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Published by membersonly, 2018-05-18 01:30:18

1247

19th December 2015

Issue Number 1247 (Items 2279 - 2362 & MR 204 - MR 210) (E-BLN 38 PAGES) 19 December 2015

BRANCH LINE NEWS

Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)
Website: www.branchline.org.uk

Membership Enquiries: [email protected]

22 Treemount Court, Grove Ave., Epsom, Surrey, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677

British Isles news from members, an international section is also available.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or the Society.
BLN 1248 is due on 9 January 2016 and all conStoricbieuttyi.ons must be received by 30 December 2015.

YOUR BLN TEAM & COMMITTEE WISH ALL MEMBERS A MERRY CHRISTMAS & A HAPPY 2016
NB: There is a 3‐week gap until BLN 1248 on 9 January with no BLN on 2 January

Date Event Visit Type BLN Lead Notes

Sat 23/01/16 EDF tracker Carnforth to West Burton PS 1245 JE OPEN

Sun 24/01/16 NRM Shildon, with PLEG Morning track & traction event TBA TBA Claimed

Sat 6/02/16 Wirral Heritage Trams 11.00 Tram Trip & Museum visit 1246 JE NOTIFY

Sun 7/02/16 Merseyrail Railtour Third Rail Centenary Tracker 1247 KA *NOW*
*OPEN*
**OPEN** *SEE BOOKING FORM* 09.32 Hooton Class 508 EMU

Sat 27/02/16 Main Line EMT Tracker Crewe, 2 Midland Heritage lines TBA GJ Claimed

Sat 5/03/16 Southend-on-Sea and 10.30 - 15.30 starting at the 1247 RB *OPEN*
**NEW** area all day visits
Southend-on-Sea Pier Railway *NEW*

Fri 18/03/16 Didcot Railway Centre Date for your diary TBA TBA Claimed
Sat 19/03/16 Pontypool & Blaenavon OPEN
8-11/04/2016 Jordan Hejaz Railway 10.30 Comprehensive railtour 1246 SM NOTIFY
7-9/05/2016 Rare track in SW Spain NOTIFY
20-22/05/16 Northern Ireland Special train rare lines in Jordan 1246 IS Claimed
3-4/06/2016 Scottish Minor Railways FINAL NOTIFICATIONS PLEASE1244 GB NOTIFY

Long weekend, minor/main lines TBA TBA

Aberdeenshire/Perthshire 1246 TV

GB-Geoff Blyth, GJ-Graeme Jolley, IS-Iain Scotchman, JE-Jill Everett, KA -Kev Adlam, RB-Rod Bryant,
SM-Simon Mortimer, TV-Terry Velvick....

2279] Christmas quizzes (1): The sad news from Devon about the demise of the landmark Dawlish
Warren camping coaches (Southwest section) prompted your Editor to offer a prize for the best list of
camping coaches of Great Britain that it is possible to stay in. (2): More lines have Sunday passenger
services than formerly. Members are invited to submit the best list of routes and stations (not just
curves, links or PSULs) without Sunday passenger service and also list those with summer dated Sunday
trains. Entries by 1 January, please, to the Editor whose decision is final. Contact details per back page.

2280] BLS Third Rail Centenary Tracker, Sun 7 Feb: A booking
form for our latest charity railtour with Merseyrail is enclosed
(electronic subscribers will find it as a download that needs to be
printed out), starting at Hooton 09.32 (all day parking 80p). It will be of interest to those on our very

successful 'BLS 750V Tracker' of 18 Jan 2015 too. All proceeds go to the Community Link
Foundation at Southport and Claire House Children's Hospice, adjacent to Clatterbridge
Cancer Hospital in Bebington. Reminder: Wirral Heritage Tram trip the day before - BLN 1246.

…………………………………………..[BLN 1247]
2281] Southend-on-Sea BLS Visits, Sat 5 March: (BLN 1244.MR187)
Thanks to member Rod Bryant, 'a good interesting day out with a
breath of sea air'. 10.30: Southend Pier Railway (TQ885849)
http://goo.gl/bneDfQ 3ft gauge and 1¼ miles long, on the World's
longest pleasure pier, which is Grade II listed. Includes the
extremely rare middle passing loop and both platform lines at
each end of the railway. 12.00-13.00: Southend Pier Museum,
Friends of Southend Pier, in the historic former Pier Workshops
under the shore station (used until 1978 to maintain and repair the
railway). There is a souvenir shop, an original 1890 era toast-rack
tram, green 1949 carriages, a working signal box, pictorial displays,
some original working penny slot machines etc. 13.30-14.30:
(RIGHT: From a press release May 2010) Southend Cliff Railway,
(TQ 881851) https://goo.gl/kSVFng 4'6" gauge, single track 130 ft
long at 1 in 2.3 gradient with electric traction. A video https://goo.gl/tllU1H of the railway. Unusually
it runs on a single-track elevated structure, the counterweight track runs within this structure,
immediately below the main track that carries the passenger car. 15.00-15.30 Southend Heritage
Vertical Lift: (TQ885851) http://goo.gl/r0X0ut Pier Hill Road, dating from 1912 holds 12 people at
once and gives great views of the Pier and Thames Estuary. It links High Street with the new pier
entrance and was out of action from 2003 to 2010. Special add on to follow: Rod had kindly offered to
conduct a walking visit to Leigh-On-Sea cockle sheds. All pay on the day (amount to be advised in
advance but inexpensive). Please support our member's initiative; notifications and all queries to Rod
Bryant at [email protected] (note two underscores) or 0770 1315199.

2282] Severn Valley Railway, Highley - Engine House Branch: Following our 2014 Kidderminster AGM,
arrangements were in hand to potentially cover this branch at short notice (BLN 1230.610) and 40
members have notified interest. However, this depended on Hinton Manor returning from Swindon
which is now scheduled for next year. The key member of staff involved in the trip is moving to a new
post which makes the fixture unlikely now. However, as one Engine House door closes another opens!

2283] Unusual Track: Anticipated but should be re-checked e.g. http://goo.gl/wwSbYv etc.
 Hampton Court Up facing X/O and Down line: SuX from 14 Dec, 22.24 & 23.24 to Surbiton P4.
 Holloway Jn - Finsbury Park, Down Goods: 2 Jan (22.44) - 3 Jan (09.10), all trains ex-King's Cross.
 Ironville Jn - Kirkby Lane End Jn: Sun 24 Jan, all Nottingham-Mansfield Woodhouse trains & v.v.
 Attenborough Jn - Meadow Lane Jn - Toton Centre - Trowell Jn: Sun 24 Jan, previous entry
trains plus all Nottingham - Leeds (Northern services) and EMT to Sheffield/Liverpool both ways.
 Up & Down Sleaford Avoiders: ECML trains all day Sat 30 Jan+6 Feb & Sun a.m. 31 Jan+7 Feb.

1247 HEAD LINES
2284] Blackburn, King Street Goods (9m 55ch) - Down Through Siding (10m 07ch): (BLN 1246.2155)
The final BLS internal trip as 'British Fuels, Blackburn Coal Concentration Depot' has been confirmed as
13 Sep 1986, before a visit to Ribble Cement Works railway at Horrocksford. Neither is recorded in our
1995 Forty Year anniversary book. Coal trains ran in May 1993 at least and had finished by about mid-
1994. The 'Down Through Siding' loop (not covered on our Chord and Quay Tracker 11 Oct 2014 due to
the state of the track) had been used when observed on 27 Oct 2015.

2285] Teifi Valley Railway, (ex-BR) Henllan station (267m 68ch): (BLN 1216.MR149) ROP Tue 18 Aug
2015 first train at 15.00; last ran Sun 8 Jun 2014 and was closed down by HMRI on Tue 10 Jun 2014
during a failed inspection. Initially operating a 'short' section of 2ft gauge track, Forest Halt (268m
15ch) is expected to ROP 'in the New Year'. It is intended to reinstate Pontprenshitw (268m 32ch) run
round loop. Offers of help and fundraising ('sponsor a sleeper') appreciated to extend 01559 371077
[email protected] [ex- GWR standard gauge Pencader Jn to Newcastle Emlyn branch.]

[BLN 1247]

2286] Madeley Jn - Ironbridge 'B' Power Station: (BLN 1246.2165) On Mon 30 Nov 2015

there was a final working of empty biomass wagons at 03.13 from Drax Power station, which arrived at

Ironbridge 09.38. It left for Liverpool Bulk Terminal at 13.38 and is thought to have picked up the

remaining empty wagons at Ironbridge. A local Committee member has confirmed that none remain.

The nearly seven mile ex-GWR branch is a composite of four lines with a complicated history:

 Madeley Jn-Lightmoor Jn: OG 1 Jun 1854, OP 2 May 1859, CP 22 Mar 1915, ROP 13 Jul-21 Sep 1925*
 Lightmoor Jn-Coalbrookdale: OA 1 Nov 1864**, CP 23 July 1962.
 Coalbrookdale-Buildwas (East) Jn: OG 1 May 1857, OP 2 May 1859, CP 23 Jul 1962.
 Buildwas (East) Jn - Ironbridge Power Station end of line, 58ch of ex-Severn Valley Railway (SJ 6452
...0428), former A4169 level crossing OP 1 Feb 1862, CP 9 Sep 1963.
 In 1979 and 1987-90 a dated summer Sunday (sometimes August Bank Holiday Monday) BR
….passenger service was provided from Birmingham New Street / Wolverhampton to special built
,,,.wooden stations 'Telford (Coalbrookdale)' (SJ667047) at 161m 20ch in 1979 and later
,..'Coalbrookdale' at 160m 20ch, nearer the power station (BLNs 371 p105 & 888.885 have more).
 Madeley Jn-Ironbridge: TCA 7 Apr 2012 to 12 Oct 2012 while it was converted to burn biomass.
*SO 'experimental' service. **Previously, a Wellington to Shifnal service ran via Lightmoor Jn (reverse).

2287] Wolverhampton, Oxley (Stafford Road) Jn - Bushbury (Oxley) Jn; 'Oxley Chord': Much reduced
use since Ironbridge closed on 20 Nov. Just the 22.25* (SSuX), 10.30 (SuO) Chirk Kronospan to Carlisle
Yard empty timber wagon train is booked; Up direction NRU. Some Manchester & Crewe ATW drivers
sign it for diversions. (*Alternative path Shrewsbury P7 run-round then Wem.)

2288] IÉ, Athenry (excl) - Ennis (excl) and Craughwell & Ardrahan stations: TCP 6 Dec 2015 due to
flooding from 'Storm Desmond'. At one stage Craughwell station was inaccessible by road too.

2289] IÉ, Longford (excl) - Carrick-on-Shannon (excl) and Dromod station: TCP 6 Dec 2015 due to
flooding; there is reduced capacity on some Dublin services due to rolling stock being stranded at Sligo.

2290] Dalmeny Jn - Winchbugh Jn: (PSUL) TCP from 7 Dec 2015; 07.13 (SSuX) Kirkcaldy to Glasgow
Queen St, and 17.33 return, until further notice (expected to be in January). The DMUs are required to
enhance Edinburgh to Fife services as a consequence of the Forth Road Bridge closure (see 'Scotland').

2291] Manchester Metrolink, Victoria-Exchange Square (SJ 8399 9865): OP Sun 6 Dec. See regional
section for full service details. In addition to the approximately 400m double track 'branch' from
Victoria (said to be 600m between the stops); the new 'Victoria Platform D' outbound, outer line on
the NR station side plus Shaw & Crompton bay and crossover came into regular use. 'Victoria

Platform A' on the southeast
extremity is still used by
inbound city trams. Victoria
centre road with two platform
faces ('B & C') was initially
OOU; terminating trams cross
over ECS beyond the platforms.
At Exchange Square turnback is
an ECS shunt over the trailing
crossover beyond (south of) the
platform, appropriately in Cross
Street! (LEFT: The present limit
of working on the Second City
Crossing - Angus McDougall 6
Dec 2015; opening day.)

ABOVE: Victoria tram stop (Ian Mortimer 8 Dec 2015), Platform 'A' (right) and 'D' (left) are in use, the
middle line (serving Platforms 'B' & 'C') is taped off, the points shown had been unclipped. Two
Northern Pacers (due to be phased out by 2018!) are in Manchester Victoria (NR) bay P1 behind.
BELOW: Exchange Square on opening day (a Rochdale service at the departure platform). Trams arrive
on the right and cross ECS behind the cameraman beyond the stop. (Angus McDougall 6 Dec 2015).

[BLN 1247]
2292] Midland Metro, St. Paul's - Bull Street (SP 0712 8712) stop (incl.): (BLN 1244.1995) 830m, ROP
(former double track section)/OP (beyond that section) Sun 6 Dec 2015 at 08.00, then every 15
minutes (SuO). 'Metro ladies' and their elves (children) were handing out 'Celebrations' (chocolates). A
Unimog made the first test run in the early hours of Sat 14 Nov, then hauled Tram 29 on a clearance
run to Bull Street ('the first tram in the city centre for 62 years'). Tram testing under electric power
began on Wednesday morning, 2 December. Trams will arrive at the left hand platform and depart
with passengers over the new country end trailing crossover (set into the road) to Wolverhampton
until extended to Grand Central. OP of this section (and the new Snow Hill St. Chad's stop) is deferred
to 2016 (NB this may be in January), by which time trams on driver training to Grand Central will not
use the Bull Street crossover in service. After the crossover the route passes between 'One Snow Hill'
and the station down an incline over Great Charles Street, joining the original route just to the south of
St. Paul's stop. The tram tracks to the previous Snow Hill station terminus (CP 25 Oct 2015) are lifted.

2293] Annbank Jn-Drongan Jn-Killoch Washery: (BLN 1231.702) ROG trains with 1,400 tonnes of coal
to Longannet Power Station have been running for a few weeks, generally two to three times a week.
Booked departure generally at 13.42 (empty wagons come via Barassie Yard).

2294] London, Forest Gate Jn - Woodgrange Park Jn: (BLNs 1246.2174) The services in PSUL ran for
the final time 7-11 Dec 2015 inclusive. All (SSuX) to Liverpool Street, they were: 04.29 ex-Stanford-le-
Hope, 19.50 ex-Grays, returning there at 20.35, 20.51 ex-Barking, 20.46 ex-Grays returning 21.35 and
23.33 ex-Grays. These all disappear in the new timetable from 13 Dec 2015, replaced by alternatives.

2295] Tottenham Court Road station: (BLN 1224.27) Central Line (P1&2) only; ROP 7 Dec 2015 after
TCP from 5 Jan 2015 for station upgrade and Crossrail work - see 'Greater London' section.

2296] Ilford, Aldersbrook Up Carriage Holding Sidings (6m 75ch): (BLN 1245.2068) RO Fri 11 Dec 2015
for stabling; previous workings were for testing and route learning. Two sets of TfL Class 315s (total
four units) arrived late evening from Shenfield, reversing at the junction. Early on Mon 11 Dec they ran
to Maryland (reverse) then Shenfield. These are now daily (SSuX) workings in the new timetable.

2297] Apperley Bridge station: (BLN 1232.831) OP Sun 13 Dec 2015; EMU 333013 on the 08.42 to
Bradford Forster Square and the 09.14, to Leeds. The £8M unstaffed station has two 100m platforms
between Apperley Jn and Apperley Viaduct. SSuX there are 33 trains to Leeds from Up P1 (202m 79ch)
and also from Leeds to Down P2 (202m 65ch), from/to Bradford respectively; Skipton after 20.00; SO
32 Up/31 Down (half-hourly) with 15 each way SuO (hourly Leeds to Bradford Forster Square service).

2298] Coventry Arena station (3m 56ch): (BLNs 1235.1173 & 1241.1776) OP expected Mon 21 Dec
2015 with the 06.11 to Nuneaton from Down P1 (85yd long) and the 06.46 to Coventry from Up P2
(163yd). SSuX there are 16 trains to Nuneaton and Coventry, SO 15 and SuO eight; as Bermuda Park…

2299] Bermuda Park station (8m 03ch): (BLN 1275.1173) OP expected Mon 21 Dec with the 06.21 to
Nuneaton from Down P1 (84yd) and the 06.37 to Coventry from Up P2 (84yd).

2300] Anniesland, Knightswood South Jn - Dawsholm Jn: (BLN 1246.2264) Commissioning of the new
375m reversible non-electrified single track 'Anniesland Connection' is scheduled for 27 Dec 2015.
Signalling is by track circuit block controlled from both Edinburgh and Yoker IECCs. It allows diversion
of a limited number of Edinburgh to Glasgow line services to/from Glasgow Queen St. (LL) during the
blockade of Queen St. HL (20 Mar to 8 Aug 2016). The original connection CA from 14 Oct 1980.

2301] Roydon station: TCP in Up direction only is expected Sat 2 Jan to Sun 28 Feb 2016 (incl) for
rebuilding of Up P1. London passengers are advised to take a train from P2 to Harlow Town and
change; those arriving from the Cambridge direction change at Broxbourne for a train back to Roydon.

[BLN 1247]
2302] Blackpool Electric Tramway, Norbreck North stop: (BLN 1188.956) ROP at a cost of £200K is
expected 'by Easter 2016' between Norbreck and Little Bispham stops, a 1km section without a stop.
The former ground level stop was last served 7 Nov 2011, the end of the heritage only operation (after
the illuminations) when the number of stops was culled from 61 to 37 with tramway modernisation.
2303] Isle of Anglesey, Valley (260m 04ch) - Valley Direct Rail Services (DRS): (BLN 1241.1740)
Closure of Wylfa, the world's final Magnox Nuclear Power Station is confirmed for 30 Dec 2015. After a
100 day 'cooling down' period decommissioning (costing £728M) will begin with removal of the fuel.
Nuclear Flask trains to Sellafield are expected to run for another 2-3 years. It will then be left for years
until it is safe to demolish. In comparison, it is costing £53bn to decommission installations at
Sellafield. There is no other rail freight on the North Wales coast line now.

ABOVE: Our HST charter approaching Bishop's Bridge loop, South Devon Railway, to cross a service
train. Its steam loco is between the signal box and signal. (All David Irvine 10 Oct 2015 unless specified)
2304] FIXTURES REPORTS: First Devon and Exeter Explorer, Sat 10 Oct: (118/60) It was shortly after
6am on Paddington's P3 and the first class coaches of a GWR HST set were being laid for full English
breakfast. Not so unusual perhaps, but for two details. The first difference was clear for all to see. The
train with power cars 43187 and 43188 was sporting the striking new immaculate 'GWR Green' livery;
the only HST that will do so with the arrival of the IEP over the next couple of years. The purists might
question whether it was an exact match to the 'Middle Chrome Green' and the 'Holly Green' that the
'other' GWR used between 1906 and 1947 on much of its locomotive fleet, but the livery looked
superb nonetheless. Quite a few heads were turned during the nearly 468-mile total journey to admire
it; the GWR rebranding from FGW had only begun on 20 September with its franchise extension. Inside
was equally as smart with clean white light carriage interior walls, grey seats and smart green trim
round the headrests. The second detail, breakfast, was being prepared, not for the regular GWML
commuters, but for GWR's invited VIP guests. Along with 150 BLS members and others, they would be
enjoying the 'First Devon and Exeter Explorer', an HST railtour to the South Devon Railway (SDR) and
the mothballed Heathfield branch. This branch has had no booked traffic since the timber trains to
Chirk were transferred to Exeter Riverside in April 2015, due to the difficulty they were having in
running round at Newton Abbot with the high number of passenger trains there. Downloads of David
Palmer's itinerary and Stephen Phillip's geographical tour map were sent out with e-BLN 1243.

[BLN 1247.2304 -cont.]
The Society was honoured to be asked by GWR to assist in promoting and running this very unusual
and (almost; more on this later) unique charity railtour in aid of the First Devon and Exeter Prostate
Cancer Fund. The inspiration came from Geoff Fidler, an Exeter based GWR Area Operations Manager,
and the aim was to raise £20k for a new portable scanner at Exmouth Hospital. It is an honour and
testament to our Society's credibility in previously raising significant sums of money for charity and
running similar trips that we were asked to take such a significant role in this tour.

Departure from Paddington was followed by an extremely spirited run to Reading and thereafter that
had some on board questioning whether the power cars had been 'modified' for the occasion! If Sir
Kenneth Grange, who was responsible for the aerodynamic design of the iconic HST power car and
who was one of GWR's guests on board, had a view on this, he was keeping it to himself. Pick up calls
(with early arrivals) were made at Didcot and Swindon, then the tour ran via Bath, relatively unfamiliar
lines to some on board. The tour was then routed via P5 at Bristol Temple Meads rather than the
higher numbered platforms usually frequented by services from London, so covering two crossovers
and the chord that connects the Up main and the Down fast. Our Fixtures Secretary, who had
requested such novel pathing, was waiting to join the train (a 4am start from Crewe) and could only
watch the train weave across the junction rather than benefit from his handiwork. By now, some very
lucky members had paid for an upgrade to first class and were enjoying the Travelling Chef's full
English breakfast in the leather seat luxury of GWR's premier HST unit. It progressed on time to the last
pick-ups at Taunton and Exeter St. David's; at the latter as booked in P6 the furthest west, unusual for
through Down services (conflicts with Up trains); certainly some required both of the crossovers.

After a slightly late departure from Exeter, awaiting a late running Up service, the train was soon
heading alongside the lovely Dawlish sea wall in sunshine and on to Newton Abbot. Here it was looped
into P1 (giving another crossover on departure) and unexpectedly held. It didn't take long for news to
filter through that a DMU had failed at Totnes. As the HST was booked to run a mini-tour from the SDR
to Heathfield and back for locals, timings were very tight and any delay may have jeopardised this for
the 155 guests waiting at Buckfastleigh. Fortune was on our side and NR allowed us to proceed over
Dainton bank to Totnes. The misbehaving unit was now in the Down passenger (P1) loop and the tour
made the booked rare crossing at Totnes East (MP 222.33) to the Up line and into P2 to reverse.
Interestingly this was a fully signalled move with illuminated feathers rather than on 'cats eyes'.

Then for many the highlight of the trip, the now exceptionally rare connection from NR to the South
Devon Railway (SDR), which the tour would actually cover four times this day. At Totnes P2 the
platform staff worked hard to prevent would-be passengers for destinations other than Buckfastleigh
from boarding the train. The signal cleared revealing the route setting as 'DV', reflecting the line's
identity until 1992 'Dart Valley Railway'. Our HST became a 'SST' and made its way cautiously over the
normally very rusty SDR connection, watched by many congregated on Totnes Littlehempston station,
and indeed at every crossing and vantage point along the line. A video https://goo.gl/WUBfEs clip.

In fact this was not quite unique but certainly only the second HST (but the first with MTU engines)
onto the SDR. The first happened 18 years previously on 26 April 1997 when Hertfordshire Railtours
ran their 'Teign & Dart' tour that covered exactly the same routing as this train. Progress down the line
to Buckfastleigh was predictably sedate with the train limited to a maximum speed of 25mph and
passing a service train that had been looped at Bishops Bridge. Despite the earlier delays, arrival at the
terminus was almost on time, with the leading HST power car progressing well beyond the level
crossing (new track for many; the line takes a curve right here off the old formation to Ashburton, due
to the A38 road) to accommodate the coaches in the platform and clear the starting signal for return.

BELOW: The tour beyond the passenger platform at Buckfastleigh, looking south, the building left of
the green Class 33 (33002) or D6501 is the South Devon Railway's Works.

[BLN 1247.2304 -cont.]

In about 10 minutes the train was retracing its steps to Totnes, now with the 155 new (and a few who
had remained) passengers on board each paying £25 to take a lunchtime return trip to Heathfield.
Meanwhile participants off the main tour could enjoy Buckfastleigh or try the South Devon Railway's
scheduled services with steam locomotives 3205 and 6412. Buckfastleigh miniature railway was
running and 'behind the scenes' shed and works visits were available for tour participants, as was a
vintage Routemaster bus trip. Most of this was laid on specially - very well done!

LEFT: The Routemaster
outside the delightful
station at Buckfastleigh
(Anon & below). Three
hours later all of the
original passengers re-
boarded for their own
trip back to Totnes and
beyond, alongside the
lovely River Dart in the
superb Devon scenery.
During this trip, Sir
Kenneth made his way
down the train signing
autographs. Such was

[BLN 1247.2304 -cont.]
his popularity that his passage through the train took well over an hour! As on the outward trip,
photographers were in abundance especially when the tour ran back over the SDR connection onto
NR. Leaving Totnes to a fanfare of locomotive horns, the HST soon arrived at Newton Abbot and ran
onto the Heathfield branch. Again the train progressed sedately as many observers came out to wave
along this attractive branch that partly runs by a disused canal. At Heathfield, the crew pleased those
on board by reaching inches short of the buffer stops, reached via the northwest side of the loop.
BELOW LEFT: Teingrace Halt on the way to Heathfield (CP 2 Mar 1959; Moretonhampstead branch), it
looks like some locals hope it might be a request stop , at least they are standing well behind the
yellow line. The last timber train ran 2 April 2015. RIGHT: Heathfield, loop with staggered platforms.

ABOVE: The very smart HST arriving back at Buckfastleigh after the Heathfield 'mini trip' for locals.
All that was left now was the return to London. The fund raising had not quite finished though, and the
very generous tour passengers ensured that all of the remaining stock of food and real ale from the
Travelling Chef was either consumed or purchased to take away, including 30 well travelled pasties for
the next day's Society Kent fixtures (BLN 1245.2081). An on time arrival back into London Paddington
P2 marked the end of a hugely successful and enjoyable day. The amazing collaboration between GWR,
NR, the SDR, the Devon Diesel Society and our Society raised a staggering £18,215 towards the new
prostate cancer scanner and £2,000 for the South Devon Railway Trust.

[BLN 1247.2304 -cont.]
BELOW: Line up at London Paddington in the evening after the tour.

2305] BLS Ribble Ramble, Sat 24 Oct: (124/60) A good group of familiar BLS faces (31 participated)
were gathered inside the railway's café; with greetings exchanged and souvenir tickets provided, a
welcoming cup of complimentary very decent coffee was taken. The plan for our charter, on a day
without public trains, was the eastern section in the morning, break for lunch and then the west end.
Morning Session: It was unusual for most participants to reach this railway by road or on foot rather
than on a mainline railtour! On entering the Riverside station platform, via the interesting Museum,
Railbus E79960, perfect in size for a BLS style railtour and with excellent visibility, (every railway should
have one!) was waiting for us. No time was lost in opening the windows to prevent misting up. With
passengers and staff aboard it was away off east down the single main line towards Strand Road,
passing yacht boatyards, the Ribble Swing Bridge, Preston Dock (NB not 'Docks'), lock gates, the River
Ribble and sundry road and foot crossings. The Swing Bridge is unusual in these risk averse times,
being used by both vehicular traffic and the train service (not at the same time of course). Protected
by trap points and sand drags at each end, it is staffed by a Ribble Railway signalman. To the left, in the
direction of travel, the ship-free basin of the adjacent Dock was a substantial representation of former
glory days. Sadly, now over it seems. Approaching the Strand Road area, the North Exchange Siding
(actually the main passenger running line on the left of the three) was taken past the passenger
platform followed by the short divergence into Strand Road LC Headshunt for buffer appreciation and
reversal. A quick shunt back to the main line and then it was clip the trap points, plunger down,
flashing red lights and barriers down for the road traffic. The 5mph Strand Road Level Crossing was
covered to the gates protecting the NR boundary (0m 40ch) side of the road just before the PN116
signal post - the first time ever our driver had exercised his full running powers. A penny for the
thoughts of, or mobile phone footage from, the waiting drivers as we promptly reversed back from
whence we came.

[BLN 1247.2305 -cont.]

ABOVE: Railbus E79960 before the tour at Riverside station platform. The modern bitumen bogie tanks
are in South Loop Siding; see below in the report. (Jenny Williamson 24 Oct 2015)
Now running back west, the South Exchange Siding was taken then the Platform Road again and back
through the Centre Road (so the points would be trailing). Thanks very much, Strand Road Headshunt,
Crossing and the three Exchange Sidings now completed. Returning to the main station area there was
a brief pause before reversal onto the Lanfina Siding as far as the locked gates. Safety issues with
passenger stock overhead clearance beyond the gates prevented further progress. Given the curvature
of the siding it was not possible to confirm if any bitumen tanks were stabled inside. The siding belongs
to Preston Council but is leased to the Ribble Railway then sub-leased to Lanfina who pay the Ribble an
annual fee for use of the dockside track facilities. The terminal receives trains of bitumen from
Immingham (Lindsey oil refinery) run by Colas once or twice a week usually, via Copy Pit. The terminal
away to the north of the railway is not visible (good view available on Google). Bitumen is piped from
the siding above Chain Caul Way to the terminal, implying it must be quite free flowing. There is a
facility for warming the contents of the tank wagons when stabled in the siding.
Reversing from Lanfina Siding, the Loco Shed (North Road) was taken into the shed where the railbus
normally stables. A line of Rolls-Royce diesel shunters receiving maintenance were on the opposite
shed track. Another couple of reversals and it was back to the station; mission accomplished. As we
were ahead of our lunch break slot, a guided visit to the shed was kindly provided to see an
assortment of coaches and locos. Invited to step through a side door and into the paint shop, one of
the former Dutch 'Class 08s' was viewed (in matt grey undercoat ready for a dark green livery finish).
Presumably, it was No 663 as 601 in immaculate Dutch yellow and grey colours had been spotted
earlier, inside the museum building. Stock list master spreadsheet (supplied electronically by the
organiser as usual for all Society fixtures now) ticked off; it was time for a very enjoyable, filling and
comprehensive lunch with a good menu choice and a further chance to socialise.

[BLN 1247.2305 -cont.]
BELOW LEFT: Preston Dock, former exchange sidings on a brakevan trip, in the days when that was
possible. RIGHT: Strand Road LC from the brakevan; the BR boundary is by the signal. This trip working
visited other choice Preston locations such as Deepdale Coal Depot. (Ian Mortimer both 8 Dec 1978.)

ABOVE LEFT: The new layout on the BLS visit of 16 Nov 1987, Dock loco coming off the new Bitumen
branch (the same as it is now). RIGHT: Three Dock locos at Strand Road level crossing. (Ian Mortimer)
Afternoon Session: The weather had brightened up considerably as we set off eastward past the first
set of platform points to reverse into the east end of South Loop siding where onward progress was
halted by seven stabled bitumen bogie tanks. A double reversal and run through the platform Centre
Road covered the track down to the Headshunt as far as two decrepit wooden wagons that blocked
progress. Then it was back into the west end of the South Loop siding to rendezvous with the rear of
the bitumen tank rake. A double shunt into the Centre Road positioned us for reversal, over the
crossover to the main line and up to the gates protecting the lines into Preston Council's former Loco
Shed at the western extremity of the site. Given the dumped stock and undergrowth, it was hard to
tell if both lines to the shed building were still in situ, but the consensus from the passengers at that
end of the Railbus seemed to be that they were. Reversing to pass the Museum Sidings, where all lines
were fully occupied, the Unloading Line between the Museum and Loco Workshop buildings was
taken. Progress was made up to the stabled vehicles blocking the rest of the line. The caseless body of
shunter 08628 was visible at the end of the line, looking quite odd with the diesel engine fully exposed.
A quick reversal or three and all the available Loco Workshop roads were covered. Reading from north
to south; Roads 1 and 2 up to the closed building doors, Road 4 up to a diesel shunter and a steam loco
on test. Road 3 was completely blocked by a large crane and rusting steam boiler and was clearly to

[BLN 1247.2305 -cont.]
remain unavailable on the day. There is always something to look forward to next time! With the rare
track riding completed, we shunted back to the station platform to terminate and heartily thanked the
railway staff who had worked so hard to make our visit so successful and enjoyable.

The fixture concluded with a guided tour around the Loco Workshop, an impressive engineering
operation. For a Saturday afternoon, there was plenty of activity and several rows of locomotives,
carriages and other railway vehicles to check off against the stock list. In conclusion, another excellent
BLS fixture with all available track covered, all sheds visited and much ground frame, point clipping,
numerous reversals and trap point operations observed. The use of a railbus again provided a
perspective of the railway infrastructure and associated operation that is not always recognised when
travelling in conventional rolling stock. Many thanks to our very hospitable hosts, especially Mike
Bailey of the Ribble Railway and of course the tour organiser, our very own John Williamson. By way of
a contrast one of the downloads with this e-BLN is a track plan for our 1989 railtour of the (then quite
different) Preston Dock railway.

1247 BLN GENERAL
2306] Points and Slips: BLN 1246.2156] The 'rough riding' on the Ealing Broadway P6 Central Line to
P9 District Line connection shunt experienced on the 9 Oct 1983 railtour mentioned was likely due to
non-rusting conductive 'zig zag' welded on the rails. This (like on NR) activates track circuits on rarely
used rusty sections of lines and makes a loud noise in trains passing over it. 2161] The Ffestiniog
Railway (1'11½" gauge) ROP after engineering work, as planned, for Santa Specials on 12 Dec 2015.
The recent relaying mentioned has eliminated the final bullhead rail on the main running lines.

2307] PSUL 2016: With thanks to our member Richard Maund, the new 2016 edition with December
2015 timetable changes is avaialable online at http://goo.gl/0wbGtM website. There is much new
information including many more links. A reminder that all PSUL editions back to summer 1963 can be
seen at http://goo.gl/ceD0On (some very mouthwatering lines in the 1963 edition!).

2308] Bicester Chord - Oxford Parkway Quiz cont: (BLN 1246.2188) A member queried if HS1 from
London St. Pancras to Ashford might even qualify as 'a new rail link between a major British city and
London built within the last 100 years' on the basis that some of its trains serve the City of Canterbury.

2309] North of England Franchises: We are delighted that our friends at First Trans Pennine Express
Ltd have won the TPE franchise until 2023 (First Group without current partners Keolis from April) in
an announcement by the Transport Secretary on 9 December. Plans include 220 new carriages (said to
be the equivalent to 44 new trains) worth £400M and 125mph services with new services for Scotland
including a direct Liverpool to Glasgow service from December 2018. Premium payments over the
franchise total £303M. DBS will be running another UK franchise through its subsidiary Arriva Rail
North Ltd that won the Northern Franchise from 1 April 2016 to March 2025; it will continue to use
the 'Northern' brand. Sunday services are to be increased, Pacer trains phased out by 2018 and long
distance higher quality 'Northern Connect' services developed. A 40% increase in capacity is envisaged.
Its total subsidy over the franchise has been set at £1.79bn which is a reduction on the present level.

1247 EAST MIDLANDS
2310] Kettering North Jn: From 13 December at 73m 59ch a new crossover was due to be installed
(OOU for later commissioning) in the single track reversible 'Up & Down Slow' north of Kettering
station. Part of the Kettering to Manton Capacity Project, it is trailing from the right in the Up
direction. An additional portion of line was to be installed between the 'Up Fast' and the 'Up & Down
Slow'. From 20 December, a further similar (OOU) crossover (facing off to the left) is to be installed at
73m 70ch in what will become the new Down Slow after re-quadrupling from Kettering Station Jn to
Kettering North Jn. The two Crossovers will eventually allow moves between the Up Fast and the new
Up Slow (now the Up & Down Slow) at Kettering North Jn (both lines are currently reversible).

1247 GREATER LONDON
2311] Chadwell Heath: (BLN 1239.1551) The new turnback siding is booked to have its first peak
period use (ECS!) from 29 to 31 December. The main Liverpool Street to Shenfield service is reduced to
4tph throughout the day, but is supplemented by 4tph terminating here during and after the peaks.

2312] Crossrail: (BLN 1246.2195) (1). Gidea Park: From 7 December No4 and 5 sidings were removed.

(2). Ilford: Bay P5 is intended to be taken OOU from 14 May to 2 Dec 2016 as part of Crossrail works.

(3). Acton Diveunder: An interesting and well-illustrated account of its construction can be found on
the Ian Visits website http://goo.gl/pWPkD3

2313] Croydon Tramlink: (BLN 1245.2097) All trams are normally using P10a until the service is
increased to 12tph next year. On 1 December, it was noted that P10b had not yet been used.

2314] Hounslow Loop: South West Trains and the London Borough of Hounslow have launched the
capital's first ever Community Rail Partnership. The TOC and council will fund Station Adoption Groups
at each of the seven stations on the loop and, in the meantime, things have begun modestly with the
installation of two planter tubs at Hounslow. From the new timetable, the Sunday afternoon and
evening service on the loop is doubled by the provision of an hourly service running from Waterloo to
Kingston via Hounslow and a reversal at Twickenham. This is a diversion of the previous timetable's
service from Waterloo to Kingston via Richmond. While this nominally starts on 13 December, such is
the volume of forthcoming engineering work in the area that a search of RTT indicates that it does not
operate on a Sunday in this form until 21 February! (but will on 1 January holiday). This is a step in the
right direction but the Sunday morning service on the loop remains hourly, compared with 4tph SuX.

2315] HS2: (1). High Speed Walk? (BLN 1206.506) The Government has announced that it considers
the best option for linking HS2 with HS1 is by means of enhanced walking routes between Euston and
St. Pancras. This would be complimented by the proposed step-free route utilising the new sub-surface
link between Euston and Euston Square Underground stations and the Circle Line to St. Pancras. The
Government's latest command paper has the following to say on a physical link between the two lines:

'For rail, we considered a range of direct link options. It was, however, not possible to identify a viable
rail option capable of meeting the strategic aspirations whilst successfully addressing stakeholder
concerns. This was because the options were complex and expensive to construct and would have
delivered infrequent, less attractive train services for HS2 passenger travelling to European
destinations. As a result we do not intend to take forward proposals for a direct rail between HS2 and
HS1 or include active or passive provision to support the construction of such a link in the future.'

(2). Euston: (BLN 1241.1748) Camden Council, which has been critical of the proposals for station
redevelopment, has been granted membership of a new Euston Station Strategic Redevelopment
Board, which will advise the Transport Secretary on the design and implementation of the project. The
council will also be involved with design and environmental aspects of the construction work.

2316] King's Cross Cemetery station: Necropolis station at Waterloo is well known, but much less well
known are the short-lived arrangements on the ECML. In 1859 the GNR entered into an agreement to
construct two stations for the Great Northern London Cemetery Company. One was on railway land on
the Up side of the line at Maiden Lane between Gasworks and Copenhagen tunnels and the other was
on cemetery land on the Up side of the line to the north of Southgate & Colney Hatch station (now
New Southgate). Maiden Lane station was designed in part as a mortuary and it is thought funeral
trains ran to the cemetery twice a week. An article http://goo.gl/X6J02L from October 1954 Railway
Magazine states that the service operated from 1861 to sometime between 1867 and 1873. However,
the London Railway Atlas shows both stations as open from 10 Jul 1861 to 3 Apr 1863 only.

BLN 1247.2317] London Overground West Anglia Routes: TfL has awarded Murphy a £6.5M contract
for refurbishment works at Bethnal Green, Cambridge Heath, Edmonton Green, Enfield Town, Hackney
Downs, London Fields, Southbury, Theobalds Grove, Turkey Street and White Hart Lane. Work will
include new shelters, refurbishing and upgrading station lighting, installing tactile paving on platforms,
painting and repairs to the stations and replacing handrails. Staff offices, customer information
screens, public address systems, transport help points and CCTV will all be updated plus preparation
works for new ticket gate lines and ticket vending machines at some stations. (Transport Briefing)

2318] NR 'Hendy Review': This report includes the following projects within Greater London during
CP5 (to March 2019) and CP6 (April 2019 - March 2024) not previously mentioned in BLN:
 King's Cross: Additional approach track into the station (CP5).
 Gordon Hill: Island platform turnback facility (CP5).
 Victoria: Increasing space for passenger circulation (CP6).
 Queenstown Road Battersea: New platform (now two) and track (now seven) alterations (CP6).
 Hounslow: Unspecified turnback facilities (CP5).
 Acton to Willesden: Electrification (CP6).

2319] Thameslink: (BLN 1244.2016) From 7 December a new trailing crossover was installed between
the Up and Down Slow Lines at Ewer Street Jn at 1m 16ch (Up) and 1m 20ch (Down). It is clipped and
padlocked OOU and will remain so when the line reopens after the Christmas and New Year shutdown.

2320] Tottenham Court Road: (BLN 1239.1557) A new 15m tall glass entrance adjacent to Centre Point
opened on 2 December. While the Central Line platforms have been closed, TfL has:
o Constructed a new 110m passageway which will eventually link to the new ticket hall.
o Built a new lift shaft and refurbished six escalators.
o Refitted the platforms and passageways with new finishes and fixtures including lighting and CCTV.
A specialist team has also continued with the restoration of the Eduardo Paolozzi mosaic tiling.

2321] Old Oak Common West Jn - Greenford: (BLN 1239.1552) Chiltern Railways and the leaders of
the five councils representing areas of Buckinghamshire have raised concerns that the HS2 Hybrid Bill
would allow permanent closure of this line without further closure procedures. Reinstatement after it
is closed for HS2 construction work (BLN 1238.1431) would permit a service from Buckinghamshire to
the proposed HS2 station at Old Oak Common, which is seen as desirable both for interchange
purposes and to give access to shopping and employment opportunities expected to be created in the
Old Oak and Park Royal development site. Chiltern Railways consider that it is both physically possible
and cost effective to maintain a link to the Greenford line within the Old Oak Common station layout.
London TravelWatch has intensified calls for the government to amend HS2 Phase 1 Bill on discovering
that a clause in the document allows the company to shut down services on any line without a formal
consultation process beforehand. Additionally the clause is reportedly ambiguous over whether any
closure would just be during construction of HS2 or permanent!

1247 NORTH EAST
2322] Redcar Central: West Dyke Road Level Crossing, immediately on the country end of the station,
NR is trialling a new design of sliding car park style gates. Installed on 4 December, commissioning was
due on 14th. The existing very long (due to the previous four-track formation) two boom gates were to
be removed on 12th. They have to be closed to road traffic and pedestrians for long periods during high
winds, which will not be necessary with the new gates, and the crossing was life expired. Its width will
be reduced but the crossing will still be manually controlled from the adjacent signalbox. A single gate
is being installed either side of the crossing with their normal operation parallel to the running line.
Each closes off the public highway in the direction of travel e.g. the Up gates close in the Up direction
(so the 'far' side of the crossing closes to road traffic before the 'near' side). They are large (1.5m high)
painted red and white with LED boom lights and a central target. There is an orange flashing light on
the main drive unit of each gate which signifies the gate mechanism is operating correctly. The
previous gates mounted on rubber wheels closed through a 90-degree arc towards road traffic.

BLN 1247.2323] Thrislington Quarry: (BLN 1243.1919) Management is consulting on cuts to the 40
workforce and mothballing, following the ending of dololime rail traffic to Redcar with closure of the
steel works. Dololime is still sent in containers by rail to Port Talbot once or twice a week. Tarmac's
quarry is unaffected and sends out stone by rail a couple of times a month, generally to Leeds Hunslet.

2324] NER Tile Maps: (BLN 1239.1559) The former NER tile map at South Shields station until 1987 is
now at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery café, (NZ 3647 6727) Ocean Rd, NE33 2JA, near South
Shields Metro station. Presumably it was shielded there when the old station building was demolished.

1247 YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE
2325] Sheffield tram-trains: (BLN 1246.2245) The first of seven tram-trains from Spain was delivered,
by lorry from Southampton Docks on 1 December; Nunnery Square depot has been modified to stable
them. They are the UK's first to have telecommunications technology, signalling, power supply and
control to run on tramlines and the national network. [Note the Tyne and Wear Metro runs 'trains' on
NR tracks between Pelaw and Sunderland under special arrangements.] Passenger services between
Sheffield and Rotherham Parkgate (3tph) are expected to start in 2017. Now in the Stagecoach
Supertram blue, orange and red livery, they will undergo static and dynamic testing then be
introduced onto the Supertram network by May 2016 to enhance capacity. The vehicles are 750V
DC/25kv dual voltage although the NR section of the new route from the Tinsley Chord to Rotherham
Park stop is being electrified at 750V DC. Their wheel profile is suitable for tramway and conventional
track. They meet the safety criteria of a train; with higher vehicle crashworthiness allowing operation
alongside conventional trains. Tram-train brakes are designed to stop safely in all conditions, including
city centre traffic. They meet main line lighting requirements for visibility, but also have Road Traffic
Act compliant headlights, horns, wing-mirrors and direction indicators for on-street operation.
Additional main line signalling and communications equipment, such as TPWS and GSM-R, is installed.
Interiors will be similar to the existing Supertram fleet but with larger seats. Conductors will be
provided.

1247 SOUTH WEST ENGLAND
2326] Chepstow - Tintern: (CP 5 Jan 1959; CG 6 Jan 1964; traffic ceased beyond Tidenham Quarry to
Tintern Quarry 31 Dec 1981; on 22 Jul 1995 the rest of the branch was deleted from the Sectional
Appendix having fallen into disuse.) https://goo.gl/N59EK3 is an online petition (almost 4,000 have
signed) supporting a planning permission request to convert the disused railway into a shared use
path. The Wye Valley line ran through this area of outstanding natural beauty.

2327] Hi-de-Hi Campers! By the railway at Dawlish Warren Brunel Railway Camping Park in Beach
Road opens for its final season from 7 May to 2 Sep 2016 after over 50 years. The eight converted
coaches, with many original features, are run as holiday accommodation by the non-profit making
Great Western Railway Staff Association. Although breaking even, they require expensive restoration
and upkeep. The Association says that despite the belief that the site could be run as a going concern,
no one has come forward. Seven coaches (named Swansea, Newport, Bristol, Swindon, Gloucester,
Exeter and London) sleep up to eight and one (Plymouth) sleeps six. For availability, prices, facilities
and plenty of pictures inside and out see https://goo.gl/Y6vW15 or 01626 888527.

2328] Not Such a Scilly Idea: Fresh produce, including fish and flowers are now transported from the
Isles of Scilly to the centre of London in under 24 hours. On 30 November, GWR launched a new
Penzance to Paddington freight service, the first in around twenty years. Live shellfish and lobsters
previously took two days to reach London. Produce will be 'plaiced' in the baggage compartments of
HST power cars for the journey (not in 'flower power' mode). There are four services daily and GWR
apparently took some convincing. Politicians who were keen to encourage GWR to work up the plans
as part of their new rail franchise were involved. The service started with a reception in Penzance as
the first fresh and processed shellfish consignment was loaded on to the 10.00 train, arriving London
Paddington at 15.21 for another celebration. On 16 Mar 2016 there is to be a full launch of the scheme
at the House of Commons. It is not clear how much consigners have to shell out for this service.

[BLN 1247]
2329] Swindon: Resignalling Phases 2B and 2C are due to be commissioned over the 23/24 January
and 20/21 February 2016 weekends with signalling and permanent way alterations between:
(2B) Rushey Platt Jn - Box Tunnel, Thingley Jn - Melksham & Wootton Bassett Jn - Hullavington (excl).
(2C) Hullavington (excl) - Alderton Tunnel. Control moves from Swindon PSB to the existing Swindon
Workstation at Didcot, Thames Valley Signalling Centre. Signals will be prefixed SW. Chippenham
Barrow Crossing (an almost extinct species) at 94m 1ch is to be recovered. Line Name Changes:

 Wootton Bassett Jn Down Sidings  Down Wootton Bassett Sidings.
 Thingley Jn Up Siding  Up Thingley Jn Sdg.
 Thingley Jn to Melksham 'Down Branch Up'  'Down Melksham Up'.
 Wootton Bassett Jn Up Goods  Up Wootton Bassett Goods.

1247 SOUTH EAST – NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
2330] Haverhill - Chappel & Wakes Colne: (BLN 1246.2220) As corrected in e-BLN, with two pictures,
the brick single arch underbridge south west of Sturmer (TL 6877 4371) demolished on 7 Nov was in an
isolated embankment section of the former Colne Valley & Halstead Railway rather than on the Long
Melford line. Further southeast part of the trackbed is the present day 'Colne Valley Railway'.
Railfreight; there is Some Hope for the Future: BELOW: Brand new bogie cement powder tanks at
Theale terminal on 2 December having arrived from Earle's Sidings in Derbyshire. A video at Reading
West https://goo.gl/CFXC69 and one in daylight https://goo.gl/bD5ygg also at Reading West.

2331] Borders Railway map: (NB please rotate through 90 or 270 degrees in to 'landscape' format to
see text and detail) A member challenged our Society cartographer, Martyn Brailsford, to come up
with a map that showed the differences between the reopened Tweedbank branch (OP 6 Sep 2015)
and the original Waverley Route alignment (CP 6 Jan 1969). Overleaf is the result of 12 hours of work.
The most significant 2.2 mile deviation is west of Millerhill (top left), initially following the former
Monktonhall Colliery alignment, to avoid the Edinburgh bypass. Shawfair is the site of a proposed
4,000 house development. Near the bottom left of the map there is a minor deviation past Falahill
Summit due to a road crossing, to avoid both existing housing and building the railway on peat. Middle
right at Bow Bridge a deviation from the old route was made to reduce the amount of work required
and cost. Finally a more significant one at Galashiels, bottom right; the original station site to the west
had been built on. Past Tweedbank the start of the old trackbed can be walked.



1247 NORTH WEST
2332] Cumbrian Coast coal? On 19 November, the local press announced a proposed new coking coal
drift mine. There are two proposals by the West Cumbria Mining company for moving coal by semi-
buried/covered conveyor to a loading pad and associated loop line off the Cumbrian Coast line at
Stanley, North East of St. Bees station, or south of Corkickle station near to the former Mirehouse Jn.
Latterly this was the former junction for the Rowrah (limestone) and Beckermet (iron ore) branches.
The new mine and processing plant is just south of the former Marchon (later Albright & Wilson)
Anhydrite mine, the mineral used to produce sulphuric acid for the detergent industry. It went by rail
to the Proctor & Gamble soap factory at Thurrock in Essex leaving the Albright & Wilson plant down
the 'Corkickle Brake'. This was a 525yd cable worked incline; the gradient ranged from 1 in 5.2 to 1 in
6.6 with a passing loop halfway. OG in 1881 it transported coal from Croft Colliery then coke from
Ladysmith Colliery's new ovens from 1915 to 1931 when the 'Brake' was abandoned. In 1943 Marchon
re-located to the former Ladysmith Colliery site and, after problems with alternative rail routes the
Brake ROG in 1955 (CG 1986). Traffic then went by road to Preston Street Goods Depot, Whitehaven.

In 1964 the Brake was at full capacity so BR sought parliamentary powers for a new three-mile branch
from the Marchon mine to the Cumbrian coast line, just north of St. Bees, where diagrams indicate the
new proposed drift mine loop line would have its southern junction. Nothing came of the 1964 plans
due to landowner opposition as BR was only guaranteed a non-viable two working days each week.

2333] Carlisle: (BLN 1246.2209) On 30 November, replacement of the station roof (which dates from
1847) began at the Grade II* listed station at a cost of £9.6M. A temporary full scaffold crash-deck was
to be installed. Taking up to 15 months, ethylene tetrafluoroethylene roof panels are being installed.
They reduce maintenance and brighten the station environment (let us hope they do not leak like at
Newport). Then all eight platforms, even the unfrequented bay P8, will be rebuilt with tactile paving
and resurfaced at a cost of £5.8M. Completion of all work is due in February 2018.

2334] Manchester Metrolink: Following opening of Exchange Square stop on 6 Dec 2015, when some
Metrolink Elves handed out goodie bags throughout the morning, the service pattern is:

 A. Altrincham to Etihad Campus (daily).
 B. Altrincham to Deansgate-Castlefield (SuX).
 C. East Didsbury to Bury (daily).
 D. Piccadilly to Bury (SuX not evenings).
 E. Piccadilly to Eccles via Media City UK (daily).
 F. Cornbrook to Manchester Airport (daily).
 G. Rochdale to Ashton-under-Lyne (daily, but Sundays outside large shop opening hours).
 H. Exchange Square to Shaw & Crompton (SuX 07.30-20.00).
 I. Exchange Square to Rochdale (SuO during large shop opening hours).
 J. Victoria to Ashton (SuO large shop opening hours only).

Note that the Eccles service has been extended from Deansgate-Castlefield to Piccadilly through the St.
Peter's Square single line section for some weeks. It was possible to run 15 trams per hour in each
direction through it rather than the anticipated 10. This capacity increase is by running trams in flights
of three. The two tracks are now interlaced/gauntleted (take your pick!) going north just south of St.
Peter's Square at the junction of Lower Moseley Street and Windmill Street. Both these tracks will be
for northbound (Inbound) services, the left the new through Second City Crossing line and the right for
the existing city route. It allows their junction to be south of the road junction on the northeast corner
of Manchester Central, presumably to avoid the risk of trams blocking this busy road if the junction
were nearer the station. This new junction is alongside the current single line section. At St. Peter's
Square stop, the two northbound lines are on one island platform to the left and both southbound
lines are on the other. On 6 and 8 December, the centre road at Victoria tram stop was not in use; the
Airport service will be extended to turn back in it when the Second City Crossing is complete as a
through route in 2017.

[BLN 1247.2334 -cont.]
BELOW LEFT: The interlaced tracks just south of St. Peter's Square (Both pictures Ian Mortimer 8 Dec
2015), the Inbound Second City Crossing line is left and the Inbound Piccadilly/Market Street line is
right. The single reversible line now in use past the temporarily closed St. Peter's Square stop is far
right, behind the temporary fencing under the overhead wire that is visible. RIGHT: In the opposite
direction the end of the single line section can be seen, looking towards Deansgate-Castlefield stop, at
the junction of Lower Moseley Street and Windmill Street. At the very bottom of the picture, the point
blades can just be seen for the line split at the start of the interlacing.

Last Minute Christmas Present idea for that BLS Member who has everything…
You will see straight through this one. (Kev Adlam)

BLN 1247.2334 -cont.] Metrolink, detailed service pattern, frequency and time of first and last trams:

BLN1247.2335] ABOVE: Locos 20029
& 20075 on the Burtonwood branch
about to run into the RAF base; 24 Jun
1978 (See also BLN 1238.1456).

LEFT: The same location with a closer
view of the main line connection
which was in the Up line (only), and a
passing DMU to Liverpool Lime Street
on the Down line. Sankey Jn was just
beyond the bridge that can be seen
over the St. Helens Canal and Sankey
Brook. The railway then curves sharp
right to Warrington Central station,
(OG 1 Mar 1873, OP 1 Aug 1873),
straight on was (top left) the almost
dead straight CLC Warrington
Avoiding Line to Padgate Jn at its east
end (OG 13 Aug 1883, OP 7 Sep 1883).
Regular traffic ceased on the 'avoider'
on 20 May 1968 and it CA 22 Jul 1968.
It was interesting because it was the
route which the 'main' line through
Warrington was originally intended to
take, with the station to be located
where that line crossed Winwick Road.
Local representations resulted in the
loop line being built via what became
Warrington Central (which itself had
goods lines avoiding the passenger
station and used occasionally for
Sunday engineering diversions), on the
edge of the Town centre and a little

[BLN 1247.2335 -cont.]
over ½ mile to the south. The surveyed straight route became the Warrington avoiding line, with no
intermediate station. Locally, the avoiding line was referred to as 'the straight'. Booked passenger
services were the more prestigious long distance trains which were not deemed to justify a Warrington
stop and which therefore ran non-stop between Liverpool and Manchester, so the line was a
challenging one for a lad whose local station was Padgate. Our chairman's one claim to have 'Bakered'
the line involved a schools cruise from Liverpool to Manchester along the Manchester Ship Canal and a
special train which picked up participants from his school at Urmston and then ran non-stop to
Liverpool Central via 'the straight'. Note in the picture some BR staff are tending to the point, to their
left at the junction is Burtonwood Ground Frame (17m 11ch) which is still shown (as OOU) on the
August 2013 TRACKmaps (Vol.4 P.46C).
RAF Burtonwood, opened on 1 Jan 1940, initially operated by RAF No37 Maintenance Unit to store and
service aircraft. In June 1942 it was transferred to the United States Army Air Force and was the largest
airfield in Europe during WWII, being handed back to the RAF in 1946. There was a short branch to it
with sidings, opened in 1940, off the north side of the Liverpool to Warrington Central line east of
Sankey station near Sankey Jn. A signalbox was built to control entry to the base, which had large
volumes of traffic during WWII. It was an 'ARP type' (Air Raid Precaution), solid brick with a thick
concrete roof to withstand aircraft raids. The box closed on 24 Oct 1965, replaced by a three-lever
ground frame released by Widnes East signalbox until its closure on 20 Dec 1987. The ground frame
was OOU by 9 May 1993 and the base closed not long after. Access to the Burtonwood site was from a
connection off the Up Liverpool to Manchester CLC main line about 200yds to the west of the Sankey
Brook Viaduct. Photographic evidence from 1975 and 1987 shows no sign of a crossover between the
Up and Down lines. During the 1970s and 80s Warrington Area Trip No75 rostered for a Class 25 loco
served MoD Burtonwood. None of the trip notices show any times there but simply note the sidings
would be served 'as required'.

ABOVE: On 28 Apr 1975, looking towards the main line connection with fresh ballast, the trap point is
bottom left and Burtonwood ground frame upper middle adjacent to the signal that has lost its arm.
BOTTOM: In the opposite direction with the level crossing gates and behind the depot's high security
gates (!) The line continues left to Sankey and Liverpool. (All pictures by our member Dave Rapson.)

[BLN 1247.2335 -cont.]

The branch was noted by a Society member to be very rusty on 1 May 1992. There were then several
trains to clear the depot out; the final one on 20 Oct 1992. Although 'available' for rail traffic
subsequently, access was not possible from 9 May 1993 due to a defective crossover. BR 'officially'
closed the branch from 2 Jun 1993, the day the depot itself closed. There used to be a small level
crossing near the entrance to the base (seen above). Track lifting took place between March and 27
Apr 2004. Any further information on this railway would be appreciated.
2336] Carlisle & North West: Due to severe flooding from 'Storm Desmond' the last passenger train to
leave Carlisle on Sat 5 December was the 17.07 to Newcastle; it departed 60 minutes late and reached
its destination 310 minutes late. The final arrival was the 11.00 Virgin Trains East Coast King's Cross to
Edinburgh (diverted from Newcastle due to planned engineering work) which was terminated in
Carlisle at 17.27 (and 82 minutes late). One of our local members making for our Sunday NET fixture
was fortunate to catch the last Up diverted ECML service that ran from the city so made it to
Nottingham! Road conditions were considered too dangerous to run replacement services; one coach
driver said that it was the worst weather he had driven in for over 15 years. Elsewhere north of
Preston train services rapidly thinned out and stopped, sometimes finishing/starting short of the
booked destination/originating station.
On Sun 6 December, no trains ran other than a light engine (from Carnforth) departing Hellifield 98
minutes early; it eventually arrived into Carlisle 176 minutes late at 21.17. Stranded rail passengers
were accommodated in a Pendolino on P1 which could not go anywhere (and all the local hotels were
full). Outside caterers were brought in to serve breakfast to everyone on the Sunday morning. There
were a series of landslips and severe flooding, the latter knocking out track circuits, lineside electrical
cabinets, point mechanisms and signalling - particularly at Caldew Jn where the WCML crosses the
River Eden, also affecting access to Kingmoor Yard and the DRS Depot. It was a similar story at Bardon
Mill on the Newcastle line with flooding, minor landslips and signalling affected.
Contrary to some reports (even on National Rail Website), both Virgin and TPE were able to provide a
good service south of Carlisle on Monday 7th. There were delays due to blanket speed restriction
because of high winds, more rain and the possibility of further landslips. Trains had to be talked past
some signals at red. Normal service is expected from 21 December after restoration of the Caldew Jn

[BLN 1247.2336 -cont.]
signalling and points. Flooding at various locations in the North West (and Wales) continued.
Considering the severity and extent of the problems in the Carlisle area and how stretched rail staff
were it was remarkable that passenger services (if limited) could be provided so quickly:

 Carlisle - Preston: TCP 14.00 Sat 5 Dec until 05.40 Mon 7th.
 Windermere branch: TCP after 07.47 departure on Sat 5 Dec until 12.48 Mon 7th.
 Carlisle - Maryport: TCP 11.00 (Maryport - Workington 18.30) Sat 5 Dec until 05.15 Thur 9th.
 Carlisle - Newcastle: TCP 17.30 Sat 5 Dec until 18.30 Mon 7th.
 Carlisle - Settle: TCP 12.30 Sat 5 Dec until 13.00 Mon 7th.
 Carlisle - Lockerbie: TCP 16.15 Sat 5 Dec until 11.55 Tue 8th.
 Carlisle - Dumfries: TCP 15.00 Sat 5 Dec until 18.00 Thur 10th (four trains ran on 8th).

2337] Keswick - Threlkeld: BELOW RIGHT: The severe flooding scoured and sadly washed away two of
the very attractive bowstring truss river bridges on the former Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith
Railway (CP here 6 Mar 1972) over the River Greta. They were part of the lovely 'Keswick Railway
Path', and were two with the Bowstrings above the deck; four similar river bridges on the walk have
their bowstring below the deck. The line built by
Thomas Bouch in 1865 crossed over the river eight
times in four miles, this was one of his original
bridges later strengthened by the LMS (struts on
the left). The scene on 8 December (press release)
BELOW LEFT: 11 April 2008 (http://goo.gl/9H43c8)

2338] Liverpool Exchange: This former ground-level terminus once had ten platforms and CP in April
1977 (replaced by Moorfields sub-surface); the site in the central business district is a car park. The city
council is to buy it, with a view to 'grade A' office developments that could create up to 1,000 jobs.
2339] Maghull North: Detailed local consultation has been taking place on the proposed new station
(SD 390026) in School Lane on the Merseyrail Ormskirk line. It would include two six-car platforms with
lifts and steps, a staffed station building with a ticket office and toilets and a 150-200 space car park.
2340] Wigan: (BLN 1246.2207) There has been further track clearance work at Springs Branch, for
Northern DMU stabling during the Blackpool blockade, at the southern end of the depot. There has
also been work on the head shunt that was formerly part of the Bickershaw Colliery branch line.

1247 IRELAND
2341] Bellarena: (BLN 1246.2249) The new passing loop's east end points are (officially) at 74m 50ch;
mileage is from the former Belfast York Road station via Greenisland (reverse). The centre of the two
new platforms (each 6 coaches long), east of the level crossing, is (provisionally) 74m 67ch and the
new loop continues over the A2 road crossing (74m 74ch). This is to be converted from Automatic Half
Barriers to Manually Controlled Barriers. The west (Derry/Londonderry) end loop points (75m 00ch)
are in the area of the present station's single platform (74m 77ch). The new station is due to open in
March but the loop will only be fully utilised for an hourly service for which funding is not currently
available (although capital funding, some EU, for the project with resignalling, was).

There are three crossing moves now at Castlerock station loop (to close) SSuX at 07.51, 16.51 and
18.08. A member feels that an hourly service is not justified based on his personal observation of
passenger numbers. The local user of the accommodation crossing mentioned in BLN 1246 must have
added to the cost and complexity of this project. Londonderry Waterside's PW and stabling sidings are
to be relocated to a Greenfield site adjacent to Bellarena releasing the former site for redevelopment
(BLN 1231.787).

2342] Enterprising New Timetables: Translink has been consulting on a proposed new
timetable from 31 Jan 2016; details are at http://goo.gl/LKK6oB and feedback is required by 18
December. This is partly due to IÉ increasing the DART frequency from 4tph to 6tph next year. The first
Enterprise train from Belfast would be earlier at 06.15 (now 06.50) arriving in Dublin 08.41 (now 09.04)
for commuters, with the last service back from Dublin Connolly at 21.15 (now 20.50). The new
timetable is 'clockface' every two hours, still with eight trains each way (Sunday service increases from
five to six) and all Enterprise services will call at Lisburn. To accommodate the Enterprise changes NIR
has a new timetable also starting on 31 Jan 2016. Some Portadown services are changing in it. Details
are expected during the second week of January.

1247 ISLE OF MAN
2343] Douglas Horse Tramway: (BLN 1242.1867) (MR p32) Douglas Borough Council has notified the
Friends of Douglas Bay Horse Tramway that a service will run on the existing tracks throughout the
2016 season, which marks the tramway's 140th anniversary year. Special events include the Manx
Heritage Transport Festival (27 to 31 July) and the 140th anniversary weekend (6 & 7 August). Santa
specials (by pre-booking only) are due to run on Sat 19 & Sun 20 Dec 2015, with eight trips each day
between 10.00 and 15.40 taking up to 40 minutes, might the trams be reindeer hauled even?

1247 WEST MIDLANDS
2344] New Street: On 7 December an insulator failure on the OHLE in the North Tunnel resulted in all
electric trains being routed via Aston. The wires were intact so diesel trains were unaffected. Through
local Walsall to Wolverhampton services even ran via New Street (reverse) via Aston and back that
way. The PSUL third sides of Perry Barr and Soho triangles were busy. The fault was mended overnight.

2345] Rugby: The £22M NR Rail Operating Centre was formally opened on 13 November, it has been
signalling the Stafford station area since August with Norton Bridge to follow at Easter.

2346] Stratford-upon-Avon elevated: The lifts and new footbridge finally opened on 3 December.

2347] HS2 to Crewe: Government plans for a third HS2 hybrid bill have been confirmed by the
Transport Secretary. The HS2 extension to Crewe should be fast-tracked to provide early benefits for
North West England and Scotland. A newly designated HS2 Phase 2a will be built from Fradley, near
Lichfield to Crewe, opening in 2027, six years earlier than originally planned as part of the main Phase
2 programme. Safeguarding directions have been issued to ensure that new developments along the
corridor do not affect the ability to build or operate Phase 2a or lead to excessive additional costs.

[BLN 1247]
BELOW: Progress at Norton Bridge (Patrick Chandler 6 Dec 2015), from the new Searchlight Lane
overbridge, approx SJ870292, shown as O/B3 on this plan http://goo.gl/6L5Zlf the thin light grey lines
are to be removed see http://goo.gl/TIZ0OR also. LEFT: Looking north at Searchlight Lane Jn, where
the Down Slow (WCML) to Crewe goes off left, it will have a much better and shorter alignment than
the Down fast. Its planned passenger service is shown in PSUL 2016 http://goo.gl/0wbGtM the two
tracks curving right are to the new flyover, Yarnfield Jn and the Stone/Stoke-on-Trent line. RIGHT: The
opposite way, south towards Stafford, Little Bridgeford Jn can be seen on the existing WCML.

2348] Lapworth: A fire broke out on the 07.47 Leamington Spa to Worcester Shrub Hill formed of a
3+2 car Class 172 at Lapworth station on 26 November. All 200 passengers were evacuated without
injury. Thick plumes of smoke could be seen coming from the train; a pressurised oil feed is thought to
have become disconnected. The fire brigade extinguished the fire. The hourly Stratford-upon-Avon to
Dorridge service was suspended; trains ran between Dorridge and Birmingham Snow Hill. Stratford
services via Dorridge ran via Henley-in-Arden. There was later significant overcrowding on trains due
to short formations. The same working sustained a similar fire at Warwick Parkway on 8 September.

1247 SOUTH EAST ENGLAND – SOUTH
2349] Epsom Downs - a secret station: A member who caught a train from here recently was intrigued
by the brick waiting shelter on the only platform. It was built over the former double track Down line;
the branch was singled from 55ch south of Sutton (at Ventnor Road Jn) on 3 October 1982. Given that
the original station was 21ch further south and that the building is of imperial bricks, it surely must
pre-date the 1989 relocation since, by then, metric bricks were in use in the UK. Can any member shed
any light on this? It shows no signs that it was moved from anywhere else or had ever been at a
different level from the present platform. The site of the original nine-platform station (six electrified
and two interesting middle engine release roads; reduced to two working platforms on 1 May 1972) is
now a development of large detached houses on Bunbury Way, a winding road to the present station.
The only vehicular access is from Longdown Lane South and there is no indication that the present
station exists at all until the far end of Bunbury Way. Even then, it is difficult for a pedestrian to see it
as the only sign is hidden by foliage on an adjacent roundabout. Just to confuse matters, the building
at the end of road, in detached house style with a canopy along the side furthest from the railway, has
a fascia with three signs on it. From left to right, these are:

'Epsom Downs Station' 'The Railway Children Kindergarten'* 'Ellis estate agent'

[BLN 1247.2349 -cont.]
* No connection with the charity. How does one get into the station? Along the road to the right of the
building; also unsigned. A secret station if ever there was one! Its sign was originally and appropriately
on the right as shown https://goo.gl/o0wPAo in older pictures and was changed when the estate
agent moved in. The branch, with an off peak hourly service SuX, will have extra passengers (but no
more trains) during the Purley blockade (BLN 1246.2197) from 25 December to 3 January. Tattenham
Corner station (now with three platforms, formerly six) is then temporarily closed.

Our member walked from Tattenham Corner station. Several online mapping sites give the same
walking route, nearly all of it along busy roads with no pavement and, in many places, no verge either.
Eventually, he worked out a way: leave Tattenham Corner and cross over to the opposite parade of
shops, walk along the frontage and cross over Tattenham Crescent to Downland Way; this becomes
Garlichill Road. Turn left into Yew Tree Bottom Road. At the roundabout, turn right into Fir Tree Road,
then left into Ruden Way. At the roundabout, turn left onto a footpath and, at the end, right into the
previously mentioned Bunbury Way. Walking time 30-35 minutes. Good luck! By train it is about 80
minutes; astoundingly good value at £3.50 (£2.30 Senior railcard) single for all that entertainment.

2350] Rochester: (BLN 1246.2172) The new station at 33m 34ch between Rochester Bridge and the
former station (33m 61ch) OP Sun 13 Dec 2015, at 17.00 initially with two platforms opposite each
other. The Down platform is 277yd long (for 12 car trains) and the Up 273yd; a third through platform
loop on the outside face of the Down platform will be commissioned later. This requires Rochester
signal box to close with resignalling and be demolished. The trailing crossover at 22m 40ch (opposite
Rochester signal box) was abolished and there were associated signalling changes.

1247 SCOTLAND

2351] 'THE' Forth Bridge: (BLN 1244.2045) The bridge's tarmacked junior neighbor, which opened on

4 Sep 1964, closed suddenly to all but emergency traffic at midnight on 3 December because of a
cracked truss, (obviously the bridge is not all it is cracked up to be). It is expected to be closed for
repairs until the New Year (possibly 4 January) and the adjacent new road bridge under construction
(but progressing rapidly) will not be finished for twelve months. There has been an overwhelming
demand for use of the original (and surely best) bridge, OP 4 Mar 1890 between the Lothians and Fife.
Not everyone is pleased that the railway cannot quite accommodate all who suddenly and
unexpectedly wish to use it. To provide extra seats some DMUs have been redeployed and extra loco-
hauled runs provided (SSuX). The first column is Class 68; the second Class 67 powered 'Top and Tail':

07.35 Cardenden - Haymarket 08.38 07.46 Haymarket - Inverkeithing 08.05
08.54 Haymarket - Inverkeithing 09.14 08.40 Inverkeithing - Haymarket 09.01
09.31 Inverkeithing - Haymarket 09.46 09.18 Haymarket - Dunfermline Town 09.44
10.12 Haymarket - Dunfermline Town 10.36 10.00 Dunfermline Town - Haymarket 10.25
10.46 Dunfermline Town - Haymarket 11.11 10.47 Haymarket - Dunfermline Town 11.14
11.21 Haymarket - Dunfermline Town 11.46 11.29 Dunfermline Town - Haymarket 11.59
12.00 Dunfermline Town - Haymarket 12.26 12.11 Haymarket - Inverkeithing 12.26
12.49 Haymarket - Cowdenbeath 13.23 12.49 Inverkeithing - Haymarket 13.08
13.33 Cowdenbeath - Haymarket 14.06 13.20 Haymarket - Dunfermline Town 13.47
14.18 Haymarket - Cowdenbeath 14.54 14.02 Dunfermline Town - Haymarket 14.28
15.04 Cowdenbeath - Haymarket 15.40 14.50 Haymarket - Inverkeithing 15.07
16.17 Haymarket - Inverkeithing 16.32 16.02 Inverkeithing - Haymarket 16.20
16.49 Inverkeithing - Haymarket 17.04 16.41 Haymarket - Inverkeithing 16.59
17.12 Haymarket - Glenrothes 18.13 17.29 Inverkeithing - Haymarket 17.50
18.15 Glenrothes - Edinburgh 19.31 18.09 Haymarket - Dunfermline Town 18.34
18.54 Dunfermline Town - Haymarket 19.27

[BLN 1247.2351 -cont.]
All use Haymarket P0; Inverkeithing terminators shunt ECS from Down P2 to Up P1 via the goods loop.
Dunfermline Town terminators arrive and reverse in Up P1 via the London end facing crossover.
Cowdenbeath terminators reverse in the northbound P2 taking the trailing crossover south of the
station on departure. Two DMUs that normally return ECS via Dunfermline are now in passenger
service at 17.07 from Cowdenbeath (P2) to Edinburgh calling at Inverkeithing and at 17.39 from
Cowdenbeath (P1) to Haymarket (P1). The latter (was ECS to Haymarket depot) non-stop to Kirkcaldy.

RIGHT: (from a Press release) Cracked Forth Road bridge
support strut, for scale the crack is actually 2cm wide.

See http://goo.gl/Ql1Iok the consequences include
temporary withdrawal of the direct (SSuX) Kirkcaldy to
Glasgow Queen St. and return service and through (SuX)
Falkirk Grahamston to Queen St. DMUs via
Cumbernauld and Springburn on Mondays to Fridays
(normal service Saturdays). There is a half-hourly rail
replacement bus between Grahamston and
Cumbernauld for the EMU service and a shuttle runs
between Falkirk High and Grahamston. The Springburn, Sighthill West Jn to Cowlairs South Jn single
track reversible 'Cowlairs Chord' is still booked to be used (SSuX) by the 08.45 & 14.47 Inverness to
Queen St. trains and there is regular diversionary use with the Glasgow to Edinburgh electrification
work. Queen St. HL to Anniesland via Maryhill has been reduced from half-hourly to hourly to release
a DMU. It is very fortunate that the Forth Bridge signalling was upgraded from three to four aspect and
six additional signals installed this summer (BLN 1225.203) enhancing capacity between Haymarket
and Inverkeithing. Also that there are two loco-hauled sets available only previously used in the peaks
and that P0 at Haymarket was built and extended to be long enough to take them! There are currently
246 (SSuX) 204 (SO) and 189 (SuO) booked services over the Forth Bridge.

2352] Borders Railway: (BLN 1243.1967) After opening on 6 September, over 125,000 passenger
journeys were made in the first month. Transport Scotland says public interest soared following a
week of celebrations culminating in the line being officially opened by HM The Queen on 9 September.
There are 192 services each week, demand to travel has been so high that ScotRail drafted in
additional carriages for busy trains - particularly on weekends and at midweek peaks. By mid-October
there were also 17 sold out steam trains between Edinburgh and Tweedbank carrying about 6,200
passengers. The 2012 final business case estimated 647,136 return journeys in the first year.

2353] Aberdeen - Inverness: (BLN 1208.755) Transport Scotland has appointed BAM Nuttall as
principal contractor for the Scottish Government funded £170M upgrade. Phase 1, including
resignalling, is due for completion in 2019 also with:

 Aberdeen - Inverurie: Double tracking the 16m 72ch line for a half-hourly commuter service.
 Insch and Elgin: Platform lengthening (additional peak services between Elgin and Inverness).
 Forres: A new relocated station straightening the railway alignment (BLN 1237.1338).
 Dalcross (Inverness Airport) and Kintore: Passive provision for future new stations.
Ground investigation, site survey and vegetation clearance work is already in progress and main
construction works begin in spring 2016. Dalcross and Kintore stations are being progressed separately
by HITRANS and NESTRANS respectively. A further phase of the Aberdeen-Inverness Improvements
Project is to be developed aiming for an hourly service in two hours on the 108 mile long line.

2354] Edinburgh trams (BLN 1236.1284): On 19 November Edinburgh Councillors voted in favour of an
extension to Newhaven (a section of Line 1a that was not built). This does not guarantee that the
project will go ahead, but is an agreement in principle that the extension is favoured. If it proceeds
there will be two initial phases of project development lasting 30 months before any work on the tram

[BLN 1247.2354 -cont.]
line would commence. The first phase, lasting nine months, and costing £5M would involve setting up
a project team, including external advisers, exploring funding options in more detail, consultation,
beginning site investigation and enabling works. Following that in mid-2017, if final approval is given
by councillors to proceed to stage two, the site investigation and enabling works would be completed
and a tendering process set up to select a contractor. A £20M 'extraordinary dividend' has been
requested from Lothian Buses, if this is not forthcoming the extension will not proceed. Edinburgh
Council is nearly £1.5bn in debt with a budget deficit of £141M and rising, but the executive believes
the Newhaven tram extension will yield a net economic benefit. The final cost of the existing Airport to
York Place line, two-thirds of the original route, is expected to be nearly £1bn including loan interest;
one of the most expensive public sector projects in Scotland.
BELOW: An original sign at 'The Courthouse' in Kinross http://goo.gl/K7t8dt (any excuse!). The
railway, a double track mainline, (CP Jan 1970) http://goo.gl/UDZ6x8 was the shortest route between
Edinburgh and Perth. It was soon lifted to make way for the M90 motorway. (Kev Adlam, 22 Nov 2015)

1247 WALES
2355] Cardiff survivors: A member reports that the narrow thoroughfare of Curran Road, south of
Cardiff Central station, is crossed by quite a number of embedded check-railed curving railway tracks.
These were connections between the Clarence Road branch and the extensive factory buildings of
Messrs E Curran Engineering Ltd, and their survival is remarkable as the line closed on 16 Mar 1964.
Perhaps an even more remarkable survivor is the building to be seen on the Down side at Cardiff West
Jn, distinguished by 11 matching gables. Built for the opening in 1902 of Cardiff's electric tramways,
this was the four-track Clare Road Depot. Closed to trams on 25 Aug 1942, it continued in use for a
few more years as a trolleybus depot; but from 1953 only as a garage for maintenance of Council
vehicles. The building has been transformed as an arts and entertainments venue: 'The Tramshed'.
2356] Newcastle Emlyn branch: A modern by-pass occupies the Llandyssul station site and track bed.
The goods yard is unaffected and retains a number of 1950s-style concrete buildings. Nothing remains
of Pentrecourt Platform, where a new bridge (built through the old) now leads to the road bridge over
the River Teifi. The line is walkable to the mouth of Alltycefn Tunnel. Henllan, the next station, is
headquarters of the Teifi Valley Railway, whose recent troubles have been documented (BLN
1216.MR149) and see Head Lines. At Newcastle Emlyn terminus, part of the platform survives,
complete with GWR-style spear fencing; the station house and adjacent property are lived in.

[BLN 1247]
2357] South East Wales Metro: A not-for-dividend Welsh Government Transport Company (trading as
'Transport for Wales') has been set up, to provide support and expertise in delivering an integrated
contract for the next Wales & Borders franchise and next phases of the Metro project. Fleshing out
the Metro concept, the Government confirms that enhanced and electrified services on the Valley
Lines form the core of the project. It also embraces new light rail (including some on-street) and/or
bus rapid transit routes, and better integration across modes and operators, via integrated transport
hubs. Their report identifies light rail as the solution to extending the rail network, whilst bus rapid
transit, using dedicated or prioritised highway space, will be the preferred mode for new routes where
population and/or demand are too low for light rail, or where rail's capital costs are too high.

Priority rail schemes identified for the period to 2023 include infrastructure and operational
enhancements to enable more frequent and faster services throughout the Valley Lines (including
Ebbw Vale, Maesteg and the Vale of Glamorgan). Also conversion to passenger use of freight only lines
from Aberdare to Hirwaun and Ystrad Mynach to Nelson and Treharris; a reinstated Abertillery spur;
and additional stations within Cardiff to serve Crwys Road and Wedal Road (south of Heath), Gabalfa
(south of Llandaf) and on the Cardiff Bay branch. Direct services between Newport and the Ebbw
Valley will be considered in the franchise procurement process. There is also reference to potential
improvements on the Marches line to Abergavenny, and a statement that it 'may be possible' to
establish new stations along the relief lines between Cardiff Central and Severn Tunnel Junction.
Somewhat prematurely, livery details have also been shown for Metro trains, trams and buses, with a
predominantly white colour scheme, offset by a deep band of red and orange incorporating a chevron
design, and a stylised outline of a hare. [It must be a Marches Hare - Ed?]

2358] Storm damage: High winds and heavy rain on 5 December resulted in temporary speed
restrictions on exposed sections of the North Wales coast. Unfortunately, the 08.20 Holyhead to
Cardiff Central had to be halted at Penmaenmawr station after running over debris which had become
lodged under the front bogie. This comprised remains of a small portable building which had stood
alongside the sidings, presumably used as an office. Passengers were unloaded and taken by road to
Llandudno Junction for onward connections, whilst staff, with some difficulty, managed to drag the
train clear. The 08.55 Holyhead to London Euston was held at signals, encountering a delay of two
hours, whilst the 09.23 Holyhead to Cardiff Central fared slightly better, but was still held for over an
hour at Bangor, and was then terminated at Llandudno Junction. Services west of Bangor were
cancelled for the rest of the day due to rising floodwater near Bodorgan. Next day, Sunday, some early
trains were cancelled, the first down working being the 09.23 from Crewe, and in the up direction the
11.30 Holyhead to Euston, which left an hour late. As seems to happen every year, the Conwy Valley
branch was intermittently closed due to flooding, but some trains at least ran the full length daily.

E-BLN Extra: The Mardy NCB Branch: Mention of the 'Mardy Monster' at Blaenavon in the last BLN
(1246.2149) reminded one member of some of his favourite photos. These were taken on 8 Apr 1974,
when steam working was still normal at some South Wales pits*, but not at Mardy where it only
substituted occasionally if the diesel failed. Its external condition was poor but the steep line and
weather made for some spectacular photos. BELOW TOP: Footplate view heading south at the NCB/BR
exchange sidings, the former single platform Maerdy terminus can be seen left. The 6½ mile passenger
branch from Porth (trains usually ran to Pontypridd) CP 15 Jun 1964 along with six other passenger
lines in South Wales and CG 18 July 1986. Maerdy Colliery opened in 1875 and was officially renamed
Mardy Colliery in 1956 by the NCB. Coal winding ceased in 1986 when it was brought to the surface at
Tower Colliery instead via an underground tunnel. Final closure was on 22 Dec 1990 - the last deep
mine in the Rhondda. (*The collieries at Graig Merthyr, nearby Brynlliw and the Mountain Ash system
normally used steam locos then. St. Johns (Maesteg), Hafodyrynys. Merthyr Vale and Marine did so
less frequently and some collieries had standby steam locos, often OOU in practice. The Mountain Ash
system is thought to have been the last of the South Wales collieries to use steam locos, until 1982.)



[BLN 1247]

PREVIOUS PAGE: The typical NCB branch to Mardy colliery (Ian Mortimer 8 Apr 1974). BELOW: The
pithead gear (No3 & 4 shafts) and washery in the picture was about half way along the original branch.

[BLN 1247]
ABOVE: From 1" to the mile 7th Series OS map, fully revised 1954, minor changes 1961, sheet 154.
Bottom left (red spot) is the still open Treherbert terminus station, lower middle is Maerdy station,
terminus of the double track branch from Porth, bottom right is an intermediate station at Ferndale.
'Maerdy' No1 & 2 shafts were near the passenger station and closed in 1932; 'Maerdy' Colliery (No 3 &
4 shafts) were a mile further up the valley on the left of the branch. They were 'mothballed' in 1940
but revived by the NCB in 1949 with a £7M investment (equivalent to £225M now) in surface and
underground restructuring and gave access to 100M tons of coal which was estimated to last 100
years! The BR branch to Porth was singled after passenger services were withdrawn and lifted in 1987;
the trackbed is now part of Sustrans cycle route 881. Top right is Aberaman station (CP 16 Mar 1964)
on a section of the Taff Vale Railway CA 30 Jul 1973. Top right is a short section of the noe reopened
Aberdare (and Tower Colliery) branch. The line shown beyond Mardy Colliery ending top left at Twyn
Rhondda Fach was believed to have been used in connection with 'Castell Nos Reservoir' works

..1247 MINOR RAILWAYS - OVER 20 YEARS ON AND 500 EDITIONS!.-

MR204] In his report for the 2015 AGM (included with BLN 1244) editor-in-chief Paul Stewart
highlighted to us that I would soon reach my 500th Minor Railways input to BLN. How time flies!

It was in 1994 that an appeal went out to members asking for assistance in the writing and editing of
BLN; at that time undertaken solely by Tony Jervis. In reply, I indicated that I could possibly help by
taking on preserved, narrow gauge, miniature railways and tramway etc items - under the title 'Minor
Railways', which I had already adopted for my yearly publication. The Committee, supported by that
year's AGM, agreed and I subsequently received a letter from Tony stating I could deem myself 'the
sub-editor for minor railways in Branch Line News'. The letter went on to outline the boundaries of my
'empire'. BLN 745 (7 January 1995) carried an announcement of the launch of a Minor Railways section
in BLN under the heading 'Not so much a minor railway-editor, but more a minor-railway editor'.

The first Minor Railways section duly appeared in BLN 746 of 21 January 1995, with item MR1 referring
to a planned gala on the Ffestiniog Railway in May. A sign of the changed times is highlighted in re-
reading MR2, which details running days at the Southall Railway Centre in West London where steam
hauled brake van and Baguley diesel railcar rides were to be available! (These started on 3 April 1994
and operated for the last time on 29 June 1997 when the lease expired on that part of the site - the
former DMU depot. Rides operated again on a much more restricted part of the site, close to the
Down Main line, between 28 May 2006 and 25 August 2008).

Following BLN 746, the Minor Railways section in BLN has appeared in each BLN up to the present day
- except BLN 767 (2 December 1995). BLN 768 subsequently carried a 'double issue' including the
material I had written and dispatched (by post in those days!) for 767, which failed to appear, as Tony
Jervis had to change press date at a very late stage. Therefore, BLN (1246) actually marked the 500th
Minor Railways section. It would be tedious to document all the changes made to the presentation etc
of the section over the intervening 20 years. I sincerely hope members who read my text find it of
some interest! However, I can take pleasure in stating only one (mild) complaint has come my way -
that was to include the county in which each railway was located with item heading. This was taken on
board and still applies to this day. I would like to add those 500 submissions have been dealt with by
the various BLN editors/compilers with remarkably little fuss and I wish to thank Tony Jervis, Bill Lynch,
Jerry Holmes, Bert Ellery, William Graveson and Paul Stewart for their efforts in dealing with my
'minor' input. [We should all thank Peter Scott for his incredible record, time and effort, which has
developed interest and enthusiasm amongst members for Minor Railways. We should also remember
his work producing and updating 27 annual Minor Railways guides and thousands of track plans - Ed.]

[BLN 1247]

MR205] Bluebell Railway, East Sussex (MR p6): For some time the railway has been planning a long-
term extension from Horsted Keynes to Ardingly (and one presumes thereby another main line
connection!). Only essential asset protection and estate-type issues between Horsted Keynes and
Ardingly have received attention by the Western Extension Project (WEP) as it is known. A few of these
tasks remain outstanding, and they may well drag on for some time before agreement is reached with
landowners. In the meantime, there is little significant work that can be done to progress WEP without
substantial funding. Consequently, the WEP Steering Group presented a strategy paper to the Railway
Trustees and Directors earlier this year, which sets out the cost of first obtaining planning permission
followed by a Transport and Works Act Order (TWA). Both are required before any serious design and
construction work can commence. This approach was approved by both of the Railway's governing
bodies, so the main focus is now to source the £400K required to achieve these key permissions within
the next couple of years. The project's time scale is driven by the lease on Lywood Tunnel, which was
capped at 10 years, starting in 2013. This fact requires the railway to have obtained (or have made
significant progress towards obtaining) both the above permissions or risk non-renewal of the lease
and lose the option to purchase. Without Lywood Tunnel, there is no western extension, so in order to
construct an extension to Ardingly, the railway must satisfy the lease conditions of the Highways
Agency now the tunnel's owners (successors to the defunct British Railways Board Residuary).

MR206] Northampton & Lamport Railway, Northamptonshire (MR p7): The railway could be extended
after Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) agreed to consider leasing a stretch of trackbed to the
north of the current operational section. The Railway presently runs alongside the Brampton Valley
Way linear park (on the trackbed of the former LNWR Northampton to Market Harborough line) and
Northampton Steam Railway Ltd (NSR), which runs the railway, is hoping to extend to Spratton. At a
special cabinet meeting on 6 October, NCC's cabinet member for finance, Councillor Bill Parker
approved a decision to hold a public consultation on plans to offer land at Brampton Valley Way on a
50-year lease to enable the extension to go ahead. The Council says walkers and cyclists would still be
able to use the Way, with a safety fence separating the path from the track (the original main line was
double track). Councillor Parker said: 'Northampton Steam Railway Limited have been working hard to
bring forward plans to extend the line further through Brampton Valley Way and I am delighted to lend
our support to the project. Before any final decision is made, we want to make sure that the views of
visitors to the park are taken into account and will be holding a public consultation to give people the
opportunity to provide their feedback on the proposal'. NCC already leases land to NSR for the existing
stretch of railway, between Boughton Crossing and Merry Tom Crossing. The Railway company says it
will apply for various grants to fund the extension northwards, which has planning permission.

MR207] Wensleydale Railway, North Yorkshire (MR p9): The Railway has launched a fundraising
campaign to buy a disused metal bridge, which currently stretches over the A1 beside the A6136 at
Catterick Racecourse (formerly carrying the branch to Catterick Camp off the Richmond line). Fort
Bridge will be used to replace a bridge removed by British Rail in 1990 from the Wensleydale line over
Apedale Beck at Redmire - after being damaged in a flood. Bridging the gap at Redmire is one of the
steps needed to link the line to the station at Aysgarth Falls. Ken Monkman, chairman of the
Wensleydale Railway Association, said: 'Our plan is to go up to Aysgarth, subject to getting permission,
and one day on to Garsdale. We have already bought the station at Aysgarth and will potentially have
a halt below Bolton Castle too. This bridge will probably save us hundreds of thousands of pounds it
would have cost to build a bridge at Redmire'. The Railway has already paid a deposit for the bridge,
which is being removed as part of the work to upgrade the A1 between Leeming and Barton. The
group will pay around £130 a tonne for the bridge, which is thought to weigh about 70 tonnes. A
campaign to raise £20k has been launched. It is likely that part of the bridge, which is longer than the
gap at Redmire, will also be used to plug a cattle creep near Aysgarth.

[BLN 1247]
MR208] Leighton Buzzard Railway, Bedfordshire (MR p12) (BLN 1238.MR121): The railway received
some good news on 1 September 2015. They were informed by the Planning Department of Central
Bedfordshire Council that their new station had been granted planning approval. This means the
technical details of the design can be finalised and Building Control approval sought. The new station
will be known as the 'Gateway to the Museum' and the railway has raised £230k of the £300k needed.

MR209] Cattle Country Miniature Railway, Gloucestershire (MR p17) (BLN 1243.MR172): As reported
in BLN 1243, this 10¼" gauge railway suffered a serious derailment shortly before 14.00 on 17 August
2015. As it transpired this was the last time the railway operated and it has been closed permanently.
The following statement (dated 5 October) was placed on the Cattle Country website. 'It's now been
some weeks since our miniature train derailed on a corner whilst in operation, causing one of the
carriages to overturn. Members of the HSE have made a number of visits, interviewed our staff and
made careful inspections. They have promised to send us a detailed report of their findings, which we
still await. However, the inspector mentioned that he could not find any obvious cause for the accident.
Obviously we are devastated that this incident occurred and we are very grateful there were no serious
injuries to any of our visitors. Safety is of our upmost priority and as we still do not have a clear
explanation as to why this incident occurred, we have decided not to reopen the railway. The train has
been enjoyed here for many years and I know it has given our visitors much pleasure, but I hope you
will understand that we cannot risk this ever happening again. We intend to keep the route of the track
and use it as a walkway around the farm. We also plan to provide more trailer rides next year'.

MR210] Shipley Glen Tramway, West Yorkshire (MR p32) (BLN 1178.MR30): This 20" gauge tramway
was visited on 23 October 2015. It opened on 18 May 1895 linking the historic West Yorkshire town of
Saltaire with Shipley Glen - being built by a local entrepreneur who also built a fairground at the top,
which has since closed. The original fare was 1d up and ½d down (for our young members, 240d = £1).
The tramway has twin tracks with a 'toastrack' tram on each. It is the oldest working cable tramway in
Britain and was originally powered by a suction gas engine and then by paraffin. It is now powered by
electricity, although gravity helps to make operation very efficient. A volunteer informed our member
that the electricity bill, which also includes power to both of the shops, averages £107 per quarter! It is
operated entirely by volunteers, who give a warm welcome to all visitors. On the day of the visit the
trams were well-loaded with passengers, with frequent departures. The track is 1,178 ft in length,
which a gradient varying between 1 in 20 and 1 in 7. Operation is between approx 12.00 and 16.30 on
Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays April to December; Sundays only January to March. There is a
souvenir shop at the top station and a very good replica Edwardian shop and a museum at the bottom
station. An all-day rover ticket can be purchased at £2 for adults, 50p for children and concessions £1.
Single fares are also available at £1 for adults, 30p children and 50p concessions. The journey takes
about 2¼ minutes through pleasant woodland. Although the fairground has now gone, there is a pub
near the top station and beautiful walks around Shipley Glen, with spectacular views across the Moors.

1247 OTHERS' OFFERS & OPPORTUNITIES

Please mention the Branch Line Society when booking/enquiring..
A. service to members, details must be checked with the organisers.

2359] The Railway Atlas of Scotland: 200 years of History
in Maps: (LEFT) By David Spaven. 181 annotated
topographical and railway maps recording Scotland's
railway history from the early 19th Century to the present.
Five star reviews. Recently released, 28.1cm x 31.5cm,
Hardback, 224 pages, cover price £30 (Publisher: Berlinn
Ltd) or £20.40 http://goo.gl/ktdy4n with free P&P when
ordered from Amazon on line.

[BLN 1247]
2360] GMPTE Wayfarer: A day rover, after 09.30 SSuX (anytime weekends
and public holidays): Includes the entire Manchester Metrolink system
and all trains between Manchester and Orrell, Parbold, Chorley, Darwen, Littleborough, Greenfield,
Hadfield, Rose Hill, Grindleford, Buxton, Macclesfield, Holmes Chapel, Manchester Airport, Northwich,
Warrington Central and Patricroft to Warrington Bank Quay/Wigan North Western (then to Bryn) and
intermediately. Also ANYTIME most buses within a similar defined area plus Accrington, Burnley,
Holmfirth, Crich, Ashbourne, Leek and Congleton. Adult £12, Child and over 60 only £6 (proof of age
may be needed), two adults and up to two children £23. From staffed railway stations (conductors for
unstaffed stations) and 'PayPoint' outlets in the area. It can be purchased up to three days in advance.
2361] Bristol Museum, M Shed Crane Rides: All subject to availability: Sat/Sun 12/13 March, 23/24
April, 18/19 June & 1/2 Oct 2016. Four full-sized restored working dockside Stothert & Pitt (Bath) built
electric rail mounted (very broad gauge) cargo cranes that can move under their own power. At one
time there were over 40; the city docks closed to commercial traffic in 1975. Pay on the crane £2 per
ride, also the banana shaped 1878 'Fairbairn' steam crane, a scheduled ancient monument, the oldest
of its type surviving in Britain. Once lifting up to 35 tons it can be seen working free but donations are
welcome. Bristol Harbour Railway (MR p6) 20 min standard gauge steam train rides with 'Judy' ex Port
of Par: 19/20 & 26-28 Mar, 9/10 & 30 Apr-2 May, 14/15 & 28-30 May, 11/12 & 25/26 Jun, 9/10, 16/17
& 30/31 July, 13/14 & 27-29 Aug, 10/11 & 24/25 Sep, 8/9, 22/23 & 29/30 Oct, £2 single, £3 return M-
Shed to SS Great Britain and the Chocolate Path foot crossing (see BLNs 1245.2064/65 & 1246.2158).
M-Shed Bristol Museum (well worth a visit and FREE ADMISSION) generally open (2016) Tu-F: 10.00-
17.00 (18.00 Bank Holiday Mondays); Weekends: 10.00-18.00 http://goo.gl/afaAsV 0117 352 6600.

2362] 'The Mayflower,' Sat 11 Jun: Date for your diary, LNER B1 61306 steam
hauled tour including Ipswich Griffin Wharf and other lines of interest. Watch
http://goo.gl/nIWqKf or SAE to Charity Railtours, 1 Hunter Road, Ipswich, IP3 9TN.

E-BLN 1247 ADDENDA

Guess the location e-BLN 1246: ABOVE: Not actually 'Crazy Golf' station as the sign in the top right
hand corner might suggest even through there are two (not 'fore'!) stations on the national network
with 'Golf' in their name. This is Henllan station (ex-GWR) on the former 10½ mile Pencader Jn to
Newcastle Emlyn branch (and visited on your Editor's first ever railtour), now home of the revived and
lengthening Teifi Valley Railway. It is looking west towards Newcastle Emlyn, the road bridge carries
the B4334 over the railway. See also Items 2285 & 2356 in this BLN. (Craig Kinsey 17 Nov 2015)

[BLN 1247]
'On Line' Sectional Appendices: http://goo.gl/yDbBLU An interesting and fairly extensive collection,
ranging from the North Eastern Railway in 1922, LNER 1931 & 1947, BR North East 1955 & 1960 and
BR Eastern Region 1969/ 72, 79, 83 & 86. There are also 1993/94 BR former Eastern Region examples
and 'Railtrack' LNE Zone (2000), NR LNE 2003-04 and 2006. Other areas include BR London Midland
Region 1960 (complete) and a few thereafter, with a few Southern Region examples. There are more
from NR between 2003 and 2009 which include LNW North and South, North Western, Scotland,
Western, Kent, Sussex and Wessex routes. Also available at this 'Limit of Shunt' website, mainly
referring to Northeast England but including other areas http://goo.gl/6chQau are details of Blyth &
Tyne signal boxes, various Supplementary Operating Instructions, Periodical Operating Notices,
Signalling Alerations, and some 'other' miscellaneous documents such as 'Tyneside Electrified Lines
Working Instructions' 1943, 1952 & 1961 (third rail of course!). A very interesting evolving site.
BELOW: Guess the location … no clues should be necessary! Answer in e-BLN 1248. (Ian Mortimer)

STOP PRESS Kellingley Colliery: (BLN 1209.783) Britain's final deep coal mine closes on 18 December
and 450 miners will sadly lose their jobs. Rail traffic may continue for a while according to the level of
coal stocks at the pithead. Recently between two and six trains a day each with 1,600 tonnes of coal
have been dispatched to Drax Power Station (only 10 miles away), seven days a week. Six trips can be
made in 24 hours with one set of wagons; most of that journey is on the Drax branch itself.

Distribution: Dave Monger, 6 Underhill Close, GODALMING, GU7 1NU. [email protected] 07592 585230.
Branch Line: Nick Garnham, [email protected] Subscribe: [email protected]
Fixtures Secretary: Kev Adlam, 53 Kemble Close, Wistaston, CREWE CW2 6XN. [email protected] Twitter: @BLSGeneralSec
General Secretary: Tim Wallis, 10 Sandringham Road, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. [email protected]
Chairman: John Williamson, 'La Marguerite', Croit-E-Quill Rd., LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7JD. [email protected]
SALES: Mark Gomm, 84 Mornington Road, STOKE-ON-TRENT, ST1 6EL. [email protected] 01782 769960 (daytime).
NEWS TEAM: Wales: Paul Jeffries, 54 Heol Erwin, CARDIFF, CF14 6QR. [email protected]
South East England, East Anglia & Ireland: Julian James, 58 Nelson Road, WORTHING, BN12 6EN. [email protected]
London: Geoff Brockett, 155 Onslow Gardens, South Woodford, LONDON, E18 1NA. [email protected]
Midlands & South West England: Brian Schindler, 15 Sudeley, Dosthill, TAMWORTH, B77 1JR. [email protected]
Northern England & Isle of Man: Graeme Jolley, 3 Laurel Cottages, Rencell Hill, LAXEY, Isle of Man, IM4 7BJ. [email protected]
Scotland: Bob Watt, 18 Kilmailing Road, GLASGOW, G44 5UJ. [email protected]
Minor Railways (British Isles): Peter Scott, 93 Josephine Court, Southcote Rd, READING, RG30 2DQ. [email protected]
International: Paul Griffin, 7 School Bell Mews, Church Lane, Stoneleigh, COVENTRY, CV8 3ZZ. [email protected]
E-BLN (Distribution problems and for image submission etc): Dave Cromarty, branch.line.news[email protected]
Editor/Head Lines: Paul Stewart, 4 Clarence Close, MALVERN, WR14 3HX. [email protected] 01684 562862 or 07790652351.
Printed by Deva Enterprises, Waters Edge, The Drive, Ifold, LOXWOOD, West Sussex RH14 0TD, tel: 01403 752837, [email protected] or
[email protected] Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Rd, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947.


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