Issue Number 1257 (Items 959 - 1052 & MR 86 - MR 96) (E-BLN 45 PAGES) 21 May 2016
BRANCH LINE NEWS
Published twice monthly by the Branch Line Society (founded 1955)
Membership Enquiries: [email protected]
22 Treemount Court, Grove Ave., Epsom, Surrey, KT17 4DU. 01372 728677
British Isles news from members, an international section is also available.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or the Society.
BLN 1258 is dated 4 June, contriSbouctieiotyn.s must be received by 25 May.
>>>> 959] HAVE YOU RENEWED YOUR MEMBERSHIP? <<<<
This was due on 1 May. If you have not yet renewed, please do so as soon as possible to continue to
receive your BLN and all the other membership benefits (cheaper fares and participation in members'
only fixtures etc). E-BLN members may have forgotten to print the renewal form (BLN 1254 of 9 April).
It is also available from the membership section http://goo.gl/pgYPDZ of our website. If you have any
queries, or know of anyone who might like to join or rejoin the Society, please contact Membership
Secretary Alan Welsh (as above). REMINDER: All members taking paper BLN can have e-BLN free too.
Date Event Details BLN Lead Notes
1250 KA FULL
20-22/05/16 Island of Ireland Tracker 06.00 Friday to 20.00 Sunday
Tue 31/5/16 Sutton Coldfield MES 18.30 Comprehensive visit 1254 KA OPEN
Fri 3-4/6/16 Scottish Minor Railways Aberdeenshire/Perthshire 1246 TV NOTIFY
Fri 10/6/16 Glaschu Tracker *OPEN* Full day on public services 1256 KA OPEN
Sat 11/6/16 Leadhills & Wanlockhead Railway, 2ft gauge 09.00-12.00 1256 JC OPEN
Sat 11/6/16 See below for details of available events later in the day 1257 N/A BELOW
Sun 12/6/16 Nottingham NET tour 09.00 Newly Extended Tracker II 1255 KA OPEN
Thur 16/6/16 Middleton Railway 18.00 very rare track fixture 1257 KA *OPEN*
Thur 23/6/16 Achilles Heel Trekker 10.30 Crewe-Watford Junction 1256 KA OPEN
Fri 24/6/16 Guided railway walk 10.30-13.00 Hitchin station 1256 BD OPEN
24-25/6/16 Docklands Explorer 22.55 Friday - Saturday morning 1256 GW OPEN
Sat 2/7/16 Turbo Prop Tracker 18.10-22.12 Manchester area 1255 KA OPEN
Sun 3/7/16 TPE Class 170 farewell 09.25-18.24 to Cleethorpes 1255 KA OPEN
Sat 9/7/16 Chiltern Tracker III railtour TBA TBA Claimed
Tue 19/7/16 Derby Roundhouse 14.00 Conducted tour & bus to: 1257 JC *OPEN*
Tue 19/7/16 Eggington Junction to Derby Friargate GNR trackbed walk 1257 JC *OPEN*
Thur 4/8/16 Spa Valley Explorer III 13.30 Brakevan railtour 1256 GW OPEN
Mon 29/8/16 Loco hauled main line Tracker railtour - save the date TBA TBA Claimed
Fri 4-6/11/16 BLS 61st AGM weekend Kent area, *4 FIXTURES OPEN* 1257 DG *OPEN*
10-17/11/16 Jordan Hejaz Railway Provisional new date (enhanced) 1250 IS OPEN
BD-Bill Davis, DG-Darren Garnon, GW-Glen Wells, IS-Iain Scotchman, JC-John Cameron, KA-Kev Adlam, TV-Terry Velvick.
960] BLS Fixtures T&Cs: A reminder that participation in any Society event (including joint events with
others) is subject to the Society's Standard Booking Terms and Conditions for Fixtures available online
via that link or send a BLN size SAE to the General Secretary (address at bottom of the back page). In
particular, anyone not correctly booked (without an acknowledgement) will not be able to participate.
961] E-BLN & BLN: Technically these are published on Saturdays, (this on 21 May for example); we all
do our very best for paper BLN by first class post to reach members on the Friday and e-BLN Thursday
(normally) but the team are all volunteers without performance sensitive contracts. E-BLN is not sent
at any specific time of day as this depends on many factors. Please leave it until at least the Saturday
before chasing the production team [email protected] and not the fixtures team please.
962] Electronic BLN on Paper: Would you be interested in receiving e-BLN, including all the
pictures, (72 in e-BLN 1255 with 66 pages and 58 in e-BLN 1256 - 52 pages) printed in colour and
posted to you each edition? Such an arrangement might be possible on a cost-sharing basis and
it could be of particular interest to those not able to receive e-BLN (or who choose not to receive
it electronically). The Committee are aware of some who print e-BLN in colour for themselves
(which is encouraged). Expressions of interest (no obligation) to Nick Jones who suggested the
idea [email protected] (NB: two underscores) 07768 631867 or (with SAE) to
57 Blar Mhor Rd, Caol, Fort William, PH33 7HR by 30 June. Please advise if you might prefer A5
booklet format (small like paper BLN) or full size A4 printed single or both sides (all subject to
cost and technical issues). Please mention if you would be interested in International e-BLN too.
963] BLS DVD: Copies of the 90 minute DVD 'Shildon, Weardale and the National Railway Museum,
2011 & 2015' of our fixtures are still available. Includes coverage of the Society's 60th anniversary AGM
fixtures. Good value at £10 including P&P or email to collect/pay on our Achilles Heel Trekker. Cheques
'Branch Line Society', to Sales Officer Dr Mark Gomm, 84 Mornington Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 6EL.
Also please advise any other orders required. All proceeds go to Railway Children.
964] Saturday 11 June: There is no formal fixture after John Cameron's visit to the remote 2ft gauge
Leadhills & Wanlockhead Railway from 09.00 to 12.00 (BLN 1256.867) but the 1¾ mile long 15" gauge
Heatherslaw Light Railway, Ford Forge, Heatherslaw, Cornhill-on-Tweed, Northumberland, TD12 4TP,
(NT934384) runs from Heatherslaw at 15.00 (last round trip). Carlisle and District Model Engineering
Society (5/7½") Upperby Park, Durdar Road, CA2 4PS has a public open day for its 80th anniversary.
965] Middleton Railway, Thur 16 Jun: (MR p9) Http://goo.gl/5Qw7tE The Station, Moor Rd, Hunslet,
Leeds, LS10 2JQ, (SE305310). A highly unusual summer evening doing very rare track. Due to a model
railway exhibition, the railway will empty the Engine House/Museum building tracks as far as possible.
Our special train covers these infrequently clear lines, the Park Halt branch and hopefully, the run
round loop there. Max 25 participants; drinks and snacks included at 17.30. Subject to crewing, two
locos are expected, with unusually, HC D631 0-4-0DM 'Carroll' and a brake van, leading in to the shed.
Participants will be encouraged to stay on to assist the Middleton Railway to prepare for their event.
£15 BLS members; £20 non-members, cheques 'Branch Line Society'/CPAs to Kev Adlam (back page).
ABOVE: Rare track indeed, part of the Engine House/Museum (Middleton Railway April 2013).
966] Derby Roundhouse, Tue 19 Jul, 14.00: Roundhouse Road, DE24 8JE, (SK364356) opposite Derby
station's east exit. Built in 1839 and believed to be the first and the world's oldest surviving railway
roundhouse. Although grade II listed, it was falling into disrepair until it was restored and converted
into part of Derby College, opening in 2010. The sympathetic restoration incorporates many railway
features. A knowledgeable guide will give an insight into the building and its history as well as the
former Engine Shed and Carriage Shop areas. 45-60 minutes, cost £6 or less (according to number) pay
on the day in cash but advance notification (which commits to paying) and any queries please to
[email protected] 07581178759; 10 Friar Gate Court, Friar Gate, Derby, DE1 IHE (if
writing please enclose SAE). Then optional 15.30 bus to Egginton Jn for a free guided 8-mile walk of
the GNR route to, and exploration of, Derby Friargate station area (walk can be booked on its own).
Http://goo.gl/7jyACP is a navigable and zoomable 1960 (revised 1949-50) map. Ettington Junction is
bottom, left of middle; following it northeast Derby Friargate is the first open passenger station.
ABOVE: Part of Derby Roundhouse After restoration in 2009 (Press release).
967] BLS 2016 AGM, Shepherdswell, Kent: Complementing our AGM, we are delighted to announce
four exciting fixtures. They can be booked individually or with a discount for all three riding fixtures:
968] Epping & Ongar Railway, Fri 4 Nov: (MR p8) North Weald station (CM16 6BT) approx 08.30;
Heritage bus connection from/to Epping station. Our first visit to this railway and a specification
unlikely to be repeated, with exclusive use of the line for the full day enabling traversal of all track
that is safe to use. Hopefully the first EOR passenger train to reach the LUL boundary (Epping station
should be visible). This full day allows the railway to shunt their stock permitting our charter access to
all passable track. Traction is expected to be the railway's 1957-built Class 205 'Thumper' 2-car unit
and a Class 03 with brake vans for the more delicate manoeuvres. £45 members, £57 non-member (no
discounts) includes the heritage bus, a breakfast roll with hot drink on arrival and a buffet lunch.
969] East Kent Railway (EKR), Sat 5 Nov: (MR p6) Shepherdswell station (CT15 7PD), our first visit
since 1992 to this significantly transformed railway. Provisionally 08.30 (rail connections Ashford &
Canterbury). Exclusive use of the railway to traverse all available track with the EKR performing their
complicated lunchtime shunts during our AGM. At 15.00 all remaining accessible cleared sidings will
be covered. DMU or loco with coaches and shunter with brake van(s). Extensive new 7¼" railway
(contact organiser to bring your own traction!) and established secondary miniature railway £25,
£37 non members, (no discounts) includes both miniatures and also breakfast roll with a hot drink.
970] Treasurer's Trove, Illustrated Talk, Sat 5 Nov: 'Travelling non-passenger lines in the 1970s and
80s without the aid of railtours!' At EKR Shepherdswell station. Our Treasurer Ian Mortimer will kindly
share some of his extensive photographic collection. Train connections to Ashford, suggested as the
overnight location for those relying on public transport to reach the K&ESR next day. £10 members
only; no discounts. Includes a wholesome buffet with soft drinks during the interval. Participants may
bring their own alcoholic refreshments for this social event. NB: The 'AGM Rover' is not valid for this.
971] Kent & East Sussex Railway, Sun 6 Nov: (MR p6) (BLN 1244.2004) Tenterden Town (TN30 6HE)
08.30 (& 09.00 for bus from Ashford); complements our 11 Oct 2015 tour. All day exclusive use of the
railway and a shunting loco to secure all remaining accessible track. Focusing on Bodiam it includes
Rolvenden carriage shed Road 4 (partly covered last time), and Tenterden carriage and workshop
shed Line 2 then unavailable. Track covered in October may be traversed if time allows. Class 108 DMU
and possible surprise traction. A fixture of this scale is unlikely to be available in the near future. £35
members, £47 non-members (no discounts) includes a breakfast roll and hot drink on arrival.
'AGM Rover' - available until 31 July (unless fully booked) all three riding fixtures £99 (members only);
remember to add £10 for presentation/buffet. Bookings: Darren Garnon, 9 Burlington Place, Kincraig
Drive, Sevenoaks TN13 3BH, with cheque POST DATED 31 July 2016 or a completed CPA. Supply an
email address or SAE (second one for acknowledgement). Queries [email protected]
972] Unusual Track: Expected but not guaranteed, should be re-checked http://goo.gl/wwSbYv etc.
Rainham bay P0: Sun 21 May, All Victoria/Gillingham services (St Pancras turn back in P1).
Hereford bay P4: 20.00 (SO) - Birmingham New St (platform due to close; see regional section).
Worcester bay P3: 21.46 (SSuX) to Bristol TM. 18 Jun & 2 Jul: 09.08* & 19.06 deps. (*& 25 Jun).
Porthmadog FR-WHR: 12.20 ex-Blaenau should run to the WHR platform (right side on arrival)
with green and yellow timetables: 30&31 May, 1&2 Jun, 19-21 & 26-28 Jul, Aug: SSFX & 1 Sep.
973] FIXTURES REPORTS: Scunthorpe Steeltracker Eggstravaganza: On Easter Monday, 28 March our
longest and most ambitious railtour here took place (at the time it was possible it could even have
been the last one) from 09.30 to 18.45 with 49 participants. A donation of £1,900 was made to the
Appleby Frodingham Railway Preservation Society, which included the cost of the food and drink for
two breaks when the party was very well refreshed. Three new Society Scunthorpe records were set
(duration, number of participants and the amount raised). There were quite a few 'Scunthorpe Virgins'
including a pleasing number of new and younger
members who were very impressed and amazed
by what they saw and the track covered. Since our
19 Sep 2015 visit, Scunthorpe Plate Mill had
ceased rolling (on 17 December), ending over 75
years of plate production there. Its final stock had
been cleared out in early March. All its entrances
have been sealed up (to prevent metal theft) and
12/13 of its access lines were OOU (so as not to
require maintenance). The trip did indeed cover
the remaining and longest branch to the limit. It looked very strange, particularly with no activity
there. Similarly, Dawes Lane Coke Ovens ceased production on 8 March after 40 years, was allowed to
go cold and the brick lining had 'collapsed' inside (a terminal event). Coke is still produced at the 1938
Appleby Coke Ovens, upgraded over the years and receiving investment to reduce pollution and
extract Benzene more efficiently. ABOVE: The dramatic souvenir tickets produced by our member Jim
Sellens. The railtour mostly with loco No1 and an after tea Class 20 finale site circuit, included:
●Frodingham AFRPS platform line end & loop. ●Welfare Loop.
●Dawes Lane Coke Ovens Branch. ●Corus Rail Sidings, start of Road 2.
●Appleby Coke Ovens - stub by Basic Slag Road. ●Anchor Exchange Sidings 1, 3, 4 & 5.
●Plate Mill Road 23 (to the 'Old Stripper Shed'). ●Container Terminal D - all three lines to end.
●Rail Service Centre 6 Bay West & East. ●Loop east of Mills Exchange Sidings.
●Rail Service Centre 2 Bay West, 3, 4 & 5 Bay. ●P. Way headshunt and both lines to gates.
●End of siding (left) alongside Concast. ●Iron Pits, right hand branch both lines.
●End of Road 2 in front of Concast. ● Queen Anne / Queen Victoria Blast Furnaces
●Stores Road (underneath the High Line). …north (terminal) branch, both roads.
●Scrap main, Loop and Left Bay Road. ●Torpedo Repair Bay lines 1, 4 & 5 and loop.
●East Bank to end of line (normally occupied). ●Caparo Gate 15.
●'Soaker side' and the short siding off this. ●South Melting Shop Running Road & Loop.
Thanks to the many Society and AFRPS volunteers (most work at the plant) involved in our excellent
full day visit to Britain's largest private railway. Particular thanks to our member Alan Sheppard for
planning and directing the route and Martyn Brailsford for cartography. With the subsequent good
news that the plant is to continue in production, we hope to run more of these tours in the future.
974] New Cross Gate, London Overground Depot, 13 Apr: Thanks to our member Stuart Hicks, some
BLS members were kindly included in this SEG evening visit. The depot opened in 2009, on railway land
just north of the station between the East London Line to the east and the London Bridge to Brighton
line on the west. It has an Operational Building Complex (with the LO control room and signalling
centre etc), a Maintenance Shed operated by Bombardier, Wheel Lathe, Heavy Cleaning Facilities,
Train Wash, 25kV Test Facility, an 8-road Berthing Area (but no midwife present), Stores and Security.
Class 378s were extended from 4 to 5-cars here taking 13 months, which required improvements and
extensions to the depot between 2013 and 2015. This included lengthening the maintenance shed,
heavy cleaning facility and moving the wheel lathe 15m, lengthening the sidings and the installation of
a new AC test set up. Now 20 third-rail only Class 378s and 37 with dual 25Kv overhead facility can be
dealt with here. West Anglia trains can also use it (class 315, 317 & 321 EMUs). Fleet availability (PPM)
is 95.6% with 55 units required in service. The 13 participants then walked the short distance to
Silwood Stabling Sidings passing through several security turnstile gates. The sidings (empty during
the visit) were completed in March 2014 and can accommodate 10 five-car trains. They are fully
integrated with New Cross Gate Depot. A very enjoyable visit with thanks to the staff concerned for
giving up their time and answering so many questions and also to Stuart Hicks.
1257 HEAD LINES
975] Hunterston Jn - Hunterston High Level: Amending (BLN 1255.769) delete whole entry. It remains
OG generally one coal train daily to Drax or West Burton power station until coal stocks are exhausted.
There is no coal traffic from Hunterston Low Level although the occasional nuclear flask train runs.
ABOVE: On 6 May 2016 and all taken from Largs passenger trains due to the poor access. TOP LEFT:
Hunterston Low Level branch, rusty track and vegetation although a nuclear flask train ran on 21 April.
TOP RIGHT: Hunterston High Level, pulling wagons under the coal bunker. ABOVE, LOWER PICTURE:
The 15.35 High Level departure via Barrassie Yard (rev), Kilmarnock, Carlisle, Hexham, to Doncaster,
Maltby and Worksop to West Burton (arriving 05.15 next morning). Coupling up at the south end of
the High Level branch; also reflections from the passenger train's carriage lights/ windows. (Nick Jones)
976] Scottish Power, Longannet Power Station; West Arrivals (4m 71ch)/East Arrivals (5m 32ch) -
Bunkers - West Departures (5m 32ch) /East Departures (5m 78ch): (BLN 1255.775) The internal layout
CG after the second (and last) incoming train of fly ash from Aberthaw 'B' Power station arrived 11.09
on 19 April. The empty wagons left at 10.18 on 22 Apr 2016 for Oxwellmains Cement Works. Fly ash to
'Scotash' will reportedly be transported by coastal shipping. Longannet has a pier on the River Forth.
BLN 1257.977] Dunfermline, Charlestown Jn - Longannet - Alloa Station Jn: NRU, the weekly booked
train, ThO 13.51 Dyce Raiths Farm to Hartlepool South Works pipe train empties, very rarely runs. A NR
source advises that Longannet signal box is to be de-staffed and the route 'mothballed' but there are
fears of possible vandalism and theft making the line unusable without expenditure. The last tour was
the Scottish Railway Preservation Society's The Forth Circle on 6 Sep 2015, running east to west twice.
978] Epping Ongar Railway, Coopersale Bridge (7.8km) (TL 4761 0308) - Epping Forest (9.4km) (TL
4647 0186): (BLN 1251.341) ROP 23 Apr (Diesel Gala) after TCP/A from 13 Feb 2016. The LU boundary
is now at 9.5km (from Ongar buffer stops); not 9.2km as shown in (TRACKmaps vol.5 p38B Nov 2008).
979] Tottenham South Jn - South Tottenham East Jn & South Tottenham West Jn - Seven Sisters Jn:
(BLN 1156.879A) TCP (to Feb 2017) after running on 30 Apr 2016. The weekly train, 05.31 Liverpool St -
Enfield Town EMU did not run over this route on 7 May and now runs non-stop via Stoke Newington.
980] Holybourne Oil Sidings & Alton (NR) - Farnham: (BLN 1255.779) ROG 4 May after TCG 13 Apr
2016; inward discharged tanks from Fawley for filling (train runs round at Alton station). It has been
confirmed that there is a sharp temporary slew each end of the single track onto the former Up (north)
side, with a severe speed restriction, this is an interim alignment pending embankment repairs.
981] London, Camden Jn - Primrose Hill - Camden Road West Jn: (BLN 1255.777) ROA 9 May after TCA
on 9 Apr 2016, for emergency viaduct repairs between Kentish Town Road and Camden High St where
two of the arches had temporary supports and there has been a 5mph speed restriction. The first
trains (05.30) were LO workings, ECS from Wembley Carriage Sidings to Stratford and Willesden Depot
to Camden Road. The Lowland & Highland sleepers also ran that way to Euston from the ECML.
982] Pelaw Jn - Jarrow Shell (UK) Oil Depot: (BLN 1230.618) ROG 9 May 2016 with a 22.52 (8 May)
3,000 tonne train from Lindsey Oil Refinery arriving 05.59 with 60100. After unloading 2,000 tonnes of
oil the discharged wagons left at 16.35. Previously CG after last running on 17 Feb 2015 when the oil
traffic transferred to coastal shipping. [3m 17ch of ex-North Eastern Railway South Shields branch.]
983] Severn Beach Branch (12m 70ch) - SITA Severnside Waste: (BLN 256.926) On 9 May 2016 the
first trial, test/staff training train 66005, two Freightliner Container Flat wagons and 66094 'top & tail'
ran at 09.15 from Alexandra Dock via Henbury (arr 11.01). The locos departed at 13.00 leaving the
wagons. The facility is expected to mean the end of waste traffic from Brentford Town to Scunthorpe.
984] IÉ, Limerick, Check Cabin (0m 56ch) - Ennis (excl) and Sixmilebridge station: (BLN 1255.839) ROP
was expected 17 May 2016 after TCP 15 Dec 2015 due to to Ballycar Lough flooding from 'Storm
Desmond'. The first scheduled train at 13.00 from Limerick was an ECS trial working, returning from
Ennis at 15.25. The first passenger train was due to be 16.30 Limerick to Ennis (17.09) returning 17.20.
985] Dublin , Jervis (excl) - The Point/Connolly and five intermediate tram stops: TCP from
21.00 on 21 May until the end of July; engineering work including installation of two (non passenger)
connections to the cross city line. (Trackplan BLN 1231.793) Single line working is expected between
Jervis and Smithfield via the crossover in service between Four Courts and Smithfield in that direction.
986] Newton Abbot East Jn - Heathfield: (BLN 1233.914) The 4m 07ch branch will be temporarily OOU
(saving business rates) from 21 May 2016 until 28 Apr 2018 and the train staff (token) removed. There
will be a temporary sleeper stop block at the Commencement/End of the One Train Working board at
0m 55ch allowing access to Newton Abbot bay (former P9, later the Motorail dock). It was CG and
'mothballed' after the final Teigngrace to Chirk timber train on 2 Apr 2015. The last railtour and final
train was our 'First Devon & Exeter Explorer' on 10 Oct 2015 that made two return trips with an HST.
987] Worcester Shrub Hill Jn - Worcester Tunnel Jn: TCP due 4 to 13 Jun 2016 (incl) for 'signalling life
extension work'. LM trains will not serve Shrub Hill station and will only use P2 at Foregate Street. LM
ECS workings from/to Worcester Light Maintenance Depot will all be via Droitwich Spa (some services
via Kidderminster start there rather than at Shrub Hill). ECS returning south will use the trailing
crossover being reinstated at Droitwich. P1 at Foregate Street will only be served by GWR services.
988] Service Suspensions: To assist travel planning and as a reminder, a summary of longer term
passenger service suspensions will appear at the end of 'Head Lines' (when space permits). Note: they
are in order of anticipated ROP; lines in block letters are actually closed at the date of this BLN.
98] Significant Passenger Suspensions Summary (extra to Head Lines above) in end date order:
BLN Start (incl) End (incl) Location (exclusive where bracketed)
1256.883 Sat 18 Jun Wed 22 Jun (Hereford) Shelwick Jn - (Great Malvern)
1252.444 Sat 30 Jul Sun 7 Aug (Bicester N)/(Oxford); from 3 Aug Oxford-(Leamington Spa)
1256.886 Wed 3 Aug Sun 7 Aug (Hanborough) - Oxford
1254.653 Sun 20 Mar Sun 7 Aug Glasgow Queen St - (Cowlairs West Jn) /(Sighthill West Jn)
1256.884 Sat 30 Jul Sun 14 Aug (Didcot) - (Oxford); from 3 Aug Oxford; from 7 Aug (Oxford)
1255.783 Mon 12 Sep Fri 21 Oct (Patchway) - (Severn Tunnel Jn)
1255.784 Thu 3 Nov? Tue 22 Nov? (Antrim) - Londonderry & Coleraine - Portrush branch
1198.1659 15 Feb 2013 12 Dec 2016 (Oxford Parkway) - (Oxford) - ROP date to be confirmed
1248.79 24 Dec 2015 Dec 2016 (Folkestone Central) - (Dover Priory)
1253.554 Sat 4 Jun Feb 2017 (Barking) - (South Tottenham), South Tottenham from 24/9
1253.555 Sat 24 Sep Feb 2017 South Tottenham - (Gospel Oak)
1251.334 Tue 9 Feb Unknown (Carlisle) - (Appleby); still slipping, repairs not started.
1257 BLN GENERAL
989] Power Point Presentation: On Tuesday 10 May, with lower demand, for much of the day the
amount of electricity generated from coal in Britain fell to ZERO for the first time since 1882 when
the first steam powered generator started working. It was zero for over a third of the next week.
Even during last winter a figure no higher than around 10-15% was noted from http://goo.gl/EVjDy
which is updated every five minutes. EDF are reportedly shutting Cottam and West Burton 'A' (both
2,000MW) power stations for a year 'pending demand'. Current plans envisage minimal rail activity
until summer 2017. The last inward coal to Cottam ran from Immingham on 25 Feb 2016, but on 11
May coal was dispatched from Cottam to Ferrybridge 'C' (which ceased generating on 31 March).
Ferrybridge is being used for blending and stocking and has received coal from other locations such as
Tyne Coal Terminal and dispatched coal to North Blyth (Battleship Wharf), Drax, West Burton and
even, earlier in the year, (presumably 'different' coal) to Cottam! West Burton 'A' has been receiving
coal including from Hunterston High Level Branch to clear the stockpile (rather than Low Level but
nuclear flask traffic continues from the latter to Sellafield such as on 21 April). Killoch (BLN 1251.41)
supplies Penyfford and Ketton cement works with occasional trains and Leith was used for coal
blending in February with trainloads to Immingham.
Fiddlers Ferry: The most recent train was on 15 March, gypsum to Tuebrook Sidings (for New Biggin).
On 28 April Rugeley received its first coal train since 18 February, from Portbury Coal Terminal where
there is a large pile of coal visble but very few trains. Avonmouth Silos recently dispatched a series of
coal trains to Uskmouth 'A' (Fifoots) Power station. Trains were booked from Gwaun-cae-Gurwen to
Aberthaw 'B' after route learning light engines ran on 12 and 13 May. Aberthaw 'B' is also supplied by
rail from Tower, Cwmbargoed and Onllwyn open cast sites and has received coal from Avonmouth
and occasionally Portbury. Cwmbargoed also supplies Port Talbot steel works and sometimes
Scunthorpe, as well as Hope cement works. Biomass: generates about 2GW of electricity; the new Port
of Tyne biomass loading hopper (e-BLN 1256.X54) is actually for Drax and funded by the power station
group. Biomass traffic to Drax is heavy, running from Liverpool, Immingham and Hull. It is not known
where Lynemouth power station will be supplied from when conversion to biomass firing is complete.
990] Points & Slips: BLN 1236.1214] By 5 May Snibston Discovery Centre had been demolished and
the site cleared. It was visited by the Society on 11 Jun 2015 prior to its closure at the end of the
following month. The railway, which last ran 30 Jun 2015, remains intact but was very rusty. Despite
'security' and substantial temporary fencing, rubbish had been tipped on the line. A solitary coach was
the only rolling stock item remaining outdoors (it is not known if the engine shed was occupied). The
crossover in the middle of the loop (too sharp for coaches) remained clipped. The Grade II Snibston
Colliery buildings with its unusual tandem headgear, developed by George Stephenson, survive.
Regarding BLN 1256.873] The Great Central (Nottingham) Railway boundary with NR is 4ch north of
Loughborough South Jn at 92m 45ch (from Manchester London Road via Penistone). It is an unusual
situation where a Freight Operating Company runs trains off the national network over 5½ miles of a
preserved railway; in this case incoming Gypsum from desulphurisation of coal fired power station flue
gas (generally West Burton). There is a clip-on double-sided 'wheelstop' padlocked to the line (87m
06ch) a loco length north of Hotchley Hill (British Gypsum) run round loop. When operating trains,
GCR(N) phone NR to take possession of the line. NR then lock the line OOU from their end and allow
the GCR(N) to unlock the 'rail break' and access the track to Rushcliffe Halt and Loughborough. Also
unusually, GCR(N) receive access charges for the freight trains that run. During the period (from March
1986 until 1 Dec 1998) that there was no traffic on the branch, some houses were built on East Leake
station (CP 5 May 1969) approach and the former goods yard. The solicitors involved failed to check if
the railway might become operational again. When it did start running again the residents objected;
although they could not stop the freight or GCR(N) trains operating, there is a 5mph speed restriction
and much opposition to East Leake reopening to passengers. The original quite large island platform is
intact, west of the single line and clear but with no buildings. The non-island platforms on the original
GCR between Calvert and Annesley were: Rushcliffe Halt, Arkwright Street (Nottingham)& Carrington.
Item 875] On the York to Scarborough line, a local member feels that Barton Hill box is a 'real survivor'
and serves no useful purpose in the regulation of the present hourly service, or even with the
proposed half-hourly frequency. If it closed there would only be an 8m 33ch Absolute Block section
between Strensall and Kirkham Abbey boxes. There is very poor sighting of trains approaching from
York, due to the line's curvature and particularly the nearby A64 dual carriageway overbridge but, as
crossings have to operate at night and in fog that should not be an insurmountable problem. CCTV
control from Kirkham Abbey, 3m 33ch away, might be possible although the cost might be a problem.
As well as Barton Hill signal box, Driffield also has wheel operated lifting barriers. Seamer West box
was actually at Seamer West Jn on the Down side where the line from Scarborough split for Hull and
York (as now) but also the Forge Valley
line, west to Pickering. As mentioned,
there were two signal boxes side by side
at Seamer station. The original York &
North Midland Railway box closed in 1911
and a larger one (Seamer East), the
present one, was built adjacent for extra
signalling with the addition of a Down
slow line. The original box survived until
demolition 1993 when it was derelict.
Item 879] (With apologies) in paper BLN
this should be renumbered '879A' and the
next item '104X]' about the Weymouth
Tramway, should be renumbered '879B]'.
938] South of Doncaster it has been
reported that the Up East Slow Line
between Black Carr Jn - Potteric Carr Jn -
Bridge Jn is to become bi-directional as
part of the track layout enhancement.
This would allow EMT Lincoln trains to use bay P2 (currently passenger departures only and NRU)
instead of bay P5. Reversible working to Loversall Carr Jn would allow stock (and freight for the east
side of the ECML) to reach the new IEP Depot etc at the south end, avoiding the station. Longer term a
half-hourly Doncaster to Leeds EMU local service has been suggested replacing the Adwick DMUs,
which could (from Sheffield) then terminate in P5.
Item 939] In the Sheffield PSB closure item, 'Beighton Station Junction' signal box, is as used by NR in
their recent signalling notice and the Sectional Appendix. This is also the name of the level crossing
there. The box itself has a 'Beighton Station' nameboard, (see PREVIOUS PAGE: By Angus McDougall,
19 Feb 2011.) and the level crossing 'Beighton LC'. The station actually CP 1 Nov 1954! Item 957] On
the return leg of the 3 September 'Independent Yorkshireman' charity railtour, the Up Crewe
Independent Line is due to be traversed rather than the Down. X.59] A member asked what Deltic
D9009 'Alycidon' was doing in e-BLN between the Isle of Man and Scotland. [Probably about bout
90mph - Ed.] 55019 is of course Royal Highland Fusilier. X.60 The caption to the picture of the end of
line at the Tower Colliery headshunt on 12 Apr 2016 should have read: 'The loop was lengthened at
the Aberdare end rather than making the branch longer at the Hirwaun Pond end' (rather than
'Hirwaun end' , Hirwaun is between the end of line at Hirwaun pond and Aberdare.)
BELOW: Hirwaun Pond, the end of the Tower branch, is the station shown in the top left corner as
'closed to passengers' on the 1954 one inch to the mile OS map, on the then double track Vale of
Neath line. The rail served 'Trading Estate' is the former Royal Ordnance Factory site. The former
branch to the then Tower Colliery can be seen diverging south just east of the station the crossing the
A465 on a level crossing. Hirwaun station is further east and bottom right is Aberdare, the current
limit of passenger services from Cardiff. The present station (OP 1988) is just southeast of the
'principal station' (the GWR High Level station, the buildings of which although dilapidated, survive and
once was the local BR Area Manager's office.) The single track line is the Vale of Neath line to Merthyr.
The private 'Penderyn Quarry Tramway' heads north from a junction just west of Hirwaun.
991] Photo Stops: David Brewer from Chorley recently completed his collection of pictures he has
taken since 2007 of every passenger station in Great Britain with a train calling (which he then appears
to catch); there are over 2,550. Redcar British Steel was difficult being on private land and not open to
non-employees (even though tickets are available to buy on line). He arrived by bus and it took some
persuasion to be allowed in. The service is 08.04 (SSuX) to Saltburn and 16.46 to Bishop Auckland
(SuX); strangely the latter (only) runs on Saturdays too. For Shippea Hill (07.28 (SSux) & 07.25 (SO) to
Norwich and 19.27 (SO) to Cambridge) he invested £10 in a taxi from Ely to save the 10 mile walk.
Visits to Lea Bridge, Bromsgrove and Kirkstall Forge will be required! David has also photographed
every LU station and all the stops on the Docklands Light Railway, Croydon Tramlink, Midland Metro,
NET, Manchester Metrolink, Sheffield Supertram, Tyne and Wear Metro, and the Edinburgh Tram. Last
year he published a book on Britain's least used stations and one reader was in touch to say he had
also visited every station in Britain. The BBC report went on 'But - once you include the trams and light
railways - it's thought no-one is more travelled than David'. They obviously have not heard of the
Branch Line Society or the activities of its members then! Does anyone have David's email address so
we can send a BLS prospectus? BELOW: Redcar British Steel station on 2 Apr 2008. (https://goo.gl/m7VFhY)
On a similar track one of our members has photographed 2,241 stations, the latest being at Ebbw Vale.
He comments that (like all these things) the actual total can vary with definition. In Baker's Atlas,
stations like Liverpool Lime Street, Glasgow Central and Willesden Junction are listed as one station
but TRACKmaps & NR list them separately (high & low level). St Pancras International is 'worse' with
low level platforms, EMT platforms, HS1 domestic, and Eurostar! For British Steel Redcar, where the
works recently closed, our member plans to alight from a train and walk out of the complex rather
than try to persuade the security to let him in. (Your GS adopted this approach many years ago to do
the Rosyth Dockyard line, joining the workers' DMU from Inverkeithing. However, he was politely
refused exit via the Dockyard security gate but allowed by the helpful train crew to return on the ECS.)
He wonders if David Brewer (who is not a BLS member but ought to be!) has been to all the staff halts
and Heritage stations? Some diehards try to visit stations by train and even leave on a different train!
1257 EAST MIDLANDS
992] Torksey: (BLN 1254.656) The River Trent listed Torksey Viaduct connecting Nottinghamshire and
Lincolnshire has opened to foot traffic only (and will later become a cycleway as well). The railway on it
CA 2 Nov 1959 and the route was previously blocked needing a 15-mile trip to travel from one end to
the other. In 2001, custodianship was transferred to Railway Paths, a sister charity of Sustrans. The
Grade II* listed viaduct recently received two £200k grants from the Railway Heritage Trust, for
refurbishment work and footpath construction. A video https://goo.gl/fYkcbV clip of the most
unusual structure. ABOVE: Further to the previous discussion in BLN (Torksey: Bridge or Viaduct?), the
plaque unveiled at Torksey when the footway was opened on 22 Apr 2016. Our member suggests that
this provides the definitive answer! (Greg Beecroft). BELOW: A 1954 one inch to the mile map (revised
1951) showing Torksey Viaduct and Cottam in passenger days, pre-power station. 'Rampton' high
security hospital is bottom left beyond the village. Top right is the Gainsborough to Lincoln line.
993] Broadholme: The Up Passenger Loop immediately south of Ambergate Jn was used by all trains
(including passenger services) between Chesterfield/Matlock and Derby for at least eight days in early
May due to a signalling fault. Due to the layout and signalling there is little time penalty for using it.
1257 GREATER LONDON
994] Hidden Stations, Charing Cross: London Transport Museum https://goo.gl/XMM6Dy offers
guided tours of 'underground' areas the public can not otherwise see. They are usually TfL stations or
former stations, but you have to be quick to book as they sell very quickly. Charing Cross Jubilee Line
station (OP 1 May 1979; CP 20 Nov 1999) featured on 27 March. Having travelled to and from this
short-lived terminal station at the southern end of the Jubilee Line before the change of plan to its
current extension through Waterloo to Stratford, your heritage reporter was uncertain how interesting
the tour would be, the last that day of a series of hour-long visits. He should not have been concerned.
When first planned, the line was known as the Fleet Line before its final naming after the Queen's then
Silver Jubilee. The tour started with a walk along the two platforms. These feature in films or TV
requiring a modern-style underground station (Aldwych is used for period filming) and the party was
shown recent clips, including James Bond, with Daniel Craig chasing the villain by sliding down the
centre slope between escalators. His prospects of becoming a father were not damaged as the upright,
transverse 'Stand on the Right' signs were temporarily removed! Both stations remain connected to
the network, with Charing Cross Jubilee available should there be significant Jubilee Line disruption
towards London Bridge, also allowing tube trains access for filming.
The most common usage 'in service' is to stable trains for major events at Wembley, including on the
lengthy headshunts beyond each platform built for the initial proposed extension. These are released
as events end and many passengers, having arrived over some hours, head home at the same time.
The overrun tunnels continue through to Aldwych, nearly reaching the disused Piccadilly Line station
and able to hold two trains. This is as on P26 (bottom middle) of Joe Brown's London Rail Atlas 4th Ed.
The platform adverts, needed for realistic filming, feature books never written or products unavailable,
lacking in prices and detail. This is no doubt due to product placement considerations. There was the
opportunity to explore beyond the original public areas, starting with the ventilation tunnel. This is not
one for those with a fear of heights as it crosses the active tube platforms below at 90o on see-through
metal grilles (please resist the temptation to cackle loudly and inanely to worry the passengers below)
and ends in a lengthy vertical shaft (as sampled by James Bond in 'Skyfall'). More interesting was the
original construction tunnel, now used for general storage. When the station was being built, the
nearby area was too constricted for access, so a long tunnel to the other side of Trafalgar Square was
built to tube gauge with a double-track narrow-gauge railway. Its dusty and musty atmosphere was
enjoyed as it drops downhill from Charing Cross to navigate under Trafalgar Square, with a very
noticeable kink to avoid the foundations of Nelson's Column (and reported longer than said column is
tall, the latter is 169¼ ft). The end is sealed but another tunnel, not available to explore, sets off to the
left, reportedly towards the Bakerloo Line. The guide challenged the party to spot a discrepancy in the
construction tunnel and your pedantic reporter rose to the challenge, spotting that the tube-shaped
supporting arches at the end were dated some years earlier than those in the ventilation tunnel. These
were in fact left over from building the Victoria Line in the early 1960s and LU let nothing go to waste!
A fascinating experience, thoroughly recommended. Other tours include Aldwych (BLN 1226.252),
Clapham South, Down Street and two new ones Euston and 55 Broadway (which LU are disposing of).
995] Crossrail: (BLN 1254.899) (1) NR Engineering Work: Extensive work was carried out over the May
Day bank holiday weekend. On the GEML platform extension and bridge works were carried out at
Goodmayes, Gidea Park, Harold Wood, Brentwood and Shenfield. At Abbey Wood concrete beams
were lifted into place to form the base of the new two-storey station building and 600m of track was
renewed. On the GWML work included track remodelling, electrification and signalling commissioning
at Old Oak Common, Southall and Hayes & Harlington, platform extensions and canopy cutbacks at
West Ealing and Slough and the lifting into place of further sections of the new Stockley Jn flyover. At
West Ealing the Up Goods Loop No1 was taken OOU until further notice from 7 May. The new West
Ealing bay P5 was to be brought into use on 16 May according to official information, but there was
considerable work still to be done when seen on 10 May and commissioning was deferred until 5 June.
The bay is 66m long taking a 2-car DMU. (BLN 1255.751) Meanwhile, the Greenford service continues
to operate to Paddington all day, but the new GWR timetable says this may change from September.
Similarly the new EMU service between Paddington and Hayes & Harlington has not started.
Ilford bay P5 (8-cars long) was taken OOU from 15 May at 02.15 and the signalling disconnected; it
was too short for the new Crossrail trains. This also now allows P4 to be extended at the London end.
Four morning peak workings (SSux) to Liverpool St started from it, arriving ECS, they now start at Gidea
Park. The final passenger train was at 09.00 on Friday 13 May. P5 had no evening services but stabled a
unit off-peak and at weekends. The final ECS arrived at 09.38 and left at 14.12 on 13 May. With the
loss of this and all Shenfield's stabling facilities, some units will now stable at Liverpool St overnight.
ABOVE: The final 'Ilford Flyer' waits in P5 forming the 09.00 to Liverpool Street on
Friday 13 May, by the morning of 16 May P5 was blocked OOU (Iain Scotchman).
(2) GWML Signalling: Alstom has been awarded a contract for a train control system based on its
Smartlock range, which will allow ETCS-equipped Crossrail trains to operate between Reading and
Paddington. A separate contract awarded to Amey for signalling power works between Paddington
and Hayes & Harlington includes replacement of obsolete power supplies and provision of fully
resilient new supplies for the signalling equipment. This enables the system to be automatically
supplied from difference sources in the event of a power failure.
(3) Track Concreting Train: Https://goo.gl/NW2Z9E between Plumstead and Victoria Dock portals.
(4) GWML Electrification: From 27 May electrical control of the lines between Paddington and
Heathrow Airport will transfer from Romford Electrical Control Room (ECR) to Didcot ECR.
BLN 1257.996] Victoria Line Micro-Gricing: (BLN 1256.897) (The last guide (BLN 1063.690) in June
2012, was when some trains terminated all day at Seven Sisters P4.) The current WTT No39 is dated 15
May 2016. All running lines, crossovers and platforms are in passenger use all day every day except the
following, for which the booked passenger service is given. The time format is hh.mm.ss; this WTT now
times everything to the nearest five seconds! Arriving train running numbers are in [square brackets].
•Brixton & Walthamstow Central: except at the beginning and end of traffic, platforms are necessarily
•used alternately. At peak times, in every 3½ min cycle each terminus has two arrivals and two
•departures; try doing that in a single platform! Even on Sunday mornings, the cycle takes only 5 min.
•At both locations train operators step back two trains (i.e. remain on the same platform) mostly.
•Victoria crossover: NRU (no regular use booked).
•Finsbury Park, connections with Piccadilly Line: NRU - different signalling systems on the two lines.
•Warren Street/Highbury & Islington X/Os: NRU, trains depart in service when line blocked to south.
•Seven Sisters P4: those trains arriving northbound which show Seven Sisters as the destination,
•namely SSuX plenty 09.30.05  until 10.39.25 , 6 trains 18.42.20  until 19.58.35 ,
•21.23.05, 22.37.20 , many until 00.47.35 SuMX ; SO 11.05.30 , 11.59.30 ,
•12.42.20 , 13.43.05 , 14.03.20 , 18.59.20 , 19.19.10 , 19.37.05 ,
•20.28.15 , 21.13.15 , 21.29.00 , 22.34.20 , many until 00.47.35 SuO ; SuO
•08.55.55 , 10.38.20 , 11.39.15 , several up to 45min apart until 14.30.20 ,
•20.30.15 , many until 00.11.40 MO . Despite 'arrivals only' signs, there are public
•departures (to Walthamstow): SuX 05.26.00, 05.40.30; SuO 07.26.40.
•Northumberland Park depot branch: Staff (mostly Seven Sisters P4 shuttle) and ECS workings only.
997] H & C Line Micro-Gricing: (BLN 1256.895) (The last guide (BLN 1034.41) in January 2007 was
when the Circle Line was still a proper circle and before King's Cross west scissors crossovers existed.)
The current WTT No34 is dated 15 May 2016. Between Aldgate East and Hammersmith via King's Cross
and Aldgate station, all running lines, crossovers, slips and platforms are in passenger use all day every
day except the following, for which the booked passenger service is given. (The rest of the Circle and
H&C will be covered with the District Line.) Arriving train running numbers are in [square brackets].
•Aldgate: Metropolitan Line trains reverse in P2 and P3, generally alternately, as do a few others at
•start and end of traffic. Other trains use P1 (outer rail) and P4 (inner rail), except:
•P1 to inner rail via slip: SuX 05.18½.
•Liverpool Street X/O: NRU, but possibly used to turn S7 stock trains back when line blocked to east.
•Moorgate: Bay P3: SuO arr 07.09  (06.55 ex-Baker Street P3) dep 07.13½, arr 07.22½  .
•(07.08½ ex-Baker Street P3) dep 07.33½, arr 23.32½  (22.59 ex-Hammersmith) dep 23.48, .
•arr 23.52  (23.16 ex-Hammersmith) dep 00.01 MO.
•Bay P4: SuO arr 07.27½  (06.55 ex Hammersmith) dep 07.43, arr 24.00  (23.26 ex-
•Hammersmith) dep 00.10½ MO.
•Trailing X/O: Booked ECS only, may also be used to turn some trains back when line blocked to east.
• Facing X/O: All arrivals at P3 and P4.
•Farringdon crossover: ECS only.
•King's Cross St Pancras: West Facing X/O: SSuX 05.14 ; SO 05.14  (both 04.51 ex-Goldhawk
• Road). West Trailing X/O: Booked ECS only, and to turn trains back when line blocked to east.
•Baker Street X/O: Booked ECS only, but also used to turn trains back when line blocked to west.
•Edgware Road: Trains turning back east to west do so in P2 (Circle Line) and P3 (District Line), with
`.one or two swaps at start and end of traffic. Other trains use P1 eastbound or P4 westbound, except:
P2 to east: SuMX 00.33½; SuO 00.36, 06.37; MO 00.08.
P3 from east: SSuX 05.14 ; SuMX 00.38 ; SO 05.14 ; SuO 00.43 , 00.51 ,
.00.58 , 07.06½ .
= P3 to east: Booked ECS only, but also used to turn trains back when line blocked to west.
•Paddington new X/O: NRU pending resignalling (BLN 1255.798).
•Royal Oak X/O: NRU, but used to turn trains back when line blocked to east.
BLN 1257.998] British Museum: The reversing siding at this
disused station (CP 24 Sep 1933) on the Central Line between
Holborn and Tottenham Court Road was to be decommissioned
after service on 20 May.
999] Paddington: (BLN 1246.2195) The new booking office
opened on 17 April. From 16 May P13 was to be shortened by
59m to an operational length of 93m, accommodating a 3-car unit.
Also P14 was to be extended by 28m to an operational length of
171m for a 6-car unit.
1000] Cricklewood: The long OOU but intact Reception Line on the Down side opposite the stabling
sidings (marked 'Reception (Linger) OOU' on the latest TRACKmaps 4 p1L, Aug 2013) is to be returned
to use. The exact layout is not yet known but access will be via a set-back move from the Down
Hendon Line. Around Brent Curve Jn, 20 years of tree growth have now been removed. The Waste
Transfer Station currently located behind the stabling sidings will be relocated here and other freight
facilities may be provided. This is part of the Brent Cross Cricklewood Regeneration Area scheme.
1001] Lea Bridge: (BLN 1255.881) the first Down and Up trains to stop at Lea Bridge (LBR) for 31 years,
were EMUs 317672 and 317669 on the stations reopening during the evening of Sunday 15 May. It has
cost £11M with 5M from Waltham Forest Council; 'about' 352,000 passengers are expected each year.
ABOVE LEFT: A banner outside Lea Bridge station (there was only one - no banner repeater here!).
ABOVE RIGHT: The rather austere footbridge, it is a colour picture! (Both Stuart Hicks 17 May 2016).
BELOW: Lea Bridge 17 May; the Abelio Greater Anglia 18.17 Stratford to Hertford East (Iain Scotchman).
1257 NORTH WEST
1002] Dalesrail: The trains are still running (SuO) 15 May to 11 Sept 2016 (incl), (please support and
publicise) despite the S&C closure. Repair work cannot even start until the embankment slip stops
moving. Opening of the line was similarly delayed by two years during the 1870s. As usual, the trains
start at Blackpool North (08.32/21.29) calling at main stations to Preston (09.00/21.01) and Blackburn
(09.27/20.40) then all stations except Long Preston to Appleby (11.35/18.40) with a bus via stations to
Carlisle (13.05/17.30). Special cheap day returns and Northern Duo fares (two adults, railcard not
needed) are available and a programme of walks etc http://goo.gl/PGQccx 01254 386579. This year
Dalesrail tickets are 'day rovers' on Northern services between the extremities of their validity. They
take the Clitheroe to Hellifield line which unusually has timetabled passenger trains SuO throughout
the year. Its normal service, 08.09 Blackpool North to Hellifield (09.32/10.30) to Preston (11.47/ 13.19)
to Hellifield (14.27/14.55) to Blackpool North (16.32) all SuO, does not run on the Dalesrail dates.
1003] Preston - Bolton: The line closes all weekends from 18 June to 2 Oct and some weekdays, after
21.00 for electrification work, mainly track lowering. Manchester to Preston trains divert via Wigan
NW. At Chorley both platforms will be rebuilt (the speed restriction is currently 50mph but most trains
stop). Between 21 May and 20 June a temporary Down P1 is due to be built on the Bolton side for use
during the work (cue visit from members who do platforms) but P2 can be worked on in stages
without a needing temporary platform one. The two subways roofs inside and next to the station will
be replaced. Electric trains are due to start at the end of next year. A bridge at Blackrod reopening four
months late delayed the scheme.
1004] Leyland: (BLN 1248.58) Blackburn King Street and/or Wigan Springs Branch will not be used for
stabling and servicing Northern DMUs during the forthcoming closure of the Blackpool North line. This
will be for major modernisation including track remodelling, resignalling and electrification works;
bridge clearance work is already complete. NR has recently submitted detailed proposals to South
Ribble Council for a temporary depot at Lancashire Business Park, already connected to the WCML
north of Leyland (18m 63ch). Plans include stabling sidings, accommodation for workers and fuelling
facilities. It is still hoped to electrify the line by May 2018 and have through trains running to London.
1005] Rochdale: (BLN 1256.903) From 9 May the Down Main and Up Main lines between Moston and
Smithy Bridge were renamed the Down Rochdale and Up Rochdale lines respectively. Rochdale West
signal box (8m 57ch) code is 'TH' for 'Thorpes Bridge Jn' to 'Hall Royd Jn'; changed a few years ago. It
controls less than three miles from just north of Smithy Bridge (fringing Preston PSB) to just south of
Rochdale (fringing Castleton East). Opened 30 Aug 2011 it is opposite Castleton East signal box (and
they signal to each other!) because NR could not find a more suitable location to replace the original
Rochdale signal box, which was in the way of Metrolink. It was to replace Castleton East box ending
semaphores in the area, but has not. The new box is 'temporary', until resignalling to Manchester ROC.
BELOW: Signal box contrast, left Rochdale West and right Castleton East (Angus McDougall 6 Nov 2011).
1006] Oxenholme: (BLN 1256.909) From 16 May the Down Main line points, the south connection to
the new Down Windermere line (ex-Down Goods Loop), were renewed 5m further south towards
Preston. New facing points in the Down main line at 18m 45ch were also to be installed. Both are OOU.
1007] Manchester: Newly rediscovered plans and a big hole under the Arndale Centre reveal the sad
story of an underground railway which remined a wonderful dream. The hole was almost certainly
designed as a pedestrian link from the Arndale Centre to a proposed 2.3 mile Picc-Vic tube line
connecting Piccadilly and Victoria stations. In 1972 (BLN 194.p11) the city council was given
Parliamentary powers to start building work in September 1973 with completion targeted for five
years. Artists' impressions of the new world beneath the city's streets include a train gliding into a
station. BELOW: The Picc-Vic Tunnel proposed in the early 1970s is dashed orange, 'Passenger
Conveyors' (or Travelators) are orange dotted and conventional railways are black and white dashed.
There would have been three new stations, at Central Library, Whitworth Street and the junction of
Market and Cross Streets; the latter linked to the void. Moving pavements and escalators were
planned, connecting the system with Piccadilly Gardens, Oxford Road station and St Peter's Square. It
would have cost £9.3M at January 1973 prices (£111M now) to build the twin 18ft tunnels for trains
running every 2½ minutes in the central zone and every 10 minutes outside. However, the
infrastructure grant application was turned down in August 1973 by John Peyton, then the Minister for
transport industries due to an announced £500M reduction in public expenditure at the time. There
was another problem that a fleet of new EMUs (replacing DMUs) would be needed for the tunnels. The
scheme was postponed to 1975!
It was also the time of a dispute with the miners causing power rationing and the three-day week
which killed off the scheme, originally proposed in 1839. The Picc-Vic tunnel would have formed the
centrepiece of a new electrified rail network for the region. Recently found engineering plans and
architectural drawings reveal how Manchester just missed out on having its own mini tube system.
1008] Liverpool: The 'North Western' Wetherspoons (formerly the Head of Steam) at Lime Street
station occupies some of the lower floors of the LNWR's former North Western Hotel. Included in the
photos in this Liverpool Echo article http://goo.gl/zS7YHe is one showing a tiled railway map, but it is
the L&Y! The map appears to be very similar to the one at Manchester Victoria. There was such a map
in the concourse at Liverpool Exchange station, but our local correspondent does not know what
happened to it when the Exchange frontage was rebuilt to form the front of an office block. It seems
likely that the one now at Lime Street is the one from Exchange, taken apart and reassembled.
1257 NORTH EAST
1009] Weardale: (BLN 1255.804) Your Regional Editor has fond memories of an August 1968 brake van
trip departing at 09.15 from Shildon Yard, which still existed in those days. The train consisted of coal
and cement wagons. The coal was destined for Bishop Auckland Tenters Street depot (CA 8 Aug
1977). This south facing branch from Bishop Auckland North Signal Box was the truncated remnant of
the original Durham line (OG 19 Aug 1856; OP 1 Apr 1857). It ran to the east of the later line which
opened 21 Dec 1867, only 10 years later. Serving Tenters Street meant that the train ran to Eastgate
cement works via the Bishop Auckland North to West curve, an unexpected bonus. Bishop Auckland
was one of a handful of triangular stations in this country, with platforms on each curve. A further
bonus was provided when the driver alighted to open the gates at the second crew operated crossing,
saying 'You take her through'. Your Regional Editor eased off the brake and then discovered that the
throttle was much stiffer than he had anticipated, resulting in the train starting to move backwards! As
the train had already passed through one crossing not very far back, he applied the brake to avoid the
brake van hitting the gates, no doubt giving the guard a somewhat jerky ride. He finally managed to
apply power as the driver swung himself back into the cab, delivering a lecture on hill starts as he did!
1010] Stanhope & Tyne Railway (S&TR): (BLN 1256.867) Your Regional Editor queries the assertion
that the Leadhills & Wanlockhead Light Railway in Scotland at 1,498ft was the highest standard gauge
(and highest adhesion worked) railway in the British Isles. It can fairly claim to be the highest such
public railway. The S&TR crossed a summit at 1,474ft (the highest point on BR in England) en route
from Waskerley, southwest of Consett, to Parkhead (NZ003431); the latter renamed Blanchland by
the LNER. The Rookhope branch, opened in 1846 by the Weardale Iron Company, diverged to the west
at Parkhead and climbed gradually along the southern flank of Horseshoe Hill, curving round from a
westerly to a southerly direction, before crossing the flank of Bolt's Law in a shallow cutting at some
1,670ft. A passenger service was even provided on this line for the benefit of miners but one imagines
that no enthusiast ever penetrated here before it ceased. To trump that, your Editor reminds readers
of the standard gauge 5 mile Rattlebrook Tramway or Bridestowe Peat Railway (BLN 1221.1683) on
Dartmoor. It climbed 1,000ft from Bridestowe station to Bleak Hill (1,800ft), was adhesion worked
and had no public passenger service unlike Wanlockhead.
1011] Lackenby: As well as Scunthorpe (BLN1256.890) Tata Steel Long Products Europe includes the
Teesside Beam Mill at Lackenby, the Special Profiles facility at Skinningrove and a processing site at
Darlington, employing around 700 people between them. These have been supplied with steel from
Scunthorpe since about 2003, when Corus hived off all of its other Teesside activities into a separate
subsidiary called Teesside Cast Products. Teesside Beam Mill rolls continuously cast slabs and blooms
from Scunthorpe, Skinningrove rolls blooms from Scunthorpe and Darlington is a smaller plant. At first
sight, it may seem odd that a small and remote plant such as Skinningrove (on the cliff tops along the
Boulby branch) should survive. However, the clue lies in the name: the output from the rolling mill is
very specialised, some of the special profiles being specific to one customer. Hartlepool Pipe Mill is
not in the Long Products division and is supplied with coil plate from Port Talbot Strip Mill.
1257 SOUTH EAST – NORTH (& EAST ANGLIA)
1012] Oxford: (BLN 1255.589) The renumbering of platforms at Oxford has been confirmed, taking
effect from 00.01 on 15 May though the old numbers carried on until the end of the service of 14 May.
This is presumably because the plates will be changed after the last train has gone, avoiding confusion
to passengers, but making the time of the change academic. The Oxford Mail, in an upbeat report,
claims public Marylebone services start on Mon 12 Dec 2016 with a 'staff familiarisation' running day
the day before. The report confirms the two parcels vans were scrapped on site, instead of a planned
donation to the West Somerset Heritage Centre. By 10 May, the roof in this area and most of its
supports had been demolished. The delay in starting work is blamed on the slow planning process. By
Fri 13 May former Bay P3 (now P2) was completely OOU with orange fencing across and a rail road
vehicle on it. Booked trains will have to use the through platforms which could be interesting at times.
1013] Brandon: Failures of road vehicle and pedestrian detection equipment at the Brandon level
crossing have led to it being described in the local press as the worst performing of its type in East
Anglia. NR has already made improvements to the system and reduced the number of failures.
1014] Clacton branch: At Hythe the bare, two-platformed, unstaffed station has only minimalist
shelters on both platforms, and a ticket machine on the Up side. Two very overgrown sidings remain in
what is left of the disused goods yard. Wivenhoe is a staffed station with main buildings, incorporating
the station house, on the Up side. The ticket office is even open in the early evening. Only a basic
1960s style brick shelter is provided for passengers on the Down side. In the station yard (Up side) is
an ivy-clad, closed up red brick building which appears to be the goods yard offices, the yard itself
being built on. The station name was originally spelt 'Wyvenhoe', and later 'Wivenhoe for Rowhedge'.
The latter was some creative GER geography, Rowhedge being reached only by a tidal ferry to the
opposite side of the River Colne. The ferry survived into the 1980s at least, but is thought to have
finally ceased after someone stole the motorboat engine.
1015] Sudbury branch: At Bures the single platform station has a vintage wooden shelter of, almost
certainly, GER origin which appears to be very well looked after by a local group of 'station volunteers',
who may be responsible for the station's flowerbed and other floral displays. The shelter has a replica
BR (ER) dark blue totem nameboard. In the flowerbed was a GER lower quadrant Mackenzie & Holland
shunting (miniature) signal, fully restored. Though not alighting at Chappel and Wakes Colne, our
member noted the EARM's two superbly restored GER coaches, used when they run train services.
They are GER No19 4-compartment 1st class 4-wheeler of 1878 and 6-wheel full brake No553 of 1890.
1016] Shenfield: (BLN 1255.816) The construction of P6 has been ongoing for the last year. The various
connections on the Down side at both ends of the station were taken OOU on 28 March, the main
alteration being, as already reported, the loss of the 'Chelmsford Loop' which is making way for
Crossrail ECS sidings. It will be replaced by new connections probably on the north side of the
Southend Loop which takes the diveunder to Mountnessing Jn on the line to Billericay (requiring
significant earthworks.) Timing is ongoing and no major re-modelling is planned before Christmas and
New Year 2016/17 when the new layout including P6 is supposed to be commissioned.
1017] Banbury: (BLN 1256.918) The Up Neck was to be reduced in length by 300m from 20 May until 8
August with Stop sign at 85m 64ch. The length of the Up Neck will then be 185m.
ABOVE: A future Chiltern Tracker target maybe? The site of the new Chiltern Railways Banbury Depot
in late April; despite appearances the two pictures are not contiguous. This is south of the station on
the Down side, the running lines are off the picture to the left. ABOVE RIGHT: Brickwork remains from
the excavated former steam shed foundations (BLN 1256.918). (Paul Green with official access.)
1018] Oxford - Kingham: (BLN 1255.817) With the help of a car and using the morning train it is easy
to cover the 'Halts' in the same day (but not in one evening as noted). Using a Cotswold Discoverer
ticket last summer, a member visited every station between Oxford and Worcester in a day and (again
with the help of the car) made a return trip from Ashchurch to Gloucester. He drove to Shipton (six
joiners) for the early service to Ascott (outside the Discoverer validity) where two joined and not
surprisingly he was the only leaver, then walking back to Shipton. Later parking up on the southeastern
corner of Charlbury to continue his travels, before walking from Hanborough to Combe for the
evening service to Finstock then walking back to the car. Leaving the car on the edge of Charlbury
breaks up the lengthy walk in to two halves! A few people alighted at Combe and Finstock but where
they went to is not clear. There is no car parking (not even road side areas) and they are about a mile
from their respective villages via unlit country lanes with no footpaths; it is amazing they see any use.
Combe station is actually closer to Long Hanborough village centre than Hanborough station, although
the latter is of course on the main road with a 50 space car park. After the 2011 partial redoubling an
HST from Paddington to Hereford called at all stations, Oxford to Hereford, for a few days until the
signalling was fully sorted out. Ascott-under-Wychwood is here abbreviated to Ascott, but it is
interesting that Shipton village appears on OS maps as Shipton under Wychwood (no hyphens) and the
station was at one time 'Shipton for Burford'. There are also other Shiptons in Gloucestershire.
BLN 1257.1019] Reading - Didcot: (BLN 1252.471) Reportedly electrification may go live in late May
but as seen on 1 May there was a fair bit of work to be done, particularly on the electric feeder sub-
stations. There were wires (above all four tracks) from just west of Tilehurst through Pangbourne to
approaching the Thames bridge, then a stretch west of Goring cuttings (towards the other Thames
bridge where masts have only recently been erected), and more west of Cholsey farm bridge towards
Moreton Cutting. Between Scours Lane and Moreton cutting masts, spans and droppers were largely
in position, but east of Scours Lane there were only some masts on the flyover but with spans largely
in place elsewhere. There were no sign of droppers in this area. Likewise most masts and spans and
some droppers were in position west of Moreton Cutting through Didcot station.
1020] Up Sundon Loop: (BLN 1240.1570) This was taken by UKRT's Midland & Great Central (EMT) HST
tour on its return to London St Pancras on the evening of 7 May; believed to be the first passenger use
of the line. There was no obvious operational reason for this (e.g. other trains or track possessions).
'The Leicestershire Bell' with the preserved 'Hastings' unit originally booked to use the loop on 19 Sep
2015 ran Up Fast. The 1m 6ch long loop was commissioned on 9 Aug 2015; the first 500m is electrified
to stable an EMU if necessary. Its purpose is to keep heavy southbound stone trains on the move while
they are overtaken by passenger services. A flashing yellow signal ahead of the 'feathers' shows the
driver that their route has been set for the loop. The HST later took the reversible single track Hendon
Chord and Up Hendon to West Hampstead North Jn; 18 minutes for the last 3 miles, as booked.
1257 WEST MIDLANDS
1021] Kenilworth: Warwickshire County Council has awarded Graham Construction a £6M design and
build contract for the £11M new station which will take the project through the NR GRIP 5-8 stages. It
is expected to open in spring 2017, following work by NR to upgrade signalling and re-lay track.
BELOW: Great Malvern on the evening of Sat 14 May. Friday evening's Immingham to Llanwern steel
train heading west through Great Malvern station, It caught local members by surprise as was
scheduled as a 'light engine' but a 2,000 tonne loaded steel train turned up! It is thought to be the first
'proper' freight train on the line for 14 years. The train had been diverted from Water Orton to Bescot
Yard due to its normal route being blocked by a serious bridge strike at Abbotswood (extensively
covered in the railway and general media). Above the rear of the locomotive is the former Imperial
(railway) Hotel. The raised platform bed (to the right) is on the site of the west end bay for ex-Midland
Railway services to Ashchurch via Upton-on-Severn and Tewkesbury which CP this end on 1 Dec 1952.
[BLN 1257] ABOVE: Shortly afterwards, the train passed Malvern Wells Down Good Loop (to the right).
BOTTOM: In the opposite direction heading towards Hereford; Malvern Wells signal box is left and
the OOU Engineers' Siding (to be removed) is on the right. (All three David Guy who has a fast car!)
1022] Malvern Wells - Ledbury: Between June and August as part of the local 'signalling life extension
programme' the now unique ex-GWR Lock & Block between these boxes is being modernised with WR
Tokenless Block! The latter has been used between Ledbury and Shelwick Jn since the line was singled
in 1986. Lock & Block is a modified form of Tokenless Block with bell telegraph communication. This
method of operation and equipment was originally used just for the two (always) single line tunnels, at
Ledbury and under the Malvern Hills between the former Colwall signal box to Malvern Wells box.
BR singled this section from 1 Oct 1967, creating one long single-track section between Malvern Wells
and Ledbury as now. It has special rotary block signalling instruments with exit track treadles (that
releases the Lock and Block) each end to ensure they are not cleared prematurely. Therefore the
signals cannot be cleared in the other direction until the train has passed; a form of train detection.
There are only four instruments still in existence, apart from at Malvern Wells and Ledbury signal
boxes, one is at the National Railway Museum and the other is used for spares (now a major problem).
There would have been instruments in Colwall and Ledbury North End boxes (the other ends of the
tunnels) and either end of the Quakers Yard tunnels on the Vale of Neath Line at least.
ABOVE: There have been a series of route learning specials between Worcester and Hereford recently,
(up to four trips daily), using 67014 starting from Bescot. This is for freight diversions during
forthcoming engineering work closures. Freight is expected 6 to 10 Aug, during the Severn Tunnel
closure (12 Sep to 21 Oct) and during the autumn Bromsgrove blockade. On 6 May the loco heads west
on the single line from Colwall for Hereford with the Malvern Hills in the background. © Phil Blann.
1023] Malvern Wells: With the above, the engineers siding will be removed and the life-expired
trailing crossover replaced and moved closer to Great Malvern station about halfway along the Down
Goods Loop which will become a turn back facility. The few ECS trains that recess in the loop (never
thought to have been railtoured) will still need to shunt via Malvern Wells to return to Great Malvern;
four are booked SSuX, three SO and one SuO. There are associated (semaphore!) signalling alterations.
1024] Newland East: Due to the above works there will be occasions when the line is closed west of
Great Malvern station (even to ECS workings). This results in single line working between Newland East
signal box (where the significantly reduced service is booked to stop for a pilotman) and Great Malvern
P2. Between Malvern Link and Worcester the very rare trailing crossover at Newland East will be used
in service, (local opinion is that this last happened in 1962 for planned work!). Dates so far booked are
18-22 and 25/26 June also 2, 3, 10 & 17 July. There are other Worcester area line summer closures for
work. The first closure unfortunately coincides with the 'Three Counties Show' (with a free bus shuttle
from Great Malvern) and others are Worcester Race Days when trains are much busier than usual!
LEFT: Looking east through
the unusual 'porthole' in
Ledbury station footbridge
(there is a matching one on
the 'starboard' side of the
bridge too). These line up
to enable the signalman to
see the Down starting
signal from his box (seen
on the right), which would
otherwise be obstructed by
the bridge. Left is 67014
with another route learner
awaiting a path through
Ledbury Tunnel ahead to
Colwall. Right is 160516 on
the 08.21 train from
London Paddington to
Hereford (11.41) which
used to be a HST. At this
point in its journey a single
coach Class 153 would be
more than adequate.
1025] Hereford: Two new single aspect LED 'conventional' (rather than modern plastic 'plug in') full
signals have been installed at the north end of the island P1 & 2, covered over. When commissioned
with associated changes, they will enable LM Birmingham and GWR Paddington services to turn back
in P1 or 2 which will be much quicker than at present. Trains currently have to shunt to P3, the single
through Up platform (or occasioanlly bay P4). The installation of lifts has provided level access to the
platform. After departing north, these trains will cross from Down to Up main by the currently rare
trailing crossover north of the station. It has been reported that the little used bay P4 is to close (it can
only take a 3 car DMU, is awkward to shunt and only available in service for departures). The 20.00 SO
to Birmingham New Street is the only booked train but reliably uses the bay subject to trains being
punctual at the time. The reversing siding south of the station 'Diesel Siding 1' will be much less used,
if at all, but might be retained for stabling.
1257 SOUTH EAST – SOUTH & 1257 SOUTH WEST: no contributions were received.
1257 YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE
1026] Tinsley: From 16 May at (2m 61ch) in the single track 'Down & Up Tinsley' line between Tinsley
South Jn and Tinsley East Jn, a new set of points was to be 'introduced into the signalling system' (what
a quaint expression!); initially OOU. This is part of the Sheffield to Rotherham Tram Train project.
1027] Mallow: There have been track and signalling changes with temporary closure of the Down
Siding and the Fermoy Bay (it is not clear if this is temporary or permanent) to facilitate other works.
On 19 April in preparation for works to renew points at Mallow, the route into the Down Siding was
taken OOU and the Down Siding closed until reinstatement of the points on 24 April. The points from
the Dublin end of No3 Platform line to the Up Main Line were to be moved 3m closer to Dublin.
1028] Grand Canal Dock: (BLN 1251.402) Further points were to be installed on the Pearse side of the
station between 22 April and 3 June for commissioning between 3 and 6 June.
1029] Claremorris: Work was completed on 29 April on the Down side to provide three trailing sidings
with a single crossover* into the running line just on the Castlerea side of the station. Number 1 is
closest to the running line and 3 has a back shunt into the turntable siding (No4). They are named:
Tuam line (1), Ballinrobe (2 & 3) and turntable (4). (*There used to be a second exit further west.)
1030] Belfast Hub: (BLN 1255.841) Cast iron columns and arches salvaged from Belfast's first railway
station have been uncovered during demolition work. They were found inside a large warehouse on
Grosvenor Road in the city centre and are believed to be from the Great Northern Railway terminus at
Great Victoria Street demolished in 1976. Translink are donating them to the Downpatrick & Co Down
Railway which will recreate a Victorian-style train shed. The D&CDR originally made contact to check if
there was anything of historical interest worth salvaging expecting there would not be.
1257 ISLE OF MAN
1031] Douglas Horse Tramway: (BLN 1256.944) This is operating over its full normal length, possibly
for the final year. On 12 May the Manx Electric Railway Society issued a press release, summarised:
➤ The IOM Department of Infrastructure is operating the tramway for one season only after Douglas
Borough Council refused to, but has now applied for planning permission for a road scheme that
involves ripping up the horse tram track for good (or for bad?).
➤No figures are provided about the value (or otherwise) of the tram to the Manx economy; figures
are provided for the IOMR, MER & Snaefell Mountain Railway showing net contributions of millions of
pounds after deducting operating costs. Therefore, this is likely to be the case for the horse tramway.
➤ The scheme is within a Conservation Area, removing one of its major features without debate.
➤ The tramway would be curtailed to Villa Marina, losing interchange with the Manx Electric Railway.
➤ The scheme breaks the vintage transport link that, with a short walk, connects Port Erin to Ramsey.
➤ Modern traffic calming measures would not be needed if the tramway was to remain.
➤ The scheme would reduce the viability of the remaining section and make it more likely to close.
Further information and an objection template to the planning application: https://goo.gl/1WJhcN
Meanwhile it is hoped, by various means, to reduce the tramway losses this year from £200k to £50k.
1032] North East Scotland: A Nestrans (transport body) report looking at environmental, economic,
and social impacts, says that new dual carriageways to Peterhead and Fraserburgh are unlikely to
attract enough funding to be cost-effective and the only new rail line worth opening is a re-instated
Dyce to Ellon line, which should be explored further. This reopening was recommended by the Scottish
Association for public transport last December. The consultants also said a new rail route from Ellon to
Aberdeen through the Bridge of Don and any new rail services north of Ellon should be ruled out.
1033] Stirling: On 4 & 9 May the 08.22 Glasgow Queen St to Dundee DMU ran via Stirling P9 where the
rear three vehicles were detached. On departure, it took the crossover to P6, then the Connection of
Strategic Importance from the Alloa (Down Kincardine) to Perth line and the crossover to the Down
Main. The 10.22 Glasgow Queen St to Perth was shown via Stirling P6 but was routed via P2 (Down
Main). Even if it had run to P6 it would not have done the crossover each end of the move north.
BLN 1257.1034] Perth: On 5 & 10 May the 10.22 Glasgow Queen St to Perth was shown to terminate
in bay P6. However, on the approach to Perth it took St Leonards Jn crossovers (150m 79ch) to
terminate in P3, running right up to the buffer stops. 'Realtime Trains' showed P6 in error. The driver
confirmed that this train regularly did this (returning at 13.47). The barrier staff confirmed that P3 Is
usualfor this service, and that bays P5 and P6 are used for Edinburgh services except for one later on.
1035] Fort William: Believed to be the first Class 73 to reach here, 73966 arrived on the back of the
sleeper on 2 May for crew training on use of the couplings. (BELOW: Picture by Nick Jones)
1036] Elgin: A new footbridge allowing full access is being constructed here.
1037] Muir of Ord: A new £3.3M replacement A682 road bridge over the railway is being built at the
station. Since 2003, the bridge has been restricted to a single carriageway, controlled by traffic lights.
1038] Infrastructure: The following is a current summary of some Scottish infrastructure restrictions:
Aberdeen Ferryhill: Loco Depot and turntable OOU.
Beattock: Up Siding No1 OOU.
Bilston Glen branch: OOU due to vegetation, mothballed 5 Jun 1989 (BLN 1185.763 & 1224.24).
Blackford: (BLN 1255.787) Up sidings OOU, defective point.
Blair Atholl: Down sidings OOU; may become permanent.
Bridgeton Yard: OOU due to vegetation
Cadder Down yard: Used only for Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP) works.
Carstairs: No2 siding OOU following a derailment.
Craigo Signal Box: Permanently switched out, to be abandoned. (Laurencekirk - Montrose)
Dunkeld: No1 siding temporally OOU.
Fairlie High: Ground frame (38m 72ch) OOU (DBC formerly DBS).
Ayr, Falkland Yard: No.1 reception loop OOU (DBC).
Greenloaning: Down loop OOU. Signal box is to be abandoned (normally switched out).
Huntly: Sidings not fully operational.
Hurlford: Signal box permanently switched out (south of Kilmarnock on the Carlisle line).
Inverkeithing Yard: Closed due to not being maintained.
Inverurie: Up sidings OOU. Down siding No1 to be reinstated.
Keith: Goods sidings OOU.
Larbert North: Up goods loop OOU pending EGIP remodelling.
1039] Saundersfoot Railway: (BLN1256.948) Concluding our exploration, the route can be picked up
again in New Road, Begelly (SN117070). The southern bridge abutment is in situ, and numerous stone
block sleepers edge the pavement and the steep path up to the embankment, which can be walked for
a hundred yards or so until it is obstructed by the travellers' camp. Northward on New Road, a path
avoids a house built on the trackbed, which can be rejoined by a short scramble and then followed as a
good path to a lane west of Thomas Chapel (SN103084). The end of the incline down from Broom
Colliery can be seen across private land (SN108079). North of the lane (SN103084) the trackbed is
much less obvious, but can be followed on a rough path to the spoil heap and fenced-off shaft of
Thomas Chapel Colliery (SN104088). The Reynalton Colliery branch, although shown on large scale OS
maps and visible on Google Earth, is much less obvious on the ground, and is also on private property
X.65] ABOVE: (BLN 1255.755) Blaenavon High Level (CP 1941), on 6 May 1962, (Angus McDougall).
1040] Severn Tunnel: From 15 May, overhead line equipment test beams were to be in place at the
crown of the tunnel at 13m 37ch and 14m 34ch. The stovepipe (long bar) sits over the 6 foot, with the
insulator and beam above the Down line. The beams are not live, and will be replaced with the
permanent conductor rail through the tunnel in the September/October electrification blockade.
1041] South Wales Main Line: Although Station Terrace survives, there is no longer any trace of Ely
(main line) station. A small park occupies the site of St Fagans station, on the Up side just east of the
level crossing, but a public footpath on the Down side, alongside the Ely River, offers views of some
surviving buildings, actually outside the modern prison-style NR fence. At Peterston, there are remains
of a loading platform in the goods yard, but no traces of the passenger station. A row of houses at the
end of Station Terrace here appear to be in the style of the Barry Railway, which is odd given that the
station was GWR; perhaps these could have been for staff working in nearby Drope exchange sidings?
1042] Tondu - Margam Abbey Works East Jn: (BLN 1256.949) This 7½ mile line (to be 'mothballed')
was very rusty on 14 May, weeds almost hid the track and vegetation encroached from both sides; The
Garw (reversing) Loops are similar. HSTs between Bridgend and Port Talbot were diverted via Tondu
last in January 1997. The most recent railtour was Pathfinder's 'Taffy Tug 2' on 24 Aug 2014; diverted
freight was last known to have run on 11 & 18 Jan 2015. Back in May 2016, the reversible Llyfi Goods
Loop is weed free but very rusty. At Maesteg the end of line is also rusty (Pathfinder's 'Taffy Tug 2' also
reached the buffer stops) as service trains stop short. The station is before the original one (CP 1970).
1043] A Trip to Wales in 1962, by Angus
McDougall: In the summer of 1962 I made
a circular tour by train in North, West, Mid
and South Wales, covering many lines
which were to close in the next two or
three years. Even though the Beeching
Report was not to be published until 27
Mar 1963, information available suggested
the threat to these lines was clear before
then. One of the changes made by the
1962 Transport Act, which did not attract
particular attention at the time (and nor
has it since), was that closures of stations
and lines to freight traffic no longer
needed the same procedure as passenger
closures; all that was thenceforth required
was the publication in a newspaper of the names of goods
stations to be closed within the next month. Before that a
process of public enquiry had been needed for all closures.
RIGHT: My rover ticket which folded in half (above the
outside, below the inside). Costing £5 Guineas (£5.25p) it
is the equivalent to £101 now, just £14.50 per day.
Just a year before I had returned from a two year stay in
the United States and was anxious to catch up, so to
speak, on my coverage of BR branch lines. When planning
my trip as a matter of course I had obtained the summer
Western Region timetable (price one shilling), but I had
also acquired the supplement to that timetable which had
removed a lot of local and branch line trains. However, I
seem to have been somewhat paranoid about this process,
since I evidently wrote to Paddington on 13 July asking
about further reduction of services in the Cardiff area and
received a helpful typed letter in response giving some
additional changes. Some of the lines I intended to visit
now had quite sparse services on some days.
Shortly before I left for the US in 1959 I had made a circular tour trip around Wales and had 'done'
Treherbert - Cymmer Afan - Briton Ferry, and Neath - Pontypool Road, Newport - Bargoed - Talyllyn
Junction - Three Cocks Junction - Moat Lane - Welshpool - Oswestry as well as Neath to Brecon.
BELOW: The lower terminus of the Great Orme Tramway (known as 'Victoria Tram Station') at
Llandudno. It claims to be the 'only cable hauled tramway in Great Britain'. (Press Release).
Monday 13 August 1962: I was at the time spending some time at my Mother's house, and it was from
the nearest station, Nottingham Midland, that my trip started on Monday 13 Aug 1962. The first three
journeys (Nottingham - Derby; Derby - Crewe, and from Crewe along the North Wales coast) were all
by what would now be referred to as 'Heritage' diesel multiple units. Although the first section of the
coast line was not new to me, I was keen to look out for the branch to Holywell Town from Holywell
Junction, which had, until its final closure on 11 Aug 1957, climbed steeply towards the coast before
crossing the main line by a high bridge. I also felt it would be nice to spot the eccentrically named
Muspratts Sidings signal box where the four track section from Chester became double; I don't know
if I did! All was uneventful until we neared Prestatyn on our high speed run on the 11.12 from Crewe.
Then it was clear that one of the engines (under the floor of the coach I was in) was on fire.
Consequently, when we stopped at Prestatyn, we were all told to get off. Rather fortunately a
stopping train drew into the station almost immediately (that part of the North Wales Coast main line
was still four tracked at that time), and we were able to board it, and travel as far as Rhyl, where it
terminated. This train comprised a rake of non-corridor coaches hauled by Stanier 2-6-4T No42482.
Rhyl was at that time a rather grand station with several well-equipped platforms, controlled as until
recently by the massive LNWR No1 and No2 signal boxes. The 12.49 Rhyl to Llandudno was also a
steam train, this time hauled by 'Jubilee' 4-6-0 No45558 (Manitoba), and it had originated at
Manchester Exchange. In the 25 minutes I had at Llandudno, there was no opportunity on this visit to
look for the Great Orme tramway, but in any case I believe that I had already ridden on it some years
before on a coach trip from Nottingham which also went to the Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Electric
Railway. This rather grandly named enterprise was actually largely a 3ft 6in gauge street tramway and
we made a special journey over it in an open toast-rack car, and also explored the depot. The
tramway, which climbed over the Little Orme on a private right of way, had of course long gone by
1962. It had closed 24 Mar 1956 and even the replacement buses had been superseded by Crosville.
BELOW: Llandudno & Colwyn Bay Electric Railway open toast-track tram crossing Colywyn Bay railway,
31 July 1955, note the old style road sign for a school of the left (a torch, in the mid 1950s this was
changing to a silhouette of 'JANETT and John' style children crossing a road) also the large number of
railway telegraph wires on the poles. (All pictures by Angus McDougall unless otherwise specified).
ABOVE: Route of the Llandudno & Colwyn Bay Electric Railway (https://goo.gl/qjHfl4).
(Andrewrabbott (Own work) CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.)
My next move was a trip on the 2.00pm to Blaenau Ffestiniog North, using of course the same route
as far as Llandudno Junction and then by the Conway (now Conwy) valley line. At that time the
Festiniog Railway itself did not run to Blaenau, and indeed it seemed likely that it never would again,
since the trackbed had been blocked in the vicinity of Moelwyn Tunnel by construction of a reservoir
in connection with the Ffestiniog Power Station pumped storage electricity supply scheme. I think that
extremely decrepit track was just about visible from the LMS 1930s style Blaenau Ffestiniog North
station and one of the original FR 0-4-0 locomotives was plinthed outside by the road. I had never
been here before and was suitably impressed by the high piles of slate and other remnants of the local
industry. I had insufficient time (six minutes) to look for the ex-GWR Blaenau Ffestiniog Central station
(then still open to freight, but having closed to passengers on 4 January 1960).
Travel both ways was in the same 'Derby Lightweight' 4-car diesel multiple unit, and one interesting
feature of the journey was the use of the Webb-Thompson electric train staff for the working of the
single line sections; these staffs were about 18in long and perhaps 2in or so in diameter, with various
rings to engage correctly in the machines used. My return train was at 3.40 and I alighted at the
Junction and was taken forward by 'Royal Scot' 4-6-0 No46150 (The Life Guardsman) on the 5.02 for
Holyhead as far as Bangor. For the first time I found the frustration of the tubular bridge at Conway (as
it was then spelt) preventing me from viewing the estuary, but I was able to note the way in which the
railway cut through the castle walls. Just east of Bethesda Junction, on the outskirts of Bangor, we
crossed the 1ft 10¾in gauge Penrhyn Railway, running from the slate quarries in the Bethesda area
down to the sea at Port Penrhyn, which was also served by a standard gauge branch.
At Bangor I boarded the 5.39pm train for Pwllheli, which was hauled by a Fairburn 2-6-4T, No42282.
Our route was along the main line as far as Menai Bridge, where it then curved off towards Holyhead
over - or rather through - the Britannia Tubular Bridge, still in its original condition before the
disastrous fire that enabled its conversion to the present combined road-rail bridge. This cut off
Anglesey from the rest of BR from 23 May 1970 to 30 Jan 1972. During this period I believe at least one
diesel locomotive was taken to Holyhead by boat from Barrow. The fire was supposedly caused by a
trespasser looking for birds' nests but I suspected at the time that someone had been deliberately
permitted - or perhaps even encouraged - to set fire to the bridge in order that BR could rebuild it with
the aid of funds for road construction. This was purely my own theory and I have never heard anyone
else voice it; it seems to have been unlikely since the incident caused much railway inconvenience.
Http://goo.gl/kyqGg6 'The Night the Bridge Caught Fire' a BBC interview with one of the teenagers
who admitted starting with more clips at the bottom. Http://goo.gl/A0DsQI ia a local press report.
We diverged left at Menai Bridge, and headed for Caernarvon, passing the site of Port Siding signalbox
where the Padarn Railway went underneath and a branch had left our route for Port Dinorwic until its
closure on 31 Oct 1961. At Caernarvon I realised my first mistake: there was another passenger train
standing in the station. This was the train for Llanberis; the regular passenger service over this branch
had ceased in September 1932, but a locally advertised service had run for several summers and
although I knew about it, I did not know the timings and had essentially forgotten about the possibility
of travelling on it. I never did go on it, since it was finally and permanently withdrawn after 7 Sep 1962.
The other point of interest before reaching Afon Wen was at Dinas Caernarvon, where the platforms
of the station long closed to passengers (10 Sep 1951) still remained. So did the LNWR signalbox.
It was here that the line once connected with the Welsh Highland Railway, which headed east from
here towards Snowdon. I do not remember seeing any evidence of this narrow gauge line which closed
on 1 Jun 1937. Of course the modern resurgence of the WHR has now provided a new narrow gauge
line over the LNWR trackbed from south of Caernarvon to here, and the line has now been extended
further over the historic route through the Aberglaslyn Pass to Portmadoc (now Porthmadog). Beyond
the last LNWR station at Chwilog the line curved round eastwards to join the Cambrian Railways line
along the coast from Pwllheli at Afon Wen, where we reversed, the locomotive I assume rounding the
train. The last lap was on Cambrian Railways track past the Butlins Holiday Camp served by Penychain
to the final destination at Pwllheli. I had already arranged accommodation here - by letter, I suppose,
though I cannot now remember how I found a hotel. Since it was fairly late, I did not attempt to find
remains of the Pwlllheli and Llanbedrog tramway or anything else of transport interest.
BELOW: The closed station at Dinas, taken from my train, with LNWR signalbox, Mon 13 Aug 1962.
Tuesday 14 August 1962: The next morning I caught the 8.40 train (hauled by BR standard class 3 2-6-
2T No82005) along the coast line back through Afon Wen and all the way to Dovey Junction, through
Portmadoc, where I saw nothing of either the long closed Welsh Highland Railway or the revived
Festiniog Railway. We also passed through Barmouth and over the swing-bridge to Morfa Mawddach,
(Barmouth Junction until 13 Jun 1960). Later in my trip I intended to come here again, but from
Ruabon via Dolgellau. At Fairbourne, I believe that the miniature but historically interesting
Fairbourne Railway was visible by the level crossing; it was quite a number of years before I visited
this line, which terminated on the beach across the estuary from Barmouth. I doubt much could have
been seen of the Tallyllyn Railway at Towyn, and I do not recall anything further of railway interest
along this scenic line before we reached Dovey Junction, where I alighted.
ABOVE: Fairbourne Railway terminus, 2 May 1981. At this time the gauge was 15" (it opened in 1895
as a 2ft gauge horse drawn tramway and was converted in 1916); in 1986 it was re-laid to 12¼" gauge.
[BLN 1257] ABOVE: Aberystwyth 14 August 1962.
Possibly the train terminated here; I cannot remember. I crossed to the other side of the station and
watched the various comings and goings before boarding the Aberystwyth portion of a train from the
Machynlleth direction, hauled by 'Manor' class 4-6-0 No7825 (Lechlade Manor), one of those which I
believe were built after 1948 by BR to the GWR design. On this route we came alongside the narrow
gauge Vale of Rheidol (VoR) line at Llanbadarn, where both lines crossed the north-south road which
avoids Aberystwyth. On arrival at what was then still quite an impressive terminal station, I walked
round the corner to look at the old VoR terminus. This separate station was later abandoned in favour
of one of the standard gauge platforms and a new alignment from west of Llanbadarn. However, my
objective on this occasion was not to ride on the narrow gauge but to continue south to Carmarthen.
The train was the 11.55 with BR standard class 4 4-6-0 No75020 at the head. We left Aberystwyth
curving and climbing past the locomotive shed and over the VoR line, with its station, engine shed and
level crossing to be seen to the right of the train. This level crossing, over a fairly busy road, was, I
believe, one of the reasons for the later relocation of the narrow gauge line and it could be
accommodated in the main station after closure of the Carmarthen line from 18 Jan 1965.
RIGHT: Vale of Rheidol station
at Aberystwyth, from my
ABOVE: A 1947 map (fully revised 1919!), when narrow gauge railways were not separately
distinguished from standard gauge lines. The Vale of Rheidol station is shown in white meaning 'closed
to passengers', which it was during WW2. Note the harbour branch that can be just made out
branching off along the north bank of the river just before the terminus and extending well out south
on the spit of land. Note the red cross used to designate level crossings on these 'New Popular' maps
(mid and bottom right) on the Vale of Rheidol. Aberystwyth was much smaller then like many places.
BELOW: An actual 1947 map (with corrections to 1955), the harbour branch has gone and the narrow
gauge level crossing is shown over Park Avenue near the mainline station , a 'principal' one. The other
two level crossings are shown on the Vale of Rheidol and also now on the Cambrian line. The standard
gauge Aberystwyth triangle was put in to turn engines and could not be used as an avoiding line.
I was interested to look out to see if there was any sign of the unbuilt section of the Manchester and
Milford Railway which we joined at a sharp right-handed bend just beyond the strangely named
station at Strata Florida and before the long section across the dismal Tregaron bog. However I saw
nothing. A friend has long asserted that traces of the partially built tunnel north of Strata Florida have
been identified, but I am doubtful. What is certainly true is that the section much further east from
near Llanidloes to Llangurig was actually built (though only used once and the track was removed in
1882) and a bridge carrying the line over a minor road was still to be seen in Llangurig, at least in 1962.
On 18 Jan 1965 the section from Aberystwyth was closed north of the milk depot at Pont Llanio,
although floods had caused 'temporary' closure north of Strata Florida on 12 Dec 1964. Not far south
of Pont Llanio was the junction with the Aberayron branch, controlled remotely by the time of my trip
from Lampeter signalbox. The branch itself had closed to passengers on 12 Feb 1951 and my only visit
to it was much later when it was open only to serve another milk depot at Green Grove Siding. At
Pencader a further branch also closed to passengers (on 15 Sep 1952) came in from Newcastle Emlyn.
The section of my route south of here between Danycoed and Bronwydd Arms now forms the tourist
oriented Gwili Railway, and runs through an attractive valley. At Abergwili Junction, the LNWR line
from Llandeilo (then spelt Llandilo) came in; this was a later objective of my trip.My train terminated
at Carmarthen, and I then needed to catch a main line train to Whitland.
This was an express from Paddington to Pembroke Dock and Neyland and was hauled by 'Manor' class
4-6-0 No7829 (Ramsbury Manor). In my last year at school I had attended a Cadet Force camp at
Castlemartin, near Pembroke and we had travelled from Nottingham by special train which used the
direct line from Carmarthen Junction to Carmarthen Bridge, avoiding the station (where reversal
would have been necessary). Consequently I was now back on a line I had previously 'done'. I was not
aware of it at the time, but I later discovered that this section of the West Wales main line had for a
period in the 1870s comprised two single lines, one broad gauge and one standard gauge.
Realising that the train I had actually travelled in had been heading for Neyland now causes me some
regrets, to say the least. After publication of the Reshaping of British Railways (the 'Beeching Report')
from time to time additions were published in the newspapers but it was a while before this procedure
was known to most enthusiasts. The first addition was certainly missed by almost everyone, I think,
and it simply added the station name 'Neyland' to the list. Since Neyland lay at the end of a branch
from Johnston (Pem) and was the only station on that branch, this addition to the Reshaping Report
implied the withdrawal of passenger services over the line.
ABOVE: The Grade II Listed Bexhill West (CP/CA 15 Jun 1964), terminus of a 4½-mile
double track branch from Crowhurst on the Hastings line.
I had not bothered to go to Neyland; (it was up to then the terminus for most West Wales expresses
from Paddington) and consequently when it closed on 15 Jun 1964 it was too late for me; moreover
the line closed to all traffic then, although it was retained and later reopened for special traffic in
connection with the building of the new Gulf refinery at Waterston, but I did not know about this
either, so it remains one of the four significant passenger lines closed since 1962 that I failed to travel
over. The others were Shrewsbury - Buildwas, Tillynaught - Banff and Crowhurst - Bexhill West; well
spread out as you can see!
Whitland was (and is) an important intermediate station, largely I suspect because of its railway
significance, since St Clears (the previous station to the east) is a larger place and more significant in
the road network. I had some time to wait here for one of the highlights of my trip. This was the train
which featured in the public address announcements as the 'four oh pee em' to Cardigan, one of the
four trains in the day (the previous one was at 11.53). Its motive power was one of the small ex-GWR
2-6-2T locomotives with that ridiculously small boiler, No4569. We diverged from the main line west of
Whitand at Cardigan Junction, and reached a branch that seemed to have been forgotten about for
many years. The stations were decrepit and the nameboards at places such as Login, Glogue and
Crymmych Arms were ancient in appearance. The general impression made on me was not improved
by the weather, which had now turned to heavy rain.
ABOVE LEFT: Glogue, from the train. RIGHT: Cardigan, after arrival of the Whitland train, 14 August 1962.
At Cardigan I was surprised to see sidings full of vans, perhaps in store, and even more surprised to
find another 2-6-2T (No4557) appear from the loco shed and back on to my train for its return journey.
I had only nine minutes there and the rain would in any case have dissuaded me from exploration, but
I believe the station was a little way from the town and even further from the sea. My return journey
from Cardigan (at 5.45 pm) to Whitland was uneventful, and I was able to catch a train which had
come from Pembroke Dock to Swansea High Street at 7.40. This was hauled to Carmarthen, where it
reversed, and thence by main line through Llanelly (as it was then spelt) with an ex GWR 'Hall' 4-6-0 at
the head (probably No5981 (Frensham Hall), although my records are incomplete at this point).
My next overnight stay, also booked ahead, was in Swansea - a city I had never visited before, except
on an engine spotting trip with the RCTS when we bashed the sheds at Landore, Danygraig, Swansea
East Dock and the ex-LNWR Paxton Street establishment. The special trains to and from Pembroke
mentioned earlier had used the Swansea District Lines from Briton Ferry to Llanelly to avoid reversal.
The Swansea and Mumbles line had closed some two years before my visit and consequently could
not be an objective of my trip. (To be continued…)
Swansea LNWR loco shed, unknown date
1257 MINOR RAILWAYS .….
MR86] … .. .. MINOR RAILWAYS – 28th EDITION – 2016…
SUPPLEMENT No.1 © Peter Scott May 2016
32 ISLE OF MAN
Douglas Horse Tramway, Promenade, Douglas
3' E 1½ miles Horse SC395774 01624 696420
(Closed by Douglas Council 20/12/15. Running for the 2016 season from 30/04/16, as a temporary
arrangement by the Isle of Man Government. Operation beyond this season unknown)
6 Somerset & Dorset Railway Heritage Trust Amend length to: 0.44 (Extension opened 06/2013, with
regular use only from 12/2015)
7 Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway Add + (Connection restored 21/02/16)
9 Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway Amend length to: 2.28 (Extension to Coed Avon opened 25/03/16)
12 Thurleigh Farm Centre Railway Delete entry (Farm Centre closed 27/09/15)
16 Audley End Miniature Railway Amend to: 01799 542134
16 Barnards Miniature Railway Amend length to: 1,500yds (Extension to Sitooterie Halt opened
18 Mid Hants Miniature Railway to: 01962 733810
MR87] Somerset & Dorset Railway Heritage Trust, Somerset (MR p6) (BLN 1254.MR57): Running days
for the rest of the season: 5, 18 & 19 June, 9 & 10 July, 7 August, 10 & 11 September and 2 October.
MR88] Cholsey & Wallingford Railway, Oxfordshire (MR p7): Easter Monday, 28 March found our
roving reporter at Cholsey station to catch the railway's train from bay platform 5. The first round trip
ex Wallingford to Cholsey and return was hauled by 0-4-0ST Northern Gas Board No1 (P2142 of 1943)
with two ex-BR coaches. The return to Wallingford was hauled by 0-6-0DE Lion with the 0-4-0ST
attached on the rear. The class 08 returned on the rear of the return trip from Cholsey. The steam loco
then failed and subsequent round trips saw 0-6-0DE George Mason (D3190) take its place.
MR89] Mid Norfolk Railway, Norfolk (MR p8): (BLN 1256.958) Volunteers are confident that (subject
to weather) they will be able to replace the sleepers past milepost 14¾ and over bridge 1703 to enable
a test train to reach there by July. They have 180 sleepers in stock, which should reach milepost 15;
hopefully by the end of the summer. Latest estimates suggest about 30-40 will be needed to reach
Worthing level crossing (15m 16ch). After that, there are 60 chains to North Elmham level crossing
(15m 77ch). Volunteers walked the track between mileposts 14¾ and 15½ in mid-April. North of
Worthing level crossing there are areas requiring a large percentage of sleepers to be replaced, but
others require very little work. Members can help trains return to North Elmham by sponsoring
replacement sleepers or volunteering with the work (digging ballast, changing sleepers and vegetation
clearance). Sleepers can be sponsored via www.mnr.org.uk the Railway's website. Progress can be
tracked on the web site's interactive route map - mileposts, bridges and level crossings are all shown.
X.66] ABOVE: Ffestiniog Railway Loco 'Lilla' with coaches 12 & 1 operating free public rides on 3,360
inches of West Lancashire Railway temporary track outside Merseyside Maritime Museum. This limited
opportunity finished on 8 May but BLS members who receive the 'Branch Line' emails of short notice
news that misses BLN were notified before this finished (see bottom of back page to subscribe free -
anyone can).'Gensheet' (also free) subscribers were also notified. (Jenny Williamson 5 May 2016)
X.67] LEFT: Not to be upstaged, Our
'Didcot Deviations' all day tour of 18
March on the Coal Stage incline. A full
report is in BLN1254 item 631. (DRC)
MR90] Southend Pier Railway, Essex
(MR p17) (BLN 1244.MR187): Options
are being considered for a new system
to replace the current 3ft gauge pier
railway - a rail based option remains a
MR91] Bure Valley Railway, Norfolk (MR p21) (BLN 1140.MR114): Saturday 16 April saw the official
opening of the new platform and centre road at Wroxham station. Three steam locomotives were
lined up together to celebrate the event. The first passenger train to arrive at the new platform was a
Friends' of the BVR AGM charter special hauled by No1 Wroxham Broad. The new platform is adjacent
to Network Rail's Norwich to Sheringham line and will presumably only be used during special events.
MR92] East Anglian Transport Museum, Suffolk (MR p32) (BLN 1223.MR211): The Museum completed
its winter works programme of track replacement on the tramway immediately prior to its reopening
for the summer season on 25 March. Sheffield tram 513 remains on loan from Beamish - this is the
tram which cannot run into the far end loop and therefore has to terminate short.
MR93] Mizens Railway, Surrey (MR p24) (BLN 1174.MR229): This extensive 7¼" gauge railway is
operated by the Woking Miniature Railway Society. There are three route variations of the complex
layout - all offering slightly different sections of track. Tiresomely, for Society members, not all three
different routes ever operate on the same day! The 'Suburban' route runs over a simple outer circuit of
both the South and North Loops. The 'Miler' covers the North Loop in the other direction (this section
is double track) and then follows with the South and North Loops. New is the 'Highlander' route, which
runs around a steeply graded loop (opened in 2015) inside the North Loop and then uses the North
and South Loop, returning to the station via a new direct chord. To cover all the track, a ride on each
variation is required! On running days, the plan is for the 'Suburban' route always to be operated,
along with either the 'Miler' or 'Highlander'. The latter is more popular with the visitors being new -
but requires an extra signalman to operate the North Signalbox - as well as dry weather due to the
severe gradients. The fare for the 'Suburban' route is £2 and for the 'Highlander' or 'Miler' routes
£2.50. A combined ticket is £4. Two groups visiting on Sunday 1 May had been (independently)
informed that the 'Highlander' route would be operating; but on arrival only the 'Suburban' and 'Miler'
routes were running (and were very busy on this, a sunny afternoon). Apparently, although it had been
planned to operate the 'Highlander' route, there were insufficient signalmen and suitably route trained
drivers. Such are the tribulations of Minor Railway gricing! However, all was not lost as, following some
intense negotiations, two special trains were organised to allow both visiting parties to travel over the
'Highlander' route. Credit should go to the railway for arranging this during a very busy afternoon.
MR94] Hotham Park Miniature Railway, West Sussex (MR p25) (BLN 1242.MR166): 24 April saw our
roving reporter visit this 12¼" gauge railway. The train was being worked by steam outline locomotive
0-6-0DH Boris (AK80 of 2007) with coaches Doodle, Bumble Around and Ryan. The fare is £3 for adults;
£2 children - for two circuits. The new locomotive was expected to be delivered during the following
week. Our reporter did not see the train run, but he noted the points were set for the longer circuit.
MR95] Beamish Tramway, County Durham (MR p32) (BLN 1251.MR35): Blackpool tram 147 arrived in
early March and was available for use within a few days. Sheffield tram 264 was in the final stages of
completion of its overhaul with application of lettering and lining out to its livery ready for its return to
service over the Easter.
BLN 1257.MR96] East Cliff Railway, Bournemouth (MR p34) (BLNs 1049.MR152 & 1255.876): The
railway has been closed following a serious landslide on the adjacent cliff. Hundreds of tons of soil and
rock fell around 100 feet onto the promenade destroying a toilet block and damaging the 5ft 6in gauge
double track cliff railway. (See the full page picture in e-BLN 1255.) Luckily, the fall occurred overnight -
being found at 05.00 on Sunday 24 April. A photo in the Metro newspaper of Monday 25 April shows
the eastern car partly derailed and seemingly leaning on its colleague (the cars are parked together in
the centre of the track when not in use). The railway and toilets had already been closed on Saturday
afternoon after rangers noticed 'slight cliff movement'. One of the rangers commented 'Within 20
minutes of those cracks being noticed on Saturday afternoon we had a structural engineer on site and
had made the area safe. We closed down the lift [railway], the cafe and the toilets. Then we got a call
from the CCTV operators at 5am, saying all the cameras had gone out so we got down here sharpish'. It
is thought heavy rain and a sharp drop in temperature triggered the slide. BELOW: The scene on 18
May. The crane belongs to the contractor 'Mackley'. East Overcliff Drive is closed at the intersection
with Meyrick Road and fenced as a worksite. (Julian James)
.Please mention the Branch Line Society when booking or enquiring. A service to members, all details must be checked with the organisers.
1044] Property Section, Rippingale: (TF125279) Fen Road, PE10 0TG, 1½ miles east of the village. An
1872 built GNR station on the Sleaford to Bourne line (CP 22 Sep 1030; CA here 15 Jun 1964). Five
reception rooms, four cloakrooms, three beds, 1.2 acres, detached goods shed, original platform with
track and an (optional) steam loco £600k. Interesting pictures https://goo.gl/gwUL80 01733 380956.
1045] Leeds, Water Taxi: Granary Wharf, by the new south station entrance. To/from Leeds Dock, free
of charge. SSuX 07.00-19.00 & SSuO 10.00-18.00. Every 15 minutes taking 6 minutes, two boats in use.
1046] Corris Railway, Sun 29 May: Http://goo.gl/UcWbMH (2'3" gauge) Station Yard, Corris, SY20
9SH, five miles north of Machynlleth (A487 to Dolgellau); well sign posted (SH754080). Thanks to
Operating Manager, Graeme Jolley: this historic and friendly railway's first gala. Trains from Corris
10.10-17.30; Maespoeth 09.30-17.00. Http://goo.gl/7nuGry 29 trains booked with goods trains and
'Gravity wagons' with a riding van for Corris Railway members only (join on the day). Maespoeth
shunting; north & south platforms in use. Refreshments: Corris Museum and hopefully Maespoeth.
1047] Foxfield Railway Miniature Mayhem, 29/30 May: (MR p23) Bank Holiday Miniature Gala 5 &
7¼" gauge; 11.00-16.30, standard gauge running http://goo.gl/6e0lzY to bring a loco 077720 10173.
1048] Papyrus Rail, Fri 1 Jul: Electric & steam (Tornado) specials Liverpool St & Victoria to Harwich.
77th anniversary of Kindertransport Children's Transport, the name for a series of rescue efforts which
brought thousands of refugee Jewish children to Great Britain from Nazi Germany between 1938 and
1940. Also five Harwich branch steam shuttles. Details: http://goo.gl/MqMiMi or 01908 410450.
X.68] BELOW: Didcot Railway Centre, 1940 built GWR W22 on the demonstration line.(Stuart Hicks 15 May).
1049] Raynes Park Electrical Control Room: Thanks to Reading member Stuart Hicks, an SEG visit has
been agreed. Weekday/weekend (date to be determined after 22 July) avoiding the evening peak. BLS
members welcome, enquiries please to [email protected] quoting membership number.
As usual, there will be a charity collection and orange hi-visibility vests may be necessary.
1050] Station Road Steam Works, Sat 6 Aug: Unit 16-17 Moorlands Industrial Estate, LN4 3HX next to
Metheringham station (with Grade II listed 'Blankney' signal box). Http://goo.gl/ql1jdS open day rides
01526 328772. The 10¼" Kirkby Green Light Railway (MR p20) Watermill Farm, Scopwick, LN4 3PE,
(TF090580) four miles away is expected to be operating (free shuttle bus possible). The 2ft gauge
North Ings Farm Museum Railway (MR p20) Dorrington, LN4 3QB (TF098527) is running 10.00-17.00.
1051] Alan Keef Ltd, Open Day Sat 17 Sep: Lea Line, Ross-on-Wye HR9 7LQ. Date for your diary; 2ft
gauge railway rides expected and various events on other railways in the Forest of Dean and local area.
1052] Explore Wales: The latest version of the 'Freedom of Wales Rover'. All NR lines in Wales with
Chester - Crewe/Wrexham to Newport plus Gloucester. The map shows Wrexham Central to Shotton
HL only. ATW, GWR, LM (although none of their lines appear to be included!) and Virgin Trains. After
09.15* SSuX, all weekends and Bank Holidays. Eight consecutive days of bus (most routes) travel plus
four flexible days of rail travel within these 8 days. £99 adult; railcard £65.35, Two Together (after
09.30), Disabled, 16-25 or Senior Railcards; £49.50 child. *Anytime Heart of Wales Line trains Swansea
- Shrewsbury; Fishguard Harbour/Milford Haven/ Pembroke Dock - Carmarthen; Aberystwyth/Pwllheli
- Machynlleth; Blaenau Ffestiniog - Llandudno; Wrexham Central - Bidston (as shown in conditions).
North & Mid-Wales and South Wales versions are available (adult £69, railcard £45.55, child £34.50).
X.69] Blackpool Tramways, Fri 27 May: Pay on the day, Hopton Rd is just outside Rigby Road Depot:
X.70] BLN Pictorial 1256, Wolverhampton Again: A member has kindly taken the time and trouble to
consider this and submit some interesting observations:
Page 5: The precursor of today's Wolverhampton station was really the Shrewsbury & Birmingham's
(S&B) temporary passenger station (between the present station and today's North Junction) which
opened on 12 Nov 1849 (Wolverhampton Chronicle, 14 & 21 Nov 1849). This, of course, was accessed
by exactly the same route as today's trains between Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury. The permanent
station, the site of today's station,was jointly owned by the S&B and the Birmingham & Stour Valley
Railway (leased by the L&NW); the S&B started running their trains into it on 1 Dec 1851
(Wolverhampton Chronicle, 26 Nov & 3 Dec 1851). Their aspiration to run through to Birmingham, for
which they had powers to do via the Stour Valley line, was thwarted by the L&NW. They now knew
that the S&B were intending to fall into the GWR 'camp' and so kept putting off the opening of the
Stour Valley line. Eventually, the L&NW Birmingham to Wolverhampton service started on 1 Jul 1852
(which has given rise to the erroneous 'opening' date of Wolverhampton station). It was not suffixed
Queen Street until 1 Sep 1853. The GWR (as successors of the S&B) ceased using Queen Street from
the Shrewsbury line from 1 Mar 1859 (although they continued to use the station from the Worcester
line until autumn 1866). Wolverhampton's first passenger station had, of course, been at what later
was known as Wednesfield Heath on the Grand Junction line east of the town, opened 4 Jul 1837.
Page 8: The Wolverhampton Low Level station which opened 1 Jul 1854 was only a temporary affair -
the date it was superseded by the permanent structure (possibly piecemeal) does not seem to have
been recorded by the local press. There is headed notepaper of December 1854 with the 'Joint Low
Level' title, it was joint station, but it was advertised in timetables etc. simply as 'Wolverhampton'
until the 'Low Level' suffix appeared in 1856. It was unstaffed from 5 May 1969.
Page 17: The Cannock Road Jn to Bushbury Jn spur was a significant feature of the Oxford Worcester
& Wolverhampton Railway's (OW&W) early plans. From 15 May 1854 it opened for goods traffic
through to the north via the Grand Junction line. The spur also featured frequently in Queen Victoria's
travel plans between Windsor (GW) and her north Briton retreats. It also sported a regular passenger
service between Wolverhampton Low Level and Manchester; actually, the vehicles were simply
tripped to and from Bushbury, being attached to L&NW trains north of there. This ran from 1 Nov 1863
until the services were diverted over the new GW line between Wellington and Nantwich from 1 Nov
1867 (Clinker's Chronology of the Railways of the West Midlands got this story hopelessly wrong by
saying the trains between 1863 and 1867 had started from Queen Street station...). Thereafter, its
fortunes waned; with no regular used by the 1950s. Inl 1966-67 when there was some passenger use
for diversions during electrification works [including your Editor travelling from the old Birmingham
Snow Hill station to Rhyl that way for a holiday at the time], shortly before it came to life for MGR coal
trains to/from Ironbridge 'B' Power Station. The new double track Oxley chord opened 7 Aug 1983.
Page 18: Herbert Street Goods closed 27 Mar 1972. The connection at Wolverhampton North Jn was,
of course, a reinstatement of the original S&B's junction with the Stour Valley's Bushbury extension. It
had lost its passenger service (see P5. above) 1 Mar 1859. It must have ceased being used when the
S&B Queen Street goods depot was sold to the L&NW and is believed to have been physically removed
by the L&NW in spring 1864. The junction was restored 7 Aug 1966, with first passenger (a Derby to
Aberystwyth excursion) use on Sat 17 Sep 1966. Regular services started 6 Mar 1967 (as precursor to
the closure of Low Level station). The section was electrified (tram style with a single wire) 1 Apr 1972,
to Oxley carriage sidings (claimed to be the first bit of GW to have 25 kV knitting hung over it... discuss)
Page 21: The OW&W did not open to Priestfield (and to Wolverhampton's Low Level station actually!)
until 1854: 15 May for goods, 1 July for passenger. What opened on 1 Dec 1853 was the link to the
Stour Valley line at Tipton, with OW&W passenger trains running to the Wolverhampton High
Level station (of which the OW&W were tenants, not joint owners), i.e. not to Priestfield,
X.71] STOP PRESS, Midland Metro, Bull Street - Grand Central: (BLN 1256.881) OP 22 May and driver
training deferred (no new date set) for remedial work to 'minor abnormalities of the track alignment'
X.72] Guess the location BLN 1248: ABOVE: This station was listed for closure in the 1963
'Beeching Report' but survived rather longer. It used to have ten platforms; electric trains
began running here in 1904. Answer in e-BLN 1258 (Angus McDougall 20 Jun 2008).
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Editor/Head Lines: Paul Stewart, 4 Clarence Close, MALVERN, WR14 3HX [email protected] 01684562862 / 07790652351.
[email protected] or
[email protected] Published by the Branch Line Society, 10 Sandringham Rd, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL, BS34 8NP. ISSN 1354-0947.