Number 1314 (Items 2061 - 2198 & MR 195 - MR 204) (E-BLN 71 PAGES) 13 Oct 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 1315 is dated Sat 27 OScot;cipeltey.aSsoecsieetny.d all contributions in by Wed 17 Oct.
Date Event and details = Please Book Online BLN Lead Status
Thu 18 Oct 09.30-20.27 Derby New Track Tracker; PLACES AVAILABLE 1311 TG *OPEN*
Sun 21 Oct 12.00 Andover Model Engineers PLACES AVAILABLE 1307 B/O OPEN
Fri 26 Oct 10.30 Kirklees Light Railway; EXTRA PLACES AVAILABLE 1311 B/O *OPEN*
Fri 26 Oct 15.30 National Coal Mining Museum (England) Mine Train 1311 B/O *FULL*
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 1313 B/O OPEN
Sun 25 Nov 09.30 Perth, for Highland Line Signal Box Visits Part 2 - FULL 1313 NJ *FULL*
Sat 8 Dec Carnforth Charity Cracker FULL WITH A FULL WAITING LIST 1312 B/O FULL
Sat 5 Jan 19 09.30 to dark Scunthorpe Steelworks Railtour No17 - OPEN BELOW B/O *OPEN*
Sun 24 Feb Save the date for a railtour in the north of England TBA TBA Claimed
B/O=Bookings Officer Jill Everitt to 27 Oct, MH=Mark Haggas, NJ=Nick Jones, NL=Neil Lewis, TG=Tom Gilby, TW=Tim Wallis
2061] 2018 AGM Final Notice and Treasurer's Subscriptions Report: These are available with this BLN
as a printed 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. E-BLN Supplement: Our local member Iain Dobson has very kindly produced a most interesting
18 page guide of AGM walking and public transport information between Leeds (Central) station and
the Middleton Railway AGM venue. It is well illustrated with current and past pictures (Leeds trams
for example) and includes the proposed new HS2 route and station, Midland Road Freightliner (loco)
Depot and bus services in detail. Last but not least is information about 'The Garden Gate Pub'!
2062] 'Baker' Rail Atlas of Great Britain & Ireland UPDATE: The definitive guide for many. After
delay due to illness, progress is being made on the revised and updated 15th Edition (RRP £20).
It should be finalised for publication in several weeks but the date will be decided by the publishers,
Crecy. Any updates to the 14th edition (June 2015) would still be very welcome by our member
Stuart Baker .ASAP. at [email protected] or by post to your BLN Editor who will forward.
[We won't accept removal of difficult to do lines that you haven't done which are still open though!]
>>> TO MAINTAIN PAGE WIDTH NOW PLEASE SET VIEWING DEVICE TO FULL SCREEN WIDTH <<<
ABOVE, FIRST PAGE: On our most recent 18 Aug 2018 Scunthorpe railtour it was possible to visit the
'High Line' by the middle parts of the four blast furnaces - as can be seen there has been considerable
investment in the railway which also adds a splash of colour to the picture and would do for a modern
light transit system rather than a steel works! SECOND PAGE: No5 Bay. (Chris Ziemer, 18 Aug 2018)
2063] .Scunthorpe Cold Steel Tracker No17, Sat 5 Jan: (Report with dramatic pictures BLN 1297.187 or
'Cold Steel Tracker' on website 'Fixtures Reports'.) Make an early New Year resolution (to go on more
BLS fixtures) now, steel yourself and book our first one of 2019. It is a good time to visit as internal
traffic is quieter after Christmas with some great photo opportunities. A unique and interesting
experience, enjoy it while you still can. Over 100 miles of standard gauge track at one of the UK's last
24 hour integrated steelworks in 200 acres (totally unspoilt by tourism). A great way to see an
operating steelworks at close quarters - being close up to a blast furnace is an unforgettable
opportunity. 09.30 prompt start at the AFRPS platform until dark (about 16.30). An extensive full day
railtour reaching the parts others don't reach with a break at the AFRPS shed (view/photo the locos).
Subject to engineering work, Birmingham, Liverpool and London (etc) rail connections are available.
Max 60, first come first served, £45 MEMBERS ONLY, Under 18s (must be accompanied by an Adult)
£22.50. With light lunch and a hot drink, detailed track map, stock list & souvenir ticket. Our tour
supports the good work of the AFRPS. Book online please or by post, supply an email address or SAE
(2 for acknowledgement) and membership number/s to the Bookings Officer (back page). Queries/ line
requests in advance only (ASAP) to Paul Stewart. Special Note: We will continue to try to operate
these tours twice a year subject to sufficient demand; if you have never been on one give it a try.
1314 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
2064] *Sheffield Supertram; Donetsk Way - Halfway: (BLNs 1305.1022 & 1312.1827) ROP Sun 16 Sep
after TCP 10 Sep for replacement rails. Originally due to ROP Sat 15 Sep and subsequently extended to
22 Sep, in the event the work - the last of the 2018 programme - was completed six days earlier!
2065] LUL Northern Line; Kennington Bank branch platforms: (BLN 1313.1965) ROP Mon 17 Sep - two
weeks earlier than the re-planned 1 Oct date. TCP 26 May 2018 for construction of four new passages
to improve access between platforms in connection with the Battersea Power Station extension.
2066] CairnGorm Mountain Railway, 'Base Station' - Ptarmigan (station): (BLN 1306.1142) (MR p32)
TCP Fri 28 Sep 2018 (last ran Thur 27th). This 6' 6" gauge 1¼ mile long cable worked mountain railway is
expected to be closed for 'several weeks' to investigate and remediate structural problems with at
least one of the multiple concrete supports/foundations following a safely inspection. OP 24 Dec 2001
at a cost of £19.5M it connects the base station with a restaurant 3,599ft up Cairn Gorm mountain.
2067] Fort William Jn - Mallaig (incl) and nine intermediate stations: TCP (public timetabled services)
from Sat 29 Sep, initially as a three day planned engineering closure to replace a concrete bridge and
culvert near Arisaig. Due to significant flooding of the works, despite extra pumps (in an area that has
a large amount of rain) the concrete was slow to set. A tamper failure, train crew shortage and DMU
problems delayed passenger service restarting until the 12.13 Fort William to Mallaig Wed 3 Oct; the
06.03 ex-Mallaig failed to run until Fri 5 Oct. On Sat 29 Sep the 'Royal Scotsman' ran to Glenfinnan as
booked. On 2 Oct the fully booked 'Jacobite' also ran to Glenfinnan rather than Mallaig, 261 mins late
(actually in the path of the afternoon 'Jacobite' train that does not run at this time of year). PREVIOUS
PAGE: Glenfinnan Down Siding looking towards Fort William; the tamper arrived on 2 Oct. (Nick Jones)
2068] Bristol Parkway (incl) - Wooton Bassett Jn/Yate (excl) & - Stoke Gifford West Jn - Filton No1 Jn
/Patchway Jn: (Updating BLN 1308.1394) ROP Sat 7 Oct 2018 (rather than Mon 8 Oct) after TCP from
Sat 15 Sep; A three week complete passenger closure of Bristol Parkway for electrification. Some ECS
movements ran at times (BLN 1313.1994) - IETs in/out of Stoke Gifford Depot. Stoke Gifford No2 Jn -
Filton West Jn was available at times if required. Nothing appears to have run via Westerleigh Jn.
2069] Crianlarich Jn - Oban (incl) and six intermediate stations: (BLN 1311.1735 update) TCP Sat 6;
ROP expected Thur 11 Oct, local half-term, for engineering work - the closure was extended (originally
Connel Ferry - Oban). Of note, Falls of Cruachan which is a request stop (open March to October each
year) was not served by the replacement buses. 734 passengers were documented there in 2016-17.
2070] Transport for London; North Woolwich - Woolwich: TCA from Sat 6 Oct expected until late
Dec 2018. The free of charge passenger/vehicle Woolwich Ferry is withdrawn for upgrading of facilities
and commissioning of new ferries. Over 2M passengers per year used them.
2071] Sheffield Tram Train: Meadowhall South/Tinsley - Sheffield Tram Transfer Line - Tinsley North
Jn (2m 62ch) and Parkgate Jn (5m 39ch/0m 0ch) - Parkgate tram terminus (0m 14ch) (incl) &
Rotherham Central tram stop (4m 56ch): (BLN 1305.1081) Full 'shadow' timetable ECS running began
Mon 17 Sep; OP expected Thur 25 Oct 2018 (convenient for our AGM in Leeds) for a two year 'pilot'
period, which will continue 'if successful'. Three Tram Trains an hour - but not every 20 minutes due to
the railway timetable (!) run between Sheffield Cathedral stop to Meadowhall South/Tinsley then via
Rotherham Central to Parkgate (Retail Centre). Tickets will be available from the onboard conductors.
2072] Bristol East Jn - Filton Abbey Wood - Stoke Gifford No1 Jn (before Bristol Parkway) with three
intermediate stations; Feeder Bridge Jn - Dr Day's Jn; Filton Jn - Patchway Jn and Narroways Hill Jn -
Severn beach (incl) with seven intermediate stations: TCP/A. Filton Jn No2 - Filton West Jn No2:
(BLN 1302.701 update) TCG/A all expected Sat 27 Oct - Sun 18 Nov (incl). A three week closure of
Filton Bank for requadrupling and resignalling (control transfers from Bristol Signalling Centre to
Thames Valley Signalling Centre at Didcot). The possession is less than that originally envisaged as
bidirectional signalling and Bristol Parkway to Patchway Phase II will not be ready to commission.
Now includes the whole Severn Beach branch; originally just Narroways Hill Jn - Clifton Down (excl).
CrossCountry is running an hourly through service diverted between Cheltenham Spa and Bristol TM
via the South Cotswold Line, Swindon (reverse) and Bath Spa - both shown as being served which
CrossCountry don't normally do. As in the past Malvern/Worcester/Gloucester GWR services run
to/from Cardiff Central via Bristol Parkway. On Saturdays during the closure Pilning is honoured with
through trains from Cardiff Central to Great Malvern and Gloucester at 08.32 and 15.24 respectively.
2073] Frodsham Jn - Halton Jn (Halton Chord): (BLN 1313.1980) OP (regular timetabled services)
deferred from Sun 8 Dec 2018 and is now expected from Sun 19 May 2019 due to a shortage of DMUs.
2074] 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
1313.1943 14 Oct18 22 Oct 18 *(Larbert) - (Perth) and Stirling - Alloa
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)
1313.1942 1 Oct 18 4 Nov 18 *T&W (Chichester) - pronounced 'Chai-Chester' - South Shields
1313.1944 20 Oct 18 28 Oct 18 Whitlingham Jn - Acle/Reedham - Gt Yarmouth/Oulton Broad N Jn
1302.702 27 Oct 18 19 Nov 18 *Bristol East Jn - Stoke Gifford No1 Jn; Filton Jn - Patchway Jn;
Feeder Bridge Jn - Dr Day's Jn & Narroways Hill Jn - .Severn Beach.
1300.441 19 Nov 18 23 Nov 18 (Theale) - Westbury North Jn/Fairwood Jn (last significant closure)
1312.1835 17 Nov 18 24 Nov 18 *(Worcester) Norton Jn - (Moreton-in-Marsh)
1311.1736 12 Nov 18 17 Dec 18 Bank Hall station (trains run through non-stop)
1299.337 10 Dec 18 Greenford West Jn - Greenford East Jn - Park Royal - Old Oak Common West CP
1297.123 16 Feb 19 24 Feb 19 (Three Bridges) - (Brighton)/(Hove)/(Lewes)
1313.1945 20 Oct 18 XX Aug 19 *Reedham Jn - Berney Arms request stop - (Great Yarmouth)
1314 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
2075] Freight: With thanks to Freight Titbits, the ORR has released https://goo.gl/HVnamA (11 pages)
the Apr-Jun 2018 statistics. It is encouraging after recent quarters of decline. Compared with 2017:
Freight (total tonne km) increased by 3% year on year to 8.4Mkm (but third lowest figure recorded).
Construction increased 7% to new record levels.
Coal up 7% but on a low base (late winter cold spell this quarter with high electricity demand).
Intermodal up 1%.
'Other', including biomass and automotive, up 5%.
Metals were broadly level with both Petroleum and International (Channel Tunnel) slightly down.
Freight lifted (tonnes) was 2% up but was still the second lowest first quarter figure on record.
2076] All Our Yesterdays: (BLN 409 - 8 Jan 1981) Branch Line News: As a result of the AGM decision to
enlarge BLN the Committee has confirmed that, with effect from this issue and subject to a sufficient
flow of news, BLN should regularly consist of twelve sides. (BLN 407 - 4 Dec 1981): The £1 to anywhere
scheme for Senior Citizen Railcard holders has been extended by two weeks until 11 December.
ABOVE: Manchester ROC at Ashburys; from the station footbridge. (Angus McDougall, 6 Jul 2014)
2077] Points & Slips: ●●BLN 1312.1853] Showing that it is not just railway projects that can be
delayed, at St Pancras the opening of Wetherspoon's Barrel Vault pub was delayed a few days until
1 Oct (add it to the list). ●●1890] Regarding inaccessible stations, a gated footpath access that is not a
right of way has been reported at Smallbrook Junction station (but it is not known if the gate is open
when trains call). IBM station also has a path but with a sign indicating that only permit holders may
use it, however there is nothing to enforce this (BLN 1281.1090 with pictures in e-BLN). ●●1914]
Bishton Crossing (even before reduced to a gate box in Apr 1961) was an example of a GWR box that
did not include the suffix 'Signal Box' in its name - perhaps the best one that did was 'Box Signal Box'?
●●BLN 1313.1936] NEWS FLASH! Happily there hasn't been a nuclear 'flash' near Dungeness, it was of
course a nuclear flask train (paper BLN) that the endangered newts (card carrying CND members?)
prevented from running. 1944/5] In paper BLN, the junction near Norwich is 'Whitlingham' and some
were hacked off as 'Accle' should have been 'Acle'. ●●1949] The fourth signalling installation with
'Manchester' in the name, the ROC, is at Ashburys, of course - poor wording/punctuation might have
inadvertently suggested it is in the same building as Manchester South and Manchester East
Signalling Control Centres - the latter two cohabitate. Further name pairs: York Integrated Electronic
Control Centre & ROC and Three Bridges Signalling Centre & ROC. ●●1993] For the record 'IRRS' is the
very singular Irish Railway Record Society.
●●1964] Aspects of LUL signalling: 'In true pedantic BLS fashion', a member advises (but only once)
that the signal in the penultimate photo is a repeater (RMP 19 and repeats the aspect of MP 19), not a
'distant'. LUL only uses two aspect signalling, in this case green or yellow, the latter being lit, the signal
it repeats having green or red aspects. The driver of the Amersham to Ealing Common 1938 preserved
Tube Stock special waited for both to clear to avoid gapping the short train. Thus two aspect signalling
requires all three colours; many repeaters are found on the same post as a stop signal. The four lenses
can display red alone, green and yellow or two greens. The post has the number of the stop signal on a
white background and a second plate for the repeater with the number on a yellow background.
●●2016] 95% of the rails used by NR are fabricated at Scunthorpe Steel Works. ●●2018] Regarding the
Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway a member advises that the Buncrana freight trains included a
passenger coach (available for travellers) until final closure from 8 Aug 1953. From Letterkenny
(24¾ miles from Londonderry), Gweedore (63¾ miles) was an intermediate station on the line on to
Burtonport (74½ miles). ●●2027] Due to Promenade work starting, the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway
season now finishes on 21 Oct rather than 4 Nov 2018 (see item 2191 at back in 'Connection').
2078] BLN QUIZ 4 ANSWERS: (BLN 1313.1951) With thanks to our former Chairman, Robert Green.
(1): This sequence of figures Q226, H112, L90, A89, (T75) & H49 represents the 5 or 6 highest numbers
of deaths resulting from UK train crashes - respectively at Quintinshill 22 May 1915, Harrow &
Wealdstone 8 Sep 1952, Lewisham 4 Dec 1957, Armagh 12 Jun 1889, Tay Bridge 29 Dec 1879
(technically not a train crash as the bridge collapsed beneath it) and Hither Green 5 Nov 1967.
(2): In 1965 the demolition of a viaduct in South Wales was interrupted. Bird's of Swansea were paid
by the makers of the film 'Arabesque' (starring Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren) to delay the
demolition of Crumlin Viaduct so that it could be used in the film for a helicopter to fly beneath it.
(3): Yelvertoft & Stanford Park, Knowle & Dorridge, Devynock & Sennybridge, Craven Arms &
Stokesay and Langside & Newlands are the stations serving (or at least named after) two places.
(4): In religious 'order', Gospel Oak Jn (North London Line) might link with the driver of the first main
line train into London (Matthew Kirtley), Lincoln St Marks, Southport St Lukes & Bedford St Johns.
(5): At Fodderty Jn Stathpeffer; Roudham Jn Swaffham; Curry Rivel Jn Yeovil Town and/or Pen Mill;
Peasmarsh Jn Horsham; Bellwater Jn Lincoln Central via Woodhall Junction; and at Plumpton Jn
Lakeside; were the usual destinations of passenger trains on to the respective branches.
(6): St James's Park, St John's Wood, St Paul's, Queen's Park, Walthamstow Queen's Road & Queen's
Road Peckham are the only six Transport for London stations with apostrophes in their names.
Consistency between various publications and the signage is not guaranteed!
(7): North, East, West & South are the four words, initially of daily interest ('news') that could be put in
front of Berwick, Norton, Newport & Bank stations respectively to give four different stations.
(8): Word(s) that connect these various sites:
a) A West Midlands junction & the silhouette of a Scottish engine shed…
St Andrew's (a building to the silhouette of the former Fife shed was built to preserve the
….integrity of the 'road hole' at the Old Course (golf) when the shed was demolished). One senior
….member thinks it is a replica of the goods shed at the (first) St Andrews station in fact.
b) An engine shed in the northwest and a light railway in Warwickshire… Edge Hill.
c) Used to be Trees in Bucks and Sales from Stalls in Norfolk…
Burnham (was formerly Burnham Beeches) in Bucks and Burnham Market in Norfolk.
d) An equine colour near the Mersey and a crossing of the River Lea… Old (Old Roan and Old Ford).
e) A former Brylcreem cricketer, a high quality car and 30A… Fenny Compton, Bentley & Stratford.
(9): In which year did steam-hauled trains finish in regular service on British Rail?
Not 1968 but 1989 - Class 98s on the Vale of Rheidol line which was privatised that year.
(10): NEXT PAGE: The photo (Robert Green) is Wroxall stationAug 1965 between Ventnor Town and
(looking north towards) Shanklin IOW. CP 18 Apr 1966; in BLN 1313 the name was 'removed'.
2079] One Liners: Mail Rail Posting (MR p17) had 198,000 passengers in the first 12 months of
operation, with some 9,000 trips run (over 6,200 miles operated in total). 'Station Road' is
apparently the second most common road name in the UK after 'High Street'. BLS earnings increase
https://goo.gl/9Dbwod by 7.5%.
Coalyard Miniature Railway (MR p26), Kidderminster SVR station, is expecting to run from 14.30
until 17.00 usually, on: 14, 21-22 (extended hours), 27, 28, 29, 30 & 31 (evening - Halloween) Oct.
Freight delay increased significantly in 2017-18 to 11.3 minutes per 100 train km, up 13%, but the
vast majority of freight trains actually arrive at their destination within 15 minutes of their schedule.
2080] OS Trivia: Snowdonia & Conwy Valley Explorer map is OS's best selling paper map; about 180
times more copies are sold than its worst, Glen Cassley & Glen Oykel in NW Scotland near Lairg. Fewer
than 200 people live in the 320 sq miles the map covers. OS still sell about 1.7M paper maps per year.
2081] NR begging bowl; or … If you think that you could do better, and/or have £10M-£100M to
spare… NR has 'Opportunities for third parties to fund, finance or deliver improvements on Britain's
railways' https://goo.gl/khU4DX (e-BLN download). Take your pick from a range of projects around
the country. It also reveals more playing for time project stages: 'Pre-GRIP' and 'GRIP 0' as well as the
eight usual stages. In other projects 'Stage 2B' and 'pre-Stage 2' have also come to light - gripping stuff.
2082] Recent BLS Track Diagrams: These have all been in past BLNs and e-BLNs (or as supplements)
but are collectively available to logged in members on our website. On the Home Page go along the
top banner to the end 'More options …' then down six to 'Track Diagrams'. They are in regional
groups so, for example, click on 'Midlands & North West …' to see the menu then 'Blackpool North'/
'Kirkham'. They are copyright but can be downloaded/printed from the page for personal use only.
1314 EAST MIDLANDS (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
2083] Scunthorpe: From 8 Oct work starts to install a new footbridge with two lifts, to create an
accessible route from the station entrance to/from Down P2. The PA and CCTV systems will be
upgraded along with new cameras, lights and signage. The project is due for completion in Mar 2019.
2084] Joint line: The annual East Coast Main Line diversions (all day Saturdays & Sundays until 12.00)
are for four weekends from 10/11 Nov until 1/2 Dec with Newark Northgate - Peterborough replaced
by buses. (Of note (SO) 13.02 & 15.29 Newark Northgate to Peterborough EMT train services run as
normal - via Lincoln!) Of possible interest are the use of the two Lincoln Central middle roads, the
Sleaford Avoiding Line in both directions and Black Carr Jn - Bessacarr Jn (from Doncaster P1, 2 or 3).
2085] Market Harborough: from Sat 13 Oct just south of the station, the trailing and facing crossover
point ends at Market Harborough Jn (OOU since 6 Oct) are to be removed from the Up Main and plain
lined. The Down Main equivalent point ends remain but are clipped and scotched normal (in favour of
main line running). The trailing points in the Up Main south of P2 for Market Harborough Sidings will
be abolished along with signalling within the sidings/headshunt. Bi-directional working remains but is
extended as long sections from Wigston South Jn to Kettering North Jn on both Up and Down Main.
2086] Lincoln - Market Rasen: (BLN 1313.1957) Crude oil from Welton used to be taken by rail to
Lindsey Oil Refinery. Interestingly the trailing crossover at Welton (35m 74ch), although plain lined
since the 30 Jun 2015 derailment, is still shown as in use in the latest Sectional Appendix. This has
resulted in Track Machines being booked to use it during at least one possession since!
2087] Ambergate Jn: (BLN 1300.455) From Mon 8 Oct, part of remodelling enabling works, a trailing
crossover was laid between the Up and Down Main at 137m 40ch, south of the present one for future
commissioning. It is good to know that some work was done on this project during the Derby blockade.
2088] Derby: From Mon 8 Oct the following lines, previously controlled by Derby Power Signal Box
(now shut), came under the control of East Midlands Control Centre (EMCC) Derby Workstation:
●Derby North Jn to Stretton 128m 40ch (south of Clay Cross); ●Chaddesden lines; ●Matlock branch.
2089] An unwelcome sign at Derby: By 8 Sep the P6 'Welcome to Derby (Midland)' sign, documented
for posterity in e-BLN 1313.1954 as photographed on 29 Jul, had undergone removal of its '(Midland)'.
ABOVE: Derby non-Midland; P6 looking south after this end of the station reopened - compare with
e-BLN 1313.1954. Left of the railings is the 'new' Derby Pilot Line (P7). (Richard Phillips, 8 Sep 2018)
2090] Derby … and finally: During the final week of the 78 day (not 79) remodelling, one of the last
tasks was to lay the 'Fuel & Inspection line' with recycled concrete sleepers, parallel to P7 from Etches
Park to the station north end. It was being ballasted on 4 Oct and looked complete two days later.
During the closure nearly 5,500 rail replacement buses ran and over 32,000 treats were handed out
from croissants and Bakewell tarts to doughnuts. 21,177 sleepers were installed and 14,805 rail
wagons were hauled to the site in 240 engineering trains. 10½ miles of new track was laid, 79 new sets
of points and 55 new signals installed. Normal service resumed, as planned, from Mon 8 Oct.
NEXT PAGE TOP: Derby (new)'Fuel & Inspection line' looking north. It leads in to Etches Park Depot
(behind photographer) has been laid using second hand concrete sleepers. (Ian Mitchell, 3 Oct 2018)
Left is the new P7 for ECS - no booked passenger use, but it can be done on our 17 Nov HST railtour.
1314 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]
2091] Angel Road: (BLN 1313.1960) A member visited on 26 Sep, with two other passengers alighting
from the 15.52 Up service and seven, including some school children, joining the 16.17 Down service.
The station, only served in the peaks SSuX is not readily accessible, you have to go down a long flight of
steps from the road overbridge somewhat to the north of the platforms and then walk south along the
west of the line before reaching the station
entrance. This has an out of order permit to
travel machine and Oyster readers, but nothing
else. Otherwise there are just bare concrete
platforms with a small waiting shelter and a few
seats each side. Both platforms are eight cars in
length and accessing the Up platform requires
use of another high footbridge. The north ends of
the new Meridian Water station's platforms are
very close, but will have much better access to
the surrounding area and development. NEXT
PAGE TOP: Meridian Water station taking shape;
of note it is a new station built on a curve (!) the
extra third track will be on the left of the platform
ahead. Looking south towards London from Angel
Road station P1 showing how close together the
two stations are. (All Stuart Hicks, 26 Sep 2018.)
BELOW: Angel Road station looking north; the footbridge and exit off the bottom of the (left) steps.
ABOVE: Looking south; Meridian Water is the other side of the bridge and the 'City' is behind (left).
There used to the four tracks along here although the other two (on the left) did not have platforms
2092] Barking Riverside: (BLN 1300.456) NR is consulting on proposed OHLE switching arrangement
changes to be implemented in Dec and Jan. They enable Barking P7/8 and the HS1 Exchange Sidings at
Ripple Lane to remain in use when possessions are taken to construct the junction for the new branch.
2093] City Road: (BLN 1292.2213) The energy centre built on the station site is now running, providing
additional ventilation to the Northern Line between Angel and Old Street. ('Underground News')
2094] London Overground Ticket Offices: (BLN 1290.2032) Arriva Rail London (ARL) has consulted with
London TravelWatch, the DfT and rail industry bodies on proposals to close ticket offices at London
Overground stations with fewer than 12 sales per hour. Electronic means are increasingly used for
travel and it is stated that 99% of the products sold at ticket offices can be sold through ticket vending
machines. The staff would be redeployed elsewhere on the station. ARL is penalised financially if
stations are not staffed from 15 minutes before the first train until 15 minutes after the last train.
If agreed, 51 offices would close with only 14 ARL-managed stations retaining them: Brockley, Bushey,
Chingford, Crystal Palace, Edmonton Green, Enfield Town, Forest Hill, Highams Park, New Cross
Gate, Norwood Junction, Sydenham, Walthamstow Central, West Croydon and Willesden Junction.
2095] Paddington LUL: From the 25 Sep edition https://goo.gl/CZUjtY of TfL's 6-month track closures
forecast, it would appear that the first opportunity to do the recently laid but yet to be commissioned
trailing crossover at the Royal Oak end of Paddington Suburban will be on 2/3 Mar 2019. This assumes
that the Communications Based Train Control signalling will have been commissioned by then!
X.143] PREVIOUS PAGE: (BLN 1312.1853) (Photo Stuart Hicks, 8 Oct 2018). Plaque at 'The Barrel Vault',
St Pancras International, the new Wetherspoons at Unit 23, Pancras Road, just north of the entrance
from King's Cross (across from the German gymnasium), below the South Eastern platforms and next
to Marks & Spencer. It is large pub with access from both the north eastern concourse and the street,
and was pretty busy around noon on 8 Oct after only opening on 1 Oct. The roof area has many barrels
in but (unless hidden in the toilets) no railway memorabilia. As an example of pricing levels, they seem
to be around their normal London prices, with coffee at £1.75 and draught beer mostly £3.55.
2096] Rail Replacement Walks: The Greater Anglia website https://goo.gl/zSf5q2 shows the walking
routes from stations between Waltham Cross and Tottenham Hale to the nearest stations on the
nearby line to Enfield Town/Cheshunt; useful if either line is closed. Tottenham Hale to Seven Sisters
is shown as taking about 19 minutes, although it can be done in two minutes on the Victoria Line!
2097] Southwark: (BLN 1313.1966): When the Jubilee Line extension was being planned, there was a
proposal for an entrance in Hatfields (a road) for both Waterloo East and Southwark stations.
The then Network SouthEast said that it saw no need and it was left out. A few years later (reported in
BLN by our member), LU staff were advising passengers that the missing entrance was now to be built
'by March', but no work took place. In 2012 Southeastern installed ticket gates, effectively blocking the
area in which the new entrance would have been built. Opened 20 Nov 1999, Southwark station
building, the 'top station' in LUL parlance, was designed from the outset to be built over. It can be seen
from Google Earth and from trains on the Southeastern that the station site hoarding is 'temporary'.
2098] Disused Stations: A Mail Online article https://goo.gl/2jUkkG contains various photographs of
the 49 disused Underground stations. https://goo.gl/YAA5Y8 on the carto.metro website has detailed
track plans of London area National Rail and TfL lines including closed stations with closure dates.
2099] HS2: (BLN 1306.1169) Sidings 1-10 and the Customs Road at Willesden Euro Terminal have been
recovered; Sidings 11 & 12 remain available for use. In 2019 the yard will be a HS2 material store.
2100] Taking steps at South Woodford: The westbound entrance will be closed from 13 Oct until
summer 2019 to allow construction of step-free access to the Westbound platform.
2101] Thameslink: (BLN 1309.1531) Further peak services were reinstated in Sep. It is intended to
reinstate the full SSuX timetable, originally introduced in May, from 10 Dec (2018!).
2102] Cricklewood: (BLN 1305.1042) The South Freight Siding, previously reported as being brought
back into use on 7 Apr, is now reported as being brought into use from 6 Oct.
1314 NORTH EAST (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
2103] Blyth & Tyne: (BLN 1267.2050) Northumberland County Council (NCC) received the GRIP 2
Report on reopening the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne line in Sep 2016 and in Oct 2016 announced it was
proceeding with GRIP 3. However, this did not mean it had signed the contract with NR, only that staff
were authorised to negotiate terms and the cost. In May 2017 the Conservatives took control and a
month later confirmed that reopening the line was the number one priority. However, NCC baulked at
the costs of both the GRIP 3 Study and full re-opening (£191M), although economic benefits were
estimated to be £70M, with more than 380,000 people expected to use the line each year by 2034.
To see how costs could be reduced, even if that meant a simpler scheme, it asked NR around Nov 2017
to undertake a further report, prior to GRIP 3. It seems this 'GRIP 2B' report's results are disappointing
and do not offer the level of savings anticipated. The South East Northumberland Rail Users Group
hopes that NCC will make a positive announcement soon - if only the route had managed to stay open.
Meanwhile the line (even to Morpeth) features on a map of possible future T&W Metro extensions!
NEXT PAGE UPPER: Bedlington South signal box showing the facing crossover and, on the right in the
distance, Funace Way Sidings when they were in use. (Angus McDougall, 8 Apr 1984) NEXT PAGE
LOWER: Bedlington North signal box, the line towards North Blyth/Lynemouth is in front of the box
and that towards Morpeth is behind. (Angus McDougall, 18 Aug 2007)
NR proposes to extend a Short Term Network Change (which expired in Jun 2017) until 31 Dec 2021, to
keep Bedlington South signal box facing crossover temporarily out of use - the current Sectional
appendix shows it as available!
The crossover accesses Furnace Way Sidings, on the west (Down) side of the line, which have not been
used for many years. Keeping the points increases the risk of derailments and speed restrictions, but
the original proposal to remove them is not favoured by some Freight Operating Companies. However,
removing them would cost £150k. The period to Dec 2021 will be used to assess future traffic levels on
the Blyth & Tyne line. This includes production of the May 2021 timetable and further progress with
aspirations to reintroduce a passenger service. The latter is a project in NR's new prospectus for third
party funding/delivery available on our website with e-BLN.
2104] Leamside Line: A Short Term Network Change (STNC) was established 9 May 2011, with a
variation on 20 Oct 2015, for the line between Pelaw (20m 75ch) and Wardley (19m 70ch) to be
temporarily OOU - mileages are from Ferryhill. This expires on 20 Oct and it is proposed to extend it
for two years. The points for this route have been clamped OOU and the last train ran in Dec 2001.
All the signalled routes to and from the branch were later disconnected due to extensive vandalism.
A live Private Siding Agreement exists [no, it isn't electrified…] with Harworth Estates for the former
Wardley (coal) Disposal Point, with an aspiration for future freight traffic opportunities. NR would
require a minimum of months' notice to reinstate the line to meet a specific traffic need. Work could
be carried out during standard maintenance possessions. If there is no compelling case for future rail
freight at the expiry of this latest STNC, NR reserves the right to terminate the Agreement.
The ECML Route Study published by NR in Jul 2018 presents reopening the Leamside Line between
Tursdale Jn (Ferryhill) and Pelaw as a choice for funders, to accommodate future growth and increase
line capacity. Reopening would enable fast and slow services to be separated and provide the capacity
needed for nine passenger trains per hour. This option includes upgrades to the Stillington branch
(Norton-on-Tees South Jn to Ferryhill) to form a continuous parallel route between Northallerton and
Newcastle. Also included are works to accommodate the additional services at Newcastle and in the
Pelaw area, where passenger, freight and Metro trains share the infrastructure.
2105] T&W Metro: (BLN 1313.1970) Five firms (Bombardier, CAF, Hitachi, Stadler and a joint venture
between Australia's Downer EDI Rail and the Chinese CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles) have been
shortlisted to design, build and maintain a new fleet of 42 trains for the Metro. Nexus has begun
detailed negotiations and is working to select a single preferred bidder at the end of 2019. The first
new trains will be delivered in 2021 to serve the network, which has 36M passengers a year. Nexus has
secured government grant funding of £337M towards the projected £362M cost of the fleet. This and
the maintenance over 35 years make the total contract value about £500M. The successful bidder will
also be responsible for maintaining the current fleet of trains (ensuring there is a smooth transition
from the old to the new fleet between 2022 and 2024) and a new depot at the existing Gosforth site.
1314 NORTH WEST (John Cameron) [email protected]
2106] Blackpool: A member believes that there is an error in every single 'No Smoking' sign at the
revamped Blackpool North station - does anyone know what, or have a photo please? Meanwhile at
North Pier (BLN 1313.1984) another member rode on the D(H)MU operated tramway on Sun 28 Sep
2003 without knowing it was the last day (explaining the driver's 'fed up' attitude). He has the gauge as
3ft (914mm) and a note 'line possibly closed on/from Mon 29 Sep 2003' - more logical than a Tuesday.
The 50p fare was reduced to 25p on production of the rather ornate Historic North Pier 25p admission
ticket. It gave 25p off one of the pier attractions including a lucky charm at the fortune teller ('you will
travel on the last day of a pier tramway…'). The tram issued an undated thick paper 'admission' ticket.
2107] Live wires: (BLN 1312.1862) Not referring to BLN members this time but Manchester - Euxton Jn
('Ex-ton'). From Mon 1 Oct (rather than 28 Sep), Euxton Jn to Buckshaw Parkway OHLE was energised
with Deal Street to Windsor Bridge South Jn and Ordsall Lane Jn to Salford Crescent - well, it's a start.
Blackpool North Pier Tramway 14 Sep 1996 ABOVE: The DMU tram approaches the shore end 'Tram
Stop' note the oil etc between the rails. BELOW: The 'Theatre' end of the pier. (Both Angus McDougall)
X.144] ABOVE: New bridge and lift at a secret
location recently somewhere in the North
West (John Cameron).
2108] Metrolink Trafford Park: Further
work https://goo.gl/QaA9wv (pictures) on
the extension. After the junction at Pomona
stop the new line drops steeply down
curving gently right. It then follows the
former Manchester Ship Canal Railway
alignment alongside the ship canal and
beneath Trafford Bridge before heading
southwest, to run next to Trafford Wharf
Road. Further on towards Trafford Centre
https://goo.gl/kYaJg7 is a time lapse video
of the new Bridgewater Canal bridge
X.145] Stockport: LEFT: An entirely genuine
illuminated indication on the left side of the
signal is telling a driver that their route is
clear to the Fast Line (or perhaps the
signaller is trying to tell them something
else?). (Angus McDougall, 21 Jan 2000)
ABOVE: Wigan, Springs Branch headshunt, 1 Jan 2016 after vegetation clearance - the line to the right
was latterly a branch to Bickershaw Colliery; the last train ran on 20 Sep 1993. (Angus McDougall)
2109] Wigan Springs Branch Yard: (BLN 1247.2340) On 2 Sep points 642A & B, previously OOU and
forming the crossover between the Depot Shunt Neck and the former Bickershaw Colliery Line, were
due be recovered. New headshunts known as Bickershaw Headshunt 1 and Bickershaw Headshunt 2
were to be installed, on the track bed of the former Bickershaw Colliery Line. The redeveloped site is
to provide overnight stabling and maintenance for 24 EMUs and 8 DMUs for Northern from Dec 2019.
2110] Hazel Grove: There is a surprising amount of freight passing these days. It is mainly quarry traffic
from Peak Forest and trains to and from Hope cement works. On 18 Sep for example 34 freight
workings were booked, through Hazel Grove High Level Jn, although not all ran, and 20 through the
station (with some overlap - ie those that do not run to/from Northenden Jn on the single track).
2111] Preston Dock (singular): Reportedly Strand Road Level Crossing tram track rail guide became
damaged on 20 Sep. This effectively trapped 70802, which had worked the inward bitumen tanks from
Lindsey Oil Refinery. Preston City Council responsible for that infrastructure, was due to make repairs,
in the meantime a plan was formulated to release the loco by crossing at 1mph. It was later reported
that 70802 moved out of the docks with 14 bitumen tanks at 09.25 on 24 Sep (not in the pitch black).
It is not known if the crossing has been repaired but the train ran normally thereafter.
2112] Workington: The Cumbrian Railways Association reports improvements to the station by a small
group of Northern drivers. They started in 2015 by building and planting flower beds, tubs and hanging
baskets. After talking with Northern and Workington Transport Heritage Trust (who run the station
shop), they applied for funding to repaint the station in its British Rail London Midland Region colours
of maroon and cream. The group is in the early stages of heritage restoration. They plan more period
features dotted around, more flower displays and to replace the signage with a more traditional black
and white style. They are hoping to secure more funding and welcome donations via the station shop.
2113] Southport, strategic spares or hardcore junk? The worst station approach in the country? -
YOU decide: The Southport 'Champion' has reported that the Southport Rail Transport Forum and the
Southport Station Improvement Programme have complained to NR that the approach to Southport
station is a mess of buddleia and piles of discarded rails and track fittings. They say that the station
approach is the worst in the UK. NR responded that the rails and track parts are 'strategic spares' and
vegetation is regularly inspected but only cut back when it poses a danger to the operational railway.
2114] Northern May 2019 Timetable: This closely resembles that originally bid for May 2018 except:
Hourly Blackpool - Hazel Grove service (includes Piccadilly - Hazel Grove) rather than Blackpool N -
Macclesfield. Cheadle Hulme, Bramhall, Poynton and Macclesfield will probably not get the second
Macclesfield train per hour that the Train Service Requirement (TSR) specifies. Levenshulme and
Heaton Chapel should get their TSR quantum; it should be more reliable than running to Macclesfield.
Northern have not been able to bid the second Greenbank to Manchester train due to pathing issues
between Stockport and Manchester. They have bid to provide a second train per hour between
Altrincham and Chester, benefiting the core section of route and enabling interchange with Metrolink.
An increase in Southport - South Manchester through services (3 trains in each peak instead of 2) also
an increase in Davenport/Woodsmoor morning and evening peak calls.
2115] Lime Street: From Sun 14 Oct P1 line will be brought into operational use and P1 commissioned
at its full operational length of 241yd. P2 will be extended to its full length of 242yd (currently 177yd).
1314 SOUTH EAST - NORTH & EAST ANGLIA (Julian James) [email protected]
2116] Stevenage - Hertford East: The rail service via Watton-at-Stone continues until May 2019, when
the second hourly Brighton service finally starts. This is consistent with, but not necessarily related to,
the announcement of no significant change to the Dec timetables for several operators including GTR.
BLN 1301.608 recorded the requirement for NR to proceed with a fifth platform at Stevenage.
2117] Bicester North: A 180m length of embankment south of the station is being dug out and
replaced with stone following slight movement believed to have been caused by recent rainfall
following the dry summer. More than 10,000 tonnes of stone and material is being used to rebuild the
embankment. The work was expected to be completed on 30 Sep. A temporary speed restriction was
in place while the repairs were carried out, adding about four minutes to Chiltern Railways' journeys in
and out of Marylebone. The dry weather over recent months has made necessary speed restrictions
elsewhere through ground contraction with NR referring particularly to problems in Kent and Sussex.
2118] Oxford - Cambridge: A preferred corridor has been selected by the government for the Oxford
to Cambridge £3.5bn Expressway (road) scheme following a similar route to the East West Rail Link.
It is expected to take up to 40 minutes off the journey between the A34 south of Oxford and the M1.
2119] Aylesbury Vale Parkway: A 4km traffic-free route for cyclists and pedestrians, The Greenway
Trail, has opened between Aylesbury Vale Parkway station and the National Trust's Waddesdon
Manor. It follows the old Roman Akeman Street. The project received funding of £1M from the DfT as
part of a scheme to connect rural communities to their nearest rail station. (Transport Briefing)
2120] Oxford (again!): Down P4 is expected to be resurfaced in summer 2019. A member returned
from The Balkans especially to take the 16.34 (SuO) from Paddington to Great Malvern as far as
Oxford on Sun 7 Oct. However, he was disappointed that it did not cross right from the Down Oxford
to the Up Oxford at Hinksey North Jn then back to the Down Oxford via Oxford Station South Jn new
trailing crossover as reported in BLN 1312.1873. [The schedules shown this day were a variation on the
normal timetable which may be a factor here.] Our member was then even more disappointed as the
18.30 Turbo DMU shuttle to Didcot had reversed in Oxford P4 so did the new trailing crossover from
the Down Oxford to the Up Oxford south of P4 on departure. (It is actually booked to shunt ECS via
Oxford Carriage Siding No2.) The change was as the 18.16 CrossCountry train to Southampton Airport,
which he caught, was a few minutes late - and he needed to make the next flight to … the The Balkans.
X.146] ABOVE: Didcot Parkway P1, the long ramp (left) and cross span is to the new multi story car
park. Note the multitude of signs and green background banner repeater (indicating at least two green
signal aspects ahead). The 16.15 Paddington to Swansea is left (still a HST, along with 16.00 to Bristol
TM and 16.03 to Penzance). Right is a late running train to Paddington. (Stuart Hicks, 8 Oct 2018)
2121] Peterborough - Huntingdon: (BLN 1275.399) The Woodwalton Jn - Huntingdon North Jn
requadrupling (reinstating an extra track alongside the Up Main) was not included in the ministerial
answer to a Parliamentary question in which Werrington Jn grade separation (BLN 1309.1549) and
other works were confirmed to be going ahead. The scheme had been amongst works in NR's East
Coast Connectivity Fund. It is in NR's prospectus for third party funding/delivery (on our website).
1314 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]
2122] Southeast Super Saturday: On Sat 6 Oct Southeastern (SE) offered unlimited Day Rovers valid
on all their services (even HS1) for just £20 Adult, with up to four children per adult £1 each. This was
posted on our website Forum and the 1,300 members on the Society email notification system were
advised in advance. SE challenged purchasers to cover all their routes that operate on Saturdays in the
one day - did any member do this? Tickets were available online and from staffed SE ticket offices plus
London Victoria, Denmark Hill, Peckham Rye, Nunhead, St Pancras International and Abbey Wood.
2123] Reading West - Newbury: (BLN 1310.1657) From 14 Oct OHLE is due to be energised from the
current electrification limit at Oxford Road Jn to Southcote Jn (excl) via Reading West platforms.
Energisation then on to Newbury is due on 21 Oct with the limit at Newbury stated to be 53m 42ch.
2124] Bedwyn: (BLN 1297.156) Following work during the three day Aug Bank Holiday line closure;
from 31 Aug the turnback siding was extended by 22yd to 155yd for 5-car IETs to run (from Jan 2019).
2125] Faversham: The listed footbridge at the east end of the station has taken pedestrians over the
railway between Station Road and the church in St Catherine's Drive since the early 20th century.
However, it has never been strong enough to cope with the tens of thousands of people who descend
on the town for the annual Hop Festival [perhaps they should walk over it instead - Ed?] so is therefore
shut during that event. The bridge, not accessing the platforms, crosses beyond the canopies on the
two island platforms but before the gantry with the starter signals. It is now to be refurbished and
strengthened. Contractors will remove the entire span by crane on 14 Oct, complete refurbishment
off-site and replace it on 13 Jan 2019. There will be a small construction compound on Station Road
where workers will operate during the day on other related works to the structure. The bridge will be
closed from 8 Oct until 28 Jan. Pedestrians will be able to use the underpass by the station, between
the Mall and Station Road. There will be no extra disruption to rail services as the work will take place
during already planned maintenance. It will then be able to stay open during future Hop Festivals.
2126] Newhaven Marine: (BLN 1310.1666) Re-railing and reballasting has been done within the last
month from the junction up to the station itself, presumably part of the refurbishment for potential
freight use. The tracks remain connected but closed off by the placement of two blocks of wood across
the line. Online maps such as RailCam and OpenTrainTimes describer show it as 'station out of use'.
2127] Brighton Line: Balcombe Tunnel Jn and the facing and trailing crossovers are to be renewed in a
slightly changed layout replacing the switch diamond (or moveable angles) with two turnouts to
remove a source of failure. Minor signal repositioning will take place from 20 Oct and the track relay in
the Feb 2019 line closure. Line speeds will remain 90mph with 70mph divergence but moves over the
crossovers at 20mph will in future be permitted at 25mph. NR now refer to these as 'perturbation
crossovers' but your Regional Editor recalls their original purpose as permitting the night train service
to be accommodated on a single track, something that has never happened. [On our 30 Apr 2016 visit
to Three Bridges Area Signalling Centre the party was told that no one would sign it off for use.]
2128] Branksome: The SSuX 09.15 Branksome to Southampton Central starts up from the Down P2
using the London end trailing crossover on departure and has done for two years, according to staff.
It arrives there from Waterloo at 09.02 and is not a stock changeover move from Bournemouth depot.
2129] Bournemouth: Up Bay P1 is used by the railhead adhesion train (see on 1 Oct). Later it was at
Totton Jn Down Sidings, stabled with a partner train. Bournemouth P1 is little used since the Southern
Brighton service was cut back to Southampton. A Class 450 EMU was parked in P1 on Sat 6 Oct, when
Southampton Central was completely closed, but all passenger services were from the usual P2 & 3.
2130] Brockenhurst: Problems with installation of new track on the Down Passenger Loop past P4 and
normally used only by the Lymington branch train, led to its being taken out of use from Mon 24 Sep
after relaying that weekend. This was apparently because of insufficient offset of the new track from
the platform edge, unacceptable geometry due to a track machine failing ('Brocken'?) at the vital
moment not error. All Lymington services unusually used the Up Passenger Loop P1 from 24 to 28 Sep.
The hourly Down local service from Waterloo to Poole, booked into the Up Passenger Loop (P1) for
other Down trains to pass, was badly affected with extended dwells at Southampton Central instead
and some cancellations of the Lymington service. When seen on 1 Oct the track through P4 comprised
three approximately equal sections from the Lymington end. (1): New flat bottom rail on concrete
sleepers, (2): Temporary short flat bottom rail on concrete sleepers, the rail ends being clamped with
fishplates but no bolts. (3): Bull head rail on wood sleepers, the incomplete part of the relay. (2) and
(3) were separated by a sixty foot length of transition rail, the Lymington end flat bottom and the
Southampton end bull head. Beyond this relay site in the Lymington direction, but before the
crossover from Down Main to Lymington Single, part of the Down Passenger Loop remains in bull head
rail, apparently not part of the present relay. The incomplete part was subject to a signed 50mph TSR
(because of the clamped rail ends), a speed unachievable under any circumstances!
NEXT PAGE: The scene at Brockenhurst P4 on Thur 27 Sep 2018. (All pictures, Simon Mortimer)
NEXT PAGE: A carriage with a view! Taken through the train window between Lymington Town and
Pier stations. Beyond the rows of yachts is the Wightlink car ferry to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight.
From our speedy reporter: On 26 Sep came the Gensheet message All Lymington Branch services are
using P1 until Friday 28th September, due to issues accessing P4. (Thanks Stuart!) Which certainly
focused attention... a rapid plan was hatched to get down there, tick off a few other odd bits and take
this opportunity while it lasted. The move from Brockenhurst P1 to the Lymington branch is usually
the preserve of the 05.59 SSuX; and 08.59 SuO Brockenhurst to Lymington formed of the ECS from
Bournemouth Depot reversing in P1 (Saturdays it also does this but then is booked to shunt ECS to
start from P4). This development made it a lot easier to obtain the two sections unique to this move,
the trailing crossover Up Main to Down Main and facing crossover Down Main - Lymington Single!
At Brockenhurst there were a couple of wipe boards on P4 simply stating the platform was closed and
to go to P1 for Lymington. Examination of the closed platform revealed a pristine freshly ballasted
track, it looked great ... but had a couple of clip on rail head STOP signs flashing each end. Since the
franchise changed hands Class 450 EMUs have operated on the branch (previously it was a 2-car DMU
from Salisbury in the week). Soon 450097 ran into P1 and a handful of passengers boarded the 14.12
(already late as clearly the conflicts crossing both main lines cannot be accommodated) and we set off
towards Lymington in glorious weather covering the essential sections and latterly providing a
beautiful journey past New Forest ponies and very posh expensive yachts to arrive at possibly one of
Britain's most incongruous branch termini, Lymington Pier.. for Yarmouth IOW.
The guard seemed surprised to see a passenger rejoining after an essentially quick photo and was
possibly even more surprised when the reason was explained ... he could latterly be overheard telling
the driver while he swapped ends that someone had travelled there especially because they were
running from platform 1! Back at Brockenhurst TWO BLS members, the GS and one on a special day
trip from Warrington, were met going the other way and it was later suggested the reason for all this
activity was that the pristine great looking new track in P4 was too close to the platform (- correct!).
BELOW: 450097 briefly at Lymington Pier as the crew catch a word (…you'll never believe this; he came
all the way from … just to do P4 on to the branch!) before forming the 14.27 back to Brockenhurst.
2131] Southampton: A member noticed something strange about the Waterloo to Weymouth line
service on Sun 30 Sep; this has certainly applied some other Sundays recently and there may be more.
He caught the 13.29 (revised time) Waterloo to Weymouth train and stayed on to see exactly what
happened. Unusually at Southampton Central it was routed into Up Fast P1 after running on the Down
Main through the tunnel, and had an extended dwell time while a couple of Up trains arrived and
departed at P2. Then at 15.12, it set off along the Up Fast Line to the crossover at the western end of
Millbrook Freightliner Terminal where it returned to the Down Main running then as normal.
There was a possession of the Down lines, Western Docks Branch and that entrance to Southampton
Maritime Container Terminal while relaying of the Western Docks Branch was taking place.
On a previous Sunday he was only travelling to Southampton and also noticed that the train came into
P1 then was signalled with the route indicated 'UF'. On both occasions main line trains were booked to
run but Down trains had extended journey times, and the local 'Romsey Rocket' service was replaced
by buses. It could not stop at Millbrook and there would be too many trains to fit through the area
anyway. A good clue if this is going to happen again would be that pattern of service being advertised.
Further work due for completion on 8 Oct was new points in the Down Loop Extension line at about
79m 76ch, (Millbrook station London end), OOU until commissioning. These will provide a connection
to the Down Docks Branch line. The normal stub of the track at these points remains OOU with a
barrier of three sleepers and an illuminated 'Stop Board' (facing towards oncoming traffic) at the
terminating end of the stub of track section. Connection to the Down Docks Branch will be at a later
date. (This is not far from the existing crossover from Down Loop Extension to Down Docks Branch.)
On 4 Oct the new connection was observed just east of the crossover from the Down Fast (north of the
Down Loop Extension) but it is not clear if the present connection from Down Loop Extension to Down
Docks Branch further west will stay or go. The aim is to increase intermodal train length and capacity.
2132] Micheldever - Winchester: Wallers Ash Up Loop has been out of use for some while (does
anyone know for how long?) which means that there is nowhere to recess a freight train between
Shawford and Worting Jn. 'OOU', which has been showing on the signalling diagram ever since it
became inoperative, has now been altered to 'OOFU'. It doesn't need much imagination to work out
what the additional letter stands for and that the signallers are obviously fed up with the lack of
action. The Wessex draft route study proposes that both loops should be lengthened to increase
capacity and enable more than one train to be overtaken. This is, of course, completely at odds with
the present (temporary?) situation which seems to manage without one of them altogether.
However, with SWT/SWR strikes on Mon to Fri (such as Fri 5 Oct) a Portsmouth to Basingstoke hourly
service was booked to use Wallers Ash Up Loop alternate hours to be overtaken by the CrossCountry
Southampton to Birmingham etc service. However, with the loop OOU the SWR trains instead arrive
at Micheldever some 6 minutes early and CrossCountry then reaches Basingstoke 6 minutes late.
2133] Hove: (BLN 1313.1991) No1 siding was electrified from 24 Sep along with No2 siding, which is a
loop from the sidings entrance road (already electrified) west to No1.
1314 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon) [email protected]
2134] Filton Bank: (BLN 1313.2000) Quadrupling, by the original GWR, was commissioned in 1933.
In the 1960/70s the government required economies to justify investment in expensive Multiple
Aspect Signalling; the key word was 'rationalisation' with great simplification of layouts/sidings etc.
Many manual signal boxes were closed or downgraded to shunt frames/crossing boxes. When Bristol
Power Box Stage 6 (Stapleton Road - Filton) was commissioned on 19 0ct 1970 it was agreed that the
four tracks could remain. The 'price' for this was the closure of the ex-Midland Railway double track
'duplicate' route from Bristol East Jn to Yate South Jn via Mangotsfield in 1969 [Sadly your Editor's
first visit to the city wasn't until 1970]. By 1984 the now recently replaced 'viaduct' north of Stapleton
Road station was considered 'weak' by British Rail who claimed that all the traffic on offer (and more)
could be handled by just two tracks. Furthermore reduction to two tracks on Filton Bank would allow
realignment of curves for faster running. De-quadrupling north of Dr Day's Jn was from 19 Dec 1984.
PREVIOUS PAGE: Filton Bank re-quadrupling, note the cant. Left to right will be the Down Filton Main,
Up Filton Main, Down Filton Relief and Up Filton Relief lines. Of note the brickwork top right supported
the bridge for the ex-Midland Railway line (CA 14 Jun 1965) from Avonmouth via Clifton Down (right)
at Ashley Hill Jn crossed above to Kingswood Jn (left) on the ex-Midland line to Yate South Jn. (NR)
2135] Investing in Filton Bank: (BLN 1313.2000) NR has completed bridge works for re-quadrupling
with the strengthening of St Mark's road bridge. Previously Stapleton Road viaduct was installed.
Extensive earthworks with drainage have been carried out to modern standards as well as platform
extensions and a fourth platform at Bristol Parkway. P4 at Filton Abbey Wood platform is progressing.
2136] Horfield Jn: A new junction (3m 60ch) for members to 'scratch' will be installed southwest of
Filton Abbey Wood (4m 30ch), shown on the BLN 1313.2000 track plan it allows movements between
the relief and Main lines (Up direction), and the Main and Relief lines (Down direction).
2137] Bristol Temple Meads: Work is underway to create two much needed extra entrances at Queen
Anne Gate and beside Bonapartes café bar including two wide aisle ticket gates at each. The entrance
at Queen Anne Gate (previously used by VIPs and royal dignitaries) was trialled in Jul 2016 and will
have six new gates, with eight at Bonapartes. NR says they will ease congestion, alleviating the severe
bottleneck that occurs at peak times by more than doubling the capacity of the existing entrances.
11.3M passengers used Temple Meads in 2016-17 with the number expected to rise after significant
upgrades to the railway in the Bristol area. The new gates were installed in Sep, providing GWR with
time to test them before they are available for passengers this winter. On completion new bike racks
will be installed outside Queen Anne Gate - replacing those removed to make the new entrances.
A local member reminisces ... When I was a commuter, the queues at Temple Mead's ticket gates were
the stuff of legend with passengers sometimes queuing well down into the subway if a service arrival
from London coincided with any other service. The temporary fix was to open the side gate to let
passengers holding season tickets through. A trial was run using the two 'new' entrances (both readily
available prior to ticket gates) with manual (or rather no) ticket inspection. That must have worked as
the 14 new ticket gates are now being installed in these two areas. [Gate crashing comments deleted.]
BELOW: The new ticket gates are open [quite] and P3 is straight ahead. Bonapartes is on the left. (NR)
2138] Gloucester: More new entrances on the GWR, with P4 gaining a remotely monitored entrance
to supplement the staffed one on P2. The P4 entrance is built out of the station wall with two gates.
2139] Electrification: (BLN 1313.1994) Energisation of the new infrastructure creeps ever westward
from our South East to South West BLN sections. NR has energetically announced that the OHLE was to
be live on 1 Oct from (83m 37ch) the previous limit on the Up and Down Badminton Lines to just west
of Westerleigh Jn (107m 24ch) and also the Up and Down Charfield Lines (120m 59ch). Hullavington
Down and (separate) Up Goods Loop plus Chipping Sodbury Up Goods Loop are all included.
From 13 Oct this is due to be extended from Westerleigh Jn (107m 24ch) to the Up and Down Tunnel
Lines (112m 33ch) - next to the middle of Stoke Gifford IET depot. Also included are the Up & Down
Avonmouth single to 112m 04ch, the Down Filton to 112m 33ch, Stoke Gifford IET Depot and Sidings
(112m 04ch to 112m 58ch), the Up Bristol Parkway Passenger Loop, Bristol Parkway P4, Down Bristol
Parkway Passenger Loop (P1), Down Bristol Parkway Relief and the Down Bristol Parkway Goods Loop.
2140] Pilning: (BLN 1310.1672) Sadly, Pilning Station Action Group https://goo.gl/kj86Dz failed to
persuade GWR to repeat last year's special summer Sunday morning stop for Pilning Music Festival at
the nearby Plough Inn. Last year it attracted more passengers than the total station usage figure for
the preceding year! GWR also turned down appeals to reinstate the 13.34 (SO) service, so that people
could visit the station (and the pub) and catch the 15.34 back. Even so, usage of the station's SO, 08.34
and 15.34 (rail replacement taxis at times of engineering works) to Taunton is still rising. The campaign
continues to try to improve services, restore platform lighting, and reinstate the footbridge to enable
westbound trains to call once again. The 'Wave' inland surfing facility under construction near the
station would be a significant source of new traffic for a fully operational station with a proper service.
It will be interesting to see how the group's passenger figures match the ORR tickets sale figures.
2141] Taunton: The draft Taunton Transport Strategy, produced jointly by Taunton Deane Borough
and Somerset County Council, contains some sensible rail proposals including upgrading Taunton
station, developing a case for a station at Wellington and encouraging the rail industry to trial
connecting services to the West Somerset Railway. Longer term aspirations include securing
electrification for Taunton and extending the West Somerset Railway connecting service to Minehead.
1314 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]
2142] Tyseley: On 29 Sep 1968, the public were invited to the depot for the very first time. 50 years to
the day, Vintage Trains aimed to recreate the atmosphere of the original event. Commendably for this
'Tyseley at 50' weekend on 29/30 Sep, visitors were able to buy half price off peak day returns from all
West Midlands Railway stations to Tyseley. It was available to those with tickets for the event which
had to be presented at booking offices. We look forward to the 100% discount for the 100th event.
2143] Whitacre: On Thur 4 Oct our two peripatetic members sampled the new Derby layout and the
peripatetic 10¼" gauge track of significant length at the Rail Vehicles & Enhancements show in Derby
behind the UK's first Hydrogen powered train 'Hydrogen Hero'. A quick trip to Uttoxeter and back from
Derby P1 gave the trailing crossover (no booked use after 7 Oct) at the south end of P1 to the Down
Tamworth Fast; the left feather on the starting signal is lit for the move. This must have been good as
they encountered Mr Unusual Track himself joining their train for a repeat performance as they left it.
However, the fun was not over as their on time 16.37 train from Derby to Cardiff Central slowed for
Kingsbury Jn, received a left feather (for the straight on, once 'main' route!) and was diverted via
Whitacre. Here the east end connection in/out of Hams Hall is OOU following the recent derailment
(BLN 1313.1938) with all traffic using the west (Coleshill) end. The reason for their unexpected PSUL
diversion was that the 13.35 Newcastle to Plymouth CrossCountry service was behind them rather
than in front. After Doncaster it had been diverted via Adwick, South Kirby Jn (reverse) & Moorthorpe
due to a failed train at Swinton. It did well to leave Derby only 14 mins late and overtook our duo's
Cardiff service via the main line to connect in to it at New Street and both trains were kept moving.
2144] Birmingham, Grand Central: (BLN 1313.2007) Due to the closure of the normal West Midlands
Metro departure platform and the headshunt, each blocked with separate temporary barriers, the
trailing crossover is guaranteed on all tram departures which are from the normal arrivals platform.
2145] Kidderminster: (BLN 1287.1770) Work is imminent to allow the contractor to start on the new
station in mid-Nov. The temporary ticket office is due to complete by mid-Jan 2019 with demolition of
the existing 1970s station building to follow. Completion of the work is planned for early Aug 2019.
2146] Lichfield - Brownhills: (BLN 1313.2002) Burntwood Action Group (no connection with Charfield)
has called for the rail route (via Burntwood) to be converted into a cycle path and walkway. The plan
has been backed by the area's MP who has consulted Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust as
the Lichfield Canal runs close in places. The group has met with NR to discuss the proposal. The end of
the route would be at Sandfields Pumping Station and, with further work at the Brownhills end.
It should be possible to link the route to the canal towpath, allowing an extension to Chasewater.
This would provide a six mile traffic free footpath and cycleway from Lichfield to Chasewater.
2147] Camp Hill Line: Proposals for initially three new stations at Moseley, Kings Heath and Hazelwell
have been revealed. The service is expected to start with two trains an hour into 'Central Birmingham',
and journey times of about 15 minutes. With detailed planning over the next 12 months it is hoped
that construction work would start in 2020, with a view to opening the stations by the end of 2021.
This would be in time for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. The Secretary of State for
Transport recently visited Moseley station site and attended the unveiling of the station designs.
The plans are being developed by the West Midlands Rail Executive, Transport for West Midlands,
X Railway and NR. They are working together on the track, signalling and service changes required.
Longer term, more frequent services may be possible with the Camp Hill Chords to link the line to
Moor Street (for HS2) - so it's the long slow way round to New Street for now. Although there are no
firm plans at this stage, a fourth station could also be opened at Balsall Heath in the future.
2148] Chase Line: From 22 Oct the OHLE is due to be energised between Rugeley Neutral Sections
(14m 20ch) and Walsall Park Street Tunnel (6m 51ch). At Walsall the existing OHLE has been extended
on the Up Cannock through to the Up Walsall and on the Down Cannock through to the Down Walsall.
This completes the Walsall - Rugeley electric connection. However, the fly in the ointment is that a
significant amount of OHLE was recently stolen (they would have had a shock if it had been live then).
There was flooding at Walsall station and in Park Street Tunnel, following heavy rain overnight on
Thur 20/21 Sep, which presented as a track circuit failure. This has happened quite a few times in the
past but it was not possible to pump the water out as the generator in the area had been removed!
Points were secured for a route from Walsall to the Up and Down Cannock lines by 08.36; normal
working resuming 21.55 (Fri). 11 trains were cancelled, 6 partly and 63 trains suffered 568 mins delay.
2149] Wolverhampton: On 29 Sep demolition of the station ('a horrid 1960s electrification era
building' - Regional Ed) began. It is the next stage in the £150M transport hub and is in two phases, to
allow normal train services to run. BTP and rail staff recently moved into temporary accommodation
on the nearby Banana Yard (hopefully no slip ups there). Contractors will demolish the former BTP
building, with a small section of the current station building next to P1 also to be demolished. The
erection of the first section of the new station building will follow quickly and open by autumn 2019.
In Phase 2 the rest of the station is demolished with completion of the new build. It should be fully
open in summer 2020 when the Midland Metro Alliance will begin the final section of the new tram
extension to the station (some of it will not be so new by then). North Bay P6 has reduced passenger
access length of 58yd (from 131yd) at the north end due to the erection of hoarding from the stop
block to about halfway along the platform which prevents passenger access. New 'car stop' boards
assist in positioning trains. The 6-car overall operational length of the line has not changed.
1314 YORKSHIRE & NORTH HUMBERSIDE
(Graeme Jolley; Geoff Blyth for North & East Yorks)
2150] Doncaster iPort: (BLN 1291.2159) Said to be the first inland rail
freight terminal to be built in the UK for over 10 years, it was
commissioned from Sun 14 Jan 2018 and officially opened by the
Princess Royal on 12 Sep. The £14M freight terminal is part of the
larger iPort development, which already hosts massive distribution
depots for Amazon and Lidl (both of whom have indicated that they
don't expect to use the new terminal). It can handle five or six 750m
long trains a day, six days a week. Each train can carry the equivalent
of 70 lorries. Previously it had been suggested that the new terminal
would result in the closure of Wakefield Europort.
The first GBRf operated commercial service left at 18.04 on Mon 17
Sep for Southampton Western Docks (Solent Stevedores site)
arriving there 03.09 (Tue). Leaving Southampton at 05.05 on 18th,
Doncaster iPort was reached again at 14.34, then the next train left
18.01. There are the usual initial paths. (LEFT: Doncaster iPort track
plan with thanks to our Cartographer of note, Martyn Brailsford.)
2151] Supertram (1): Transport chiefs are mustering public support
for an upgrade of the system by warning that the tramway will close
without major investment. Despite a lengthy, ongoing program of
track replacement, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive
recently said that the Supertram system may have to close in 2024
unless £230M is invested in the network.
The contract with tram operator Stagecoach has provision for
maintenance but is due to end in 2024. A public consultation
https://goo.gl/VMJzp3 considers three options: ❶Maintaining
Supertram as it is through ongoing essential repairs. ❷Renewing
and modernising Supertram's tracks, vehicles and information
systems. ❸Complete closure and replacement with bus services, a
move the consultation document states could be completed within
three years. Despite the attention drawn to possible closure,
discussions are underway with the DfT about an investment package
for Supertram and the consultation appears designed to ensure
public support sees this carried through. If the light rail system,
opened in 1994, did close it could be the end for the long awaited
tram train scheme, on which public services begin on Thur 25 Oct and
which the DfT has continued to fund, despite the ever soaring costs.
The consultation closes on the 5 Nov if you want to be involved.
2152] Sheffield Supertram (2): From 30 Sep some minor fare changes
were implemented; there is a significant staff pay rise to fund.
However, as one member pointed out recently it is probably still the
best value and it is a proper 'system' unlike some. Revised fares
include Adult short distance single £1.80 (up 10p), long distance
single £2.50 (up 10p), Sheffield Bus & Tram Dayrider £4.40 (up 20p) -
the Tram only ticket is £4 - no restrictions. (Sheffield is
£4/£2.65 with Railcard - covers all trams.)
X.147] Chapeltown Central: (BLN 1312.1895) ABOVE: CP 7 Dec 1953; CA 7 Mar 1966. A remarkable
survivor! No15 Home signal bracket on 23 Sep 2014 in the woods on public land. (Andy Overton)
2153] Platform extensions: To facilitate TPE and Northern franchise commitments NR propose to
extend the length of platforms at South Milford, Ravensthorpe, Cottingley, Mirfield and Deighton.
2154] Bradford Interchange: The final stage of resignalling with remodelling takes place from Sat 20
until Mon 22 Oct (the Monday is a normal working day but is local half term). For the three days
no passenger trains run between: Todmorden (excl)/Stansfield Hall Jn - Hebden Bridge - Halifax -
Bradford Interchange - Leeds (excl). Also Brighouse (excl - there is a service to Leeds via Mirfield) -
Halifax. Additionally Milner Royd Jn - Greetland Jn is closed. Grand Central trains from King's Cross
turnback at Wakefield Kirkgate. The Preston to Leeds via Copy Pit service is a bus between Blackburn
and Leeds (taking 3 hours nearly twice as long as the train). Mill Lane Junction (Bradford Interchange),
Hebden Bridge, Halifax & Milner Royd Junction (Sowerby Bridge) boxes close with control transferred
to York ROC.
2155] Hebden Bridge: In connection with resignalling the Up Refuge Siding is OOU from 30 Sep to 23 Oct.
2156] …and Finally, 60s style gender inequality? A weekly operating notice for 4 to 10 May 1963
contained the following: 'Menthorpe Gate [on the Selby - Market Weighton - Driffield line] has ceased
to be a block post and is in charge of a female crossing keeper. Guards of freight trains requiring to
attach or detach traffic at Menthorpe Gate should obtain a key to free No6 Up Main to Siding points
from the person in charge at Bubwith. After shunting operations have been completed No6 points
should be restored to normal and secured by lever bar, the key being returned to the person in charge
at Bubwith on the return journey.' By 21 to 27 Sep 1963, the first sentence had disappeared.
Perhaps even in those unenlightened days it had occurred to somebody that the gender of the
crossing keeper didn't have much to do with shunting operations!
1314 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]
2157] Belfast Mess§: All references to Belfast in Irish Rail (IR) notices continue to use Belfast Central.
The list of IR public timetable PDFs also uses Belfast Central but the timetable PDF itself uses the
'other' name. The IR online journey planner does not recognise either name and only accepts 'Belfast'.
Putting either name in the Translink journey planner produces 'Belfast, Lanyon Place [Central Station]'.
The British National Rail has Belfast Central as do the other TOCs on the mainland. European operators
such as ÖBB, SBB etc avoid the mess by only recognising 'Belfast Port'.
The failure of the 17.10 to Londonderry at GVS on 1 Oct proved that Translink/NIR don't know what
they are doing with regard to the name of 'the station between Botanic and Yorkgate'. The following
appeared on their website: 17.10 Great Victoria Street to Londonderry due 19.22 will be started from
Belfast Central. It will no longer call at Great Victoria Street, City Hospital and Botanic. This is due to a
train fault. Will be formed of 3 coaches [normally a very full 6 car train]. Additional Information:
Passengers from Gt. Victoria St, City Hospital & Botanic take the 17.06 service from Gt Victoria St and
change at Lanyon Place… 17.10 Great Victoria Street not stopping; 17.13 City Hospital not stopping;
17.14 Botanic not stopping; 17.20 Belfast Central on time; 17.24 Yorkgate on time… (§Belfast Mess is a
dessert served at Belfast Hilton Hotel, appropriately across the road from the station concerned.)
2158] Single Minded: Due to ongoing ballast work to increase Cork line speeds there is single line
working again, this time on the Down line between Portarlington and Portlaoise on Sat 13 Oct.
2159] Londonderry: (BLN 1304.983) P2 closed permanently after Fri 5 Oct; the last train was expected
to be the 07.38 to Great Victoria Street (GVS) due to the 6/7 Oct weekend engineering closure. From
Mon 8 Oct only one train was permitted beyond Bellarena to allow signalling work (all signals between
the Airport and the station were taken out of use). There is no signalling beyond milepost 93½ (the end
of the River Foyle Bridge). This now requires two ECS workings: 22.35 (SuX) Londonderry to Coleraine
formed by the 20.10 ex GVS; returning next morning as 06.55 (SuX) Coleraine to Londonderry forming
07.38 to GVS. All pointwork is being removed including the goods loop and siding, the short (Tamper)
Siding and P2 leaving just a single track [a pointless exercise!] to P1 - longer than P2. The arrangements
are expected to last about 12 months until the new layout and station are commissioned.
PREVIOUS PAGE TOP: Londonderry P2 (left), the end is nigh… on the morning of Thur 4 Oct 2018, note
that the surviving P1 (right) is further from Belfast… (Both pictures Martin Baumann.)
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Looking west to the other side of the city across the River Foyle.
2160] Portrush: (BLN 1310.1688) The signal box, which is normally switched out, was signed out of use
from Tue 9 Oct. From the same time all trains now only use P2. This has been the least used of the
three platforms for many years. Service trains have generally used P1 and the RPSI (to run round) P3.
2161] Yorkgate: The 21.38 Londonderry to Belfast is booked via Yorkgate (Down) P2 reached via York
Road North Jn facing crossover. Your Ireland Editor cannot confirm if the train actually does this but he
did do the route on 28 May on the 07.38 ex-Londonderry as Up P1 was blocked by a failed unit.
2162] IR Timetable Third Time Lucky? (BLN 1313.2021) Following multiple passenger complaints IR
made more timetable changes from 1 Oct. The 08.02 (SSuX) Maynooth to Bray is advanced to 07.55
and now calls at all stations. The 07.11 (SSuX) Connolly to Maynooth is advanced to 07.05 and calls at
all stations. There are alterations to the 05.40 (SSuX) Sligo to Connolly between Longford and Dublin.
IR believes that these changes will address the performance issues since the introduction of the new
timetable, particularly between Maynooth and city centre stations. Social media has been full of
complaints about overcrowding and smaller trains (most DART services have been reduced to 4 car
sets with the 10 minute frequency) and cancellations due to driver shortage have not been eliminated.
2163] Dublin Connolly P7 - Newcomen Jn: All trains to/from the Sligo line are due to use this PSUL line
with the facing crossover to Connolly on 27/28 Oct due to a possession on the Drumcondra route.
For the record, as well as the 08.00 (SuX) Connolly to Sligo, the PSUL is used SSuX if the Drumcondra
route is blocked. An example was the conclusion of the All-Ireland Hurling and Football semi-finals and
finals, held at Croke Park on Sundays from mid-Aug until mid-Sep. If the 16.43 SuO Pearse - Maynooth
or a local special train was held at Drumcondra station to receive passengers after a match, the 17.05
SuO Connolly to Sligo was consequently diverted via this route to overtake. From Sun 10 Sep,
the 17.05 SuO Connolly to Sligo was retimed to leave at 17.10 and booked to call at Drumcondra so
that the All-Ireland Football Finals on 3 Sep 2018 would have been the last occasion of the diversion.
1314 ISLE OF MAN (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
2164] IOM Steam Railway: (BLN 1263.1654) In 2016 some of the station buildings were proposed for
'Registered Building' status (the equivalent of listing) by the Isle of Man Steam Railway Association.
The Planning office initially proceeded then stalled. However after a delay Port St Mary station with its
goods shed and separately Port Erin station, its locomotive and goods sheds shed were formally
proposed for registration by the Department of Environment, Food & Agriculture on 20 Jul 2018.
The deadline for comments was 17 Aug including from the owners, occupiers, local authorities and the
Director of Manx National Heritage. Two interesting well illustrated PDFs with plans are with e-BLN.
1314 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe) [email protected]
2165] Dirleton: (CP 1 Feb 1954; CA 10 Aug 1964) The only intermittent station on the North Berwick
branch, it survives as a substantially altered private residence, recognisable as a station from trains.
2166] Ballater: (BLN 1303.890) The station reopened to visitors on 20 Aug after a £3M rebuild
following destruction by fire on 12 May 2015. Until Feb 1966, the 'B-listed' building was the branch
terminus used by the Royal Family heading to Balmoral. The recreated station building includes a
tourist information centre, restaurant, tearoom and public library but unfortunately no trains as yet!
2167] Bonnybridge: (CP 6 Mar 1967) A survey of local people is to take place to assess demand for the
proposed re-opening of Bonnybridge station at the junction of Reilly Road and Broomhill Road.
The expected journey times would be around 45 minutes to Edinburgh and 40 minutes to Glasgow.
X.148] On the Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway unbranded 2-car unit 230002 gave free public
rides from Bo'ness at 11.00 13.00 & 15.00 on 10, 11 & 12 Oct. ABOVE: The 11.00 at Manuel on Wed
10 Oct (how up to date is that?) with a good cross section of the general public (!) - mainly railwaymen,
retired railwaymen and railway enthusiasts. Adrian Shooter is left with brown trousers, glasses and a
high visibility vest. BELOW: Near Kinneil on the 13.00 outward trip. (All Greg Beecroft, 10 Oct 2018)
ABOVE: The 13.00 trip returns to Bo'ness; looking east along the River Forth - the closed coal fired
Longannet Power Station is in the background. BELOW: Arrival at Bo'ness, presumably the box was
switched out and the smoke is definitely coming from a steam engine not the EMU or its battery!
X.149] Breich: ABOVE: This is what you can have for £2.4M - the rebuilt Breich station on 10 Oct 2018.
We hope that its passenger is grateful. There is no footbridge, because access to both platforms is by
ramps from the road overbridge immediately west of the station. There is an electrification works
compound in an adjacent field which it is believed may become the station car park. (Greg Beecroft)
2168] Inverkeilor: The trailing crossover (23m 04ch) by the signal box here between Montrose and
Abroath has actually been plain lined for some years. It can be re-instated with 12 months notice,
should the need arise. It has been agreed to retain it in this state for another five years.
2169] Glasgow Central: Footfall at Scotland's busiest station (32.1M fare paying passengers 2016-17)
rose by 9% when Glasgow hosted the European Championships (2-12 Aug). On the first Friday of the
Championships it reached 133,245 with the closing Sunday seeing 69,813 visitors passing through the
station - an increase of almost 29% on the equivalent Sunday in 2017. With some of the biggest rises in
passenger numbers coinciding with the days the city experienced disruption to road networks due to
cycling events, it was clear that people opted to use the railway as an alternative method of travel.
2170] Edinburgh Waverley: To facilitate construction (Edinburgh Waverley Capacity Improvements
project), P5/6 - Motorail Sidings - continue to be removed from operational use until further notice.
2171] Innerwick: (CP 18 Jun 1951; CA 10 Aug 1964) This former station building on the ECML is in red
sandstone and is now an extended private residence, easily viewed from the public road over the line.
2172] Cockburnspath: (CP 18 Jun 1951; CA 25 Jan 1965) The main station building survives as a private
residence, totally hidden from the main line and much of the main road by trees. However there is one
point on the road where it can be seen quite well. The style is of the later North British Railway period,
so maybe does not date from the opening of the line (although the station, OP 22 Jun 1946, does).
2173] Grantshouse: (CP 4 May 1964; CA 28 Dec 1964) Grant's House from 1846 to 1915; all trace of
the passenger station has gone. Two engineer's sidings are located in what was once probably the
goods yard, north of the overbridge. A roofless permanent way hut is the only surviving building.
2174] Reston: (CP 4 May 1964; CA 7 Nov 1966) The passenger station has been demolished, but the
goods shed remains, converted into a private house. Network Rail's access point states 'Reston old
station 46m 0440yds' (from Edinburgh Waverley) - so now you know….
NEXT PAGE TOP: Cockburnspath station building on 14 Aug 2016. (Angus McDougall)
2175] Ayton: (CP 5 Feb 1962; CA 7 Nov 1966) The station site has been totally cleared, apart from a
North British Railway style derelict permanent way hut under the trees.
2176] Burnmouth: (CA 5 Feb 1962) The main station building here survives as an extended private
residence, which restricts the view from the road. Leylandii trees shield the building from the railway.
2177] Greenlaw: (CP 13 Aug 1948; CA 19 Jul 1965) The main station building exists as a private
residence, built in red sandstone with a slate roof. It is easily viewable from the public road and
entrance drive. It is also viewable with difficulty from the former road bridge over the trackbed.
1314 WALES (Chris Parker) [email protected]
2178] 1920 GWR proposals: (BLN 1313.2049) Comments from members with local connections:
●They reflect the pre-WWI view that the rail network would expand as traffic increased exponentially.
●The proposed central goods depot for Newport at St Julian's would have been approximately where
…the M4 now crosses above the Hereford line.
●The Cardiff avoiding line east section is on an authorised but not built section of the Cardiff Railway.
●The Cardiff area map shows a separately authorised (also not built) Cardiff Railway line from south of
…Heath Jn, parallel to the Taff Vale Railway's 'Roath Branch' from Llandaff to Roath Dock. This also
…appears on p8 of the Ian Allan Pre-Grouping Atlas (but is not on the enlargement on p43).
●'Roath' on the Cardiff map is the goods depot of that name rather than the short-lived passenger
…station about half a mile west which had already CP/CA on 2 Apr 1917.
●The maps have been reproduced in BLN with permission, but remain subject to Crown Copyright.
2179] Craven Arms: (BLN 1301.1702 with diagram) By 27 Aug prefabricated track panels and portable
lighting were on site. By 23 Sep the existing Central Wales Line (Sectional Appendix name) Home signal
'CA9' had lost its arm and finial, its LED replacement on the opposite (outer) side of the sharp curve
having been commissioned. On 8 Oct the Down Main semaphore signals were recovered and replaced
by a new two aspect colour light at 20m 01ch. A new facing crossover previously installed at the
Ludlow end of the station at Craven Arms South Jn (20m 05ch) was brought into use. Unfortunately
the work overran and the line did not reopen until about 09.20 causing serious problems and
cancellations with earlier trains - particularly on the Central Wales Line. Trains travelling towards
Knighton now use P2 (instead of P1) then take this crossover to access the Central Wales Line.
The former No6 crossover has been recovered and plain lined. Token Arrangements for trains to/from
Knighton are unchanged with trains still stopping at Craven Arms Signal Box for that purpose.
2180] Valleys Timetable: Although ATW pocket Timetable 5 (Valleys & Cardiff Local Routes) was issued
for 20 May to 8 Dec, a revised 'Autumn Edition' is available for the franchise handover period 10 Sep to
8 Dec. It includes the usual seasonal changes, mainly curtailment of one Bargoed off-peak train each
hour to turn back short at Ystrad Mynach, and extra recovery time between penultimate and final
stations on most lines. Posters at Cardiff Queen Street advise that, until further notice, the 08.15
Bargoed to Penarth and 17.01 Cardiff Central to Rhymney services are reduced to two cars due to
continuing rolling stock shortages. When other services were similarly affected in July, ATW attributed
this mainly to accessibility upgrades and also NR infrastructure project blockades disrupting planned
maintenance cycles. The ageing fleet was also mentioned, but the relatively young Class 158 and 175
DMUs do not appear to be the most reliable ones!
2181] Mostyn: https://goo.gl/3hJj5E is a film by Mostyn History Preservation Society of the 26 Feb
1990 floods (due to a higher tide than usual and 5m high waves) which engulfed the station area. Just
east is the only boat on TRACKmaps, the rotting hulk of TSS (Twin Screw Steamer) 'Duke of Lancaster'
ferry. It has been grounded in a private dry dock by the North Wales Coast railway at Llanerch-y-Mor
since 1979 as a 'Fun Ship' entertainment venue but empty since the mid-1980s and currently a very
conspicuous eyesore. Now it is planned to be reopened as a 'zombie attraction'; if this comes to pass,
customers visiting the attraction will try to tackle actors dressed as zombies, with the aim of stopping a
'virus and saving humanity'. Built for British Railways in Belfast by Harland & Wolff (1956) as one of its
final passenger-only ferries, it last operated between Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire in 1978.
2182] Milford Haven: The Industrial Railway & Locomotive Appreciation Society Facebook group
reports that a temporary narrow gauge rope worked incline was installed beside the cliff path on
Thorne Island in early summer this year to haul heavy items up to the former military fort. This was
built ¼ mile off the mainland in the 19th century as a defence against French attacks and is now under
restoration. The track was lifted by 24 Sep. Helicopters used to bring in building supplies featured in
the local press, but no more details of the incline are known - any information most welcome.
2183] Rhondda landslip; the full story, no slip ups: (BLN 1313.1939) At 19.46 on Thur 20 Sep, the
driver of 2F77, 19.17 Treherbert - Cardiff Central, formed of Pacer 142072, reported running over
branches on Dinas Rhondda - Porth Single line. Both engines had shut down. It was later established
that the train had actually passed through a landslip, with about 10 tonnes of debris spread over an
estimated 12m distance as a result of a burst water pipe and heavy rain. 2F77 was declared a failure at
19.59; 2T52, 19.06 Cardiff Central - Treherbert was cancelled at Porth to assist the stranded train's
four passengers (as 1Z99) from the site at 20.29. With further slips possible, cancellation of Treherbert
- Porth services with bus replacements until further notice was agreed with ATW at 21.10. In practice
this also applied to most services Pontypridd - Porth because of stock shortages as some DMUs were
trapped at Treherbert. Unit 142072 was removed by an assisting train at 23.01. A daylight inspection
on 21 Sep showed that up to 100 tonnes of debris between Dinas Rhondda and Porth and trees on the
slope overhanging required removal. A possession was granted at 13.00, vegetation clearance and
waste removal commenced. As reported, normal working resumed at start of service on Wed 25 Sep.
2184] Tondu - Margam: (BLNs 1300.519 & 1302.680) Despite extensive clearance work for 'The Valley
of the Witch' UK Railtour of 10 Mar this year and expected freight traffic, a member visiting Tondu on
18 Aug found the Ogmore Vale Extension line to Margam blocked by a stop sign and once again very
overgrown. It looked as if there hadn't been a train for years and certainly not since the said railtour
which also used the Garw Loop; again it appears nothing has passed that way since. Indeed the points
immediately north of the box (accessing both the Garw Loops and the Llynfi Loop) were clamped and
scotched for the main Maesteg line.
However, the main objective of his visit was the preserved Cefn Junction Signal Box, open to visitors
only on Aug weekend afternoons. Neville Graham's excellent booklet 'All Change at Cefn Junction' tells
us that this GWR box opened in 1898 as the junction between the former Llynfi & Ogmore Railway
branch to Porthcawl (then the 'main' line) and the new 'branch' to Port Talbot, opened 19 Dec 1898 -
the same year. The Porthcawl branch CP 9 Sep 1963 and CA (south of Pyle) 1 Feb 1965 but Cefn Jn
remained, with two routes to the GW Main Line at Pyle and Port Talbot. On 19 Nov 1973 the Pyle to
Cefn Jn line CA (British Rail claimed that the Bridgend to Port Talbot line underbridge it passed under
needed replacing) and Cefn was no longer a junction. The box was retained however, with a passing
loop to break the single line section between Tondu and Margam. This arrangement lasted up until
7 Oct 1983 when Cefn Jn was closed and the passing loop removed.
Happily the box was preserved and restored by a local community group although the frame was
removed and acquired by the Lower Swansea Valley Railway Society. Now the box contains a wealth of
information and exhibits relating to the railways and general history of the area. Our member was
warmly greeted by two very knowledgeable local ladies - members of the preservation group - who
offered a cup of tea and answered his many questions. A visit next Aug is thoroughly recommended to
anyone interested in the railways of that area. The box can be tricky to find (if trying to use Sat Nav
with a postcode, forget it!), partly because Bedford Rd is bisected by the former Parc Slip opencast
site. From Cefn Cribwr village, drive north on Bedford Rd to the former level crossing (SS 8537 8340).
Either turn right and drive along the ex-Porthcawl branch (now a rough grassy track) and park near the
box (SS 8587 8339) or, for those who prefer to keep their cars on tarmac, from the crossing drive a few
metres north and park in the public car park on the left then walk back along the branch to the box.
BELOW: Maesteg to Cardiff Central train at Tondu, the points immediately in front of the DMU are
scotched, clipped and padlocked out of use (OOU). Therefore the bidirectional Llynfi Goods Loop to
the immediate right of, and behind, the train is OOU at least this end as is the Blaengarw line off right
(now just leading to the two bidirectional Garw Loops). (All pictures Nick Jones, 18 Aug 2018.)
NEXT PAGE: Although it has seen better days this is an interesting old signal box diagram (date anyone
please??) of Tondu (formerly Tondu Middle Signal Box) which once had 65 levers and now just has a
single track. It is on display with many other artefacts and pictures at Cefn Junction Signal Box.
BELOW: The state of the Ogmore Vale Extension line at Tondu looking towards Margam, 18 Aug 2018.
The other pictures below are self-explanatory - the Cefn Jn box diagram is dated 30 Sep 1965.
2185] Llanwern: (BLN 1291.2179) Transport for Wales has submitted a planning application to
Newport City Council which includes a 1m 5ch loop off the existing Relief lines. Initially this is to
provide a stabling area when extra services are operating during special events but it is the first stage
of a wider scheme to be included in a later application. This will feature 2½ miles of additional stabling,
a passenger station with a 164yd island platform, footbridge, 1,000 space car park and infrastructure
works. No date for this second submission has been set; the total cost of £50M was originally to form
part of the Welsh Government's 2018-19 draft budget but presumably this has slipped. However,
if/when happens, it may provide some much needed justification for electrifying the Relief lines!
1314 MINOR RAILWAYS (Peter Scott) [email protected]
MR195] Poole Park Railway, Dorset (MR p15) (BLN 1308.MR131): While debate about public
ownership of the National Railway system continues, one railway has been Nationalised! The Borough
of Poole Council announced on 24 August that it was considering proposals to bring the railway 'in-
house for the foreseeable future'. At a Tuesday 4 September meeting the Council's Place Overview and
Scrutiny Committee backed a £350,000 investment in the 10¼" gauge railway, with a view to having it
up and running again by summer 2019. Management will become the responsibility of the Council's
Culture and Community Service Department, although it is hoped volunteers will remain. Closure and
reversion to the previous operator was also considered https://goo.gl/oXHH2v (an interesting report).
BELOW: Ilford & West Essex Model Engineers - A train departs from the station at the constricted
Chadwell Heath site. (Peter Scott, 2 Sep 2018). Clearly the most important thing to do when riding on
a miniature railway is to check Facebook…