Number 1322 (Items 235 - 357 & MR 17 - MR 26) (E-BLN 65 PAGES) 9 Feb 2019
BRANCH LINE NEWS
…………… Respice in praeteritum, praesens et futurum
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society - founded 1955
Membership Enquiries, Alan Welsh [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Avenue, Epsom, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from member7s2; 8a6n7i7nternational section is available.
Opinions herein are not necessaarivlyaitlahbolsee. of the Compilers or the Society.
BLN 1323 is dated Sat 23 Feb; please send contributions by Wed 13 Feb.
Date Event and details = Please Book Online BLN Lead Status
Sat 23 Feb 17.00 Woodhorn Railway: APPLY FOR WAITING LIST 1318 MG FULL
ciety. Society. 1317 MG FULL
Sun 24 Feb Tyne & Wear Metro WAITING LIST
tour, 08.40 - 16.05;
Wed 27 Feb The Swanage Shunters; APPLY FOR WAITING LIST 1318 MG FULL
Sun 10 Mar Private Woodfield Light (farewell visit) & Ashton Park Railways, Bristol Claimed
Sat 23 Mar The Marching Crompton II, Class 33 UPDATE BELOW BELOW MG OPEN
Sat 23 Mar The Weymouth Walkabout to Weymouth Quay etc 1318 TG OPEN
Sat 23 Mar *NEW* Weymouth Rio Grande Railway (10¼" gauge) BELOW MG OPEN
Sun 24 Mar The Ruby Vampire - The Second Bite; APPLY WAITING LIST 1318 MG FULL
30 - 31 Mar Save the date, North Wales weekend POSTPONED - TBA TBA TBA Claimed
TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 6 Apr Save the date, provisional track tour to East Anglia TBA TBA Claimed
BELOW MG *OPEN*
Sun 14 Apr Weston, Nantwich Methodist Church & Willaston Railways BELOW MG *OPEN*
Fri 26 Apr The Bo'ness Bonus (Bo'ness etc to Crewe single journey) BELOW MG *OPEN*
Sat 27 Apr The Gourock Growler; Track & Traction tour from Crewe BELOW MG OPEN
Sun 28 Apr The Sunday Shed (single journey Crewe to Bo'ness etc) 1319 KA NOTIFY
TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 4 May K&ESR The Andrew Wilson (Brillo) Memorial Charter TBA TBA Claimed
16-18 May Island of Ireland IV - a few places left Thur. Fri & Sat
Sun 19 May Cork - Dublin Heuston (for evening flights), Rare Track tour
Thur 13 Jun Save the date, annual Pre-Peaks Challenge Railtour
Sun 16 Jun Father's Day Fawley Hill Railway tour POSTPONED - TBA TBA TBA Claimed
7 and 8 Jul Sun and Mon; save the dates for Devon service train tracker TBA TBA Claimed
26 - 28 Jul Society rare track tour in southern Austria; notify interest 1318 PG Notify
Mon 26 Aug 09.30-18.30 Scunthorpe Steeler :No19: railtour TBA TBA Claimed
15 - 17 Nov Provisional, Barrow Hill AGM weekend with Sunday railtour TBA TBA Claimed
KA = Kev Adlam; MG = Mark Gomm; PG = Paul Griffin; TG = Tom Gilby; Contact details on back page.
235] :The Marching Crompton II Track & Traction tour - Sat 23 Mar:: A West Coast Railways Class 33 leads
from Crewe to Weymouth with a WCR 47/57 providing heat from the rear. In conjunction with the 71A
Locomotive Group, 33012 will double head with the WCR Class 33 returning to Crewe. Provisionally: Crewe
P12 PU 05.30 - Shrewsbury P4 PU 06.21 - Church Stretton PU 06.35 - Hereford PU 07.28 - Maindee East Jn
:East Usk Yard: (different line to 'The Positioning Move' requested) :Severn Tunnel Junction P4 (PU 09.10):
- Up Tunnel Loop - Up Pilning Loop - Filton No1 Jn - Filton Abbey Wood P1 - Horfield Jn - Dn Filton Relief -
Lawrence Hill P2 - Dr Day's Jn - Bristol ('Rhubarb') Loop - N Somerset Jn - Bath Spa PU 10.20 - Bathampton
UPL - Westbury Up Reception - Frome - Castle Cary P2 - Yeovil Pen Mill P3 - Weymouth P3 (90 min break) -
Pen Mill P1 - Castle Cary P3 - Westbury Dn Reception - Bath Spa SD 16.35 - Oldfield Park DGL - (Bristol) E
Depot Goods Loop - Bristol ('Rhubarb') Loop - Lawrence Hill P1 - Up Filton Relief - Horfield Jn - Filton Abbey
Wood P2 - Bristol Parkway UPL - Up Charfield Loop - Gloucester Up Relief (a 'middle' line) - 'Dn Lydney
Goods Loop' - Severn Tunnel Dn Relief (P1) - Llanwern Dn Service Line - Maindee North Jn - Abergavenny
UGL - Pontrilas UGL - Hereford P2 SD 20.05 - Church Stretton SD 20.50 - Sutton Bridge UGL - Shrewsbury
SD 21.15 - Crewe P12 SD 22.00. BLS Members: £84 Standard; £139 First Class Plus with refreshments (table
for two fully booked). U18 (must be accompanied by adult): £42 off all fares. Non BLS Members £12 extra.
Important please advise where you intend to join/alight (can be changed). Please book on our website for
an immediate confirmation, otherwise post** with membership number(s) and preferably an email
address or an SAE to Mark Gomm, Bookings Officer per back page. Queries to Mark, email preferred.
236] :The Weymouth Walkabout - Sat 23 Mar:; Tom Gilby is leading a leg stretch walk during our railtour
Weymouth break via the Weymouth Harbour Tramway to Weymouth Quay station, all intact but disused.
Also, possibly some of the Weymouth & Portland Railway trackbed. No charge book via Tom (back page)
237] :Rio Grande Railway - Sat 23 Mar:; (Previously Weymouth Bay Miniature Railway) Lodmoor Country
Park, DT4 7SX, (SY686808) (MR p15). Thanks to John Cameron, another option during our break; a pleasant
1,500yd walk each way along the coast from the station or a short taxi ride. A 10¼" gauge 550yd circuit
with a two platform station loop, turntable & shed branch. A special charter, weather permitting, members
only max 42 Adult £3.50, U18 (must be accompanied by an adult) £1.75, book online or post as ** above.
X.9] Boston Docks: (BELOW) A Society brakevan trip on 10 Jul 1989 (Ian Mortimer).
THE FULL PACKAGE - BOOK ALL THREE TOURS BELOW FOR A SIGNIFICANT DISCOUNT!!
238] :The Bo'ness Bonus Fri 26 Apr:: This single journey starts our rather special long weekend of loco-
hauled railtouring with Direct Rail Services (DRS) and the Scottish Railway Preservation Society (SRPS),
who are providing our coaching stock and catering. An SRPS Diesel Group loco will haul the train from
Bo'ness (free parking) to Manuel. A DRS Class 66 takes over from Manuel, Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway
(B&KR) to Crewe via Edinburgh and Shotts. Highlights include the B&KR NR Connection, Linlithgow UPL,
Edinburgh Suburban Line, Beattock UPL, Quintinshill UPL, Carlisle Kingmoor Yard and Eden Valley Goods
Loop. Subject to the usual caveats, DRS will seek to supply a Class 66 that has not previously worked in
passenger service. The weekend will raise money for Railway Benefit Fund and charities/good causes
nominated by DRS. A Buffet Car will serve drinks and light refreshments. Booking details are below.
Provisional timings and route validated by DRS and bid to NR: Bo'ness (PU 08.30) - Linlithgow UPL -
Craiglockhart Jn - Suburban Line - Edinburgh P9 (PU 10.40) - Shotts - Mossend South Jn - Motherwell P1
(PU 11.58) - Carstairs UPL - Beattock UPL - Quintinshill UPL - Carlisle Network Yd - Carlisle P3 (PU 14.53) -
Eden Valley GL - Oubeck GL - Preston P5 (PU 17.28) - Wigan NW P4 (PU 17.46) - Crewe P12 (SD 18.29).
239]:The Gourock Growler Sat 27 Apr:: This out and back railtour is the highlight of our weekend.
A DRS Class 88 (subject to the usual caveats DRS will seek to supply one that has only worked heritage
line passenger trains) Crewe to Mossend Yard, where it runs to the rear and 2 x DRS Class 37 (large logo
locos requested) attach to the front - the main train traction back to Carlisle, then a Class 88 leads
home. A Buffet Car will serve drinks/refreshments; First Class includes at seat food service (below). At
Gourock a one hour lunch break has been requested. Booking and First Class food details are below.
Provisional timings and route validated by DRS and bid to NR: Crewe P12 (PU 06.10) - Wigan NW (P5 PU
06.39) - Preston P3 (PU 06.57) - Barton & Broughton Loop - Shap Harrisons Siding Loop - Penrith P3 -
Carlisle P4 (PU 08.40) - Carlisle Network Yard - Quintinshill DPL - Beattock DPL - Beattock Summit DPL -
Abington DPL - Carstairs DPL - Law DPL - Mossend Up Yard - Sunnyside Jn - Shettleston DGL - Glasgow
Queen St LL - Anniesland - Springburn - Paisley GS - Gourock (rev/break) - Up and Dn Terminus (rev) -
Brownhill DPL - Barassie DPL - Falkland Yard - Mauchline - Kirkconnel - Dumfries - Carlisle P1 (SD 19.32) -
Tebay Up & Dn Goods - Preston P6 (SD 21.11) - Wigan NW P4 (SD 21.27) - Crewe P12 (SD 21.59).
240] :The Sunday Shed Sun 28 Apr:: A single journey with a DRS Class 66 concluding our weekend (DRS
will seek to supply a different loco to Friday's train that has not worked a passenger train subject to the
usual caveats). Highlights include Mossend Dn Yard and 3 sought after loops on the E&G main line.
Provisional timings/route validated by DRS and bid to NR: Crewe P11 (PU 12.20) - Preston P3 (PU 13.17)
- Carlisle P1 (PU 14.44) - Quintinshill DPL - Lockerbie Dn Loop - Beattock Summit DPL - Carstairs DPL -
Motherwell P2 (SD 17.12) - Mossend Dn Yard - Gartsherrie S Jn - Springburn - Cadder UPL - Gartshore
UPL - Polmont UPL - Polmont (SD 19.26) for complimentary heritage buses back to Bo'ness (B&KR).
:BOOKINGS:: It greatly helps if you could book online please (or ask someone to do this) branchline.uk or
post to Mark Gomm with BLS membership number (non-members welcome), an email address or SAE.
IMPORTANT: For all bookings please indicate where you intend to join/alight for stewarding purposes, this
can be changed by subsequent notification. There are no part fares on any day. Standard BLS T&Cs apply.
Fares are per person for BLS AT TABLE FOR 2 FIRST STANDARD NON-BLS U18† FARES
members unless shown FIRST CLASS* CLASS CLASS MEMBERS DISCOUNT
£299‡§ £269‡§ £169 add £12 subtract £85
The Full Package 26 to 28 Apr: £89§ £74§ £49 add £12 subtract £25
The Bo'ness Bonus Fri 26 Apr: subtract £45
The Gourock Growler Sat 27 Apr: £169‡ £154‡ £89 add £12 subtract £25
The Sunday Shed Sun 28 Apr: £89§ £74§ £49 add £12
*Limited Availability. †All Under 18s must be accompanied by a fare paying adult. ‡On Saturday (only) First
Class fares includes at seat food service. Breakfast: Corn Flakes or fruit segments, then freshly prepared
bacon, sausage, black pudding, hash brown, tomato and scrambled egg, with a roll, butter and preserve,
Tea/Coffee. On the return evening trip Dinner Service includes tomato soup starter with roll and butter,
a main course of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, duchesse potatoes, peas and baby carrots, followed by
apple pie and cream, with Tea/Coffee and after-dinner mint. Please mention any special diet requirements
in the Booking Form Notes please. §Refreshments are NOT included in First Class fares on Friday & Sunday.
241] The Andrew Wilson ('Brillo') Memorial Charter, Sat 4 May:: A Society passenger stock with PLEG
on the Kent & East Sussex Railway using the much sought after 08888; its first advertised run here - or
indeed anywhere ever? 'Top & tail' with D9504 expected for reversals. This charter has been re-named
after our friend, BLS member, 'Brillo' who sadly passed away recently.
Requested route: Tenterden Town (apx 12.00) - Rolvenden - Wittersham Road - Northiam - Bodiam -
Northiam - Wittersham Road - Rolvenden Carriage Shed (Road 2 requested) - Rolvenden - Tenterden
Town (apx 15.00). Adult £20, Under 18s (must have adult accompanying) £10. Please book online, or
cheque ('Branch Line Society') or CPA to Mark Gomm (and queries) per back page with BLS
Membership number (non-members welcome) with email address/SAE.
1322 HEAD LINES (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
242] CairnGorm Mountain Railway, 'Base Station' - Ptarmigan (station): (BLNs 1314.2066/1321.MR13)
(MR p32) TCP Fri 28 Sep 2018 (last ran Thur 27th). This 6' 6" gauge 1¼ mile long cable worked mountain
railway is now expected to stay closed until the end of summer 2019 at least. A specialist report shows
that, although not an immediate danger to the public, the safely margin is less than desirable. Piers,
beams and foundations require strengthening. New bearings are needed with higher load/movement
capacity. The scope and cost of the works (only possible in summer) is now being investigated.
243] Fawkham Jn (22m 50ch): (BLN 1256.877) From 26 Jan 2019 the double track junction to/from the
6.03km long 'Up & Down Waterloo Connection Lines' to the grade separated Southfleet Jn on HS1 was
restored to use. It was previously taken OOU from 23 Apr 2016 when the points at Fawkham Jn were
secured (clipped & padlocked) for movements on the Up and Down Chatham line only. The conductor
rail was isolated and buffer stops installed on both lines at that end. It was retained as a siding from
the Southfleet Jn end to securely store original Eurostar stock for scrapping at Kingsbury European
Metal Recycling (near Birmingham). There is a double security fence. The final through train was UK
Railtours 'Victoria Cross' Javelin tour on 15 Nov 2014. BLN 1155.210 has a detailed account of the line.
It is wondered if perhaps it will now to be used to store conventional stock from the Fawkham Jn end.
244] TfL; North Woolwich - Woolwich: (BLN 1314.2070) ROA Thur 31 Jan 2019, a month later than
expected, with a 'limited' service. TCA Sat 6 Oct to commission new upgraded facilities and two new
boats (Ben Woollacott, named after a former deckhand who died working on the ferry, and the Dame
Vera Lynn). About 2M per year use the free passenger/vehicle Woolwich Ferry (estimated to cost
76½p per passenger in 2012). Tolls cannot be levied without changing an 1885 Act of Parliament.
245] Southport (excl) - Hall Road (excl) & 6 stations: (BLN 1311.1736 revised) TCP Sat 2 to Sun 10 Feb;
Phase 6 of platform modification for new rolling stock (originally extended to Blundellsands & Crosby).
Trains from Hunts Cross/Liverpool turnback in Hall Road P2, using the trailing crossover on departure.
246] Sandhills Jn - Formby (excl) & 7 stations: (BLN 1311.1736 revised) TCP Mon 11 Feb - Sun 24 Feb;
Phase 6 of platform modification for new rolling stock (originally extended to Freshfield). A Southport
- Formby EMU shuttle turns back in Formby P1 (trailing crossover in service on return to Southport).
247] Kettering (excl) - Market Harborough (incl) - Wigston North Jn/Glen Parva Jn: (BLN 1320.148)
TCA Tue 28 May until Sun 2 Jun 2019 for remodelling and resignalling at Market Harborough station.
Online systems had not been updated at 5 Feb but the suggestion is trains run over the Bank Holiday.
248] Keeping Track, (extra to Head Lines) significant passenger service suspensions: *= New/altered
BLN Start (incl) Reopens Location (stations exclusive where bracketed) bold = closed now
1314.2070 6 Oct 18 31 Jan 19 *Woolwich Ferry; North Woolwich - Woolwich now reopened
1317.2435 25 Aug 18 Unknown Heaton Norris Jn - Guide Bridge Station Jn [SO PSUL service]
1318.2558 25 Aug 18 Unknown Gainsborough Trent East Jn - Wrawby Jn [SO service]
1314.2066 28 Sep 18 Unknown CairnGorm Mountain Railway, 'Base Station' - Ptarmigan
1311.1736 2 Feb 19 11 Feb 19 *(Hall Road) - (Southport) :revised [was Blundellsands & Crosby]
1320.13 10 Feb 19 17 Feb 19 (Derby) - Ambergate Jn - Matlock/Chesterfield South Jn
1297.123 16 Feb 19 25 Feb 19 (Three Bridges) - (Brighton)/(Hove)/(Lewes)
1311.1736 11 Feb 19 25 Feb 19 *Sandhills Jn - (Formby) :revised; [was Freshfield]
1310.1673 18 Feb 19 9 Mar 19 *(Taunton) - Tiverton Parkway - Cowley Bridge Jn
1319.2710 7 Mar 19 11 Mar 19 Lewes - Keymer Jn/Montpelier Jn/Seaford/Willingdon Jn
1311.1736 2 Mar 19 23 Mar 19 (Rock Ferry) - (Hooton)
1317.2441 2 Jan 19 30 Mar 19 West Somerset Railway, Bishops Lydeard - Minehead
1313.1945 20 Oct 18 UNKNOWN Reedham Jn - Berney Arms request stop - (Great Yarmouth)
1311.1736 25 Mar 19 3 Apr 19 (Hooton) - (Chester P7)
1311.1736 7 Apr 19 15 Apr 19 Bidston East Jn - West Kirby, no DMUs to/from Bidston station
1311.1736 15 Apr 19 23 Apr 19 (Bidston) - West Kirby, DMUs expected to run to/from Bidston
1311.1736 27 Apr 19 6 May 19 Bidston East Jn - New Brighton
1316.2303 2 Jan 19 Late Jul 19 Mid Hants Railway Alton P3 - (Medstead & Four Marks)
1322 BLN GENERAL (Paul Stewart) [email protected]
249] Six Bells Junction: https://goo.gl/RPrtBB for those not aware, this website has over 17,100 files
of UK charter details from the very first, run by a certain Mr Thomas Cook on 5 Jul 1841 from Leicester
for a temperance meeting in Loughborough. The fare was 5p return (worth £5 now; today's off peak
return is £6.20 or £4.10 with a railcard) and there were 500 passengers. If anyone has details of the
motive power, rolling stock or timings, they would be welcome! The latest tours are at the end of Dec
2018. Tours are in date order by year and there is a search facility on the Railtour Files page - which is
sometimes useful. There is a vast amount of information. The description of 'Probably the largest
source of railtour gen on the planet...' is almost certainly correct. Postponed and cancelled tours are
included but there are gaps to fill. Many tours (including ours) have recently been added to the site.
250] Points & Slips: ●●170] Lord Greaves, not Lord Graves asked a question in the House of Lords
about Skipton to Colne reopening.●●144] The Signalling Record Society's 'Excel' format (so easily
searchable) British Power Signalling Register: https://goo.gl/EGmoxW includes VDU based signalling.
251] :*REMINDER*: Silent Charity Auction: 6ft x 4ft framed whiteboard with East Midlands Trains'
(EMT) 2007 routes and inserts of complex areas. A massive bespoke EMT wall mounted 'Quail'
(picture in e-BLN 1320). An unusual high quality item. All money to 'Railway Children'; reserve £100,
email/text bids to Kev Adlam (back page) by midnight 21 Feb, buyer collects; near Derby station.
1322 EAST MIDLANDS (Graeme Jolley) [email protected]
252] Thoresby Colliery: (BLN 1306.1137) From 26 Jan 2019 this 1m 22ch branch along with the four
sidings and the associated trailing crossover (Down Main to Up Main) were all deleted from the
Sectional Appendix. At the junction Thoresby Colliery box remains but is pointless and 'junctionless'
with just the Up and Down Main lines and the staff section to Tuxford (Rail Innovation & Development
Centre). The last known working from Thoresby was on Thur 8 Feb 2018 clearing stored wagons.
NEXT PAGE TOP: Thoresby Colliery signal box which is at the former branch junction rather than
at the colliery itself. (Angus McDougall 5 Aug 2008).
BELOW: On the Mansfield & Pinxton Railway Kings Mill Viaduct was certainly not half baked. (Angus
McDougall 8 Jul 1995 who feels that the Robin Hood line deviates significantly from the original.)
253] Mansfield & Pinxton Railway: (BLN 1321.227) The Railway opened 13 Apr 1819. This was the
7½ miles from Mansfield Wharf, via Kings Mill Viaduct, past Kirkby Hardwick, over the summit,
through Kirkby, Portland Park and New Selston before reaching Pinxton Wharf. It carried coal to
Mansfield and exported sand, stone, malt and other traffic, via the Cromford Canal link at Pinxton
Wharf. Opening celebrations included a marching band, a bonfire in Mansfield Market Square, ringing
of church bells, a procession and feasting! The wagons were initially pulled by horses, until the
Midland Railway took over in 1849 when locomotives were introduced. The rails were laid on stone
blocks rather than wooden sleepers and were 'fish-bellied' shape. A passenger carriage was added in
1832 to take people from Pinxton to Mansfield market on Thursdays. The line has been in continuous
use since 1819, now the Robin Hood Line closely following the Kirkby-in-Ashfield to Mansfield section,
it is claimed to be the oldest continuously operating line in England - and a cause for celebration!
Unless, of course, our members know better… (See caption above!). [The 200th anniversary events and
exhibition were described in BLN 1321.]
254] Barton-on-Humber (1): (BLN 1321.155) Regarding the DMU, a well informed member advises:
●Sunday: The Class 153 is stabled at Cleethorpes (as there are no winter Sunday services).
●Monday: It works the service until 20.03 from Barton. Then the DMU couples to the 21.15 EMT
Cleethorpes to Lincoln Central service. The last branch services: 21.04 ex-Cleethorpes and 22.02 from
Barton are worked by the TPE Class 185 which arrives Cleethorpes at 20.51 from Manchester Airport.
Meanwhile mid-afternoon a fresh Class 153 from Neville Hill works its way south to form 20.59
Sheffield to Lincoln Central, stabling there for the night. The Northern crew that bring it take the Class
153 on the EMT service from Cleethorpes back to Sheffield as 22.42 Lincoln Central to Sheffield.
●Tuesday morning: The DMU stabled at Lincoln forms part of 04.42 ECS to Cleethorpes, then 07.00
Cleethorpes to Barton. The 05.59 Cleethorpes to Barton and 06.58 return are Class 185 worked.
●Tuesday evening to Friday Morning - the same morning and evening process is followed as above.
●Friday: All branch trains are operated by the same Class 153 (with no Northern unit attached to the
21.15 EMT from Cleethorpes). It then stables overnight at Cleethorpes.
●Saturday: Except the first round trip (a TPE Class 185) all trains are worked by the same Class 153.
It is then fuelled at Cleethorpes (TPE) Siemens depot before stabling there overnight until Mon.
Does anyone have a picture of a Class 185 DMU at Barton-on-Humber please? It is interesting that this
nominally Northern service, worked by TPE staff, also has involvement of EMT who themselves only
have (SSuX) two arrivals (one ECS) and two departures at Cleethorpes. Furthermore a Northern unit is
refuelled at Cleethorpes (TPE) Depot! It is wondered if the rather complicated arrangements have
anything to do with the high cancellation/unit failure rate reported on the branch (BLN 1313.1959).
255] Barton-on-Humber (2): This interesting market town (population over 11,000) has never featured
so much in BLN before. The branch is to change from Northern to the East Midlands Train Operating
Company in Aug but still with TPE crews! Our local correspondent urges members not to believe the
bus times in the railway systems (journey planner and live departure board for Barton) as some are
erroneous, especially at the end of the day. Stagecoach Bus has the current timetables online.
256] Barton-on-Humber (3): TPE is fitting its trains with Selective Door Operation equipment that,
with lineside sensors, will automatically allow train crews to open only platform-facing doors.
(TPE crew the branch trains and some TPE Class 185 DMUs run - above.) There is a 20mph temporary
speed restriction on the Barton on Humber Single line between Barrow Haven Open Level Crossing for
over two miles to the end of line due to the condition of track. There were no great changes to the
Dec 2018 branch timetable, except that some trains no longer call at New Clee and/or Ulceby.
257] Grimsby; The Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust has secured funding for a feasibility study on the
best way to preserve this listed railway heritage site. (It mustn't be cold-shouldered.) Uniquely, the
factory still contains most of its machinery. It is hoped that the study will be completed early this year.
258] Derby: (BLN 1321.154) Use of Up Tamworth Slow to Down Tamworth Slow facing crossover after
L&NW Jn (presumably heading for P4) may be to avoid conflict with a train leaving P3 towards Burton
heading towards L&NW Jn via the Up Tamworth Slow. The 5mph temporary speed restriction at the
south end of P3 & 4 are reminder boards probably for trains going to Litchurch Lane and are likely to
be related to an infrastructure issue. [Logical as Litchurch Lane can now only be accessed via P3 or 4.]
259] Market Harborough (1): (BLN 1321.148) The formation from Great Bowden towards East Langton
is not a WWII spur but the original Midland alignment (corrected in e-BLN 1321). From 1857 to 1885
Midland trains joined the LNWR tracks just south of the LNWR station and used them for about a mile
until the divergence north. The Midland used the LNWR station, roughly where the new platforms are
being built and had an entrance in Great Bowden Road. In 1885 the Midland opened its own separate
alignment, including the bridge over the Peterborough line, serving the new (present) joint station.
From 1885 to 1924 there was no running connection between the two lines, although wagons could be
transferred via exchange sidings between them north of the station. In 1924 a double track junction
was built just south of Great Bowden Road bridge to facilitate a Toton-Northampton-Willesden freight
axis. It was completed in time for special trains to the British Empire Exhibition that year at Wembley,
and was used subsequently for trains in connection with sporting events at Wembley. Some through
passenger trains over the junction were timetabled; in the years up to the (first) CP of the Market
Harborough to Northampton line confined to the 12.55 SO Leicester to Northampton, which on
summer Saturdays was retimed to 12.35 and extended to Hastings via Brighton and Eastbourne!
The Midland alignment at Great Bowden was retained to serve, from the north end, a small group of
dead end sidings. Great Bowden Sidings were used during WWII to stable an ambulance train, and
afterwards up to the 1960s to store coaching stock spare between spasmodic seasonal use.
260] Market Harborough (2): (BLN 1321.148) The project is from 81m 70ch to 84m 70ch and will not
affect the mileage of the Midland Main Line. At present the speed restriction (both lines) is 75mph
south of the station, 60mph through the platforms then easing to 85mph at 83m 10ch.
The remodelling and resignalling (controlled from East Midlands Control Centre at Derby, Kettering
Workstation) will ease these restrictions to 85mph throughout. As shown in the e-BLN 1321 pictures,
the Up Main line and Down Main line north of the station will each pass beneath one span of Great
Bowden Road Bridge. It once had two Midland tracks under the east span and two LNWR tracks under
the west span. Part of the project has also been removal of the two crossovers south of the station,
replacing them with new trailing and facing crossovers north of the station for bidirectional running.
261] Scunthorpe: (BLN 1320.25) Dawes Lane Coke Ovens (closed 8 Mar 2016) demolition continued
on Sun 27 Jan with the coal bunker. The final train on the branch to the ovens was our brake van tour
28 Mar 2016; it was disconnected with the junction plain lined by 28 Apr 2018. A new line is reportedly
to be laid through the site to Redbourn Sidings reducing congestion on the single track pinch point
over Dawes Lane itself. Demolition of Scunthorpe Plate Mill (which closed Oct 2015) continues; over
75% of the building has now gone. The site is to be rented out. Demolition of the large former Heavy
Section Mill and former Bloom & Billet Mill buildings is then expected with the site cleared for rental.
All these demolitions will also reduce the steelworks business rate asset base which is considerable.
262] Corby: NR was due to begin work on a London end platform extension on Mon 4 Feb.
1322 GREATER LONDON (Geoff Brockett) [email protected]
263] 05.30 SO Liverpool Street - Enfield Town: (BLN 1311.1732) Since the Dec timetable change this
PSUL has not yet run via its booked South Tottenham - Seven Sisters route. Due to engineering work it
has been cancelled or diverted via Stoke Newington every Saturday, arriving early at Seven Sisters.
264] Barking - Gospel Oak: (BLN 1320.38) EMU 378232, reduced to four cars, entered passenger
service on 28 Jan, just in time to replace the next Class 172 DMU going off-lease. The first electric
service was the 06.48 from Barking (it's the Gospel truth). Then the diagram is every 90 minutes from
Barking until 21.48 and every 90 minutes from Gospel Oak from 07.35 to 21.05 and is SSuX at present.
Thus five DMUs and one EMU are available to cover the six diagrams. Reduced weekend operation has
continued, with four diagrams to allow programmed maintenance on the Class 172s, which are many
months overdue for C6 major overhauls. Two further Class 378s are to be reduced to four cars to
replace the next two Class 172s to go off-lease, but this will create very tight unit availability and could
lead to cancellations on other lines. If Class 710 EMUs have not entered service by mid-March, when
the last Class 172s go off-lease, then just three diagrams will be able to operate, albeit with slightly
more capacity than originally, as Class 378s can carry more than twice as many passengers as a Class
172. Bombardier has agreed to fund a month's free travel for passengers on the line once the Class
710s are fully introduced as compensation for the heavy delay in commissioning them.
265] Camden Town: (BLN 1274.660) The station expansion project is deferred due to TfL's finances.
266] Canal Tunnels: (BLN 1319.2727) From the 19 May timetable a weekend service will be restored
through the tunnels, with a Cambridge to Brighton service SO and Cambridge to Gatwick Airport SuO,
both hourly. More services than this were originally scheduled in the ill-fated May 2018 timetable, but
in the 15 Jul 2018 interim timetable a reduced weekend service has run to/from King's Cross instead.
267] Carlton Road Jn: On 26 Jan it was noted that the Down Tottenham Line was out of use (OOU), as
the crossover where it crosses the Up Slow had been partly plain-lined. The last train to use the line
appears to have been the 03.30 Junction Road Jn to Toton Down Sidings engineering train on 21st.
268] Coulsdon Town: The internal dot matrix display in a Southern unit was recently seen to refer to
'Coulsdon Town (Formerly Smitham)'. This name was carried on station nameboards from 22 May
2011 when the station was renamed, but it was changed to just Coulsdon Town from 11 Dec 2011.
269] Cricklewood: (BLN 1316.2301 & 2325) From 26 Jan the South Freight Siding Headshunt (5m 18ch
to 5m 20ch), OOU from 2 Nov 2018, was officially recovered and taken OOU permanently. However
three BLS members joined an interesting walking tour of the sidings that day led by the Local
Operations Manager, when it was seen to be still in situ. [The visit was at short notice but advertised
with the e-BLN 1221 email message.] The South Freight Siding itself is at the edge of the site for the
five new 24 car length sidings and is being used to bring material in and out. A GTR train crew depot is
in the way of these sidings and will have to be moved. They are scheduled to open in Nov, replacing six
20 car length sidings at the north end. The waste transfer terminal will move to the down side of the
MML in 2020 but will not be rail connected. There is currently no news on where the loading of spoil
by GBRf will move to. Realignment of the main lines to accommodate the new Brent Cross West
station is scheduled for 2020, with the station completed by Dec 2021. The depot signal box opened in
1979 and a new NX panel was installed in 2015 for the remodelled sidings. However it will have to be
replaced again when the new layout is commissioned!
PREVIOUS PAGE: Cricklewood South Sidings, looking north, the Midland Main Line (MML) is left and
the South Freight Terminal is right, it ROG 6 Oct 2018 (BLN 1316.2301).
ABOVE: This is to the right of the first picture, looking north; the site is being prepared for six new
carriage sidings to replace four of the six being lost at the north end where the site is required for the
new Brent Cross station. (All pictures taken by Geoff Noakes on an official visit, Sat 26 Jan 2019.)
BELOW: Walking north towards the north end of the South Sidings, on the right is the non-electrified
DMU and HST 'fuel road' used by a HST carrying your Fixtures Secretary and BLN Editor a few years ago
on a charity auction cab ride from Derby via various places of interest such as this.
ABOVE: Cricklewood North freight terminal, accessed off a shunt neck (TRACKmaps Book 4 p8B - Dec
2018) - now that would be interesting for a railtour. Containerised compacted domestic household
rubbish is loaded by the overhead crane at this North London Waste Authority facility.
BELOW: The buffer stops on Cricklewood North Sidings looking south, MML to the right.
ABOVE: In the opposite direction looking north, very rare track (dashed on TRACKmaps): the run off
past the buffers at the end of North Sidings (Brent Cross station site) looking north. This is over 1¾
mile walk north of Cricklewood station. As there is a 5mph restriction on all depot train movements it
takes a while to reach here by train even! The bridge carries the North Circular Road; the MML is left.
PREVIOUS PAGE LOWER: Cricklewood Depot Signal Box. The Down slow and Up Slow are at the top,
then, to the left Up & Down Goods No1 and No2. Next down on the left is the carriage wash and the
South Sidings, followed by the Up Departure Line with the Fuel Road (loop) at the bottom. Top right is
the North Reception Line with its connection from the Up Slow and to the Down Slow. The six North
Sidings are right which can accommodate 120 carriages in total, as can the five through south sidings.
270] Heathrow Express: (BLN 1317.2463) Porterbrook has agreed an £11M contract with Bombardier
to modify 12 Class 387 EMUs for use on the Heathrow Express service. The trains will be fitted with
improved seating, additional luggage space and on-board TV. European Train Control System (ETCS)
digital signalling equipment will also be fitted, with the upgrades scheduled to be completed by Dec
when the Heathrow Express depot at Old Oak Common has to close. However this could be
problematic if they are required to operate under ETCS signalling in the Heathrow tunnels where
Crossrail is already struggling to make this equipment work reliably. ('Rail Technology Magazine')
271] Crossrail: (BLN 1321.156) On 14 Jan testing with two Class 345 EMUs started in the core section.
Trains have been running through both east and westbound tunnels; one operating between Pudding
Mill Lane and Westbourne Park and the other between Abbey Wood and Canary Wharf.
Efforts to get Class 345s to work reliably with the European Train Control System (ETCS) signalling in
Heathrow tunnels have been shelved, so that resources can be concentrated on making the transition
between Computerised Block Train Control (CBTC) in the new section and Train Protection Warning
System (TPWS) on Network Rail (NR) routes work safely and reliably. This is proving to be difficult and
Bombardier, who built the trains, and signalling contractor Siemens both have engineers working on it.
It may be 2020 before Class 345s are able to run to Heathrow in passenger service. Transport for
London (TfL) is discussing taking over local Paddington (main line station) to Reading services from the
Dec timetable change with the Department for Transport (DfT) and Great Western Railway (GWR).
Under the original Crossrail timetable the final stage would have been implemented then, with
services taken over from GWR and operated through the central tunnels. ('Transport Briefing')
272] Crossrail 2: (BLN 1301.582) Submission to Parliament of the hybrid bill to build Crossrail 2 has
been delayed until at least 2020. Money from the Business Rate Supplement and Mayoral Community
Infrastructure Levy earmarked for it is being diverted to provide additional funds to complete Crossrail.
TfL had planned to use these funds as part of its case that London would fund half of the cost of
Crossrail 2, estimated at over £30bn, in line with a request from government. ('Transport Briefing')
273] HS2: (BLN 1321.161) Euston taxi rank has been moved as the original one at basement level was
underneath the office blocks that are being demolished. This is a temporary location and the taxi rank
is expected to be relocated again before reaching its final location west of the station (the future HS2
side). The new rank appears very spacious with ample taxi space and extensive canopies for waiting
customers. Plans have been submitted to Camden Council for a new Northern Line ventilation shaft to
be built on Stephenson Way. This will replace an existing shaft that is in the way of the new Euston
platforms. The new building will also contain a substation for LUL and UK Power Networks. It will be
clad with over 13,000 glazed ivory white tiles, described as drawing inspiration from historic London
Underground stations, such as nearby Great Portland Street. https://goo.gl/rURS3L has pictures.
Chiltern services will be suspended between Wembley Stadium and High Wycombe on 9/10 Feb for
HS2 work at West Ruislip and NR improvement works, so siding decommissioning may happen then.
274] Ilford: (BLN 1282.1153) NR plans regular track inspections at about 12.30. This results in use of
the Up Passenger Avoiding Line MO and the Down Passenger Avoiding Line WO. ('Gensheet')
NEXT PAGE: Thameslink Class 700 EMU cab, at Cricklewood the inside front door is opened to show
the emergency evacuation steps in their storage position, when deployed they fold down forwards.
275] Metropolitan Line Microgricing: (BLN 1282.1153) A new WTT https://goo.gl/tTAyg7 No341, was
introduced on 30 Dec 2018. Due to family commitments our member has been unable to carry out a
full analysis, but has confirmed that there are still no booked departures from Harrow-on-the-Hill P5
to the Southbound Fast Line. As the reason for the new WTT was only to remove the arrangements for
engineering work between Baker Street and Finchley Road and the introduction of an additional
Chiltern Railways train, there is likely to have been little or no change to microgricing opportunities.
However anyone wishing to do specific moves on this line should double check the current WTT.
1322 NORTH EAST & YORKSHIRE (Geoff Blyth) [email protected]
276] No Signals on the Trans Pennine Rail route? A plan to boost on-train mobile coverage on the line
has been reportedly scrapped after the cost quotation from NR more than doubled.
277] Unusual through train: (BLN 1320.19) The 06.02 (SSuX) from Leeds to Hull (08.39) runs via
Harrogate, York and Sherburn-in-Elmet stopping at all stations (23 of them) except Ulleskelf and
Broomfleet. It enables a Class 155 to transfer from Neville Hill to Hull (the return equivalent is direct).
278] Sunderland: (BLN 1227.320 &354) Sadly no traffic has used South Dock branch for a long while.
BELOW: The scene at Grangetown Level Crossing on the branch (Lord Ian Hughes, 13 Dec 2018).
279] Hartlepool Docks: (BLN 1306.1177) NR has now withdrawn its proposal to declare the connection
to the branch at Lancaster Road Jn OOU due to feedback received and commercial considerations.
280] Northallerton: The county
town of England's largest county -
North Yorkshire - lies at the crossing
point of the East Coast Main Line
(ECML) and the former Leeds
Northern Railway (LNR) from Leeds
to Stockton. Its railway network had
some unusual and unique features.
[LEFT: Plan by Martyn Brailsford.]
The original 1835 scheme of the
Great North of England Railway
(GNER) was for a line southwards
from Darlington to a point near
Ripon, where it would fork with one
line to Leeds via Wetherby and
Tadcaster and the other to York via
Easingwold. Then the only line
envisaged south towards London
was the York & North Midland
Railway from Normanton. The
interests in York realised that their
line was likely to play second fiddle
to the Leeds line and succeeded in
persuading the GNER board to
proceed with just the line to York. It
OG 4 Jan 1841; OP 31 March 1841
between York (the original south
facing terminus just within the city
walls) and Croft Junction,
Darlington, where it joined the
Stockton and Darlington Railway
Somewhat surprisingly the next
railway on the scene was the first
section of the Wensleydale branch,
the line to Hawes on the plan,
opened on 6 Mar 1848 by the York,
Newcastle & Berwick Railway
(YNBR, successor to the GNER) from
Castle Hills Jn to Leeming Lane
(renamed Leeming Bar 1 Jul 1902).
The writer has not found any
explanation of why it left the ECML
by a north facing junction at Castle
Hills Jn (requiring a reversal there)
rather than at Northallerton
station. It was likely to be a cost
saving measure as far less extensive
earthworks were needed.
The south curve, from Northallerton station
to Castle Hills Inner Jn (later Northallerton
West Jn) required an embankment and
opened 15 Sep 1882.
LEFT: A June 1950 plan - stations closed to
passengers by then are white spots, those
open are black. (Disused Stations)
The LNR began life as the Leeds & Thirsk
Railway. The first section, from Thirsk to
Ripon, OG 5 Jan 1848; OP 1 Jun 1848,
gradually extending southwards to Leeds
over the next year and providing a more
direct route to the north than via York.
Even before the first part opened, the LNR
had its eye on Hartlepool. After a period
when they considered using the YNBR
between Thirsk and Northallerton, the LNR
settled on a direct route from Melmerby to
Stockton, opened 2 Jun 1852. This line was
only single track but had no connection or
even interchange with the YNBR at
Northallerton, having its own station of
Northallerton Town. This was northeast of
the bridge under the YNBR main line - on the
opposite side of the High St to Low Gates
Signal Box (SB) and somewhat nearer to the
centre of the town than the current station.
Its fairly large red brick building survives,
rather defaced by a prominent
advertisement for bathrooms and bedrooms
- for sale, not to make use of!
A station generally referred to as
Northallerton Low OP Aug 1854 on the Leeds
Northern Railway line just north of
Boroughbridge Road Level Crossing, very
soon after the amalgamation which gave rise
to the North Eastern Railway (NER), with a
more convenient interchange via a footpath
with the main station.
Construction started in Jan 1855 of a connection between Northallerton High Jn (by the present
station) and Northallerton Low Jn (later East Jn), near Northallerton Town, and it opened 1 Jan 1856.
This led to diversion of through Leeds Northern trains via Thirsk and the new link, enabling most
services to be concentrated at the present station, resulting in the simultaneous CP of Northallerton
Town, where the goods station was located. It became a Public Delivery Siding on 2 Sept 1968 and CA
2 July 1984. Only local trains to and from Melmerby now used Northallerton Low and it seems that
there was no longer a regular passenger service north of here. Northallerton shed ('51J' in BR days)
was located here; there were coaling facilities and a turntable at the high level (Up side).
ABOVE: Low Gates Signal Box (and level crossing) on 14 Aug 2002 -
before anyone asks the gates are the usual height. (Angus McDougall.)
As mentioned above, the direct curve to the Wensleydale line, which ran parallel to the ECML for 26ch
before turning west, opened 15 Sep 1882. The new Cordio Loop* connection (BELOW) between
Cordio Jn, on the LNR line from Leeds, and the main line at Northallerton station OP on the afternoon
of 9 Feb 1901, together with a second track, thus
doubling the LNR. Presumably, therefore, the Up
morning local train had departed from
Northallerton Low. As this local service ran SuX,
the closure date of Northallerton Low is Mon 11
Feb 1901, rather than the 10 Feb quoted in
Clinker's Register. The permanent platforms here
closed in 1911. However, the Down Longlands
Loop, from Longlands Jn under the Cordio Loop
to Boroughbridge Road, is believed to have
opened 10 Feb 1901. The Up Longlands Loop,
diving under the ECML, was built with the 1932
Northallerton to Otterington (the next station
south) quadrupling, opening in 1933. It seems
there were already four tracks from Otterington
south to Thirsk.
ABOVE RIGHT: A northbound train (to Northallerton) passing Cordio Jn on 4 Mar 1967 the last day of
service The line (L) to Boroughbridge Road is the straight alignment and is very rusty. (Alan Brown.)
(*It is unclear why Cordio Jn was so named; there is a farm nearby called Cawdey Field and a
plantation also featuring the name Cawdey, so it was possibly a corruption of that).
Until about 1901 Northallerton (ECML) had only two platforms; at that point the Down platform
became an island (Down loop P5 added), with a north facing bay (P4) for Wensleydale branch trains.
A south facing bay (P1) was added to the Up platform. A member's father, who commuted from
Bedale to school in Northallerton in the 1930s, remembered the morning train running to Castle Hills
Jn, before reversing and propelling in the wrong direction along the Down Main into P4.
RIGHT: 60828 in the Wensleydale Bay Platform
on 21 Mar 1961. It was dropping off a vehicle
with a hot box from the parcels train seen on
the right. (Roy Lambeth)
However, although this set it up for a return
working up the branch via the direct curve and
would seem to be the best way to operate the
service, all branch trains in both directions were
allowed only 3 or 4 minutes between
Northallerton West Jn and the station in the
working timetables (WTT) of the period. Thus,
working via and reversing at Castle Hills was not
the booked route, as no time was allowed for it.
However, freight trains were specifically shown as running via Castle Hills and detaching portions to
connect there with main line freights in both directions. Perhaps the morning train did run via Castle
Hills Jn occasionally for operational reasons and the member's father remembered this.
Over the 2/3 Sep 1939 weekend, as we declared war on Germany, a new power SB was commissioned.
It superseded the boxes at Northallerton station, Northallerton West, Castle Hills and Wiske Moor,
which were disconnected but left intact. The facing connection from the Up Main at Castle Hills was
believed taken out then, leaving the Wensleydale branch connected only to the Down Slow here.
Subsequently, the Ministry of War Transport decided it was necessary to build an avoiding line in case
the ECML here was completely blocked in an air raid. This was the only place on the ECML south of
Newcastle which had no feasible diversionary route. This avoiding line cut through the direct curve
from the station to the Wensleydale branch so, while it was under construction, the curve would
clearly have had to be closed and all branch trains worked via Castle Hills, with reversal there.
Although a number of wartime connections were built, it is believed the WW2 avoiding line at
Northallerton was unique in being designed to be brought into use only in dire emergency - and
indeed was never used. Our member John McCrickard's excellent article on this line in the January/
February 1992 Bulletin of the WW2 Railway Study Group will be printed (with permission) in BLN 1323.
From a member who grew up in Northallerton: During the late 1960s, some of the avoiding line
embankment had been gone, but there was still a bridge over the Willow Beck with brick abutments
and very substantial timber baulks - an ideal place for children to play (or so he found). Now, just some
of the brick abutments are left. From memory the embankment may have been formed of ashes/slag.
Passenger services between Northallerton and Hawes were withdrawn on 26 Apr 1954. An emergency
train service to Leyburn was operated at least once in the mid-1950s when local roads were blocked
by snow. In the late 1960s most freights on and off the branch (which ran from/to Tees Yard and
similar destinations) reversed at both Castle Hills Jn and Northallerton station, propelling between
them on the Down Main. Parcels trains ran from the station via the direct curve. There was limestone
from Redmire to Dorman Long & Co steelworks on Teesside and from Wensley Quarry to the South
Durham Iron and Steel Co at Greatham, near Hartlepool. The pick-up goods ran from/to Tees Yard.
When the Hartlepool trains were still steam hauled, up to Sep 1967, the loco (usually a WD 2-8-0)
turned on the triangle so that it was facing smokebox northwards from Northallerton to Hartlepool.
The LNR was once a busy through freight line but traffic gradually reduced. The process probably
started with CA of Pannal Jn - Starbeck (SE of Harrogate) some time in 1951. The completion of
quadrupling north of York, with the opening of the new Up Slow between Pilmoor and Alne in 1961,
was no doubt the final nail in its coffin as the ECML now had greater capacity. A member has
suggested that the last booked through freight was the Haverton Hill to Heysham Moss Sidings ICI
(Imperial Chemical Industries) ammonia train and return empties. This seems very likely as it was
probably the only freight which did not need to run via Leeds; it went via Arthington North to
Arthington West, Otley, Ilkley and Skipton. Arthington curve and the line through Otley and Ilkley
CA 5 Jul 1965. It is thought the ammonia train was then diverted via the Newcastle to Carlisle line. It is
believed to have run originally via the Stainmore line (Darlington - Barnard Castle - Kirkby Stephen -
Tebay) until through freight traffic was diverted away in July 1960 - a prelude to its complete closure.
As mentioned above there was no longer a regular passenger service north of Northallerton Low after
CP in 1856. However, the line was used by excursions and summer holiday trains, possibly from the
1930s. Usage from summer 1963 is, of course, well documented in the excellent PSUL. As far as is
known, no comprehensive list of post-war use has yet been compiled but here are a few snapshots:
●Summer 1948: ●Cordio Jn - East Jn: 12.45 D SO Blackpool Central to Saltburn. ●Longlands Jn - East
Jn: 08.35 (dated) SO Filey Holiday Camp to Newcastle; 10.30 SuX Liverpool Exchange to Newcastle.
●Summer 1950: No booked trains.
●Summer 1954: Quite extensive usage, including even some SSuX trains, not just summer SO. The only
regular booked passenger use since PSUL began in 1963 and was seasonal. However, regular SuO use
started 20 May 2018: The 14.47 (SuO) Manchester Airport to Middlesbrough booked via Longlands Jn
- Boroughbridge Road - Northallerton East Jn and the 14.48 from Middlesbrough (the other way).
The 09.30 SO Manchester Exchange to Newcastle was the last booked passenger service over the
Cordio Jn - Boroughbridge Road line, running non-stop Harrogate to Eaglescliffe. It ran for the last
time on 27 Aug 1966. No boxes had to be opened specially to use this line, Cordio Jn was controlled by
Northallerton Signal Box and Boroughbridge Road was open anyway for the level crossing, so there is
every reason to believe it took its booked route rather than running via Northallerton station.
One suspects that this was what the Germans call an 'alibi train' - one booked only to avoid an
effective withdrawal of the service without going through the statutory closure procedures. There was
no service in the opposite direction; indeed, the 17.10 SuO Newcastle to Liverpool Lime Street, which
ran non-stop from Eaglescliffe to Ripon, was booked via Northallerton station.
The entire 25½ mile LNR Harrogate - Northallerton line CP 6 Mar 1967. Then only one Trans-Pennine
service each way used it. The line CA between Melmerby South signal box (junction for a MoD depot
branch) and Northallerton South Jn and the points to/from the LNR at Northallerton South Jn were
spiked out of use within a few days - certainly by 18 Mar. All the intermediate signal boxes were closed
and Starbeck - Melmerby reduced to 'one engine in steam' using the former Up line. Each train had to
be accompanied by a travelling signalman, who worked Bilton, Nidd Bridge, Wormald Green and
Littlethorpe level crossings, also the points at Ripon, operating the signal boxes as ground frames.
Although Cordio Jn - Boroughbridge Road is apparently deemed to have CA 6 Mar 1967, pictures
taken from a northbound train passing on 4 Mar 1967, the last day of service, show that it had been
used for wagon storage for a while already. The writer considers it quite likely that the Manchester
Exchange - Newcastle train on 27 Aug 1966 was the last revenue earning train of any description over
it. The Up line could have been taken OOU at any time after regular freight ceased running this way
from 5 Jul 1965 or perhaps even before. Nothing has been found in Weekly Notices concerning it being
put OOU. Sleepers were chained across the line at its southern end, so the engineers may simply have
put lever collars on the affected point levers at Boroughbridge Road Signal Box (or perhaps clipped
them); access would be required to the stored wagons - if only to haul them away for scrapping!
ABOVE (BOTH): Wagons stored on the Cordio Loop from a passing train 4 Mar 1967,
the last day of normal passenger service. (Alan Brown).
On 31 Jul 1967 a serious accident occurred just south of Thirsk, when a Down ECML express collided
with a derailed cement wagon, closing all lines except the Up Slow. The passenger train's loco, the
English Electric prototype diesel DP2, was damaged beyond repair and scrapped in 1968. A futile
attempt was made to operate all services over the Up Slow, with pilotman working. The following day
the more radical solution was applied of reopening the line between Starbeck North SB and
Northallerton for northbound trains only. All 10 intermediate boxes had been closed and the batteries
removed, so a train was sent from Darlington with the required batteries so that the boxes could
communicate with each other. The points at Northallerton South Jn were no doubt hurriedly
'un-spiked'! Men were found to work the boxes on 12-hour shifts, and the line ran under permissive
block until the ECML reopened the next day, 2 Aug. In Oct 1978 the Down Slow line from Longlands Jn
was slued on to the formation of the former Cordio Jn - Boroughbridge Road line. This was because
the line dipped beneath the (former) bridge under the Northallerton South Jn - Cordio Jn link, such
that northbound freights were faced with an adverse gradient; sluing the line removed this dip.
LEFT: Longlands Diveunder (Alan Brown), looking
back towards Harrogate on a train heading
towards Northallerton with the ECML on the left
Although general goods traffic was withdrawn
from the Wensleydale branch on 1 Nov 1965,
the pick-up freight continued to serve the coal
depots and Public Delivery Sidings at Bedale and
Leyburn (seed potatoes and animal feeds
featuring strongly) and a fuel depot at Bedale
until 31 May 1982, after which Leeming Bar to
Bedale was singled. The south curve to
Northallerton West Jn CA 7 May 1970.
Limestone trains between Redmire and Teesside steelworks (and return empty wagons) reversed at
Castle Hills Jn propelling between there and Northallerton station, where they reversed again to/from
the Eaglescliffe line, to avoid running round on the ECML. On 26 Apr 1992 our Society ran a railtour to
Redmire, not long before the entire branch CA 2 Jan 1993 - after British Steel decided to take all its
limestone from Hardendale Quarry at Shap. However the line was retained (and used at least once, on
15 Nov 1993) and then ROG 4 Apr 1996 for occasional MoD transport of military vehicles to and from
Catterick Camp - handled at Redmire using the sidings west of the station. This kept the branch in
existence long enough for the Wensleydale Railway Association to take a 100 year lease on it.
The 1939 Northallerton signal box closed on 15 Apr 1990, control passing to York IECC. A panel was
commissioned in Low Gates box on the same day, controlling the immediate area around the box.
Another panel was commissioned on 29 Nov 1997, when Low Gates took control of most of the
Eaglescliffe line, with the resulting closure of Long Lane and Picton boxes. However, York IECC control
was simultaneously extended to 43m 60ch, just north of Low Gates box, which thus somewhat
bizarrely no longer controls the signalling outside the box. It does, however, control Boroughbridge
Road (box closed 10 Jun 1979), Romanby Gates (box closed 18 Jan 1976 with control then by
Boroughbridge Road), Springwell Lane and Low Gates level crossings. This made it easier for railtours
to run via Boroughbridge Road, particularly on Saturdays; previously there was a high risk that the
crossing boxes would be closed. Slot controls from York IECC were added to the signals protecting Low
Gates LC. The future plans for Low Gates box are not known. However, recontrolling it to York would
add a considerable workload to a workstation, due to the number of level crossings Low Gates
controls. Converting them to Manually Controlled Barriers with Obstacle Detection is very expensive.
The Wensleydale Railway Association has a long term ambition to extend into Northallerton station by
reinstating the south curve. However, the former down loop platform (P5) is now occupied by the
station car park and the course of the line north of there is obstructed by masts and equipment for the
ECML electrification. The suggested solution is for the reinstated line to descend to ground level, curve
west and run alongside the low level line on its west side and into a new platform at Romanby Gates.
Longlands Jn is the end of the quadruple track north of York, so trains must either continue on the
ECML to Darlington or diverge to Eaglescliffe either here or at Northallerton station. There is an
ambition to increase ECML services to six trains an hour each way. The main problem with this is the
conflict between trains towards Eaglescliffe and Up ECML services. This has already been shown by the
diversion in the current timetable of one SuO TPE Middlesbrough service each way via Boroughbridge
Road (BLN 1320.60). This is less of an issue for freight, which usually runs via Boroughbridge Road.
There are proposals to rebuild a low level station on this line so that passenger services to Eaglescliffe
can use the non-conflicting route but still serve Northallerton. The present station is very offset, the
southernmost part of the Down platform is opposite the northernmost part of the Up platform. Any
new platform should therefore ideally be on the site of Northallerton Low station. There is space for
an Up platform just north of the former loco shed, the building north of the Boroughbridge Road.
However, housing has been built to the west of the line here, so there may not be enough room for a
Down platform. If so, the only possible site would be north of Romanby Gates LC, quite a long way
from the current station. However, there will be opposition to any more trains causing the barriers at
Boroughbridge Road, Romanby Gates and Springwell Lane crossings to be closed for lengthy periods.
There are complaints now that Romanby is quite often cut off from the fire station and hospital.
The Regional Editor is most grateful to Richard Maund, Rodger Wilkinson and Andy Overton for assistance.
281] Redcar British Steel: (BLN 1317.2498) ORR 2017-18 figures show that the station has regained
the coveted (!) 'least used' national station title, with 40 passengers - down 20% from 2016-17. (Last
year's winner, Barry Links, 'fell' to second place after its numbers doubled to 52!). A local member
spent a couple of hours on 14 Jan travelling between Middlesbrough and Redcar Central (one of the
last Pacer strongholds in the country so beyond the call of duty), to observe the current situation. Four
trains stop (SuX) 07.57 & 16.58 to Middlesbrough/Bishop Auckland and 08.24 & 18.17 to Saltburn.
From his personal observations from passing trains and conversations with Northern Rail and local NR
staff it appears that there is only one official exit from this station - from westbound P1. This is a
proper path heading east towards Steel House. It reaches a subway under the adjacent embankment
carrying a private road and the former 'Hot Metal Line', which once carried the huge torpedo wagons
transferring molten iron from Redcar blast furnace to the Basic Oxygen Steelmaking plant at Lackenby.
This subway has now been bricked up, so passengers can no longer reach Steel House by this path.
(This confirms BLN 1312.1890; a previous visitor was informed that NR had recently 'blocked off' the
public entrance to the station). Steel House looked disused, with no cars in the car park, no lighting on
and no sign of activity. A local train driver confirmed this had been the only official access: passengers
from the Middlesbrough direction had to cross the footbridge to exit the station. No more is being
done to prevent access to the station because Redcar council continues to hope that a company will
take over the entire steel works site - with a station ready and waiting for that happy day! They have a
point though because stations are difficult to close and even more difficult to then reopen again.
Very occasional passengers recently alighting have been picked up by a waiting van; there is access by
a dirt track off the adjacent road. These may be NR staff with business in the vicinity so are not fare
paying passengers. It is unlikely South Tees Development Corporation (STDC) staff would arrive by rail.
On 7 Jan it was announced that that Tata Steel Europe has agreed to transfer over 1,420 acres of the
site to the STDC. Negotiations for the remaining 870 acres of land continue. Industrial archaeology
abounds; of note are the abandoned South Bank Coke Ovens, with two coke cars standing forlornly.
Nature is swallowing up the former Grangetown station. Our member recalls being the only person
standing there to witness the last westbound train (Pacer 142520) on a cold wet 24 Nov 1991 evening.
From another Society member: Despite my relative proximity to the said celebrity station (we Brits
love an underdog) and having migrated to Teesside about two years after its opening, I would not
profess profound knowledge of it. Furthermore, despite having used most of Teesside's stations over
the years (including Cargo Fleet, Grangetown, Greatham and even Teesside Airport), I have never
used British Steel Redcar (not very BLS I know - please have mercy on me, for I am a new member!).
My only defence is that in the back of my mind, I had always viewed it as a 'private' station without
public access. Having said that I'm fairly sure (not 100%) that I can recollect in times past - but long
since gone - a blue finger post sign (definitely not a 'Public Footpath' sign) indicating footpath access to
the station. It was located adjacent to the trunk road and I believe the path was routed to the east side
of Steel House. Last Monday (21 Jan), I walked along the trunk road past the site and saw that that
access has now been fenced off (I would suspect either by Sahaviriya Steel Industries or the new
owners of the site, STDC). You can still see three steps leading up to the path; a couple of lamp
columns indicate where the path initially paralleled the trunk road but other than that it's fairly heavily
overgrown. I then retraced my steps back to the main site access road and enquired at the gatehouse
about access to the station - the security guard informed me that there is currently no public access to
the station (and I was not the first to ask him the question!). I believe there was pedestrian access at
some point, I am not aware that there has ever been vehicular access for the general public.
PS: While such matters are inevitably subjective (beauty is in the eye of the beholder), I do take
umbrage at my right honourable fellow member's suggestion (BLN 1312.1890) that the basic facilities
at South Bank are in some way inferior to those at British Steel Redcar!! Our member promises that,
when the hours of daylight are elongated further, he will try to do the morning round trip from
Saltburn, which gives a 27 minute break at
the station (providing both trains run...).
So the station appears to be completely
useless. (i): it is on private land, with no
official public access. (ii): It served only
Steel House, the main administrative
offices, and to a lesser extent Redcar
works, now both closed. (iii): It is not an
interchange. This has similarities with that
'Cause Célèbre' IBM. However, keeping it
open maintains various rights and makes
future service enhancements easier.
282] Keighley: Bradford Council has approved an 'ambitious' plan to move the disused signal box
across the Pennines. (The pitchforks will be out all across Yorkshire!). Keighley Station Junction
Midland Railway box (PREVIOUS PAGE BOTTOM LEFT) was built in 1884 to control the Worth Valley
branch junction. The Grade II listed building was moved a short distance to its current location in 1995.
Although owned by NR it is looked after by the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway with no access as it is
'stranded' between an operational railway and a NR maintenance depot. This means that it is
impossible to find any use for the building.
As a result of disuse, it is gradually deteriorating and, as a building with no function, its maintenance
does not feature high in NR's spending priorities. NR intends moving it to Irlam station (BLN 1321.179)
to become a 'museum of signalling'. Bradford Council accepted that losing the box had to be weighed
against the opportunity to secure beneficial re-use in a working railway environment. Failure to take
this opportunity would have resulted in the box remaining in situ as an unused and deteriorating asset.
X.10] Hull Dairycoates Branch: BELOW: The UK Railtours 'Beverley at Christmas' ECS after watering
and removal of rubbish. The main line bridge is in the background. (Alan Sheppard 15 Dec 2018.).
ABOVE: The flooded Queensbury Tunnel south portal - the water level can be higher. (Press Release.)
283] Queensbury Tunnel: (BLN 1285.1529) Campaigners fighting to reopen this disused tunnel say the
cost of abandoning the historic structure has soared to over £4M due to flooding: over 6M tons of
water has poured into the structure over the past four months. The Queensbury Tunnel Society has
been campaigning for five years for the 1m 34ch structure to be opened up as part of a cycle network
linking Bradford and Keighley to Halifax. However, Highways England's Historical Railway Estate,
which manages the tunnel for the DfT, is seeking to close it permanently because of public safety fears.
Preparations to strengthen parts of the tunnel before filling it in are now underway. The engineering
coordinator for the society said: The Historical Railway Estate has lost control of this project, largely
through its own failings. The public will receive no benefit from abandonment, but the financial burden
placed on its shoulders is becoming heavier. Perversely, £1M is being spent on improving the tunnel's
condition before a further £3M is wasted on a partial infilling scheme. Highways England says that
partial strengthening of the most vulnerable sections of the structure has begun, which would provide
a safe working area for any future work. A spokesman added: The safety of the community and our
contractors is paramount. The DfT, owner of the tunnel, agrees that safety work to reduce the risk to
the community around Queensbury Tunnel should be undertaken as soon as possible. We're working
with Bradford Council on the preparation of the planning application for phase two of our safety work.
It's not expected that a final decision on the application will now be reached until spring this year.
284] Bowesfield & Urlay Nook: (BLN 1321.165) Bowesfield box is to close on transfer of control to
York ROC on 25 Mar. However the last shift at Urlay Nook gate box (BLN 1321.164) is on Fri 8 Mar, as
it needs to be demolished soon afterwards. The crossing is being converted to Manually Controlled
Barriers with Obstacle Detection (MCB-OD) and the box is in the way of the obstacle detection lasers.
The road will be closed for about three weeks, which is apparently the usual procedure for these
conversions. Even if nothing needed to be demolished to install the new equipment, a week's closure
is required for testing the new installation. Then with trains running staff have to fine-tune the
radar/lidar equipment settings so the obstacle detection is not affected by the background 'picture'
but is sensitive enough to detect genuine obstacles. This is impossible to do until it has been installed
and extraneous material, which will not be there permanently, has been removed. Apparently the
police are not happy with the lengthy closure (BLN 1320.54) but it was pointed out that this work has
to be done because they insisted on the crossing being retained! Heritage groups have enquired about
the availability of items for re-use. After closure just one level crossing will survive with boom gates.
Bowesfield workstation will not interface with another at York ROC because its area of control ends
just south of Eaglescliffe, interfacing with Low Gates box (Northallerton) which actually controls most
of the Eaglescliffe line. Low Gates is unlikely to be re-controlled soon as it works Low Gates crossing
and monitors eight other full or half barrier crossings, which would be too much for one workstation.
285] Rare track: Due to Bowesfield's strategic location, the transfer (above) needs three possessions
(Sun 24 Feb and the weekends of 9/10 & 23/24 Mar) all are Northallerton - Hartlepool and Darlington
- Middlesbrough; with replacement road services. Train run Middlesbrough to Saltburn and Whitby.
Grand Central King's Cross - Sunderland services are booked nonstop between Northallerton and
Sunderland via Darlington (Up and Down Main respectively expected - the PSUL avoiding the station).
No regular Down public timetabled trains are normally booked to use the station avoider, although the
Caledonian Sleepers do when diverted. All current nonstop Down passenger services are booked to
run via the Down Bypass line (Darlington P4B) to reduce conflicts with Up trains (calling at the station)
at Darlington South Jn and North Jn. A good way to search on the booked route is to look at Ian
Delgado's new UT Tracker website (BLN 1321.146). The Grand Central diversions will also use
Newcastle, King Edward's Bridge South Jn - East Jn - (Greensfield Jn) - Park lane Jn in both directions.
286] York: (BLN 1320.59) The IECC has closed with re-control of the workstations, as reported, to the ROC.
1322 NORTH WEST (John Cameron) [email protected]
287] Colne - Skipton: (BLN 1321.170) The Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, visiting Colne confirmed
that the initial study established that it is technically feasible to re-open the route and that opening
the line to passengers would be of value. However, announcing a 'second stage investigation' into
potential freight use he added there would have to be enough to justify the expenditure. If the
demand for freight is proven the DfT would provide the £400M needed for the scheme which would
include improvements to the East Lancashire line from Preston through Accrington and Blackburn,
possibly re-doubling Burnley to Colne. Mr Grayling said that if the case is made, 'work' on re-opening
the line would start in the early to mid-2020s. Presumably this actually means NR's eight GRIP stages?
288] Warrington Central: Stocks Lane bridge over the line west of Sankey - built in the 1870s by the
Cheshire Lines Committee is to be rebuilt to modern standards over the 9/10 & 16/17 Mar weekends.
The Saturdays Northern trains are shown turning back in Warrington Central P1 (but may be affected
by industrial action) with buses to/from Lime Street; and buses all the way Sundays. NR will demolish
and rebuild the bridge by Jun with Warrington Borough Council fitting it out from Apr until Sep.
289] Clitheroe - Hellifield: (BLN 1321.134/5) Although the SuO Dales Rail trains between Preston and
Hellifield ran as booked on Sun 20 Jan for the first time since 29 Jul 2018, the euphoria was short lived.
They were cancelled on 27 Jan (along with many other Northern services) but did run 3 Feb. Although
Northern guards are not actually striking on Sundays, 'some train crew make themselves unavailable'.
290] Farington Jn, Lancashire Enterprises Sidings: (BLN 1267.2015) The refurbished sidings (18m 63ch)
reopened 21 Aug 2016 as a temporary Northern DMU depot (from 3 Oct 2016) during the Blackpool
lines electrification closure. Despite being at the former British Leyland site they are not surrounded by
tall fast growing conifers and on the evening of Sun 20 Jan a member passing on a train spotted some
Northern DMUs on site. From 6 Jan until (now) 17 Feb there are schedules for 6 Sunday departures,
5 arrivals (plus one late Saturday evening) and 5 early Monday departures with some weekly variation.
This is due to the Blackpool lines closure for six consecutive weekends from 6 Jan for drainage and
other works (BLN 1319.2752). There was also an ECS working from 31 Dec; possibly a test train as the
site has not been used since Blackpool reopened? The original lease was extendable until Dec 2019.
291] Manchester: https://goo.gl/vuRjok is about the first tram network in the City, including some
fascinating photographs and a map showing all the tram lines in the North West (and some proposed).
The Corporation Trams began running in Manchester in 1901 and finished in 1949. Most of the track
remains as it was just tarmacked over. The only original tram track still in operational use is at Heaton
Park Tramway, comprehensively visited by the society on several occasions (last on 21 Oct 2017).
292] Metrolink: (BLN 1318.2610) The Ashton-under-Lyne service increased to 10 trams per hour from
the 28 Jan. Media City to Etihad Campus services have been extended, doubling the frequency and
making it easier to do both the platform 'lynes' at Ashton-under-Lyne. SSuX the new service runs
07.00-20.00, SO 08.00-18.30 with no change on Sundays (when Ashton has a 12 minute frequency).
293] Millers Dale: (OP 1 Jun 1863; CP 6 Mar 1967) Peak District National Park is renovating the former
ticket office to create a new café and visitor information point. It is largely unchanged since built in the
early 1900s for station expansion. The development will restore the building and retain the heritage
features. A few extra car parking spaces will be created (most people cycle or walk). The £230k interior
and exterior works are due for completion in March. Over 100,000 people use the Monsal Trail each
year, on the spectacular, highly scenic and heavily engineered ex-Midland Railway main line between
Bakewell and Millers Dale Jn, including illuminated tunnels. [Highly recommended for walking or
cycling, one member has done it six times.] Millers Dale station is popular for a break (there is a café
at Hassop too). Revenue generated by the new café, privately operated as a concession, will support
long-term investment in the station buildings and the trails to ensure they have a sustainable future.
BELOW: Millers Dale station 16 Jul 2017 by Angus McDougall with the trackbed of the Monsal Trail
invitingly leading off in the distance towards Buxton and Peak Forest.
294] Stock stops Stockport stops: The 12.58 Stoke-on-Trent P3 - Manchester Piccadilly Class 323 EMU
calls at all stations to Cheadle Hulme (there are 7), then unusually runs non-stop through Stockport P3.
In the belief that the Stockport stop omission was a timetable error, a passenger (who wishes to remain
anonymous) caught it, only to find that the timetable is indeed correct and he was obliged to make an
unwanted journey into Manchester [hard luck, Alan]. On Saturdays it is the 13.58 from Stoke that
behaves bizarrely, booked all stations to Bramhall then nonstop though Cheadle Hulme and Stockport
but deigning to call at Heaton Chapel and Levenshulme. All other passenger trains stop at Stockport.
295] Cholmondeston: A member noticed an interesting plaque alongside the Shropshire Union Canal
Middlewich Branch. In the 1888 Cholmondeston railway experiment about a mile of 18" track was laid
along the towpath (on the straight stretch between Cholmondeston Lock and Sykes Hollow Picnic area)
and a small loco from Crewe hauled barges. Although the loco successfully pulled two, four and then
eight boats at speeds up to 7mph, the process proved impracticable and no further action was taken.
ABOVE: The Cholmondeston 1888 canal railway experiment, the loco on the right is here pulling five
barges. A dilemma for our boating fraternity - would they go for the boat or the locomotive.
BELOW: Norton Signal Box which is at Runcorn East station, of course, at a time when the emergency
crossover was clearly OOU (Angus McDougall 24 Jan 2003).
296] Runcorn East: NR wants to abolish Norton Signal Box (13m 17ch) here and its emergency trailing
crossover. Control would move to the recently resignalled and re-equipped Frodsham Junction Signal
Box, removing the absolute block between Norton and Frodsham Jn. Instead there would be track
circuit block between Frodsham Jn and Warrington PSB - more cost effective than upgrading Norton.
Frodsham Jn Box would be staffed continuously. Norton emergency crossover has only been used a
couple of times in the last 10 years. Also a new crossover (10m 72ch) was installed recently, 2¼ miles
away at Frodsham Jn and signalled to passenger standards for movements off the Frodsham Single
line. Norton is a 1972 BR London Midland Region standard box with 10 levers refurbished in 2005.
297] Lime Street: A 'mini museum' opened on 18 Jan with items 'rescued' during the station's £140M
redevelopment. It includes the original diagram and some miniature lever frame equipment from Lime
Street Signal Box opened Jan 1948 and closed Jul 2018. Some went to Maidstone East NR's final signal
box with miniature levers (LUL has some too). An LMS luggage trolley, station luggage scales and a
ceramic display of the station, created by pupils from a local school, are also on display. Meanwhile
the station has been voted Britain's favourite major station (defined as NR managed) with 93.8% of
passengers satisfied (it just beat St Pancras which had 93.6% and King's Cross with 92.9% (Glasgow
Queen Street was bottom but, to be fair, is a building site). Nearly 27,000 passengers were surveyed.
298] Bolton: Costing £1M, by spring new seats, signs and pigeon nets will be fitted, waiting rooms and
toilets upgraded and the P4 & 5 Victorian building refurbished for retail, enterprise or community use.
299] Wigan: On 21 Jan the points on the Up Goods at 5m 26ch, accessing the Springs Branch Sidings
were recovered and plain lined. The associated departure signal from the sidings was recovered.
300] Blackpool North: Initially Virgin services mostly used P1 with the 05.30 SSuX to Crewe using P2
(other than this and the 07.21 (SO) from Birmingham New Street to Blackpool North, all Virgin services
run to/from Euston). P1 & 2 can take an 11-car Pendolino. In the new timetable the 16.33 (SSuX) from
Euston, a Voyager DMU, is booked to use P5 but in practice uses P1. It serves Kirkham & Wesham and
Poulton-le-Fylde (as does the 05.30 (SSuX) Blackpool North to Crewe, which is also a Voyager).
Pendolinos are 'unable' to serve these intermediate stations which have no Virgin service on Saturdays.
Blackpool North has four Virgin services arriving/departing in the week, (plus an 03.50 ECS from Crewe
to form the first departure). The final arrival is then ECS at 19.50 to Central Rivers (22.42), running via
Lichfield Curve. Saturdays there are three arrivals and departures with no ECS moves and no services
run at all on Sunday. One might have thought that fewer Virgins would leave Blackpool than arrive?
Northern now makes significant use of P2 in the week (and is booked to on Saturdays but has does not
with the strike service) and even uses P1 on Sundays. P2 can thus be done without reporting for 05.30!
301] Blackpool Trams: (BLN 1295.2515 - with a very detailed plan in e-BLN.) Those on our remarkable
'Blackpool Balloon' tour could observe progress on the 600m long Blackpool North £22M branch
(which includes two new trams). Most of the track is laid along Talbot Road and work is progressing at
Talbot Square, the triangular junction between the existing promenade line and the new extension.
Both roads are currently closed to road traffic. Each of the new sides of the triangle has double track.
Reopening of the promenade road (due on 21 Jan) is now at the end of Feb. At the Blackpool North
end the double track curves left, right up to entrance doors to the Wilko store (now owned by
Blackpool Corporation). This needs to be demolished for the terminus to be built but is still trading!
On the Wilko site will be an island terminal platform without any run off and a scissors crossover at the
promenade end. Will this really be ready for opening later this year as an update on the extension
progress states in 24 Jan 2019 'Live Blackpool'? It is understood that alternate trams running north and
south along the promenade will run via the station and reverse. The new single platform Talbot
Square stop is north of the branch after the triangle. Thus promenade trams heading north or south
will both be able to call to drop passengers off for North Pier without them going to Blackpool North
terminus and back again to the respective northbound and southbound North Pier stop platforms.
ABOVE: The new triangle at Talbot Square on Sat 26 Jan 2019 (John Cameron).
302] Lancaster: The former 19th Century warehouse on the old quayside (next to the WCML Carlisle
Bridge over the River Lune north of the station) was demolished in Nov. It was once served by a siding
off the Glasson Dock branch and was one of the last remnants of the city's once flourishing linoleum
industry. However, the Greyhound road bridge across the Lune, originally a railway bridge carrying the
Lancaster to Morecambe Harbour railway, has reopened after extensive renovation. The first bridge
opened in 1848 for the Morecambe Harbour and Railway Company's new railway, linking Lancaster
Green Ayre station to Morecambe Harbour. It was replaced by a wrought-iron viaduct in 1862-64, and
again by the present bridge in 1911 later converted for road traffic after the railway closed in 1967.
1322 SOUTH EAST - NORTH & EAST ANGLIA (Julian James) [email protected]
303] Bletchley: (BLN 1318.2615) After the installation of the three buffer stops between Flyover
Summit Jn (per Sectional Appendix, but 'Summit of Flyover Jn' in TRACKmaps Book 4 p9B Dec 2018)
and Fenny Stratford Jn, as previously noted, this length was taken OOU on 27 Jan, prior to the work to
provide the sidings for engineering trains. This is for East West Rail Phase 2 (Bicester to Bedford).
304] East West Rail: (BLN 1312.1870) On 28 Jan the East West Railway Company revealed five route
options, A to E, for the new Bedford - Cambridge line route:
A: Bedford South - Sandy (relocated south) - Bassingbourn -
B: Bedford South - Sandy (station moved north) - Tempsford
….'area' - south of St Neots - Cambourne - Cambridge.
C: Bedford South 'Tempsford 'area' - Sandy - Bassingbourn -
D: Bedford Midland - Tempsford 'area' - Sandy - Bassingbourn -
E: Bedford Midland - South of St Neots - Tempsford 'area' -
….Cambourne - Cambridge.
The consultation period runs for six weeks from 28 Jan until 11 Mar (both Mondays); for more details
and to give YOUR opinion see https://eastwestrail.co.uk/haveyoursay [cue battle of the Nimbys...]
305] St Albans Abbey: (BLN 1319.2760) Passengers on the 6m 30ch long Abbey Line branch had a
significantly more reliable service in autumn 2018, compared to previous years. The number of
seasonal-related cancellations was nearly 80% lower in 2018, compared to 2017. This followed
improved working practices by NR and London Northwestern Railway, to manage leaves on the line.
A new facility was opened in Watford Junction maintenance yard, enabling trains to be topped up
daily with sand to assist with adhesion on slippery rails. As a result, there were 36 fewer cancellations
due to a shortage of sand, and 30 fewer cancellations due to slippery rails. Together, these two issues
resulted in just 18 cancellations on the route between 15 Oct and 7 Dec, compared to 84 cancellations
over a similar period in 2017. In previous years a special autumn timetable has been implemented on
the Abbey Line, missing some stops to allow for a change in driving style and to create paths for
maintenance trains to operate throughout the day. However, in 2018, conditions were managed
without the need for this to be implemented, with a significant improvement in performance.
306] Reedham: BLN 1318.2618 stated that the station once had an island platform. Wikipedia
https://goo.gl/1F2vFZ records that both Haddiscoe and Reedham stations were relocated in 1904.
Haddiscoe Low Level certainly replaced an earlier station just west but alterations at Reedham were
far more complex. The Great Eastern Society's Journal No101 dated January 2000 had a detailed
article, giving the following history, along with much more detailed information:
●The Apr 1844 Inspecting Officer's report for opening of the new line from Norwich to Yarmouth via
Berney arms records it as single track with future provision for sidings at Reedham. There is no specific
reference to a passing loop, so it is possible to conclude that Reedham then only had one platform.
●By Jul 1845 an existing ballast siding was to be extended such that it could be connected at both ends
to the main line. There is no mention of the construction of a second platform.
●Of particular interest in the branch line context, the Jun 1847 report for the Lowestoft line opening
states that the junction took the form of a triangle: 'so arranged that no engine need travel tender
foremost and … it accommodates the direct traffic from Lowestoft either to Norwich or Yarmouth'.
●The report on a 12 Aug 1853 collision at the station includes the information that 'At about 32ch to
the east of Reedham station, the single lines from Yarmouth and Lowestoft meet, then run side by
side into the station'. This brought two parallel single lines to a position closer to the station. The GER
Society article has a modern track plan showing the Down and Up side platforms, each passing under
the westernmost overbridge and a shorter island platform west of and running up to the overbridge.
East of the overbridge, in the resulting wide way between Down and Up running lines, is a centre track
shown as 'Middle Line' connected by four crossovers, so accessible at each end from each running line.
Whether signalling permitted all such moves or the Middle Line had trap points is not clear as single
points are shown at the ends of the Middle Line. This running line and platform arrangement is dated
c1853 to 1904 and confirmed by the 1884 1:2,500 OS map. A photo (ABOVE - Mike Warner/ Reedham
Station Museum) later than 1869 confirms the platform arrangement. Looking east towards the
junction it shows that the Up platform is in its present position. It can be dated as the box is on the
Down side (to Yarmouth/Lowestoft) and was replaced in 1904 by the present box on the Up side.
●Following a 31 Jul 1877 accident interlocking changes were carried out in late 1878 or early 1879
including providing a signal box on the Down side east, of the station. The GER Society article states
that it is possible the work brought about the abandonment of the south to east curve, avoiding the
need for more signalling work. At Haddiscoe the Marsh Jn - St Olaves Jn spur had opened 1 Jun 1872.
[From BLN 1263.1632: Railway Historian John Gough has found evidence that Reedham East Curve
(Reedham East Jn - Reedham South Jn), was used in 1847, when a 'pointsman was appointed to
control the curve', for a Lowestoft to Yarmouth service (presumably goods). However, there is no
mention of this curve (still less of its use, even for goods trains) later on in the Eastern Counties
Working Timetable (WTT) 1 Sep 1856 or Great Eastern WTT Jun 1863, Oct 1866, Oct 1870 or Feb 1875.
See also BLN 1226.245, which even queried if the curve ever actually had track on it!]
●In 1904 Reedham to Marsh Jn was doubled and a new signal box provided on the Up side of the line,
east of the station. Three running lines then existed east of the station to the divergence of Yarmouth
(via Berney Arms) and Lowestoft lines, the unusual layout survived until 20 Oct 2018 (BLN 1313.1945).
●The station buildings survive at the Up platform eastern end.
BELOW: 1912 Junction Diagram; boxes numbered. Black: Great Eastern Railway (GER). Yellow: Midland & Great
Northern Joint Railway (M&GNR); Dashed: Norfolk & Suffolk Joint Committee (a GER/M&GNR Joint line).
❶ Yarmouth South Town ❹ Breydon South ❽ Nelson Road
❷ Yarmouth South ❺ Breydon North ......(a level crossing box)
......Town Junction ❻ Yarmouth Vauxhall Yard ❾ Yarmouth Yard
❸North Gorleston ❼ Caister Road ❿ Breydon Junction
307] Great Yarmouth Central - a lost opportunity: (BLN 1296.55 - Lowestoft with references to Great
Yarmouth.) Recent ORR statistics show a 20% decline in the usage of Great Yarmouth station since
2012/13, whereas the number of people travelling on Greater Anglia trains during the second quarter
of 2018 increased by 4.2% in 12 months. This is a cause of considerable local concern and is attributed
to service cancellations which, with a mostly hourly frequency, may cause significant problems for
passengers, high fare prices, and inconveniently sited stations at Yarmouth and Norwich. Buses run
more frequently between the centrally situated bus stations. However, resignalling is currently in
progress and new Stadler Class 755 FLIRT bimodal units will be phased into service this year. It is to be
hoped that this will improve the reliability of the service and make it more attractive to use.
The once extensive network of 5 routes into Great Yarmouth is a shadow of its former self and the sole
surviving station, Great Yarmouth (Yarmouth Vauxhall until 15 May 1989), stands forlorn on the edge
of the town, serving the two ex-Great Eastern routes to Norwich via Acle or Berney Arms. The Midland
& Great Northern Joint Railway line from the Midlands terminated at Yarmouth Beach (CA 2 Mar
1959), the former Great Eastern main line from Ipswich via Beccles ran to Yarmouth South Town (CA 4
May 1970), shared with the Norfolk & Suffolk Joint Committee line from Lowestoft Coke Ovens Jn.
Proposed new marshalling yard
New locomotive yard, repair
shed and breakdown train
70 ft. turntable New Central station
LNER Great Yarmouth proposals, 1943
Based on original diagrams, with thanks to M&GNR
and GER Societies To South Quay
To Beccles Engine turning
New locomotive yard, triangle
repair shed and
breakdown train shed
New marshalling yard
South Town station
to be closed
River Yare To South Quay
New carriage sidings To Norwich
Goods yard Ormesby
to be closed
Vauxhall station PLAN A : not to scale
to be closed
re Line to Yarmouth Beach to beNN
abandoned and station closed
New carriage sidings
Breydon Viaduct To Great
to be closed PLAN B : not to scale
to be closed Line to Yarmouth Beach to be
New Central station abandoned and station closed
The latter would probably be a thriving line if open today as it connects two large towns with
significant housing development since closure. Ironically, dwellings have been erected on the
formation at Hopton, and the A47 (previously the A12 until 2017) is on the trackbed in the Gorleston
area, rendering re-instatement impractical. In hindsight, had plans hatched in 1943 materialised to link
all the routes together with a new Central station replacing the existing three, some routes may have
been saved with the railways playing a far more useful role in the 21st century at Great Yarmouth.
The remarkable story of the 1943 plans was written by John Abson and Nigel Scarlett and published in
the M&GNR Society's journal 'Joint Line'. We are grateful to the editor, Dennis Greeno and co-authors
for kindly consenting to the article being used in BLN; it has been adapted by your BLN Editor:
Plans have come to light of a proposal that would have amalgamated three stations: Yarmouth Beach,
South Town (at 'Southtown') and Vauxhall into one new Central station, with better connections.
●How they were discovered: The plans were found when Eurostar vacated Waterloo and NR had to
clear the arches underneath. Here were the Eastern Area archives which were microfilmed before the
originals were sent to the National Railway Museum. NR invited Great Eastern Railway (GER) Society
officials to look through the material to see if there was anything of interest. A small working party
descended each Wednesday and deposited any GER material with the Essex Records Office. M&GNR
related items were given to John Abson and are in care of the William Marriott Museum. This is at Holt
station on the North Norfolk Railway (William Marriott founded the M&GNR Society in Oct 1959).
PREVIOUS PAGE: Great Yarmouth the LNER 1943 proposals. North is to the right and south is left. Plan
'A' (the less expensive) is at the top and Plan 'B' is below (See South East North item 307). Many
thanks to Dave Cromarty for his very considerable time and effort redrawing the original plans.
●The plans: Two A0 size plans (below) were produced in 1943, but given the scope, the train operation
and stabling must have been worked through in some detail, which must have been several weeks
work! Plan A shows a new, through station on South Quay and suggests new road layouts with which,
presumably, the local council would have been involved as part of a redevelopment of the area. A new
river crossing north of Haven Bridge was proposed and an accompanying oval loop, with a triangle of
running lines at either end. This would have made the scheme operationally very flexible.
Plan B is a cheaper option with Central station, a terminus, on the left bank, adjacent to Haven Bridge.
The existing road layout was to be maintained. Mill Road was to pass under the new station to
maintain access to the local roads to the north. Both plans envisaged a six-platform Central station.
The M&GNR line was to be diverted (as indicated on the plans) but it is not clear at what point the
route would diverge from its previous direction. The only information on the plans says that the new
route is 'to Great Ormesby' (and the curve away from the Norwich line was to be of 37ch radius).
●Why this never occurred: It seems that as a category 'D' scheme it was only on a 'wish list'. It is
possible that this was one of various schemes prepared for consideration and possible implementation
post-war, using monies released from the Arrears of Maintenance Trust Fund. The date is coincident
with that of the planning exercise. The LNER, due to resources being at a premium, gave priority to the
completion of unfinished pre-war works. These included electrification of Liverpool Street - Shenfield
and Manchester - Sheffield - Wath, plus the resignalling of York. The London Passenger Transport
Board's Central Line eastern and western extensions received similar priority. 'Forward', the LNER
Development Programme brochure, published in 1946, excluded the Yarmouth Central plans. War
damage was made good under much smaller schemes. Notably, South Town received a new signal
box, believed to be in 1943, of modernistic design to replace the one damaged in an air raid.
●The missed opportunities: The missed opportunities are purely conjecture but do give 'food for
thought' if the plan had been implemented. The 1953 repairs to Breydon Viaduct would have been
justified by the amount of extra usage, instead of the few trains that then used it (it CA 29 Sep 1953).
When the rest of the ex-M&GNR closed in 1959, the North Walsham - Great Yarmouth section may
have been saved because of good interchange possibilities and the cost of operating Yarmouth Beach
station would not have been a factor. Yarmouth - Lowestoft trains were always under used as it was
such a long walk from Vauxhall to South Town station. The latter was also very derelict before closure.
With a Central station providing interchange facilities, traffic may have increased on these services.
Even if the cost prevented building a new station, what a pity that no chord was built from Breydon Jn
to either Beach or South Town saving the cost of rebuilding the 'abomination' that became, Vauxhall,
now 'Great Yarmouth'. (With thanks to the Great Eastern Society for some historical details.)
ABOVE: Greater Anglia DMU 156417 from Norwich leaving Reedham station (background) before the
three tracks which used to lead to the split for Yarmouth/Lowestoft. (Angus McDougall 30 Jun 2012.)
308] Ipswich: Freightliner plans to build a new multi-million pound depot just outside Ipswich station.
It wants to build a workshop to maintain locomotives and wagons on the partially disused Upper Yard
adjacent to Ranelagh Road. It also wants to move its fuelling point here from the Down side of the
station. This would enable locomotives to be refuelled without having to cross the main line when
accessing the East Suffolk line. The company says its new depot will create about 20 new full and part-
time jobs and will enable it to carry out maintenance on its locomotives and wagons that currently has
to be undertaken at other depots across the country. In its planning application to Ipswich council it
says the nearest wagon maintenance plants at present are in Southampton or Manchester. The new
maintenance facility will be a steel-framed building, 54m long and includes an inspection pit, two
overhead cranes and a car park for staff. It will also house a wheel lathe, the first of its kind in the area.
The application is expected to be discussed by Ipswich planners during the spring. (Ipswich Star)
309] Soham: (BLN 1248.75) Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority commissioned NR
to develop possible options for a new station, to assess what was required to deliver it, and make sure
the provision of the station delivers value for money. NR will hold community drop-in sessions in late
Feb to reveal the proposals to businesses and residents. They are still under development, but will
include new platforms at the site of the former Soham station (CP 13 Sep 1965), currently the start of
the single track section. It is about halfway between Chippenham Jn (on the Mid Suffolk Line) and Ely.
Car parking facilities and a new footbridge are included. The initial plans will be released at meetings
on 26 and 27 Feb (a renowned local member hopes to attend), and the design is due to be completed
by July. Early design work would allow for a second platform (as there once was) and footbridge to be
constructed with a second track added in a future project. Soham has a population of about 11,000.
310] Sizewell: (BLN 1306.1183) Power stations past and (possibly) future here are the 490MW Magnox
Sizewell-A at the south end of the site, opened in 1966 and decommissioned in 2006; the UK's only
pressurised water reactor, Sizewell-B (1,250 MW) to the north opened in 1995 and, further north, the
proposed Sizewell-C, two pressurised water reactors each 1,670MW. As Sizewell-B does not use rail
transport, the branch from Saxmundham is now little used. The Sizewell-C construction proposals now
out for consultation include rail or road initiatives for the resulting traffic. The favoured rail option is a
new branch from west of Leiston running north of the town to three rail terminals in the development
site, the line being owned and operated by EDF (Électricité de France). Five daily freight trains during
working hours are envisaged. The existing branch would be relaid and nine level crossings upgraded.
Upgrades between Westerfield and Saxmundham may include a new loop near Wickham Market,
closure of level crossings and strengthening of six underbridges. Track alterations at Saxmundham
would allow freight trains to stand clear of the passenger loop. If the full scheme does not proceed,
reuse of the sidings south east of the present but disused gantry crane is envisaged. These were
installed in the 1980s for Sizewell-B construction traffic with onward transfer by road. A further option
is a rail terminal north of the line short of the gantry crane. Construction approval is optimistically
sought for 2020-21 with nine years of construction and the power station in full operation in 2031.
BELOW: Our 'Yare & Stour Rambler' DMU railtour at Sizewell, 9 May 1992 (Angus McDougall).
311] Slough: P2-5 are being extended at the London end. Up Relief P5 has been refaced with new
coping stones etc. The island (P3&4) is least advanced with digging out for foundations started.
312] Reading: The two escalators at the London (A side) on P12 & 13 were fenced off and out of use in
mid Jan. The fresh water machine in the waiting room at the 'A' end of P8 and 9 is now in working
order and dispenses room temperature or chilled water to help hydrate customers.
313] Felixstowe: (BLN 1318.2619) ABOVE: Details of track laid (as at Jan 2019) and the new layout on
completion - kindly drawn by Martyn Brailsford. Note that the existing junction at the Ipswich end of
Trimley station is being moved nearer to Ipswich. Work on the 1.4km loop began in Jun 2018 with
completion due in mid-2019, allowing up to 47 intermodal trains a day on the branch. It is part funded
by Hutchison Ports, owners of the Felixstowe Port complex. The new line forms an extension to the
existing Felixstowe North Terminal branch at Trimley station level crossing on the south side of the
existing line, to Trimley Footpath Crossing, where it will rejoin the single line at the new Gun Lane Jn.
Over Christmas/New Year 2018/19, new connections for the loop were installed, out of use until
commissioning later this year. The former Trimley Up platform has been demolished at the southern
end and re-edged, inviting speculation that it may be re-instated for passenger use, probably in
exceptional circumstances? It is thought that both sides of the lengthy loop will be bidirectional.
Additionally there are to be alterations each end of the (unidirectional) Derby Road loop.
The work resulted in the closure from 10 Nov 2018 of six bridleway and footpath level crossings. At
Trimley these were: Keepers Lane - user worked with telephone (82m 33ch), Gun Lane - user worked
with gates (82m 1ch), Grimston Lane - footpath with wicket gates (81m 48ch), Trimley - foot path with
stiles (81m 57ch) and St Martins - footpath with stiles (81m 71ch). A bridleway bridge with equestrian
access is under construction at Gun Lane to replace some of these crossings. Additionally Thorpe
Grove or Common (footpath with stiles) Crossing closed (81m 31ch). Road crossings at Thorpe Lane,
(81m 41ch), Morston Hall (80m 64ch) & Levington (80m 0ch) are being 'upgraded' and at Westerfield.
TO FOLLOW: Pictures by Iain Scotchman on 4 Jan 2019 of the work on the Felixstowe branch.
ABOVE: The new northern (Ipswich) end connection forming Gun Lane Jn, installed over Christmas to
the new dynamic freight loop at the now closed Trimley Foot Path Crossing.
BELOW: Trimley station looking towards Ipswich, the disused platform on the left has been shortened
and is being reopened. The new loop can be seen ahead; the connection this end of the station will be
removed with a new crossover nearer to Ipswich (see plan above).
ABOVE: Looking towards Ipswich, 153335 approaches Trimley on the 13.58 Ipswich to Felixstowe.
The new freight loop is ahead with the crossover installed over Christmas that will replace the
connection seen in the foreground. BELOW: As the passenger train heads for Felixstowe station in the
distance 66548 approaches Trimley from Felixstowe North Terminal with an intermodal working for
Birmingham Lawley Street. The third new connection on the branch laid over Christmas can be seen.
ABOVE: Trimley crossing, footbridge and station looking towards Felixstowe.
ABOVE: The sorry state of the disused Trimley station building, there is a local campaign to
restore it to community use. The station had 32,420 passengers in 2017-18.
1322 SOUTH EAST - SOUTH (Julian James) [email protected]
314] Ford - Barnham: Yapton automatic half-barrier level crossing has been converted to a manually
controlled full-barrier crossing during a 10 day road closure, completed for start of traffic on 14 Jan.
Over 8,000 vehicles a day use the crossing with an average of 3.7 incidents per day, including drivers
ignoring red lights, weaving around the barriers and queuing over the crossing - despite a red light
enforcement camera installed in 2017. Trains were 30mph restricted, now eased to 65mph. The level
crossing is almost exactly half way between the stations, worsening the impact of this restriction.
315] All Our Yesterdays... it wasn't an April Fool either: (From BLN 439 p81 dated 1 Apr 1982.)
316] Reading Green Park: (BLN 1290.2061) Design work for this multi-modal interchange has been
completed. Enabling works begun in Mar 2018 include utility diversions and achievement of required
levels by ground fill. Detailed design is being undertaken but this includes a requirement to amend the
planning consent following a change in scope of the project due to additional funding being obtained
from the New Stations Fund! ['Upscoping' - with apologies to AOMcD - is a pleasant change for once.]
Winter 2019 is given by Reading Borough Council as an 'indicative delivery date' for the new station.
317] Tonbridge - Redhill: Although this is a Southern Class 377 EMU service, trains are worked by
Southeastern Tonbridge and Hastings crews, to retain route knowledge for disruptions and planned
diversions. Since the May 2018 timetable, the service has been self-contained and no longer runs
to/from Victoria or, in the peaks, London Bridge, so SE crews cannot keep up their route knowledge.
From 10.24 to 17.16 a 7-car Electrostar berths in P4 at Tonbridge, ECS from and to Cannon Street. As
required, the London end unit, a 375/9, operates as: 10.53 Tonbridge to London Bridge; 12.37 London
Bridge to Redhill Signal T1316; 13.51 Signal T1316 to London Bridge; and 14.37 London Bridge to
Tonbridge, all ECS. To run between Tonbridge P4 and the Redhill line it needs to double shunt via
Down Main Siding No2 and Signal AD160 on the Down Main towards Paddock Wood.
This maintains Hastings' Depot knowledge in case an out of course turnaround needs to shunt. From
time to time (Sat 23 Feb for example), there is an engineering block somewhere between Petts Wood
Jn and Parks Bridge Jn. Hastings trains are diverted via Beckenham Jn and New Beckenham but trains
via Paddock Wood use Victoria. Tonbridge is the only depot with Class 375 and New Beckenham
knowledge (retained by its PSUL trains), so during the diversions these drivers spend the day driving
backwards and forwards Orpington - Charing Cross. As these trains are Driver Only Operated,
Sevenoaks to London Hastings guards only carry out commercial duties but can work through.
318] Folkestone: (BLN 1315.2242) Network Rail is to clear a portion of the Folkestone Harbour branch
of undergrowth, rubbish and track. This will be the northern section of the line running past East Cliff -
further up from the harbour area. It will be brought back into community use. (Kent Live)
1322 SOUTH WEST (Darren Garnon) [email protected]
319] Cheltenham Spa: After a weekend line closure on 2/3 Feb, from Mon 4 Feb, on the approach to
Cheltenham from the north, Down Main signal 'G42' (immediately before Alstone Lane Level Crossing)
was renewed as a two aperture LED signal with four aspects and a new 'position 4' junction indicator.
A new (passenger) signalled route is provided to the Up Main P2 (the Birmingham direction platform).
Down trains routed to P2 will receive a single yellow aspect with a position 4 junction indicator and
main aspect release to regulate the speed of the train over the 15mph restricted facing crossover.
Three routes are now available south from Alstone Carriage Sidings to... (1): The shunt spur; (2): P1;
and (3): P2. The Gloucester end of Up (to Birmingham) P2 was extended by 42yd to an operational
length of 306yd (10 car IET). A new fixed red signal was provided at the limit of bidirectional running.
Two new car stop markers on P2 indicate the stopping positions of various lengths of trains that will be
terminating from the north. This turnback facility for passenger trains from the north (that previously
required pilotman working) will be used during service disruption and when the line is closed south of
Cheltenham for engineering works. Cheltenham to Gloucester is closed for three weeks in June.
320] Plymouth Laira: Ocean Siding was taken OOU from 2 Feb (this actually happened on 2 Feb 2013).
321] Exeter City Basin :APPEAL:: On 10 May 1980 our South Devon Railtour https://goo.gl/JReo6z
visited (opposite the present Alphington Road branch - there used to be a track linking them under
the main line). The Cornwall Railway Society has approached us asking for any pictures of the tour
there please for their (excellent) web pages https://goo.gl/B4ikCH on the branches. See also
https://goo.gl/KL777q about the former Garton & King Tan Lane Foundry which the enquirer has a
family connection to. He is particularly interested in images of the foundry that might have been
taken on the tour (or otherwise) and extra information. The tour reached the Texaco Sidings
branch, almost to the last level crossing by the Maritime Museum. (Pictured E-BLN 1317 last page.
No sooner the word than the deed... ABOVE: Our 10 May 1980 tour on the Exeter City Basin branch
almost a mile from the junction. BELOW: The basin itself. (Both Angus McDougall.)
ABOVE: 6" OS map of the branch in 1949. The 'Sta' top left is Exeter St Thomas station. The Exeter City
Basin branch (light green spot) can be seen and its connection underneath the Exeter St Davids to
Newton Abbot main line to join the Marsh Barton branch (now still open as far as Alphington Road
Scrap Yard). The bridge is incorrectly shown on the 1957/8 one-inch 7th Series as a level crossing (with
two railways and a road!) - maybe one of those OS 'deliberate mistakes' to preserve copyright?
322] Falmouth branch: On Mon 28 Jan the front bogie of the 12.34 Falmouth to Truro DMU (carrying
about 12 passengers) derailed at low speed at Penryn station. (LEFT BELOW: Press Release.)
No injuries were reported. Branch services were suspended for the rest of the day while recovery took
place. Then a reduced hourly service ran during repairs/commissioning with the first passenger
crossing move at 09.34 on Tue 5 Feb.
323] Tunnel Closures: Whiteball Tunnel (north
of Tiverton Parkway) will be closed, and Marley
Tunnel (west of Totnes) partially closed, both for
23 days from 18 Feb until 8 Mar for engineering
works that are intended to extend the life of the
tunnels for another 100 years. In Phase 2b (final
part) of the Whiteball Tunnel works a total of
377yd at six sites in the 1,092yd tunnel will be
repaired with additional drainage works and the
removal of redundant buildings just outside the
Taunton end portal.
In early 2014 the six sites were installed with the ram-arch support structures to prevent brickwork
falling onto the track. This was undertaken in anticipation of a second phase of works to create new
tunnel walls - but the proposed technique proved unfeasible and an alternative solution had to be
developed. The successful £2.4M tender from J Murphy and Son (involved in the Crossrail tunnel under
the Thames) advocated a different approach of spray concrete lining the affected areas of the tunnel.
1,585yd (in multiple sections around the tunnel arch) will be sprayed at 5ft per hour enclosing the
whole ram arch support system. This includes continuous gauging works so that the project can be
stopped at any point in the event of a delay (and the line would be ready to open at once), minimising
the risk of an overrun. https://goo.gl/nBXBJg has more details. Preliminary works began in Jun 2018.
The twin bore Marley tunnel will have a limited train service passing, using single line working (same
dates), the details are awaited but all would call at the same platform at Totnes in both directions.
Aish Emergency Crossover(s) (230m 37ch) and Totnes East trailing crossover(s) (22m 47ch) are in use
with services considerably thinned as a result. The minimum required journey is Ivybridge to Newton
Abbot. Plymouth - Exeter - Paddington
services are reduced to every two hours due
to reversing at Exeter St Davids and then
diverted via Yeovil Junction and Castle Cary
to Westbury. Of note a good number of the
diverted trains serve Honiton too, particularly
on Sundays, which will have through trains
to/from London Paddington (as well as
Waterloo), Plymouth and even Penzance.
324] Penzance: A well travelled member, who
was not dreaming, has observed that GWR
has opened a sleeper lounge here (RIGHT -
GWR). It is opposite P1 & 2 where there used
to be a buffet and bar next to the waiting
room. It has around fifteen seats; with
complimentary hot/cold drinks and light
snacks (biscuits and crisps) available.
1322 WEST MIDLANDS (Brian Schindler) [email protected]
325] New Street (1): (BLN 1319.2782) On Sat 26 Jan the 06.15 Birmingham New Street to Edinburgh
and 07.21 to Blackpool North (an 11-car Pendolino) departed from P1 towards Wolverhampton, using
the rare New Street North Tunnel Jns trailing crossover (0m 21ch) which has to be taken from P1 in
this direction (but not other platforms). Your GS and Editor were on the latter train and P1 was shown
as the booked platform (rather than a platform alteration) but by variation of the schedule. The ECS
arrives from Oxley at 06.54, occupying a platform for 27 minutes. There were movements to/from or
through P2, 3 & 4 during this time. However, both trains (and the respective ECS) are actually booked
for P2 and the week before/after they did indeed use P2. It is possible to depart for Wolverhampton
from any New Street platform (in either direction) but your BLN Editor has never done this from P12b.
326] New Street (2): Your commuting Regional Editor regularly catches the 17.39 (SSuX) CrossCountry
service to Derby from P10A. It is usually formed of the New Street 'hot spare', a 2-car Class 170 DMU
arriving directly from No3 Siding (the middle line between P10B and P9B). Interestingly there is also a
'conditional' path available (requiring activation) for the ECS to do a 'Grand circular tour' leaving said
siding at 17.00 via Grand Jn, St Andrews Jn, Lifford Curve & University to …. New Street P10A (17.26).
This has yet to run in the present timetable! An alternative 'conditional' schedule has the ECS leaving
Tyseley Depot at 17.19 arriving P10A at 17.34. This has run five times in the current timetable.
This peak extra means there are five trains (SSuX) to Derby between 16.00 and 17.00 instead of the
usual four. The train calls at all stations except Peartree forming the one through train of the day
between Water Orton and Willington - there is none in the other direction. [We know our members
love the unusual.] Continuing the theme, as it does not run to Nottingham, after Peartree the service
takes the bidirectional Down Tamworth Fast in the Up direction to Derby P2A (18.29). The ECS is
booked to return at 19.01 to New Street (20.00) via Kingsbury to Whitacre (but may run main line).
If the spare Class 170 is unavailable, the train is formed of the 'turnaround' or spare Voyager set. This
service has run for many years and was known as the 'Derby Relief', on one occasion being formed of a
failed 2 car DMU hauled by a Class 31 locomotive which was the Saltley Banker at the time!
327] Norton Bridge: (BLN 1294.2380) As part of the 'official' closure of the passenger station (with
effect from 10 Dec 2017), the DfT agreed to subsidise the rail replacement buses until the end of Mar
2019 at the latest. This was to give Staffordshire County Council time to consult and decide on their
future. D&G Buses of Stoke-on-Trent who operate them has now published a notice of cancellation of
rail replacement Route '13' from 31 Mar. At present the bus services (which run SuX) are still shown on
the National Rail website 12 weeks ahead but presumably this would change. Norton Bridge
(like Barlaston and Wedgwood) no longer appears in the ORR annual station usage - all three were last
served by a train on Sat 22 May 2004. Normal 'rail' tickets remain available to/from all three.
328] Dorridge: The line was closed all weekend of 26/27 Jan. All CrossCountry trains ran via Coventry
so the local Kenilworth services (which are SuX) were replaced by buses. Chiltern Marylebone services
ran to/from Warwick Parkway (P2 to P1 ECS shunt via Hatton P3 and then the passenger crossover!).
Chiltern ran a Moor Street to Solihull P1 shuttle with single line working on the Up Dorridge from
Tyseley South Jn trailing crossover (125m 50ch). On the Saturday West Midlands Railway's services
from Stratford-upon-Avon via Dorridge were diverted between Stratford-upon-Avon Parkway and
Moor Street non-stop via the North Warwick (not Warwickshire) line! With the normal service, it had 8
trains an hour (total) Moor Street - Whitlocks End and 4 beyond! Trains from Stourbridge turned back
at Snow Hill with chances to do the facing crossover from the (Black) country end to P2 and the trailing
crossover that end on departure from Snow Hill P3 towards Jewellery Quarter. Three members met
by chance on the 21.56 Snow Hill P3 to Great Malvern after earlier being on the same Blackpool tram!
(BLN 1320.93) Meanwhile at Dorridge, the Down Dorridge points (118m 53ch) connecting it and the
Up & Dn Dorridge Passenger Loop/Up & Dn Dorridge Goods Loop were renewed. A new turnout
(118m 57ch) was commissioned at the south end between the Up & Dn Dorridge Passenger Loop and
the Up & Dn Dorridge Goods Loop. The south Goods Loop points (118m 61ch) were renewed as trap
points. A new turnout (119m 30ch) was commissioned, at the north end, between the Goods Loop and
the Dn Dorridge Spur. The north connection (Goods to Passenger Loop) was also commissioned.
329] Wolverhampton: The curved north bay (P6) is only signalled for passenger departures, all arrivals
are ECS. With station rebuilding the bay seems to have, presumably temporarily, lost its two passenger
trains. The 06.10 & 06.51 (SSuX) DMUs to Shrewsbury have gone from P3 and P1 respectively instead.
The ECS from the 21.47 ex-Shrewsbury is still shown as arriving P6 at 22.59 but it is doubted if the
train always uses the bay as it has been rusty recently and the time does not embolden in Realtime
Trains. Six car DMUs can still be accommodated (note the OHLE is isolated) but due to building site
hoardings extending on to the platform only 58yd is useable by passengers at the Shrewsbury end.
330] Uneven (odd) trains: (BLN 1321.142) SSuX there are three Liverpool Lime Street to Walsall trains
(via New St) at 07.01, 07.30 & 14.31 but none the other way; although a 06.15 (SSuX) Crewe to Walsall
does run. Presumably they change TOCs (West Midlands to/from London Northwestern) at New St?
331] Colwall: On 22 Jan a visitor to the station discovered that the footbridge had unexpectedly gone
missing! Connecting the now single Up side platform to footpaths on the Down side, but once between
two platforms, it was removed for refurbishment earlier this month and is due to reopen on 15 Mar.
X.11] Redditch: ABOVE: 2 Feb 1974. The SO 'bubble car' that made an extra lunchtime round trip from
Birmingham New Street, all stations (Five Ways, University and Longbridge didn't open until May
1978). There were no Sunday trains. In the week a 6-car DMU ran in service early morning to Redditch
then split to form two morning 3-car commuter trains back; the opposite happened in the evening and
that was it! In the words of our esteemed Chairman, John Williamson: 'The Redditch commuter was a
hardy soul.' Redditch now has as many arrivals and departures in an hour in the week as it used to
have all day! In 1974 the station had semaphore signalling, a signal box with signaller and was staffed,
there was a small wooden building with a ticket office out of view to the right (other side of the
bridge). A stone train used to run some weekday mornings (sidings out off view) to supply this 'new
town'. The branch had been shortened from 7 Feb 1972; the previous station with two platforms and
once a passing loop was behind the camera (south to Alcester had CA 6 Jul 1964). (Ian Mortimer.)
1322 IRELAND (Martin Baumann) [email protected]
332] Irish Rail: A record number of passengers were carried in 2018. ♣Intercity: 12.4M journeys (up
8.5% on 2017); ♣Commuter: 14.6M (up 4.5%); ♣DART: 20.5M (up 4.3%). ♣TOTAL JOURNEYS: 47.5M.
333] Dublin Connolly P7 - Newcomen Jn: On Sat 26 & Sun 27 Jan all Maynooth/Sligo line services used
this PSUL route in both directions due to engineering work at Glasnevin Jn.
334] Londonderry: (BLN 1321.207) The new station is now reportedly on schedule to OP from 22 Oct
2019. A closure of approximately 12 days is expected before this for gauging and crew training.
X.12 City Hospital: (NEXT PAGE) Opened 6 Oct 1986 this is another of the lesser photographed NIR
stations is, It is seen on 18 Jan 2019 with 3006 working 15.27 Bangor to Portadown. (Martin Baumann)
1322 SCOTLAND (Mike McCabe) [email protected]
X.13] Glasgow Queen Street: BELOW: The platform extensions and other works (Rail Engineer) see
https://goo.gl/tW42Vz for the full article, which is very interesting.
335] Kilwinning (1) - but the winning crossovers lived: Sundays 3 Feb to 10 Mar and Sat 9 Mar there
are no trains Paisley Gilmour Street - Kilwinning; services to/from Ayr & Largs turnback at Kilwinning.
Arrivals from Largs use the facing crossover to arrive at P2 and those to Ayr use the trailing crossover
on departure from P3. In addition to buses between Paisley and Kilwinning, non-stop buses run
between Glasgow and Ardrossan Harbour, to connect with the Arran ferry, and between Paisley and
Largs calling only at Johnstone. It is only five miles by road, so a much shorter journey, but a Wemyss
Bay member bemoans the fact that ScotRail never provides buses from Wemyss Bay when there is no
through service to Largs. [As an aside Glasgow to Largs train fares are good value for the distance
travelled making up for the circuitous route the railway takes.] This rail replacement policy contrasts
with some other TOCs, which are more imaginative in their arrangements. Former South West Trains
have run rail replacement services between Alton and Winchester when the main line was blocked at
Basingstoke, and Southern has been known to run buses to Haywards Heath and Three Bridges when
the Uckfield and East Grinstead lines are blocked. Ingatestone to Newbury Park is a regular route too.
336] Kilwinning (2): Footbridge and temporary footbridge connoisseurs will be interested in a new
bridge, with lifts, under construction here. It extends from P1 (Up Largs) to P4 (Down Ayr) and replaces
separate footbridges over the Ayr and Largs lines. The old bridge over the Ayr lines has already been
demolished and replaced by a temporary one at the south end of the platforms. Unlike Perth, there
actually appears to have been some architectural input to the new design, judging by an illustration at
the station of what the completed job will look like. The foundations now appear to be complete.
337] Neilston: On Wed 19 Dec 2018 a points failure trapped the 16.39 Neilston to Neilston ECS in the
Turnback Siding and therefore 16.55 to Glasgow Central was cancelled. This failure resulted in 16.35
Glasgow Central to Neilston terminating at Whitecraigs. It started its booked return working there as
17.22 Whitecraigs (normally 17.14 Neilston) to Glasgow Central in the Down direction on the Up
Neilston (bidirectionally signalled), crossing to the Down line via Muirend crossover (101m 57ch).The
17.03 Glasgow Central to Neilston was also terminated at Whitecraigs but returned as ECS to Muirend
and commenced its booked working to Glasgow Central from there on time at 17.55.
338] IBM: (BLN 1321.218) It appears that the halt opened on Tue 9 May 1978, (Railway Observer July
1978 - the stock numbers of the train that made the first calls are even recorded). The Monday was a
local holiday. It was not the May Day bank holiday, which was on 1 May 1978. Does anyone know what
local holiday was on 8 May, or have further evidence to prove that 9th was the opening date please?
339] Caledonian Sleeper: Stop marker boards are being installed at stations served by the trains. Usual
train formations are to be: Edinburgh - Fort William Class 73 and 4-6 Mk 5 coaches, Edinburgh -
Aberdeen Class 73 with 4-6 Mk 5 coaches; Edinburgh - Inverness 2 x Class 73 and 8 Mk 5 coaches.
STATION ENTRIES EXITS 340] Glasgow Subway: LEFT: 2018 passenger figures in
descending order of station usage. Buchanan Street in
Buchanan Street 2,494,562 2,738,750 the city centre is the nearest station to Queen Street
St Enoch 1,986,100 1,789,195 and Buchanan Bus Station while St Enoch serves Argyle
Hillhead 1,826,070 1,885,919 Street shopping area and Central Station. Hillhead is
Kelvinbridge 1,037,404 1,017,013 near Glasgow University which generates many journeys
Partick to and from the city centre. Kelvinbridge is on the busy
Govan 938,452 949,992 Great Western Rd (not named after railway companies
Kelvinhall 800,770 861,043 operating in the South West of England!), while Partick
Ibrox 684,767 659,222
St George's Cross 540,988 516,700 and Govan are transport hubs. Ibrox is close to Rangers
Shields Road 494,968 499,101 ground (can you buy a ranger?). As evident the least
Cessnock 481,760 452,510 used stations are nearly all south of the river, in less
Cowcaddens 450,412 523,299 affluent areas. Even though access to/from all stations is
Bridge Street 378,253 380,293 through ticket gates, there must be some inaccuracy,
Kinning Park 324,587 330,117 because more people exited the system than entered.
West Street 96,036 99,223 (Maybe there is a maternity hospital in the tunnels!)