Issue Number 1233 (Items 899_1021 and MR 61_68) (E-BLN 33 PAGES) 23 May 2015
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)
Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Ave., Epsom, Surrey, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from members, an international section is also available.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or of the Society.
BLN 1234 is due on 6 June and all contributions must be received by 27 May.
Date Event Visit Type BLN Lead Notes
TBA 2015 Severn Valley Railway Highley, Engine House branch 1230 PS Notify
Sat 23/05/15 Great Eastern Tracker We are very sorry that this tour 1230 KA Sorry
Sun 7/06/15 railtour from Norwich was cancelled Wednesday 13.30 Cancelled
Ketton Cement Branch See below track & traction tour 1232 KA ENQUIRE
Thur 11/06/15 Snibston Museum 11.00 Colliery Railway farewell 1232 PS Open
Thur 11/06/15 Conducted walk PM Coalville area trackbed walk 1232 PS FULL
Sat 20/06/15 Signal Box Visits 09.15 Nairn - Huntly 1231 NJ Open
Sat 27/06/15 Coventry area visits 10.30 Three minor railways 1231 SM Open
Sun 28/06/15 Shardlow (Millfield) Rly. NEW: 10.00 special running 1233 PS OPEN
Sun 28/06/15 Kirkby-in-Ashfield 12.00 Guided railway walk 1227 TG Open
Fri 10/07/15 Whitrope Siding railway 09.00 standard gauge railtour 1233 PS OPEN
Fri 10/07/15 Saughtree station tour Late morning train rides (below) 1233 PS OPEN
Sun 12/07/15 Thameslink Tracker Bedford to Herne Hill 1233 KA OPEN
Sun 19/07/15 East Lancashire Railway Comprehensive railtour TBA KA Claimed
Sat 25/07/15 Loco hauled Tracker Carnforth - Cleethorpes TBA KA Claimed
Thur 30/07/15 Spa Valley Railway 16.00 track railtour 1231 GW Open
Sat 1/08/15 Signal Box Visits Norfolk Broads Boxes pt. 2 1233 PS Claimed
Thur 13/08/15 South Wales Valleys Conducted service train tour 1232 KA FULL
15-16/08/15 SVR signalling weekend Two day practical signals course 1224 NJ Enquire
Sun 16/08/15 Rainsbrook Valley Rly. Visit during walk (next entry) TBA TBA Claimed
Sun 16/08/15 Conducted walk Rugby area trackbed walk TBA TG Claimed
Fri 4- Sun Strathspey, Caledonian NEW: Track & traction tours with TBA TBA Claimed
6/09/15 & Royal Deeside Rlys. PLEG - PROVISIONAL.
Sat 19/09/15 Scunthorpe AFRPS 10.30 All day railtour, with food TBA PS Claimed
Sun 11/10/15 Comprehensive railtour TBA DG Claimed
Sun 11/10/15 East Kent Railway Comprehensive railtour TBA DG Claimed
Sat 24/10/15 All line railbus railtour TBA JW Claimed
14-15/11/15 Romney H. & D. Railway York NRM and events in area TBA TBA Claimed
Ribble Steam Railway
60th AGM weekend
DG-Darren Garnon, GW-Glen Wells, JW-John Williamson, KA-Kev Adlam, NJ-Nick Jones, PS-Paul Stewart, SM-Simon Mortimer, TG-Tom Gilby.
BLN 1233.899] Ketton, 7 June: A 16.00 fourth trip is running, places may be available please enquire.
Snibston, 11 June: A reminder, all bookings must be received by 26 May please (BLN 1232.826).
Coventry area visits, 27 June: See (BLN 1231.678); any further bookings/queries to Simon Mortimer.
Participants are reminded that high vis. jackets are required at the Coventry Electric Railway Museum.
900] Shardlow Garden (Millfield) Railway, Sunday 28 June: 10.00 BLS private special steam hauled
running to supplement the Coventry area visits on 27 June; before the 11.00 annual public charity
open day starts. 14 Millfield, off Wilne Lane, Shardlow, Derbyshire, DE72 2HD (SK 4465 3051). A rare
chance to ride comprehensively this interesting 7½" complex private railway in a delightful setting on
the bank of the Trent & Mersey Canal. £10 per head pay on the day in cash but must be pre-booked. It
will finish in time to allow the 40 minute road journey to Kirkby-in-Ashfield station for Tom Gilby's
guided BLS railway walk there at 12.00 which is still open for bookings (see BLN 1227.312 for details).
ABOVE: Shardlow Garden Railway with the Trent & Mersey Canal in the foreground (Richard Green) http://goo.gl/sZhf
901] Whitrope & Saughtree, Friday 10 July: 09.00 at the extended Whitrope Heritage Centre, Border
Union Railway (approx 1km long): Roxburghshire, TD9 9TY, (NT526002) an isolated location just south
of Whitrope Tunnel on the Waverley Route. Covering as much track as possible, we expect to be the
first passengers in preservation almost to the tunnel entrance and on the stock sidings. There will be
time for stock viewing and a special opening of the exhibition. Cost includes sandwiches, homemade
soup, locally produced savoury scones, homemade sweet scones, cakes and tea/coffee. Then to
Saughtree station TD9 0SP, (NY565981), (BLN 1227.404) for a late morning standard gauge railway
ride with sidings and the engine shed line. Teas, coffees and a toilet will be available. Total cost £21.50
per head, bookings, queries, cheques (payee 'Branch Line Society') and CPAs to Paul Stewart (per back
page). Please advise if you would prefer leek and potato, or tomato and basil soup. We expect to finish
in plenty of time to travel the 97 miles to the KEG's Doves Nest Railway trip (BLN 1229. 602) by 16.00.
BLN 1233.902] Unusual Track: These are anticipated but should be re-checked http://goo.gl/atct2m
NET, Royal Centre stop crossover: Passenger use Sunday 25 May on departure. Trams are
terminating from the north (no service to Station Street) due to the 'Milk Race' cycling event.
Blackburn P4: Sat. 23 May Clitheroe to Manchester Vic. trains reverse (rare east departure).
Rankskill - Loversall Carr Jct.: 22.00 (23 May) King's Cross to Leeds runs Down the Up Main.
Nuneaton station reversals (P1-5): 23 & 24 May XC Manchester - Birmingham etc. services.
Rutherglen P1: Trains terminating from Dalmuir (mainly on 23rd) and Milngavie (23rd & 24th).
Gloucester bay P3: Used by most ATW services on 23 and 25 May (after 08.30 on Monday).
Didcot Parkway P4: Sunday 24 May, used by terminating trains from London Paddington.
Nuneaton P7: (24 May) Trains to Birmingham New Street are starting from here.
Colchester: (24 May) 08.18 to Harwich also 09.16 & 10.13 to Ipswich start from P4.
The 07.17 from Diss and the 09.00 from Norwich terminate in P2.
Witham: (24 May) The 09.47 Witham to Stratford starts from P3.
Bolton: (25th) 09.17-18.17 hourly to Kirkby, also 19.17 & 21.17 to Wigan Wallgate start from P3.
Blackpool North P1: Most booked trains use other platforms in practice, although it is used to
stable ECS overnight. Recently the 17.16 (SSuX) from Liverpool Lime St. (arr 18.59) returning at
21.14 (both shown on RTT as P5) has used P1, waiting there 2¼ hours. This seems to be since
the Virgin service (due 19.31) has been running from Euston. Platform use here appears
somewhat random, is probably manually documented and not always accurately so!
Stockport Bay P3A: 06.05 SSuX to Lime St., 22.34 SSuX to Oxford Rd. / Wigan Wallgate. SuO:
09.10 ex-Southport (arr 10.34); 08.24 & 11.15 to Southport (and extras with engineering work).
Havant: Sunday 7 June all four X/O. West trailing: 07.26 to Waterloo hourly until 16.27; facing
06.35 from Southampton Central hourly to 14.35. East facing: 08.00 from Waterloo, ½ hourly to
14.30; East trailing: 07.33 to Brighton, 08.01 to Worthing & hourly to 16.33/16.01 respectively.
Clerkenwell trailing X/O: 20 & 21 June St. Pancras, Platform 'B' to Brighton via Farringdon P3.
903] FIXTURES REPORTS: S&C Desiro Tracker, Sunday 19 April: (50/60) Many familiar, and some new,
faces congregated at Manchester Piccadilly for our third TPE railtour; our 50th fixture since the 2014
AGM. With those joining at Wigan NW there were 217 participants (and various train staff) so two 3-
car class 185 sets (120 & 151) were kindly provided, each with separate refreshment trolleys. This
allowed a very comfortable day with plenty of space and window seats for the scenic ride with no one
turned away. Departure from P9 was slightly delayed waiting a York connection with a few
participants, including most importantly the very pleasant and keen young DBS Driver (an enthusiast
too) who was later route conducting our tour! Taking the Down Fast out of Piccadilly, the train crossed
briefly to the Down East* line at Ardwick Jct. then reversed in the Up & Down Goods outside Longsight
Depot, crossing immediately to the Down Fast, then through P13 on the reversible Up Oxford Road
line in the unusual direction before returning to the Down at 189m 14ch and through P2 at Oxford
Road station. At Ordsall Lane Jct. the soon to be closed trailing connection from MOSI (the former
Manchester Liverpool Road station), used by our 'Powerhall Tracker' on 3 November 2013, was very
rusty indeed with a sleeper chained across. Completed overhead line electrification towards Salford
Crescent and Manchester Victoria was noted. After Chat Moss the Down Slow WCML was taken at
Golborne Jct., then the Down Goods dive-under below the WCML beyond Bamfurlong Jct. to emerge
alongside Springs Branch before switching to the Up Goods at Wigan South Jct. Next the Up Passenger
Loop for a passenger pick up and leg stretch at Wigan NW P1. See BLN Pictorial 1231 for a nice view of
this leg of the journey. *For complete clarity, the Down and Up East run east (geographically it is more
nearly north) of the Down and Up Fast to Ardwick Jct., then continue eastwards to Ashburys!
With longer legs, it was the Slow Line at Balshaw Lane for our mystery tour at Preston. This included
the Down Goods, the entire Down & Up Goods Loop (serving the former RES parcels platform) in both
directions, the Shunting Line in front of the PSB, and the pièce de résistance '2 Loco' or 'Bakehouse
Siding', a locomotive stabling siding at the station's north end behind P4a hidden under the station
approach ramp. A reversal on the Up Fylde increased the collection of Switches and Crossings proving
that S&C didn't just stand for Settle and Carlisle! The final move south was past the 'RES' platform to
the Up Goods to reverse south of Ribble Jct at 21m 39ch. Heading north, our DMU used the ladder to
the Up & Down Goods Loop (P7) then, north of the platforms, back across via the Down Through to the
Down Main. We must have done well as a notable pair of local members and a VT driver scored track!
The tour then looped the loops at Barton & Broughton, Carnforth (No1), Oxenholme (Down), Grayrigg,
Tebay, Shap Summit (unusually not electrified) and Harrisons. Oxenholme was particularly choice for
our former Chairman and Editor who lives a stone's throw away and has done the former second
connection onto the Windermere line north of the station and all 4 platforms (see NW section) that
used to be at the branch terminus! At Penrith the recently altered Down Slow was taken through P3,
once for Keswick and Workington, now NRU by passenger trains. Approaching Carlisle it was across to
the Down Through Goods at Upperby Bridge Jct. and back to the Down Main at Upperby Jct. followed
by a call at P1 to reverse. Cutting across the whole layout, the 6-car unit reversed in the NE Shunt Neck
before possibly the unexpected highlight of the day, the non-electrified Collier Lane Siding behind the
P6 wall adjacent to the station car parking, reaching in the FS's words 'one snow plough length short of
the buffers' (literally!). Mr Adlam came on the PA to apologise for this claimed 'misrouting' not in the
itinerary but very few passengers believed him! Then the NE shunting neck (once the Up Newcastle
line before singling here in BR days) to the buffers - it is intended to eventually redouble this line.
Returning toward P1 the train covered No1 Through (it was too) Carriage Siding much to the surprise of
the 'normal' passengers on nearby P1. At Caldew Jct. the Down Goods was taken to Kingmoor Jct. The
next treats made this our first 2015 visit to Scotland, Quintinshill and Lockerbie Down Loops followed
by a reversal in Beattock Down Loop behind the former station platform (BLN Pictorial 1232). Then
taking the trailing crossover at 39m 35ch to run through Lockerbie Up Loop, behind P2, although
missing the booked Quintinshill Up Loop. The route was incorrectly set for the Up Main and, due to the
position where we stopped, the late running and a following VT, it was not possible for Carlisle PSB to
reset the routing. However, this was more than compensated for by other Kev Adlam trademark 'on
the day bonuses'. Next was the Up Through Siding (particularly choice) from Kingmoor Jct. and at
Caldew Jct. the train crossed to the Down Main and ran into Carlisle P1 for a curtailed stop.
The tour is believed to have been the first passenger carrying Class 185 DMU southbound on the S&C
(a few diversions have run northbound). It was now a glorious sunny clear day, before the leaves had
grown back on the trees, resulting in a very scenic run enhanced by the appropriate and interesting
commentary of the Friends of the S&C Line (FoSCL) Chairman Mark Rand who had joined at Carlisle the
first time with his wife Pat. The closed Long Marton station, just before Appleby, is now a holiday let
recommended by our BLN Northern Sub-Editor. There was a brief photo stop at Appleby, whilst at
Kirkby Stephen the tour set back into the Up Refuge Siding alongside the signalbox, stopping at the
platform end just 17yds short of the blocks due to insufficient clearance. Garsdale No3 Up Recess
Siding, the furthest from the main line, was a definite highlight with a good view of the former line to
Northallerton via Hawes to the east and the famous (wind powered?) turntable pit recently cleared of
vegetation by FoSCL, on the west side. [Some participants had previously wrongly assumed it was on
the junction side for the Hawes branch.] These valuable manoeuvres took longer than anticipated and
the tour was now some 70 minutes late; the London contingent was understandably nervous about
their last connection. In the event TPE, to their great credit, not only kept to the full subsequent route
but also kindly arranged (thanks to Virgin Trains) for tickets from Manchester to be valid on a direct
service from Wigan NW. The booked Euston arrival of 22.55 was almost an hour earlier than the last
train from Piccadilly would have been!
Progressing southwards the tour took the very remote Blea Moor Loop and called at Settle to set
down FoSCL's Mark and Pat Rand. They had a very short walk home as they live in the converted water
tower at the station as featured on Channel 4's Restoration Man. Then through Hellifield Up Loop and
its connection to the Clitheroe line. After Daisyfield Jct. the tour crossed very briefly to the Up East
Lancs and back before the tunnel to the Down to run through Blackburn reversible P1 in the unusual
direction (the Up & Down Passenger Loop). At Lostock Hall Jct. the curve to Farington Jct. was taken
and, once out on the WCML, participants knew that the London connection was behind us. At Wigan
North Jct. the crossover to P6 at was used to set down, returning to the Up Main at Wigan South Jct.
followed by a detour onto the Up Slow at Springs Branch (Slow Line) Jct. then then back at Bamfurlong
Jct. At Eccles the Up Loop was traversed noting the very rusty Weaste branch (CA in 2010; a final
railtour run by the Society traversed it on 12 June that year). The tour terminated in Manchetser
Piccadilly P13 to allow the ECS to run directly to Ardwick Depot. Grateful thanks to all involved at TPE
(especially to Tim Brawn and Luke Gardner for all their time and hard work), NR and within the Society,
particularly Kev Adlam, for making this unusual, interesting and above all friendly charity tour in aid of
Railway Children happen with such a great and convivial atmosphere on board all day. The total
income from fares, sales of refreshments, raffle etc of £18,215 was £1,584 per hour or £51 per mile,
averaging £84 per passenger _ a very impressive result thanks to all the participants too!
BLN 1233.904] West Somerset Railway (WSR) Wayfarer No2 & 3: (No1 ran in 1998!) (49 & 51/60) Two
Society brake van trips took place on Friday 17 and Monday 20 April when there was no WSR public
service, allowing the freedom of the route. They ran from Bishops Lydeard (BL) to Minehead (MH) and
return, and then covered the Norton Triangle before terminating at BL. Motive power for the three
vans was Class 09, D4107, for the main run with Class 03, D2133, at MH. The weather was generally
kind on both days. On the Friday, having made good use of the Café and Shop facilities (specially
open), with early arrivers able to visit the Museum, 40 members joined the train at BL P2, the loco
proudly displaying our special 'Diamond Jubilee' headboard, used for the first time. With a travelling
signalman on board, a southerly departure and reversal through P1 preceded the run to MH, taking in
the lovely scenery of the Quantock area to Crowcombe summit and down through Stogumber to
Williton. Here, the tour entered the North Yard and enjoyed the bonus of the South Yard before a
short break to view the workshops. On past Doniford Halt and Watchet, after which, when the tour
passed over the trackbed of the West Somerset Mineral Railway, the party was able to 'watch it'
(BLN1223.1916). The train, surprising the locals, climbed again to Washford, where it was welcomed
by the S&D Railway Trust into their yard for a brief viewing of the shed/works. They have a lease here
until 2020. Then it was via Blue Anchor to Dunster, reversing through the haunted goods shed and on
to the back road (which serves as the CCE yard) with most of the lines clear of stock.
At Minehead, the party had a break and refreshments in the Turntable Café (the staff doing us a good
turn by opening specially), after which the 03, now on the tail end of the vans, shunted the train about
the sidings, to the end of line, run-round loops and crossovers, then offered the vans for a turntable
spin. Unfortunately, all this took longer than planned for three reasons. Most significantly, the three
vans unexpectedly did not fit on to the turntable, necessitating splitting the train and having two spins.
One of the ground frames had suffered damage the day before (over-exuberance by a strong fireman
but the wood was going rotten anyway!), which meant that certain points had to be clipped and
scotched which slowed the running. A diesel loco, not directly associated with our visit, was being
moved to create space for us but temporarily broke down blocking our route for some 20 minutes!
But it was all worth it and, after the 09 replaced the 03, the group left MH in a good frame of mind
and, with the bonus of the previously refused Dunster West track, arrived at BL some 150 minutes
later than originally planned. The party were then joined by a patient member (another had given up)
before heading off for swiftly expedited, but complete, coverage of the Norton Triangle area, returning
to BL for the available sidings and finishing over the loco compound pit 'only' about 90 minutes late.
The Monday trip was to have been identical but inevitably, a few things turned out slightly differently,
beginning with an extra! A bit like 6015**, D4107 and the vans started from the car park on the road-
rail loading line outside the compound gates, with 38 passengers including 4 non-members. The train
covered the BL sidings first before leaving for MH through P2. The Friday route was repeated but with
the travelling signalman taking to the tarmac roads instead (so popping up at all sorts of strange
places) speeding things up considerably. There was a small change at MH as the ground frame was
under repair and time was saved on the turntable by only turning two vans (but all participants
rotated)! Back at BL, the train again picked up a member (the one who gave up on Friday but was
keen for the unusual lines!) and had the 100% Triangle coverage in a different route order terminating
in BL P2 after another excellent trip. Thanks to the very friendly WSR staff and the S&DR Trust for their
warm, friendly welcomes and for pandering to our varied interests. Particular thanks to our organiser
and knowledgeable guide, local member Robert Green, who had spent several years and numerous
hours on this project. PS – **for those not old enough to remember, 6015 was a GWR King Class
loco! The Society made a substantial donation towards covered accommodation for the BL loco roads.
Many interesting pictures and information http://goo.gl/bKa240 from the Cornwall Railway Society.
BLN 1233.905] Keighley & Worth Valley Railway (II) Monday 27 April: (55/60) Our huge thanks are
recorded to all the K&WVR volunteers for our railtour using railbus 79964 as the perfect vehicle. This
'members only' group also enjoyed 'bonus traction' with Class 20 20031 plus industrial 'James' which
shunted the tour at Ingrow. As always, many Society members helped make the day special with the
various support roles they play, including Peter Scott, Martyn Brailsford, Jim Sellens, Robert Harvey,
Gary Lonsdale and of course the irrepressible organiser Kev Adlam. The private charter started from
Oxenhope and made a normal run to pick up at Keighley, then completed all the available lines at
Ingrow, including running almost to the end of the specially cleared No1 road at the Vintage Carriage
Trust Museum into the workshop area. There is even a 'BLS Shed' here as in 'Bahamas Locomotive
Society', refugees from the former Dinting Railway Centre that sadly closed in 1981. The number
'58926' was painted on one of the building's girders, as carried by coal tank (LNWR 1054) in BR days
including on 5 January 1958 when it worked the infamous SLS 'Last train from Abergavenny to
Merthyr'. The loco is now looked after by the 'other' BLS. Oakworth was next where both sidings were
covered and a run made up to the Goods Shed doors over the flat siding crossing for completeness. At
Oxenhope, after the group had taken in the station run round loop and run to the very end of the line,
an outstanding lunch buffet was provided in the museum Pullman coaches, with thanks to the K&WVR
catering staff. Whilst shunting continued elsewhere on the line, our railbus ran back to Haworth depot
and then completed every road from the running line outwards, each as far as possible, including over
the locomotive inspection pit and running well inside the shed on No2 & 3 Roads. Back at Oxenhope,
three sections of the shed roads and its headshunt were traversed before the Class 20 piloted the train
back to Haworth. Finally, at Keighley all the lines were clear and covered including the headshunt,
then to the NR boundary and across the turntable to the stop blocks. After setting down, departure
from P3 followed back to Oxenhope to end a very comprehensive charter raising a creditable £1,100
for K&WVR funds.
906] Channel Islands, 8-10 May: (63-68/60) On Thursday 7 May, 34 members and friends descended
on Jersey for the start of our Channel Islands Tracker which coincided with the special 70th Liberation
Day celebrations (a very big annual event for the Islands). Having booked into the Merton Hotel in St.
Helier with a Group Booking arranged by our Fixtures Secretary, the day/evening was free for
everyone to do their own thing before the tour started the following morning. After an early breakfast,
participants walked to Liberation Square where the remains of the St. Helier Weighbridge Terminus of
the 7½ mile Jersey Railway were viewed before boarding a special charter of the road train hauled by
'Peirson' largely along the old trackbed (now roads/footpaths) to Millbrook Station. Morning coffee
was taken and the station building inspected. Commentary all day was kindly provided by our Jersey
resident member; more comments about this later! The road train then took the group to St. Aubin
where the former station hotel is now the Parish Hall of St. Brelade. The sites of the former terminal
platforms and that of the extension to Corbiere were viewed before the group ventured across the
road to the site of the temporary station, which was in use for a few months before the gauge change
(standard to 3' 6") was completed on the original St. Helier line. Permission had been obtained to visit
the normally inaccessible tunnel (built in 1898 to avoid some tight curves) where there are plenty of
German Occupation remains from when it was a wartime munitions store; such as 60 and 100cm
tracks still laid in the main tunnels and 60cm lines in the extensive German side tunnels.
ABOVE: JR&T is 'Jersey Railway and Tramways' (never 'Western'). JER is Jersey Eastern Railway.
The original trackbed of the Jersey Railway between St. Aubin and Corbiere is now a 4 mile public
footpath/cycleway and our group then set off up the hill of just over two miles (with gradients of up to
1:30) to Les Quennevais. En route the sites of Greenville station, an early closure, the junction at Pont
Marquet between the original and German lines and the station at Don Bridge were all inspected. The
summit of the line at Les Quennevais is now the middle of Jersey's second town; when the line was
built there was only a racecourse here! The
party walked past Blanches Banques and La
Moie to 'the Temporary' (station) which
was built for the quarrymen when the line
was extended away from the quarry to the
new Corbiere station and, despite its name,
stayed open but was unadvertised! We
then had a look at the remains of the
quarry; the reason for building the line and
which now houses Jersey's desalination
plant, only used if essential due to its very
high running costs. Hidden alongside the
quarry is the 'Dynamite Railway', a short
cable worked line (possibly 2 ft gauge)
descending steeply to the sea. Incredibly,
this had obviously been very recently re-
laid, with brand new track and metal
sleepers certainly since your reporter had
last visited to check the route of the tour a
few months before. (see picture (left) by
Kev Adlam) What is it used for now? There
is a small building at sea level, thought to be
the dynamite store when the quarry was
active but its current use is unknown. This
railway was used to haul the daily dynamite requirement up to the quarry, the rest being left separate
and safe in the store. An early version of 'Elf and Safety'?! We returned to the former junction at 'The
Temporary' and continued the track bed walk to the Corbiere terminus. This station has recently been
'got at' in a Grand Designs manner. Hopefully the residents do not walk about in their glass lounge as
God intended or indeed throw stones!
From Corbiere our FS had hired a semi-open top vintage charabanc; Bristol LH J46655 (ex LT 'BL91' OJD
91R) - and we proceeded to visit various German railway remains en route to Pallot's Steam Museum.
Firstly the 'Clos de la Gare' estate was noted next to La Moie station and then we proceeded to
Bethesda Chapel where the only remaining German overbridge is to be found. From the car park, the
route of the German line, which some sources say never opened, could be seen along the valley side
and is now a public footpath. The journey continued across the Island and the route of the German
line that terminated at Sorel Point was seen. At Pallot's Steam Museum 5 laps each of 22ch were
enjoyed on the standard gauge circuit, https://goo.gl/M8W7Tw which normally operates Thursdays
only in the season. Steam loco P2129 hauled two lovely North London Railway leather upholstered
non-corridor coaches converted to rigid 8-wheelers https://goo.gl/psxEzv and very authentically
Victorian they were! Four laps were completed on the inner 2ft gauge circuit that only runs on
'Liberation Day' (one day per year) https://goo.gl/DvN0pZ with MR Simplex 11143. Neither line has any
points. There was much of interest in the museum and refreshments were kindly provided.
The group re-joined the coach to Gorey Pier where our visits to the stations of the 6¾ mile always
standard gauge Jersey Eastern Railway commenced. It is rather strange that a railway closed in 1929
has far more physical remains, such as buildings, as opposed to the Jersey Railway that closed in 1936.
Nothing remains at Gorey Pier station but the route of the railway is easily seen as it is now a flower
bed rather than a trackbed most of the way to Gorey Village. This second station building has been
extended and converted into two flats and even the watertower has been converted into a dwelling.
Grouville is still in its original condition and a few lucky members were invited into the garden by the
friendly owner and were able to view the remains of the Down platform; there used to be a loop and
second platform. She confirmed that the booking office window is still in place in the bathroom!
Fauvic, formerly Les Marais, has been extended and turned into a guest house but there is a short
length of the trackbed which was duly walked by a few! Nothing remains at La Rocque but the site of a
few houses here is still called 'Place de la Gare'. Similarly at Le Bourg where it is possible to go off on
the wrong track as there is a house called 'The Railway' which has nothing to do with the line! The site
of the level crossing is evident and the route now moves towards the shore. Pontac station building
has been demolished but a bungalow, 'La Vieille Gare', occupies the spot. Here the route is clearly
marked by a short length of trackbed where the fence posts are lengths of old rail (more likely to be
Germanic than original Jersey). The coach stopped on the coast road at Le Hocq and a short walk was
necessary to find the station at the end of a private road.
Next came Pontorson Lane Halt where a bungalow called 'The Halt' was actually the crossing keeper's
cottage; the halt itself was on the other side of the level crossing but no trace of the platform remains.
The trackbed hereabouts is a public footpath. Participants then walked to Samares, (the coach unable
to make this part of the journey due to narrow roads) still in its original state but with other buildings
very close to it. A visit was then made to the site of one of the island's now derelict former massive
tomato greenhouse complexes built across the trackbed, allowing sight of the remains of a platelayer's
hut and, most unexpectedly, 4 standard gauge ex-BR TEA tanker bodies (3 identifiable) formerly used
to store LPG used for heating/hydroponic services. They were not previously known even to our local
expert and had been found by chance the previous day by two members out exploring! The final
station visited was Grève d'Azette. Parking in the public sports field car park we bowled out across two
cricket pitches to find the station site and saw its platform edge, the only remains. Our Chairman
enjoyed a brief innings behind the wheel of the charabanc in the car park before he had to bail out!
The next item on the first day's extensive (in classical KA style) itinerary was the Chateau Clairval
Miniature Railway https://goo.gl/Cn7w6m Julian Clyde-Smith's 7¼ inch private railway round his
garden. Julian met us on arrival and basically said 'there's the railway, enjoy yourselves.' (We did!).
Everyone covered the line, which was smaller than when the Society last visited in that two sidings had
been removed, and the branch that used to run to the house, formerly used for putting out and
bringing in the dustbins, was reduced to just a few feet.
Returning to the hotel we all enjoyed a magnificent buffet dinner followed by a fiendishly difficult quiz
set by your local member to round off the excellent 12 hour day of non-stop action. If only everyone
had listened to [and remembered - Ed!] the commentary during the day they would have been able to
answer a lot more questions than they did! Congratulations to the winning team who scored 33/59 but
did have a very well read and knowledgeable member from Newport (Wales)! To be continued…..
BLN 1233.907] BLS Fleeces: **NEW** Smart navy blue warm but lightweight with zip, two zipped side
pockets and a waist 'gather' embroidered with a large BLS signal motif and initials 3" across by 4" tall.
Every member should have one (or two)! S, M, L and XL sizes. Orders to Mark Gomm (back page) £20
collected on a suitable fixture; £22.80 with P&P. BLS Polo Shirts still available, M, L & XL _ same prices.
1233 HEAD LINES: Record of Openings and Closings
908] Haydock Branch Jct. - Ashton-in-Makerfield station (incl.): (BLN 1232.697) Amendment (thanks
to two Cheadle Hulme members). TROP 24 May 1975; race day special trains available to the public on
the day. Also on 7 June, 5 July and 9 August then CP after running 4 October 1975. Specials to Haydock
Park racecourse station operated until 5 October 1963 (final day) but it was unfit to use in 1975.
909] Willesden High Level Jct. - Mitre Bridge Jct.: (BLN 733 p193) Amending this entry ROP Tuesday 31
May 1994 rather than Monday 30th (a Bank Holiday); there was an 'official opening ceremony' on
Friday 27 May 1994 not available to the public. The initially 'experimental' service between Willesden
High Level, Kensington Olympia and Clapham Junction only involved ROP per heading, as other
sections (with normal closure protection) had various services. This predecessor of the now intensive
West London Line local service, initially heritage DMUs, ran SSuX and not on Bank Holidays either!
910] Eccles Station Jct. - Weaste Lafarge Cement Terminal: (BLN 1165.806) Branch remains NRU. The
last train was our 'Wrexham & Lancashire' railtour of 12 June 2010. On 14 May 2010 the final freight
working, a Class 66 loco took 10 empty cement tanks in to remove the remaining cement from the
silos. The terminal is closed and sold. The NR boundary with the former MSC Railway is at 54ch.
911] London Underground, Epping end of line (*9.2km) - Epping Ongar Railway (EOR), Coopersale
stop board (*8.6km): The LU/EOR connection was used by ECS movements before and after the EOR
'Tube Returns to Ongar' gala (26 to 28 September 2014) to bring in and return four Schoma Diesel
locomotives and the preserved 3-car 1960 Cravens set (based at West Ruislip Depot). This regularly
worked the Epping to Ongar branch and ran the last train on 30 September 1994. *Km from Ongar.
912] Seal Sands Branch Jct. (0M 00Ch) - Seal Sands (2m 44ch): (BLN 1158.392) NRU. By January 2015 a
short section of the single-track branch had been (temporarily?) lifted west of (i.e. just before) the
'Enron' open level crossing at 0m 52ch. A series of Engineer's trains was scheduled to run from Tyne
Yard during the week commencing 23 March for track lifting but were cancelled before they ran. NR
maintains and controls the branch but rents the track bed from the Tees and Hartlepool Port
Authority. The last train was the Pathfinder Tours 'Tyne Tees Rambler' railtour on 25 February 2012.
BLN 1233.913] Sheffield Supertram, Shalesmoor (excl.) - Middlewood (incl) and 6 intermediate stops
also the Malin Bridge branch: (BLN 1226.238) TCP 28 March to 9 May (both incl.) Phase 5 replacement
of rails, Infirmary Road - Hillsborough stops (incl.) with passenger use of Shalesmoor trailing crossover.
914] Newton Abbot, Heathfield Branch Jct. - Heathfield: (BLN 1208.692) CG and branch 'mothballed'
after the final 08.56 Teigngrace to Chirk Colas timber train (99 minutes late at Dawlish) with 70804 on
2 April 2015. Although there was a ballast drop on the branch on 23 March and a stockpile of logs at
Teigngrace, the weekly/fortnightly train now loads at Exeter Riverside Yard (BLN 1205.416) due to the
difficulty in pathing the run rounds at Newton Abbot station with its intensive passenger services. [The
Moretonhampstead branch including Teigngrace Halt & Heathfield station CP 2 March 1959, ex-GWR.]
915] Epping Ongar Railway (EOR): From 3 April 2015 the western end of the line was referred to as
'Epping Forest' rather than 'Coopersale' in anticipation of the then imminent extension further west.
916] Epping Ongar Railway (EOR), Coopersale (former location name) (TL 4761 0308) (8.6km) - Epping
Forest (TL 4647 0186) (9.4km): (BLN 1191.1140) From Saturday 18 April 2015 the normal passenger
running line was extended west by 800m (nearer to Epping) and the stop board moved. The LU/EOR
boundary is at 9.2km and Epping LU station is 9.85km. In practice EOR passenger trains ran to a similar
point during their 'Tube Returns to Ongar' gala from 26 to 28 September 2014 but not otherwise. The
possibility of a single platform station at Epping Forest for easier interchange with the Central Line is
being investigated although there is insufficient room for a run-round loop.
917] Bow Depot (Olympics) formerly Bow Midland: (BLN 1216.1293) CA by 19 April 2015 when the
branch was fenced off. After the final Crossrail spoil train on 12 Aug 2014 the sidings, to the east of the
River Lea, have only been used on 23 December 2014 to stable BHQ sand empty hopper wagons.
Bardon Aggregate and Plasmor block traffic continues by rail to the section west of the River Lea.
918] Butterwell Jct. - Butterwell Disposal Point (includes part of 'Butterwell Light Railway' North
Branch) (BLN 1231.704) ROG 27 April 2015, traffic has resumed (but not at Potland Burn) with coal
having run to Ratcliffe and new future schedules shown to Drax and Eggborough power stations.
919] Plymouth Friary (245m 39ch) - Turnchapel Branch Jct. (245m 17ch): CA after the final train, the
Society's Class 08 hauled 'Laira Liaison' charity railtour HST with PLEG and FGW on Saturday 2 May
2015, reduced to a Laira Depot headshunt beyond Friary Jct. [Ex-LSWR CP from 15 September 1958.]
920] Turnchapel Branch Jct. - Cattewater branch (end of line 0m 73ch): CA after 2 May 2015 as a
consequence of the previous entry, NRU since the last outward scrap train on 10 July 2009. The final
train was our FGW II Tracker of 23 March 2013 with the L&CI. [Ex-London & South Western Railway.]
921] Little Eaton Jct. - Denby (open cast disposal point): The last train (of coal) ran on 16 April 1999
and the line was lifted between 2011/12 but only deleted from the sectional appendix on 2 May 2015.
922] Weymouth Jct. (168m 35ch) to Melcombe Regis L.C. (168m 52ch): In use as an Engineers' Siding.
Weymouth Quay (Tramway); Melcombe Regis L.C. 168m 52ch - Weymouth Quay station (169m
64ch): (BLN 1186.778) From 9 May 2015 the long-term OOU status was extended to 8 May 2016.
923] Sheffield Supertram, Castle Square (excl.) - Hyde Park / Sheffield Station (both excl.) & Fitzalan
Square stop: (BLN 1226.238) TCP 11 May 2015, ROP expected 28 June; Phase 6 replacement of tram
rails between Castle Square stop (incl.) and the Park Square triangle. During the work there is a regular
Halfway - Meadowhall service via the 'rare' Park Square triangle east chord. Trams from Middlewood
/ Malin Bridge take the facing crossover after Cathedral in service and reverse at Castle Square.
BLN 1233.924] Leigham Jct. - Tulse Hill South Jct. (the Up Leigham Spur): (BLN 1230.623) The solitary
10.01 (SSuX) London Bridge to Streatham Hill PSUL train runs after 15 May (no booked Down trains).
925] Ebbw Vale Parkway (excl.) - Ebbw Vale Town (incl.): (BLN 1231.715) OP Sunday 17 May 2015.
The first train, 150 217, was the 07.38 from Cardiff Central at 08.41 returning at 08.45. The new £2.3M
one car single track funicular from the station to the town also started running. See Welsh section also.
Below: The first train after arrival, looking north to the buffer stops (it was well short of the end of
line!). The 150m single platform will take a six-car unit. Picture courtesy of @BlaenauGwent.
926] Garriongill Jct. - Coltness: (BLN 1224.99) From 18 May 2015 the junction and branch (in practice
OOU for a considerable time beforehand) were due to be removed with recovery of the associated
signalling and the line deleted from the sectional appendix. The final railtour was our 'Firth to Firth'
tour of 11 August 2001, which reached the then end of the branch at Watsonhead Opencast site
(Coltness). At that time it was dispatching three coal trains each weekday to Cockenzie Power station.
1233 Prospective Network and Train Service Changes
927] Newcourt station: (BLN 1231.713) OP deferred from 17 May 2015 to further notice.
928] Cranbrook station: (BLN 1231.712) OP deferred to 'summer 2015'. The original contractors pulled
out due to having too much work; there have been drainage problems and further delays as the
entrance has to be built over a major sewer and there are complications with the railway signalling.
929] Bermuda Park & Coventry Arena stations: (BLN 1231.717/8) OP expected Sunday 21 June 2015.
BLN 1233.930] Thingley Jct. - Bathampton Jct.: TCA is expected 18 July to 31 August 2015 inclusive for
track lowering in the 1m 66ch Box Tunnel and other electrification work. Bristol TM to Paddington
services (1tph) is diverted via the single line through Melksham adding 30minutes to the journey with
reversal at Bradford Jct (formerly Bradford South Jct.). Bradford West to North curve CA in 1990 as the
then Intercity Sector declined to pay for resignalling and its upkeep as a diversionary route for Box and
no one else would! Some local Melksham services are replaced by buses. An hourly service runs non-
stop Bristol TM to Swindon (via Bristol Parkway) to Paddington with minimal increase in journey time.
931] Bath Spa (exclusive) - Bradford Jct. (also Freshford, Avoncliff and Bradford-on-Avon stations):
Additional to the previous entry TCA is expected 1 to 31 August inclusive for pre-electrification work at
Bathampton Jct. An hourly HST runs Bath Spa - Paddington via Bristol TM adding 30 minutes to the
journey; some HSTs will run Chippenham - Paddington. Portsmouth Harbour trains 1tph to Swindon
(for Bristol/South Wales). Weymouth services run to Westbury, extra local services and buses run.
932] Bicester South Jct. - Gavray Jct. ('Bicester Chord') and Oxford Parkway station OP also Gavray
Jct. - Oxford Parkway and Bicester Village & Islip stations: ROP has been deferred from 5 September
to 26 October 2015 when the Chiltern Marylebone to Oxford Parkway service is now expected to start.
933] Norton Bridge, *Little Bridgeford Jct. - **Searchlight Lane Jct. - ***Yarnfield Jct, via the new
WCML flyover: Opening targeted for December 2017. The new layout (from Stafford Rail Forum)…..
*Up Norton Bridge (from Stone via the new flyover) joins the Up Stafford Slow. **Down Norton Bridge
(to Stone via the flyover) leaves the Down Stafford Slow. ***The single track reversible chord from
Norton Bridge Jct. joins the Up Norton Bridge and Down Norton Bridge. http://goo.gl/ZxKGhg is the
Stafford new layout (work in progress) the bottom right two lines should both be 'Fast'.
1233 BLN GENERAL
934] GB Rail Times: 17 May-13 December 2015, NEW larger page (234 x 174mm) and bigger print size,
'includes all GB timetables' £18.95 or £20.95 by 2nd class post https://goo.gl/9CdXvG 01730 813169.
Middleton Press, Easebourne Lane, Midhurst, West Sussex, GU29 9AZ. Also various Bradshaw reprints
935] May 17 Timetable changes: Some of the highlights…..
Sunderland - Middlesbrough: Northern Sunday services increased from alternate hours to
hourly (generally running from/to Newcastle Metro Centre) with TPE connections at Thornaby.
ScotRail: New Sunday services Paisley Canal to Glasgow Central (09.35 to 18.35); Newcraighall
to Edinburgh (09.30 to 23.30) also at Duke St, Alexandra Parade & Barnhill stations. Additional
05.21 SO Oban to Glasgow Queen Street and 08.25 from Queen Street to Oban as on weekdays.
Tees-side Airport: 50% increase in service from 2 trains per week (SuO) to one Up and 2 Down!
Cumbrian Coast: Major recast with two loco-hauled sets running, fewer through Barrow trains.
Doncaster - Lincoln - Peterborough: Services speeded up following line improvements.
Manchester - Todmorden - Blackburn: Hourly service via Todmorden curve. A video from the
first service train, the 08.18 Blackburn to Manchester on Sunday 17 May making the journey in
less than 5 minutes (after the advertisement!) http://goo.gl/VRLw5B
Liverpool - Wigan NW/Manchester Airport: Mostly EMUs; ten 4-car Class 319s units in service.
Hartford: LM Liverpool - Birmingham service 39 calls (SSuX) has increased to 52 (SO 37 to 57)
averaging just under two trains an hour all day. Sundays unchanged hourly service of 22 trains.
Penkridge: LM Liverpool - Birmingham service 46 calls (SSux) increased to 57 (SO 44 to 55);
Sundays remain at 24. Of note is the through 20.49 from Euston (SX) which continues to Crewe.
Matlock - Nottingham service: most hourly weekday trains are extended to/from Newark
Northgate, improving the Nottingham to Newark service. Also enhanced Nottingham to Lincoln
services and summer Sunday services to/from Cleethorpes, the latter until 6 September.
Mansfield: SuO 08.52 extended from Nottingham to Skegness with a return service at 18.07.
Norwich to Yarmouth: Summer Saturday extras to 5 September but no through London trains.
Norwich to Lowestoft: Summer SuO service improved from alternate hours to hourly; other
extra Sunday trains in the area, particularly first thing including Norwich to London.
Cambrian and Central Wales lines: Enhanced services; improved connections (BLN 1232.888).
Worcester: Improved frequency and some faster journeys to/from London Paddington (SuX).
Southeastern: Additional and longer trains, at least 4tph (SuX) on all Metro routes out of
Charing Cross and Cannon St. Extra evening services Cannon St. - Orpington and Charing Cross -
Hayes (both SuX); Slade Green - Cannon Street via Greenwich and London Cannon St. - Dartford
via Sidcup (both SO). Most Metro Cannon St. and Charing Cross trains to be at least 8-car on
Saturdays. Additional Bromley South stops on some Blackfriars to Dover evening services
weekdays. Additional 00.04 & 00.34 trains Tunbridge Wells to Tonbridge on ThFSO. Charing
Cross -Hastings services to be 8-car on Sundays. Kent coast weekend trains 17 May to 6
September extended to 8 or 12-car for the increase in summer traffic.
London Overground: (from 31 May) Takes over the London Liverpool Street to Enfield Town,
Cheshunt and Chingford Services, also the Romford to Upminster line.
Crossrail: (from 31 May) takes over Liverpool St. to Shenfield (& Gidea Park short workings).
BLN 1233.936] National Timetable online: The full new electronic timetable and working timetable;
also specific lines or 'create your own timetable' are available at http://goo.gl/5zA1RG the 'separate
PDFs' version is easier to use.
937] S&C Desiro Tracker tour raffle: Please can all the winners who have not yet made contact with
the Fixtures Secretary contact him now to arrange their prizes. (Email preferred per back page).
938] A Railtour by any other name……: April marked the start of the annual weed killing season with a
fleet of 8 MPVs covering the whole of the country in a series of preprogrammed circuits, some with
very interesting routings and many running overnight. [Weedon to Kew Gardens via the Killweeding
Avoiding Line perhaps?] This year they are being operated by the UK's latest rail operator - JSD Rail
based in Rochdale. April is also the month when the annual maintenance of snow ploughs takes place!
939] Polling Station: Dereham station on the Mid-Norfolk Railway was voted a success as a polling
station on 7 May with suitably trained staff, although no passenger services were run.
BLN 1233.940] S&C Tour TPE Quiz, answers: (BLN 1232.836)
1. 15 TPE staff were required to operate our TPE S&C Desiro Tracker railtour on 19 April.
2. The first Cleethorpes to Barton-on-Humber and return train SuX used to be operated by a TPE
Class 185 unit until the December 2013 timetable change. They omitted Great Coates and
Thornton Abbey due to their low platforms. Standard class tickets were valid in 1st class.
3. In fuel economy mode, all Class 185 engines shut down in rotation to balance engine use.
4. Carnforth and Thirsk stations unusually have 4 passenger tracks which TPE can use but only 2
platforms. Carnforth: The WCML non-platform lines are used by TPE Manchester - Glasgow /
Edinburgh trains. Thirsk: ECML non-platform roads can be used by non-stop TPE services. Bonus
point: Kirkham & Wesham the non-stop services can use non-platformed Up/Down Fast lines.
5. Newcastle has a large number of trains in both direction to the same destinations; not just TPE.
6. Leeds City had 'PW' as an extra platform (like the modern P0), with renumbering it became P1.
7. 'Making Rail Accessible' / 'BLUE ASSIST' with the Blue Assist charity where cards are provided
by stations or from trains for special needs passengers to write on any specific personal needs.
8. TPE Passengers may take up to 2 dogs on a lead free so long as they do not cause a nuisance.
9. Liverpool Lime Street had a steep incline from Edge Hill; for about 4 years from opening in
August 1836 passenger coaches gravitated in with brakemen and were rope hauled out!
10. Carlisle, St Cuthbert's Church has an unusual pulpit moveable on rails (done by some on a Don
Kennedy Society visit for a Carlisle AGM with 25 very religious members on 4 November 2001!).
941] A Further S&C Quiz: (Just for the challenge, with thanks to FoSCL.) Section 94 of the Railways'
Clauses Act of 1845 required that railway companies measure the length of their operational railway
lines and install some kind of marker at quarter-mile intervals to denote these measured distances. At
the end of the 1890s the Midland Railway decided to re-measure and re-milepost their entire network;
the Settle and Carlisle line was completed in 1902 and some mileposts of that vintage still remain.
Question: Starting at the St. Pancras station milepost zero, what is the shortest Midland Railway route
to Carlisle and how far was it using the new mileages? (Answer in BLN 1234.)
942] Eardington Explored: (BLN 1223.1944) An interesting video http://goo.gl/Q6cLqt of this once
typical branch line event on 15 April which ran as two trains in the end and may be repeated next year.
Also filmed on the SVR for 'Italian Job' enthusiasts: http://goo.gl/y3f3i3 and great fun was had by all!
943] Matters Arising BLN 1231.691]: The original M&GNR Holt station was, of course, closer to Melton
Constable. 700] Rother Valley Railway: A formal planning application was submitted to Rother District
Council on 30 June 2014 for reinstatement of the railway between Robertsbridge, Northbridge Street,
and Junction Road, Bodiam (the B 2244) to form the final part of the extension of the Kent and East
Sussex Railway from Bodiam to Robertsbridge. This was with extensive reports and background
information http://goo.gl/KxwW9L a decision is 'due' by 1 June this year. 753] The LNWR Buxton
branch summit was at the former Bibbington's Sidings just south of Doveholes, at about 1150 ft. 784]
According to the late Derek Barrie, the Catterick Camp Military Railway closed in November 1969
rather than 1970. BLN 1232.884] The Maryhill Park Signal Box fire was on 13 October 1980; the curve
CA from the following day but was retained until 10 October 1985 then lifted. It was ROP on 28
September 2005 for a Glasgow Queen Street (HL) DMU service to Anniesland bay P3 (no connection at
the latter). Maryhill Central Jct. was previously Maryhill West Jct. and later became Maryhill Park Jct.
944] The Railway Infrastructure of Scotland by Brian J. Dickson: A compendium of Scottish railway
building styles (other than Edinburgh and Glasgow's main stations) showing the wide variety of
construction methods used in Scotland. For example, the Highland Railway's masonry Moy station,
the 'well-balanced' ex-GNSR wooden stations at Cullen and Portsoy, the 'Swiss Chalet' West Highland
Railway style and the lavish Caledonian stations of Stirling and Wemyss Bay. There are examples of
signal boxes built by the five pre-grouping companies. Illustrations range from the smallest wooden
examples, such as Lairg, to the large elevated one at Dyce. More ornate boxes of all sizes were built by
the Caledonian in their 'house style'. Some loco depots feature; from the neat, one-road wooden shed
at Dornoch, to the impressive stone-built sheds at Ayr, Aviemore and Kyle of Lochalsh. Much new
material shows detail and ephemera of use to railway modellers and anyone with an interest in railway
architecture. Softback 120 pages (273 x 215mm), over 226 photographs; £16.95 post free by cheque
from the publisher: Kestrel Railway Books http://goo.gl/OO8uDh P.O. Box 269 Southampton SO30 4XR.
1233 ENGLAND – EAST MIDLANDS
BLN 1233.945] Derby: From 11 May, signalling control of the following lines transferred from Derby
PSB West Panel to East Midlands Control Centre, Burton Workstation. The signal prefixes remain DY.
(1). Alrewas Signal Box (unaffected but interfaces) to Wichnor Jct.: with name changes:
'Up & Down Main' 22m 12ch to 23m 33ch to the 'Lichfield Single.'
'Down Main' 19m 00ch to 22m 12ch to 'Down Lichfield.'
'Up Main' between 22m 12ch to 19m 00ch to 'Up Lichfield.'
(2). Birmingham Curve Jct. to Branston Jct.:
'Up Through Siding' to 'Up Birmingham Curve Through Siding'.
'Down Through Siding' to 'Down Birmingham Curve Through Siding'.
(3). Derby L&NW Jct. to Tamworth: (i.e. beyond where the Goods Lines end south of Derby station).
'Up & Down Main' 0m 76ch to 23m 30ch (interface with WMSCC) to 'Up & Down Tamworth.'
'Down Goods' 8m 55ch to 11m 15ch to 'Down Tamworth Goods.'
'Up Goods' 11m 02ch to 8m 55ch to 'Up Tamworth Goods.'
(4). Moira West Signal Box (interface) to Leicester Jct.:
'Down Goods' from 122m 10ch to 127m 00ch to 'Down Coalville Goods.'
'Up Goods' from 127m 00ch to 122m 10ch to Up 'Coalville Goods.'
(5). North Stafford Jct. to Stoke Jct.:
Egginton Jct. Box (interface) to North Stafford Jct. Up and Down Stoke line names unchanged.
(6). Sheet Stores Jct. to Stenson Jct.:
Castle Donington (125m 00ch) to Stenson Jct. Up Chellaston & Down Chellaston _ unchanged.
946] Thoresby Colliery: On a date probably 4 May, test train 1Q08 out and back from Derby Railway
Technical Centre powered by DRS locomotives 37 425 (leading) and 37 601 traversed the branch. The
colliery is due to cease production on 26 July so this could be the last such train to visit; a UKRT tour is
due to run to the NR limit (1m 18ch) on 31 August http://goo.gl/SLtKhK likely to be the final railtour.
1233 ISLE OF MAN
947] Douglas 'The Ticket Hall': The plans for the IOMR station terminal building have been the subject
of much media and public interest since an application was made on 24 July 2014 for 'Alterations and
refurbishment works to buildings; erection of an outdoor canopy and creation of an internal retail
area'. Costing £1.4M the booking hall is to be vertically split by a new mezzanine floor to create a
ground floor retail unit and first floor restaurant whilst the former offices will become a kitchen and
toilets. The tower will house a lift to the restaurant and the main building doorway. The problem is
that the planning application included many changes to the internal area of the historic characterful
ticket office (we appreciated the great merit of this on our September 2013 IOM visit during Society
events at the Ticket Hall). Various organisations raised concerns that the historical parts would be lost.
Compromise amendments have now been made (which may end up pleasing no one). Conditional go
ahead was given on 23 April. Conditions include: The ticket windows, panelling and original map on the
north wall of the ticket hall have to be retained as near to their current positions as possible and the
new mezzanine floor kept to a minimum of 1.4m away from the north wall of the ticket hall except for
a narrow link to the restaurant at its western end. A full photographic record and 1:10 scale plans have
to be submitted and agreed by Planning and Building Control before work can start.
BLN 1233.948] IOM Railway Map: (Above) Thanks to our cartographer, Martyn Brailsford and our IOM
members. Bishop's Court Halt between Kirk Michael and Ballaugh was only available for clergy to use!
949] Douglas Horse Tramway: (BLN 1232.878) (MRP32) In the latest IOM Government plans for the
redevelopment of Douglas Promenade, the 3' gauge horse trams would be moved to a single track
(with passing loop/s) alongside the walkway of the southern end of the promenade, and beside the
pavement at the northern end. Costing £3.5M of the £21M total promenade development budget and
subject to planning approval, work begins in November and is estimated to take 3 to 5 years. The first
tram of the 2015 season ran on the 11 May; visit the old 1½ mile double track line while you still can!
1233 GREATER LONDON
BLN 1233.950] Crossrail: (BLN 1232.847) (1) West Drayton Loop: From 11 May the loop was extended
by 196m toward London, with the previous connection to the Up Relief Line replaced with plain line.
Beyond the new crossover connection to the Up Relief is a new shunt neck named the West Drayton
Neck. Two days later your Sub-Editor watched technicians hand-crank and clip this (presumably failed)
new crossover, allowing the Colnbrook to Lindsey empty oil tanks to leave the loop 20 minutes late!
(ABOVE: West Drayton Loop at 05.20 on 15 May looking west. At the back (to the right) is the already
commissioned new Up & Down Goods, in front of a new retaining wall made from precast concrete
slabs supporting the track. Between the Up & Down Goods and the Up Relief platform (P4) can be
seen a length of truncated track (behind the lighting generator and with a white plastic bag visible near
a rail end). This is the old Up & Down Goods and shows the extent of the realignment. The truncated
length is only about 50m long. The new Up & Down Goods rapidly closes in to the old alignment
(behind the hoardings on the platform) and passes clear of the station buildings abutting the road
turning area. These did not require demolition or alteration, but an ancillary brick building east of the
station building was demolished. (Picture with thanks to Julian James.)
(2) Canary Wharf: The roof garden and first shopping centre phase over the station opened on 1 May.
951] Croydon Tramlink: (BLN 1221.1695) Responses to the consultation on a new town centre loop
indicated that an anti-clockwise route via Dingwall Road and Lansdowne Road (Option 1 in last report)
https://goo.gl/BwFB30 was preferred. Subject to a further round of consultation, funding confirmation
and the proposal being endorsed by the Mayor of London, a Transport and Works Act Order will be
applied for in October.
952] Down Street: TfL is looking for a commercial partner to develop the non-operational parts of this
closed station as part of its plans to generate £3.4bn in 'non-fare income' (BLN 1232.846). Located on
the Piccadilly Line between Green Park and Hyde Park Corner, it had a short life, having OP 15 March
1907 and CP 22 May 1932. It was the HQ of the Railway Executive Committee during WW2 and was
used by Sir Winston Churchill and the War Cabinet for a time. An illustrated article can be found on the
London Reconnections website http://goo.gl/skQ2iM The TfL website also says that six other closed
stations and one deep-level shelter have been identified for development but doesn't name them.
953] Fenchurch Street: The Railway Observer reports that management of the station passed from NR
to c2c from 8 August 2014; reversing the change made a few years ago.
BLN 1233.954] Hammersmith Depot: From 17 May this was to be reduced to siding status. One more
Circle / Hammersmith & City train will now stable at Upminster and two at Ealing Common. As train
provision becomes more integrated with the new S7 trains being introduced on the District Line, these
two depots and Neasden will be responsible for train maintenance. Hammersmith is one of the oldest
depots on LU, having been opened in 1906 for the electrification of the Hammersmith & City Line.
955] Paddington: As is commonly the case, the platforms here no longer extend back to the zero
mileage datum point; P9-10 start at 0m 05ch according to the Sectional Appendix diagrams. (TRACK
maps shows P1-8 starting at 0m 06ch and P11-12 at 0.04ch.) Presumably this is from past extension of
'The Lawn'. WNXX forum indicates that some platforms are to be extended back to take the new IEPs.
956] Shepherd's Bush: (BLN 1231.739) The new London Overground entrance opened on 27 April.
957] Thameslink: (BLN 1229.539) (1) London Bridge: Additional work undertaken over Easter was the
installation of two new crossovers at North Kent East Jct., between the Up and Down Charing Cross
Lines and the Down Charing Cross Line and Up Cannon Street Line, which will allow trains to cross
between the Charing Cross and Cannon Street lines at this location. The line slew leaves the Line 5 and
6 viaduct available for partial demolition to make way for the Bermondsey diveunder. The next stage
of the work, originally expected to be carried out during the Easter possession, will now take place
over the Spring Bank Holiday between 23rd and early on 26 May. The Up Passenger Loop will be taken
OOU and up Charing Cross trains will be routed non-stop through P5 at London Bridge. A well-written
article http://goo.gl/MJaN7b on the problems experienced by Southern with its London Bridge peak
services from the London Reconnections website.
(2) Signalling: Former West Hampstead and Victoria signals are now coded TWH and TVS respectively.
958] North Pole Depot: (BLN 1223.1888) The Railway Observer has reported that the connections
from the main line were not commissioned in December, although the overhead wiring is live.
959] Royal Mint Street: The Midland Railway accumulator tower from the goods depot that survived
alongside the DLR station at Tower Gateway has been demolished. (London Railway Record.)
960] Whitton: (BLN 1225.156) An upgrade scheme began on 23 February to provide improvements to
the entrance area and a larger booking hall. It is being jointly funded by the DfT, Richmond Council and
the Rugby Football Union, as the station provides alternative access to Twickenham stadium. Work on
a new footbridge with lifts under the 'Access for All Scheme' begins in October. The London Railway
Record reports that existing platform buildings will be removed and new canopies built.
1233 NORTH EAST
961] Heighington: (See plan: BLN 1226.269) On 2 May a correspondent on a train noticed that the test
track (on the alignment of the former down line) and connection into the Hitachi Work at Merchant
Park Jct. were reasonably shiny. Electrification masts and brackets are in place on these but there was
no contact wire or catenary. A new post and wire fence divides the test track from the running line.
962] Newcastle: Until 16 May the 13.23 (SuX) service to Glasgow Central via Carlisle and Dumfries was
diagrammed to leave from P1, the remaining bay platform at the northeast end of Newcastle station.
It took the High Level Bridge and joined the Tyne Valley line via Gateshead. (In the new timetable it
runs the same route from P7). On 2 May it was late and passengers were eventually allowed to board
10 minutes after the scheduled departure time when they were informed that the engine in the front
coach of the Class 156 unit had developed a fault. The train would therefore be driven from the 'rear'
cab. This entailed running a short distance northbound on the ECML, reversing adjacent to the Castle
Keep (the 'New Castle' which gave the city its name), running non-stop through Newcastle P4 and over
the King Edward Bridge. [A rare run through both P7 & 8 would have been even more interesting -Ed.]
It ran at reduced speed to Hexham, where our correspondent got off about 20 minutes late. It is not
known when the train arrived in Glasgow (or if it ever got there!). In over 40 years of rail travel, this is
the first time our correspondent has ever run non-stop through Newcastle!
1233 NORTH WEST
BLN 1233.963] Metrolink: (1) Trafford Park extension: Council leaders have signed off the £300M
needed to construct the branch. It is hoped to start work next year with passenger opening in 2019.
(2) Shaw & Crompton: Park & Ride car parking was increased from 44 to 90 spaces from 30 April plus 3
disabled spaces and 2 for motorbikes. Incredibly, planning permission was only granted in February!
964] 55 years ago: A local correspondent has sent some notes from 1960. Sunday 1 May was the last
day of service at the old Smithy Bridge station. The final passenger was the late Donald Russell. By
the Monday evening all light fittings (gas) had gone and the subways had been boarded up. Sundays 1
to 15 May 1960 engineering work between Thorpes Bridge Jct. and Werneth meant that all traffic was
diverted via the Werneth Incline. On 1 May it drizzled and a DMU which failed to climb the 1:27 (for
one mile) was rescued by 2-6-4 Tank steam locomotive 42619. The same morning ECS successfully
made the grade behind 45105 and 45381. On 8 May a portion of a return excursion from Wembley
was routed: Stockport, Denton, Droylsden, Miles Platting, Middleton Jct., Werneth, Rochdale (due
4.57am), Castleton, Middleton Jct. (again!), Manchester Victoria, Kearsley and Bolton. Connections
were run from Rochdale to Heywood and Bolton to Bury. On 15 May returning excursions from
Wembley were due up the Incline at 4.01am and 5.15am. Both became stuck and needed rear end
assistance. The first was hauled by a pair of 'Black Fives' and the second by a pair of 2-6-4 tank locos.
965] Manchester Piccadilly: Planning a recent Sunday trip to join a Society fixture, a member found
reference to a platform 'HS' for a potential connection from Manchester Piccadilly. Both Real Time
Trains and National Rail Enquiries websites that morning were showing HS for the 15.46 and 16.46
departures to Leeds, and he wondered if he was going to get rare track; the non-electrified Holding
Siding to the east of P1. On arrival he discovered that it is securely fenced off from the general public.
He wonders if 'HS' was mentioned as a temporary measure to set up these services on the planning
software using a location valid for the software but not for passengers, with the actual numbered
platform inserted at the last minute in the light of engineering and other issues. Can anyone clarify,
please? [Looking forward in the new timetable all week only the 08.12 SuO Longsight Depot to
Piccadilly ECS working is shown as using 'HS'; interestingly it is booked as a Northern Class 323 EMU!]
966] Rose Grove: The station is receiving a £160k 'face lift' [just so long as they don't get rid of all of
the lines!] as the service was improved from 17 May with the start of the new Manchester via
Todmorden trains. It is having a new waiting shelter, seating, passenger information display ticket
machine and improved signage. Passenger numbers are predicted to nearly double to almost 100,000.
Interestingly the Lancashire Telegraph reports that it will be used by passengers from/to the Colne line
changing for Manchester. Sadly not; the trains miss each other by about six minutes in both directions.
The National timetable planner instead shows changes at Accrington AND Hebden Bridge; changing
once at Blackburn is often quicker even with the Farnworth Tunnel work.
967] Manchester Victoria: (BLN 1232.854) At 21.50 on Sunday 26 April EMUs 319364 and 319367
arrived ECS from Allerton forming the first AC electric train to enter the station under its own power.
968] Wigan: (BLN 1232.853) The first EMU in passenger service from Lime Street to Wigan North
Western was the 06.00 departure on Saturday 25 April; it returned to Lime Street on the 07.03.
969] Windermere: When the branch had double track, four platforms were in use here. P2 was used
by nearly all trains (including all arrivals). P1, the south end bay off it, is where the present shortened
single platform station is situated. A few services used that on a regular basis, especially the evening
train to London Euston. On the other side the layout was similar. P3 being as long as P2, used by the
summer evening (TThSO if our correspondent remembers correctly) Blackpool train (usually around 10
carriages) and also stored the Manchester & Liverpool set of carriages (about 10 for Manchester and 2
for Liverpool) overnight. They arrived off the 17.05 from Manchester Exchange (via just about any
route except Bolton, between Manchester and Preston!) returning the following morning at 08.10. The
ultra-rare one was P4, the south end bay off P3. Our member only ever used it once, on a summer
Saturday afternoon train to Morecambe, and it was unusual to see anything in it at all, even for
storage, although if there was a light engine to keep clear of other trains it might be there. Between P2
and P3 was a full-length carriage siding, which had all the appearances (except for the lack of any
pointwork) of an engine release road for P2 and P3. There was never any run-round facility at
Windermere and all shunting was performed by gravity with no engine attached!
The original station had an overall roof and the layout was reduced to a one-train single track branch
as an economy measure in 1973. In 1986, following demolition of Windermere's trainshed, the track
was cut back as it is now and Booths supermarket was built on the former end of branch in a style to
replicate the original trainshed. A notable feature of the branch is three different types of level
crossing in quick succession. At 3m 62ch 'Burneside Higher' crossing there are gatekeeper controlled
manual gates with semaphore signals then, just before the platform at 4m 01ch is 'Burneside station'
user worked crossing. Finally (and the one trains take the slowest) at 4m 11ch is 'Burneside Lower' (an
Automatic Open Crossing Locally monitored). This is probably unique on 29ch of railway. Just for a
change, further on Staveley (5m 78ch) is an Automatic (full) Barriers Crossing Locally monitored.
BLN 1233.970] CKP Railways PLC: Formed in 1988 to campaign for the reopening of the Cockermouth,
Keswick and Penrith railway (including to Workington), a newsletter has recently been issued
indicating that details of the project have been sent to all the shortlisted 'Northern' franchise bidders.
CKP also raises the profile of the line in other ways, ensure the protection of the track bed and seek
support from other stakeholders in the area. Their website http://goo.gl/jSpHvu is very good.
971] Crewe Gresty Lane (No1): From Monday 7 December this year this 1899 built LNWR type 4 signal
box (now with a 1978 Individual Function Switch panel) is due to be abolished and its area of control
transferred to a new entry / exit Gresty Lane panel at Crewe Signalling Control Centre.
972] Farnworth Tunnel: (BLN 1232.852) A member confirms that single line working started on 4 May.
Trains to Manchester cross from the Up to the Down Bolton at Farnworth North Jct. and cross back to
the Up Bolton at Farnworth South Jct. The line speed through the tunnel for passenger trains is 15mph
maximum. The in use Down tunnel appeared to have steel reinforcing meshes around the tunnel lining
presumably to prevent falling debris. At the north end of the Up tunnel there were plastic support
bases about two and half feet high with fencing on. Two were placed across the Up Bolton and then
placed to separate the Up Bolton from the Down Bolton. The track had been lifted and the sleepers
removed for several yards outside the tunnel and into the tunnel. At the south end of the Up tunnel
there is a substantial and high timber partition in place from the tunnel mouth which runs for about
50yds so the tunnel cannot be seen from passing trains. The plastic support bases and fencing then
recommence between the Up and Down Bolton. There was a stack of sleepers and several dozen rails
cut into about ten foot lengths on the embankment. The Up Bolton was in place at this point. Two
more plastic support bases and fencing were then in place across the Up Bolton. Those trains that are
running, even as a double (4-car) unit, are reportedly very busy during peak hours.
1233 SOUTH EAST - NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
973] Wisbech: (BLN 1219.1531) On 1 April the Fenland Citizen (and not April fooling) reported a
significant breakthrough for the branch reopening. MP Steve Barclay has received notification that the
Government will release £10.5M for the project providing the business case proves value for money.
To qualify, the benefit to cost ratio must show £1.50 in benefit for every £1 invested in the scheme.
Mr. Barclay says a draft of a technical report, which will be released in June, shows the project will
produce £1.90 to £3.70 in benefit for every £1 invested. The rail link, which is expected to cost £50M
to £70M, could boost the local economy by £13M and a coalition of private companies and local
authorities was launched last year to lobby the Government. He said that the confirmation from the
Cabinet Office was hugely significant. 'It means we can access the £10.5M from this June rather than
waiting until 2020.' The low bar for the benefit to cost ratio was set at £1.50 in a letter to
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles from Greg Clark, Minister for Universities, Science and Cities. Mr
Clark confirmed in the letter that the money could be invested in project development work to
progress the scheme through the assessment process. The GRIP 2 study results will be released in June
and Cambridgeshire CC has commissioned the GRIP 3 study which will go into greater detail.
BLN 1233.974] King's Lynn 1: On 7 April
Lynn News reported that work to remove
track from the A1078 John Kennedy Road
(just east of Alexandra Dock) did not go
ahead on 29 March as advisory signs for
motorists were not put out in time. It is
being rescheduled. After receiving
complaints about damage to vehicles, NR wants to remove the disused track from the level crossing
(TF61952058) still with full wooden gates on the dock branch. Although non-operational it is classed as
a line that NR has a responsibility to maintain. The crossing is well beyond the end of the former dock
branch shown in September 2006 TRACKmaps and current OS maps. It now terminates just after
passing underneath the A148, as a headshunt for the sidings where the Middleton Towers sand trains
975] King's Lynn 2: The station
refurbishment has included resigning
with BR style Eastern Region dark blue
nameboards and posters including
'BRITISH RAILWAYS' totem graphics. This
is historically accurate, and your Sub-
Editor supposes the use of capital letters
presents no legal issues (nor would
'British railways'), but 'British Railways'
would. A plaque in the entrance records
'opening' on 22 July 2014 by the Rt. Hon.
Michael Portillo with, again, a BR totem
at the top and First Capital Connect and
NR signs at the bottom. The station also
has metal replica totem nameboards,
correct in colour, size, style and font.
Your Sub-Editor counted ten. Whilst he
was on the 12.54 awaiting departure on
6 May, a topped and tailed Pullman set
arrived in the non-passenger platform
shown as 'carriage sidings' on
TRACKmaps Vol 2 p12B September 2006
(equivalent of P0, but unnumbered,
though it has some of the new totem
name boards). This resulted in the
Tennyson Avenue level crossing
incredibly being closed for three trains
(probably a rather unusual occurrence) as a train of sand from Middleton Towers was moving into
King's Lynn yard to run round at the same time. The Great Northern timetable poster, in normal
timetable style as opposed to alphabetical listing by destination, and their folder, both show buses to
Hunstanton, Burnham Market and Wells-next-the-Sea operated by Norfolk Green. (Both pictures on
previous page - Julian James.)
BLN 1233.976] Hatfield - St. Albans: Our correspondent reports on a walk of the route of this ex-GNR
line on 8 March last year. The big surprise walking along the surfaced foot and cycle path is the survival
of at least a platform at every station and halt, all the way. Although not very obvious from Hatfield
station, the trackbed path begins quite close to the point of divergence from the ECML (right of map):
Proceeding west, Lemsford Road Halt platform is on the left hand side though no buildings remain
(TL220087). The A1(M) gets in the way, requiring a short, but well sign posted, on-street diversion.
Then the trackbed passes as the Alban Way path under the original skew girder bridge itself beneath
the old A1 Great North Road (now the A1001). Then the path itself ascends, and next descends, the
platform end ramps of another halt now incorporated into the footpath. (Current maps identify the
path from here on as the Smallford Trail – Sub-Ed.) Nast Hyde Halt (TL210078) soon follows on the left
hand side, but is very overgrown with ivy, apart from one exposed end ramp. No buildings survive. It
was the first station from Hatfield still open when the passenger train service ceased on 1 October
1951. Smallford station (TL198072) followed on the right hand side in less than a mile. The platform,
or most of it, is still there. So too is the timber, or timber clad, station building, but this is almost
entirely hidden behind wooden and metal screens so that only the roof and chimney stacks are visible
from the trackbed. It appears to be occupied by a recycling or rubbish crushing enterprise which
clearly has issues about security! Nor can the station building be seen behind the entrance gate in the
old station yard due to piles of recyclable materials. Hill End Halt platform (TL177070) is extant on the
left hand side but there are no buildings now. (To be continued …)
977] Welwyn Garden City - Hertford North: (BLN 1232.857) The siding was a private siding to Page &
Welch's and Webb & Co's premises. On the 1897 OS 25" map the buildings are noted as Horns Mill
(Leather). The siding left the main line by a trailing junction at 26m 07ch on the Up side going under
Hertford viaduct No39 on the Hertford North line; curving south to terminate by the B158 road.
978] High Wycombe: The Bucks Free Press reported that a £4M project was to start in early May at the
station. Changes include a new footbridge replacing the existing subway between P2 and P3 and
lengthening of the northbound platform. This is said to be Chiltern's third busiest station. The subway
is to be closed from the beginning of June when the platform lengthening begins with a temporary
bridge in operation until work is complete. There have been concerns raised that the new footbridge
will spoil the view from the multi-storey car park! A large running in board on the down side says in
white letters on a black background (GWR style) 'High Wycombe former Junction for the Marlow and
Maidenhead Lines'. There was once a BR(W) cream and brown similar sign without the word 'former'.
BLN 1233.979] Needham Market: The former sub-standard Up platform has been re-built in the same
980] Chelmsford: (BLN 1215.1251) On 6 May an overhead wiring train was stabled in the low level
yard on the track nearest the Down Main and a road grab was moving aggregates heaped trackside.
981] Brentwood: A new trailing crossover was installed OOU on 4 May between the Up Electric and
Down Electric at the London end of the station. Signalling was commissioned on 10 May. It will permit
trains to turn round at Brentwood P4 in passenger service if necessary. The nearest other reversal
point on the London side is at Gidea Park, used by some peak hour workings from/to Liverpool Street.
982] Thatcham: Thatcham has a new steel footbridge with improved clearances for electrification (like
the new one at Tilehurst). It is further from the level crossing than the previous one was.
983] Theale - Aldermaston: Getreading reports that a bridge is to replace the Ufton level crossing
where a train collided with a car in 2004. A NR project team explained the plans at a display in
Sulhamstead Village Hall on 21 April. The crash close to the village was caused, an inquest concluded,
by Brian Drysdale, a chef at the nearby Wokefield Park Hotel, who committed suicide by parking his car
on the crossing. Seven people, including Mr Drysdale and the HST train driver, died and 71 people
were injured. Since then there have been several incidents of 'deliberate misuse' at the level crossing
including deaths in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014.
1233 SOUTH EAST ENGLAND - SOUTH
984] Margate: A new £925k forecourt at the station was 'officially opened' by Southeastern on 13
March. The company describes the forecourt as improving access to Margate station and acting as a
catalyst for regeneration of the surrounding area, making it easier for passengers to connect with
routes into the town. It includes upgrades to the car park, general improvements to the station
environment, new bus shelters, taxi points, additional waiting bays, cycle parking, improved signage,
upgraded lighting, refurbishment of the toilet facilities and a new accessible ticket office window.
985] A season ticket might be needed? (BLN 1232.859) On 30 April, despite appearances to the
contrary, the 01.05 Waterloo to Basingstoke did make the double reversal at Farnborough from the Up
Slow across to the Down Slow as booked. There is obviously considerable slack in the schedule, as it
arrived at Basingstoke 17 minutes early - and would have been even earlier if one passenger had not
pulled the emergency cord (to use old parlance). It did not, though, go via East Putney (for the second
morning running). The driver confirmed that he also made the double reversal at Farnborough on the
mornings of 28 and 29 April, again despite appearances to the contrary on Real Time Trains etc.
986] Meon Valley: A visit to The Meon Valley Trail on 14 February for a walk at West Meon station
found that it and the trackbed to the south had been cleared and was no longer overgrown. The Trail
has been upgraded during the past winter for 10 miles by devegetation and spreading of chippings in
an operation that has attracted the descriptions of being 'unnecessary urbanisation' and 'insensitive'.
Hampshire CC and the South Downs National Park insist the work will improve drainage, safety and
access. The section so 'afflicted' is between the former Wickham and West Meon stations.
987] Proposed Monorail: Surrey Heath Borough Council have received a hybrid planning application
from a company called Kamkorp Park Ltd. for the former British Oxygen Corporation site in Chertsey
Road, Windlesham. It comprises: 'Detailed application for two new wings to existing building,
extension to existing garage next to the clock tower, new monorail station and monorail track, two
new buildings for research and development, circular test road, gatehouse, cycle/waste storage
building and new access from Highams Lane. Outline application with all matters reserved for enlarged
test road and monorail track, new building for research and development, new monorail station,
extension to restaurant and small test building'. The monorail (for research and development
purposes) would be built in two phases, eventually having two stations. The application reference is
15/0067 and using this reference it is possible to find all the relevant documents and plans on the
Surrey Heath Borough Council website. As at 19 April there had been 17 comments received - all
against the application being approved! A future planning application is also expected for a BLS visit.
BLN 1233.988] Etchingham: The Sunday Telegraph has described the restoration by volunteer local
villagers of the 30 year derelict listed stationmaster's house and overgrown garden as their community
centre for meetings and classes. There is an award winning bistro http://goo.gl/o6Thml and a topiary
1233 SOUTH WEST ENGLAND
989] Paignton: P2 is the preferred platform where trains reverse after taking the facing crossover on
approach to the station. P1 (Down side) used by our GW Tracker III on 10 May last year was noted to
be rather rusty on 2 May. Beyond the station, NR's Goodrington Carriage Sidings are little used these
days except on summer Saturdays and for the occasional excursions.
990] Portishead: A specialist company has devegetated 3.3 miles of the branch, costing £120k and
taking 12 staff 5 weeks. This allows a full topographical survey of the line permitting the next stage of
engineering and design work to take place for scheduled passenger reopening in 2019. Earlier
clearance work allowed engineers access to structures for surveying. A third phase is planned on some
parts of the freight line in Pill. The branch closed to passengers from 7 September 1964.
991] Stroud: (BLN 1227.374) A member, who was a signalman at Bristol Panel Box from 1975 to 1985,
was then required to attend signalling classes. During one such class, attendees were shown a silent
film about Single Line Working between Stroud and Sapperton. He recalls that the class erupted into
laughter at two points. Firstly, where the Chief Signalling Inspector, Hughie Leonard, was seen to be
speaking without making a sound (he was known to be a bit of an orator) and secondly when a
pilotman, Owen Gibbs, a relief signalman from Swindon, was spotted not wearing the regulation
armband. The presenter, Bernard Price, a supervisor at Bristol PSB, did not appreciate the laughter!
1233 WEST MIDLANDS
992] Barnt Green: (BLN 1232.865) The Up Goods from Barnt Green Jct. to Halesowen Jct. has
reopened. A GBRF freight train was seen using it on 25 April waiting to come off before Longbridge.
993] Bromsgrove: (BLN 1232.864) Opening of the new station has been postponed from the original
date of May until November 2015. The project is a 'third party scheme', promoted by Centro and
Worcestershire CC and is being delivered by NR. Work started on the new site, 450m south of the
current station, in 2014. The main delay is the need for more extensive ground decontamination than
the trial pits had revealed. It is a difficult location, the site of the old locomotive depot and a more
recent large oil terminal. The decontamination work, probably four times greater than predicted, is
just concluding. This involves a deep dig, removal of spoil and replacement with clean fill, mostly in the
area that will be the new car park west of the station. The new (initially with the two inner platforms in
use) and the old stations will use the existing timetable up until the December 2016 timetable change,
when electric trains (3tph) are due to start. Part of the work to electrify the line is immunisation of the
existing signalling equipment between Barnt Green and Bromsgrove, which needs a complete
signalling renewal with control transferred from Gloucester PSB to the West Midlands SCC. NR is re-
planning this project. NR has a regulatory requirement to have Barnt Green to Bromsgrove energised
by July 2016 (bridge clearance work is going well) and is currently in negotiation with train and freight
operators about the access requirements for major infrastructure and signalling work.
994] Kingsbury: (BLN 1232.868) Siding 2 has now been re-laid along the whole of its length to Trinity
Road Bridge and the work appears to be completed with no other sidings being involved.
BLN 1233.995] Midland Metro St. Georges: The lengthened platform only has track on the left side
and can take a double tram. All services are single units which stop at the Birmingham end well short
of the buffers.
1233 YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE
996] Queensbury: (BLN 1202.230) Work to drain the Queensbury tunnel which has been flooded for
some years is the first stage of the ambitious project to create a new underground 1½ mile cycleway.
On 7 May Highways England, responsible for the upkeep of the tunnel, set up a pumping station on its
south side in Strines Cutting which was full of water. Once the water has gone, officers will be able to
access the tunnel and examine its condition ahead of emergency repairs later this year and a decision
over its future. It is thought that parts of it may have collapsed. The Queensbury Community Heritage
Action Partnership has ambitious plans to make the tunnel, which closed in 1960, into a major cycling
attraction linking Halifax with Bradford and Cullingworth. Cycling group Sustrans has backed the plans.
997] Bridlington: (BLN 1232.875) Up to 1983 this was a very impressive station with 8 platforms and
noted for extensive summer floral displays. The original station, P1&2, were located west of the
current one and opened on 6 October 1846 as terminus of the 'York and North Midland Railway' line
from Hull; P3 added later was a bay for Malton services. P1&2 were taken OOU in March 1983 and
demolished to build housing. The present concourse and station (Grade II listed) and the long through
P4&5 now in use were added in 1912; bay 'excursion platforms' 6-8 were built on the east side after
WW1 to cope with heavy traffic. P7&8 were either side of a long straight platform on the east side of
the station with no facilities or connection with the main station, being accessed by separate gates
from the platform between the buffer stops. A local member recalls that latterly bay P7 was only used
on a Sunday morning by an outgoing service (arriving ECS), he did it on Sunday 10 May 1998 after
hearing it was about to finish, and the last such working may well have been the 17th (the timetable
changed on 24 May that year). He is not aware of any passenger use since or for P8, which used to be
used by occasional excursions and latterly was a siding. Some of the track is lifted at the buffer stop
(north) ends in both now….
Above: Bridlington station on 22 March. Top: Looking north; P1-3 was behind the fence to the far left,
P4 & 5 are the though platforms left; the DMU is in bay P6 and former excursion P7 & P8 are right.
Below: Looking the opposite way (south towards Hull) gives a completely different impression! The
line from P8 is far left (secured OOU at the point); after the next (rusty) line from P7 joins the single
track then splits (just visible round the curve) to form the Up Excursion Line and the Down Excursion
Line. Thus there are briefly four tracks compared with the single Scarborough line north of the station.
Trains from Hull can terminate in Bridlington P4 (furthest right line) and return in passenger service
over the facing crossover shown. The other two middle lines are from bay P6 (left) & P5 (right) Far
right the white faced wall shows the route of the former P1 track. (Both pictures Alan Sheppard.)
On Sunday 31 July 1977 your then carless (but certainly not careless) Chairman kindly hired a vehicle to
take himself, his wife and the Editor to Welbeck Colliery for the 08.00 departure from the colliery
excursion platform (in practice very low and short, boarding was by ladders). This was the annual
Miner's Welfare institute charter (as mentioned in PSUL at the time) with two other BLS members on
board. The train was a pretty full 12 coach train class 47 'top and tail' on the 2m 63ch Welbeck branch
at a time when railtours were not allowed on such lines. After reversal at the junction the train lost its
then rear loco, although was double headed down the branch on its return in the evening. The
excursion (£2 return) ran to Bridlington P8 and left there with the last coach on the blocks, in
retrospect the highlight of a long day (Welbeck Colliery return was 20.15; Birmingham left at 04.45 was
reached at 22.25). During the 6 hours in Bridlington, the unusual Filey Holiday Camp branch station
(still with a few trains summer SO and due to close imminently) was visited by bus.
BLN 1233.998] Galway Bay: (BLN 1232.879) On 25 April a visiting member observed the 15.35 from
Dublin, formed of a 4-car Inter City Railcar, arrive in the bay platform. From a rough measurement, it
appeared that a 5-car would fit also. His arrival into it at 17.59 was unusually via the right hand Galway
loop, with the 17.50 departure to Limerick having been held on the left hand main line (both lines are
reversible but this is the opposite of what normally happens!). The ex-Dublin unit then formed the
18.10 to Athlone, with the following service, the 18.40 to Ennis, having been stabled the whole time in
the main single platform under the roof! The 18.40 departure then crossed the next arrival in Galway
loop, the 16.30 from Dublin, again unusually right hand running with the first arrival waiting on the
BLN 1233.999] Limerick - Tralee: (BLN 1230.662) A reliable local source reports the North Kerry line
was last weedsprayed in 1984 (with photographic evidence; GM loco 175 hauled the train). In 1983 it
was loco 172 and 209 in 1982 on the train. No evidence has been found of weed spraying since 1984.
1000] Clonsilla - M3 Parkway: (BLN 1232.878 final item) A member obtained the following distances in
decimal miles, first with GPS, checking with Google: Clonsilla 7.13 (after Platform extensions), Clonsilla
bay 7.22, Junction 7.35, Hansfield 7.91, Dunboyne 10.36, M3 Parkway 11.58 and end of line 11.77.
1001] Signalboxes: (BLN 1216.1346) In response to a member's enquiry, NR kindly supplied
information in March about transfer of signalling control to the Railway Operating Centres (ROCs):
West of Scotland Signalling Centre: (Will this be the ROC?) Annan to Barrhead 2023/4. Stranraer line
2021 and its Traffic Management i.e. European Train Control System (ETCS) the cab-based signal-free
signalling which is a component of the ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System). Yoker IECC
April 2022 and ETCS. Motherwell North/South 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 respectively.
Edinburgh ROC: Greenhill Jct., Carmuirs East Jct., Grangemouth Jct., Larbert North, Stirling Middle /
North, Stirling to Alloa and Kincardine, Dunblane and Greenloaning all in 2017. Stanley Jct. to Blair
Atholl 2021/2. Arbroath to Aberdeen 2024/5. Cupar to Dundee 2025/6. Fort William to Banavie 2025
and Banavie RETB 2040.
Inverness ROC: Nairn and Forres in 2017; Elgin in 2018; Aviemore, Dyce and Inverurie in 2019;
Dalwhinnie, to what is described as 'North Aviemore', 2022/3. Insch to Keith both inclusive in 2023.
No planned dates: Longannet, Fouldubs Jct. and Blackford to Longforgan. Carnoustie is not on the list
but, along with mention of the level crossing closing, is quoted on some websites as going in 2016.
1002] Glasgow Queen Street 2016 closure: (BLN 1232.832/884) The expectation is that trains between
Cowlairs and Queen Street Low Level will run in via Anniesland and out via Springburn.This makes
pathing easier through the junctions at Anniesland, Hyndland and Bellgrove and eliminates the need to
recess Down trains waiting the single line from Anniesland to Maryhill. A consultative timetable is
being published, with some trains expected to terminate short at Bishopbriggs, Springburn etc. The
problem is servicing and reversing Inverness and Aberdeen trains; dwell time is an issue, as are ECS
moves. Glasgow Central High Level has been used for past diversions.
1003] Tweedbank: (BLN 1232.882/3) On Tuesday 12 May, the first NR test train, with DBSO 9702 and
DRS loco 37604 formed a 04.56 Millerhill - Prestonpans - Waverley - Tweedbank and 17.00 return.
1004] 'LevenMouth' Rail Campaign: (LMRC) See (MR63) later. This group promotes reopening of the
line between Thornton Jct. and Leven (last day of regular passenger service was Saturday 4 October
1969). Leven is now said to be the largest urban population (37,000) in Scotland NOT rail served
despite having a 'high standard' mothballed 5 mile line from Thornton. The first ¾ mile is used by a WO
16.53 coal traffic from the Earlseat Hall opencast site to Hunterston Low Level terminal, passing by
Longannet Power Station without calling in (so presumably for blending?). There is much of interest on
the LMRC website http://goo.gl/oSykJg including an online petition. Their next public meeting is at
18.30 on Wednesday 15 July at Unit 5, Fife Renewables Innovation Centre, Methil Docks KY8 3RS.
1005] Inveramsay: (BLN 1225.196) Earthworks for the new road over-bridge on the A96 road between
Inverurie and Insch have obliterated the trackbed of the Macduff branch at the former Inveramsay Jct.
Hopefully the nearby branch line bridge over the River Urie (formerly Ury) might remain intact.
BLN 1233.1006] Ballater: (BLN 1216.1349): The station building, (eventual terminus of the Deeside
railway from Aberdeen OP by the Great North of Scotland Railway 17 October 1866) was 90%
destroyed by a fire on Tuesday 12 May. CP from 28 February (and CG 18 July) 1966, the building
included Queen Victoria's waiting room (when en route to/from Balmoral Castle) which eventually
became a museum; there was also a shop and restaurant and latterly a replica of a royal rail saloon
used by the Queen. She was not amused by the 1883 proposed branch extension past Balmoral to
Braemar which never happened!
1007] Ebbw Vale Town: (BLN 1231.812) The 1m 32ch single track extension from Ebbw Vale Parkway
was available from 10 May, initially for train crew route learning. The permissible speed through
Parkway is 30mph as far as 19m 51ch, then 50mph to 19m 63ch, and 15mph to the new Town station,
measured at 19m 67ch. Fixed distant PJ1920 is relocated to 19mi 50ch, and the line ends with a 150m
(164 yd) platform and a sliding friction-type buffer stop.
1008] Aberdare again: (BLN 1231.813) Our correspondent reminds us that the old Aberdare High
Level station (CP 15 June 1964) was retained for excursion traffic, until replaced by the current station
(OP 3 October 1988) on the opposite side of the line and around 20yds to the south. The former
station building survives, once the BR Area Manager's office, but is now empty and locked up. Nothing
remains at the site of Trecynon Halt, other than the access path from the street to platform level,
blocked by a high locked gate. At Hirwaun, the platforms survive, in poor condition, but no buildings; a
few rails behind the station mark the siding to the former Allen's brickworks (latterly GR-Stein) and the
start of the ARC Penderyn Quarry line (visited by BLS trips), closed in 1985 and now a public footpath
BLN 1233.1009] Rhondda Tunnel: (BLN 1230.674) To access the tunnel, the inspection team had to
squeeze through an 18-inch pipe from an inspection cover in Blaencwm. A formal report to the Historic
Railways Estate is awaited, but initial comments indicates that the condition inside is no worse that it
was 40 years ago, raising hopes of the Rhondda Tunnel Society that their ambitious scheme may prove
practicable. Indeed, the Welsh Government has already commissioned a feasibility study.
1010] Treforest Curve (Penarth!): (BLN 1231.814) The re-doubled line between Penarth Curve North
Jct. and Radyr Branch Jct. was commissioned from 11 May. The former single line is designated the
Down Treforest but remains bi-directionally signalled (not least to allow access to Canton Depot at the
Ninian Park end). The new Up Treforest is unidirectional and services from Cardiff Central to Ninian
Park have been using it. The Down Barry Relief becomes the Up Treforest at Radyr Branch Jct. and
continues as the new track, with new signal CF2550 protecting Penarth Curve North Jct. Existing signal
CF2559 at Radyr Branch Jct, will display 'N' for the Up Treforest, or 'T' for the Down Treforest.
1011] Aber*stw*th: (BLN 1229.592) An eagle-eyed observer saw that the Euston surviving western
gatehouse (now Euston Tap public house https://goo.gl/jIPSmg ) shows 'Aberystwith' in listing places
served by the ex-LNWR. (Picture previous page, thanks to Richard Maund, but did you spot it too?)
1012] Carmarthen - Aberystwyth: Campaigners have presented a petition to the Welsh Government,
urging investigation into the feasibility of reinstating this line. Although some political support has
been gathered, the Minister remains thus far non-committal. At 56 miles, it would be a far greater
magnitude project than Scotland's Borders railway and inevitably, much trackbed has been sold off.
1233 MINOR RAILWAYS
MR61] Crewe Heritage Centre, Cheshire (MR p8 & p13) (BLN 1151.MR217): A Railwayana auction was
held here on 25 April 2015 and advance advertising stated that 'Brake Van Rides' would be available.
However, a visit found that was not the case - the running line was partly blocked by stabled
locomotives and stock. Indeed the rails looked quite rusty. However, a class 03 shunter and brake van
were coupled together on the running line - but trapped by the stabled stock. No explanation was
given as to why rides were not operating. Both Crewe 'A' and Exeter West signal boxes were open - the
latter being manned by two signalmen and running a full timetable simulation. Crewe North box was
also open and being operated. The 7¼" gauge miniature railway was in operation, but only running the
straight section, behind the APT parallel to the mainline, between Midge Bridge and Forge End
stations. The branch to Crewe Old Works was not used (presumably due to increased road traffic over
the level crossing), the site being very busy with people visiting the auction (held in the Exhibition
Hall). In use was 2-4-0 Jenny (a Ffestiniog Linda type) hauling three sit astride coaches. The loco ran-
round at each end. The fare was 50p for all classes and on this day, admission to the site was free.
MR62] East Lancashire Railway, Greater Manchester (MR p8): The railway may have lost £18k after a
glass firm helping with the renovation of Bury Bolton Street station canopy went into administration.
The money was paid in advance to Paperlinx, which was supplying roof glazing for the canopy.
However, the firm is now under the control of administrators Deloitte. Deloitte said in a statement:
'The administrators are looking into this payment and will report directly to the charity [the railway]
when they are able to provide an update'. The railway's general manager Andy Morris said, 'We are
absolutely devastated by what's happened and we're still struggling to come to terms with what this
will ultimately mean for the future of the canopy project. The sum of money involved is very substantial
for a charity such as ours and it is particularly upsetting bearing in mind the funds were raised through
donations and other benefaction. We shall be taking legal advice about what rights we have in
circumstances such as this but at the moment it doesn't look very encouraging'.
BLN 1233.MR63] Kingdom of Fife Railway Preservation Society, Fife (BLN 1228.510) (MR p10): A
member visited this Leven site on 26 April 2015. They intend to have further open days on 31 May, 28
June (Leven Vintage Vehicle Rally), 26 July, 6 & 27 September and 25 October, check
http://goo.gl/I0VJni The Society owns the former Kirkland Yard site and has a running line about half a
mile long on it. There is a modern maintenance shed, built with lottery funding. Of the diesel shunting
locomotives on site, at least three appear to be runners. All were originally in industrial or military use;
none is ex-BR. There is also an 0-4-0 steam locomotive, Lochgelly No10, in course of restoration - but it
looks as if it will be some time before it is in steam. However, live steam was represented by a traction
engine, and a number of other historic road vehicles were on display. A North British 0-4-0 diesel
shunter was in operation; this was former RAF locomotive 400 River Eden. It was giving rides on the
running line, with passengers travelling in a 'Shark' goods brake van. There are no passenger carriages
in use, but a former Norwegian Railways' brake vehicle is being converted for passenger service. The
train starts from outside the maintenance shed, but there are plans to build a passenger platform on
another track (yet to be laid) further north. There are some operational semaphore signals, worked
from a Stevens & Son ground frame. This is of interest in that two of the levers are marked 'To Michael
Colliery Signal' and 'From Michael Colliery Signal'. This was at East Wemyss and closed following an
underground fire in 1967 that caused the death of nine men. The train reversed about 100 yds short of
the end of the line, in order to avoid passing over a footpath crossing. Remains of a footbridge that
crossed over both the yard and the Methil branch line can be found here. The Society's running line is
approximately parallel with the OOU Methil branch, but has no connection to it. A volunteer operating
the train told our reporter that they would like to run trains on the branch, between Cameron Bridge
and Leven. Discussions with NR about this have stalled due to proposals to re-open the line for a
regular passenger service (see Scottish section). Meantime, the NR line is heavily overgrown. There are
no signs to the Society's site; reached via Leven Vale, off the B933 at the roundabout north of B&Q.
MR64] Threlkeld Quarry Railway, Cumbria CA12 4TT (MR p14) (BLN 1188.MR127): A visit was made to
this 700yd 2ft gauge railway (NY328244) on 23 April 2015 for the 15.00 diesel hauled train, with two
open and two closed coaches. The main purpose of the visit was arriving at the new top end station
and realignment (as covered by our Society railtour of 18 May 2014), installed since our reporter's last
visit. The weather was one of the hottest days of the year so far; but there were few visitors. The train
left on time with four passengers and, after arrival at the new station, a brief talk was given on mining
at Threlkeld. Of interest to our readers is the new passenger extension now being built, bypassing the
present station by the locomotive shed continuing to the entrance where a new museum, café and
railway station is under construction. The current buildings dating from the early 1980s will be
demolished and the present car park reserved for exhibits. Visitors will no longer be able to drive into
the site; instead, they will park at the entrance and catch the train. Tracklaying should be complete this
year with possible opening at Easter 2016; weather permitting. For anyone who wants to do the
station and old layout before it goes, the museum opens daily from Easter to the end of October 10.00
to 17.00 but check train operation at [email protected] or 01768 779747.
MR65] Poole Park Railway, Dorset (MR p15) (BLN 1200.MR3): The railway suffered a derailment on
Monday 23 March 2015. The first two trips were completed safely. However, on the train's next run,
the third coach, in which three passengers were travelling, tipped over onto its side. One passenger
was taken to hospital as a precaution and discharged after being checked over by doctors. Chris Bullen,
owner and operator of the railway claimed the derailment was not an accident. Chris said: 'We are
99.9 per cent sure after the second run on the day somebody has actually jammed a big piece of wood
in the points. As the train went across by the little bridge, it derailed the rear carriage and it has rocked
over. We are asking people to be vigilant in the park and to report anything untoward. It is almost
certainly malicious. The train has been running for decades and there has never been any problem. It's
safe as houses. To run these things you have to have so many safety inspections'. A safety run is carried
out every morning before passengers are carried and the track is also walked, he said, adding that a
piece of wood was found afterwards, which showed signs of having been jammed into the points.
BLN 1233.MR66] North Ings Narrow Gauge Railway, Lincolnshire (MR p20) (BLN 1180.MR46): Set
deep in the Lincolnshire countryside between Ruskington and Metheringham, this delightfully rustic
2ft gauge railway was visited on Sunday 3 May 2015. Arriving at around 11.30, the earlier wet weather
meant no visitors were actually expected that day - so our two Society members were warmly
welcomed! They were glad to be invited to join the train on the shed road and therefore selected the
coach at the rear of the consist! In use was 4wDM Bullfinch (HE7120 of 1969) with three covered
coaches from the closed Abbey Light Railway in Leeds. The railway is formed of a circuit of around
400yd. The main station, adjacent to the entrance building and sheds, is 'Pear Tree Junction', which
has a rough platform - on which there is a signal box with a 14 lever frame (part of the frame from
Skellingthorpe near Lincoln). The line winds downhill to reach a lake, where another rough platform -
'Fishermans Halt' - can be used to visit the lake. The circuit is completed by running back uphill to Pear
Tree Junction. A cut off line through the middle of the circuit is used for stock storage. As well as the
railway, there are a number of tractors and other farm implements on display. Adult admission is £3,
which includes rides on the train. Tea and coffee is available. The atmosphere is wonderful and all is
very basic; no fancy interactive displays here! A visit is thoroughly recommended. Public opening is on
the first Sunday of the month from April to October, 10.00-17.00. Unfortunately, its remote location
means access by public transport is difficult; the nearby GN&GE Joint line passenger service is SuX.
MR67] Apedale Valley Light Railway, Staffordshire (MR p23) (BLN 1228.MR29): National Grid has
continued its support for the Moseley Railway Trust, owners of this 2ft gauge railway, by donating the
final locomotive to operate in the Woodhead Tunnels. Built in 1993 by Alan Keef Ltd (works number
46), the diesel locomotive was used at the National Grid's cable tunnels. Fitted with a Deutz air-cooled
engine, it has already impressed Trust members with its ease of use. Initial assessments suggest that
the installation of air brakes should be feasible, allowing the use of the locomotive on regular
passenger trains. There are now four ex-Woodhead tunnel locomotives at Apedale: a Hudson diesel, a
pair of Clayton battery locomotives and now the Alan Keef locomotive. Along with the locomotive, the
rolling stock used in the tunnel has also been donated comprising a manrider and seven wagons. This
gives the Trust the opportunity to display the complete train to visitors as originally run at Woodhead.
MR68] Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway, Devon (MR p34) (BLN 1013.MR40): The Railway had a Royal
visitor on Friday 17 April 2015. Princess Anne rode on the 3ft 9in gauge water powered funicular
railway to mark its 125th anniversary, meeting 'descendants' (!) of the original engineer, George Marks.
A commemorative plaque was unveiled and the £3.70 return fare (50p for local residents) was waived
for the day. Unfortunately for our local reporter, he could not take advantage of this exceptional offer
to traverse required track, as he had to leave to attend the Society's West Somerset Railway fixture.
1233 OTHERS' DOINGS:
A service to members and details must be checked with the organisers Please mention the Branch line Society when booking/enquiring.
1013] Railway Walk RCH North West, Thursday 28 May: Co-lead by our member Allan Brackenbury, 7
miles with shorter options, following the East Lancashire Railway (ELR) from Helmshore to Bury, non-
members welcome. Catch the X41 bus from Manchester Chorlton Street (Stand EZ) at 10.10 to
Helmshore, Gregory Field (11.00). The walk is to Helmshore station then along or near the track bed of
the former Stubbins Branch and the Irwell Sculpture Trail alongside the preserved ELR to Ramsbottom
(lunch break). There are various options from Ramsbottom or Bury by bus/Metrolink to Manchester.
1014] Signal Box Visits: RCTS (Thames Valley) available to BLS members with thanks to Stuart Hicks.
Apply (with membership number and organisation) to: [email protected] 02070660480 (day).
1] Marylebone IECC: 19.00 on Monday 15 June (applications close on 27 May)
2] Oxford signal box: 16.00-19.00 in the near future (date to be determined); very small groups at a
time. For both visits orange hi-viz jackets may be needed; charity donations apply (minimum £5).
1015] Grantchester Woodland Railway, Sun 14 June 11.45: Cambridge _ reminder see (BLN 1230.679).
BLN 1233.1016] 'Down the Track', 9 May-18 July: At Chesterfield Museum, St. Mary's Gate S41 7TD
(M,Th,F & SO 10.00-16.00) interactive exhibition; history and development of local railways, free entry.
1017] Twyford Water Works, Sun 7 June: (SU493249) 1½ miles east of Shawford station. Hazeley Rd,
Twyford, Winchester, SO21 1QA, 11.00-16.00 Open Day/Railway Gala. A unique preserved Edwardian
Water Pumping Station with everything open (steam, diesel, gas and water driven pumping engines).
Separate lime kiln and quarry industrial narrow gauge railways with petrol, diesel and battery locos in
operation. NO RIDES. Guided tours, stands, model railways, tea room and BBQ. £5 Adults, £4 OAP etc.
1018] 'The Warwickshire Wanderer', Saturday 4 July: Hastings (approx. 06.35/21.50) and variously to
Clapham Junction (08.45/19.15) for Leamington Spa (11.15/16.30), Warwick or Stratford-upon-Avon
(11.55/15.45) via Neasden Curve in both directions in the preserved Hastings DMU. For booking form
see http://goo.gl/eHLkWf or send SAE to Hastings Diesels Ltd (Tours) Railway Depot, Bridgeway, St.
Leonards-on-Sea, TN38 8AP. £62 standard class; queries [email protected] 01424 812254.
1019] London Railway Memorials Pt. 2, Sat 11 July: Thanks to member Don Kennedy, a new London
tour by rail and on foot. King's Cross (10.00) visiting railway-related memorials of many kinds, ends at
another London terminus (17.00). Max party 20; advance bookings only [email protected] 020
8567439 or 63 Disraeli Road, London W5 5HS. The first tour (see BLN 1323.1942) was repeated; those
unable to make the 11 July can express an interest in a repeat of Part 2, likely an autumn Saturday.
1020] Tubespotting, 14 July: 19.00-20.00 at Covent Garden by comedian Geoff Marshall who is trying
to beat the Guinness world record holder's fastest time for travelling the whole Underground. £10
adults, £8 concessions; NO UNDER 18s! http://goo.gl/UxhQZh or 020 75657298 open 10.00-17.30.
1021] Richmond Light Railway, Saturday 15 August 2015: (MR p19) (BLN 1218.MR174) The 2014
inaugural Summer Charity Steam Fair at this 2' gauge, ½ mile, railway raised £1,600 for the Dandelion
Trust and Kent Air Ambulance. This year's only chance to ride here will, subject to availability, have
two steam and one or two visiting internal combustion locos operating passenger and mixed freight
trains, with some of the home diesel fleet operating during the afternoon. Also full size traction
engines, portable steam engines, vintage cars and old fair style children's games. 11.00 to 16.00
advance ticket only. Refreshments for sale throughout the day; free parking. £10 adults and £5 child
(up to 16) with unlimited rides; all profits go to the above charities. Please mention the Branch Line
Society when booking, clearly state names (also numbers of adults and children), send an SAE with
cheques, payee 'J. MARTIN' to RLR, Richmond Farm, New Barn Rd, Hawkenbury, Kent, TN12 0EE,
(TQ809462). NB: a strictly private site with no access outside of the open day. Tickets first come first
served, not sold at the gate on the day and no access without a ticket. Queries: [email protected]
E-BLN Caption Competition: (BLN 1232 last page) Some of the
entries that we could actually print (in no particular order):
'Mrs. Adlam? I'll just get Kev from the boardroom ….'
'The original mobile phone; travels all over the country!'
'I wish to complain - when I asked for a cab ride I wanted
'Sorry, driver, but AA Route Planner says turn left at the
next set of lights’
'Kev wants to go where??!!'
Who wrote the list of raffle winner in invisible ink?
'Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will
sacrifice everything else for it. But unfortunately we still can't get into Preston Carriage Sidings today'
(For those not aware, 86259 used to be named 'Peter Pan' this caption is based on the book's style.)
E-BLN 1233] Guess the location - a former branch line terminus (by Iain Scotchman 1 March 2015!)…
E-BLN Addendum: We have been asked by several members to mention that the Pathfinder Tours
'Don and Went' railtour on Saturday 6 June has been nominated as a Terry Flavell Memorial Railtour.
Terry was a well-known Society member from Burton-on-Trent who sadly passed away after a long
illness in May 2014. The 'Don and Went' http://goo.gl/8hHZCD is the type of day out he really enjoyed
and we miss his dry humour, ribaldry and shin kicking. With this in mind Pathfinder have decided to
nominate this train as a 'Terry Flavell Memorial Railtour' and will use this occasion to raise funds for
Cancer Research UK nominated by Sue, his loving partner, and his good friend Tony Beresford. Please
pass this information on to anyone who might be interested, particularly those who do not see e-BLN.
Distribution: Dave Monger, 6 Underhill Close, GODALMING, GU7 1NU. [email protected]. 07592 585230.
Branch Line: Nick Garnham, [email protected]; Subscribe: [email protected].
Fixtures Secretary: Kev Adlam, 53 Kemble Close, Wistaston, CREWE CW2 6XN. [email protected]. Twitter: @BLSGeneralSec
General Secretary: Tim Wallis, 10 Sandringham Road, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. [email protected].
Chairman: John Williamson, 'La Marguerite', Croit-E-Quill Rd., LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7JD. [email protected].
SALES: Mark Gomm, 84 Mornington Road, STOKE-ON-TRENT, ST1 6EL. [email protected]. 01782 769960 (daytime).
NEWS TEAM: Wales: Paul Jeffries, 54 Heol Erwin, CARDIFF, CF14 6QR. [email protected].
South East England, East Anglia & Ireland: Julian James, 58 Nelson Road, WORTHING, BN12 6EN. [email protected].
London: Geoff Brockett, 155 Onslow Gardens, South Woodford, LONDON, E18 1NA. [email protected].
Midlands & South West England: Brian Schindler, 15 Sudeley, Dosthill, TAMWORTH, B77 1JR. [email protected].
Northern England & Isle of Man: Graeme Jolley, 3 Laurel Cottages, Rencell Hill, LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7BJ. [email protected].
Scotland: Bob Watt, 18 Kilmailing Road, GLASGOW, G44 5UJ. [email protected].
Minor Railways (British Isles): Peter Scott, 93 Josephine Court, Southcote Rd, READING, RG30 2DQ. [email protected].
International: Paul Griffin, 7 School Bell Mews, Church Lane, Stoneleigh, COVENTRY, CV8 3ZZ. [email protected].
E-BLN (Distribution problems and for image submission etc): Dave Cromarty, [email protected].
Editor/Head Lines: Paul Stewart, 4 Clarence Close, MALVERN, WR14 3HX. [email protected]. 01684 562862 or 07790652351.
Printed by Deva Enterprises, Waters Edge, The Drive, Ifold, LOXWOOD, West Sussex RH14 0TD, tel: 01403 752837, [email protected]
or [email protected] . Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Rd, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947