Issue Number 1281 (Items 1022 - 1115Is&suMe RNu8m2 b- eMr R128688) (E-BLN 59 PAGES) 20 May 2017
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)
Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from members;7a2n8i6n7te7rnational section is also available.
Opinions herein are not necessarily those of the Compilers or the Society.
BLN 1282 is dated Sat 3 June; Scoocnietrtyib. uSoticoientys.must be received by Wed 24 May
>>>> 1022] HAVE YOU RENEWED YOUR MEMBERSHIP YET? <<<<
This was due on 1 May. If you have not yet renewed, please do so as soon as possible to continue to
receive your BLN and all the other membership benefits (cheaper fares, other discounts, participation
in members' only fixtures, a free copy of Minor Railways and PSUL etc). If you have any queries, or
know of anyone who might like to join or rejoin the Society, please contact Membership Secretary
Alan Welsh (as above) who can supply a membership form or https://goo.gl/uHetGZ which can be
used for renewals or joining. REMINDER: All members taking paper BLN can have e-BLN free too.
Date Event Details BLN Lead Status
18 to 21/5/17 Long weekend - Dublin / Republic of Ireland 'mixed' gauges 1265 KA FULL
Sat 3/6/17 Preston trackbed walk 11.20 Bamber Bridge 1278 PS OPEN
Sun 4/6/17 *NEW* Class 319 Farewell / Cauldwell Depot Salute 1281 JE *OPEN*
Wed 14/6/17 Rudyard Lake Railway 10.30 Track tour - new layout 1276 JC OPEN
Wed 14/6/17 5½ mile trackbed walk 17.30 after Rudyard Lake Railway 1277 JC OPEN
Thur 15/6/17 Cat & Dock Railtour 07.30 Stafford to Lime Street 15.45 1278 KA *FULL*
Sat 17/6/17 *NEW* The Anglian Chauffeured Shacker; Ely 06.45 -17.00 1281 JC *OPEN*
Sun 25/6/17 Middlesbrough Goods, BLS/PLEG track and traction events 1279 JE FULL
Mon 26/6/17 Guided Signal Box visits North east England TBA TBA Claimed
Wed 28/6/17 Kennet Service Train Tracker, guided group day out 1275 TG OPEN
Sat 15/7/17 *NEW* Pickering Paxman HST; SEE E-BLN DOWNLOAD 1281 JE *OPEN*
27 to 30/7/17 Scottish Minor Railways Update in BLN 1280.931 1272 TV Enquire
Fri 4/8/17 Northumberland (Park) Nocturnal Navigator 23.59 - 05.30 1279 KA OPEN
Sat 2/9/17 The 565 Special, NW England - SW Wales UPDATE BELOW 1280 KA OPEN
Sat 9/9/17 *NEW* The Greendale Rocket, track & traction railtour, 1281 JE *OPEN*
Heartlands Park (Met-Cam) & Wembley Royal Mail Depot *NEW*
Fri 22/9/17 Swindon & Cricklade Railway 12.00 Track & traction tour TBA TBA Claimed
7 & 8/10/17 BLS Animal tracker: Minor Railway weekend Beds & Bucks TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 14/10/17 Statfold Barn Railway, Tamworth, BLS private railtour TBA TBA Claimed
17-19/11/17 AGM fixtures - Liverpool Area, long weekend with railtour TBA TBA Claimed
JE-Jill Everitt, JC-John Cameron, KA-Kev Adlam, PS-Paul Steane, TV-Terry Velvick, TG-Tom Gilby.
ABOVE: 319003 on a Sevenoaks service; bright green paint on special offer? (Matthew Dodd).
1023] Blackpool to Preston: Anyone interested in final repeat signalbox visits in Sep please contact
[email protected] (note underscore) or 1 Onslow Rd, Richmond, TW10 6QH with two SAEs.
1024] Class 319 Farewell / Cauldwell Depot Salute, Sun 4 Jun: A booking form is enclosed for our
Class 319/4 EMU charity tour with Govia Thameslink Railway; e-BLN subscribers will need to print it
please. Highlights include the new Cricklewood Depot, West Hampstead Down Carriage Loop,
(between Up Fast and Down Slow) with 'jointed' track, St Albans Centre Turnback Siding, Brighton
Reception line, through Lewes P5 (Down direction), New Cross Gate Up Sussex Loop and also much
microgricing. If paying by card please DO supply the security code (last three digits on the reverse).
1025] The Anglian Chauffeured Shacker, Sat 17 Jun: .... and now for something completely different,
a short notice fixture of a new kind..... Visit some sparsely served East Anglia stations by train thanks to our
well known local Committee member, Ian Delgado. Meet Ely station at 06.45, car to Shippea Hill (two
trains SO, one SSuX); 07.25 train to Spooner Row (08.08) (3 trains SSuX, 2 SO); car to Lakenheath (7 trains
SuO, 2 SO), 10.24 to Cambridge North (OP 21 May) P1 (10.50); 11.15 bay P3 and crossover to Cambridge
(11.20) for 11.44 to Dullingham (11.59); car to Newmarket for 13.04 to Kennett (13.11); car to Thurston
for 14:30 to Elmswell (14.36); car to Eccles Road for 15.59 to Harling Road (16.03) (both have two trains
each way SuX); car to Ely (arr 17.00). A charity donation applies (min £10 each) in lieu of petrol money and
participants will also need to buy an 'Anglia Plus' day rover ticket (£18.50, £12.20 railcard). Breaks are
timetabled. Numbers limited, first come first served apply: [email protected] 07581178759.
1026] The 565 Special, Sat 2 Sep: Our loco-hauled tour https://goo.gl/5FWj4C (booking form with
BLN 1280) now starts at Carnforth 05.35/23.08 and takes the No2 Up & Down Goods Line there. The
Carmarthen Avoider (Carmarthen Jn to Carmarthen Bridge Jn; Down direction) is optionally available.
Without this the Carmarthen break is about 70 mins, with it 30 mins. On return Llandeilo Jn Up Goods
Loop is followed by the Up Loop then the Up Genwen Loop. The Pontarddulais stop is omitted.
There is a Fylde Jn to Carnforth line possession from 23.25. As we don't yet have a Society exorcist, the
tour changes to a WCRC loco at Chester (dep 21.15), runS direct to Warrington BQ (21.38); [Return to
Crewe is by service train] Wigan NW 21.54, Preston 22.24, Lancaster 22.50 & Carnforth arriving 23.08.
1027] FIRST CLASS PREMIER DINING MENU: Breakfast options: A full grill, smoked salmon and
scrambled eggs, cereals, fruit and yogurt, croissants, warm brioche, toast etc. Danish pastries are served
warm late morning and in both cases with coffee and a selection of teas. Dinner starters: Chef's own
roasted carrot and fennel soup or warm twice baked red Leicestershire cheese and caramelised red
onion soufflé with salad or a Trio Ballotine of poached salmon, smoked and gravadlax infused with
shallots, fennel and Pastis with citrus dressed watercress and dill salad. Main course: Oven roasted
Cumbrian free range chicken stuffed with bacon, shallots, chestnut mushrooms and fresh thyme with
wild mushroom and Madeira sauce, Dauphinoise potato, Buttered green beans, Carrot and suede crush.
Desert: After Dinner Chocolate Mint Truffle Torte with fresh double cream or a selection of British and
Continental cheeses with biscuits and chutney. This is followed by Tea/Coffee and chocolates. One of
our Regional Editors recently track-tested this Gravy Train Catering menu and confirms its excellence.)
Anyone already booked can upgrade to the full meal service by contacting Kev Adlam (per back page).
X.67] The Greendale Rocket, Sat 9 Sep: Full details and a booking form are available to download with
this e-BLN, a paper version will be included with BLN 1282. Please advise anyone you know who only
takes paper BLN of this attractive tour, believed to be the first ever to Birmingham Heartlands Park
(the former Metropolitan Cammell works) which is to be demolished for the HS2 depot construction.
1281 HEAD LINES
1028] Manchester, Heald Green North Jn - Heald Green South Jn: (BLNs 1279.817 & 1280.938) The Up
line finally ROA Mon 1 May 2017 after TCA since 12.17 on 30 Mar due to a points failure at North Jn.
1029] South Tynedale Railway (2ft gauge), Lintley Halt - Slaggyford (MR p14, BLN 1278.697) ROP is
deferred from 26 May until further notice due to problems with Slaggyford crossing (see item MR 82).
1030] Barrow Hill Roundhouse Railway Centre, Roundhouse Halt (incl) - Springwell Branch MP 150
(end of line): (MR p.8) (BLN 1255.780) TROP 19 & 20 May, special event, Rail Ale Festival (and see
'Connections'). ROP (public running) is expected Sat 23 Sep 2017 (TCP after running on 21 May 2016).
1031] IÉ Limerick (incl) - Ennis (excl) / Birdhill (excl) / Limerick Junction North with Sixmilebridge &
Castleconnell stations; Milltown Crossing points - Kyle Crossing points (Limerick Junction avoiding
Loop) and Limerick Junction P1 (Cork line through platform) - Limerick line (strategic connection):
TCP 5-25 Jun 2017 resignalling. Limerick Junction bay (which is P2 & 3) to Keane's Points remains open.
1032] Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway, Laverton: (BLN 1280.946) The ¾ mile Laverton
extension ROP Sat 27 May 2017 (Cotswold Festival of Steam, first day, then timetabled trains).
1033] Midland Metro, Wolverhampton St George's - Priestfield (excl) & 'The Royal': (BLN 1280.985)
TCP from Sun 11 Jun 2017, to replace 1.35km of double track in Bilston Road originally laid in 1999
with associated road resurfacing, drainage and other work; ROP is expected to be 'by Christmas'.
Trams from Birmingham will terminate at Priestfield stop with an ECS shunt beyond the platform.
1034] Miles Platting Jn - Ashton-under-Lyne (incl) - Stalybridge Jn: TCP 8 to 30 Jul 2017 electrification
works. Liverpool Lime Street - Victoria - Newcastle TPE trains run between Leeds and Newcastle only.
Brewery Jn - Philips Park West Jn - Philips Park South Jn - Ashburys West Jn; Baguley Fold Jn - Philips
Park South Jn and Ashton Moss North Jn - Denton Jn: All TCG/A Sat 8 Jul until Sun 30 Jul as a result.
1035] Redcar Central (excl) - Saltburn (incl) also Redcar East, Longbeck & Marske stations: TCP Fri 25
until Mon 28 Aug 2017 (incl) Aug Bank Holiday weekend, for relaying of Saltburn West Jn. The new
layout gives priority to the Boulby branch rather than Saltburn and eliminates an interesting layout at
the junction. Redcar Central crossover will be used by turning back passenger trains to Darlington etc.
1036] Saltburn West Jn - Skinningrove/Boulby: TCG Fri 25 Aug - Tue 29 Aug 2017 (inc) - previous item.
1281 BLN GENERAL
1037] 21/22 May Microgricing: Thanks to member Stephen Ebbs who kindly posts on 'Gensheet' most
weeks (sign up: https://goo.gl/oBxRtE ). All need to be checked and are not guaranteed, of course.
Bridgend: (SO) Bay P3 shuttle to/from Maesteg except first through from Cardiff and last to Cardiff.
Cardiff Central: (SO) Regular services are booked from P7 to Cardiff Queen Street.
St Pancras: (SO) From 07.40 trains to Luton start P 'A' plus 05.52, 06.18, 07.04, 22.23, 22.50, 23.18 &
….23.49 to Bedford. Bedford to St Pancras trains terminate in P 'B' (except 04.12, 04.50, 06.10 & 06.24).
Chelmsford: (SuO) Services to Liverpool Street are booked to start from P2.
Colchester: (SuO) The 07.20 from Harwich International and the 17.45 & 19.47 from Peterborough
….terminate in P1. Services from Ipswich (23.12 excepted) and from Norwich terminate in P2.
Shalford and Clandon: (SuO) Respective crossovers are booked for departures west and north.
Woking: (SuO) 07.06, 08.06 and half-hourly until 23.06 Woking to Waterloo services start from P5.
Epsom: (SuO) Victoria services start from P1 and Waterloo services start from P2.
Gravesend: (SuO) Gillingham services start from P1, trailing crossover on departure.
Camden Road: (SuO) Clapham Junction/Richmond trains run from P2 and cross at Camden Rd West Jn.
Kilburn High Road: (SuO) Watford Junction services are booked from P1 and cross from the Up DC
….Electric to the Down DC Electric on departure. The service runs until 11.44; recommencing at 21.04.
West Hampstead Thameslink: (SuO) The 05.40, 06.28 & 07.28 ex-Bedford Midland terminate in P2.
Newton South Connecting Line: (SuO) Virgin/TPE (Glasgow Central - Carlisle) and run via Mount Florida.
Cardiff Central: (SuO) 10.04 ex-Cheltenham Spa terminates P1. Trains ex Bristol Parkway / Gloucester
….and Worcester terminate in P2. The 16.41 Barry Island to Newport is routed via Cardiff Central P4.
1038] Points & Slips: ●BLN 1279.914] The total mileage covered by our Bound for Craigy HST tour on
18 Mar 2017 was 800m 29ch. ●BLN 1280.951-1] Castleford is another example of a station on a
through passenger line only served by terminating services. The through (non-stopping) services are in
PSUL; before anyone points out that the Leeds to Knottingley/Goole trains are only reversing on a
through journey and not terminating, Northern has introduced a non-stop 16.59 (SSuX) Leeds to
Castleford that returns at 17.20. ●951-3] The 07.10 (SuX) Wrexham General to Wrexham Central is
also booked to take three minutes. At 49ch is this the shortest distance scheduled end to end journey?
The Stourbridge branch is a positively lengthy 62ch (Stourbridge Junction middle of P1 to stop blocks).
●966] The Bury to Manchester Victoria third rail electrification was side contact and 1,200V dc (not
750V). It was a Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway experiment commissioned in 1916! ●970] The mention
of Salford Crescent in the middle of this item should, of course, have been Salford Central. ●1100] The
final item in paper BLN should be numbered 1021 not '1000'. ●1002] The energization date for the
sections on the Glasgow to Edinburgh scheme described has been deferred from 28 May until 23 Jun.
1039] Coal fired: On 12 Jan 1882 Holborn Viaduct Power Station in London, (the 'Edison Electric Light
Station'), became the world's first coal-fired power station generating for public use. This was initially
93kW for 968 local 16 'candle' incandescent street lamps (actually quite happy…), later expanded to
power 3,000 lamps. It lost money and closed in Sep 1886 - the lamps were converted back to gas! As
recently as 2012 about 40% of our electricity came from coal, falling to 9% in 2016. Tue 10 May 2016
was the first time since 1882 that electricity generation was coal free, and on 21 Apr 2017 this was
achieved for a full 24 hours for the first time. Then 50.3% was from gas, 21.2% nuclear, 12.2% wind,
8.3% imported, 6.7% biomass and 3.6% solar (not 100% total due to exports and hydroelectric power).
This explains why there are so many coal wagons sitting around in sidings doing nothing. In mid-May
there had been no recent coal traffic from Hunterston High Level (a flask train runs occasionally to
Low Level). Killoch open cast disposal point (OCDP) has been sending 1,600 tonnes of coal to Drax
MWFO (one wagon set) as has Greenburn most weekdays. North Blyth (Battleship Wharf) sends two
trains daily SSuX mainly to Cottam, or occasionally Drax. Tyne Coal Terminal has been quiet; just a few
trains to Drax. Immingham, Humber International Terminal: Two trains most days (SSuX) to Ratcliffe
and some days two more to Drax. Portbury and Avonmouth Coal Terminals: No traffic.
Aberthaw & Fifoot (Newport) Power Stations: No traffic. Ferrybridge 'C' Power Station (closed): Now
three coal trains daily (SSuX) each of 1,600 tonnes to Fiddlers Ferry to clear the large stockpile - these
make an interesting sight running south through Stockport station! West Burton 'A': No coal traffic.
There are occasional Killoch to Penyffordd or Ketton Cement Works coal trains. Hull Coal Terminal:
No coal but has a new lease of life handling imported Spanish Gypsum to New Biggin (Kirkby Thore)
British Gypsum on the Settle & Carlisle line. Immingham Bulk Terminal: Three (occasionally four) coal
trains daily SSuX to Scunthorpe Coal Plant for the steel works. Gwaun-cae-Gurwen OCDP: 600 tonnes
of coal are dispatched in a weekly train to Onllwyn. Onllwyn: One or two trains, (1,600 tonnes) weekly
to Immingham ('smokeless') Briquette Factory and some to Margam for the steel works. Cwmbargoed
OCDP: Daily train (SSuX) 1,600 tonnes of coal to Grange (steel works). Tower OCDP: MO train (1,200
tonnes coal) clearing stocks for Earles Sidings (Hope Cement) and due to finish by the end of May.
1040] Quiz answers for High Flyers: Airports in the British Islands (a 'legal definition' that excludes the
Irish Republic) with scheduled passenger flights. *Rail served (a matter of opinion in some cases!).
1: *Aberdeen Intn Airport 23: *Edinburgh Airport 45: *London/Southend Airport
2: Alderney Airfield 24: Exeter International Airport 46: *London/Stansted Airport
3: Anglesey Airport 25: Fair Isle Airfield 47: Lydd (London/Ashford)
4: Barra North Bay Airfield 26: *Gatwick Airport ……..Airport
5: Belfast International Airport 27: *George Best Belfast City Ap 48: *Manchester Intn Airport
6: Benbecula Airport 28: Glasgow Intn Airport 49: *Newcastle Intn Airport
7: *Birmingham Airport 29: *Glasgow Prestwick Airport 50: Newquay Cornwall Airport
8: Bournemouth Intn Airport 30: Gloucestershire Airport 51: North Ronaldsay††
9: Brighton City Airport ✪ 31: Guernsey Airport 52: Norwich Intn Airport
10: Bristol International Airport 32: Humberside Intn Airport 53: Oban & The Isles Airport
11: Cambridge Intn Airport 33: Inverness Airport 54: Papa Westray Airfield††
12: Campbeltown Airport 34: Islay Airport 55: Sanday Airport††
13: *Cardiff International Airport 35: *IOM Ronaldsway Airport 56: *Southampton Airport
14: City of Derry Airport 36: Jersey Airport 57: St Mary's Airfield
15: Coll Island Airfield 37: Kirkwall Airport†† 58: Stornoway Airport
16: Colonsay Landing Strip 38: Land's End Airport (St Just) 59: Stronsay Airfield††
17: Doncaster Sheffield Airport 39: Leeds Bradford Intn Airport 60: Sumburgh Airport†††
18: *Blackpool Airport 40: *Liverpool John Lennon Ap 61: Tingwall Airfield†††
19: Dundee Riverside Airport 41: *London City Airport 62: Tiree Airfield
20: *Durham Tees Valley Airport 42: *London/Heathrow Airport 63: Westray Airfield††
21: East Midlands Airport 43: *London/Luton Airport 64: Wick John O'Groats Airport
22: Eday Airfield† 44: London/Oxford Airport
✪Brighton City Airport is the former Shoreham Airport. †Eday is an Orkney Island but as it is close to
the Bay of London it is known locally as London Airport! ††An Orkney island. ††† Shetland.
1041] Help wanted please! On a recent railtour a member was heard to say that (in his opinion),
although the Society has been going for over 61 years, there has never been such a good time to be a
member! Kev Adlam's ambitious programme means that we are looking for assistance with compiling
railtour guides (greatly valued by participants), an interesting and rewarding project to take on. Please
volunteer by contacting our member David Palmer [email protected] to discuss.
1042] Have you done all these yet (Part 3)? (BLN 1268.2133) Crossovers (X/O) and/or track with a
regular but sparse service. C/E = country-end, L/E = London-end.
Amersham, P2 to Down Main: 07.02 (SO) Amersham to Aylesbury (repeated by special request!).
Cambus Loop: 18.28 (SuX) Alloa to Glasgow Queen Street.
Chelmsford, L/E Down to Up Main X/O: 07.49, 08.09 & 08.30 (SSuX); 06.58 (SO) to Liverpool Street.
Dumfries, L/E from Down to Up Main X/O: 06.18 Dumfries to Newcastle (SuX).
*Hambleton South Curve: Hambleton West to South Jns, 06.55 (SO) Skipton to King's Cross.
Hednesford, X/O Down - Up Cannock: 23.18 (SuX) 06.02 (SO) & 20.40 SuO, all New St to Hednesford
Hereford, south end of P1 to Down Main: 05.26 (SSuX), 05.42 (SO) Hereford to Barry Island.
Hertford North: Down Hertford to P1: 16.08, 17.03, 17.33, 18.28, 19.33 & 21.08 (SSuX) all ex-Moorgate.
Royston: C/E Up to Down Cambridge X/O and L/E from Down to Up X/O: 05.35 (SSuX) Cambridge to
King's Cross (there are three other services starting south from P2 that use only the L/E X/O).
Selhurst: L/E facing X/O from Down Victoria Slow to P2: 18.13 (SSuX) Victoria to Selhurst.
Stirling: P6 (country-end) X/O to Down Main: 06.48 & 08.49 (SuX) Glasgow Queen St to Dunblane.
*Wigan Station Jn: Down - Up Hindley X/O: 08.21 & 17.25 (SSuX) Wigan NW to Victoria (and others)
Worcester Shrub Hill: Bay P3, 21.46 (SSuX) & 11.38 (SuO) to Bristol TM (or Cardiff during diversions).
This was kindly provided by our member Ian Delgado from Unusual Track https://goo.gl/atct2m with
many more instances of unusual workings over England, Wales and Scotland. *Two for 'Bakerites'.
1281 EAST MIDLANDS
1043] Corby: A member has pointed out that the NR overhead line inspection train (see e-BLN picture
taken on the Corby line with Colas loco 37219 between items 931/2) regularly visits Melton (Mowbray)
Rail Innovation & Development Centre - formerly 'Old Dalby' Test Track, mainly to be calibrated.
1044] NET: The trailing Wilkinson Street Hucknall end crossover should be in use from 27-29 May with
possibly The Forest centre line / south connections. A 10-minute frequency bus service links the two.
1045] Nottingham: A new micropub is due to open after a licence application was lodged with the City
Council. 'BeerHeadZ', with pubs in Grantham and Retford, wants to open The Cabman's Shelter in a
Grade II Listed timber building just outside Nottingham station, next to the British Transport Police
Station! An East Midlands Trains spokesperson said: We are always looking to improve the facilities we
offer our customers at stations. [How about returning the station piano that was removed please?]
1046] Champion Poacher: A new Community Rail Partnership Officer (CRPO) has been appointed to
promote and improve the Nottingham to Skegness 'Poacher Line' working with East Midlands Trains
and organising events with partners such as Sustrans, schools and community station adopters. See
https://goo.gl/HqUlNd about the latter. A CRPO has also been appointed for the Derby to Crewe line.
1281 NORTH EAST
1047] NER Signal Boxes named
'Junction' continued; Londonderry
Junction (Sunderland): (NZ409564)
(LEFT: on 20 Aug 2006; 'Pinza C55')
This was between Hendon Jn and
Ryhope Grange* boxes. It controlled
the 'Londonderry Lines' divergence
which ran on the seaward side of the
former NER lines to Ryhope Grange
Signal Box (SB). They were defined as
separate lines in the Sectional
Appendix, probably because of their
separate ownership. The name was
derived from the Londonderry
Railway (LR), (OG 3 Aug 1854; OP 2
Jul 1855) built by, and named after,
the Marquis of Londonderry, one of
the major coal owners and developer of Seaham Harbour. It was absorbed by the NER in Jul 1900 and
the Londonderry Lines were taken OOU at an unknown date in 1973 (the 'official closure date'
apparently lies between Dec 1973 and Mar 1974). *Ironically Ryhope Grange is actually a 'Junction' - it
is on the nameboard outside.
1048] Port of Tyne branch: (BLN 1264.1715) (TRACKmaps Vol 2 p46A Oct 2016) ABOVE: With thanks
to Ian Hughes and Martyn Brailsford, the updated May 2017 track plan. The end of line, top right, is on
the south bank of the River Tyne, then the branch runs due south. Tyne Coal Terminal (lines 1 & 2)
was opened in 1985 for inward Merry-go-round wagons to empty export coal beneath the track, via
the 'MGR Discharge' bunker shown. Now imported coal (first shipment 18 Jun 2004) is loaded into
empty wagons from above using wheeled loaders. Our 'Tale of Two Ports' tour on Bank Holiday Mon
29 Aug 2016 reached the end of line 2. The coal stocking ground is west of the line there (top of the
plan). Silo Bunker 1 is used for biomass to Drax; Silo Bunker 2 has been built recently for the new
imported biomass traffic to Lynemouth (due to start in Oct up to 27 trains per week). Line 3a is to
Tyne Dock Bottom (where once iron ore was imported for Consett Steel Works) in use to the derailer
on the curve just to the rear of the concrete quay apron to store empty wagons and cripples.
1281 NORTH WEST
1049] Reddish South: The friends of the station in their 10th year have won the prestigious Association
of Community Rail Partnerships Community Award, in recognition of their campaign and work.
1050] Crewe: South bay P8 has limited passenger use: the 06.49 (SSuX) - arrives ECS 00.27/00.54 - LM
service to Euston via Birmingham and the LM 20.36 (SO) service from New Street terminates at 21.49.
The latter then sits there overnight leaving ECS for the carriage sidings at 08.49 (SuO). On Sat 29 Apr,
several LM services terminating at Crewe used P8 due to engineering work on the Liverpool line.
1051] Lostock: Of interest to members who like to do temporary footbridges, one is being provided
west of this station while Rumworth Rd in Bolton is closed from 22 May to Nov for electrification work.
1052] Merseyrail: (BLN 1266.1928/9) A reminder that Phase 2 of the Liverpool Loop work is due to
finish on Mon 29 May (inclusive), with Phase 3 then lasting until full reopening on Mon 19 June. This
means the closure will extend from James Street to Birkenhead North and Birkenhead Central (latter
two both exclusive) seven days a week rather than just at weekends as in Phase 2.
X.68] Metrolink, Extension: (BLN 1267.X160) Construction
work started on the Metrolink Trafford Centre branch at the
end of last year, so a local member (what a treasure) recently
took the opportunity to see progress on the section from the
Imperial War Museum back to the Metrolink junction station
of Pomona. This development will mark the reintroduction
of rail services into this part of Trafford Park Estate, so it was
also interesting to see how the new line relates to the old
internal system as it existed in the 1970s. The Imperial War
Museum is a short walk from the Mediacity UK stop, and is
reached by crossing the Ship Canal bridge near the Lowry
Theatre. BELOW: Utility work in progress on Trafford Wharf
Road at the Imperial War Museum tram stop site. In the
back ground is one of the iconic Trafford Park buildings, the
Rank Hovis flour mill, which appears in various pictures and is
a good point of reference. LEFT: One of a few rail warning
signs remaining in the park indicating that there was a
relatively recent line along this road - in the 1970s it served
an Esso Oil Depot. Will it survive when the trams start?
ABOVE: Similar to the previous picture above, but taken further down Trafford Wharf Road. This has
been included as it provides a comparison with: BELOW: Incredibly, taken 27 June 1974 in the same
location, at the start of the Manchester Reunion Railway Society's (MRRS) Manchester Navigator tour.
The distinctive Rank Hovis building can be seen. Behind the photographer, the new line leaves Trafford
Park Road and cuts between two buildings before running alongside the south bank of the Ship Canal.
ABOVE: The route that the branch will take, looking towards Pomona from near the IWM. The pub in
the distance is the 'Sam Platt'. BELOW: From alongside the pub at the site of the proposed Wharfside
tram stop, looking back along Trafford Park Road. It does appear that there might just be room to run
the lines past the front of the pub, and the map produced by Metrolink suggests that is possibly the
case, but it has been reported elsewhere that the pub will be demolished. (All pictures were taken by
Ian Mortimer on 11 Apr 2017 unless otherwise dated.)
ABOVE: Again of the pub, but taken from Trafford Road bridge looking east. The recently cleared area
in the centre with the red fencing in the background is on the new tram route, and was also the route
of the estate line to Pomona Docks. BELOW: From a very similar location but at a lower level, other
than the top of the Rank Hovis building (marked with arrows in both pictures), everything else has
changed! This photo was taken during the MRRS's Manchester Navigator No2 tour on 9 Sep 1978. By
that time the branch to Pomona Docks had closed but the first section was in use as a run round loop.
The reason that there are no passengers is that on the way back to Mode Wheel depot with the empty
stock the crew were persuaded to visit the branch, which hadn't been covered on the tour! The swing
bridge (right) carried the double track connecting the two sides of the canal. More about this later.
ABOVE: The same stretch of line, looking the opposite way towards Pomona. The trams will use the
former rail under bridges beneath the road to the right. BELOW: From the Trafford Road bridge shows
where the new line will run alongside the Ship Canal on the former Pomona Docks line. The Pomona
Metrolink stop is middle left, background.
ABOVE: The same view as above taken in 1978 from the tour empty stock at the then end of line (the
headshunt of the run-round loop). The tower block in the background is the same one in both pictures.
BELOW: The same section in the opposite direction seen from below the elevated Pomona tram stop.
ABOVE: Pomona tram stop on the viaduct. The extension will be on a ramp here climbing to join the
Eccles line (off left over the Manchester Ship Canal and former docks) where it turns through a right
angle for the first time. Pomona is one of the quietest stops on Metrolink, as it is on an isolated piece
of land with the Bridgwater Canal (right out of view) and the Ship Canal with one access road and very
little development. However, there was a team of around a dozen Metrolink personnel checking the
tickets of all passengers on the trams as they stopped. They were happy to allow pictures to be taken
BELOW: What will be the junction of the two lines at the west end of Pomona stop, with a tram
approaching from the Eccles line right. The trackbed was originally built in this configuration, the
straight on alignment 'passive provision' as it was always intended to build the Trafford Centre line.
ABOVE: The 'Detroit Bridge' named after that city, acknowledges that much shipping traffic originated
from the Great Lakes area. The double track swing bridge connected the (once extensive) Manchester
Ship Canal Railway systems on either side of the Manchester Ship Canal. It was built in 1941 and went
out of use in 1981. The empty stock of the 'Manchester Navigator 2', on the bridge (9 Sep 1978).
PREVIOUS PAGE, LOWER: The remains of the piers it once stood on; the road equivalent (seen earlier)
is behind. In 1988 the former railway bridge was floated down the Ship Canal on pontoons to a new
position across the former No9 Dock where it is now used as a footbridge. ABOVE: The bridge in its
new location. BELOW: From the north side of the bridge, close to Harbour City Metrolink station.
LEFT: The Transport Trust plaque
commemorating both the bridge
and the Manchester Ship Canal
Railway system. Incredibly 231
miles and claimed to be the
largest private railway in the UK.
1053] Blackpool (1): On 4 May a
member made an expedition to
the Fylde Peninsula to have a last
look at the semaphores before
they vanish with the closure of
the signal boxes from 11 Nov.
After lunchtime at Poulton-le-
Fylde (Le Feast Café does high
quality refreshments on the
island platform) he arrived at
Blackpool North P5 on the 13.29
from Manchester Airport. Our
member headed to P3/4, but was
stopped by a member of staff.
When he said that he wanted to photograph the semaphores, he was told that access to the platform
was not allowed. Not wishing to be denied the purpose of his visit, he was told to report to the
Customer Service office. There he received a positive response after identifying himself as a retired BR
manager, although he had to sign the visitor's book and be issued with a Hi-Viz jacket. A set of photos
was obtained but it may be worth alerting others to this incident.
1054] Blackpool (2): (BLN 1279.865) During our signal box visits on 5 May it was reported that P1, 2, 7
& 8 at Blackpool North are all to be taken OOU soon for remodelling work. (P7 & 8 will be removed
permanently, P3-6 shortened and P1 & 2 lengthened. P2 will have an operational length of 239m for
Pendolinos.) Fortunately there is permissive working on the remaining four platforms! P8 has been
OOU for some time. It is hard to believe that there were once 30 terminal platforms at Blackpool! The
original North station, (CP 7 Jan 1973) beyond and south west of the present one had six and also 10
excursion platforms (P7 -16), eight of which are the present station. There were once three large signal
boxes of which the remaining one (Blackpool North No2 originally with 120 levers) was once only open
in the summer and presumably the illuminations (?) as it controlled the then excursion platforms.
Blackpool Central terminus (CP 2 Nov 1964) also had six platforms and eight excursion platforms,
a remarkably similar layout to 'North'. There were also two island platforms at Blackpool South, one
on the Lytham line (now single track) and one on the direct line to Kirkham North Jn (CP 12 Feb 1967).
Returning to 2017, all services are now provided by Northern except for a 16.33 (SSuX) Virgin Trains
working from London Euston arriving 19.31 which then runs ECS at 19.50 via Lichfield curve to Barton-
under-Needwood (22.42). There is no equivalent Up service. At Kirkham & Wesham the Fast Lines
between Kirkham South and North Jn taken OOU from 9 Apr had been lifted east of the signal box
(along with the fairly extensive sidings almost completely); work was starting on the new Up platform.
BELOW: Site of the fast lines at Kirkham & Wesham (station right) looking east to the former Kirkham
South Jn. The Up Fast was left and the rather elusive Down Fast was on the right (Colin Brazier 9 May).
1281 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
1055] Bicester MoD: The once extensive Bicester Military Railway with 41 miles of standard gauge
track serving the warehouses and buildings on site was 'mothballed' after last operating 12 Mar 2014.
Therefore a member passing on a train was very surprised to see an MoD light engine operating on the
headshunt on Mon 3 Apr 2017 at 19.42. Investigations have revealed that although the traffic is
containerised now, and the mainline loco works in and out of the depot, class 01 locos are still used for
shunting. Our member's spot coincided with a flurry of activity at the depot with three workings in one
day! At 08.08 on 3 Apr 66722 left with a train to Marchwood MoD arriving there 11.14 and returning
12.10; Bicester was reached at 19.00. Then, incredibly just a few minutes after he had passed the
gates it left again at 19.45 and ran to Carlisle New Yard (for Longtown MoD), reached 04.41 next day.
The return working left Carlisle at 19.12 that evening arriving back at Bicester at 05.26 on Wed 5 April.
Conditional freight paths are shown from Didcot to Bicester and return (WFO) and on from Bicester to
Kineton MoD and return (SSuX). Other paths are shown to Ashchurch, Warminster, Donnington,
Stafford and Longtown (mostly variations on the same path). However some of these must be
regarded as 'suspect' because Ashchurch closed to rail traffic by 16 Jan 2015 (BLN 1216.232), when the
two remaining internal locos were moved to Marchwood. In practice trains to/from Marchwood and
Carlisle/Longtown are shown as 'specials'. Rail traffic can be intermittently sparse then intense.
1056] Downham Market: The grade II listed station has been restored and painted in the red, blue and
white livery of the 1986 Network South East (NSE) brand. The booking hall floor has been restored,
heritage style benches provided on the platforms also waiting rooms and toilets modernised.
Nameboards are in NSE style. The £64k project was unveiled by operator Great Northern and the
Railway Heritage Trust. This follows from the 2014 refurbishment of King's Lynn in 1950s BR(E) style.
[If any local/non-local member can please supply high resolution pictures these would be appreciated.]
1057] Felixstowe: (BLN 1278.746) Despite fears that the 'cross-docks' line might be closed with future
improved branch capacity, it is actually likely to have increased use as a through route and for short
term train storage, possibly due to the 10 extra daily freight workings once work has been completed.
1058] Shenfield: (BLN 1280.973 - track plan) On 2 May, some TfL Rail Brentwood terminators started
running ECS as test trains and route learners to Shenfield to reverse which then continued. The first
use of new bay P6 was the 09.15 ECS arrival from Liverpool Street, returning to Brentwood at 09.40.
P5's first train was booked at 11.25, returning at 11.40. The first passenger carrying train to use P6 was
the 04.44 Shenfield to Liverpool Street on 3 May. P4 was also used that day by two Down Main
services due to an earlier train failure outside Liverpool Street, thus taking the new connection from P4
to the Down Main in the Ingatestone direction, (possibly the first use). These were extra services,
at 16.13 (actually 16.21) ex-Shenfield (Liverpool St to Colchester) and a 15.48 Liverpool St to Braintree.
The first TfL passenger trains had been expected on Sat, 20 May, running to and from Stratford and
shown to turn back in P4 and P5 but, in the event the Brentwood to Shenfield rail replacement buses
ceased on 6 May replaced (or is that re-replaced?) by trains. The 'normal' service started Sun 7 May,
using P6 mostly until 13.45 then P1 (it is not clear if that was planned or reactionary)! Down trains to
Chelmsford used P5 and Up ones P4 that day also until 13.45 so quite an interesting use of crossovers
unavailable for some considerable time. There were buses to/from Southend Victoria all day on 7 May.
With the Electric Lines engineering blockade between Brentwood and Shenfield finishing two weeks
early there was a temporary TfL Rail timetable from 6 to 20 May. Half the TfL trains ran to Shenfield
(SSuX) and the rest still reversed at Brentwood (in P4). Some platform boards still showed the previous
timetable. At Shenfield P5 & 6 were in use (with a 21 minute turn round on a 20 minute frequency).
On 9 May our reporting member reached 2ft from new bay P6 buffers, then walked over to the middle
platform and discovered the next Southend train was scheduled from P3 (crossing the Up Main on the
flat). However, two minutes before arrival it was altered to P4, the signal had an 'L' indication for the
Diveunder. (There is no access from P3 to the Southend Loop.) The best view of the new sidings (see
plan in BLN 1280) is from P5 country end. All were blocked off, with construction work still in progress.
Elsewhere none of the platform extensions appeared complete. Provision of lifts is also 'painfully slow'.
In only a two hour visit the Great Eastern main line had a wonderful selection of rolling stock, with five
different types of EMU (including at least three Class 345s on driver training), loco hauled Norwich
trains, a couple of Class 86s on a freightliner and three other diesel hauled trains. An excellent trip!
1059] Didcot - Appleford: On 8 May electrification progress comprised some bases south of 54m 25ch
(Didcot North Jn is at 53m 71ch). These continue towards the station, though none is visible on the
avoiding line to Didcot East Jn. Most masts and some spans have been installed to 54m 75ch, and then
there are no installations north of 54m 75ch, just north of Appleford level crossing. There are also
bases (installed quite a few years ago!) only northwards from Radley nearly to Kennington Jn.
1060] Maidenhead: (BLN 1280.977) From 2 May the Turnback Line between the Down and Up Relief
lines and the Engineer's Sidings were to be commissioned. When seen from a train on the Up Relief on
7 May the Turnback Line appeared complete but rusty; it will be needed from Mon 22 May.
1281 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH
1061] Sevenoaks - Tonbridge (BLN 1280.940): The block for the Sevenoaks Tunnel drainage work was
Friday to Sunday with normal services on Easter Monday. On the Friday and Saturday, Hastings trains
were diverted via Redhill to/from London Bridge (terminal platforms). Sunday was a late addition and
there were shuttle services Hastings to Tonbridge and Ashford to Tonbridge. There were no London
trains to or from stations: Hildenborough, Pluckley to Tonbridge and Crowhurst to Tonbridge. Since
double-decking of the Tonbridge car park in Vale Road, previously used for replacement buses, these
now stop in the local bus lay-by in front of the station (with very little room for passengers to wait) and
are called forward from the nearby bus lay-by in front of Lidl where they wait. Local buses now have to
stop in the road. This may become permanent as Kent County Council want to get rid of both lay-bys.
1062] Chester - Holyhead: In response to requests after our recent North Wales tour, the mile post
mileages beyond Shotton (low level) compared with the actual mileages (from London Euston):
ELR. CNH (Crewe North & Holyhead Line) 223.39 223.48 LLANDUDNO JUNCTION (2nd)
Milepost distances (MP) from zero at Euston:
181.30 Border England / Wales 223.55 223.64 Llandudno Jn West (with LLJ)
182.40 Saltney Ferry Mold Junction 223.57 223.66 Llandudno Junction (1st)
224.39 224.48 CONWY (2nd)
184.74 Sandycroft 225.48 225.57 Conway Morfa
186.18 Queensferry 228.69 228.77 PENMAENMAWR
186.77 SHOTTON 231.47 231.57 LLANFAIRFECHAN
MP Actual 233.50 233.60 Aber
188.02 188.03 Connahs Quay 238.71 239.03 BANGOR
191.47 191.49 FLINT 240.22 240.34 Menai Bridge
193.49 193.51 Bagillt 241.10 241.22 Britannia Bridge
195.71 195.73 Holywell Junction 242.29 241.41 LLANFAIR P G
199.21 199.24 Mostyn 245.12 245.24 Gaerwen
202.08 202.12 Talacre 251.52 251.65 BODORGAN
205.43 205.48 PRESTATYN 254.31 254.44 TY CROES
209.10 209.15 RHYL 256.04 256.18 RHOSNEIGR
211.00 211.05 Kinmel Bay Halt 260.09 260.24 VALLEY
213.30 213.35 ABERGELE & PENSARN 263.56 263.72 HOLYHEAD
216.01 216.07 Llandulas (2nd) ELR LLJ (Llandudno Branch)
217.04 217.11 Llysfaen Zero at CNH milepost mileage 223.52
218.05 218.12 Old Colwyn 00.03 Llandudno Jn West (with CNH)
219.37 219.44 COLWYN BAY 00.08 Llandudno Junction (1st)
221.40 221.47 Mochdre & Pabo 01.16 DEGANWY
223.12 223.20 Llandudno Jn East (with LIT) 03.14 LLANDUDNO
1063] New connections: From the new timetable, the 20.30 SO (previously 20.39) from Shrewsbury
will make a connection at Machynlleth for coast stations to Pwllheli (arr 00.01!) but arrives 4 minutes
after the Pwllheli train has left Mondays to Fridays (passengers are advised to catch the 19.30 from
Shrewsbury) connection by four minutes Mondays to Fridays. The 15.21 SuX from Cardiff Central now
connects at Llandudno Junction for the Blaenau Ffestiniog branch.
1064] New manœuvres: Also from 21 May, the Taffs Well ECS working which forms the 06.53 SuX to
Coryton becomes a passenger service, leaving Cardiff Central at 06.31, calling at all stations except
Llandaf (with one 'f'). This provides microgricers with opportunity to traverse the former Walnut Tree
Jn (7m 10ch) trailing crossover just south of Taffs Well station. The 18.53 SuX from Ystrad Mynach, is
also converted from ECS to passenger status and is most unusually booked non-stop to Cardiff Central.
Our Wales Regional Editor advises that a service train being booked through Cardiff Queen Street
without calling is unprecedented! Other station calls are to be omitted SSuX: The 07.22 Aberdare to
Barry Island will not call at Llandaf; the 07.41 Bridgend to Aberdare will be fast from Cadoxton to
Cardiff Central; and the 14.33 Cardiff Central to Bargoed omits stations Queen Street to Caerphilly.
Of interest the 08.13 (SSuX) ex-Barry P3 to Cardiff Central uses the rare trailing crossover east of Barry
station on departure. (SSuX) the 09.45 from Bridgend via Barry, the 11.10 from Swansea and (SO) the
19.10 ex-Swansea are all booked to arrive in Cardiff Central P0 from the west; the 09.45 crosses the
whole layout! Time for David Clark's third South Wales service train tracker perhaps (hint)?
1281 SOUTH WEST
1065] Penzance: (BLN 1214.1190) The £20M Long Rock sleeper train depot (BELOW) is due to be
completed in Dec. It is part of an £80M scheme including improvements to the Royal Albert Bridge and
the new Exeter DMU depot. GWR's refurbished sleeper carriages with USB charging points, Wi-Fi and
combined bottom bunk/sofas, are being rolled out this year and refurbished lounge coaches in 2018.
1066] Pilning: (BLN 1268.2179) On Sat 29 Apr a member caught the 08.15 from Newport to Taunton
to Pilning (High Level from 9 Jul 1928 until 6 May 1968 and incidentally de-staffed from 14 Oct 1968).
Here he alighted from the first train of the week and one passenger/customer (whatever) joined. The
train conductor was highly amused at having a passenger for Pilning and photographed our reporter's
ticket on his smartphone! The village is about a mile away, about equidistant from Severn Beach
station where our reporter walked in good time for the 09.54 departure. Pilning passengers are now
permitted to return to Severn Beach (and to travel from the Bristol direction to Severn Tunnel
Junction for extra value then double back on the new second (and final) train of the week, the 13.00
Cardiff Central to Taunton (Pilning 13.35), replacing the one that used to call at the Down platform.
In a GWR/NR briefing of 28 Jul 2017 explaining the service change, much is made of how inconvenient
the station is for the village, and that there is a far better train service at Patchway and Severn Beach.
NR may not be able to 'justify' a new footbridge with electrification due to the 'limited' use of the
station (ticket revenue in 2015 for 21 return journeys was given as £282) but funds have been found to
erect new signs in the latest GWR corporate logo style. There is one on P1 (the Up platform still in use)
and another at the foot of the station approach. Ironically this is next to the ivy clad level crossing gate
that is all that remains of Pilning Low Level station which had a short life of 36 years (OP 9 Jul 1928;
CP 13 Nov 1964). Although Pilning has a unidirectional train service, Off Peak Day Returns continue to
be available (as at Denton and Reddish South with their unidirectional FO train!). Local protester/s
have erected a sign on the now inaccessible P2 'Platform 2. Opened 1 Dec 1996, Closed 29 Oct 2016.
BLN readers will know that this (with effect from) date is technically correct, but due to engineering
work the last train actually called Sat 10 Sep 2016. The footbridge was removed on 5 Nov 2016.
1067] Portishead: (BLN 1278.763) Despite the indicative costs of delivering the MetroWest Phase 1
rising from £58M to between £145M and £175M, it remains a priority for North Somerset Council.
The Council is responsible for progressing the preliminary technical work on behalf of four councils and
its Executive has won approval to increase spending by an extra £600k (60%) over the original budget.
Agreement has also been reached for the scheme to progress in stages. The first two involve
improvements to the Severn Beach and Bath Spa to Bristol services and an hourly (slower) passenger
service to Portishead for delivery in 2019. The third stage is to increase the frequency to half-hourly.
1068] Filton Abbey Wood: Formation clearance continues between Filton Abbey Wood (west side of
the line) and Lawrence Hill (east side) in preparation for quadrupling (and one consequence is that the
access ramp from the car park to the station closed after 6 May until late Dec 2017. Already a long
walk, it is now longer (extra 10 minutes advised by NR) with a new, temporary route created from
Nutfield Grove alongside a local care home. It is unclear whether four platforms will be created here
(as originally advised) as the large width of P2/3 island restricts space - can anyone clarify this, please?
A points failure at Bristol Parkway on Wed 26 Apr resulted in a few South Wales to Paddington services
reversing in Filton Abbey Wood P1, a fully signalled move, offering directionality over the crossover
used by services from Patchway towards Temple Meads. The Wentloog to Southampton freightliner
was stuck on the direct curve into Parkway during this, presumably behind the failed points.
1069] Heritage Tickets: (see BLN 1252.529 list) GWR offers day packages to various attractions of
railway interest, including the Bodmin & Wenford Railway, South Devon Railway, Blenheim Palace
(miniature railway) with the bus from Oxford, STEAM at Swindon and the West Somerset Railway
(including the bus from Taunton). These day return fares allow unlimited travel on the heritage railway
that day. It does not mention if special event days are excluded but availability on these dates might
be restricted. Details at https://goo.gl/JsXKjJ or in leaflets available from main GWR stations.
1281 GREATER LONDON
BELOW: Amersham P2 a Met service awaits departure south to London unusually via No35 points; they
normally reverse ECS in the sidings north of station returning from P3, (Simon Mortimer 27 May 2015).
ABOVE: North of Amersham, the road is set for the once weekly 07.02 (SO) Chiltern DMU to return to
Aylesbury from P2. It arrives ECS from Aylesbury at 06.52 and reverses in the non-electrified 'reversing
siding' south of the station on the Up side, then to P2 via No35 points (BELOW) as mentioned above.
1070] Harrow-on-the-Hill: From 18 Apr the scissors crossover between the Southbound Fast and Local
Lines to the south of the station was replaced by two separate crossovers further south, allowing
higher train speeds. The Fast to Local crossover is closest to the station.
1071] Metropolitan Line Microgricing: With thanks to our indefatigable Bill Lynch. Jan 2016 was the last
guide (BLN 1249.156). The current WTT 340 (21 May 2017) https://goo.gl/N3YDp3 includes the Piccadilly
Line west of Rayners Lane siding. South of Baker Street Jn is in our Hammersmith & City Line microgricing
guide. Below shows the complete booked passenger service over all running lines, crossovers and
platforms where that is not readily deducible. Arriving train running numbers are shown in [square
brackets]. The medium-term earlier MTWO evening closure between Baker Street and Finchley Road
(Met trains reversing south to north after detraining at Wembley Park) for overnight work on track and
drainage is in this WTT. However, that work is suspended when there is an event at Wembley Stadium.
Willesden Green, a headnote is defined for trains to call but none are booked to do so, nor at Neasden.
Neasden - Wembley Park, connections with Jubilee Line: No booked use (NRU - no regular use).
Chalfont & Latimer P3: NRU - only takes 4 cars and was very rusty on 8 May as all trains are now 8 cars.
Swiss Cottage, Rayners Lane, Ruislip Siding, Northwood, Rickmansworth and Chalfont & Latimer
trailing crossovers: ECS only.
•P1: Every day all day.
•P2 southbound arrivals: SSuX 05.45 , 06.23½ ; FSO 00.43 , 05.45 , 06.01½ ,
..06.12½ ; SuO 00.43 , 07.06½ , 07.33 , 07.43 .
•P4: SSuX plenty until 10.49½ arr = (forms) 10.58 dep , then 11.25½=12.09 , 12.18=13.00½
.. (§), 13.10=13.53  (§), 14.10=14.53  (§), plenty from 15.22=16.06½  until
..22.01=22.17 MO  or 22.01=22.13 TWO  or 20.35=20.43 ThFO ); ThFO 21.03=21.45½ 
..(§), 21.52=22.34½  (§), plenty from 22.48=22.58  until close; SO a few until 06.35=06.43 ,
..plenty from 22.48=22.58  until close; SuO several until 08.13=08.24 , several from 22.33=22.43
... [§ Conditional turnback; runs to and from Aldgate unless the path is needed for stock transfer.]
Wembley Park P1: All trains not stopping at Preston Road. SSuX plenty until 10.40½, plenty 16.24 until
20.32½, then an occasional terminator; FO 00.17½; SO 00.17½, terminator 23.05; SuO 00.17½,
terminators 00.32, 01.01, 22.49½; MO 00.10, terminators 00.18½ & 00.27½.
Wembley Park P6: All trains taking the Fast Line from Harrow-on-the-Hill (see below). Also starters
departing SSuX 05.20 MFO, 05.44½; SO 05.28, 05.44½; SuO 07.07.
Harrow-on-the-Hill, south end northbound:
•P1 arr from Fast (continue to Main): SSuX 16.29 , 16.41½ , 16.57½ , 17.13½ , 17.45½
.., 18.01½ , 18.17½ , 18.50 , 19.22½ , 19.38 , 19.54 , 20.26½ .
•P3 arrivals from Fast: SSuX plenty until 09.01½ , plenty 16.36  until 20.37½ ; FO 00.22½
; SO 00.22 ; SuO 00.22½ .
•P3 arrivals from Local (the usual route towards Moor Park): Every day all day but sparse in evening peak.
•P4 arrivals from Fast: SSuX 06.03½ MFO , 06.47 , 07.18½ , several 09.20½ (, ,
.., , ) until 10.45½ , 20.22 ; MO 00.16½ .
•P4 arrivals from Local (the usual route towards Uxbridge): Every day all day.
Harrow-on-the-Hill, south end southbound:
•P5 departures to Fast: SSuX ECS only (all P5 passenger departures are to Local).
•P6 departures to Fast: SSuX all 06.26 until 09.46½, 18.14½, 18.23.
•P6 departures to Local: SSuX all remaining P6 departures.
Harrow-on-the-Hill, north end northbound:
•P3 departures to Uxbridge line: SSuX several 09.20 TWThFO or 09.45½ MO until 11.16; MTWO 23.29,
..23.38½, 23.50½, 24.00; TWThO 00.08½, 00.22½; SO 23.59; MO 00.23.
•P3 departures to Local (no unique track): Every day all day.
•P4 departures to Uxbridge line: Every day all day except gap 23.19½ MTWO - 00.37½ TWThO.
•P4 departures to Local: SSuX 07.38½, 09.18½, 09.41, 11.10½, 16.41; MTWO 23.33, 23.48½; TWThO
..00.03, 00.18, 00.33, 00.43½, 05.51, 06.15½.
•Trailing crossover in Uxbridge line: ECS only.
•Trailing crossover in Main Line: ECS only.
• Local to Main crossover (all depart from P3): SSuX 17.31, 18.34, 19.05½, 20.11.
Harrow-on-the-Hill, north end southbound:
•P6 arrivals from Local: SSuX LU trains from the Main and Local lines not listed below.
•P5 arrivals from Local: SSuX between 06.23 and 09.44½ inclusive all trains stopping at Northwick Park
..(~4 tph:- , , , , , , , , , , , , , ),
..17.19½ , 18.01½ , 18.21½ , 19.45 , 19.56½ , 20.04 , 20.16 , 21.16
.., 21.49½ ThFO ; MTWO 22.02 , a few from 22.46 (, , , , , );
..TWThO 00.08½ , 00.23½ , 01.00 .
•P6 arrivals ex- Uxbridge line: SSuX 06.33 to 09.46 incl all continuing trains not stopping at Northwick
..Park (etc) (~2 tph:- , , , , , , ), 09.49½ , 11.04 , 18.18½
.., 20.50 ; MTWO 21.26 , all from 22.48½ ); TWThO 00.10 ; SuO 07.11 .
•P5 arr from Uxbridge line (no unique track): Daily all day except 22.39 MTWO -00.21 TWThO .
• Main to Local crossover: All Rickmansworth departures stopping at Moor Park but not Northwood (all
..run into P6): many 06.13 until 09.26 inclusive (~4tph), except 21.06½, which terminates in Harrow P2.
Uxbridge: All platforms are used by both Lines in no sustained pattern.
Watford North Curve: Departures from Watford SuMX 00.49†; MO 00.19§. From Rickmansworth SSuX
05.32½#, 06.08¤; SO 05.32½#; SuO 07.00¤. † No connection to south. § ½ min connection to Wembley
Park. # Through from Chesham but no connection from south. ¤ No connection from south.
Rickmansworth arrivals via facing X/O: SSuX 23.31ThFO  (ex-Baker Street); SuMX 00.58 [445TW
ThO¤, 470FSO] (ex-Watford). ¤ P2 deducible from next move to north siding, so not explicit in the WTT.
Amersham, Chiltern use P1 north and P3 south; LU use P2 for arrivals and P3 for departures. Except:-
•P1 LU arr: SSuX 05.31½ ; SuMX 00.57½ [474 TWThO, 425 FSO]; SuO 00.57½ ; MO 00.33 .
•P1 southbound departures: ECS only.
•P2 south departures: SSuX 05.47½‡; SuO 00.22½. (Reports (two!) differ on if these use southerly trailing
..X/O.No37 or northerly No35; further reports welcome!) ‡Connections ex-Rickmansworth/Aylesbury only.
•P2 northbound departures: SO 07.02 (connects from Baker Street).
Known recent use also to turn back in service during planned engineering blockades. References to
Northwood and Northwick Park also apply to the other adjacent stations the trains stop/do not stop at.
1072] 'D' Stock Farewell Tour: After the last LUL service train on Thu 27 Apr (some may 'resurface' as
Vivarail trains, of course!), LUL operated this railtour on Sun 7 May from High Street Kensington P4 to
Kensington (Olympia) and back, a return trip to Richmond (P6), Wimbledon and back and then to
Northfields via the Local Line from Acton Town for a lunch break. From Northfields the Local Line to
Acton Town was used and via the City to Plaistow bay (break), back to West Ham centre reversing
siding, then east to Upminster and finally west to Ealing Broadway. It was to run from Wimbledon to
Earl's Court P1 via the new crossover there, but our on-board reporter didn't note the route [tut tut]!
(It is hoped to have some pictures of this tour in e-BLN 1282.)
1073] Blackhorse Road: (BLN 1278.720) The lifts were still not in use on 4 May. TfL has announced that
London Overground will no longer provide staff at stations managed by LUL such as this one.
1074] Crossrail: (BLN 1280.962) From 2 May at Portobello Jn the crossover between Lines 5 & 6 was
brought back into use, but blocked to electric traction. From 8 May Paddington P12 buffer stop was
moved 11.5m nearer to the country end and the overhead equipment re-energised. From 14 May P12
was to be lengthened using the lateral extension to former P13 (on its track bed). Buffers to starting
signal is 322m, but there is a stop marker 28m from the buffers, giving an operational length of 294m.
1075] Old Oak Common West - Northolt Jn: (BLN 1279.858) Travelcard holders will still be able to use
the 11.36 SSuX ex-Paddington by buying Zone 6 to High Wycombe extension tickets before travelling.
1076] Thameslink/Blackfriars: (BLN 1279.856) From 15 May the following changes were to be made:
A new facing point was to be installed in the Down Snow Hill Line at (0m 42ch) between the station
and Blackfriars Jn and to the south of this, a new facing crossover between the Up and Down Snow Hill
Lines; both OOU. The Train Road (Goods) and Carriage Reception Lines were to be taken OOU.
1077] East London: A member visited the Shoreditch area on 24 Feb. The North London Railway (NLR)
station (6) on our plan below (CP 4 Oct 1940) on the line into Broad Street (2) was at the road junction
of Old Street, Kingsland Road and Shoreditch High St. The street-level building was rebuilt by the LMS
in the 1930s and, after closure, the booking hall and corridors to the platforms were for many years let
out as an industrial unit. Subsequently, after a long period being vacant, it has now become an art
deco pub 'The Old Shoreditch Station'. Behind it, at rail level, are the anonymous-looking yellow brick
remains of the original station. Further south at New Inn Yard (a small side street crossed by the
railway) the NLR finishes and the new line (OP 27 Apr 2010) to Shoreditch High Street (10) diverges.
South of here is the isolated section of viaduct with 1983 Tube Stock cars in use as offices, with
Worship Street just to the south. At New Inn Yard Jn the LNWR goods-only branch to Worship Street
Goods (4) (south of Worship Street itself) and Broad Street Goods (1) diverged, continuing parallel to
the NLR viaduct leading to Broad Street passenger station (2). Worship Street coal yard (5) was at
ground level (north of Worship Street itself) the tracks at right angles to the NLR running west, served
by a wagon hoist from the viaduct. Before being built on after closure it was used as a taxi pull up and
car park; the modern Liverpool Street Integrated Electronic Control Centre is nearby. The LNWR
branch terminated approximately opposite Broad Street No1 signal box at the country end of the
station. From the end of the goods branch, a line at the same elevation, and accessed by wagon
turntables, went west to the LNWR Broad Street Goods Depot at first floor level. The goods depot,
badly damaged by fire in the 1950s, was on two levels, with a lift to lower wagons to the ground floor.
There were storage facilities under the passenger station. All went with the Broadgate development.
The following day our member visited the Stratford branch of the DLR. Opposite Bow Church DLR (21),
is a cobbled street named Kitcat Terrace, formerly Avenue Road, which adjoined the west side of Bow
NLR station (20). On the east side of this road is a rather plain wall of white Suffolk bricks, with two
doorways. The wall is a remnant of the 1892 interchange footway linking the North London and Great
Eastern stations. Both doorways lead into this and are probably original. At the north end of the
footway was the exchange booking office but there was no public access to this from the street, so the
doorways were presumably for staff purposes. Two very substantial stock brick structures, one on
either side of the DLR, which once supported the 1869-70 street level building, can be seen by looking
down from Kitcat Terrace. The one visible on the opposite side of the track has two doorways which
would have been under the main building and probably led to lamp or store rooms of some sort.
Very little of this survives at street level; the most obvious remains are a column from the west end
porch. Although a well-known name from railway history, there was never a passenger station at
Devons Road (22 on our plan) until the DLR opened in 1987. A widening of the formation about 100yd
north of Langdon Park (34) indicates the site of South Bromley NLR (23), which had an island platform.
All Saints is on the site of Poplar NLR (35) also known as Poplar East India Road and was the end of
NLR passenger operations from 1 Jul 1890. Prior to this trains terminated at Blackwall (49) at the end
of the London & Blackwall Railway and, within a month of the cut back, the connection at Poplar Jn
was removed and the curve used as carriage sidings (39). At the south end of Poplar station was a
junction (by Poplar Central signal box), the spur going east over the L&BR just west of Poplar Jn and
east of Millwall Junction station platforms (36) to serve the coal wharf on the east side of the NLR
Poplar No1 dock. The main line continued south under Poplar Loop Line Jn to the NLR Poplar Dock line.
It served the west side of NLR Poplar No1 dock and both sides of NLR Poplar No2 dock, now drained
and beneath a development of flats. It continued by Blackwall Bridge signal box before immediately
turning west towards Poplar Loop Line Jn (located adjacent to the south side of Poplar Work House).
At Poplar Loop Line Junction there were four routes (see below after map - which can be rotated):
To Dalston Jn To Cheshunt To Bow Shoreditch, Bow and Poplar areas
7 15 34 Schematic, not to scale
6 SHOREDITCH To Stratford
10 13 To Fenchurch St (GER)/ 35 POPLAR N
Tower Hill (DLR) 37
5 8 11 47 48 49
4 9 26 33 36 44 45
25 30 39 RAILWAYS
123 North London
12 14 27
29 38 42 46 Great Eastern
London & North Western
To Hackney (NLR)/ To Stratford 28 Docklands Light
Stratford(DLR) 31 London Overground(TfL)
To North Greenwich
To Liverpool St To Greenwich
19 20 1 Broad St LNWR Goods 18 Bow Road MR/LUL 35 Poplar NLR/All Saints DLR
21 19 Bow Road GER (Poplar East India Road)
16 2 Broad St NLR 20 Bow NLR
3 Liverpool St GER 36 Millwall Jn GER
18 To Barking 4 Worship St LNWR Goods 21 Bow Church DLR
5 Worship St LNWR Coal 22 Devons Road DLR 37 Poplar LNWR Coal
6 Shoreditch NLR 23 South Bromley NLR 38 Poplar GW Goods
7 Hoxton London TfL
To Whitechapel 24 8 Bishopsgate Goods GER 39 Carriage sidings NLR
22 24 Bromley MR/Bromley-by-Bow LUL 40 Poplar Dock LNWR Goods
25 West India Docks GER
9 Bishopsgate Low Level GER 26 Millwall MR Coal 41 Poplar Dock GNR Goods
10 Shoreditch High St TfL 27 West India Quay DLR 42 Poplar LNWR Goods
11 Shoreditch ELR 28 Heron Quays DLR
17 BOW 29 Canary Wharf DLR 43 Poplar Dock NLR Coal
To Fenchurch St 12 Spitalfields Coal GER 30 West India Bank signal box 44 Blackwall DLR
23 13 Bethnal Green GER 31 South Quay DLR 45 Poplar GER
14 Whitechapel ELR
46 Poplar Dock MR Goods
15 Cambridge Heath GER 32 Poplar DLR 47 Blackwall GNR Goods
16 Coborn Road GER 33 Millwall Jn signal box
CSD To Poplar 17 Burdett Road GER 34 Langdon Park DLR 48 East India Docks GER Goods
49 Blackwall GER
❶Going east: Left to NLR Poplar Dock (41), passing the access to the Work House railway and
Blackwall Bridge signal box en route to joining the Millwall Extension Railway at West India Dock Jn, a
little south of Millwall Junction station (36). ❷Going east: Straight on to Poplar Central (a signal box
south of the NLR station close to Poplar High Street overbridge). Broadly speaking the DLR onwards
from Poplar (32) to All Saints (35) stops follows this route. ❸Going east: Right off the most southerly
siding on to the connecting spur to provide access to the west end of Millwall Jn (36). ❹West: Past
the back of West India Bank Signal Box (30) into the Midland Railway (Millwall) Poplar coal depot (26).
To Dalston Jn To Cheshunt To Bow Shoreditch, Bow and Poplar areas
7 15 34 Schematic, not to scale
6 SHOREDITCH To Stratford
10 13 To Fenchurch St (GER)/ 35 POPLAR N
Tower Hill (DLR) 37
5 8 11 47 48 49
4 9 26 33 36 44 45
25 30 39 RAILWAYS
123 North London
12 14 27
29 38 42 46 Great Eastern
London & North Western
41 43 Midland
To Hackney (NLR)/ To Stratford 28
Stratford(DLR) 31 Docklands Light
To North Greenwich London Overground(TfL)
To Liverpool St To Greenwich
19 20 1 Broad St LNWR Goods 18 Bow Road MR/LUL 35 Poplar NLR/All Saints DLR
19 Bow Road GER (Poplar East India Road)
16 2 Broad St NLR
36 Millwall Jn GER
21 To Barking 3 Liverpool St GER 20 Bow NLR
4 Worship St LNWR Goods 21 Bow Church DLR 37 Poplar LNWR Coal
18 5 Worship St LNWR Coal 22 Devons Road DLR 38 Poplar GW Goods
To Whitechapel 24 6 Shoreditch NLR 23 South Bromley NLR 39 Carriage sidings NLR
22 7 Hoxton London TfL 24 Bromley MR/Bromley-by-Bow LUL 40 Poplar Dock LNWR Goods
8 Bishopsgate Goods GER 25 West India Docks GER
41 Poplar Dock GNR Goods
9 Bishopsgate Low Level GER 26 Millwall MR Coal
10 Shoreditch High St TfL 27 West India Quay DLR 42 Poplar LNWR Goods
11 Shoreditch ELR 28 Heron Quays DLR
17 BOW 29 Canary Wharf DLR 43 Poplar Dock NLR Coal
To Fenchurch St 12 Spitalfields Coal GER 30 West India Bank signal box 44 Blackwall DLR
23 13 Bethnal Green GER 31 South Quay DLR 45 Poplar GER
14 Whitechapel ELR
46 Poplar Dock MR Goods
15 Cambridge Heath GER 32 Poplar DLR 47 Blackwall GNR Goods
16 Coborn Road GER 33 Millwall Jn signal box
CSD To Poplar 17 Burdett Road GER 34 Langdon Park DLR 48 East India Docks GER Goods
49 Blackwall GER
ABOVE: The plans are thanks to Dave Cromarty (and kindly reviewed by Geoff Brockett), identical to
the full page above. It can be rotated; but is repeated here for those who have difficulty with this.
The NLR owned its own docks, with separate facilities leased to the GNR (41), GWR (38) and L&NWR
(40 & 42) located off the north side of Blackwall Basin. The basin was at the east end of the original
West India Dock facilities opened in 1802 and ultimately became vested in the Port of London
Authority. NLR Poplar No1 dock is now a marina. It was shortened after closure for road development
etc; the two rail-mounted cranes there are not the originals but imported as decoration. At the south
end of No1 dock was a swing bridge, with the GNR depots (41 & 43) each end of the bridge, causing
much interruption to efficient working, the original 1857 depot being on the east side. Two listed GNR
accumulator towers survive, one by Prestons Rd at the south-east corner of No1 dock and the other in
the Billingsgate fish market car park, both clearly visible from public roads. Also, the Midland Railway
hydraulic works for its own dock just off Prestons Road by Blackwall DLR (44) is now a retail outlet.
On 26 Aug 1961 our member travelled on a steam-hauled rail tour (The Railway Enthusiasts Club's
'East London Rail Tour') https://goo.gl/2XNR7Z from Euston to Liverpool Street via Enfield Chase Low
Level, Millwall Jn and Thames Haven, which covered the eastern end of the NLR (Dalston Kingsland to
Millwall Jn), with a double reversal shunt on to the GER to reach the latter. The track didn't really
interest him at the time, but it was the only way to see the ex-Midland Railway battery locomotive
BEL1, which shunted at the MR Poplar coal depot! By Jun 1966 this could be seen under the heap of
scrap in Kings Scrapyard, Naval Yard, Blackwall, so even at the end it didn't travel far! (With thanks to
Andrew Procter and Jim Connor of the NLR Historical Society for additional information.)
1281 WEST MIDLANDS
1078] Castle Bromwich: Your Regional Editor, passing on his
daily commute, was reminded by the sight of the remains of the
Up platform of a handbill which he has (RIGHT), advertising the
British Industries Fair held on Sat 11 May 1957 at the adjacent
Castle Bromwich Aerodrome. [The station (CP Mar 1968) and
Aerodrome were not actually in Castle Bromwich, being the
other side of the River Tame!] The leaflet notes that Cheap Day
Return tickets First and Second Class would be issued to
Birmingham Snow Hill, New Street, Moor Street and Castle
Bromwich from all stations within a rail distance of 60 miles.
A frequent 'modern' DMU train service was available between
Birmingham New Street and Castle Bromwich (the timetable was
shown on the reverse of the leaflet). This fair was held for two
weeks each year from 1920 to 1957 except during WWII; one
year there were over 1,000 stalls. The proximity of the station
and being the 'centre of the country' contributed to this location
being chosen. In 1960 the site was sold to Birmingham City
Council who built Castle Vale housing estate there, the largest in
the UK then. However, plans were afoot for a new exhibition
centre and in 1976 the National Exhibition Centre opened with
Birmingham International station by Birmingham Airport.
1079] Curzon Street: HS2 has submitted plans to convert the
largely disused Grade 1 station entrance building, one of the
oldest surviving stations in the UK (OP 1838; CP 1866), into a visitor space when the high-speed
terminus opens. The company plans to create an exhibition space, café and offices for businesses
working with HS2 [it must be bigger than it looks!]. Plans include alterations to the station exterior to
provide new paving, landscaping, car parking and an 'external drinking area'. The building has been
empty since 2006, although it has been used occasionally for temporary art exhibitions.
1080] Worcester Shrub Hill: The 09.20 SuO ex-Bristol TM is booked to arrive P1A at 10.51 then shunt
ECS out of the way to bay P3 from where it returns at 11.38. There is also a 21.46 SSuX to Bristol TM.
1081] Stafford: On Tue 9 May the ECS for a West Coast Railtours day trip had been booked to stable
on the Stafford Up & Down Goods Line from 16.17 until 04.08 next morning. It actually stabled in the
Down Sidings (relaid for the Stafford upgrade) an interesting precedent for a possible future railtour!
1082] Tarmac cease using tarmac: There has been a significant upturn in the number of freight trains
between the Leeds area and Rylstone Quarry on the 9¼ mile branch from Skipton covered by our two
tours of 11 Dec 2016. Tarmac has recently lost their planning permission to use road vehicles for
deliveries from the quarry in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. All production now comes out by rail.
1083] Something Fishy is Going on… How many station waiting rooms have a fish tank? Fishbourne,
Fishguard, Fishersgate or Finsbury Park perhaps? No, but a member found one at Mexborough,
apparently fed by the booking office staff and much rarer than pianos. If there was a piano too the
obvious request would be https://goo.gl/xJyS1v (Carnival of the Animals 'Aquarium' by Saint-Saens.)
BELOW: The trains were running swimmingly at Mexborough station on 25 Apr 2017 (Don Kennedy).
1084] Double crossed: On Thu 4 May a RPSI Whitehead to Dublin steam special used the facing Up to
Down crossover to arrive at Lisburn P2 and then the trailing crossover at the Dublin end to regain the
Up line. Meanwhile the 10.15 Portadown to Bangor used the rare south entrance to P3 to pass the
steam train. This was all as booked, but unbooked was the steam train using the facing Malahide north
crossover to P2 then the trailing one south of the station as a DART terminating EMU was in Up P1.
This was a good day for this sort of thing as the 15.00 Greystones to Malahide EMU crossed from the
Up to Down line between Grand Canal Dock and Pearse (possibly this crossover's first passenger use?)
then called at Down P2 at Pearse before using the crossover between there and Tara Street to return
to the Up line. This appears to be due to the empty set for 15.55 Pearse to Maynooth train being sent
into Pearse Up P1 too early; it should have moved after the 15.00 had left! Finally on the 4 May the
16.05 Malahide to Greystones ran via Pearse Down Loop due to a DMU reversing ECS on the Down
line. Your Ireland Editor noticed the signal indication on the Down platform in time to travel on it.
Due to late running of the 5 May the RPSI Diesel tour to Killarney did not run via Portarlington Down
Loop as had been scheduled. On Sat 6 May the Ballybrophy to Portlaoise depot single line working
was experienced on the 11.45 Cork to Dublin Heuston. It used the Up to Down facing crossover at the
south end of Ballybrophy station and then called at the bidirectionally signalled loop P4. The train then
ran wrong line to Portlaoise depot loop. The loop was used as it has a signalled route to cross back to
the Up line. Later that day, due to disruption caused by football hooligans (which did have a positive
side), the delayed 17.33 Londonderry to Belfast Great Victoria Street went into Templepatrick loop
(no regular booked use) to allow the 19.10 from Great Victoria Street to pass in the opposite direction.
1085] Irish Rail visit 2016 Part 2: (BLN 1280.999) The next day, 29 Mar starting at 09.36 our member
visited Rathmore, Millstreet and Banteer for photographs, before returning to Killarney. These
stations still have a member of staff selling tickets and looking after them. Millstreet has a bilingual
plaque commemorating its opening in 1853. Rathmore has main station buildings, signalbox, a long
passing loop and a lattice footbridge. Banteer has a similar footbridge and a loop which sees little use.
The boarded up signalbox at the west end has its name only as 'Bántír'; the English version seemed to
have fallen off. Behind the station is a filled in third platform, probably for the Newmarket branch
[last passenger train 25 Jan 1947; last freight 02 Feb 1963] but the man at the station was not sure.
At Killarney our member took the 15.10 bus to Kenmare, the last of the day. The three buses each
weekday are a slight improvement from the summer 1955 timetable of two return trips from the
Kenmare end. It stopped at Glenflesk, near the road end for Headford Junction, and after joining the
R569 to Kenmare paralleled the trackbed as far as Kilgarvan. Loo Bridge station, https://goo.gl/CrhnZn
(18 pictures) was passed. Until it was sold recently it was a delightful large holiday let for up to 8 which
had lovely views. The trackbed here is now a farm track and a semaphore signal stands beside it.
Kenmare station was a modest affair OP 1893. No trace of it remains and the industrial estate that was
built on the site has closed. In Railway Road there is an information panel with a picture of the station
when it first opened. The last trains ran on 31 Dec 1959. Overnight was spent at Park Hotel built by the
Great Southern & Western Railway in 1897, oddly at the opposite end of the town to the station.
On the 30 Mar (2016) return to Killarney was on the 08.30 bus for a train to Farranfore where all the
sidings have been lifted. (Our member missed them on his footplate passes between 1979 and 1985;
too late now). Surviving are a set of stone station buildings, the signalbox and goods shed, on the Up
side, as well as a lattice footbridge to the rarely used second platform. A full length fence runs along
this behind which is the trackless third platform which once served the Valentia Harbour branch, the
most westerly in Europe. The title now belongs to Cascais on Portugal's Estação Ferroviária de Estoril.
It was then on to Templemore, not previously visited, on the Cork to Dublin main line. This is another
handsome stone building and the goods shed also survives. The traditional lattice footbridge is now
sealed off, replaced by a disability compliant one with lights. This station is not frequently served there
was a three hour wait for the next train. The main source of passenger traffic is the Garda Síochána
(Police) training college. The next southbound train to Limerick was taken to Thurles as it avoided
Limerick Junction. This reminded him of changing here on 7 Jul 1967 for a Shamrock Bus Co rail
replacement bus to Clonmel; one of the few bus services at that time not operated by CIÉ. Four years
before that it would have been a very 'homely' CIÉ Railbus. A 15 minute wait at Thurles got him to
Limerick Junction for a wait of an hour or so for the 18.40 to Waterford formed by a 3 car 22000.
A two minute early arrival at Cahir sufficed for taking photographs of the station, goods shed and train.
The next train to Waterford would have been 10.20 the next day; there are two return trips daily SSuX.
The next morning our member travelled to Thomastown and back. The loop here closed in April 2004*
although the signalbox and waiting shelter remain in place on the trackless Down platform. The station
is now unstaffed and the main Up side grey stone building closed. Some track remains in the
disconnected goods yard. [*The loop is shown on 'Quail' Vol 6 p5E because that is dated Feb 2004.]
Back in Waterford there was time to visit the site of Manor station, terminus of the always isolated
Waterford & Tranmore Railway to Tramore. It was in Manor Street and off this is Station Square.
A private linear car park on the south side is probably the former trackbed. There is a half-hourly bus
service to Tramore which our reporter used in 1979 during an overnight RPSI railtour stop to visit the
line's other terminus, by then a tourist office. Back in 2016 the only freight train of the whole trip was
seen; Loco 077 was at Waterford on a timber train.
The 11.30 bus from Waterford to Wexford was taken via New Ross then to Rathdrum by train for the
final 'new' station of this holiday. Here was a full set of Dublin & South Eastern Railway (D&SER)
buildings including the distinctive barrel roofed signalbox with an ornate iron drinking fountain set into
its base. There is a loco water tank, goods shed, ticket office and station house (now a private
dwelling). The whole site is dominated by the now derelict station hotel which the D&SER opened in
the 1890s to attract tourists to the Vale of Avoca. This was not a success and it closed in 1911.
Although a third of the roof has fallen in, they obviously don't have vandals in Rathdrum as most of the
windows are intact! (The CIÉ Property Board is trying to sell this 'commercial opportunity'.)
It was then time to return to Wales via Rosslare. Arrival at Fishguard was at 00.30 on Saturday April 1
(no fooling). Onward travel was on the 01.50 to Swansea and then the 03.57 departure, the first HST to
London of the day diverted via the Vale of Glamorgan line and arriving Newport 05.30.
1086] Tara Street: (BLN 1279.902) It is probable (unconfirmed) that on Saturdays too the 18.00 (SuX)
Drogheda to Dublin Pearse uses the facing crossover after the station to terminate Dublin Pearse P1.
1281 ISLE OF MAN
1087] Ramsey: (BLN 1280.937) Further to the previous advice concerning the track changes here,
members may be interested in the process for reversing a tram and trailer in the absence of a loop.
On arrival at the end of the line (just the Douglas side of Parsonage Road LC), after reversing the trolley
pole, the tram (pushing the trailer) then sets back over the trailing crossover to the seaside (east)
track. The trailer is then uncoupled and after the tram has returned to the landside track the trailer
rolls by gravity into the seaside track of the station. The tram then crosses over again from the
landside to the seaside track and drops back onto the trailer; 15 minutes is allowed for this operation.
1088] Douglas Bay Horse Tramway: (MR p32) During the week ending 7 May some of the horses were
showing signs of a flu like infection. There was no planned service on the 8 or 9 May and during this
time the stables were visited by one of the vet practices on the island on a regular basis. During the
early morning of 10 May a decision was reached to cancel all services for a period of time as all the
horses had an unidentified infection. It was expected that all services would remain cancelled for
around 10 days but this obviously depended on the health of the horses improving.
1089] Longannet: On Sun 14 May there was a rare passenger working, promoted by 'Steam Dreams'
and operated by West Coast Railways with Flying Scotsman. It ran from Edinburgh (17.32/21.33) via
the Forth Bridge, Dalmeny Down Passenger Loop, Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline, Longannet, Alloa Loop and
Stirling. In the morning there had been a run over the Forth Bridge then anti-clockwise round the Fife
Circle followed by the Edinburgh Suburban Line. There is only one booked train a week via Longannet
the 13.51 (ThO) Dyce Raiths Farm Freight Depot to Hartlepool South Works, which very rarely runs.
1090] IBM: This station on the single track Wemyss Bay branch between Inverkip and Branchton
(lower left on map) must be a future contender for the 'least used' in the UK. It OP (unadvertised) 8
May 1978 as IBM Halt with initially only peak services calling and became 'IBM' from 16 May 1983.
The station originally served the adjacent, then thriving, IBM factory and offices once employing 4,000.
It appeared in the public timetable from 12 May 1986, but was/is still only available for use by IBM
staff. All trains now call 7 days a week except the
16.33 SX/16.35 SO Glasgow Central to Wemyss Bay.
IBM (International Business Machines Corporation)
opened in Greenock in 1951 making typewriters and
other office equipment. Computer manufacturing
started in 1981, but there has been a steady decline
with work shifting to Hungary and China. The last IBM
facility, employing only a small number of staff,
closed in Oct 2016 and the site has been entirely
deserted since then. [Station passenger figures
peaked at 153,358 in 2009/10; but had fallen to
47,376 in 2014/15 and 22,016 in 2015/16.]
At the entrance off the main road is still a sign saying
'Permit holders only beyond this point' (BELOW: All
pictures by our local member, Greg Beecroft).
BELOW: Our intrepid reporter finally makes it on to the platform at IBM…
The signs demonstrate that IBM station could not be used by the general public. However, National
Rail website ('stations made easy') does not mention this and treats it like any other. Now there are no
permit-holders, but nothing and nobody to prevent access. There is no public right of way to the
station, but no incentive for anyone to use it, because Branchton (a perfect place for BLS members to
live!) is just as convenient for the nearest housing estates. Intending passengers walk up through the
deserted car parks, where large boulders and earth mounds prevent vehicular access.
Most of the site is fenced off, with notices saying that it is an 'unmaintained' area. One of the buildings
was reported to be in unsafe condition following a fire in Mar 2016 and some of them almost certainly
contain asbestos. The entire site is up for sale, but there are no reports of any takers. A path leads
from the car parks to the station, which is quite a hike from the main road. The deserted single
platform is lit at night and public address announcements are made to nobody at all. Given the lack of
public access, it is hard to see how anyone could have a legitimate objection to the station closing, or
at least to trains not stopping until some new use is found for the site likely to generate worthwhile
traffic. Meantime, energy could be saved, and the journey time to Inverkip and Wemyss Bay reduced,
if there was just a token service calling during daylight hours.
1091] Oban: A new shelter has been erected on P2 [We won't start another discussion on which
platform is which and if there are two or four here - Ed!], but it is completely open-fronted, so gives no
protection from wind and rain blowing in from the west (and there is plenty of both). It does not
extend far enough across the platform to allow passengers to board a train under cover. However,
none of this really matters, because passengers are not allowed on to the platform until the train has
been swept out and seat reservations placed. Therefore, they don't wait on the platform. Until the
train is ready everyone is herded into the small station building, which is not big enough to meet
demand during the summer. Oban passenger numbers have increased by 40% from 126,314 in
2013/14 to 176,104 in 2015/16 with the much improved timetable from May 2014 and refinements.
BELOW: The new Oban shelter (allegedly P2), and yes, it really does lean at that angle (Press Release).
1092] Edinburgh Waverley: At Scotland's busiest station (23M passengers in 2015/16) the former
Motorail (remember them?) Sidings (actually P5 & P6) are to be removed from operational use from
21 May to 30 Jul, 2017. These two east end bays between P4 and P7 are both being extended (west) to
275m for commissioning in Jul next year, to each accommodate a 10-Car IEP. Meanwhile west end bay
P12 (also temporarily OOU) is being extended (east) by Dec this year to 204m for 8-car EMUs on the
Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High service. However, it will not meet up with P5 or 6! A new
crossover between P10 and 11 is due to be commissioned in Dec 2018 to increase layout flexibility.
1093] Glasgow Queen Street: Work, originally expected to begin in late 2016, has been rescheduled to
the second quarter of 2017. The required Transport & Works Order (Scotland) was granted at the end
of March this year. The redevelopment will replace the current 1960s main entrance at George Square,
Millennium Hotel's 1970s extension above the station, Scotland's third busiest. Consort House will be
demolished and the canopy over the footway on Dundas Street will be removed. The platforms will be
lengthened for 8-car trains with electrification of all tracks. The waiting areas, entrances, and catering
and retail spaces will also be extended, and new lighting and public address systems will be installed.
A local source recently said that due to the effect of the Buchanan Galleries scheme there is unlikely to
be any major retail outlet at the completed Queen Street for several years.
1094] The Motherwell of all diversions: On Sun 2 Apr there was work between Cambuslang and Law
Jn. Until 14.00 long-distance services not entirely cancelled were replaced by buses between Glasgow
and Carlisle. Diversions then applied and a member had a pleasant and interesting Glasgow to Carlisle
trip. The 15.16 TPE service retimed to 14.57 ran via Carmyle, Whifflet, Holytown & Law Jn. There are
diversions between Glasgow and Motherwell via Carmyle and between Uddingston and Law Jn via
Holytown. However, combining both using Mossend North Jn to Mossend East Jn curve is rare.
New signals, to be commissioned later as part of the Motherwell North Signalling Renewals project,
had been erected in the Whifflet area. The Up Main line was being relaid just north of Law Jn. There
was slow running on the approach to Carlisle, arriving 11 minutes late. This gave just enough time to
walk over the footbridge for the 13.28 from Euston to Glasgow. However, that was quite leisurely
compared to a south to north connection achieved at Carlisle on a 1973 Freedom of Scotland Rover.
The 23.45 from Glasgow Central, due at 02.04 arrived at 02.26, but our member still caught the 02.28
to Stranraer! Back in 2017 a gauging problem at a structure in the Kirkwood area prevents Pendolinos
from running via Carmyle, resulting in a circuitous return via Holytown, Hamilton and Mount Florida.
1095] The Motherwell of all resignalling: Line control between Kirkhill and Cambuslang to Larkhall
and Bellshill was transferred from Motherwell Signalling Centre to the West of Scotland Signalling
Centre (at Cowlairs) from 18 Apr, part of a £5M scheme. 1,500 engineers worked nearly 30,000 staff-
hours over the four day Easter weekend. New track and points were also installed at Carstairs and
Glasgow Polmadie with new signalling commissioned at Motherwell (see previous item). It was
fortunate that there are now so many different passenger lines between Glasgow and Edinburgh,
although some local replacement bus journeys and connections were distinctly circuitous and long.
1096] Overcrowded trains: Some Glasgow Central trains are particularly overcrowded, according to
Transport Scotland. The busiest in the last six months was the 17.21 Edinburgh to Glasgow Central via
Shotts, which on one day ran at a maximum of 146% of planned capacity between Haymarket and
Livingston South. [Of note this line was very slow, infrequent and run down in BR days and close to
closure at one stage.] The train has room for 185 sitting and standing passengers and was carrying 270.
The figures showed that the 10 busiest trains were all well over capacity. For example the 17.01
Glasgow Central to East Kilbride loaded to 135% of capacity and the 08.07 Neilston to Central was at
133%. However, there is always going to be a most overcrowded train no matter what!
1097] Glenfinnan: Wed 12 April was a lovely spring day and some empty stock from the 'Jacobite'
steam train sprang into action at Fort William (06.00/16.02) reaching Glenfinnan 06.46 and leaving
15.25. A new advert for Highland Spring water was being filmed including many shots on the viaduct.
1098] Dunblane to Bridge of Dun by footbridge: The former Caledonian Railway 1895 Dunblane
footbridge (the second one at the station) was re-erected at Bridge of Dun on 27 Mar 2017 after four
years of work that required a listed building application (initially refused). It was in use at Dunblane,
relatively unaltered, until the Heritage Caledonian Railway was approached by NR in 2012. It has now
been replaced by an 'access for all' wider bridge with clearance for electrification. The old bridge was
dismantled and refurbished by Millar Callaghan Engineering Ltd in Irvine, with groundwork by Story
Contracting. At Bridge of Dun a suitable site close to the location of the original footbridge was used.
1099] Findhorn: An interesting 'find' by a member here was some new track for us - very suitable for
those interested in rail and water! Obviously there is nothing unusual about rails laid into the sea to
launch boats, but it is rare to see them in chairs on wooden sleepers. No doubt this an old track panel
reused from some 'land-based' line, perhaps not the Findhorn branch (OP 1860; CP 1869; CA 1880) - as
they look far too well preserved! The village will be 'found' five miles (sadly by road) NE of Forres.
BELOW LEFT: Track on the beach at Findhorn in early April 2017 (Nick Jones).
BELOW RIGHT: A similar situation at Eigg Harbour on 14 Aug 1977 (Angus McDougall).
1281 MINOR RAILWAYS
MR82] South Tynedale Railway, Cumbria (MR p14) (BLN 1278.696): Unfortunately, work has stopped
on the Slaggyford station extension with a very short section to relay, but over a road. Apparently the
local authority is in dispute and there seems to be no timescale when the work will commence. A new
signalbox has been built and the station refurbished - a new car park is being built nearby. On 6 May,
Hunslet 'Cumbria' (6646/1967) in green livery was stabled at the head of steel on a track laying train.
BELOW: 'So near and yet so far…' South Tynedale Railway, Slaggyford station (Rod Bryant 6 May 2017).
MR83] Acton Miniature Railway, Greater London (MR p17) (BLN 1135.MR69): Located in the grounds
of the Acton London Transport Museum Depot, this 7¼" gauge railway runs twice a year in conjunction
with the Open Days at the Museum Depot. A visit was made on Saturday 22 April 2017. On arrival at
around 10.50 there were two queues for admission to the Museum - those with pre-booked tickets
and a shorter queue for those paying on the day. Opening for Museum and railway was at 11.00.
To ride on the miniature railway it is not necessary to buy an admission ticket. However, the Museum
Depot is well worthwhile visiting - if somewhat crowded. Adult admission is £12. The railway has now
fully completed its extension to Ealing End and trains were running into the station there - this day
marking its opening. The line starts at 'Depot Approach' station - its name accurately describing its
location. This has two roads - one for departures and one for arrivals. A crossover, only used for trains
shunting out of the arrival road onto the departure road, is located just outside the station. The track
then becomes single and curves to the left, around the side of the Museum building, passing Harrison's
Crossing and its signal box. Running straight now down the side of the Museum, there is a passing
loop, with left hand running, at 'Wesley's Halt'. The railway now terminates at the two road 'Ealing
End' station. Passenger trains were using the straight (right hand on arrival) line.
ABOVE: Acton Miniature Railway; Met Railway No27 at the new Ealing End station (Peter Scott 22 Apr 2017).
There is no run-round loop - the line ending in two stubs. Passengers cannot alight or board here, but
they are encouraged to turn round! Three trains were in operation: No12 'Sara Siddons' BE (Met Rly)
with two sit-astride coaches, a 2-car LT tube set BE and No27 4-4-0 Met Rly with two sit-astride
coaches. Another Met Rly BE loco No18 'Michael Faraday' was also in use delivering water for the
steam locomotive. Fares were £1 for all for which a blue Edmondson card ticket was issued from the
ticket office and clipped on the train. Access to the Museum and railway is short walk across the road
from Acton Town station.
MR84] Fenn Bell Miniature Railway, Kent (MR p19) (BLN 1274.MR28): On Saturday 6 May a visit was
made to this 7¼" gauge railway to travel over the now completed balloon loop around the zoo. Trains
normally run on Saturdays from Easter onwards, but were also to run on the Sunday this weekend.
Times are 13.00 to 16.00 and on arrival at a minute or so after 13.00, a train was waiting in station for
passengers. In use was Mardyke built 'Deltic' D9009 (un-named) in green livery, with three sit-in blue
bogie coaches. The ride is now out from Fenn Street station (the main station close to the Fenn Bell
Inn), curving left to join the balloon loop, through Bell Wood station (only used for special events) at
the far end of the site, over the curve through the tunnel avoiding Fenn Street station, back through
Bell Wood station and the tunnel again, and then reverse back into Fenn Street station. Therefore, the
curve on the third side of the triangle is no longer used. A new three road shed has been erected by
this curve, but is not yet in use. Fares for all are £2 for which a green Edmondson ticket is issued and
clipped before departure. It is hoped by next year, when Fenn Street station has been expanded to
two platforms with a centre loco road and turntable, a two train service can be provided at busy times
- using both platforms. The zoo does not appear to have opened to the public yet, although most areas
are complete. A very pleasant railway and well worth a visit. Fenn Bell Inn can be reached by bus from
Rochester and, although not sampled on this visit, is reported to serve good food!
ABOVE: Exbury Gardens Railway - 'Rosemary' arrives at Exbury North station (Peter Scott 29 Apr 2017).
MR85] Exbury Gardens Railway, Hampshire (MR p18) (BLN 1278.MR56): The extension actually
opened for public passenger trains on 20 March - the day the Gardens opened for the 2017 season.
It adds 320m, but replaces 200m; therefore the increase in length is a mere 120m. Exbury are claiming
an increase from 1¼ miles to 1½ miles! The line now deviates around North Lake (now called Dragonfly
Pond) - slightly further to the northwest than the previous alignment, opening up an area of the
gardens that the public have never seen before. The new station - Dragonfly Halt - does not seem to
have opened yet (as at 29 April). The £50,000 extension was officially opened on 11 April by historian
and broadcaster Dan Snow, who lives nearby. The Railway has proved extremely popular and in 2015
the railway manager, Ian Wilson, had the idea of lengthening the track.
An Exbury spokesman said: Trevor Stirland, who runs Exmoor Steam Railway, acted as a consultant for
the project and also built the three steam locomotives. Plans for the extension were approved by
the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) in September last year. A report to NPA members said:
The proposal is to extend the miniature railway so that it circles an existing pond and then rejoins the
main track. New Forest District Council and the NPA's tourism officer support the proposal, saying it
would provide a greater opportunity for visitors to enjoy the special qualities of the National Park.
The report says the site is well screened by trees and shrubs and is also well away from Exbury House,
a Grade II listed building. Owned by the Rothschild family, the award-winning gardens have been open
to the public since the 1950s. The railway was the inspiration of the late Leopold de Rothschild, who
loved trains as a child and always wanted to build one for visitors to the 200-acre site.
A visit on Saturday 29 April found the railway busy with an additional departure at 11.00, with trains
then at 12.00 and at least half-hourly. At work was 0-6-2T 'Rosemary' (Exmoor Steam Railway 2001)
with four covered coaches. Outside the locomotive shed in light steam, apparently under test, was
0-6-2T 'Naomi' (Exmoor Steam Railway 2002). The larger 2-6-2 'Mariloo' (Exmoor Steam Railway 2008)
was in the locomotive shed. 4wDH 'Eddy' was outside the carriage shed. The train did not stop at
Dragonfly Halt. Adult admission, which is required to gain access to the railway was £15 - with a train
ticket at £4.50. A blue Edmondson card ticket was issued for the railway - clipped before boarding.
ABOVE: Wicksteed Park Railway, 'Merlin' approaches the station with a train (Rod Bryant 1 May 2017).
MR86] Wicksteed Park Railway, Northamptonshire (MR p21) (BLN 1213.MR110): A visit on Bank
Holiday Monday, 1 May recorded the following - 0-4-0DH 'Merlin' (AK 86/2010), in black livery, was
working all services with the first train at 10.40. The rolling stock is all kept at the main station, with
the former workshops now disused. 0-4-0DM 'Lady of the Lake' (Baguley 2042/1931) was in the small
locked shed at the far end of the siding easily viewable through the windows, while 4WDM 'Cheyenne'
(Motor Rail 22224/1966) in green livery was in an open sided shed along with 0-4-0DH 'King Arthur'
(Baguley 2043/1931). All trains were well patronised and ran every 20 minutes. Other interesting
attractions in the park include the Cycle Monorail, which is currently out of use while it is being
repainted. The other interesting item here is the Water Chute 'Railway', dating from 1932, at the
bottom of the park, which was operating from 11.00 with the first ride being full with 8 participants,
all received a fair soaking of pond water upon reaching the end of the line. The refreshment room at
Lakeside had been damaged by fire and was in the process of being demolished and the site
redeveloped. The rides are based on a token system these being brought at the main shop, two for the
Railway and one for the Water Chute, each token costs £1.25 and can be brought individually.
MR87] Statfold Barn Railway, Staffordshire (MR p24) (BLN 1267.MR209): The first open day this year
was on Saturday 25 March. It was the usual extravaganza with twenty locomotives in steam along
with, for a short time, the 'Galloping Goose' railcar. Opened to passengers on this day was the new
3ft gauge Tramway, with the remarkable Burton and Ashby Tramcar No14 (originally 3ft 6in gauge),
repatriated from the USA, restored and converted to battery power (there is no catenary). Rides were
limited to 450 timed tickets with a £1 donation towards the PC Keith Palmer fund and had sold out by
10.30 - at 09.45 your correspondent was able to buy return tickets for 15.00, although this was no
problem with so much going on. The Tramway runs from a purpose built Tram shed for around 540
yards parallel to the Upper Field line to Oak Tree Halt platform - it is not connected to the rest of the
system. It is comprised of three rails giving three gauges: standard gauge, 3ft for the Tram and 18" -
there is a short 18" siding at Oak Tree Halt. At the Tram shed the rails split into a 3ft line with a pit and
a dual gauge 3ft/standard gauge road. Your reporter was lucky to travel on the 'Galloping Goose', but
having turned on the turntable and gone around the balloon loop it expired on the points and after
de-training it was pushed into the siding for the rest of the day. Its passengers joined a train waiting at
Cogan Halt. Two trains were operating on the Garden Railway; the branch line here has been removed.
DIY Pump Trolley rides were available in the two road carriage shed alongside the grain store again this
year too. [Save Sat 14 Oct for an exclusive BLS private visit to the fascinating Statfold Barn Railway.]
MR88 Heaton Park Tramway, Greater Manchester (MR p32) (BLN 1272.MR7): A gala event was held
on Sunday 2 April to celebrate 50 years of the Manchester Transport Museum Society. A bright spring
morning with four trams running was the perfect impetus for a visit. An eventful journey to Heaton
Park ended with a scramble down through fairground paraphernalia to reach the Lakeside terminus.
Behind the Lakeside Café there is now a substantial three road stabling shed beyond the Lakeside stop.
Displayed on the shed roads were Blackpool 'Balloon' 702 on Road 1 (nearest the boating lake),
Oldham 43 on Road 2 and an unidentified vehicle under restoration on Road 3 (perhaps the
Manchester Horse Bus?). Waiting at the boarding roads were, as advertised for the morning session
service, Hull 96 and Manchester 765. A superb value multi-rider ticket at £5 was purchased on board
Hull 96 and the day's festivities commenced. Departure was from the northern track at Lakeside and
immediately after the mandatory pedestrian stop at the first level crossing engineering vehicle No1
was viewed in the Boating Lake siding. Alongside the single track section approaching the tram
Museum/Depot, static exhibit Manchester 173 was passed in the Museum headshunt. After taking the
leftmost track to set down and exchange the single track token the northern track was taken along
with the final crossover into the Middleton Road terminus. The northern siding was to remain
teasingly elusive! The return journey was direct via the southern track to the Museum where
Blackpool 619 and 623 were stabled on the workshop road in preparation for their afternoon duties.
Departing the Museum back to Lakeside, cross platform interchange was made for a southern road
departure on Manchester 765 and a return spin to the Museum stop. The opportunity for a visit to the
very interesting Museum was taken and Stockport 5 was viewed under restoration. As the vehicles on
the workshop siding were due to come into service at 13.00 a request was made to board the
Blackpool 623 ECS working to cover the exit road on departure. No problem was the immediate
response. Once safely aboard the man-in-charge of shunting then asked: would you like me to reverse
down to the Museum doors before we go so you can get more trackage? - Yes please! was the only
polite response and it was down to the Museum doors, quite a tight squeeze, for reversal to the
Middleton Road stop and entry into public service.
On the way back to Lakeside for a late lunch our reporter was advised that there would be 'some
shunting moves' later in the day up at the Lakeside shed; if he was interested. He duly reported back
to Lakeside around 16.00 in the expectation of engineering vehicle No1 carrying out the shunting
honours. However, it transpired that Blackpool 619 was to be used as No1 has faulty traction motors.
With no further ado he accepted the invite to board. During the next two hours or so, static exhibits 1
and 173 were collected from their respective sidings and all three shed roads were traversed to the
usable limit. This included propulsion into shed Road 1 on Balloon 702 and shed Road 3 on Manchester
173. Finally, a road/rail vehicle arrived to fill the last of the available shed space. With the shed full and
secured he was invited back aboard Manchester 765 for the works train into the Museum where they
reversed onto Hull 96 inside the Museum building. As the shed doors were closed behind him he was
served with a very welcome coffee before making his thanks and farewells after a memorable visit.
The enthusiasm and hospitality shown by the tramway volunteers and officials was fantastic. Note:
The existing shed area layout will be fully remodelled to provide an extended running line towards the
fairground site, which is closer to the Metrolink entrance to Heaton Park than the current terminus.
Carnforth P2 Stafford P3 47270 102m 55ch 1100] FIXTURES REPORTS; 22 Apr 2017 Y
Lancaster P3 Hooton Long Siding 96m 35ch Triongl Gogledd Cymru, (BLN 1280.1010)
Preston P4 Llandudno Town P3 47580 75m 37ch Miles by Jim Sellens and route by Map
Stafford P3 Llandudno Jn P1 47270 53m 77ch Man Martyn (Brailsford). The railtour
Hooton Long Siding Holyhead P3 47580 55m 43ch report referred to a train pulling out of
Llandudno Town P3 Holyhead Up Main 47270 3m 22ch Holyhead every weekday morning around
Llandudno Jn P1 Holyhead Wash Rd 47580 40m 05ch 05.30 with a full catering crew cooking
Holyhead P3 Holyhead Dn Main 47270 0m 30ch breakfast… However, this is not quite
Holyhead Up Main Holyhead P1 47580 0m 45ch correct. The Cardiff-based chef joins at
Holyhead Wash Rd 47270 0m 40ch Rhyl following an overnight stay in a hotel.
Holyhead Dn Main Chester P3B 0m 29ch He/she leaves the train there the previous
Holyhead P1 Stafford P6 47580 evening to have a long enough statutory
Wigan NW P5 84m 28ch break. Sunday evenings, this involves
Stafford P6 Preston P2 47580 130m 06ch travelling from Cardiff on a passenger
Lancaster P5 with 60m 12ch train. On Fridays the chef leaves the train
Carnforth P2 47270 75m 22ch at Chester returning passenger to Cardiff.
The other catering staff are based in North Wales and tend to leave and join the train nearest to where
they live. However, there should always be at least one on duty throughout. Despite what the system
shows, the evening arrival at Holyhead is generally in P3. Holyhead platform numbers are unreliable
on Realtime Trains etc and in fact Virgin Trains usually tend to use P1 for example.
Carnforth P2 - Up Main - Lancaster N Jn - Lancaster P3 - Lancaster S Jn - Up Main - Oxheys Up Gds Loop - Up Main -
Up Fast - Preston P4 - Up Fast - Farington Jn - Up Fast - Balshaw Lane Jn - Up Main - Wigan NW P4 - Up Main -
Golborne Jn - Up Main - Winwick Jn - Up Fast - Warrington P2 - Up Main - Acton Grange Jn - Up Main - Weaver Jn -
Up Main - Up Slow (172m 49ch), Acton Bridge - Up Main - Winsford S Jn - Up Slow - Crewe Coal Yd - Up Liverpool -
Salop Gds Jn - Up Slow Independent - Salop Gds Loop Jn - Scissors X/O (157m 19ch) - Up Independent - Basford Hall Jn -
Up Slow - last X/O - Stafford P3 (Rev) - first X/O to Down (Dn) Slow - Searchlight Lane Jn - Dn Slow - Basford Hall Jn - Dn
Slow - (157m 53ch) - Up & Dn Loop - Dn Chester - Dn Main - Chester E Jn (178m 06ch) - Dn & Up Gds - X/O (179m 22ch)
to Up Slow - Dn Birkenhead - Chester N Jn - Dn Gds Loop - Dn Birkenhead - Hooton S Jn - X/O - Hooton P0 - Long Sdg
Run Round - Buffer Stops (Rev) - Run Round - Hooton P0 - Up Birkenhead - Chester N Jn - Up & Dn Fork - Chester S Jn -
Dn Slow - Roodee Jn - Dn Main - Holywell Jn Dn Gds Loop - Dn Main - Rhyl Dn Passenger Loop (P2) - Dn Main -
Llandudno Junction P4 - Dn Llandudno - Deganwy - Dn Main - Llandudno P3 (Rev) - Up Main - Deganwy - Up Llandudno
- Llandudno Junction P1 (Rev) - Dn Main - Conwy - Bangor Dn Main - Dn Main - Valley - X/O - Up Main (263m 06ch) -
Up & Dn Passenger - Holyhead P3 (Rev) - Up & Dn Passenger - Up Main (Rev) - X/O (263m 26ch) - Dn Main - Wash Road
(Rev) - Dn Main (Rev) - Holyhead P1 (Rev) - X/O (263m 26ch) - Up Main - Valley - Up Main - Bangor Up Main - Llandudno
Junction P3 - Up Main - Rhyl P1 - Holywell Jn Up Main - Roodee Jn - Up Slow - 179m 56ch - Up Fast - Chester Dn & Up
Platform Line (P3b) - mid-platform X/O - Dn & Up Main - Chester E Jn - Up Main - Up Chester - Up Chester Independent -
Salop Gds Jn - Up Fast Independent - Salop Gds Loop Jn - Scissor X/O (157m 19ch) - Up Through Sdg - Basford Hall Jn -
Up Slow - last X/O - Stafford P6 (Rev) - first X/Os - Dn Slow - Searchlight Lane Jn - Dn Slow - Basford Hall Jn - Dn Slow -
X/O (157m 29ch) - Dn Fast - X/O (158m 48ch) - Dn Slow - Winsford S Jn - Dn Main - Hartford LNW Jn - Dn Fast - Acton
Bridge - Dn Main - Weaver Jn - Dn Main - Acton Grange Jn - Dn Helsby - Walton Old Jn - Arpley Grid Iron S Jn - No1 Sdg -
Arpley Dn Through Sdgs ('The Hole') - Dn Slow - Winwick Jn - Dn Main - Golbourne Jn - Dn Fast - Wigan NW P5 - Dn Main
- Balshaw Lane Jn - Dn Fast - X/O (21m 44ch) - Preston P2 (Up Slow) - X/O (0m 33ch) - Dn Fast - Dn Main - Lancaster S Jn
- Lancaster P5 - Lancaster N Jn - Dn Main - Carnforth S Jn - Dn Main - Carnforth N Jn - Carnforth P2
ABOVE: 'Beam me up Scotty…' Stuart Hicks tried his hand on the Turbo simulator (note side screen left).
1101] RCTS Visit to GWR Operations Training & Development Centre 5 Apr: Thanks to Stuart Hicks,
a party of 10 (RCTS with some BLS members) was met at Reading West station by John Beeney, GWR
Simulator (note one 't') Manager, who took them under the recently reconstructed Cow Lane Bridge.
This location is often mentioned on local radio travel news (a single lane road, with bidirectional traffic
light control under the main line that waits rebuilding). The GWR 'Centre' is one of the few remaining
buildings in the Reading Triangle after construction of the Reading flyover and the new maintenance
depot. It contains three simulators: for Turbo units, IEPs and Class 387 EMUs. Most of the visit was
spent on the Turbo simulator, driving over a fictitious route so that any driver being re-assessed would
not be familiar with it. The driver sits in front of a screen with all the controls in front including door
opening/closing, horn, communications, engine ignition, power controller and brake. Various scenarios
can be played out by the trainer from a separate room adjacent to the simulator. These can include
anything from extreme fog, rain, snow, day or nighttime, inclines (up and down), low adhesion and
other incidents like fires on adjacent trains, sheep on the line, cracked windscreens etc.
For the final 30 minutes John showed us the recently installed IEP simulator (appropriately replacing a
HST simulator) and the Class 387 simulator in its new building; both full mock ups of the actual cabs.
The difference is that drivers actually enter via a door and feel enclosed (they look like spaceships from
the outside rather than trains!) but in the Turbo people can stand behind. The party was allowed to
look and not 'drive'. Perhaps this was just as well given the competency that was shown on the Turbo!
Reading is one of three similar GWR centres; the others are at Bristol (Class 150 & HST) and Plymouth
(Class 150 & IEP). It takes over 200 hours of assessments, which include work on the simulators and
live line running with an instructor, before becoming a fully-fledged GWR driver. The very informative
afternoon increased the group's understanding of the training (and regular refreshers) that drivers
must undertake to make our rail travel so safe.
ABOVE: A Society railway walk with 'style'; the Ashover Light Railway (all Neil Lewis 19 Apr 2017).
1102] Ashover Light Railway walk 19 Apr: (BLN 1274.249 with map) by Sally Bramson (Member 3121).
After meeting in Ashover Parish Hall car park, our group of 12 adults and two children set off in the
warm afternoon sunshine along local footpaths towards the former Ashover Butts station. The station
site and trackbed of the 1' 11½" gauge line can still be seen and we were also able to follow it into
Ashover Butts Quarry which used to provide limestone traffic (mainly for road construction but also
rail ballast), fluorspar for the iron & steel industry and a small amount of lead. The site of 'Where the
Rainbow Ends' café was visited. It was dismantled after passenger services finished in 1947 and saved
in store by the Ashover Light Railway Society who
intend to re-erect it when a suitable site is found.
LEFT: Any minute now Julie Andrews will pop up and
sing 'The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music…!
On continuing our walk it was clear that the railway
crossed the River Amber several times as it meanders
through the picturesque valley since former bridge
abutments are visible in many places.
Walking back into the village we passed All Saints
church, where members of Florence Nightingale's
family are buried, before proceeding down a steep
sunken lane to the old trackbed and site of the
station at Salter Lane (for Ashover Village).
The trackbed is quite clearly visible here in both directions but unfortunately we were unable to walk
along it as it is not a public right of way. Instead, the group went up the other side of the valley, taking
a short (and very welcome!) break at the top of the hill by a cattle grid which (together with another
grid further along) partly consists of old Ashover Light Railway (ALR) rails [regauged!], before
continuing on to Overton Hall. This, along with its estate, was purchased by the Clay Cross Company in
1918 for £33,000 for the company to exploit the minerals and construct what was to be the last
commercial narrow gauge railway in Britain in the pre-preservation era. The East Wing of Overton Hall
is currently on the market for a guide price of £675,000!
After observing the small headstocks and old plant which remain from the lead mining industry near
the Hall, we walked down the lane to the Miners Arms at Milltown (a halt on the railway) to see where
the line ran alongside the pub. Its hospitality was enjoyed by the 90 enthusiasts from the Birmingham
Locomotive Club who rode on the last ever passenger special over the line on 24 Aug 1947.
Our group then headed back towards Ashover via the halt at Fallgate where the old shelter still exists
(along with a section of old track) in use as a store. Following the course of the railway we came to
Milltown Quarry and saw the former stables, now part of private property, which housed the ponies
that were used to pull wagons up a short incline. There is still some tram track visible in situ and we
were also able to observe the old mill and powerhouse on the other side of the river.
Continuing towards Ashover, our two younger companions took some members to see another cattle
grid which uses sections of ALR track, then we all walked back together to our starting point, passing
on the way the Old Poets Corner public house, where guests at the opening ceremony of the ALR
enjoyed a free drink in 1925 - no such luck for us though!
Thank to John Cameron for his organisational skills and historical notes (see BLN 1274.249 with map),
and our local Chesterfield member Neil Lewis for leading us on a very interesting and informative walk.
Neil also provided notes with an excellent collection of maps, photographs and other material relating
to the ALR. Thanks to Ruby and Archie Lewis who ably assisted their dad throughout the walk.
It is hoped to repeat the fixture and see other sections of this interesting and unusual line as well.
ABOVE: 'He's not with us, honestly' (….you do always get one though!).
ABOVE: Now for a complete change of scenery; on the day of our recent railtour at Scunthorpe
Steelworks full advantage was taken of three of Winn's Sidings unusually being empty. Right, and
occupied, is 'Middle Road' (don't ask!), to its left is 'Tube Side' then the two 'Iron Roads'. The clear
lines were completely traversed supervised by the expert fully trained and accredited AFRPS volunteer
(our very own Alan Sheppard, Scunthorpe Steel Works BLS Route Director). Appleby Coke Ovens are
to the left, one of the few such plants working in the UK now. (All: Chris Zeimer Sat 6 May 2017).
1103] Scunthorpe 'Steel Spring' Tracker, Sat 6 May 2017: Showing the continuing popularity of these
unique visits, the usual cross (but very happy) section (per BLN 1273.213) of nearly 60 members
gathered on the AFRPS platform ready for a 09.30 departure. Motive power was Hunslet 0-6-0 '58'
hauling the three brake vans which seem to vary in colour each visit. Another feature was the new
orange station name signs and green metal fencing not due to a new operator for a change but
improvements to the station area - very smart.
Our tour commenced with the obligatory visit to the station headshunt and loop, both swiftly achieved
and starting as we meant to go on. In fact the whole day's operation was a very slick affair confirming
the professionalism of all those involved; the 94 reversals (but no setbacks!) were possibly a Society
record for one of these trips. The last tour in January had a respectable 79 reversals and was notable
for the number of visits unusually inside buildings while this tour was memorable for the number of
buffer stops touched, (beams/other reason to stop reached) - the buffer stops all passed the test too!
Warm up complete (and it was certainly needed given the chilly conditions, although participants had
been warned of this beforehand) the tour headed off to the first target of the day, the Heavy Repair
Bay north end, where roads 1, 2, 5 and 6 (inner) were traversed before moving on to Winn's Sidings
where buffers were reached on both Iron Roads and then Tube Side (which provided good photo
opportunities of former Class 20 '81' on a nearby siding). [E-BLN has a new marked-up track plan.]
BELOW: The Rail Products area which is quite high up and exposed (=cold) was found to be
remarkably clear of rolling stock; full advantage was taken as can be seen from the 'marked up' map
with e-BLN. Looking west towards Scunthorpe station, the various main line exchange sidings and the
line to Cleethorpes are to the right but at a much lower level out of view.
Next to be investigated was the Rail Products area starting with Rail Service Centre 2 Bay, East and
West (as far as the lowered barriers), RDL (Rail Delivery Line) 1 & 2 (to doors), the headshunt by RDL 4
(to buffers) and finally RDL 4 & 3 (to beams). The manœuvre (as far as a wagon!) on New Gantry gave
excellent photo opportunities of six OOU shunter locos on Old Portal before reaching the headshunt
buffers in the Corus Rail sidings. Return saw the tour on Siding 7 where a change of direction part way
allowed the West end of the road to be reached (to the buffers) before another reversal put us in the
headshunt to the east to await departure of a loco from the area. This allowed sought after Siding 5 to
be fully traversed to the earlier headshunt giving overlap. [Unusually; the lines are normally occupied.]