Issue Number 1261 (Items 1373 - 1473 & MR 128 - MR 137) (E-BLN 42 PAGES) 23 July 2016
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)
Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Ave., Epsom, Surrey, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from members, an international section is also available.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or the Society.
BLN 1262 is dated 6 August, all conStorciibeutyt.ions must be received by 27 July.
Date Event Details BLN Lead Status
1256 GW OPEN
Thur 4/8/16 Spa Valley Explorer, 14.00 Brakevan; update BLN 1260
Sat 13/8/16 Wycombe Wanderer Tracker railtour 1259 JE OPEN
Sat 20/8/16 Signal Box Visits, Harrogate - York ASK ABOUT A REPEAT 1260 NG Enquire
Sun 21/8/16 Afternoon Mountsorrel railway walk; a branch running day 1260 TG OPEN
Sun 28/8/16 Weston Wharf Railway Near Oswestry; morning railtour 1260 JC *OPEN*
Mon 29/8/16 A Tale of Two Ports Sunderland & Tyne Port branches 1259 KA OPEN
Sat 3/9/16 Derby RTC visit, Signet Solutions visit merged with 4/9/16 1259 PS OPEN
Sun 4/9/16 Derby RTC, 11.30-14.30 Signet Solutions conducted visit 1259 PS OPEN
Sat 10/9/16 Londonderry to Fintown and Difflin Lake Railways etc TBA GB Planned
Sat 10/9/16 Valley Line Tracker (2) Rare track by service trains 1260 DC *OPEN*
Sun 18/9/16 Summerfields (Bedford MES) /Fancott Miniature Railways TBA BD Planned
Fri 23/9/16 Douglas Horse Tramway tour, 11.25-14.00 (see below) 1262 GJ Planned
Fri 30/9/16 13.00 Eastleigh Lakeside & Netley Royal Victoria Railways 1261 JE *OPEN*
Sun 2/10/16 Apedale Valley Railway *NEW* 10.30 & 13.00 railtours 1261 JC *OPEN*
Fri 7/10/16 SAVE THE DATE: potential loco-hauled tour; branch closing 1262 TBA Planned
Fri 4/11/16 Epping & Ongar Railway 08.30 Very comprehensive tour 1257 DG OPEN
Sat 5/11/16 East Kent Railway/AGM 08.30 Very comprehensive tour 1257 DG OPEN
Sat 5/11/16 Evening presentation by Ian Mortimer with interval buffet 1257 DG OPEN
Sun 6/11/16 Kent & East Sussex Rly 08.30 Extensive railtour 1257 DG OPEN
10-17/11/16 Jordan Hejaz Railway *UPDATE WITH E BLN 1261* 1250 IS OPEN
Mon 26/12/16 Boxing Day 10.00 private 10¼" railway in Worcestershire 1261 PS OPEN
BD-Bill Davis, DC-David Clark, DG-Darren Garnon, GJ-Graeme Jolley, GB-Geoff Blyth, GW-Glen Wells, IS-Iain Scotchman,
JC-John Cameron, JE-Jill Everitt, KA-Kev Adlam, NG-Nick Garnham, PS-Paul Stewart, TG-Tom Gilby.
1373] Weston Wharf Light Railway Farewell, 11.00 on Sun 28 Aug: (The day between the UKRT 'The
Ayr Apparent' and our 'Tale of Two Ports' railtours both from Crewe.) Weston Rd, Morda SY10 9ES;
south of Oswestry by the Cambrian line (track in situ) https://goo.gl/4sVMty on the former Weston
Wharf goods yard (SJ 2983 2759) with its impressive goods shed. There have been some alterations
to the intricate layout at this delightful 2' gauge private railway since our 1 Apr 2012 visit. It is likely
to be moving to a new location, so this will probably be the final Society visit. All available tracks.....
£12 members, £18 non-members, cheques/CPAs with e-mail address or SAE to John Cameron, 10
Friar Gate Court, Friar Gate, Derby, DE1 1HE. Queries [email protected] 07581178759.
BLN 1261.1374] A Tale of Two Ports tour, Bank Holiday Mon 29 Aug: The FS is away on holiday
28 July to 12 August. Bookings then will be acknowledged mid August. A few first class seats remain.
1375] Derby Railway Technical Centre Visits Sat 3 & Sun 4 Sep: (BLN 1259.1172) In response to
demand the Sunday visit (11.30 to 14.30) is proceeding but not Saturday. A few places are available.
This is a conducted tour of Signet Solutions (signalling) and their various working exhibits a short
walk from Derby station, part of the Railway Technical Centre. (BLN 1245.2082) had a detailed
report of the last visit. Bookings/queries: Paul Stewart (back page); further visits are not envisaged.
1376] Valley Lines Tracker II, Sat 10 Sep: Following our successful Aug 2015 Valley Lines tracker, our
publicity officer David Clark (who is local) has identified some opportunities to cover unusual South
Wales track by service trains on Sats 3 and 10 Sep. The exciting 11-hour sequence starts with the 09.04
Cardiff Central P3 to Bridgend and finishes at 20.00. It includes the very rare Bridgend Bay P3, arrival
and departure; Maesteg branch, Vale of Glamorgan both ways, Ebbw Vale Town extension, Moorland
Road Jn crossover, Ninian Park alignment in both directions, Caerphilly bay P1, Cardiff Queen Street
bay P1, various new Queen Street arrangements and Cardiff West Jn crossovers to Cardiff Central P1.
A Valley Lines Day Explorer http://goo.gl/Apt92U needs to be purchased. David has volunteered to
lead a group on 10 Sep with his local knowledge and detailed itinerary. Two refreshment breaks are
included. Notify [email protected] or text 07985 472425. This is sure to be an
enjoyable, sociable day out with like-minded people. If you cannot make 10 Sep contact David (back
page) for his itinerary which applies 3 Sep too. See report in the 'Wales' section for more information.
1377] County Donegal day tour, Sat 10 Sep: With around
1,000 members, it is considered that when essential, more
than one fixture can be offered on the same day. Work is in
progress on a day coach trip from Londonderry to the
remote and difficult to reach 2¼-mile long, 3ft gauge Fintown
Railway (including the depot branch) http://goo.gl/M6AvcN
in case 2016 is the final year of operation (BLN 1258.1156). A member visiting recently was the only
passenger on the train. An original section of the 24-mile branch from Stranorlar to Glenties in
spectacular tranquil scenery on the shore of Loch Finn, it is the only remaining section of the once
very extensive County Donegal Railway. A visit to the 2-mile long, 15in gauge Difflin Lake Railway
(ABOVE RIGHT) http://goo.gl/mOEHeV (details and pictures), Oakfield Park, Raphoe is planned and
also possibly to some historical railway remains in the area. Permission has been received to visit
the famous Owencarrow Viaduct (BELOW - both pictures Donegal Tourism) accessible only from
private land. Expressions of interest (no obligation) to gauge demand AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
PLEASE, and to receive full details, to [email protected] or by post (with SAE) per back page.
The Viaduct as it was http://goo.gl/EAsbax see http://goo.gl/DFOwwO about the infamous accident.
[BLN 1261] ABOVE & BELOW: The Fintown Railway alongside Lough Finn (Donegal Tourism press release).
Sadly, due to the remote location, the bottom picture is closer to the usual number of passengers.
An 8½-minute video clip https://youtu.be/bCzkf2AmV5U?t=431 of this lovely railway.
1378] Douglas Bay Horse Tramway, Fri 23 Sep:
With special thanks to our local members, John
and Jenny Williamson, bookings should open in
BLN 1262 for a BLS charter. This covers (while it
is still possible to do so) as much of the existing
layout as is practicable on the day, including
depot lines which have not been available to us
on past BLS visits. Derby Castle (provisionally
11.25) allowing connections from flights into
Ronaldsway by 10.00. The finish will permit
departure as early as the 15.00 boat to Liverpool
or check in for planes scheduled to leave
Ronaldsway from 16.30. The 23 September will
be a great opportunity for 'last chancing' the Sea
Terminal layout (ABOVE: Friends of Douglas Bay
Tramway) and Sea Terminal to War Memorial with double track. Long term, replacement of Strathallan
Depot with a new structure is a likely, so some of the track at Derby Castle may also not be repeatable.
1379] Eastleigh Lakeside Railway, Fri 30 Sep 13.00-15.00: http://goo.gl/AhgCet Lakeside Country
Park, Wide Lane, SO50 5PE, (SU449175); only 550yd walk from Southampton Airport Parkway station.
An unusual track railtour of this extensive (1¼ miles) complex 7¼/10¼" gauge line, battery/diesel loco
expected. 16.30-18.30 (approx) Royal Victoria Railway, Royal Victoria Country Park, Netley (station 10
mins), SO31 5GA. (SU464079) http://goo.gl/fkPhMx a 1,000yd, 10¼" gauge line. Both: £22 members;
Eastleigh only £16, Netley only £10. Non-members £27, £20 and £12 respectively. Post cheques/CPAs
('Payee Branch line Society') with email address or SAE (second for acknowledgement) to: Jill Everitt, 4
Barnside Way, Moulton, Cheshire, CW9 8PT. Public transport is available between Eastleigh and
Netley, but please advise [email protected] if you can provide or require a lift between them.
1380] Apedale Valley Light Railway, Sun 2 Oct: (MR p23) Loomer Rd, Apedale Country Park, ST5 7LB
(SJ823484). There have been many alterations and additions to this 2ft gauge line since our Oct 2011
trips, including the very interesting and quite lengthy new field railway (not covered by public
services). This visit includes all running lines, sidings and loops as possible. A single coach train to
maximise coverage will make two identical trips. Apedale Heritage Centre will be open
http://goo.gl/G1Iruo for viewing and refreshments. £13 members, £20 non-members, cheques/ CPAs,
state preference (if any) for 10.30 or 13.00 trip, with e-mail details or SAE to John Cameron, 10 Friar
Gate Court, Friar Gate, Derby, DE1 1HE. [email protected] 07581178759.
X.90] Jordan Railtour, 10-15 Nov 2016: (BLN 1250.217 with map) Update 20 July, our member Iain
Scotchman has recently made a breakthrough with negotiations for this interesting and most unusual
one off tour being run with the support of the LCGB. Anyone who might be interested please take time
to read the two page itinerary and details in the download with this e-BLN and pass it on to anyone
else who might want to come (particularly BLS members who cannot receive e-BLN). The original
http://goo.gl/V6FRFB details. 25 bookings (anticipated) are needed to run the trip, but the more there
are the cheaper per head it will be. BLS usual Terms and Conditions http://goo.gl/TR1nWQ apply.
1381] A BLS Christmas Present, Boxing Day, Mon 26 Dec: A very rare fixture has been negotiated to
a complex and very private 10¼" gauge northwest Worcestershire railway near Stourport-upon-
Severn, at 10.00 the only day that rides are available. A £10 on the day charity donation applies.
Please advise Paul Stewart (back page) if you might be interested ASAP and if you can assist with
lifts (how many and where from) or if you require transport. Families are welcome if space permits.
1382] Unusual Track: Mostly kindly supplied by member Ian Delgado from his Unusual Track website -
a logon and password are required for access. These can be obtained via http://goo.gl/SnBFFM by
making a donation to 'Railway Children'. Over £3,300 has already been raised for this worthy cause.
Tyseley South trailing X/O (125m 50ch): 30/31 Jul & 7 Aug: Down trains leaving Solihull on Up line
..all day (single line working due to track remodelling and replacement at Dorridge). This crossover
..was used in the other direction by http://goo.gl/c1AZ7T the 'London Midland Farewell 150'
..railtour on 12 Nov 2011 coming out of Tyseley depot heading towards to Leamingtion Spa.
Stormy Up Goods Loop: SO until 27 Aug, 06.57 Pembroke Dock to Cardiff Central; 11.08 & 19.08
Swansea to Cardiff Central and 09.00 Shrewsbury to Newport. All booked to wait about 9 minutes.
ECML London End: Sun 24 Jul, 06.08 & 06.35 King's Cross (KX) to Cambridge and 06.20, 06.48 &
07.23 KX to Welwyn GC are booked Down Fast to Finsbury Park country-end; reverse on Down Fast
to Up Fast, and run wrong line on the Up Fast to New Barnet South to cross back to down line.
Glasgow, Muirhouse South Jn - Larkfield Jn - Polmadie (reverse on Down Clydesdale): SuO 31 Jul
to 21 Aug all services (reduced in frequency) between Glasgow and East Kilbride/Kilmarnock.
Down Moorthorpe Goods Loop: Sat 20 Aug 17.14; (27 Aug 17.24) Sheffield-Leeds (booked 8 mins).
Up Moorthorpe Goods Loop: Mon 29 Aug 17.54 Leeds to Sheffield (booked for 4 minutes).
Kilby Bridge Jn - Wigston North Jn, Up & Down Slow: Mon 22 - Thur 25 Aug, 23.15 St Pancras to
Derby & 00.15 St Pancras to Leicester. Tue 23 - Fri 26 Aug, 04.41 Leicester to St Pancras.
Winchfield Country end, Down Fast (rev) X/O to Up Fast, (rev) X/O Up Slow; wrong line to London
end of Basingstoke cross to the Down Slow: Tue 23 - Fri 26 Aug 01.05 Waterloo to Southampton.
Severn Tunnel Jn: Severn Tunnel Junction P1 to Down Relief (rev) to Up Tunnel via new X/O at the
tunnel-end of the station, not shown on TRACKmaps. Sat 3&10 Sep, 06.42 New St to Plymouth,
15.08 Edinburgh to Bristol TM & 15.00 Glasgow to Bristol TM. Sun 4 Sep 13.48 & 14.55 Glasgow
Central and 17.08 Edinburgh to Bristol TM. Other CrossCountry trains reverse at Newport.
Thornton North Up Passenger Loop: Sat 17 Sep, 22.43 Perth to Edinburgh (booked for 13 minutes).
Witham Down Loop: SO 24 Sep - 1 Oct, all day certain services starting back from Witham P4
(arrive P1 ECS shunts) to Colchester, Ipswich & Clacton. See Realtime Trains or OpenTrainTimes.
Borough Green Down Loop: Sun 25 Sep, 23.38 Victoria to Ashford (6 minutes to be overtaken).
ECML, Stevenage Country end Down Fast (rev) cross to P1 (rev), Up Slow wrong line & Hitchin Up
Yard: 1/2 and 8/9 Oct, 23.22 KX to Kings Lynn; 00.22 KX to Cambridge; 00.55 KX to Letchworth GC.
ECML, Stevenage double reversal (per previous item) and Up Slow wrong line to Biggleswade then
cross to Down Slow: Saturdays 1 & 8 Oct, 22.52 & 23.52 King's Cross to Peterborough.
Toton High Level Goods Lines & Ilkeston Jn (rev): SuO 2&9 Oct, all St Pancras Nottingham trains.
Farnborough Main, P2 to Down Fast (rev) cross to Up Fast and Slow (rev) wrong line to Basingstoke
P4 then cross to Down Fast: 01.15 Waterloo to Southampton Central (known as 'The Microgicer').
1261 HEAD LINES
1383A] Northfleet Jn (21m 43ch) - Northfleet Lafarge: (BLN 1260.1276) The first recent working was
at 00.30 on 29 Jun 2016 when empty cement wagons arrived here from West Thurrock for loading.
1383B] Scunthorpe Freight Sidings: (BLN 1204.332) (SE 904112) Opposite Scunthorpe signal panel, CG
after operations on Mon 11 Jul 2016 when the final train with 1,000 tonnes of compacted rubbish
(originating at Brentford Town) arrived 05.26 from Belmont Down Yard with 66098. After unloading, it
departed at 18.15 for Southall with 25 FCA/FYA, flat intermodal wagons taking all remaining (yellow)
rubbish containers. This traffic, originally contracted for 30 months, had run since 21 Jan 2014.
1384] Narroways Hill Jn - Holesmouth Jn - SITA UK, Severnside Energy Recovery Centre (12m 70ch)
and private sidings: (BLN 1257.983) OG (commercial traffic) Thur 14 July with the 19.45 (Wed) from
Brentford Town Waste Transfer Station carrying 1,200 tonnes of compacted rubbish arriving 04.30. Its
locomotive left 04.45 to return with a (different) empty container train. The normal pattern of service
is a load of rubbish is booked to arrive 00.35 and, after unloading, the empty containers are booked
out 04.45. An arrival and departure is booked seven (Severn?) days a week except SuO (arrival only)
and MO (departure only). At the ground frame trains run into a headshunt alongside and east of the
Severn Beach branch, this has a run round loop the southern points of which trail into the incinerator
branch. The exact method of operation would be of interest. 1992 is suggested as the year that freight
previously ran through Clifton Down (BLN 1256.926); ICI Severnside CG 29 Feb 1992. The last train
from Severn Beach passes Narroways Hill Jn nine minutes before the freight is due the other way.
X.91] Dumfries (incl) - Gretna Jn and Annan & Gretna Green stations: TCP/TCA 16 to 19 Jul 2016 (incl)
for planned engineering work. See also next item.
X.92 Dumfries (excl) - Kilmarnock (excl) and 4 intermediate stations: TCP/TCA 16 - 26 Jul 2016 (incl);
planned engineering work. The Greenburn branch (BLN 1255.767) which is still dispatching coal trains
and New Cumnock, Crowbandsgate Disposal Point (also for open cast coal but no recent traffic) TCG.
X.93] Mauchline Jn - Annbank Jn: TCG/TCA 16 to 26 Jul 2016 (incl) as a result of the previous item.
X.94] Stirling (excl) - Alloa (incl): TCP/TCA 16 to 24 Jul 2016 (incl) for engineering work.
1385] Liverpool, Moorfields P2: (BLN 1254.643) The Down/northbound Southport platform is to ROP
Sat 22 Jul 2016 after TCP since 11 Mon Apr for refurbishment, the final phase of the present project.
1386] Highbury & Islington - Canonbury (both East London Line only) - Shadwell (excl) and five other
intermediate stations: TCP 30 Jul to 7 Aug (incl) due to Crossrail work above the line at Whitechapel.
1387] Canal Jn - New Cross, East London Line Platform 'D' (incl): TCP 1 to 5 Aug (incl); Crossrail work.
1388] Kettering North Jn - Manton Jn and Corby station: TCP/A 11 Sep to 23 Oct (incl) to repair and
strengthen four bridges and viaducts for re-doubling and also clearance work for future electrification.
1389] London, Paddington (incl) - Slough (excl): TCP is expected 24 to 29 Dec 2016 (incl); a six-day
Christmas closure to commission Acton dive under and Stockley flyover. Details to be advised, but
diversions are expected to Marylebone via Oxford Parkway (rather than Banbury) and to Waterloo.
1390] London, Liverpool St (excl) - Witham (excl) and Shenfield (incl) - Billericay (excl): TCP is due 24
Dec to 3 Jan 2017 for engineering work, details awaited. Buses run Billericay to/from Newbury Park.
1391] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: * = New
BLN Start (incl) End (incl) Location (exclusive where bracketed) [bold = closed now]
1258.1282 Sat 16 Jul Sat 30 July *Shepperton branch - (Strawberry Hill Jn(/(Shacklegate Jn)
1256.882 Sat 2 Jul Sun 31 Jul SPT Glasgow Underground (complete closure)
1252.444 Sat 30 Jul Sun 7 Aug (Bicester North)/(Oxford); Oxford from 3 Aug - (Leamington)
1256.886 Wed 3 Aug Sun 7 Aug (Hanborough) - Oxford; Oxford station is TCP for 5 days
1254.653 Sun 20 Mar Sun 7 Aug Glasgow Queen St - (Cowlairs West Jn) / (Sighthill West Jn)
1259.1190 Sat 6 Aug Wed 10 Aug (Droitwich Spa) - (Worcester Shrub Hill) direct route
1259.1192 Sat 6 Aug Wed 10 Aug (Galton Jn) - (Smethwick Jn)
1258.1071 Sun 26 Jun Early Aug Metrolink, (Cornbrook) - MediaCityUK
1256.884 Sat 30 Jul Sun 14 Aug (Didcot) - (Oxford); from 3 Aug Oxford; from 8 Aug (Oxford)
1258.1068 Sun 26 Jun Mon 29 Aug Metrolink, (Deansgate-Castlefield) - The Delta West/North
1258.1070 Sun 26 Jun Mon 29 Aug Metrolink, MediaCityUK (excl after early Aug) - Eccles
1258.1072 Sat 27 Aug Thur 1 Sep Cannon Street - (Borough Market Jn)
1258.1072 Sat 27 Aug Thur 1 Sep (North Kent East Jn) - (Charlton Jn) via Greenwich
1255.783 Mon 12 Sep Fri 21 Oct (Filton Abbey Wood/Bristol Parkway) - (Severn Tunnel Jn)
1255.784 Thu 3 Nov? Tue 22 Nov? (Antrim) - Londonderry and Coleraine - Portrush branch
1198.1659 15 Feb 2013 12 Dec 2016 (Oxford Parkway) - (Oxford) with new timetable
1248.79 24 Dec 2015 Dec 2016 (Folkestone Central) - (Dover Priory)
1257.979 Sat 7 May Feb 2017 Tottenham: South Jn - East Jn & West Jn - Seven Sisters Jn
1253.554/5 Sat 4 Jun Feb 2017 (Barking) - (South Tottenham) (Gospel Oak) from 24 Sep
1237.1360 28 Jun 2015 Early 2017? Third side of the triangle avoiding MediaCityUK
1251.334 9 Feb 2016 March 2017 *(Carlisle) - (Armathwaite); to end March 2017 (provisional)
1222.1799 20 Dec 2014 Jan 2018 (London Blackfriars) - (London Bridge) Thameslink work
1222.1799 20 Dec 2014 Jan 2018 (London Bridge), Spa Road - Bricklayers Arms Jn
1392] FIXTURES REPORTS, Hitchin pre-
Grouping walk 24 Jun: Seven participants
met at Hitchin station for a visit to local
sites of pre-grouping interest. Some were
also 'grouping' prior to the evening DLR
tour and had taken part in our 'Achilles
Heel Trekker' (BLN 1260.1288) the
previous day. The Great Northern (GNR)
Hitchin station OP 7 Aug 1850. The
Royston & Hitchin Railway opened 21 Oct
1850 and the Leicester & Hitchin (later
the Midland Railway) on 7 May 1857. The
station was extensively rebuilt in 1910/11
but some of the 1850 original survives at
the country end of P1 where the platform
is noticeably lower. This building is the
refreshment room and gents (separate
entrances, honest!). LEFT: 1957 One Inch
7th Series OS map, the single track former
Midland line to Bedford goes off top left.
The Cambridge line is off top right, King's
Cross is south and Peterborough north.
The site of the steam shed (open from 1850 to 1961) was seen at P1 London end. The area behind it
was earmarked for a new locomotive works to supplement or even replace that at Doncaster! This
project was abandoned on the outbreak of WWI (Hitchin Pacifics would not have sounded sound quite
right!) and the area is now a housing estate. The locations of the former engineers' yard and three
signal boxes (Hitchin South, Hitchin Yard and Cambridge Junction) were also pointed out. Outside the
station, two GNR manhole covers were noted, as were Station Terrace (formerly Great Northern
Cottages, erected 1850 for railway workers), Bytham Bank (Station Master's house - 1910) and The
Bungalow (formerly the Platform Master's house). The sites of the chalk quarry and sidings south of
the station (Down side) and the coal bins and siding occupied by the approach road to the car park
were pointed out. A short bus ride took the party to Ickleford village where the MR embankment, now
mostly a nature reserve, was followed to the former GN & Midland Junction with the ECML. The MR
Bedford route CP from 1 Jan 1962 and CA (Hitchin to Shefford) 30 Dec 1963. Gerry's Hole was noted (a
borrow pit where one 'Gerry' fell in and drowned on his way back to Letchworth from one of the pubs
in Ickleford). The walk passed close to the new flyover (OP June 2013) which cuts into the Midland
embankment (see below).
Almost opposite to and east of the junction with the Midland stood the Hitchin Greystone lime works
and associated quarry. Opened before 1880 they closed in the late 1950s; its short standard gauge
branch joined the main line just north of Cambridge Jn (formerly Shepreth Branch Jn). The quarry and
lime works site is now a scrap yard with light industry. The branch alignment was traced to the
abutments of the former bridge over the river Hiz and to its connection with the main line.
[BLN 1261] ABOVE: Hitchin Flyover from the northwest, the former MR is the line of trees bottom right (NR).
Returning to the station area, the MR 'Midland Cottages' erected in 1857 for railway workers were
seen. Nos 1-6, 7a and 8-12 are original; the others are modern but in the same style. The Midland
locomotive shed (opened 1857 closed 1920) site and now occupied by McDonald's was noted. Next,
was the former Hitchin diesel depot (34D) (1961 to 1973). Opposite are the very attractive Midland
weighbridge and its office. The status of the weighbridge mechanism is unknown and, although the
building has seen better days, it is within the conservation area and moves are afoot possibly to apply
for listing. The two-storey building next is the former Great Northern goods warehouse, erected in the
1890s and still in use by NR. Thanks to local member Bill Davis for organising a most interesting fixture.
More information on the area is in a download with e-BLN.
1393] 8D Blackpool Tramway Tour, Sat 2 Jul: (Trackplan BLN 1260.1312 but NB the km measurements
below are from TRACKmaps Vol 4 p49E (Aug 2013) which are different in places). A good number of
members, along with our honorary reporting consultant microgricologist and rustologist, participated
in this event advertised in BLN (1256.956) and discovered first hand which sections of lines are no
longer even in occasional use! They met in front of Rigby Road depot before 11.00 soon to be greeted
by (unmodified) Balloon 723 English Electric built 1934 at Preston arriving off a previous charter. All
aboard, the tram reversed at Foxhall Manchester Square trailing X/O (3.840km) to run on the
southbound line to Starr Gate. Here it made what might be described as an ultimately fortuitous error;
rather than reversing like a service tram and running through the northbound platform (as booked), it
went around the depot loop as trams did with passengers during the 130th Anniversary Celebrations
(Sep 2015). This was good because it meant the loop was traversed, but also an immediate dialogue
began between the organiser and BLS members on board who naturally wanted the booked route!
Consequently, a detailed discussion with the driver followed and this brought several unplanned
opportunities into play. The tour then proceeded to Bispham middle road, of which the last northern
third is particularly unusual (it is not used by the heritage services even), and then through Fleetwood
inner loop (much rarer). Next was West Drive/Cleveleys trailing X/O (11.745km) to then reverse for a
run through Thornton Gate middle road, accessed off the northbound line on a short chord not shown
[BLN 1261] ABOVE: The 8D Blackpool Tram tour, 723, at Rigby Road (all pictures Simon Mortimer 2 Jul 2016).
in TRACKmaps (Aug 2013). This area has been rebuilt of late; it is difficult to say what has been
realigned but your correspondent suspects the line here has changed slightly. Essentially continuing
northwards the tour then utilised the Fisherman's Wharf X/O (16.76km), not originally programmed,
to return south. The new Victoria Street X/O (17.625km) immediately to the north was refused as it is
apparently 'too noisy' (laid too tightly one presumes) and is to be lifted and relocated!
This brought the tour to Cabin trailing X/O just north of the stop (6.975km), which replaced the
former trailing X/O to the south. The tram then took the conventional northbound Bispham outer loop
and circled the Little Bispham turning circle to head south to the Bispham middle road again. This was
not via the obvious facing X/O (8.535km) but, after setting down some (non-BLS of course!) for a short
break, was via the trailing X/O (8.155km). The north entrance is never used as such because it would
break the conflicting movements' operational rules, and certainly the rust on this short chord
corroborated this. Again, running south there was time to rectify the earlier omission and the tour
progressed behind a much younger (by 70 odd years!) but inevitably slower Flexity to Starr Gate to
reverse beyond the platform and cover the ECS only section from there to the northbound platform.
Before this an enquiry was made as to the availability of Harrow Place (about 0.56km) facing and
trailing X/Os but the facing X/O is never used (conflicting moves again) and therefore the trailing X/O
was inaccessible. The latter is occasionally used by Flexity trams coming off depot that show a fault on
entering service, so they can scuttle back; or if the driver forgets the radio! There was certainly a big
rust differential between the two. Harrowside trailing X/O has been used by tours over the years but
your reporter is far from sure this is the same as the current Harrow Place trailing X/O (information
welcome). (BELOW: The conductor crow-barring the West Drive/Cleveleys trailing crossover.)
It was also discovered that Manchester Square X/O (3.420km) is OOU; this was installed for
the new depot connection but never commissioned because Starr Gate was built instead.
BELOW: View forward entering the Thornton centre road off the northbound line (not shown In TRACKmaps!)
There was one last tour route amendment; it returned to Rigby Road not over the regulation Foxhall
trailing X/O (3.95km) but over the next one north, the Central Pier trailing X/O (4.140km). Your
correspondent believes this to be one of the new ones installed during the recent rationalisation of the
tramway with introduction of the Flexity trams. Returning to Rigby Road at more like 15.20 than 15.00
did set up some tricky connections onto the 15.40 train from Blackpool North but everyone seemed
accounted for later in Manchester Airport station (see next report…)! Many thanks to Blackpool
Heritage trams and particularly the '8D Association' who kindly allowed this excellent tour to be
advertised in BLN. They have many interesting local events http://goo.gl/QjH2Hy (a superb website).
1394] Turbo Prop Tracker, Sat 2 Jul: Why were a group of members assembled at Manchester Airport
at 18.00 on a Saturday evening? Were we going to somewhere warm and exotic? Would we need
passports or vaccinations? Would we cross any time zones? Erm.... No! It was for a four-hour railtour
of Greater Manchester, venturing no further than Warrington and (almost) Stalybridge!
This was the first of our two tours to say farewell to
the Class 170 DMUs with Trans-Pennine Express
(TPE). The Saturday evening train was formed of 2 x
2-cars going off lease the following Friday (8 July).
Departure from P4 was on time. Proceeding via
Heald Green to Slade Lane Jn the tour joined the
main line from Stockport. Our first highlight was
Longsight Down Goods Loop; most participants
scored the southern end. Then it was back on to the
Down Slow for a short while and into Mayfield
Goods Loop. This is mainly used for reversing and
stabling services terminating at Piccadilly from the West. It had been hoped to run through Piccadilly
P13, covering crossovers at either end, but this could not be fitted into the schedule, as the section
from Piccadilly to Castlefield Jn has very intensive use. Therefore, it was through Piccadilly P14, to
Oxford Road P1 to pick up the final passengers.
A fast run on the former CLC took the DMUs to Glazebrook and through the Down Passenger Loop.
Back onto the main line picking up speed again, the tour was soon in Warrington Central. It cleverly
took the facing crossover into P1, and then reversed to No1 Stabling Siding about a carriage length
from the buffer stops on rusty track that was once a through goods line. Leaving the siding, the trailing
crossover was taken to P2. As usual, 'normal!' passengers on the platforms were a little perplexed to
see us shuttling up and down. One witness, a local member who is a Northern conductor, had been in
the sidings many times but never that far! This was to be the furthest point west on our journey.
A fast run along the ex-CLC racetrack soon brought us back to Oxford Road and to the end of bay P5
(further than service trains reach and closing soon so a good choice Kev!). It is more convenient for the
toilets and buffet and was extra track for most. Many braved the Manchester rain to use the facilities.
The next highlight was Trafford Park reversing siding, unsurprisingly for a reversal. This successfully
covered, it was back to Oxford Road and another reversal (in P1) via the Deansgate facing crossover.
Setting off again via Castlefield Jn, work on the new Ordsall Lane Chord, which will allow direct
running between Piccadilly and Victoria, was viewed. In particular, the landscape had changed with the
recent demolition of part of Middlewood viaduct. Passing Ordsall Lane Jn, the tour stopped just short
of Eccles. This was not to allow participants to buy cakes! The train had been mis-routed and with the
signals reset, there was a delay with 'time-out' locking the signalling for a few minutes. This safety
system ensures any train has come to a halt before an alternative (conflicting) route can be set up so
that the actual position of the train is known (in case it had overrun). 'Time out' also allows 'thinking
time' for the signaller. While this was going on, some Up trains passed.
ABOVE: The evening of 2 July, our Turbo Prop Tracker (170306 & 303) at the east end of Warrington
Stabling Siding (MP 19¼). The rails of the CLC Manchester (left) to Liverpool (right) main line can be
seen through the buffer stops. (Taken by the driver on behalf of Society Photographer Geoff Plumb.)
Then the tour proceeded through the facing crossover to reverse in the electrified Eccles Up Goods
Loop. The Weaste branch was pleasingly shiny; inward cement traffic from Northfleet had restarted
two days earlier. The Turbo Prop Tracker was now running late, so ways of reducing the delay were
considered. It ran as booked back through Ordsall Lane Jn to Deal Street, but instead of crossing to the
fast line, remained on the realigned slow and ran through Victoria P4. The tour ascended Miles
Platting Bank and curved sharply right at the former Miles Platting Jn. All traces of the station here
have gone. It was a right turn again at Phillips Park West Jn for the connecting line to Ashburys (noting
the impressive new Manchester ROC on the left), to join the former 1,500v DC overhead (now 25kv
AC) electrified Woodhead line. At Guide Bridge, once a major railway centre, the tour diverged left
towards Stalybridge. But...... did not reach that far. The timings showed a reversal in Stalybridge P1,
but the tour map had omitted Stalybridge. Instead there was a reversal on the trailing Avenue
crossover (0m 23ch), once part of the former Guide Bridge North Jn, a rare move indeed! Was this to
regain time, or something our Fixtures Secretary had up his sleeve?! Whichever, it was much
appreciated. This was the furthest east reached and it was now back to Manchester. There was more
interesting track to cover at Gorton, once the site of two major railway works where the DMUs
diverged right over the facing points east of the station and via a fixed diamond in the Up Main, onto
the Down Goods, behind Ashburys Up platform. Next was the reversible 'Arrival & Departures' road
to join the Up East line at Ardwick East Jn. This reversible line was taken in the unusual direction to
Ardwick Jn. The tour arrived at Piccadilly P4 via the Up Fast, rather than the more direct Up East and
appreciated by most on board. After all, which members go anywhere via the direct route?!
Darkness had descended. Some participants left at Piccadilly, but the DMU returned to Airport P4 (to
stable the night) via the Up Fast, briefly crossing to the Down East, then the Up & Down Goods to just
short of Longsight Staff Halt. From the Styal line the Airport was reached via Longsight South Jn and
Slade Lane Jn. Thanks to all who made this very successful tour possible. The vast amount of work and
enthusiasm shown by the TPE, NR and our very own indefatigable Kev Adlam are commendable.
Some interesting old pictures https://goo.gl/lPcVqE and https://goo.gl/DikVp2 from Geoff Plumb.
More pictures http://goo.gl/roYUTl (and of our fixtures generally - 1,014 pictures and counting).
A video clip of the tour:
X.95] The Weaste branch:
LEFT: The first cement train
recently (from Northfleet)
Sat 1 July (BLN 1260.1277).
The Manchester Ship Canal
is to the the right of the
locomotive (66603). (James
1261 BLN GENERAL
1395] Railway Quiz Answers: (BLN 1258.1075) (Subtitled 'More questions than answers?')
.(1): The Hedjaz Railway's southern terminus reached in 1908 was Madinah ( المدينة المنورةMedina).
(2): The anglicised version of the welsh station name at Aberdaugleddau is Milford Haven.
(3): The two passenger interchange stations without official public access in the British Isles are
……..Smallbrook Junction (Isle of Wight) and Manulla Junction (Irish Republic, Westport line).
(4): Viafier Retica is the Romansh language name of the Swiss Rhaetian Railway (Rhätische Bahn).
(5): The three surviving bi-level pairs of stations in Wales are Minfford, Shotton and (possibly) Heath.
(6): The station suffixed 'for Tintagel & Boscastle' was Camelford.
(7): The branch terminus just after milepost 259¼ from London Waterloo was Padstow.
(8): The original GWR main workshops located at Slough were for the road motor transport fleet.
(9): The highest passenger station above sea level on the Southern Railway was Woody Bay (964ft).
(10): Magyar Államvasutak Vezérigazgatósága is the national railway of Hungary.
(11): One member considers there may have been 80 'Victoria' stations in the British Isles (to follow!).
(12): The East Anglia branch with its final timetabled passenger train (loco 65447) on 26 Jul 1952 was
………the Mid Suffolk Light Railway from Laxfield to Haughley Jn.
(13): Cannon Street stations: London, SE&CR and Metropolitan District Railway also Cannon Street
………Road (Eastern Counties Railway from Bishopsgate; Shoreditch) and Hull (Hull & Barnsley Railway).
(14): The city served by Tucker Street and Priory Road passenger stations was Wells.
(15): At Penpontbren Jn the Contractors' line for the uncompleted isolated section of the Manchester
………& Milford Railway to Llangurig joined the Mid Wales Railway (Moat Lane Jn to Talyllyn Jn).
(16): Pre-grouping, Toft Tunnel was the only tunnel on the Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway.
(17): Britain's most extensive narrow gauge (3ft 6in) rail system was the City of Birmingham Tramways
……..Co. Some may not consider it a 'railway' and prefer the answer the County Donegal Joint Railway.
(18): The anglicised version of the Scottish station called Baile Dhubhthaich is Tain.
(19): Cross Keys Swing Bridge took the Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway over the River Nene.
1396] Points & Slips: BLN 1260.1279] The Leadhills & Wanlockhead Railway's road replacement rail
service https://goo.gl/ccFNr5 did carry significant number of passengers (the diversion was 45 miles
for a 1½ mile road closure) and achieved national news coverage including the BBC News. 1298] Flying-
over at Stockley Jn: the last sentence should have been in the past tense… 'Down trains (to Heathrow
T4) used to take the new Down Relief to Up Relief facing crossover west of Hayes & Harlington (P3),
which is coming out in the final layout, and also the Up Airport to Down Airport crossover at Heathrow
Tunnel Jn.' 1349] Craigentinny Depot No4 Road is actually still OOU until further notice (final answer!).
ABOVE: Leadhills (Risping Cleugh) Viaduct 28 Aug 1988 (it was demolished
in 1992) on the former Leadhills & Wanlockhead branch (Angus McDougall).
1397] Editor's Note: Like several other reports over the last 18 months, Angus McDougall's three part
fascinating and enlightening 'Trip to Wales in 1962' was written in the first person (rather than using
the traditional BLN third person convention) and the author was named as this was Angus's wish. The
picture credits and name on the original rover ticket reproduced do rather give the game away! The
idea is to present a range of styles and give authors some freedom. If any members have strong views
on reports occasionally being written in this style (where appropriate), please let the Editor know
1398] Coal: (BLN 1260.1292) BLN reported that there are 100,000 tonnes of coal at Rugeley Power
Station and the local press reported that generation ceased on 8 June because it ran out of coal -
which was correct? The answer is both were correct! Due to emissions regulations the coal on site is
not the right type to burn without (expensive) blending and the decision had been taken not to bring
any more coal in. Meanwhile the closed Ferrybridge Ferry 'C' station, where blending is taking place,
received more coal from Cottam by rail on 13 July (there has been very little rail traffic at Cottam).
Hunterston High Level has continued to dispatch coal to West Burton. Fiddlers Ferry PS was always
spelt with two 'ds'. The location with the most coal traffic (up to six trains in/out daily) is Aberthaw.
1261 EAST MIDLANDS
1399] Nottingham to Newark: New signalling is due to be commissioned on 3 Oct between Burton
Joyce level crossing and Newark Flat Crossing (both excl). Lowdham, Fiskerton Junction, Staythorpe
Crossing and Newark Castle signal boxes and Fiskerton Station Crossing gate box will be abolished.
Their areas will be re-signalled and control transferred to East Midlands Control Centre (Derby),
Netherfield Workstation. The Up/Down Main will be renamed the Up/Down Newark. The new Newark
Castle crossover will be installed OOU until 7 Nov and the existing one, nearer the station, recovered.
1400] Derby: (TRACKmaps Vol 4 p25C - Aug 2013) By 11 Jul, just north of 'Ramsline Halt' on the Up (to
Derby) side, St Andrew siding No2 was disconnected and its point plain lined. No1 siding was shiny.
1261 GREATER LONDON
1401] Chislehurst: (BLN 1260.1297) The facing crossover between the Down Fast and Down Slow Lines
south of the station was brought back into use from 11 July.
1402] Crossrail: (BLN 1260.1298) (1) Ilford: On 8 July it was noted that sidings into the new paint shop
at the London end of the depot are now unblocked with working ground signals controlling entry into
the building. Does anyone know when they were commissioned? The old paint shop was still in use, as
was 'B' Shop. New track connections at the London end of 'A' Shop roads 3-5 appeared complete but
not commissioned. The pointwork giving access to bay P5 was removed on 10 July, following which
work started to extend the platforms at the west end of the station. (2) West Ealing: (BLN 1258.1087)
Use of the new bay P5 for certain Greenford services has been 'postponed to 5 Sep', although in mid-
July some were still shown on RTT as running from 1 Aug. (3) Southall: Amongst future work notified
to local residents is rebuild of Platform 0 overnight between 17 and 29 October, so perhaps Hounslow
Council's proposed service from Brentford (BLN 1259.1202) will have somewhere to terminate!
1403] Crossrail 2: (BLN 1255.794) TfL has published a response to the issues raised in the public
consultation https://goo.gl/tKTmys (74 pages). No final decisions have been made over alternative
routeings or on station design; further design work and investigation continues. An Angel to Hackney
Central route is being safeguarded but is not part of the initial project. It could be built in the 2040s.
1404] Docklands Light Railway: An unusual service pattern was in place over 9/10 July weekend when
engineering work resulted in the suspension of services between Tower Gateway/Bank and Blackwall/
All Saints/Canary Wharf. The following services operated over the remaining part of the network:
Canary Wharf P3/4-Lewisham. Canning Town P2-Beckton.
Stratford-All Saints. Canning Town P3-Woolwich Arsenal.
Stratford International-Woolwich Arsenal. Blackwall P2-Canning Town P4 (on single line)
1405] Thameslink: (BLN 1260.1302) (1) London Bridge Remodelling: The project reaches its midway
point with the August Cannon Street shutdown (BLN 1258.1072). On completion of this, the Up and
Down Cannon Street lines will be slewed at the eastern end of London Bridge station through new P5
and P6, rejoining the existing alignments on the Cannon Street side of the station. The Up and Down
Cannon Street lines will be unidirectional between New Cross and Borough Market Jn with no
reversible working at this stage. Cannon Street services will then run non-stop through London Bridge.
New signalling will be commissioned on the Up and Down Cannon Street Lines from the eastern side of
London Bridge to Cannon Street stations (incl), controlled from Three Bridges ROC (signals prefixed TL).
After the additional closure of the route into Charing Cross on 27 and 28 August, these services will
once again call at London Bridge from 29th, serving new P7-9. However, until August 2017, trains from
Charing Cross will not stop at London Bridge between 08.04 and 09.17 SSuX and trains to Charing
Cross will not stop between 16.32 and 18.04 SSuX. Two thirds of the new ground-level concourse
including the new ticket office will open at the same time. This should greatly improve passenger
movement to and from the terminal platforms, with the removal of the hoardings around the lifts and
escalators on the platforms and the opening of a much larger concourse.
A new Southeastern timetable on 29 August incorporates improvements to Metro services. These
include more early trains into Cannon Street and Charing Cross (SSuX) and more to Bromley North.
(2) Future Service Pattern: GTR has issued a proposed new train service pattern for the full service
from 2018 that differs in several respects from the original bid pattern. These proposals are as below,
with all services 2tph daily except TL3, 4 and 7. It is not clear if the peak only services will operate
throughout in both directions in either peaks, or whether they will be curtailed at one end or the other
in either peak. As before, calling patterns have to be assumed.
o TL1 Bedford - London Bridge - Brighton.
o TL2 Bedford - London Bridge - Gatwick Airport.
o TL3 (Bedford - London Bridge - East Grinstead) Peak hours only.
o TL4 (Bedford - London Bridge - Littlehampton) Peak hours only.
o TL5 Peterborough - London Bridge - Horsham.
o TL6 Cambridge North semi-fast - London Bridge - Brighton.
o TL7 (Cambridge stopping - London Bridge - Maidstone East) SuX.
o TL8 (Welwyn GC peaks) - Blackfriars - Elephant & Castle - Catford - Bat & Ball - Sevenoaks.
o TL9 (Luton peaks) - Kentish Town - Elephant & Castle - Catford - Orpington.
o TL10 Luton - London Bridge - Abbey Wood - Rainham.
o TL11 St Albans - Elephant & Castle - Sutton - Wimbledon, back via the other half of the loop.
o TL12 St Albans - Elephant & Castle - Wimbledon - Sutton, back via the other half of the loop.
This revised pattern is at the consultation stage at the moment, with Caterham and Tattenham Corner
services now removed. TL9 seems to have been added to satisfy the Mayors of London, past and
present, who have asked for minimum 15 minute services over all suburban routes, including those
that will not be controlled by TfL. There are now ten services off-peak instead of nine.
Our member understands that the, now all-day, Maidstone service will run via Chislehurst non-stop
between London Bridge and Swanley. It is possible that the northbound service will use the new
ladder crossover at Chislehurst (BLN 1260.1297). Of further note is that the Southwark Reversible at
Bermondsey and the ladder connections at Surrey Canal Jn (west of North Kent East Jn) will now see
regular use by TL7 and 10, as originally intended. TL8 off-peak will use the terminal platforms on the
west side of Blackfriars and turn left at Loughborough Jn but TL11 and 12 will use the through
platforms and continue straight on. The latter is a result of major pressure at the franchise bid stage
for Wimbledon loop trains to continue to serve the Thameslink core. Thus, the revised service pattern
introduces a number of flat junction moves, which surely must be a performance risk! It is not clear
how long the consultation process will continue nor how to participate.
1406] Paddington: (BLN 1257.999) P14 was extended to take a six-car DMU from 10 July. It has been
extended 10m to 153m, by moving the stopping point nearer to the buffer stops (cue all microgicers).
1407] Reduced Southern Services: The SSuX timetable reductions, introduced on 11 July because of
the on-going unavailability of train crew, have resulted in the withdrawal of some peak-only
operations together with the East Croydon to Milton Keynes Central and London Bridge to Beckenham
Junction services. As a result of the latter Birkbeck is now only served by trains on Saturdays, although
it is also served by Tramlink. The Streatham Hill to Tulse Hill PSUL 'Leigham Spur' has benefitted
though with a doubling of its service. The 06.20 (SSuX) Streatham Hill to London Bridge, previously an
ECS move now runs in passenger service. An article http://goo.gl/MtijVQ about the problems.
1261 NORTH EAST
1409] Port of Sunderland branch: (BLN 1259.1186) A 6 July press release confirmed that DB Cargo UK
has signed a contract to transport scrap for Ward Bros (Steel) Ltd, a customer new to rail there, to
Cardiff Celsa Steel UK works. There will initially be one service per week for about 1,250 tonnes of
scrap. This is the first rail freight at the Port of Sunderland since 1998 when the inwards traffic from
Lindsey Refinery to the Fina/Petrofina Oil terminal (since demolished) finished. The location of the
scrap loading point on the branch (not in the docks) was reported in August 'Today's Railways UK' as
the old Brian Mill's mail order parcels depot platform. However the Sunderland Echo suggests it is
close to the site of the former Hendon Junction signal box (junction of the Hylton line via Fawcett
Street Jn), about 1 km south of the end of the line near the mouth of the River Wear. This would seem
to be too far north (information appreciated). Unlike some tours, we do know that our 'Tale of Two
Ports' railtour, on Bank Holiday Mon 29 Aug', has agreement to run beyond the NR boundary (come
and see how far!). The Regional Ed is not aware of any passenger train ever doing this before. It is also
running into the Port of Tyne, a booking form http://goo.gl/Ls8jP7 went out with BLN 1259.
ABOVE: Looking east towards Seal Sands; the mostly intact 'abandoned' Seal Sands branch is left of the
fence; the track across the road is to the Monsanto/BASF works on the right (both Alan Sheppard July
2016). BELOW: Looking west towards Seal Sands Junction (the Seal Sands branch is now on the right).
1408] Seal Sands slip: (BLN 1259.1218) This report that the branch connection across the road at
Monsanto/BASF Siding Jn (1m 43ch) was removed and tarred over more than a decade ago, after the
hydrocyanic acid traffic from Haverton Hill ceased, was incorrect. A member has submitted pictures
taken in June showing that the rails are still present uncovered (with clear flanges) and this can clearly
be seen https://goo.gl/YEbgHo on Google Street view. Monsanto's yard is lifted per (BLN 1238.1455).
1410] Durham - Bishop Auckland: A member walked this line (CP 4 May 1964; CA 5 Aug 1968) a few
years ago. It was reopened to passengers for one day in July 1964 for Durham Miners' Gala specials.
The line was also used for engineering diversions between Darlington and Durham and your Regional
Editor remembers being unexpectedly diverted this way en route to Scotland in 1966. Until the
Stainmore line closed in Jan 1962, a summer Saturday service ran over it between South Shields and
Blackpool (with a Saltburn portion west of Barnard Castle) as did fortnightly specials for convalescent
miners between Durham and Ulverston. It was used by excursions even after the Stainmore closure.
The railway has been converted into a foot and cycle path throughout. Nothing remains of Brandon
Colliery station; the cutting has been filled and levelled and the path follows the line at a higher level.
The Brandon Pit House Colliery branch closed with the colliery in Mar 1968. Brancepeth station is a
private residence, with a high fence along the platform edge, but is viewable from the road. At a
crossroads in the picturesque estate village attached to Brancepeth Castle is a station seat with the
cast iron name 'Brancepeth' set into the back in the customary manner. There is an old cast iron
signpost, pointing to 'Brancepeth Station ¼ mile'. As at Brandon, Willington station is demolished and
the area grassed over. Brancepeth Colliery (closed July 1967) was alongside the line, north of the
station. Hunwick is situated down a rather steep lane about ½ mile from one end of its village. The
substantial station building is now a private residence but only a grassy mound exists where the
platform once was. A branch to Newfield Colliery (closed 1936) ran east and then north from the
station, crossing the River Wear. Travelling into Bishop Auckland took our member over the Grade II
listed Newton Cap Viaduct, https://goo.gl/FoOjQy 105 ft above the River Wear. The viaduct was
disused after 1988 and threatened with demolition until it was converted in 1995 to carry the A689,
relieving the 14th century single lane Grade I listed 'Bishop Skirlaw bridge' in the valley below.
BELOW/NEXT PAGE TOP RIGHT: Newton Cap Viaduct with the new road stuck on
top of it. How many of the road users even realise? (http://goo.gl/rO9vpm)
For more details about the Durham to Bishop
Auckland line, maps, pictures and handbills:
http://goo.gl/JcIjxl (click on the other station
names towards the bottom).
1261 NORTH WEST
1411] Werneth Incline: (BLN 1253.581) Both the passenger and freight closure have caused confusion
over the years in BLN. This was corrected in BLN 51, wrong again in the BLN 100 supplement, resolved
in BLN 120A (Supplement 7), and wrong again in BLN1252/1253! It CP 7 Jan 1963, as explained at BLN
1253.581. The last booked freight ascending the incline did run on Sat 5 Jan 1963; the illustration at
e-BLN 1252.X24 carried the correct heading 'The Last Train Up the Werneth Incline'. However, the
incline remained in use for freight descending the incline until Oldham Werneth to Chadderton Jn CA
6 Jan 1964. The Chadderton coal yard branch to Chadderton Jn and to the main line (Middleton Jn)
CA 1987. The precise date does not seem to be recorded but it was shown as taken OOU 8 Aug 1993.
X.96] ABOVE: Miscellaneous, domestic coal wagons at Rawtensatall (Ian Mortimer May 1975).
1412] S&C: (BLN 1260.1313) The Appleby to Penrith buses connect to Glasgow and Edinburgh (as did a
train service until Jan 1962!); for the first time they are shown in timetables. From Carlisle in the Up
direction, connections are generally by bus to Appleby. (Trains from Armathwaite sit at Appleby for an
hour before continuing to Leeds). In the Down direction, connections to Carlisle are from Armathwaite
as trains usually run though. This results in some unbalanced bus diagrams. On occasions, it is quicker
to leave the train at Appleby, catch the bus to Penrith and train to Carlisle than to go via Armathwaite!
The 09.47 (SuX) 'Express' from Leeds is now the only train to run into the sidings at Appleby (ECS!).
BLN 1262.1413] Eden Brows:
(BLN 1253.586) A £23M solution
to the 500,000 tonne landslip has
been agreed and the S&C is due
to reopen in March. Engineers
are building an enormous
concrete and steel, tunnel-like
structure beneath the railway,
70m above the River Eden,
providing a solid base over the
damaged unstable ground. Two
rows of high-strength piles (steel
tubes filled with concrete) will be
driven into the Eden Gorge
sloping bedrock, north of
Armathwaite. Hundreds of piles
will form a corridor, set into the
hillside, on which a 1.5m-thick,
100m-long concrete slab will be
placed forming a solid base for
This engineering solution was selected by NR from six options. An extensive £5M earthworks project is
planned to protect the foot of the bank down to the river. 'Rock armour' and drainage systems will
help prevent erosion, then tree replanting will stabilise the land. Martin Frobisher, NR's LNW route
managing director, said that the tunnel-like structure will safeguard this section for generations to
come. If the land gives way again, the railway will not. This is a complex repair job many months in the
planning. During the Appleby to Carlisle closure, NR has carried out other works to avoid future
disruption, including embankment strengthening at Baron Wood and improvements to Low Mill level
crossing. This section of the Eden gorge slipped in the 1870s when the line was being built. It took the
then Midland Railway two years to stabilise the ground with Victorian resources and expertise. The NR
diagram of the works shows the magnitude of the task.
1414] TPE Class 170 Farewell: Our railtour reversed on the 'Engine Run Round Line' at Buxton XYZ
sidings (roads X and Y being long disused). No one on board knew the origin of the 'XYZ' name. Can any
member assist? Interestingly NR's Sectional Appendix (28 May) now designates 'Road Z' on which loco-
hauled freight trains (running between Dowlow/Hindlow and Peak Forest) reverse to run round as the
'Single Line Access Road' with the 'Engine Run round Road' to the east. The other two overgrown
sidings to the west being 'Holding Siding' in the middle (formerly 'Y') and the 'Buxton Down Train &
Snowplough' line (was 'X').
1415] Liverpool: (BLN 1245.2066) Seven months after opening Phase 1 of its biomass terminal, on 16
Oct 2015, Peel Ports reports dispatching over 400 trains to Drax. Each carries about 1,700 tonnes of
biomass (imported compressed wood pellets). The power station is said to be the single largest carbon
saving project in Europe and the UK's biggest single generator of 'renewable' electricity. It produces
almost two gigawatts of 'renewable' electricity per year; 12% of the UK's renewable generation.
1416] Blackpool break: The Preston to Blackpool lines are due to close for up to 18 weeks during the
2017/18 winter for electrification (completion due May 2018), remodelling and resignalling. Blackpool
North No2, Carleton Crossing (block post and gate box) Poulton (No3), Kirkham North Junction and
Salwick signal boxes will be abolished. At Blackpool North a reduced number of platforms are to be
straightened and lengthened with remodelling of the odd Kirkham & Wesham layout (BLN 1202.196).
X.97] Birkenhead Central: ABOVE: The disused Birkenhead North Carriage Shed sidings on 7 July. It has
three Roads, 2, 3 and 4 (left to right). Consideration is being given to re-commissioning the facility; the
roof and building are in good condition but currently the third rail is not live. P2 of the station is off to
the left of picture, between that and the shed is Road 1, used for stabling. (With permission)
1417] Oxenholme: (BLN 1258.1101) On 17 Jul the Up Goods Loop and Down Windermere line were to
be brought back into use.
1261 SOUTH EAST – NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
1418] Peterborough - Huntingdon: The Up Slow line is to be reinstated over the 6¼ miles between the
end of the Up Slow Loop at Woodwalton Jn and Huntingdon North Jn, restoring four tracks from
Connington South Jn* to Woolmer Green Jn. Cambridge News of 4 July reported that a series of public
meetings about the plan has been held at Abbots Ripton, Woodwalton and Huntingdon. Work is due to
start in 2018 for completion in 2020. Abbots Ripton level crossing is to be removed. (*TRACKmaps and
the NR sectional Appendix spells 'Conington' with two consecutive 'n's but OS references all have one.)
1419] Manea and Whittlesea: Fenland District Council has been awarded £359k on behalf of the
Hereward Community Rail Partnership (HCRP) for detailed engineering and feasibility studies to
improve these stations. This means the partnership can proceed with the first three GRIP studies,
expected to take 12-18 months, into viable options for upgrading the stations. The main potential
improvements include lengthening the platforms at both and at Whittlesea station the provision of a
footbridge. Initial feasibility studies http://goo.gl/Z3qN4R have been undertaken. The HCRP launched
in 2012 covers the Peterborough to Ely line focusing on Manea, March and Whittlesea.
1420] Diss: (BLN 1259.1225) The report by the 'Diss Express' of 30 possible level-crossing closures was
no doubt one of many recently in local news media in connection with the 'Norwich in Ninety' scheme.
Proposals involving level crossings have always been mired in confusion. The underlying problem is
that, in law and in railway infrastructure management-speak, the term 'level crossing' applies to any
way that crosses the railway at its level, from trunk (now primary) roads through private farm tracks
right down to field footpaths. In everyday parlance it tends to be applied to just roads. The news
media do not suspect a difference and it never seems to occur to railway representatives to explain it.
Therefore, the sensational reports of many crossing closures probably include all the little footpaths
that most did not know existed to start with! Even the commercial railway press are frequently guilty
[Hopefully not BLN though - Ed.]. A member examined NR's crossings database in January and found
that only 26 of the 73 they list between London and Norwich via Colchester are public roads. Four of
them are south of Colchester, three from there to Ipswich, then nine more to Diss and the other ten
to Norwich. (Misleadingly, they list them as public highways, whereas in law that term encompasses
bridleways and footpaths as well.) So which thirty the 'Diss Express' counted is anybody's guess!
1421] Watford Junction - St Albans Abbey: Plans to convert this branch to light rail or bus rapid transit
have been put on hold following a negative reaction to the idea during a public consultation on
Hertfordshire County Council's draft rail strategy. Hertfordshire described the line as a 'serious under-
performer' and proposed the conversion as part of plans to improve east-west public transport links.
1422] Banbury: (BLN 1260.1315) The new Banbury North Jn points at 86m 43ch from the Up Main to
the future Up Banbury Platform Line (BLN 1258.1119) were installed over the weekend of 10 July for
later commissioning. On 12 July the Mileage sidings were being removed followed by the facing set of
points (BN71B) at Banbury North leading into the Up Goods just past BN50 signal with associated
ground signals. Relaying has been taking place between Banbury North and South where the Middle
Road was. All of the roads on this side are OOU in a possession. Most of the grounds signals here have
been removed. New LED signals were being erected nearly every day. Work has been taking place on
the new (through) P4 groundwork and continues on the new depot but there are still no structures in
place. Track from the old bay P4 has been lifted and work is now taking place on the old Up Goods with
some track removed at the south end with the track bed being prepared for new track.
1423] Oxford: By 8 July, a complex new hooded signal was in place to the right of where track will go
at the northeast end of the station for new bay P1. The entire, now trackless, former Dock platform
(where two parcels coaches had lived for many years) and canopy were demolished. The crew and
catering depot building remains in use pending construction of a replacement. South of Oxford station,
just north of Kennington Jn, the temporarily OOU Down Goods Loop was being relaid and its section of
bridge over a tributary of the Hinksey Stream replaced - a substantial heavy lifting mobile crane was in
attendance. The track level appeared to be similar to before; it will be interesting to see if it is just the
Up and Down Main that are raised in level during the 30 Jul to 14 Aug engineering blockade.
1261 SOUTH EAST – SOUTH
1424] Southern TOC: The timetables (see website) introduced from 11 July and affecting Monday to
Friday services, removes all trains from the Seaford branch outside the peaks (in the Down direction
for example there are four in the morning and three in the evening) and the Brighton to Southampton
service (Victoria to Southampton via Horsham remains). The London Bridge to Tonbridge service runs
between Redhill and Tonbridge only. The new timetable shows London Bridge to Edenbridge Town
services, (part of the separate Uckfield service), creating the timetable curiosity of interleaved
alternating trains calling at no common station, therefore Redhill to Tonbridge and London Bridge to
Edenbridge Town are unconnected. Your Regional Editor had already experienced ad hoc Redhill to
Tonbridge bustitution as long ago as 11 June. Starting at Tonbridge on a particular off peak journey,
the platform describers showed the train as cancelled. About 20 passengers waited in the forecourt
recounting amongst themselves previous experiences and using them to justify a view that on this
occasion a bus might or might not appear. When it did, the journey time of well over twice that of the
train and the failure to serve all stations, made bus substitution of only some of the trains irrelevant.
1425] Uckfield: On 17 July platform extensions (to between 234m and 251m taking 10 coaches) were
to be commissioned at the London end of Edenbridge Town, Hever, (both platforms) Cowden, Eridge,
Buxted and Uckfield as well as the country end of both platforms at Ashurst and Crowborough.
1261 SOUTH WEST
1426] Marsh Barton: (BLN 1194.1415) Construction of the new station, serving quite a significant
employment area on the edge of Exeter, is expected to commence in the autumn. Currently a planning
enquiry is examining the diversion of a public right of way, which crosses the site and a report is due
later in the year. On opening in Dec 2017, a 'less than hourly' frequency is proposed 'due to the
constraints of the current timetable', with the peaks served by 'suitable calls'. A full stopping pattern
will commence from Dec 2018, presumably indicating a planned recast of the timetable west of Exeter.
1427] Moorswater and more wind: (BLN 1254.700) The West Country took battering from storms on
28 June, with rain and gales across the area. In the afternoon a fallen tree blocked the Looe branch,
while at Ivybridge a further tree brought mainline services to a halt. During the storms 70809 was
working to Moorswater to test the gauge on the branch ready for the resumption of cement traffic
from Aberthaw. Due to an issue with the points at Liskeard, the loco proceeded to Lostwithiel instead
to wait in the loop. The gauging trial was successfully completed once the problem was resolved.
1428] Like a phoenix at Ashburton? (BLN 1241.1775) The Friends of Ashburton Station have proposed
reinstatement of the railway between Buckfastleigh and Ashburton. The opportunity arises due to
suspension of work on a masterplan for the area which would have seen residential developments on
the site. The South Devon Railway Trust has committed to supporting the group with a national
fundraising drive. The current proposal is for a 'country branchline' feel with a single coach and steam
loco providing a frequent service on the extension. A park and ride facility and a high quality cycle
route are also proposed. Despite CP 3 Nov 1958 and CG 7 Sep 1962, the station survives with an
impressive GWR overall wooden roof. The route was briefly revived as a heritage operation by the Dart
Valley Railway in 1969, though the through route to the national network was severed in 1971 by
improvements to the A38 trunk road. The southern part of the branch is the South Devon Railway.
1429] Cranbrook creeps eastwards? (BLN 1246.2173) The development around Cranbrook station (OP
13 Dec 2015) is growing quickly enough for Devon County Council to begin a study into the potential
need for another station, at Cranbrook East. The Council has formally requested that NR incorporate
capacity for a half-hourly service between Exeter and Honiton in work underway to look at potential
improvements between Exeter and Castle Cary via Yeovil, supporting Great Western diversions.
1430] Tavistock: (BLN 1217.1401) Devon County Council is progressing design options for the
reinstatement of the railway between Bere Alston and Tavistock. This includes negotiating for land
required for the project. OP 2 June 1890 by the London & South Western Railway, it provided an
alternative route from Exeter to Plymouth via Tavistock North. Services ceased on 6 May 1968.
1431] A touch of Class (68): On 27 May, 68017 worked light engine from Crewe to Penzance to test
the gauging of these relatively new locomotives. With the test a success, 68016 and 68017 operated a
12-coach Northern Belle excursion from Swindon to Par (for the Eden Project) on 3 June.
1261 WEST MIDLANDS
1432] Midland Metro: The 'Midland Metro Alliance' was formed from 4 July with a legal agreement
between the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), Colas Rail and a consortium of design
experts to design and build four new tram/light rail routes over the next decade [or two - Ed!].
1433] Polesworth: The inaccessible, OOU and overgrown Up (southbound) platform had 'London
Midland' branded nameboards since 23 May 2004. These signs have recently been removed.
1434] Norton Bridge to Stoke-on-Trent: The
other stations which lost their rail services
from 23 May 2004 (like Polesworth Up
platform) were: Norton Bridge, where the
inaccessible island platform remains but with
no nameboards. Barlaston - platforms minus
coping stones with Regional Railways (or
earlier) branded nameboards. Wedgwood -
wooden platforms and similarly branded
nameboards remain). RIGHT: Norton Bridge
signal box on 9 May 1998 (Angus McDougall).
1435] Wolverhampton: (BLN 1260.1327) A virtual tour https://goo.gl/p58hYU of the expansive new
station; from the reverse BR double arrow - perhaps Sealink is being resuscitated to manage it?
1261 YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE
1436] Sheffield HS2: A new route no longer serving Meadowhall has been advised by HS2 chairman,
Sir David Higgins. Instead, a new spur off HS2 would join existing tracks to serve Chesterfield and
Sheffield Midland (with possible through trains to Meadowhall, Rotherham/Barnsley). Local civic
leaders and businesses were concerned about HS2 not serving the city centre. The line to Leeds and
beyond could run east through a less densely populated area with a possible Parkway (Thurnscoe has
been suggested). This would reduce journey times and importantly save £1bn on construction costs.
1437] Sheffield Tram Train: Even though this project has been deferred 'indefinitely', from 18 July new
OOU points were to be installed to form the new Tinsley North Jn (2m 61ch) in the single track
reversible 'Down & Up Tinsley' line between Tinsley South Jn (2m 22ch) and Tinsley East Jn (2m 79ch).
It should be pointed out that this is south of Tinsley East Jn, although north of Tinsley South! They will
connect to the Sheffield Supertram system, be 'introduced into the signalling system' and have raised
check rails for Tram-Train operations. Due to the latter, the use of snowploughs, unmodified Class 33
locos, and wheel skates will be prohibited between Tinsley South Jn and Rotherham Central Jn.
1438] Dublin: (BLN 1259.1242) The next stage of the City Centre Resignalling Project was due to see
the commissioning on 18 July of significant track alterations at Grand Canal Dock. P2 road, the Up
Main line, was to be disconnected at the Lansdowne Road end and become a north-facing bay with the
Up Main line south of the station being slewed to connect with P1 road which would become the new
Up Main, the temporary south end buffer stop being removed. The temporary buffer stop on the
Through Siding blocking access to the Boston Sidings was also to be removed. Neither is accessible to
EMUs. The Down Main and Up Main are both bi-directionally signalled. The newly commissioned P1 is
174m long. Thus a bay permitting south to north reversals is created between the running lines. The
intention is for suburban DMU services from the north that terminate at Pearse to be extended here.
1439] Dublin - Phoenix Park Tunnel services: (BLN 1246.2253) Proposals for the new Phoenix Park
Tunnel services due to begin in October are being prepared, including diversion of existing services and
the provision of new services. Market research is being undertaken to find the level of demand from
existing customers for this cross-city service. IÉ is to meet with the National Transport Authority to
agree the best option.
X.98] Ballycarry: This station, north of Whitehead on the Larne branch, was a block post and crossing
point with a signalbox and two platforms until the down platform and box were closed on 27 Jun 1971.
Although the Down platform is partly still in place, a casual observer would not realise. The station
building is now a private house. BELOW TOP LEFT: Railcar 72 arrives from Larne, the loop had been
lifted but everything else was intact. (Johnathan Allen 1974). BELOW TOP RIGHT: A train at the Belfast
end of the station 16 April 1977 with 714 at the rear (Albert Bridge - Aubrey Dale).
ABOVE, BOTTOM LEFT: A July 2016 view showing the former station building to contrast with the
picture above it; the bridge and pylon are the same! ABOVE, BOTTOM RIGHT: The 17.35 Larne
Harbour to Belfast Great Victoria Street approaches. A handy move to visit Ballycarry is the 17.06 from
GVS which crosses this train at Magheramorne so a wait of about 9 minutes. (Both Martin Baumann)
1261 ISLE OF MAN
1440] Douglas Horse Tramway: (MR p12) When the 2015 season resumed, the arrangement was for
Isle of Man Railways to run the service for one season only and the tramway's long-term future was
uncertain. Over the past few months, discussions have been ongoing between interested parties to
secure a more long-term future. A proposal will be put to Tynwald shortly for the Department of
Infrastructure to take permanent control of the line, in whatever form the line may take, and:
Acquire about 11 trams and the stud of horses (22) from Douglas Borough Council.
Operate the line as part of the other Isle of Man Railway (IOMR) heritage operations.
Reach agreement with Douglas Borough Council to use Strathallan Depot and Summer Hill Stables
for the 2017 and 2018 seasons (then a new combined structure would be built at Derby Castle).
The proposals would require no more than £5.5M for new Promenade tramway infrastructure, stables
and depot facilities. Of the 11 trams acquired, seven would form the service fleet and four would be
museum items, eventually restored to authentic historical condition, hopefully with volunteer help.
There are currently far more than 11 trams at Strathallan, so some of the long withdrawn trams would
be expected to be disposed of by the Council. If Tynwald approve these plans, a review would be made
of the current stud of 22 horses and consideration given to running a longer season but with trams not
running seven days week except at peak times. In 2016 the operating week has been shorter and this
seems to have been a success with increased passenger loadings. Of note the IOMR have drastically
reduced the horse tramway's operating subsidy from the £268k of Douglas Council in 2015 to no more
than £65k this year. Tynwald was due to sit from 19 July to discuss and hopefully approve these plans.
Then the historic and unique Horse Tramway can continue to operate for another 140 years!
Unfortunately, that is not the end of the story. While it now appears that horse trams may operate for
the next two years, it will only be on the north section of track between the War Memorial (Villa
Marina) and Derby Castle. During this period, the road between the Sea Terminal and the War
Memorial will be completely relaid, without any tram track. In TRACKmaps Vol 1 p23 (Dec 2007) the
section that would close is shown as 'Villa Marina' to 'Loch Promenade' (amends BLN 1257.1031).
At the end of the two-year period, the redevelopment of the Promenade north of the war Memorial is
due to commence, with the inclusion of a new realigned single line tram track. While this takes place,
presumably over the following two years, it seems unlikely that there can be any operation of horse
trams. A quote from the Government's Proposals document http://goo.gl/C2G7Kg is rather dismissive
- 'It has been identified that there is little commercial value to be gained from running the service the
full length of the promenade to the Sea Terminal.' Also 'The double track from the War Memorial to
the Sea Terminal would be abandoned.' The presumed new turn back is not at a location where there
are OOU crossovers (there are now no connected intermediate crossovers), so at least one and
possibly two new points will have to be installed. (See Fixtures about our lunchtime comprehensive
tour on Fri 23 Sep which is kindly being arranged by John and Jenny Williamson, while it is still possible
to do this, with good connections by air and by sea before and afterwards).
X.99] 20 July update: Two local members spent the morning in the Tynwald public gallery to witness
an interesting debate. The eight-part Department of Infrastructure (DOI) Resolution was approved
with one significant amendment. The Public Transport Division of the DOI will operate the Tramway
for 2017 and 2018, but for each of those two seasons the Tramway will be closed south of the War
Memorial to the Sea Terminal while road works take place on Loch Promenade. During that period,
the business case for the continuation of the Tramway will be evaluated. The approved amendment
was that a new single line Tramway track should be laid all the way from Derby Castle to the Sea
Terminal (originally worded as the 'War Memorial').
1441] Glasgow Underground: (1256.882) ABOVE: Our 25th AGM railtour of the 'Clockwork Orange' at
the end Broomload Depot Test Track (see map below), partly on the former Govan branch. Despite
the shocking sign (pointing the wrong way for participants to see!), the current was off for the photo
stop! (Angus McDougall, 8 Nov 1980). BELOW: Another original trackplan by Society Cartographer and
Publications Officer, Martyn Brailsford. It is TCP until 31 July to replace the 37-year-old junction points,
crossovers and Broomloan Depot ramp access tracks. The relationship to the NR lines is shown.
BLN 1261 SCOTLAND
BLN 1261.X.100] ABOVE: The Anniesland Connection (off right) looking northeast from the station
(P2). Left to right is the signal with the route position indicator ('feathers') for the link and facing
crossover to access it from the Down Direction (clockwise round Glasgow). On the right is the back of
bay P3 used by the local service via Maryhill. Bottom right is the end ramp of Up P1. Regular passenger
diversions over the link are due to finish on Mon 8 Aug. Presently diverted services are shown as
running from Queen Street High Level from that day. Our member was surprised how long the new
connection is with room to hold a train within protecting signals either end. This makes the line to the
bay P3 a quite a lengthy distinctly separate line. (Michael Trower Jul 2016)
1442] Glasgow, Larkfield Jn - Muirhouse South Jn: This spur, with reversal on the Down Clydesdale, is
in use by all Glasgow Central to East Kilbride/Kilmarnock services (both directions) SuO 31 Jul - 21 Aug.
1443] Kirriemuir: This 3m 2ch branch, off the former Perth to Forfar and Kinnaber Jn main line route
has not been mentioned in BLN since it CG 21 Jun 1965. This is perhaps unsurprising, as there were no
intermediate stations and the former interchange station, Kirriemuir Junction is inaccessible by road,
and served no habitations. Two members' recent exploration provides an opportunity to summarise
local railway history and describe today's remains. The 'other' SMJR, the Scottish Midland Junction
Railway, was authorised in 1845 to construct a line from Perth to Forfar, which opened in 1848. This
offered connection with the Scottish Central Railway at Perth and with the Arbroath & Forfar Railway
at its northern end, giving onward access to Aberdeen via the Aberdeen Railway. The SMJR was
authorised on 26 Jun 1846 to build three branches - Blairgowrie, Dunkeld and Kirriemuir. Only that to
Blairgowrie was constructed before the SMJR merged in 1856 with the Aberdeen Railway, creating the
Scottish North Eastern Railway, itself absorbed into the larger Caledonian Railway in 1866.
The Dunkeld branch from Stanley Jn, (OA 7 Apr 1856), was built by the independent Perth & Dunkeld
Railway (P&D) but worked by the SMJR. On 28 Feb 1864, the P&D was absorbed by the Inverness &
Perth Junction Railway and later by the Highland Railway on 1 Feb 1865. The Kirriemuir branch OA
Nov 1854, CP 4 Aug 1952 and CA 21 Jun 1965. It ran through farmland from a trailing connection at
Kirriemuir Junction. This station opened in December 1854 and probably closed June 1864, although
may have remained as an unadvertised exchange station. Passenger trains ran through to/from Forfar.
LEFT: Kirriemuir Junction from the
overbridge, the well laid out
double track mainline to Perth is
straight ahead and the branch is
off the right. (Out of Copyright)
Now, the trackbed can be accessed
by the first overbridge along the
branch from the junction. Until Dec
2015, the branch was a farmer's track under that bridge to the junction, carrying running water pipes
for nearby cattle. Initially level, it becomes an embankment curving towards the junction. The severe
December storms led to a blocked culvert, with flooding, and the embankment at that point is now
completely washed away. Walkers can avoid this sudden drop (not recommended after dark!) via
adjacent fields and resume the trackbed to the junction. The main station buildings were right, on the
v-shaped platform as the branch trailed in towards Forfar; these have gone but the platforms are
evident alongside the lower level ex-main line (double) trackbed. The Forfar end overbridge is filled in
but, at the Perth end, trackbed is evident where there is a probable platelayers' hut on a Loading Dock.
RIGHT: The first overbridge seen
from the south (looking towards
Kirriemuir) with modern tracks
on the formation. (Both pictures:
Kirriemuir Historical Society)
It is possible to walk a little way towards Kirriemuir from the first branch overbridge (a minor road) but
this then rapidly becomes overgrown and impassable. The course of the line, either overgrown or
absorbed into fields, can be followed from nearby roads going into Kirriemuir where the station
http://goo.gl/Gtdh2o was sited in a 'hollow' to the east of the town. Despite demolition of the
passenger station and platforms for the Marywell Gardens council housing development, the loading
bank platform (ABOVE LEFT) remains amazingly intact on the south side, separated by a public
walkway on the adjacent trackbed and can be walked on easily. This continues as unofficial walkways
down the branch as it becomes an embankment. A small stream on the south side attracts beavers as
the trees, or rather chewed stubs, alongside show unmistakable signs of their presence! It is possible
to walk for just over half a mile, before the branch starts to curve round to head south and nature has
once again taken over.
BELOW: 1924-27 one-inch OS 'Popular' Series of Scotland showing what a railway hub Forfar once was
with lines off in four directions. The Kirriemuir branch is left. 'Kirriermuir Junction' is shown as a
location (but no station). Bottom left corner was to Perth and the multiple track line off bottom right
to Aberdeen (via Kinnaber Jn). The single-track line bottom left was to Dundee and top right
Brechin/Bridge of Dun.
1444] Radyr: A 29 June visit found the new footbridge and lifts (adjacent to the old bridge) still
incomplete. On P1, serving most trains towards Cathays, the old footbridge steps originally faced south
towards the disused section of the platform, but there is a temporary staircase facing Taffs Well, the
'correct' way. The new footbridge steps however face in the wrong direction as does the lift.
1445] Port Talbot Parkway: From 17 July, the level crossing (202m 50ch) was to be recovered and
removed. Latterly only a pedestrian crossing; in future the station footbridge and lifts are to be used.
1446] Wrexham 'Exchange': A BLS member turns up at Wrexham General and finds 'Wrexham Central'
is not in the ticket machine database so makes for the booking office and speaks to the nice lady…
'Senior day return to Wrexham Central please.'..… 'Do you know where it is? It's quicker to walk.'
'Yes, thanks but I would like to buy a ticket, please' ..… 'Do you actually want to travel on the train?'
'Absolutely, yes please' ..… 'Thought you
might somehow; that will be 85p please.'
Interestingly when the 2-car DMU arrived
from Bidston at Wrexham General P4 (until 1
Jun 1981 part of Wrexham Exchange station,
as in 'Wrexham Exchange Jn just north of P4)
all the 13 passengers on the platform boarded
for the 35ch trip each way to the single
platform Central terminus and stayed on back
for their various stations to Bidston.
Presumably, they have tickets (or seasons)
from 'Wrexham stations' or it is local accepted
practice to do this. The return trip took five minutes including the quick reversal at Central. The
automatic Platform Information System at General and Central (and further down the line) usually
shows the Bidston train as running a few minutes late (although usually on time) presumably because
it is booked to depart Central (xx.30) before it is booked to arrive (xx.32).
The Working Timetable (WTT) shows (xx.29) arrivals and (xx.32) departures; the difference being what
BR used to call 'recovery time'. Anyone not in the know might think there is 58 minutes to wait at
Central until the next train back. The other end of the line at Bidston also has a quick turnaround;
trains are advertised to arrive at xx.30 (WTT xx.28) and leave at (xx.32) by Public and WTT. Punctuality
is good and with line speed improvements in recent years, an hourly service can be maintained with
two units. Past Hawarden Bridge, a long jointed track Down line section is taken at a good speed.
1447] Penyfford/Pen-y-Fford: (BLN 1260.1357) On 7 July the facing crossover was confirmed as
removed and plain-lined, as was the connection to the long disused sidings, once part of the curve to
the Mold/Denbigh etc line. The sidings remain in situ with significant sized trees growing out of them.
1448] South Wales Unusual Track: On Saturdays 3 and 10 September the main line is blocked between
Cardiff Central and Bridgend. There is hourly use of the rare Bridgend bay P3 all day until 21.42, and,
at least hourly, crossovers between Cardiff Central and the Barry/Vale of Glamorgan (VOG) lines at
Cardiff West Jn (some eastbound trains are booked into Cardiff Central P2, others P1). Trains are also
booked via various unusual Moorland Road Jn and Rumney River Bridge Jn crossovers…
Track Alterations: At Rumney River Bridge Jn the layout is different to that shown in TRACKmaps
(Aug 2010). The Up Main to Up Relief and the Down Relief to Down Main crossovers have been
removed. A new trailing crossover has been installed (167m 50ch) between the Down Main and the
Up Main. The Moorland Road Jn crossovers are new and therefore not shown in TRACKmaps. The
Newton West crossovers have been removed, and replaced by new ones at Long Dyke Jn (169m
50ch), enabling passage from the Up Main to the Up Relief, and from the Down Relief to the Down
Main. Unfortunately, nothing is booked over the Long Dyke crossovers on 3 and 10 September.
There have other significant track layout changes in South Wales since TRACKmaps Vol 3 (Aug 2010).
As well as the moves specific to these two days, there would be time for anyone who has not been to
Cardiff for a while to contemplate other moves in the area. The changes include: extension to Ebbw
Vale Town (and the inclined lift operating 07.00-19.00 but SSuX), Caerphilly bay P1, Pontypridd bay
P1, Tir-Phil Down Loop, Radyr Branch Jn to Penarth Curve Jn curve re-doubling, new layout at Barry
and new platforms and layout at Cardiff Queen Street. Central P8 is to be commissioned at Christmas.
The trains shown are all included in the one day Explore Cardiff & Valleys ticket (£12, no railcard
discount), except where otherwise mentioned. A suggested way to start either day (3 or 10 Sep):
09.04 Cardiff Central P3 X/O to Down Barry (Cardiff West Jn) - VOG - Bridgend (mainline connection).
10.46 Bridgend rare bay P3 - Maesteg.
11.15 Maesteg - Bridgend P3.
11.54 Bridgend P1 - VOG - Up Barry to Cardiff Central P1 (some other services are booked into P2).
★Ebbw Vale Town: For the May 2015 branch extension from Ebbw Vale Parkway, there are hourly
trains at xx.34 from Cardiff Central, arriving back on the same train a fraction over two hours later. The
(SO) 14.37, 16.37, 19.37, 20.41 & 21.37 from Ebbw Vale Town are booked into Cardiff Central P4, so
cross from the Down Main to the Down Relief either at Rumney River Bridge Jn or Moorland Road Jn.
★Caerphilly bay P1: From Cardiff Central (SO) 05.46, 19.01, 20.01 and 22.01 and their return services.
★Pontypridd bay P1: (OP Dec 2014) ex-Cardiff Central (SO) 09.56 and 23.58. Ex-Pontypridd 10.39 only.
★Tir-Phil Down Loop: (Commissioned Sep 2013) hourly departures from Rhymney to Cardiff.
★Cardiff Central - Ninian Park: For the re-doubled chord trains depart to Radyr from Central half-
hourly, with just enough time to change platforms at Ninian Park, (back at Central within 15 minutes!).
★Barry: Half-hourly trains from Cardiff Central to Barry Island and back cover the new layout.
★Cardiff Queen Street: (SO) Cardiff Central trains to Aberdare, Treherbert or Merthyr run through the
new Queen Street P5. Trains from Bargoed, Coryton or Rhymney run through the new P2 to Cardiff
Central. Taking the shuttle to/from Cardiff Bay (returning 12 minutes later) covers the new bay P1.
►Moorland Road Jn: Down Main to Down Relief crossovers: Some services from Newport are shown
crossing there (NB: Day rover is not valid on Newport - Cardiff services). Ex-Newport on 3 Sep at 11.31,
14.31 & 22.41 (to Swansea); 10 Sep at 14.31 & 22.43 (to Swansea) and 17.26 & 19.26 (to Cardiff).
►Rumney River Bridge Jn: Up Relief to Up Main X/Os both days at 07.06, 09.12, 10.14, 12.15, 15.11 &
18.13 Cardiff Central to Cheltenham, and 10 Sep only 13.19 Cardiff Central to Gloucester. Down Main
to Down Relief X/Os ex-Newport 06.44, 08.52, 09.52, 11.51, 14.51, 15.46, 18.52 & 20.52 (both days to
Cardiff). 10 Sep only ex-Newport 09.25, 12.26, 13.26, 15.27, 16.26 (to Cardiff) and 11.30 (to Swansea).
Finally, many services throughout the day start back at Cardiff Central P7 towards Queen Street, giving
the crossover to the Up Barry line. These are mostly to Bargoed or Aberdare, but beware; there is an
odd departure from P6. Special thanks to our member Ian Delgado http://goo.gl/wwSbYv for all this
information. See fixtures section for the Society conducted tour of lines in the area on Sat 10 Sep.
1449] Gwaun-cae-Gurwen (G-c-G): Coal output is meant to be despatched in the ratio 40% rail and
60% road, so there should be an increase in trains from the disposal point. However, Freightliner
workings to Aberthaw Power Station from both G-c-G and Onllwyn ceased at the end of June.
1450] Bow Street: (BLN 1252.513) Following good progress in discussions with Welsh Government, the
Mid-Wales Rail Implementation Group and the rail industry, Ceredigion Council has begun a public
consultation on the proposed new railway station at Bow Street. Plans show the station a short
distance south of its predecessor (CP 14 June 1965) which is now the site of a builders' merchant. It is
intended to be part of a public transport interchange, with parking for 100 cars and cyclists' facilities to
alleviate traffic congestion in Aberystwyth as well as serving the University's Gogerddan campus.
1451] Holyhead: Virgin services use P1 and ATW P2 and P3; ships now berth beyond the outer end of
P2, where a new WH Smith outlet is close to all pedestrian flows. Stena Line has a modern booking
hall, exiting on the east side, away from the station. Offices in the back wall of P2 have been improved,
including accessibility for passengers, but the former buffet is no more. Near the buffer stop, a glazed
doorway leads to a modern stainless-steel footbridge, which crosses the harbour on piers blocking use
of that part of the harbour in the 'V' between P1 and P2. The footbridge also leads to the town centre,
but is poorly signed at either end.
The previous footbridge across the six tracks, and associated lift, is locked OOU. The route to P1 passes
through the original large covered waiting area on the north side of the station buildings, with
windows facing the inner harbour; this has a low ceiling, is very poorly lit, and has unattractive dark
stained flooring. The two ticket windows on the west side of the station buildings are blocked up. P1
still has a BR-era frieze above eye level along much of its length, indicating the route to the ships via
the covered waiting area and the Way Out. This is shown to be at the buffer stop end, where narrow
steps lead from the platform to the new footbridge; a much shorter route than via P2, but not
designed for passengers to and from the town.
1452] Newport: (BLN 1256.950) In the small hours of 10 July, a 600-tonne capacity crane lifted out the
1910 Bridge Street overbridge just west of Newport station. With a six-hour possession, the lift began
at 02.30 and the old bridge was lowered into the works yard at 04.25 (watched by a local member),
and is to be scrapped. The new bridge, with electrification clearance, was to be craned in on 17 July.
1453] North Wales: (BLN 1257.1043) Commenting upon Angus McDougall's adventures, a member
advises: (i): The gauge of the Penrhyn Railway was, per Boyd, 1ft 11in (rather than 1ft 10¾ in!). (ii) The
Padarn Railway (unusually 4ft gauge) passed over, not under, the LNWR. (iii) Regular services on the
standard gauge Llanberis branch ceased from 22 Sep 1930. (iv): The first Vale of Rheidol Railway
terminus at Aberystwyth CP 31 Jul 1925 when the line was extended to a new station further north,
and this in turn CP 17 Apr 1968, with trains extended into the main-line station, as now, from 20 May.
1261 MINOR RAILWAYS
X.101] Bartlemas Farm Railway: (E-BLN 1261.MR125) ABOVE: This picture was taken on 15 Jun 1991,
during a BLS visit attended by 22 members who had been to the Stevington & Turvey Light Railway
earlier in the day and was not taken on the 20 Jun 1999 open day. This section has since been lifted.
MR128] Kent & East Sussex Railway, Kent (MR p6): A mid-week visit was made to this railway on 15
June 2016, when a two-train service was in operation; a steam hauled train and the 2-car DMU.
Tenterden is well served by buses on a weekday and was reached via the half-hourly 2/2A Stagecoach
service from Ashford station. This calls at the stop right outside the north side entrance/exit of Ashford
station and either terminates (2A), or stops (2), at The Vine public house at the top of the road leading
down to Tenterden station from the main road. A return trip on the green liveried class 108 2-car DMU
M50971/M51571 was made using the 11.45 Tenterden to Bodiam and 12.45 return from Bodiam. The
outward trip was well-filled and ran via the realigned Main line (due to the new carriage shed) at
Rolvenden and the platform line at Wittersham Road - where the other train hauled by GWR 0-6-0PT
1638 with four coaches passed by on the through line. Northiam signal box was switched out, so all
trains were using P1. The return trip from Bodiam was less busy and again ran via the platform at
Wittersham Road, but this time ran via the Loop line at Rolvenden to pass the steam hauled train. A
day ticket (or return to Bodiam from Tenterden) is £17 (£7 for BR 'Priv' holders). It is nice to visit a
railway like this on much less busy day - the café and shop were not blocked by hoards of visitors!
BELOW: The Kent & East Sussex Railway, 11.45 DMU from Tenterden at Bodiam (Peter Scott 15 Jun 2016).
MR129] Swindon & Cricklade Railway, Wiltshire (MR p6): A brief visit during the afternoon of Sunday
26 June 2016 (to use the buffet coach) found a short (c150 yds) ground level 5"/7¼" gauge miniature
railway under construction - apparently running between the car park and the picnic area. Probably
around one-third of the track had been laid. There was no information board by the prospective line,
nor is there anything on the railway's web site.
MR130] Little Orchard Railway, Suffolk (MR p24) (BLN 1255.MR68): This private 7¼" gauge railway at
'Little Orchard', Ixworth Road, Norton (half way between Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds), was open
for charity several times a year. However, Saturday 2 July was the last ever open day and a society
member duly attended. Access was difficult - the bus from Stowmarket to Bury St Edmunds passes the
door, but is a very infrequent service. Our reporter caught the bus outside Stowmarket station, but
there was no bus back, either to Stowmarket or Bury St Edmunds. He was resigned to phoning for a
taxi, when one of the railway staff offered to drive him to the nearest station, at Elmswell. The railway
starts behind the house at Little Orchard station and runs one side of a long and beautiful garden to
Fullerton Wood station, returning the other side. The run is about 100yd each way. The line is fully
signalled, from a box midway, with a turntable at each end - the locos turning each time. Two
locomotives were in use: No5 0-4-0T (rebuilt Willow Wood Railway 2003), and 'Glenda' 0-6-0BE, loosely
based on a class 08, working alternate trains. These were the only locos on site. A second steam loco
and a diesel had left four to six weeks previously.
MR131] Peak Rail, Derbyshire (MR p8): Talks over the future of the Buxton Mineral Water's site at
Buxton have taken a major step forward. The proposed scheme put forward by Consolidated Property
Group on behalf of Nestlé Waters Limited has been withdrawn and Nestlé and their land agents have
directly approached Peak Rail for discussions. These were productive and have now included High Peak
Borough Council. All parties have agreed to produce a joint redevelopment brief for the entire site.
This will include adequate space for a new Peak Rail station. Much progress has also been made with
Derbyshire County Council over the provision of the new multi-user trail. Work on the trail is now well
advanced with little disruption to the railway. Several matters remain to be resolved, including
possible joint use of Bridge 35 over the river at Matlock. However, in anticipation of agreement being
reached, provision has been made in the new timetable for the suspension of all services into Matlock
in early 2017 to allow for remedial works on the bridge and provision of the trail.
MR132] Richmond Light Railway, Kent (MR p19) (BLN 1241.MR155): A private visit to this private 2ft
gauge railway near Staplehurst, organised by the Continental Railway Society, took place on Thursday
23 June. Transport from Staplehurst station was provided by a vintage LT bus, as the owner of the
railway was unable to allow cars on to the site. Ruston 235654/1946 was operating on the circuit
clockwise with one open coach. On the main circuit anti-clockwise and the new branch line were
steam locos 'Jenny' (Jung 3175/1921) and 'Susan' (OK3136/1908). The new branch line runs down to
where the car park is on event days - with a run round loop. This is an extension of the siding on the
left hand side of the main circuit and runs on a bridge over a pond - unfenced on both sides. Petrol
loco Campagne 903/1925 was also demonstrated on the circuit with a passenger train. The loco sheds
were available for visits and the museum housed McGarigle 'Cagney' from 1904. An excellent friendly
atmosphere with light refreshments available.
MR133] Lincoln Model Engineers, Lincolnshire (MR p20) (BLN 952.MR184): This society operates a
ground level 5"/7¼" gauge railway around a Sports Ground in the village of North Scarle. It comprises a
600yd long circuit right around the perimeter of the Ground, with one station with two platforms, a
signal box, tunnel, sheds and steaming bays. Public running takes place in connection with Car Boot
Sales held on Sundays every two weeks - with the railway running from around 09.00 until 12.00. One
such was on a rather damp Sunday 12 June, when on arrival at 10.00 some Boot Sales people were
already packing up - presumably due to the weather. However, two passenger trains were running:
'Billy' 0-4-2 with one sit-astride coach and an odd blue centre-cab battery electric loco with two sit-
astride coaches. Fares for one circuit were £1.20 for all, with no tickets being issued. By 11.30 virtually
everyone had packed up and the trains had stopped running by 11.45.
MR134] Coate Water Miniature Railway, Wiltshire (MR p26) (BLN 1250.MR24): The new extension
came into regular passenger use on and from Good Friday, 25 March 2016. A visit on Sunday 26 June
found the line preparing to open at 11.00. The first train duly ran just after that time and covered the
new extension without any problem. At the, yet to be opened, new station on the extension (Richard
Jefferies Halt) the train ran through the platform line. The web site states this station is due to open
on 30 July. As a one-train service was running, the signalling was not in use, but by 12.00 another had
come into service and a steam loco was getting up steam, so the signals were put out and the signal
box opened. A titled paper roll ticket is issued (£2 for all) and clipped on the train before departure.
MR135] Leisureland Express, County Galway (MR p27) (BLN 1217.MR158): A member visited this line
on Saturday 18 June, during a holiday in Ireland that was otherwise devoid of railway interest -
Stradbally, Dromod (Cavan & Leitrim Railway) and the West Clare Railway did not appear to be running
and the Fintown Railway was rather too far to reach! The Leisureland line was only running at
weekends. This is a 2ft gauge line running round a funfair. It is the meticulous 'gricer's dream' - there is
only a single-track loop, and, as the stock is stored in a shed on the running line which doubles as a
tunnel, there are no sidings. The €3 fare gives two circuits. The two coaches are ornate red and white
bogie vehicles with a roof but open sides. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the line is the
locomotive, the history of which was outlined to our reporter by the very obliging leisure centre
manager. It is a diesel powered steam outline loco based upon the classic American 4-4-0 of the mid to
late 1800s, so often seen in Westerns. It was built by the famous Severn-Lamb company in 2003
(Works NoSL2155), one of only four to this design, and this one, he was told, is the only one in public
use, the others being on private lines. (MR Ed - Perusal of 'The Locomotives of Severn-Lamb' published
by the Narrow Gauge Railway Society in 2009 reveals the loco to be of the 'Texan' class and lists 21
such locos, with variations, built between 1994 and 2009. However, the only other two resident in the
British Isles have English style bodies.)
ABOVE: Leisureland Express, Country Galway (Peter Deacon 18 Jun 2016).
MR136] Corris Railway, Gwynedd (MR p29) (BLN 1245.MR195): The first two phases of Corris station
redevelopment are complete. Phase 1 was the purchase of the necessary land and obtaining planning
permission and took a number of years. Phase 2 was completed on 21 May with the removal of the
large temporary cabin, previously a doctor's surgery, ground preparation, the fencing of the site and
the laying of an extended platform road. Tidying up tasks remain and fencing needs to be completed.
Planning will now start on the next phases of the development. As for the southern extension (beyond
Maespoeth) - there is a lot going on including some progress on the ground. Unfortunately, the next
phase involves land purchase and civil engineering challenges and requires plenty of money.
MR137] Gwendraeth Valley Railway*, Carmarthenshire: (BLN 1260.1356) The Gwendraeth Valley
Railway*, a heritage and community line being developed at Kidwelly, has been awarded £75,000,
which will enable the establishment of a Velorail (cycle-rail) operation in the first phase, bringing a
family tourist attraction to the area. MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, Nia Griffith
welcomed the news, predicting it will deliver a jobs boost to the area. 'I am particularly pleased that
this will be a UK first, not only establishing a unique heritage railway on a unique rail corridor but
including a huge element of health and activity with the Velorail operation'. The Velorail project will
introduce to the UK a form of activity popular in France, using 'carriages' propelled by two 'cycles',
with seating for another two or three people. The operation will kick-start the development of the
entire Rheilffordd Cwm Gwendraeth Valley Railway*, which runs between Kidwelly and Cwmmawr
near Pontyberem. The project won the funding in a Heritage and Community Rail Tourism Innovation
competition, designed to create new opportunities for UK and overseas tourists to enjoy the hidden
gems of the country's heritage and community railways. Rail minister Claire Perry said: 'We want to
show the best of British to our visitors and Heritage and Community Railways are part of that package.
I am delighted that Gwendraeth Valley Railway* is one of 17 national winners across Britain and look
forward to seeing the scheme develop, providing another great reason to visit Carmarthenshire'.
ABOVE: The task ahead, a recent picture of the Cwmmawr branch (Angus McDougall).
X.102] *BLN Editor's note: Although this name has been adopted by the new enterprise (as is their
right and good luck to them in what they are attempting), historically the 'Gwendraeth Valleys
Railways' (plural) was an entirely different railway to the west. It ran for only about two miles to
Mynydd-y-Gareg Goods and Colliery from Kidwelly; became part of the GWR with Grouping in 1923
and closed from 29 Aug 1960. The Cwmmawr branch referred to in the previous item was the 'Burry
Port & Gwendraeth Valley Railway' (singular and properly the 'Burry Port and Gwendreath Railway'
due to a spelling mistake in the Act of Parliament creating the railway!). It also became part of the
GWR in 1923 and the branch beyond Coedbach Washery CA 29 Sep 1996. Cwmmawr to Pontyberem is
.Please mention the Branch Line Society when booking or enquiring.. A service to members, details must be checked with the organisers.
1454] Steeple Grange Light Railway, Sat 30 Jul: Old Porter Lane, Wirksworth, DE4 4LS, (SK288555). BLS
members are kindly invited to join http://goo.gl/iuOQVW an LC&I visit. Derby station for 09.54 train
to Matlock Bath then Trent Barton bus '6.1' from Dale Rd, adjacent to station, to Steeple Grange
(10.40). New track may well be open at this friendly 18" gauge line (founded in 1985) on a former
Cromford & High Peak Railway branch trackbed, also a model railway event. Buses return xx.39. Must
be booked with Alan Spencer [email protected] 07905074075; pay on the day (not dear).
1455] Stockport Rail Show, Sun 31 Jul 10.00-16.00: Stockport station P3/4 conference room, a charity
event with free admission. Railway model layouts, stalls, stands, exhibits visiting locos & open top bus.
1456] Earl Soham Light Railway, Sat 6 Aug: Steam train rides on this extensive private 7¼" line as part
of the annual village fête 14.30 (possibly 14.00!) to 16.00 (possibly 16.30!) The village is on the A1120
deep in remote rural east Suffolk, the general postcode is IP13 7SA (TM 234632). Reports appreciated
please as there has been nothing in BLN since Terry Velvick's 13 July 2002 visit for 31 members!
1457] Finmere Station, Sat 13 & Sun 14 Aug: Update: this begins 12.00 Sat with Chris Green opening
the new small Network South East museum. Trains rides (ex-GCR main line) half-hourly 12.30 to 16.30;
the site closes 17.00. Anyone with a ticket (BLN 1259.1256) can turn up during this time. Bus and old
farm machinery display; refreshments available from the 'BIG buffet' with special merchandise for sale.
1458] Great Central Railway 'Cadeby Memorial Rally', 13/14 Aug: Commemorating the former Teddy
Boston http://goo.gl/NwEpvu includes brake van rides at Quorn yard (£1); presumably the siding
alongside P1. Yard entry only £5, redeemable against travel tickets. GCR normal fares and services.
1459] Southeastern Trains, to 20 Aug: 20% off many off peak fares https://goo.gl/wb30Xi online only.
1460] Rutland Railway Museum, Wed 30 Aug: L&CI steam hauled brakevan rides at 'Rocks by Rail',
Cottesmore, LE15 7FF, (SK886137). Meet Oakham station 11.18; watch http://goo.gl/iJDvB6 for info.
1461] South West Trains, to 9 Sep: Off-peak day returns £16 adults £3 child anywhere on SWT. Book
by midnight the day before: station ticket offices, https://goo.gl/gRpGI9 or telesales 0345 6000650.
1462] Dunfermline, Charlestown Jn to Alloa, LAST CHANCE IN THIS DIRECTION? Following closure of
Longannet Power Station, this now little used line is expected to be mothballed (BLN 1257.977). It is
part of two ScotRail two steam-hauled circular tours from Edinburgh (11.44 on Sat 13 & 20 Aug, back
15.47). Route: Forth Bridge, Kirkcaldy, Thornton Curve, Longannet and Stirling, returning directly. From
£75 adult. Also on August and September Sundays there are morning and evening return Edinburgh to
Tweedbank steam-hauled trains from £55 adult. First class/dining available. 01483 209888 or:
X.103] Alloa to Dunfermline, Charlestown Jn, LAST CHANCE IN THE OTHER DIRECTION? Scottish
Railway Preservation Society. Sat 10 Sep: Afternoon (£69 standard class) 'Forth Circle', with 60009
'Union of South Africa'. Edinburgh east to the Suburban Line, Linlithgow, Stirling, Alloa, Longannet
Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy and Forth Bridge. Book on line at http://goo.gl/inpQsm or 0131 202 1033.
X.104] Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways: Footplate rides (reports of track covered appreciated)
are advertised at stations as follows: Porthmadog Harbour every Saturday 30 July to 27 Aug, Blaenau
Ffestiniog Sun 31 Jul and Caernarfon Sat 13 & 20 Aug. This appears to be just turn up on the day.
1463] Rugeley Power Station Model Engineering Society: For those unable to make our 20 Jul visit.
Subject to weather and loco availability it should be possible to ride the lengthy 1,950 ft run of raised
mixed 3½/5/7¼" gauge track (due to close) in attractive private surroundings on: 31 Jul, 14, 17 & 28
Aug, 11, 21 & 25 Sep, 1, 16, 19 & 30 Oct and 27 Dec. Http://goo.gl/qxqJYH includes a layout diagram
(see 'gallery'). This is also a chance to see the power station infrastructure close up before demolition,
which has begun. IMPORTANT Advance booking ONLY by emailing [email protected]
1464] Selhurst Electrical Control Room, Mon 8 Aug 19.00: A rare SEG visit after the evening peak,
expecting to meet at the station 18.45. Enquires to Stuart Hicks [email protected]
quoting BLS membership number. A charity collection applies; orange hi-vis vests may be necessary.
1465] Eastleigh Signalling Centre: Visit agreed (probably a Sat in Nov), enquires per previous item.
X.105] The Garden & Woodland Railway, Thame: (BLN 1259.1252) PLEASE NOTE: The item about this
private railway was included in good faith but the owner wishes to make it clear that any visitors must
pre-book (groups preferred) via Ian Branch [email protected] and not just turn up please.
1466] GWR Swindon Works, Factory
Trail, Rodbourne Community History
Group: 20 Aug, 10 & 11 Sep, 1 Oct
and 3 & 4 Dec. Guided tours with a
former GWR Works employee giving a
flavour of life there throughout time.
Limited spaces; to book send an email
to: [email protected]
Following a recent tour, this is
thoroughly recommended by a
member to anyone fascinated by the
origins of the substantial complex of
ex-railway workshops that make up
the Swindon Designer Outlet. These have been handsomely and sympathetically converted into many
shops and cafés, but much machinery (notably, many overhead cranes) and several individual
workshop war memorials remain 'in situ'. More workshop memorials are in the nearby magnificent
'Steam' museum. The 'Trail' was led by two members of the Rodbourne Community History Group,
much enhanced by the fact that one of them had been an employee at the Works for 38 years
(contributing many reminiscences). They displayed many 'then' historic photos, to contrast with the
'now' scenes. The other guide had been employed at Derby Works, so both had much technical and
historical knowledge. (ABOVE LEFT: Some members will also enjoy riding the 'Hooter Express' road
train around the buildings - including sections of 'trackbed'!)
NEXT PAGE: Some of the original Swindon Works equipment at 'Swindon Design Outlet'. From the
notices in the roof (both upper pictures), some BLS members are obvious expected. Your Editor enjoys
shopping so much that he has a regular day for it … 29 February. (All pictures: Don Kennedy July 2016.)
1467] Friends of Malvern's Railway, Wingletang Railway, Sun 28 Aug, 14.30-17.30: Leigh Sinton
Road (B4503), between Malvern Link and Leigh Sinton (SO777497), an interesting 10¼" gauge
significant private garden railway (see download with e-BLN including pictures) set in a lovely
garden. Battery electric loco rides, pedal power and possibly steam ('Dragon' if repaired in time),
refreshments are available for a small charge. £12 adult; £6 age 5-17, paid and booked in advance.
Email [email protected] or 01684 565707; (no pay on the day available). The owner
of the railway is interestingly Chairman of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Society.
1468] Westonzoyland Light Railway, Bank Holiday Mon 29 Aug: Westonzoyland Pumping Station
Museum, Bridgwater, TA7 0LS, (ST340328). 10.00-17.00 http://goo.gl/IxDKZ2 Narrow Gauge Gala.
The 2ft-gauge line only runs for special occasions. Info: [email protected] 01278 691595.
1469] The Blatchington Light Railway, 10 & 11 Sep 14.00-17.00: With thanks to our Eastbourne
correspondent. 47 Belgrave Rd (corner Kingsmead Rd), Seaford, BN25 2HE, (TV 482998). A complex 5"
gauge ground-level line that shows well on Google https://goo.gl/3aCyXn . Meet Martin Murdoch
(who built the railway himself despite being blind) and his golden Labrador 'Trent'. The dog featured
on 'You've Been Framed' driving the train! Jan, Martin's partner, offers superb home-made cakes and
drinks. Rides 50p; all to charity. 01323 892927. Google 'The Blatchington Branch' for details/pictures.
1470] Class 40 Preservation Society, Fri 30 Sep: A single journey stock move, with Class 40 D345:
Carnforth (13.00), Preston, Manchester Victoria, Stockport, Buxton station connection to XYZ Sidings,
Peak Forest, Guide Bridge, Stockport, Altrincham, Northwich, Warrington BQ, Manchester Victoria,
Castleton (reverse) to Bury (19.00). No intermediate pickups. Remarkable value: £39 adult until 31 Jul;
£44 from 1 Aug, bookings http://goo.gl/bQxJoO close 25 Sep. For queries (only) 075 000 40145.
1471] Castleton North - South Jn: Available on Sat 1 Oct; Class 40 Preservation Society railtour from
Bury Bolton Street and stops at Manchester Victoria http://goo.gl/bQxJoO (bookings yet to open).
1472] Charity Railtours, 'The Mayflower', Sat 17 Jun 2017: Ealing Broadway (08.11/22.02), Willesden
Junction (08.31/21.32), Liverpool Street (09.53/20.33) then steam-hauled by 61306 'Mayflower' to
Colchester (11.21/18.44), includes Ipswich Griffin Wharf, Parkeston Tip, Harwich Town ('Mayflower
Line') and through Felixstowe Docks. Now open for bookings again http://goo.gl/rXLR5h from £84.
1473] BAYWATCH: From Kentrail Enthusiasts Group. Covers the entire British Isles, including the
National Networks, Metros, Trams and preserved standard gauge lines. 44 pages of concisely
collated information, colour coded to assist understanding. Much of interest for macro and micro
gricer alike! Bays platforms, 'Loops used as Bays' (pseudo-bays) details when the 'rare' end is used!
Also 'X-Factor' with crossing place use and 'CSI' Connections of Strategic Importance that knit the
network together. £6 POST FREE from Sales Officer, Mark Gomm (below) or on our railtours/AGM.
X.106] 'Trainspotting Live': (BLN 1260.X89) RIGHT: For those who
missed these definitive BBC4 programmes recently, this was the
look on Bob Gwynne's face when someone (presumably having a
laugh) reported a Class 390 at Wick! Peter Snow wondered why
no EMUs had been reported around Swindon and to the west!
X.107] Top Links:
Https://goo.gl/bniQGq Channel 4's 'The Other Side' (24
minutes) follows a group of Class 37 bashers on the North
Wales coast during the final weeks of loco hauled services.
Http://goo.gl/erx1DE a two minute video concerning the
construction of history of London railway termini.
Https://youtu.be/mVem7_Er9NU?t=7 for those not on
this Harborne branch railtour in 1959, and much of the route can now be walked. (5¼ mins).
Http://goo.gl/D8qOIt Banbury layout after resignalling and remodelling in August.
Http://goo.gl/5w6PjR The incredible Railmap Online with many updates, particularly Liverpool.
Https://goo.gl/DG4vbb Crowle Peatlands Railway (2 minutes), (BLN 1250.MR28).
Http://goo.gl/514gh the Electronic National Rail Timetable (as a complete timetable or
individual table PDFs - see near the bottom of the front page).
Http://goo.gl/W5aB5o National Working Timetables by areas (may take a while to load).
Https://goo.gl/IGz7Ut London Underground working timetables.
BLN 1261.X.108] '14 MU Brunthill' Depot railtour: ABOVE: Some still familiar faces enjoying a very
comprehensive Society trip round this RAF MoD railway at Carlisle on 8 Aug 1981; there were only 10
participants! Part is still in use for inward cement traffic from Oxwellmains, accessed from the south
end of Kingmoor Yard via a reversal at Stainton Jn then via a short surviving length of the Waverley
Route. (Ian Mortimer) Participants then visited Mr WF Horseman's private Slaggyford Island railway.
X.109] BLN Pictorial 1261: With thanks to the Editor Dave Cromarty and contribution from Ian Delgado
and Ian Mortimer, there are two unusual railway picture quizzes this time - well worth looking at.
*FULL COMMITTEE AND NEWS etc. CONTACT DETAILS - PLEASE RETAIN FOR FUTURE REFERENCE:*
Membership: Alan Welsh, 22 Treemount Court, Grove Ave., EPSOM, KT17 4DU. [email protected] 01372 728677.
Paper BLN Distribution: Dave Monger, 6 Underhill Close, GODALMING, GU7 1NU. [email protected] 07592 585230.
Assistant Distribution Officer: Ronald Jackson, 67 Lakenheath, LONDON, N14 4RR. [email protected]
Publicity Officer: David Clark, 15 Broadfield Close, Penygraig, TONYPANDY CF40 1SY. [email protected]
Publications / Society Cartographer: Martyn Brailsford, 18 Queen St. Brimington, CHESTERFIELD, S43 1HT [email protected]
BLS Webmaster: Tim Harris [email protected] There are 4 ordinary Committee members, Graeme Jolley & Dave Cromarty plus:
Helen Cromarty [email protected] William Graveson [email protected]
Fixtures Secretary: Kev Adlam, 53 Kemble Close, Wistaston, CREWE CW2 6XN. [email protected] Twitter: @BLSGeneralSec
General Secretary: Tim Wallis, 10 Sandringham Road, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. [email protected]
Chairman: John Williamson, 'La Marguerite', Croit-E-Quill Rd., LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7JD. [email protected]
Treasurer: Ian Mortimer, 69 Malmesbury Road, Cheadle Hulme, CHEADLE Cheshire SK8 7QL. [email protected]
SALES: Mark Gomm, 84 Mornington Road, STOKE-ON-TRENT, ST1 6EL. [email protected] 01782 769960 (daytime).
NEWS TEAM: Wales: Paul Jeffries, 54 Heol Erwin, CARDIFF, CF14 6QR. [email protected]
Branch Line Email Service: Nick Garnham, [email protected] Subscribe: [email protected]
South East England, East Anglia & Ireland: Julian James, 58 Nelson Road, WORTHING, BN12 6EN. [email protected]
London: Geoff Brockett, 155 Onslow Gardens, South Woodford, LONDON, E18 1NA. [email protected]
East & West Midlands: Brian Schindler, 15 Sudeley, Dosthill, TAMWORTH, B77 1JR. [email protected]
South West: Mike Newman, 19 Plover Close, Worle, WESTON-Super-MARE, BS22 8XB. [email protected]
North East England: Geoff Blyth, 26 Trafalgar Way, Queens Park, BILLERICAY, CM12 0UT. [email protected]
Scotland: Mike McCabe, Lawrenceholme Barn, Oulton, WIGTON, CA7 0PH. NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: [email protected]
North West, Yorkshire, Humberside, & IOM: Graeme Jolley, 3 Laurel Cottages, Rencell Hill, LAXEY, IOM, IM4 7BJ. [email protected]
Minor Railways (British Isles): Peter Scott, 93 Josephine Court, Southcote Rd, READING, RG30 2DQ. [email protected]
E-BLN (Distribution problems and BLN Pictorial): Dave Cromarty, [email protected]
Editor/Head Lines: Paul Stewart, 4 Clarence Close, MALVERN, WR14 3HX [email protected] 01684562862 07790652351.
Printed by Deva Enterprises, Waters Edge, The Drive, Ifold, LOXWOOD, West Sussex, RH14 0TD 01403 752735 (REVISED) [email protected]
or [email protected] Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Rd, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947.