2019) East Midlands
franchise. Moving the Barton line from the Northern franchise, as planned, could affect how it is run.
The Sunday service of four trains each way between 12.00 and 19.11 is seasonal (20 May to 9 Sep this
year). However, undaunted as ever, National Rail comes up with Sunday Barton to Cleethorpes taking
three to four hours on the bus to Hull then train to Doncaster and Cleethorpes with an Anytime single
quoted as £77.80p. The direct train services takes about 54 minutes for 22¾ miles at £7.10p single.
1313 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]
1960] Angel Road: (BLN 1311.1718) Unsurprisingly Railfuture will not be objecting to the closure of
this station when it is replaced by Meridian Water. However it has suggested that the footbridge could
be rescued and possibly reused at Pilning to enable Down P2 to be reopened.
1961] Bakerloo Line Extension: (BLN 1286.1630) Southwark and Lewisham councils have set up a
website https://goo.gl/7gZ1dX backing the extension and asking readers to sign up to their campaign.
Following last year's public consultation, TfL have made some decisions on the proposed stations:
Elephant & Castle: Plans are being developed for the Bakerloo Line station and ticket hall move to
integrate with the planned new Northern Line ticket hall. This would provide an easier interchange
with both Northern Line and Thameslink services and help reduce crowding at the busiest times.
Bricklayers Arms: Some correspondents requested a station here, but this will not be progressed
due to its proximity to other stations and the increase in costs and journey times it would entail.
Old Kent Road: Plans are being developed for stations on the site near to the junction with Dunton
Rd and Humphrey St and on the site of the former 'Toys R Us' store near the junction with Asylum Rd.
New Cross Gate & Lewisham: Plans are being developed for easy interchange with existing stations.
1962] LUL Leaf Fall Timetables: As last autumn, the Piccadilly Line will have a revised timetable with
longer running times and slightly fewer trains from 8 Oct until 20 Dec inclusive. Anyone wanting to
cover unusual moves in our Piccadilly Line Microgricing Guide during that period should double-check
https://goo.gl/hSuq4c the temporary timetable (which has the latest Working Timetables for all lines).
The Metropolitan Line will also have a revised timetable during this period, but this normally only
involves retiming north of Rickmansworth, so shouldn't have any material effect on unusual moves.
1963] Barking - Gospel Oak: (BLN 1312.1855) With the new 4-car Class 710 EMUs still not passed for
operation by NR, the lease on the remaining seven 2-car Class 172 DMUs has been extended by a
further month until the end of the year. ('Freightmaster interactive')
1964] Crossing Over in Vintage Tube Stock: On 9 Sep London Transport Museum organised shuttles
between Amersham and Watford via the North Curve, using the preserved 1938 Tube Stock unit.
Unusually the last trip of the day ran with pre-booked passengers from Amersham back to Ealing
Common. A member and his 'double A rated' sidekick travelled on it and report… At 15.30 two BLS
members arrived hot foot at Amersham from the Society visit to the railways at Waltham Abbey Royal
Gunpowder Mills, which by an extraordinary coincidence of timing and location made these two
otherwise wholly disparate activities possible to combine in one afternoon! After a sandwich and
listening to 1940s style singers, the venerable LT 1938 Tube Stock train was observed rattling into P1.
This was a first good sign as this meant that on departure it had to take the rarely traversed, at least in
passenger service, more southerly crossover at No37 points to gain the Southbound Line.
At 15.53 the trip to Ealing Common duly departed and traversed the first choice crossover, although
most on board seemed more interested in the art deco decor! At Watford South Jn the tour crossed
over to the Southbound Local and trundled towards Harrow-on-the-Hill, where on approach it took
the facing crossover at 106 points and into P5 as booked. This was looking very good, as here the train
was to reverse to Rayners Lane, taking the Southbound Uxbridge (northbound) before using the
crossover to the Northbound Uxbridge at 207 points. This move is normally only done in passenger
service when the Metropolitan Line is blocked for engineering work south of here. After a slightly
stuttering approach to Rayners Lane, as this train of course didn't call anywhere en route and caught
up the preceding service trains, it halted in P1. Here a swift one minute reversal was scheduled before
taking the trailing crossover between the Westbound and Eastbound and then on to Ealing Common.
In an hour three crossovers which very rarely see passenger trains were traversed. It does not appear
anyone involved actually arranged the trip with these aims in mind, the route was never promoted in
this way, but deliberate or not, well done!
BELOW: Amersham P1, the 1938 set is ready to take on passengers for Ealing Common and receives
approving glances. In the background is Amersham Signal Cabin visited by the Society on 1 Oct 2015.
ABOVE: Through the Looking Glass - or at least a dirty cab window. View forwards at Harrow-on-the-
Hill as the tour is about to take the trailing crossover from the Southbound Uxbridge (the right hand
diveunder track) to the Northbound Uxbridge (the left hand diveunder track) at 207 points after it has
just reversed in P5. (All pictures by Simon Mortimer 9 Sep 2018.)
NEXT PAGE: Let's wait for the distant to come off too... the driver waits for the lower distant to clear
as well to avoid the risk of gapping our relatively short train.
PAGE AFTER: Rear view; ahead is Rayners Lane station, P1 (the Westbound Metropolitan and
Piccadilly) is left and P2 (Eastbound) is right with trains visible. The tour train has reversed in P1,
arriving from Harrow-on-the-Hill on the Northbound Uxbridge - the nearer track on the far right. After
reversal it took the trailing crossover here at Rayners Lane Jn No13 points. It is now on the Eastbound
Piccadilly Line heading towards Ealing Common (although the crossover used is not common).
1965] Kennington: (BLN 1310.1628) The extra time allowed for the upgrade work was not needed; the
Bank branch platforms reopened on 17 Sep. Final fitting out of the four new interchange passageways
will now continue during night-time engineering hours. However on 19 Sep the temporary timetable
with more through trains between Morden and the Charing Cross branch was still in operation.
1966] Southwark: (BLN 1286.1632) TfL is consulting until 9 Oct on plans to open a second station
entrance on Greet St, at the corner of Wootten St. It would have a planted green roof and provision for
a community space. The land is owned by TfL. It is separate from the proposal for an over-station
development that has caused controversy. See https://goo.gl/aJdbRn for details and to comment.
1967] Sudbury & Harrow Road: Sudbury Town Residents' Association has adopted this station and is
campaigning for an increase in the minimal service of four Up morning and four Down evening trains
SSuX. It is in discussion with Chiltern Railways about possible improvements but, if they fail to act, will
ask the DfT to specify a proper Train Service Requirement when the franchise is renewed in 2021.
1968] Waterloo: (BLN 1309.1533) As recorded in BLN 1288.1851, P20 in the former International
station continued in use after the partial blockade for platform lengthening in Aug 2017, with P21-24
closing again. However between 22 Jan and 31 Mar P20 was closed and trains used P21/22 instead.
Use of P20 appears to have resumed from early Apr, but any further information would be welcome.
1969] Crossrail: (BLN 1312.1852) An article on the 'London Reconnections' website states that, aside
from issues with the Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling, station completion is also
behind schedule. It suggests that if the line had opened on 9 Dec as planned, only three of ten new
stations, Abbey Wood, Canary Wharf and Bond Street, would have been ready for passenger use.
This is having a knock-on effect on train and signalling testing, as trains cannot work through stations
where, for instance, the platform edge doors are still being fitted. Clearly commissioning of new CBTC
systems is no easy task, as the implementation date for the first stage of the new signalling system on
the LUL Sub-Surface Lines continues to slip back further into the future.
The Liverpool Street partial blockage to lengthen P16/17 may still happen in Aug 2018, despite the
delay to Crossrail. Once the ORR has approved the operation of 9-car trains between Paddington and
Hayes & Harlington, the 7-car trains currently on this service will transfer to Ilford to displace more
Class 315s from the Shenfield service. When Shenfield is linked to the core section (Stage 4), the 7-car
sets have to return to Bombardier at Derby to have two extra cars added and their computers
reconfigured, taking two weeks per unit. Reconstruction of Hayes & Harlington station will require the
temporary closure of bay P5. This can only happen when the Class 345s are cleared to operate to
Heathrow, allowing the half-hourly service now terminating at Hayes & Harlington to be extended.
1313 NORTH EAST (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
1970] T&W Metro: On 17 Jul Nexus submitted a planning application to North Tyneside District
Council for a Howdon 'satellite' Metro depot on the site of the former Howdon Landfill Site, Wallsend
Rd, North Shields. This is in an industrialized zone so is unlikely to have a negative impact on the
surrounding area. There are not many such sites, next to the Metro network with good road access
and away from 'sensitive noise receptors' (housing to you!). Nexus is thought to have bought the
Howdon site from North Tyneside Council for £1M (not bad for a tip!). It will be an 'outstabling facility'
to take 10 Metro trains during the redevelopment of the main Gosforth Depot. This is presumably in
lieu of the plan for a temporary stabling point at Chillingham Road (BLN 1299.362)? There will also be
light maintenance facilities. The depot will also be used for delivery of the new Metro train fleet.
This will comprise 42 trains to be delivered by road at a rate of approximately two a month over two
years (BLN 1307.1282) replacing a fleet of originally 45 trains - it is expected that unit availability will
be better than now. It is assumed that the new vehicles will be delivered in at least two sections, each
'section' having a maximum length of 32.5m - half of the total train length (current equivalent 27.8m).
The proposed new depot (plan previous page) is just east of Howdon station, partly on the course of
the former Riverside Branch loop line which passed a short distance to the south here, converging
west of Percy Main station (the branch CP 23 Jul 1973; date of CA at this (east) end not known but
track was removed to Point Pleasant, North Eastern Marine Co's Siding (NZ 312 663) by 31 May 1978).
The initial design work attempted to provide access from east and west ends but was not possible due
to the site's constrained nature and the need for (i) a minimum curve radius of 50m and (ii) a layout to
accommodate two coupled Metro trains. There will therefore be access only at the western end.
Requirements: (i) trains entering the depot site to travel directly onto the stabling tracks or the
workshop without reversing; (ii) trains to run from a stabling track into the workshop (and vice versa)
without using the main line, requiring a head-shunt; (iii) stabling for 10 trains, each with a length of up
to 65m. The initial design work attempted to provide five stabling tracks that would each take two
trains, reducing the number of points needed in comparison with tracks holding a single vehicle.
However, the site did not permit this, so the layout provides 10 tracks each for one 65m long train.
Regarding the current Gosforth Depot operations. 37 trains enter service between 05.00 and 08.00 for
the morning peak. After this, 10 return to the depot between 09.00 and 10.00. They go back in service
between 15.00 to 16.30 for the evening peak and 15 return to the depot between 18.00 and 19.30 at
the end of the evening peak. Towards the end of timetabled service, the remaining 22 trains return
between 23.00 and 01.00. Drivers book on at the start of their shift at the Control Centre at South
Gosforth station. Once trains are on the network, drivers change over at South Gosforth station itself.
It is envisaged that Howdon Depot will be operated similarly, but with drivers still booking on at South
Gosforth station at the start of service, travelling by bus to Howdon. The opposite will apply at the end
of service, with drivers bussed back to South Gosforth. If Howdon Depot is used for stabling just peak
extra services, drivers would book on there at the start of their shift rather than at South Gosforth.
The latest from a T&W mole is they are being told that Howdon is a temporary measure to stable and
service half the stock so that they can demolish half of Gosforth, rebuild it then do the other half -
could be interesting not least as Howdon appears to be too small! There are good reasons why Nexus
might wish to move here permanently. Gosforth is a cramped site with poor access and could probably
be sold advantageously for housing. An interesting question is the ECS routing at the start and end of
the day. Gosforth is well located for Airport and South Shields but trains to St James have to go right
round the coast or use the Manors curve and reverse. Howdon is well located for St James but trains
to the Airport and South Shields will have to use the Manors curve. There is no siding north of
Jesmond Jn for a reversing movement to South Shields. This may not matter if units are stabled at
South Shields (below), and trains could run there the long way round via the coast without reversing.
However, Nexus may be moving to stabling its fleet at more than one location overnight. There have
been occasions when snow prevented train crew from being able to reach Gosforth, resulting in no
service on the network. Stabling in several places might improve the chance of at least some trains
running. Another new stabling point is being built at South Shields, alongside the new training school
and workshop (BLN 1295.2512), and it is thought that Nexus now plans to base 10 trains here again.
The network would then be served from three sites rather than just Gosforth alone. It is possible stock
may also be stabled overnight in future at the sidings beyond Heworth station.
1971] North of Newcastle: (BLN 1311.1755) A proposal that CrossCountry (XC) trains should not call at
smaller stations such as Morpeth, Alnmouth and Berwick has been rejected by the South East
Northumberland Rail Users Group (SENRUG). In its formal response to the DfT CrossCountry Franchise
Consultation, SENRUG said that the idea contradicts proposals in Network Rail's ECML Capacity Study,
which has said there should be more calls at smaller stations from long-distance operators because
local services cannot cater for demand. SENRUG considers that XC services at Alnmouth and Berwick
should be retained at the same level with a modest increase at Morpeth, which should have a service
every two hours.
SENRUG wishes the times of these trains to be coordinated with those operated by London North
Eastern Railway (LNER). At Morpeth two trains now call within six minutes but then no trains for three
hours. Stopping patterns on XC and LNER trains should be co-ordinated to make it possible to travel
between Northumberland and Scottish Borders stations. In alternate hours, three trains leave
Newcastle for Edinburgh within 20 minutes of each other. The SENRUG chair commented:
We accept that one of these trains should travel non-stop, but we think at least one … an hour should
call at each of the region's key centres of Morpeth, Alnmouth, Berwick and Dunbar. Cramlington
should be added to that list as it will soon be Northumberland's largest town, serving a population of
39,000. [Morpeth had 382,280 passengers documented in 2016-17 with 94,544 at Cramlington.]
Regional Editor's comment: The Morpeth service is irregular, approximately twice an hour but with
occasional hour gaps. There are no longer any loops in the 14 miles between Heaton and Morpeth,
which is a Newcastle commuter town and location of the county council offices, although with a
population of only 14,000. Northumberland is the 'emptiest' county in England so the countryside
north of Morpeth is thinly populated. The only town of any significance in the 50 miles on to Berwick
is Alnwick (pop 8,000, although it is the county town and seat of the Duke of Northumberland, whose
medieval castle is a major tourist destination with 800,000 visitors per year). Its nearest station,
Alnmouth is the railhead for a large area. The local service north of Morpeth has been poor for many
years. There is now just one morning and evening train each way (SSuX) from Newcastle to Chathill,
which run ECS to/from Belford (see below) to reverse in one of the bidirectional Crag Mill Loops. In the
1970s there was also a middle of the day train to Alnmouth and back. A member travelled there on
the late afternoon train in 2016: a few people alighted at Widdrington, one at Pegswood, none at
Acklington, and four continued north of Alnmouth. There is quite a lot of new housing near Pegswood
and Widdrington but a greatly enhanced service would be needed to attract significant patronage.
Chathill (proposed for closure by Beeching) had 2,768 passengers in 2016-17, averaging 5.2 per train.
1972] Norton-on-Tees: (BLN 1312.1858) As indicated the Box is at the former station (CP 7 Mar 1960)
but never had the word 'station' on its nameboard. The 1960 Sectional Appendix did have 'station'
against it but that was probably just to give it a name, as there were four 'Norton-on-Tees' boxes as
now. The 1979 and latest (19 Mar 2016) Sectional Appendix calls it simply Norton-on-Tees Signal Box.
1973] Bowesfield Signal Box: (BLN 1312.1857) The Individual Function Switch (IFS) panels listed were
decommissioned on 25 Nov 2013. It now has one Siemens Westinghouse Control and Display
Workstation and a TEW SM48 unit - ('TEW' is an engineering company) controlling the All Signals On
Control instead commissioned on the same date. This Work Station controls the relay interlockings
previously controlled by the IFS[-], as well as Urlay Nook Westlock CBI - the latter taking control of the
former Urlay Nook area, with the reduction of that box to a gate box as mentioned. Re-control of
Bowesfield to York ROC is expected from 25 Mar 2019 costing about £1.1M and saving some £127k
each year. It includes Urlay Nook and Allens West level crossings and is an enabling stage for
re-control of the Durham Coast (BLN 1312.1858) in 2021 regarded as an important diversionary route.
Tees Yard PSB, Middlesbrough and boxes further east are now deferred until at least CP7 (2024-29)
with the DfT/NR CP6 focus on 'renewals and maintenance', rather than on development. Bowesfield
box will remain to house some SSI and relay interlocking equipment.
1974] Belford: NR has issued a retrospective proposal to abandon the Ground Frame (51m 47ch north
of Newcastle) and the associated (actually disconnected) quarry branch. The latter is intact and shown
on TRACKmaps Book 2 p23B (Oct 2016). The ground frame was removed in 2006 as part of the Cripple
Siding renewal. Although there was an agreement regarding reinstatement, reopening the line beyond
the NR boundary would now require substantial investment by the owners. However, some issues
have not been resolved so the abandonment is not being progressed. In 1959 there was a typical
North Eastern Railway overhead box here. Branch access was then by reversal in a north facing siding.
Regarding a possible passenger station at
Belford, the GRIP4 process has been completed
but various issues were identified that have now
stalled progress. In May a local councillor used
the end of the Virgin East Coast franchise as an
opportunity to write to Chris Grayling, to
campaign for Belford (CP from 29 Jan 1968) to be
brought back into service. Over the last 20 years
Belford Rail Users Group, and recently South East
Northumberland Rail Users Group, have been
campaigning for reopening. 51½ miles north of
Newcastle, it is well located halfway between
Alnmouth (35 miles) and Berwick (67 miles);
both reaching capacity and requiring significant
capital investment to increase parking provision,
being surrounded by residential buildings. Belford is on the edge of an industrial estate by a greenfield
site. It is also adjacent to the main A1 and at the intersection of several major bus routes. As well as
local and 'parkway' use, the station would also be a gateway to the Cheviot Hills and the coast.
THIS PAGE TOP: 1:25,000 OS map of Belford station area (1953) with the Easington Quarry branch and
its headshunt. ABOVE LEFT: Looking north in 1959 - the ECML has changed a bit since. (John F Mallon).
1975] Tyne Dock on the carpet? Lynemouth Power Station biomass trains are now hauled by Class 60
locos as they can handle 24 loaded wagons up the 1:40 bank to Boldon. A new 'carpet' of coal is being
laid to load coal for Cottam and West Burton EDF power stations. This will be brought in by road from
the controversial new Hargreaves Fieldhouse Farm opencast site (an unusual development these
days!), south of West Rainton, which has already attracted protests by environmentalists. Permission
to extract 514,000 tonnes of coal and 83,000 tonnes of fireclay from 135 acres over 27 months was
granted on appeal. For those who own the Ian Allan 'Pre-Grouping Atlas and Gazetteer', this is on the
former (Murton -) Hetton - Sherburn Colliery line$, northeast of Durham, CA 3 Apr 1960, supposedly
temporarily, but never reopened. ($The history of the waggonways and railways and in this area is very
complex and your Regional Editor admits he doesn't fully understand it.) It takes 63 lorry loads to fill a
train and a daily train is due to leave Tyne Dock from Nov when the stockpile there has been built up.
1313 NORTH WEST (John Cameron) [email protected]
1976] Cumbrian Coast: Cumbrian Coast Rail Users Group reports that since 20 May, there has not
been a single weekend when every train has run. There have also been many weekday cancellations.
The situation deteriorated in July and August, mostly because of crew shortages. There were some
significant cancellations of last trains, particularly south of Whitehaven, where there is no other public
transport and rail replacement buses are difficult to provide. The group believes that many people
have lost confidence in the train service and are driving for part or all of their journey. The group feels
even if a reliable service is restored, it will take much publicity and persuasion to restore confidence.
1977] Crewe: The trailing connection from the Up Through Siding to the Up Fast (157m 00ch) part of
the LNWR Maintenance Depot south connection (at Basford Wood Ground Frame, 60ch north of
Basford Hall Jn signal box) was noticed to be out of use on 14 Sep. The crossing at the points has been
plain lined; the Up Through Siding is no longer through!
1978] Metrolink: A trial extension of the MediaCityUK to Etihad Campus service (normally 07.00 to
20.00 SuX) to Ashton-under-Lyne to give a 6-minute headway between Harbour City and Ashton took
place on Thur 13 and Tue 18 Sep. The feasibility of a 6-minute service will be assessed with particular
attention to the capacity of some of the road junctions. If deemed a success, the service may be
permanently extended in early 2019 and make it easier for us to do both platform 'lynes' at Ashton.
1979] Merseyrail: There is a special timetable Thur 4 until Sun 7 Oct for the 'Giants Spectacular' event.
This refers to huge marionettes visiting the city and a large number of spectators are also expected
(1M came for it in 2014). Lime Street low level and James Street will be closed. Wirral line passengers
use Liverpool Central deep level. Northern line passengers use Moorfields low level. On Thur 4th a
normal timetable operates with services strengthened where possible. On Sat 6 Oct there are no
Merseyrail services to Ellesmere Port (Northern DMUs are shown to run, but have not in recent weeks
due to the Saturday strikes). There will be a 20 minute frequency Chester - Hooton train shuttle with
longer trains Hooton - Liverpool. Hunts Cross services turns back at Liverpool South Parkway. A
special event timetable operates Sun 7 Oct with station closures. The BBC reports anger from regular
passengers as the 'limited stop' service results in 28 stations being closed at some time. Ellesmere Port
will have replacement buses but Hightown is closed 5-7 Oct with no alternative provided, including a
normal working and school Friday. Merseyrail said that the temporary timetable ensures a 'robust and
reliable' service. It obviously also maximises capacity and use of the limited size of train fleet
concentrating it where most needed. Roads and bus services will also be very significantly affected.
1980] Halton Chord: (BLNs 1305.1016 & 1308.1419) Arriva Trains Wales (although 'disenfranchised'
from 14 Oct) and NR have applied to the Office of Rail Regulation for a passenger track access
agreement for a new Chester to Liverpool Lime Street via Runcorn service. The application states that
it is hoped that it will start with the Dec 2018 timetable. However, Transport for Wales has posted on
their website that the services will be introduced in May 2019, due to a lack of available rolling stock.
The service is seven days a week; Mondays to Saturdays it is almost hourly from Chester 06.17 to
22.17 (but no 18.17!) and from Liverpool at 07.16 until 23.16 (no 19.16!). Trains will call at Halton,
Frodsham, Runcorn and Liverpool South Parkway. Sunday services will be applied for separately.
1981] Blackpool North: A member made his first trip on the line since electrification. His return ticket
from Wigan NW to Blackpool read 'valid only via Preston', which left him wondering what other route
might be possible! Blackpool North has six platforms instead of eight. They are straighter than the old
ones. P1 and 2 are both long enough for 11 car Pendolinos. There is booked use of all six platforms
every day, with P1 and 6 seeing less use than the others. Trains seem to usually, but not always, use
their booked platform. Excellent track diagrams of the new Blackpool North and Kirkham & Wesham
layouts (previously in BLN) are featured on our website, thanks to Martyn Brailsford and Ian Delgado.
NEXT PAGE UPPER: A Northern EMU at Blackpool North P4; P1 & 2, used by Virgin trains, are right.
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: View of the lengthened and straightened P1 & 2 looking back towards the
buffers tops, P3/4 and 5/6 are to the right. Our member did well to avoid the attentions of the station
Gestapo staff here who have a reputation to maintain. THIS PAGE ABOVE: Blackpool North the view
towards Preston from the end of P1/2; left is one of the two accesses (both this end) to the
remodelled and still extensive carriage sidings. THIS PAGE BELOW: Kirkham & Wesham looking
towards Preston with the new P3 left and P1 (for Blackpool South) far right. (All John Cameron)
BELOW: (See 1984 below.) The sad state of the ex-Blackpool North Pier Tramway (Kev Adlam 16 Sep
2018). Does anyone have a good high resolution picture showing the 3-car DMU tram running please?
1982] Kirkham & Wesham: The station and track layout have been completely altered. The through
lines have gone and there is a new P3 for Up trains towards Preston, accessed by a new footbridge
with (not yet commissioned) lifts. The original Down island platform remains in use, P2 is for trains to
Blackpool North and P1 (non-electrified) to South. There is a short section of re-doubled track at the
start of the Blackpool South branch (right hand side electrified), offering some operational flexibility.
1983] Blackpool Trams: The Blackpool North branch extension is proceeding and work has exposed
some sections of the original tramway rails. Demolition of the large Wilko building will be needed
before the new terminus can be constructed. A one-platform Talbot Square stop will be built on the
branch to match the two North Pier stops on the 'main line'; the latter are staggered either side of the
new triangular junction. Drivers will change ends at North Station stop as there is no room for a loop.
1984] Blackpool North Pier Tramway: The Victorian Pier opened 1863 and a tramway was installed
after a major refurbishment in 1991 to offer promenaders and theatre goers a safe alternative to
walking. (The pier's wooden boarding can be difficult to negotiate in bad weather.) On 2 Sep 1991 the
2' 11" (891mm) gauge Pier Tramway opened to passengers. Destinations were shown on the tram as
'Theatre' and 'Tram Stop'. A three car 'DMU' ran as a permanently coupled train. It was built by Harry
Steer Engineering of Breaston, Derbyshire in 1991. The company specialised in designing, building and
maintaining fairground equipment. The centre car had a diesel engine and the train could carry up to
56 passengers - about half standing. In 1991 the Blackpool North Pier Tramway was the first entirely
new pier railway built in Britain for over 80 years (Southport Pier tram opened in 2005).
The driver collected the fares and was responsible for the correct operation of the concertina doors
(two per car on the north side). The line was so short that most visitors to the pier walked anyway
(avoiding the fare). There is a 2001 report in BLN of passengers walking from the theatre to join the
tram to be told that couldn't buy a ticket and were sent back to the box office for one. Most not being
BLS members continued walking and the tram ran empty - was there a pantomime on? Running was
seasonal and at times sporadic. The tramway closed after last operating on 23 Sep 2003 with the tram
removed from the pier for scrap in Jun 2004. The rails are now boarded over for a 'land train' to run.
1313 SOUTH EAST - NORTH & EAST ANGLIA (Julian James) [email protected]
1985] Oxford: (BLN 1312.1873) Note new line names are used. On Thur 20 Sep the 04.47 (SSuX) HST
from Hereford to London Paddington, the first train of the day, was slipping on leaving intermediate
stations to Worcester so arrived at Wolvercot/e Jn 8 minutes late. To your correspondent's surprise
and delight it ran in the Up direction on the Down Oxford (was the Down Main and the bidirectional
signalling was commissioned only recently). At Oxford Station North Jn a rare crossover to the left was
taken to the Up Oxford then a common one to the Up Oxford Relief to call, as booked, at P3. Said rare
crossover is normally used only by ECS terminating in P4 and turning back via the new Down Oxford
Turnback Line to P3 - although many things are now possible with the new signalling. The reason this
happened is that the 06.39 Banbury to Oxford, Hinksey Reception Lines, Chiltern DMU ECS working
arrived on time alongside to the left on the Up Oxford and they ran side by side until the ECS was held
before the station for our member's HST to cross in front. He had been hoping for P4 but to the right
of his HST a passenger train was departing north from P4 via the Down Oxford Relief (now the normal
passenger route to Wolvercote/e Jn) followed by another terminating in P4. The Chiltern ECS forms
the 07.46 Oxford to Marylebone; it is a peak train, too long for the 'Chiltern Bays' P1 & 2 so departs
from P4 - thus doing the now relatively rare crossover to the Down Oxford then to Oxford North Jn.
On Fri 21 Sep the 21.01 (SSuX) Didcot Parkway to Oxford 2-car DMU shuttle was observed to arrive in
P3 from the south, having crossed from the Down Oxford at Hinksey North Jn to the Up Oxford Relief.
It waited on the latter, south of the platform (the former Up & Down Passenger Loop) while a five
minutes late Up CrossCountry service called at P3 and passed it via the now much less common route
over the 30mph facing crossover (right) south of P3 to the Up Oxford. This DMU is booked for a six
minute turnback in P3 and impressively left on time despite arriving there four minutes late.
1986] Reedham: (BLN 1298.248) The Up Refuge Siding east of the station and passing to rear of the
signal box was to be taken out of use from 24 Sep. The trailing points between the siding and the Up
Main line were to be clipped and padlocked in the normal position pending removal.
1987] Flitwick - Bedford: (BLNs 1103.1044 &1286.1659) The original planning agreement for the
housing development at Wixams south of Bedford and east of the Midland Main Line did not make the
delivery of a station a condition of the development. Instead the developers were to contribute less
than half the estimated cost with the rest funded nationally. However the government has failed to
back the project since work began on the Wixams development in 2007. A £14M funding gap meant
that there were doubts about whether the station would actually come to pass. Now it is intended that
the project will be included in Bedford Borough Council's capital budget. The council expects to fund
the outstanding cost by borrowing money and then recover it in income received through rail fares.
1988] Felixstowe: (BLN 1303.849) Routs Level Crossing near Nacton reopened on 10 Sep after closure
due to the collision between a car and a freight train on 14 Mar. Repairs have taken almost six months.
The power operated gates have been replaced by manual ones, but the red and green warning light
system remains. The signage has also been renewed. The crossing, which is for authorised users only
with no public right of way over it, has single full width gates of welded tubular steel construction.
1313 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]
1989] A Interesting Deal in Kent: Mechanical signalling with semaphore starters and advance starters
are retained at Deal controlled from the 'Odeon' style signal box at the level crossing beyond the north
end of the station. The station building on the Up, Dover bound, platform appears original and is in full
use with a booking office, toilets and café. The trailing crossovers at each end of the station could
usefully survive any resignalling. Weekend engineering work usually closes Buckland Jn to Minster
East Jn but the Deal crossovers would permit regular shorter workings in either direction with a single
reversal in either Up P1 or Down P2. No sooner the word than the deed … all weekend of 22 & 23 Sep
St Pancras trains ran from and returned to the north turning back in P1 (if you missed this don't get
crossover it). Each platform has step free access by side entrances; this and the footbridge provide a
regular pedestrian route across the railway. Dover to Deal is 9¼ miles and Deal to Ramsgate 12½ with
no other crossovers at the four intermediate stations (not counting Minster). The off peak service is
hourly high speed St Pancras - Dover - St Pancras. The busy interesting town of Deal is three minutes
walk from the station; the promenade and unusual concrete pier is two minutes more.
1990] Lewes: The 1898 pedestrian bridge between Pelham Terrace and Landport Rd has received an
extensive makeover. Lewes MP Maria Caulfield helped add some sealant to NR's work on 7 Sep before
the scaffolding was removed for reopening to the public on 24 Sep. Dyer & Butler carried out the
repairs to the wrought-iron style structure, installing extra steel under the bridge to strengthen it,
before sand blasting the bridge to remove paint and corrosion. It has received a fresh coat of paint,
and timber decking has been replaced with maintenance free, glass reinforced plastic equivalents, with
a 50 year lifespan. The solid steel cladding on the bridge sides will be replaced with see-through mesh.
1991] Hove: Track renewal was carried out at Hove Sidings (Up side) during a 52-hour possession over
the weekend of 1 Sep. This included replacement and realignment of track, renewal of wooden
sleepers with concrete ones, the refurbishment of the conductor rail, upgrading power cabling and
installation of the train drivers' safe walking routes. The work is for short term Class 700 EMU stabling
while long term storage options are being developed. Your Regional Editor can confirm relaying of No1
siding alongside the Up Brighton; it has been little used since coal traffic ceased in about May 1991.
NEXT PAGE TOP: The exterior of the Grade II listed Woking Electrical Control Room which would have
looked pristine when new in Southern Railway days.
LOWER: Woking Electric Control Room (inside) is like something out of the 1930s. It is something out
of the 1930s in fact; built by Swedish firm ASEA (Allmänna Svenska Elektriska Aktiebolaget to you).
1992] Woking Electrical Control Room (ECR): By Stuart Hicks. This closed Grade II listed ECR is opened
to the public on Heritage Open Days and was this year over three weekends, 10.00-14.00. A member
visited on Sun 9 Sep. It was staffed for this purpose by NR, probably from other ECRs who can
therefore explain things to the public. Woking ECR opened in 1936 for the Alton and Portsmouth third
rail electrification and the area was extended from 1 Jan 1939 to include Reading and Camberley.
Waterloo to Reading on a 2-BIL EMU took 75 minutes as opposed to 90 minutes steam hauled.
It is believed that a blank space on the northeast end wall was intended for electrification from Ash to
Wokingham, which is still a DMU service. Outside the unattractive flat roof is of heavy thick concrete
construction - protection against aerial bombardment with WWII impending. However, the exterior is
attractively designed, with pilasters and a slightly projecting cornice breaking up into bays what could
otherwise have been a slab-sided dull building. The ECR closed as such in 1997, but parts and adjacent
areas are still in operational railway use so it cannot be opened more often. Inside, the actual control
room area is pure Art Deco, topped with a domed white ceiling with uplighters. The walls are mostly
covered in black panels for each of the electrical sub stations and Track Paralleling huts, along with the
National Grid connections of the routes covered: ●Egham to Reading, ●Camberley branch, ●Alton via
Ash Vale & Wanborough and ●Portsmouth line to Liss.
The substation names and the electric supply circuits are marked out in silver. Most of the switches are
made from Bakelite, the stylish and tactile early form of plastic - some later additions were clearly
being slightly sympathetic but most definitely different. To make the room look more realistic,
equipment has been set up behind the scenes to light most of the circuit breakers and display them as
either red (closed) or green (open). Also on show are a variety of related ephemera: some conductor
rail holders, and old literature from manufacturers. In a side room some of the rotating devices used to
communicate with the Track Paralleling huts and substations are set up for display - they rotate until
communication is made with the relevant outside facility and then allow breakers to be opened/closed
as required. A very well worthwhile and interesting visit.
BELOW: Detail from the wall with an interesting name for a Track Paralleling Hut. [If he is being
supplied with free electricity he would be 'jolly' too.] The line across the top shows the National Grid
supply connections and the bottom the rail feeds and neutral sections.
1313 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon) [email protected]
1993] Penzance (in England) oh boy! The Irish Railway Records Society has 'recorded' a short 3ft 6in
gauge line at Penzance, used for moving buoys from a workshop to a quay. Eventually the workshop
became a museum, and a single wagon was displayed outside, complete with a buoy on it.
The museum closed and after a period in store the wagon and buoy were displayed at the Lizard
Lighthouse & Heritage Centre. Due to some deterioration the wagon has just been moved and is in
store nearby. It is basically a wooden chassis, but is interesting because it was built by Ashbury Co Ltd
of Manchester, and carries a works plate. The wagon is 3.35m long, 1.66m wide and is 0.6m in height.
Its owners now wish to dispose of the wagon so have offered it for preservation (girls may apply too).
1994] Bristol Block Buster: (BLN 1308.1394) Although there are no booked passenger trains at Bristol
Parkway from 15 Sep until 7 Oct (both incl) for electrification works, there are ECS moves. IETs from
Stoke Gifford Depot have been reversing in Parkway P4 then running to Patchway (for Swansea and
Hereford). Some also run via Parkway P4 to Bristol Temple Meads for the start of service. These are
mostly early morning and back in the evening with nothing evidently running via Westerleigh Jn.
1995] Strike while the track is hot: On SWR strike days (Saturdays) a shuttle service runs between
Weymouth and Bournemouth P4, crossing over from Up to Down on arrival. A similar Southampton
to Fareham shuttle reverses in Fareham P2 bay. The Corfe Castle shuttles have been a casualty.
1996] Avonmouth (Bristol) Bulk Handling Terminal: 19 Jul 2018 was the 25th anniversary of the
first loaded MGR coal train to Didcot Power Station after opening of the terminal. A conveyor belt
runs from the Royal Portbury Dock, partly beneath the River Avon (the lock gate at Avonmouth is too
small to handle the largest coal ships from North America). Class 37s were unsuccessful at operating
the working, the computer programming always assumed that the second loco was a wagon and
discharged coal onto its roof […or thought it was a steam engine?]! (Cardiff & Avonside Rly Society.)
1997] Westbury: P2 & 3 are too short for effective introduction and operation of the 10-car 260m long
new Class 80x trains. Therefore NR has proposed lengthening of P2 (by 76m) and P3 (55m) both at the
Country end with alterations to the lighting, signalling, telecommunication and public-address systems.
Additional is the relocation or removal of an existing staff foot crossing and associated lighting, from
the existing to the new platform ends. The works will allow timetable enhancements.
1998] Russian espionage & Novichok: (BLN 1288.1869) Recent events in Salisbury have been, in part,
attributed to the 'pause' in the development for plans for opening of a new Wilton Parkway station
[certainly a very original excuse]. The drop in local tourism and post Brexit economic priorities have
worked against the strongest possible economic case being available to support the new Park & Ride.
The station is still on Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership's long term investment plan.
An alternative option would be a station on the Exeter line but the economic benefits are lower.
1999] Stapleton Road: This station, between St Marks Rd and Stapleton Rd, OP 8 Sep1863 on the new
Bristol to New Passage Ferry line (for South Wales). It became a major interchange. The station is now
receiving significant new investment as part of re-quadrupling between Dr Day's Jn and Filton Abbey
Wood including the extension of the footbridge over the newly laid Up Filton Main and Down Filton
Main with the replacement of the (disused) weak Stapleton Rd viaduct demolished summer 2017.
NEXT PAGE UPPER: Requadrupling work at (Bristol) Stapleton Road station recently looking north
towards Filton Abbey Wood with a train for Bristol temple Meads. (John Cameron).
LOWER: The new bridge for the new lines; the existing lines are to the left (Geof Sheppard 7 Jul 2018).
2000] Filton Bank: (BLN 1305.1069) PREVIOUS PAGE: Thanks to our Map Man, Martyn Brailsford, a
plan before/after the forthcoming completion of re-quadrupling and its subsequent commissioning. At
the top of the plan, the disused platforms (4m 64ch) shown between Filton Jn No1 and No2 Jns were at
the 1886 Filton station (Filton Junction from 1910 until 1968), where the final train called on Sat 31
May 1997. It was latterly served SO (Pilning style) by one train in each direction. The first Filton station
(1863 - 1886) was slightly further south. Filton Abbey Wood OP 11 Mar 1996 and recorded 1.07M
passengers in 2016-17. The closed station further south of it (3m 55ch) on the new Down Filton Main
was Horfield Platform OP Sat 14 May 1927, actually with two platforms. It was renamed Horfield from
Thur 20 Apr 1933 after the original line quadrupling. There was then a central island and two outer
platforms; it CP from Mon 23 Nov 1964 (a fact previously unrecorded in BLN!). The Barrow Road
branch junction (128m 75ch) was actually plain lined 28 Sep 2013 due to a derailment (BLN 1226.279).
ABOVE: Further down the line at Filton Abbey Wood the fourth (west most) platform is taking shape
on the right as is its access ramp. It is evident where the extra track will be. Looking south. (David Guy,
on an overcast 12 Sep 2018 although at Filton Abbey Wood there is never a dull moment.)
NEXT PAGE UPPER: May 1975, a Cross Country DMU from North Filton Platform as it was called
(around the curve on the line towards Avonmouth via Henbury) is seen on the curve to Filton Jn.
It was not advertised in the public timetable until its departure from Filton station but was in in PSUL.
That shows the train running to Bristol TM rather than Taunton. Note how the scene has changed so
much here - including far more vegetation now. (This and next two by Ian Mortimer.)
LOWER: The very run down (like many stations at the time) but still open former Filton station in May
1975 - Bristol Parkway round the corner had opened in 1972. Note the 'second man' on the Class 47.
ABOVE: Stapleton Road also in May 1975, four tracks and four platforms. The lines on the right are
those being reinstated here and the poor state of the recently demolished and replaced bridge in the
background was one of the reasons given for de-quadrupling from 19 Dec 1984 to save the cost of
replacement. It was also said that two tracks could handle all the traffic (and more) and the two tacks
would be realigned to ease curvature for faster running.
2001] Portbury Branch: Cardiff & Avonside Railway Society also reports that this branch is believed not
to have had vegetation clearance since a short term GBRf Honda car flow contract in July 2016. New
Mk5 sleeper coaches recently imported via the Royal Portbury Dock have reportedly been damaged in
transit over the branch. Holyhead has been tested as an alternative for coach deliveries.
1313 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]
2002] Anglesea Sidings (SK 056 065): A correspondent was surprised to see staff working on a track
machine recently on a Saturday evening right at the end of this branch (taken out of use 26 Mar 2005)
from Lichfield City Jn. The former rail served Charrington's Fuel Oil terminal site is occupied by Quattro
Rail Plant who provide training services for prospective railway staff. https://goo.gl/nxpQKj (12 mins)
is for Mr Brown and others who did not do Walsall to Lichfield before it closed from 19 Mar 1984 as a
though route. How about a Society riding visit to Quattro perhaps https://goo.gl/QvGfr7 (2¼ mins)?
2003] L&BR: On 17 Sep the modern London Northwestern Railway celebrated the 180th anniversary of
the first London to Birmingham train service. London Euston OP 20 Jul 1837 and on 17 Sep 1838, the
112 mile long London & Birmingham Railway, operated the first departure for Birmingham.
Birmingham Curzon Street station was reached only 5½ hours later! From 16 Jul 1846 the line became
part of the London & North Western Railway. 180 years later, 180 passenger services a day (how
convenient) run on the route in the week. On 17 Sep 2018 there was a special giveaway at New Street.
X.139] Malvern Link: NEXT PAGE TOP: (BLN 1123.1305) Work continues on converting the rest of
Station House, the former stationmaster's house to luxury self-catering apartments. An extra floor
with a matching balcony is taking shape at the right end of the building - this will give a superb view of
the Malvern Hills and, more importantly, passing trains. The stonework is typical of Malvern houses
and walls. (David Guy 22 Aug 2018) https://goo.gl/eZhGE9 has more pictures and how to book.
2004] Duddeston: (BLN 1310.1681) There is no sign of further work; security fencing is as on Google
Earth. Builders' supply bags with redundant signalling cables await collection from the former Up Slow.
2005] Chase Line: (BLN 1310.1680) Wiring continues south to Bloxwich North. However it looks like
there may be a problem at Hednesford, where temporary droppers and hangers remain. At Walsall
there is wiring only over the Up Fast through Park Street Tunnel but clear evidence of electrification of
all four lines now (contrary to the original intention). Separate masts have been erected for the Down
Slow adjacent to those for the Up Slow through the platforms, and various other bits of steelwork to
Pleck Jn. The installation of lineside cabling is in progress between Armitage neutral section and
Rugeley Trent Valley, presumably to allow the Chase Line to be fed if the main lines are isolated.
2006] Four Ashes: (BLN 1286.1670) The proposed rail served West Midlands Interchange, with
warehousing and associated development, is to be examined by the Planning Inspectorate. Next to the
Wolverhampton to Stafford line it is designed to take 'up to*' 10 x 775m long trains daily. 'Up to*'
743,200m2 of new rail-served warehousing is planned. A Development Consent Order application was
submitted on 3 Aug. The Planning Inspectorate has accepted this and will now invite stakeholders,
Nimbys and the public to register their interest in participating in an examination of the plans. As one
would expect the plans met with numerous objections during the consultation stages. *Zero is a figure
'up to' of course; perhaps actually running trains (including railtours) should be a planning condition?
2007] A Grand Crossover: As part of the extension works, Grand Central stop trailing crossover is in
passenger use by all trams on departure (from the arrivals platform) from 24 Sep for 12 weeks.
2008] Curzon Street: The NCP car park on the former parcels depot has closed for HS2 construction.
2009] Kenilworth: A member made a short diversion from Coventry recently on a Saturday, to alight
from 153365 at the new station. The station building looks magnificent and has a small café, part of
the ticket office, which is open to early evening. The 109yd long platform (P1) is west of the line, four
coaches long with 1, 2, 3 and 4 car 'stop signs' in each direction, in anticipation of longer trains than
the current shuttle. Two-car Class 170s are due to run from the Dec timetable and redoubling here is
scheduled to take place before HS2 opens! The 18.36 from Coventry was full, with a few even standing
(perhaps because the 18.30 XC southbound was around 50 minutes late due to signal failure south of
Wolverhampton with passengers advised to take this train and change at Leamington).
However the return working north at 19.08 was also about half full, with several alighting and four
others (plus our member) boarding. Surprisingly there are two footbridges immediately north of the
station buildings, a public footbridge (without lifts) next to the station buildings (over the platform)
and just north of it, at the platform end, the newly installed station footbridge, which does have lifts,
ready for the southbound P2. The 72 space car park (only £1 Saturday) still held around a dozen cars.
2010] Rugby: In a demonstration of the potential risks posed by having signalling concentrated in a
few centres, a fire alarm at the Rugby ROC on 18 Sep resulted in closure from 20.50 to 23.15 and trains
being cancelled or running up to 176 minutes late. The Stafford Workstation signaller brought all trains
it covered to a stand. Arrangements were made for trains trapped from Crewe to Madeley Jn, Stone
to Norton Bridge and Whitehouse Jn to Colwich Jn to return and be diverted between Stoke-on-Trent
and Colwich Jn via Hixon. This was achieved by fringe boxes authorising services to set back by GSM-R.
The 19.00 Bristol to Manchester returned from Wolverhampton to New St then continued onward via
Landor Street, Nuneaton (reverse), Colwich then as booked (161 minutes late at Stafford). The 17.45
Bournemouth to Manchester took the same route to Colwich but then direct to Stone. The 21.04 ATW
Birmingham International to Manchester booked anyway via Shrewsbury terminated at Chester,
having been held at New Street due to congestion at Wolverhampton. The fire alarm had activated in
the ROC 1st floor server room due to a defective compressor unit that had been switched on in error.
2011] Wolverhampton - Walsall: (BLN 1311.1786) The second West Midlands Railway Birmingham to
Shrewsbury service which was to have begun in Dec this year, (and now presumably in May 2019), is
understood to be likely to serve Darlaston and Willenhall long before the Walsall service begins which
appears to require significant changes to Wolverhampton's layout (although it did run hourly before).
2012] Blackwell: (BLN 1310.1679) On 14 Sep the quite long Blackwell Down Goods Loop (52m 57ch -
53m 12ch) at the top of the Lickey Incline was noticed to be back in use again and shiny throughout.
1313 YORKSHIRE & NORTH HUMBERSIDE (Graeme Jolley; Geoff Blyth for North & East Yorks)
2013] West Yorkshire rail accessibility: Over 170 new, free Park & Ride spaces have been created by
West Yorkshire Combined Authority at Fitzwilliam, Mirfield and South Elmsall. There are plans for
further schemes at Mytholmroyd, Normanton, Shipley and Steeton & Silsden that could start over the
next 12 to 18 months. Feasibility work is being carried out at Apperley Bridge, Guiseley, Moorthorpe,
Ben Rhydding and Outwood. Work has begun to improve accessibility to Hebden Bridge, with lifts to
both platforms, resurfacing the walkway at the front of the station and 46 additional parking spaces.
2014] West Yorkshire rail accessibility gone too far… A vehicle took 'accessibility' to the next level on
the night of 15 Aug. The owner of a large tractor saw the vehicle, attached to two trailers, running
away. He called the police at 20.45 to advise them that it had gone onto the railway - (170m 28ch)
about two miles northwest of Fitzwilliam station. The OHLE had tripped and would not reset; all lines
were blocked and an emergency traction current isolation was taken between South Kirkby and
Ardsley. No trains were trapped on open line. An OHLE structure had been demolished and other
infrastructure was also damaged. Arrangements were made for a loco (a Class 37 - 'tractor' perhaps?)
to rescue an EMU trapped at Fitzwilliam which required removal to give OHLE staff track access.
ABOVE: Tractor on the line near Fitzwilliam …. that signal really shouldn't be showing a 'proceed'
aspect; another case where GSM-R stopped all trains in the area quickly. (Network Rail Press Release)
However, the loco's fixed screw coupling could not be removed so it was unable to rescue the train.
The tractor was entangled in the OHLE structure and a tree, requiring the Fire Service to assist with its
removal. In fact a specialist recovery company was needed to remove the tractor and trailers as the
couplings on the vehicles had been damaged. Wakefield Westgate - Doncaster services were diverted
where possible. Emergency repairs were completed overnight and some services resumed at 10.30
next morning at a reduced speed, with a full service from 13.00. However, electric trains had to coast
through the affected area. The OHLE was repaired that night, enabling electric trains to operate
normally. 21 trains were cancelled, 13 partially so, and 63 trains delayed by a total of 1,376 minutes.
2015] ECML, Selby Diversion, Temple Hirst Jn - Colton Jn: (BLN 1311.1790). A member has offered an
insight into the first and last trains over the new and old routes. Trains marked ** are ones he actually
travelled on between Doncaster and York. 24 Sep 1983 was the last day for the old route between
Barlby North Jn and Chaloners Whin Jn. The **20.00 King's Cross - Newcastle HST was the final
northbound train and the 20.54 Newcastle - King's Cross (hauled by 47016, York dep 22.34) the last
train ever. They then ran via Shaftholme Jn - Askern - Knottingley until Sat 1 Oct. According to the
York station announcer, the first train over the new line was the 14.10 Newcastle - King's Cross (York
dep 15.17) on that day (Sat 1 Oct 1983). The next was the **14.00 Edinburgh - King's Cross HST, which
made a special stop at Doncaster. This passed the 15.00 King's Cross - Aberdeen on the new line and
also a merry-go-round coal train, which may thus have been the first revenue earning train over the
Hambleton South Jn - West Jn curve. The 17.55 York - King's Cross ran via Askern but the **17.30
King's Cross - Newcastle HST ran via the new line. So it seems that the quoted commissioning date of
Sun 2 Oct 1983 is incorrect. Apparently, in BR days it was not unknown for a line to (re)open early if
everything was ready. What a difference from today's world! Mon 3 Oct was the official opening date.
2016] Scunthorpe Steel Works: On 19 Sep NR and British Steel signed a two year contract extension
for Scunthorpe plant to continue to supply long rail. It is to supply about 200,000 tonnes (2,500 miles)
of rail between March 2019 and March 2021. In April this year, British Steel started building a new
facility at its Scunthorpe site to increase its capability to support Network Rail's requirements for new
rail types for a more sustainable railway. Zinoco® coated rails (BLN 1304.944) are used in areas where
corrosion can be an issue, including along coasts, in wet tunnels and on level crossings.
1313 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]
2017] Londonderry: The line to Bellarena was closed during the evening of Wed 12 Sep due to the
discovery of an unexploded WW2 torpedo near Lisahally. The 21.38 ex-Londonderry plus 20.10 &
21.10 ex-Belfast Great Victoria Street were replaced by buses between Bellarena and Londonderry.
The 21.10 later ran ECS (Bellarena to Londonderry) after Royal Navy specialists dealt with the torpedo.
2018] Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway: Some revised notes from the new edition (8 Nov 2017) of
Edward Patterson's standard work. £16 paperback from Amazon https://goo.gl/J8Nvzg includes P&P.
֎Carndonagh - Buncrana: Official closure (all traffic) from 2 Dec 1935; last train ran 30 Nov 1935.
֎Londonderry - Buncrana: Regular passenger traffic ceased after traffic 26 Sep 1948. Passenger trains
then operated on local bank holiday weekends. The last day such trains ran was 6 Aug 1951. The last
Goods train Buncrana to Londonderry ran 8 Aug 1953 and official closure was from 10 Aug 1953.
֎Tooban Junction - Letterkenny: CP with effect from 3 Jun 1940 but passengers were carried on
goods trains from March 1943 [a great idea]. This ceased with closure of Gweedore line (6 Jan 1947 -
below) . Last goods train Letterkenny to Londonderry 8 Aug 1953. Official closure from 10 Aug 1953.
֎Letterkenny - Gweedore - Burtonport: Official CA 3 Jun 1940; sporadic goods traffic until end July.
֎Letterkenny - Gweedore : ROG 14 Jun 1941. Goods trains provided passenger accommodation from
Mar 1943. Service withdrawn from 6 Jan 1947 but goods traffic ran occasionally until an unknown date
in Jun 1947. Operations as a bus and road freight company continued with 'Railway' in the title, until
the last buses ran on 19 Apr 2014. It was wound up by HMRC in the UK due to huge tax debts.
2019] One Track Mind: Single Line Working was introduced over the Up Line between Portarlington
(Cork end common facing crossover) and Portlaoise trailing crossover 629 on Sat 8, 22 & 29 Sep 2018.
2020] Coleraine - Londonderry: Is closed for engineering after the passage of 21.38 Londonderry to
Belfast Lanyon Place (was Central) on Fri 5 Oct until end of traffic on Sun 7 Oct. Buses replace trains,
but will not serve Bellarena station. Passengers to or from this station are expected to make their own
way to or from Limavady bus station (6½ miles away) where the buses will call, or use the infrequent
service bus (roughly every 150 minutes and only four in total all day) between these two locations.
2021] IR Timetable: (BLN 1312.1902) Following 'customer feedback', from Mon 17 Sep additional
(SSuX) services were provided from Portmarnock at 07.29 to Pearse and 07.42 to Bray and from
Clongriffin at 07.45 to Bray. IR believes that these changes will address the capacity issues that have
arisen particularly at inner DART stations such as Harmonstown and Killester and also the frequency
concerns from customers from Portmarnock and Clongriffin. Portmarnock now has the same number
of peak morning services as before the timetable change and Clongriffin has one extra. IR's website
also mentions… 'The provision of additional off-peak commuter services from December of this year…'
2022] New IR timetable moves: ●Clongriffin Loop: (SSuX) 06.15, 07.45, 10.25, 12.25, 14.25, 16.05
……………………………………………………& 18.05 Bray to Malahide plus 16.34 Greystones to Malahide.
●Skerries Golf Club facing crossover (17m 20ch) and then the bidirectional Up line in the Down
…direction via Skerries P1 to turnback in Balbriggan P1: From Dublin Connolly (SSuX) 11.07 to Dundalk
…and 18.50 to Drogheda plus (SO) 11.05 to Dundalk and 16.35 to Drogheda.
●Dublin Connolly P7 - Newcomen Jn: 08.00 (SuX) Connolly P7 to Sligo PSUL as before.
●Pearse Down Loop: Booked to be used by (SSuX): 15.31 Malahide to Greystones; 15.40 Howth to
…Bray; 16.33 Connolly to Rosslare and 16.10 Malahide to Bray.
2023] Dublin Connolly: Maynooth services now run from/to P4 and Drogheda trains P3. Except:
(SSuX) 16.25 ex-Maynooth and 17.30 return plus 17.13 ex-Maynooth and 18.02 return (booked P7).
2024] Wexford Online Special: Dublin to/from Wexford or Rosslare (122 miles) only €4.99 (£4.47)
single per person, book 3 days or more ahead (up to 90 days) with a reserved seat. Stunning scenery.
1313 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
2025] Ramsey: (BLN 1311.1801) There was an article in the local press recently based on Member of
House of Keys, Dr Alex Allinson's reaction to the Government's decision to draft plans for transport in
the North, which will eventually be for public consultation. He hopes that Ramsey's bus station can be
moved to a site adjacent to the railway, so that the original bus station site can be redeveloped. The
previous plan for a bus/tram interchange failed after a planning application was turned down in 2015.
2026] Laxey: At about 12.20 on 13 Sep a van hit a stationary tram at the level crossing by the Mines
pub. Emergency services attended and paramedics treated two people in the van for minor injuries.
None of the 17 passengers on the MER tram was injured; fire crews were at the scene for about 30
minutes. A Department of Infrastructure spokesperson said the tram was only left with minor damage.
[Regional Ed's note: For sheer entertainment value alone, it is worth sitting and watching the traffic
here as a pleasant hour's interlude. Invariably in today's modern age of sealed, air conditioned,
cocooned vehicles with the info-entertainment system turned to maximum, drivers (particularly local)
seem oblivious to the signs warning of trams. They always seem to be particularly surprised that trams
actually cross. While stationmaster at Douglas, the number of complaints received from irate car
drivers that trams had not sounded their whistle or slowed down was legion - around two a week on
average. One particular local lady there was forever complaining that the tram had not whistled.
Your Regional Ed usually had to shout a reply as the lady in question was rather hard of hearing…]
2027] Douglas Bay Horse Tramway: (BLN
1304.986) Conflicting information has recently
gone out in press releases about the Promenade,
but the general understanding is that the work
will take four years, not two. The main
contractor may not have been appointed yet,
and, if they have, they have not been named, so
the assumption is that this year's Horse Tram
service will indeed run on the original alignment
until 4 Nov. No one has any idea yet of the timetable and operating limits for future years.
1313 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe) [email protected]
2028] Fouldubs Jn (FD): From 24 Sep this was to have NR's newest semaphores (previously Henwick);
electrification masts on the Grangemouth branch restrict the sighting of the old semaphore signals.
FD18 (No1 Loop Semaphore signal) is replaced with a ground mounted mechanical disc signal.
FD34 (Shunt Sidings Semaphore signal) is replaced with a ground mounted mechanical disc signal.
FD15/20 (Down Grangemouth Goods Line) Semaphore is replaced with a new one on a shorter post.
FD29 (Up Oil Terminal Line) Semaphore is replaced with a new one on a shorter post.
FD26/27 (Up Oil Terminal Line) Semaphores replaced by a ground mounted double mechanical disc.
2029] Kyle Line: (BLN 1312.1909) Attadale rock shelter, on the Kyle side of the station side is 2ch long
from 48m 39ch to 48m 41ch and you can now do it in your car. From 3 Sep the railway here is being
used as a road replacement road! Road traffic on the A890 Stromeferry Bypass is being diverted over
the railway for up to 12 weeks while repair work is carried out to the crumbling roadside rock face.
Reassuringly vehicles, with a strict 7.5 tonne weight limit and various length restrictions, can only use
the diversion when trains are not passing. There is a very complicated timetable of 'slots' available for
road traffic which varies considerably according to the special trains running - there appear to be quite
a few! Road vehicles too heavy or too long have a 130 mile diversion instead. From the picture it is
single line working over a rubber roadway of the type found at level crossings (ABOVE LEFT). It fills up
between the rail heads and extends out each side of the single track with white lines painted on both
sides. Could this be described as 'Motorail'? It would be worth a long drive for the novelty value alone.
2030] Highland Main Line: As part of the loop extension work and resignalling at Pitlochry and
Aviemore, engineering work is planned from Sat 24th until Mon 26th Nov (both all inclusive), with
closure of the Perth to Inverness line. Caledonian Sleeper services are diverted via Fife and Aberdeen.
LNER and ScotRail trains terminate at Perth, except on Sun 25th, when buses also replace trains
between Falkirk Grahamstown and Dundee (!). Throughout, Perth to Inverness is served by buses.
2031] Culloden: At about 02.00 on 19 Sep the 05.38 (18th) Hartlepool South Works to Inverness
(for Georgemas Junction), headed by 66099, struck trees south of Culloden Viaduct on the 'Single' line.
The driver was uninjured but advised there was damage to the head lamp and branches had lodged on
the loco, but he was able to continue at a reduced speed of 5mph, with arrangements made for the
train to terminate short at Millburn Yard. Subsequently two wheels on the loco derailed by the trailing
crossover between Culloden Viaduct and Culloden Moor on the 'Single' line, closing the Highland Line
between Inverness and (perhaps surprisingly) Perth. The Rail Accident Investigation Branch advised
that they were not deploying staff to site, and were happy for recovery to commence. The Down
Caledonian Sleeper ran via Aberdeen with full normal passenger service resumed the following day.
2032] Robroyston: (BLN 1225.201) Work has commenced on this long-awaited (unstaffed) station,
between Stepps and Springburn, said to be Glasgow's 60th. Clearance works have been completed.
Construction began on 12 Sep with completion expected for opening on 8 Dec 2019. It is to serve some
1,600 homes and have 258 spaces in a new Park & Ride facility accessed from the M80 Stepps Bypass.
Funding is by Glasgow City Council, Network Rail and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport.
2033] Borders Railway: OP 6 Sep 2015 the line continues to be a great success with over 4M journeys
made. 1.3M passengers travelled in the first year, 1.37M in the second and now 1.5M (up 5.8% in 12
months). However, some services are severely overcrowded. This results in delays, uncollected fares
and under-reporting of usage. More seriously, potential passengers may be discouraged from taking
the train. The cause is the continued shortage of rolling stock. More coaches have been provided and
some services now run with extra capacity but many busy trains still operate with 2-car formations. On
recent peak hours visits your BLN Editor noted that there was significant standing on a 4-car DMU set
from Edinburgh to Brunstane and Newcraighall (only a 4m 54ch journey) after which most had a seat.
As the peak service trains run from Fife the secret to having a window seat is to join at Haymarket.
Campaign for Borders Rail AGM is Sat 20 Oct 13.00 at Hawick High School (public session 14.15-16.00).
2034] Stirling Up Passenger Loop: (BLN 1302.781) ROA 17 Sep with removal of the temporary stop block
(117m 74ch). In connection with electrification it had been just a siding from the south since 8 Apr 2018.
2035] Ayr: (BLN.1312.1830). New 'OFF' indicators have been provided beyond the starting signals at P1
and 2. Drivers are authorised to start based on the indicator display. This suggests that NR and ScotRail
do not expect the full length of these bay platforms to be available for some time. One EMU ECS now
stables overnight at Largs and three at Glasgow Central. The hotel saga continues. The Scottish
Buildings Heritage Trust considers that restoration of the 70 room building should take place at a total
cost of £18M, as it is an iconic building and a gateway to Ayr. Demolition under emergency powers is
reportedly NR's preferred option costing an estimated £3M cost. It is not known what Historic
Environment Scotland's involvement has been as the hotel is a listed building. Rail services are
expected to be disrupted until at least mid-October.
2036] Shotts curfew: At present and throughout 2018, Monday to Thursday evenings after 20.00 and
all Sundays, trains are cancelled for electrification works. Replacement buses run over the entire route.
2037] East Kilbride Sesquicentenary: (BLN 1170.1183) ScotRail Alliance has unveiled a plaque at the
station marking the 150th anniversary of the extension from Busby. The line was originally to terminate
there (the branch junction south of Pollokshaws West is Busby Jn), with work beginning in 1863.
During construction the decision was made to extend to East Kilbride; OP 1 Sep 1868. The branch was
one of several in Scotland to be reprieved from closure under the Beeching plan. It is a very popular
Class 156-worked route with some 6-car trains and a Sunday service. The station is adopted with
planters maintained by South Lanarkshire College and the Kiwi Preschool Playgroup. East Kilbride
(the largest town in South Lanarkshire) is the 6th largest settlement in Scotland. On 6 May 1947 it was
designated Scotland's first new town - there has even been past talk of re-extending the branch.
2038] Stranraer: Due to the condition of the points, NR proposes to remove the Down headshunt (the
Ayr end of P1). It has not been used for many years and replacing the points would cost about £40k.
2039] Storm Ali: On 19 Sep ScotRail's website carried the warning 'Do not travel unless essential'.
Much of the central belt and southern Scotland were affected by Storm Ali. The only routes shown as
unaffected were those north of Inverness. Services from Glasgow Central ceased around 12.30 and
Edinburgh about 13.00. A very limited number of trains ran in the early evening on some routes.
2040] Aberdeen - Dyce: As at 18 Sep, heading for Dyce, the new Up Line (fully ballasted) starts almost
immediately north of Hutcheon Street Tunnel - as shown on TRACKmaps Book 1 p17B (Nov 2017).
There is no connection yet into the existing single line but with shiny rails the new track obviously has
had regular use (presumably track machines). The new Up Line starts again soon after the north
buffers at Kittybrewster but was not yet ballasted. At the junction for Waterloo Goods the branch
run-round loop has been relaid along with the points each end and forms a 'third' line on the Up side;
access is currently still via the trailing connection from the Dyce end. Its Aberdeen end connection will
be commissioned with the second track and new signalling next year (layout to be confirmed).
PREVIOUS PAGE BUT ONE TOP: A clear picture of the Aberdeen Waterloo Goods branch junction at
Kittybrewster, considering it was taken through the window of a moving train - the new track is
evident. LOWER: A new widened bridge with ballasted track towards Dyce. (Nick Jones 18 Sep 2018)
PREVIOUS PAGE: Kittybrewster looking towards Dyce, all trains now still use the left line. The new
Aberdeen end connection from the new Down Line to the Aberdeen Waterloo Goods branch run
round loop (for 2019 commissioning) is bottom right. The branch trails in right and the run-round loop
(relaid this end) is in the distance on the right giving the impression of four tracks. (NR 20 Aug 2018)
Towards Dyce the new line is again ballasted but ends abruptly just short of where the existing line
becomes double track (6m 03ch). North of Raith's Farm, no second track has been laid yet and there
does not seem to have been any recent activity within the railway boundary between here and
Inverurie. This section was open throughout the recent Aberdeen to Dyce closure. However, outside
the fence there are recently cleared field areas for works compounds and track access at several
locations between Dyce and Inverurie. These are obviously intended to support the project and an
engineering closure is expected next year. There are no changes at Kintore Crossing/Old Station.
All the derelict and overgrown infrastructure at Port Elphinstone remains intact. The Down Sidings at
Inverurie are occupied by a large number of temporary buildings associated with the redoubling.
1313 WALES (Chris Parker) [email protected]
2041] Bridgend (BLN 1310.1698): Sadly any protests were too muted; NR announced on 7 Sep that
abolition of the barrow crossing is now an established Network Change and work can go ahead.
BELOW: 66016 at Cwmbargoed on 14 Sep 2016 (Nick Jones)
2042] Rebranding (BLN 1312.1917): This is now extending to stations: by 12 Sep the Transport for
Wales logo was superimposed over ATW platform signs at Frodsham, Gobowen, Penmaenmawr,
Llandudno Junction and Colwyn Bay (in chronological order). The larger stations of Chester and
Shrewsbury remained unchanged. As to rolling stock, Class 175 units seem the most reluctant to shed
their ATW 'badges'; news of the change has been slow to reach Alstom at Chester perhaps?
2043] Cwmbargoed: (BLN 1276.584) A previous report from Aberthaw Power Station itself indicated
that Welsh coal was no longer suitable following boiler conversion work in summer 2017. However, on
15 Aug 66506 hauled the 10.39 Cwmbargoed Disposal Point to Aberthaw Reception sidings with
21 loaded HHAs. This was the first such working since 15 Mar 2017 - presumably the coal would be
blended? The inward empties ran as 05.26 Margam to Cwmbargoed. (Cardiff & Avonside Rly Soc.)
2044] North Wales Coast (1): NR is proposing a Network Change variation to address two matters
highlighted by the line speed increases which the recent resignalling has enabled. If implemented, due
to a 'structural issue' with a culvert at 204m 75ch (48ch on the Up side of Prestatyn), the new line
speed of 90mph is to apply to DMUs but the existing one of 75mph will still apply to locomotives in
both directions at this location. A gauging issue with Abergele & Pensarn Up platform means that a
90mph speed board originally to be at 214m 70ch (1m 40ch before the station) is now to be sited a
mere 10ch before it at 213m 40ch. Sectional running times between Shotton and Colwyn Bay are to
be reassessed with the new line speeds including these changes, speeding the service up.
2045] North Wales Coast Line (2): The RAIB is investigating an incident on 17 Aug when the 09.53
Manchester to Holyhead loco hauled train passed over Bagillt Crossing (193m 52ch, at the west end of
the former station) at 75mph, too close for comfort just after a heavy goods vehicle had crossed.
The lorry driver, who was in possession of a key for the user-worked gates, had telephoned Rhyl
Workstation signaller in Wales ROC and been given permission to cross. The crossing is not protected
by signals and is the access for large vehicles to a scrapyard some way to the west, on the site of the
former Bettisfield Colliery. There is also a footbridge for pedestrians and, like at the Bishton crossing,
(BLN 1312.1914), smaller vehicles can pass beneath a low underbridge adjacent to the scrapyard.
As this is the site of the former quadruple tracked station, there is a wide spacing between the
remaining tracks because of the one-time island platform. The gates are 25m apart. The investigators
will consider the rules, information and guidance provided for signallers and users, risk and other
management factors and whether the system was safer when the local Holywell Junction signaller was
in charge of the crossing. However there were similar incidents prior to resignalling, on 10 Dec 2014
and 31 Oct 2017. A financially-viable ideal solution is not obvious but it does appear to show the
wisdom of retaining the existing arrangements at Bishton. (N Wales Coast Railway and RAIB websites.)
[Presumably road vehicle driver confirmation that the move is complete is not part of the procedure.]
2046] Haverfordwest: Following other recent South Wales bridge refurbishments (BLN 1310.1700),
Network Rail has announced that the 80 year old decks of Pembroke Road and Milford Road
underbridges in the Merlin's Bridge district south west of Haverfordwest both require replacement at
a cost of £4.25M. As in other NR press releases of late, only the effect on road traffic is mentioned:
Pembroke Road is to be closed from 20.00 on 18 Jan 2019 until 06.00 on 21 Jan and the A4076 at
Milford Rd bridge from 19.00 on 15 Feb until 06.00 on 18 Feb 2019 for this work to be carried out.
Railway closures from Haverfordwest to Milford Haven will presumably apply for similar periods.
2047] East Usk branch: NR is proposing to curtail their boundary with SIMEC (Shipping, Infrastructure,
Mining, Energy and Commodities Group) back from 3m 07ch to 2m 10ch (Corporation Road bridge),
thereby extending the section leased to SIMEC which now owns Uskmouth Power Station, the former
Alpha Steel aluminium works and rail served Birdport. That company wishes to truncate the branch
and reconfigure the infrastructure and land in the new lease area to form an internal railway and gain
a 'more flexible industrial footprint'. Increased rail traffic, both inward and outward, should result.