Hmm - quite a lot of catching up to do...!
The Avocet Line Rail Users Group is celebrating 150 years of the opening of the Exeter to
Exmouth line on May 1st. Full details of all the events taking place can be found at:
The ultimate in Ordnance Survey maps online?
The North Staffordshire Railway Study Group:
Barry Knapper's photographs taken at the recent Churnet Valley Railway Forties Weekend:
Steam Railway Photos by Dave Bowles:
The history of the railway companies of Hampshire:
Winchester Chesil Tunnel guided walks:
A recent exploration of Winchester's Chesil Tunnel:
The Post Office Railway explored (illegally):
(Spotter: Richard Buckby)
National Timetables from 22 May on-line:
(Spotter: Richard Buckby)
European track diagrams:
(Spotter: Neil Kearns)
(Spotter: Ted Millward)
6023 King Edward II in steam at Didcot, 31/03/11:
Newspaper article: http://tinyurl.com/3d6ztz5
Great Central Railway Gr8 Escape 09/04/11:
(Spotter: Ted Millward)
Missed the bus? The route that runs only four times year:
(Spotter: Mike Price)
How to derail a train - military style:
(Spotter: Richard Buckby)
From the same source, the ideal placement of explosives under goods vehicles to break axles and
cause maximum disruption to following trains.
Echoes of "The FInishing Line"?
(Spotter: Nick Wheat)
"Oh Mr Porter" is now out of copyright and can be watched without break or interuption from:
(Spotter: Nick Wheat)
Three from Alex Hill who runs the British Buses, Trolleybuses & Trams discussion group:
Hastings First Trolleybus 1 April 1928 from Beulah
100 Years of British Buses & Trolley Buses
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-S0m72LFNsQ
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxGi7tvNMhE
(Via Ralph Rawlinson)
Ralph Rawlinson's Railway Roundup
The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded the NER 1903 Electric Autocar Trust a £465,000 grant to
restore the world’s first electric autocar and accompanying 1904 autocoach.
The decision to allow regular German ICE trains through the Channel tunnel keeps DB on course
for the commencement of passengers services to St Pancras in 2013. Meanwhile overnight freight
trains formed of continental wagons using HS1 to reach east London has moved a step closer
after DB Schenker ran a trial with a specially adapted Class 92.
London - Thameslink & ECML
A scheme to boost capacity and ease congestion on the ECML in the London area started in early
April. It will see a freight only line converted for passenger use and disused platforms
brought back into use at Finsbury Park and Alexandra Place. http://tinyurl.com/3zrush7
GW Main Line
North Pole depot in London, disused since Eurostar vacated it in 2007, is to be returned to use
as Agility Trains' primary base for its fleet of Super Express Trains working on Great Western
routes from nearby Paddington station. Under HS2, FGW's Old Oak Common depot, across the main
line from North Pole, will disappear having been identified as the site of an interchange
station for Crossrail and the GW main line.
Hockley Viaduct, Winchester
The Friends of Hockley Viaduct must be getting increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress
in repairing and restoring Hockley Viaduct on the former Didcot, Newbury & Southampton Railway
(DN&SR) south of the city. In 2007, Winchester City Council announced a 12-year, £500,000
programme, but to date nothing has been done. The City Council says it held talks with
Sustrans earlier this month, and will speak to the County Council soon.
GER March - Wisbech
The Bramley Line Railway Heritage Trust plans to reopen this line. Network Rail has agreed
terms for a level crossing at Waldersea. The Trust has plans to build a platform there and to
run south to an intermediate station at Coldham.
Barrington Light Railway, Cambs
The Railway Herald reports that the mothballed quarry at Barrington is to be reactivated as a
tip to dispose of 1.2 cubic metres of waste material from major building works in London,
including the Crossrail tunneling project. The Barrington Light Railway will be reopened and
will see three return trips five days a week and two level crossings upgraded.
GER Saffron Walden branch
The start of the branch at Audley End is occupied by a car park, and little remains of the
first two miles to Saffron Walden but "Access Walden" has just relaunched a 20-year campaign
for a new cycle path alongside the busy main road.
S&DJt Evercreech Jn - Burnham-on-Sea
A pair of wheels has been installed next to the B3139 in Walrow (just east of the M5) to
commemorate the former Somerset & Dorset locomotive works. They are a gift to Burnham &
Highbridge Town Council by local haulier Mike Lawrence.
Woodham's Scrapyard, Barry
I doubt whether there is a railway enthusiast alive that hasn't heard of Woodham's steam loco
scrapyard at Barry in South Wales. Now it is reported that that houses and shops are to be
built on the site. For a list of locos saved and those now in preservation see:
Lampeter - Aberayron
A small platform is being provided at Llanerchaeron at the site of the old station which is
owned by the National Trust. The trackbed between Llanerchaeron and Aberaeron (current
spelling) is now a cyclepath.
Birmingham Snow Hill
The station's new entrance, providing better access to the current Midland Metro terminus,
opened at the end of March, complete with escalators and lifts located inside the 120-year old
arches in Livery Street. Construction of the bridge over Queensway that will bring Metro
services off the existing approach to Snow Hill station and over the new Ballymore Viaduct
through the city centre to New Street station has been completed.
Prescot signal box abolition
Huyton Junction on the Liverpool-Manchester "Chat Moss" route is where the line to St Helens
and Wigan diverges. Network Rail is seeking tenders for increasing the speed of trains through
the junction from 20mph to 40mph, and the abolition of Prescot box on the line between Huyton
and St Helens.
Falsgrave signal gantry, recovered last year from Scarborough station, has been reduced in
length by Network Rail engineers ready for installation at the north end of Grosmont station on
the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (the junction for the Middlesbrough-Whitby line).
Work was due to start in April on the £9.5m project at Holgate Junction to install a new
running line from the down slow line from Leeds into platform 11 with a crossover serving
Five four-car class 322 EMUs, currently in service on the Edinburgh-North Berwick route, will
be transferred to Northern and from December will be used to provide additional services
between Leeds, Skipton, Ilkley and Doncaster. The cascade will also allow some of Northern's
DMUs to be transferred to the Leeds-Bradford-Manchester route.
Tyne & Wear
The Government has turned down plans to extend the Tyne & Wear Metro from Northumberland Park
along the freight-only line to Blyth.
In order to provide direct access from Tyne Dock freight terminal to the Durham Coast line,
Network Rail plans to reinstate Boldon East Curve. The work involves recovering redundant
signals, and moving a signal to a new position where it will control the new Boldon North
Junction. Points 2235, controlling access from the branch to the west and east curves will be
added to Tyneside IECC interlocking.
HR Strathpeffer Branch
The Ross-shire Journal of 11th March 2011 reported that the Strathpeffer Spa Railway
Association (SSRA) plans to reopen this branch. The first stage would involve relaying a mile
of track, building an engine shed with an educational museum and acquiring an engine and
NBR Leith Central Branch
The Capital Rail Action Group (CRAG) in Edinburgh has launched a manifesto advocating public
transport improvements for the Scottish capital. In particular they claim that an opportunity
exists to open a new railway station east of the city centre at Abbeyhill which would be well
placed to serve the Scottish Parliament, whilst providing cross-city rail services for this
densely populated area of Edinburgh.
Following budget cuts, the upgrade of the Colleraine-Londonderry line, planned for 2012 will
not now take place until 2014-15.
MGWR Clonsilla - Navan
Iarnród Éireann reopened the first five miles of this line as far as Dunboyne on 3rd September
2010 to serve the commuter belt between Dublin and Meath. It runs from the existing Sligo line
at Clonsilla and serves new stations at Hansfield and Dunboyne before terminating at Pace,
where a park-and-ride station has been constructed adjacent to the M3 motorway interchange. A
34km (21 mile) long extension from Pace to Navan is proposed. Stations are planned at
Dunshaughlin, Kilmessan, Navan Central (adjoining Carriage Road off Railway Street) and Navan
North (at Windtown).
GSWR Cork - Youghal
I haven't been able to trace the original item but the result of someone making a case for
reopening the Midleton-Youghal section of this line has been several interesting letters in the
Irish Times. The first 5½ miles of the Irish standard gauge (5ft 3in) Youghal branch, between
Cork and Cobh Junction never closed; it formed the initial part of the still open branch to
Cobh (Queenstown). The next 6¼ miles, between Cobh Jn and Midleton, reopened on 30th July 2009
whilst the final 14½ miles to Youghal remain closed.
Cork Bandon & South Cost Railway
On 11th April 2011, Cork County Council unanimously supported a motion to convert sections of
the former West Cork Railway into walk and cycle-ways. It was suggested that, if a local group
could carry out a feasibility study, funding for the first phase of development would be
pursued by the council at national level through the Failte Ireland's project. No mention was
made as to which sections would be selected for conversion. From 1888 The West Cork and other
companies that had opened the 62 mile Irish standard gauge (5ft 3in) line from Cork to
Baltimore and the 13 mile line to Bantry came under the control of the Cork, Bandon & South
Coast Railway (CB&SCR).
France - Switzerland
Lyria, now a stand-alone subsidiary, jointly owned by French Railways (SNCF) and Swiss Federal
Railways (SBB), plans to reduce journey time between Paris and major Swiss cities to three
hours or less.
France - Spain
The new 44km standard (1,435mm) gauge Perpignan-Figueres line was officially opened on 27th
January 2011. Two TGVs operate daily between Paris and Figueres until the Girona-Barcelona
high speed line opens in 2012.
A new 7.5km 160kph section of line connecting the Dresden-Berlin and Dresden-Leipzig lines via
junctions south of Grossenhain and east of Weissig, opened on 12th December 2010. It is
currently mostly used by InterCity and ICE services between Dresden and Leipzig, and is
designed to be upgraded to 200kph in the future.
The long delayed 4km bored tunnel under Leipzig city centre is ready for the timetable change
in December 2011. There will be new stations underground at Hauptbahnhof and Bayerischer Bhf,
with intermediate stations at Markt and Wilhelm-Leuschner-Platz, all with island platforms.
Portuguese Railways (CP) planned €370m order for 102 DMU sets, a replacement for the
life-expired fleet of Class 0600 "Budd pattern" units has been postponed. This has led to CP
hiring 17 class 593 "Camello" sets from RENFE Spain at a cost of €30m for six years.
A conference in Sofia was told on 29th March that Bulgaria's national railway, BDZ, is the
least developed railway in Eastern Europe, and it is no use pouring EU funds into it before its
In February, the Greek operator OSE stopped operation of all international passenger services,
resulting in the removal of through trains to Bulgaria, Macedonia and Turkey and links from
further afield in Serbia and Romania from which through coaches operated.
This report paints a far gloomier picture than those in 2010 which promised new lines and
United Arab Emirates
Construction on the first part of the national railway will begin in June in Al Gharbia, and
the first nail will be hammered in Mirfa. The company has changed its name from Union Railway
to Etihad Rail and unveiled a new logo. A falcon's head in the shape of a locomotive decked in
the colours of the UAE flag was designed to evoke the firm's move from the planning stages to
The 11km Banihal-Qazigund tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir (see Raildate dated 10th December 2010)
will be completed by December 2011.
The Sitamarhi-Runnisaidpur section of the East Central Railway's (ECR) new 65km line between
Sitamarhi and Muzaffarpur was officially opened on Tuesday 12th April 2011.
A detailed account of the hazards and difficulties of constructing the world's highest high
speed railway. When completed in 2015 the 1,105-mile line will run from Lanzhou in the
province of Gansu, cross the Qilian Mountains and the Gobi Desert, to reach Urumqi capital of
northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Announcing a "national railway network" plan, the Government confirmed that high-speed lines,
making major cities nationwide accessible within 90 minutes, will be built by 2020.
To get ready for high-speed rail Union Pacific is set to begin upgrades in May along tracks
that run through Bloomington and Normal, Illinois.
State owned railway company AFE is planning to repair and upgrade the system's 1,650 km of
operational railways by 2014 at a cost of US$400m. Montevideo/Chamberlain - Salto routes, which
also serve the river port at Paysdandu and the branch from Algorta to Fray Bentos will benefit.
At Salto rail connections exist to the 1435mm network in Argentina.
IN THE NEWS
Trams could be used to link Portsmouth with Southampton:
Fatal fire on London Midland train:
RAIB report released - HST collides with a fallen tree near Lavington:
RAIB report on culvert failure at Bromsgrove:
LC Incident Lydney
Network Rail agrees to continue funding Heritage Trust:
Carlisle Citadel Station's £500,000 revamp complete:
Northern to get class 322 boost from December:
London Midland and ASLEF reach agreement in pay dispute:
On the trail of the scrap metal crime wave:
Rail Thieves caught:
Re-use of Connaught Tunnel in East London:
Gatwick station refurbishment:
Danger crossing set to be replaced with £12 million tunnel:
Car crashes through level crossing during police pursuit:
Broughty Ferry Level crossing misuse 'chilling':
Call to revive Abbeyhill station:
Residents launch bid to save Griffithstown's historic railway station:
Robert the engine returns to Stratford:
Didcot experts to restore old engine:
National Railway Museum's £21 million facelift scrapped:
Knitted Flying Scotsman on track to win competition:
Old railway coaches return to Northumberland museum:
Video part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpculBA558o
Video part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DLz2NDb2NA
Crash threatens future of railway museum:
King's coach at Severn Valley Railway:
Gloucestershire Warwickshire railway line reopens:
Train fans in line for Yorkshire festival of nostalgia:
Repairs to Worth Valley bridge:
Mallard to visit Germany:
Steam train 'focus' of Forsinard reserve fire probe:
Pete Waterman marks Welsh Highland railway completion:
Yosemite Valley Railroad bike and pedestrian path:
Crane collapse blocks Berlin–Hannover line:
Derby Silk Mill will reopen 'at earliest opportunity' for café and shop:
Leaky Isle of Man buses:
K&A Lock gates recycled:
Preserved wartime tug:
Tug tender “Calshot” moved:
Plymouth City Airport to close:
Heathrow Airtrack Waterloo rail link shelved by BAA:
Air France A380 hits CRJ while taxiing at JFK:
New RAF transport/tanker:
Vulcan XH558 on Display at Robin Hood Airport Doncaster:
Spotters: Richard Buckby, Neil Kearns, Reg Nerps, Mike Price
TV and RADIO
02/05/11 Channel 4 2000-2200
"Dambuster: Building the Bouncing Bomb" Reconstructing the bomb and the raid
02/05/11 BBC4 2030-2100
"Julia Bradbury's Canal Walks" 1/4 The Caledonian Canal
03/05/11 BBC2 1900-2000
"Coast" Gower to Anglesey
04/05/11 BBC4 1930-2030
"Indian Hill Railway" 1/3 The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
05/05/11 Channel 5 1925-2055
"How Do They Do It?" Petrol from America's oil
05/05/11 BBC4 2000-2100
"The Space Shuttle: a Horizon Guide" Looking at 30 years of the Shuttle
05/05/11 BBC4 2100-2200
"The Lighthouse Stevensons" Robert Stevenson and the Bell Rock lighthouse
06/05/11 BBC4 1900-1930
"Railway Walks" Following the route of a Corish mineral railway
For up-to-date information on many of the tours mentioned in Raildate (and others) often with
timings, see the Steam Tours pages at:
All details are correct to the best of my knowledge. No responsibility is taken for
inaccuracies or changes.
29/04/11- 43rd Annual Bristol Model Railway Exhibition
01/05/11 Thornnbury Leisure Centre
29/04/11- Ecclesbourne Valley Railway: May Bank Holiday Weekend
30/04/11 Winchester: guided walk exploring the route of the DN&S line
Includes a chance to go inside the disused Chesil railway tunnel
1115-1245 and 1415-1545
Advance booking required - Adult: £5.00, Child: £1.00
30/04/11 Manchester Victoria signalling school layout operating day
National Railway Museum, York
01/05/11 Romsey Signal Box Open Day
Admission free (donations welcome!)
ex-Romsey Infants School, Plaza Parade, Winchester Rd, Romsey
Car park in old school grounds
01/05/11 Twyford Waterworks Open Day
01/05/11- Middleton Top Winding Engine, Cromford & High Peak Rly
02/05/11 Engine in motion 1300-1630
02/05/11 Peak Railway Association (Sheffield Branch) Filmshow
The Harlequin Pub, 108 Nursery Street, Sheffield S3 8GG
Doug Copley's Lineside Images
07/05/11- Ecclesbourne Valley Railway: Steam Weekend
08/05/11 Basingstoke Festival of Transport
War memorial Park, Basingstoke
09/05/11 North East Derbyshire Industrial Archaeological Society
Friends' Meeting House, Ashgate Road, Chesterfield, S40 4AG
Where the Rainbow Ends - The Ashover Light Railway - Origin,
History and Future by Richard Booth (ALRS Chairman)
15/05/11 Bracknell Leisure Centre
14/05/11- Derby Model Railway Exhibition
15/05/11 Moorways Sports Centre, Moor Lane, Derby, DE24 9HY
14/05/11- Ecclesbourne Valley Railway: Steam Weekend
editor(at)raildate.co.uk replace (at) with @
Raildate may be freely distributed without permission as long as no changes whatsoever are made
to the original document distributed by the Editor. You can subscribe here:
Issues of Raildate up to and including 18th December 2009 are at: http://www.raildate.net
This page includes a master catalogue of items that have appeared in previous editions of
(C) Howard Sprenger 2011.