The Branch Line Society

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An unusual fixture (but still involving rare track!) was when the Society was asked to assist Chiltern
Railways in an Emergency Train Evacuation exercise on 10th April 2016. [© Jim Sellens 2016]

Fixtures

The Society maintains an active programme of varied outdoor fixtures, and these are run primarily for members. In some cases, especially mainline charter trains, we are pleased to accommodate non-members.

Members receive 24 newsletters per year giving advance notification of events, and benefit from priority booking and discounted fares. You can normally re-coup your membership fee on just one fixture and some fixtures are for members only, so
join us today!

Click on a fixture name below for more details, and to book or notify interest.


Please note that although dates are given as far in advance as possible (in order to allow a measure of planning by intending participants to take place), they must be treated as only provisional until an event is actually open for bookings, as changes can and do occur.


Saturday
2nd June 2018


Open for booking

The Arlington Explorer

Arlington Fleet Group Ltd, Rail Works, Campbell Rd, Eastleigh, SO50 5AD. (850yd walk from the station.) Built as a locomotive construction and heavy repair factory in 1909, Eastleigh Works was for almost a century the heart of railway engineering in the South of England.

In partnership with the BLS and PLEG, Arlington is delighted to announce that its first ever track and traction event is open for bookings via our website. This will be a most unusual opportunity to enjoy a circular track exploration journey around the site's rail connected facilities, riding on the recently refurbished BLS mess van 'Molly'. The charter is expected to visit the NR boundary, the extremity of the site at the River Itchen end, the full length of the yard and return via the main workshop! 50 passengers per trip, four trips.

Advance booking only, £45 per head, all profits to CLIC Sargent. Subject to confirmation and loco availability, trips lasting about 45 minutes will operate, at 14.00, 15.00, 16.00 & 17.00.

Subject to loco availability and confirmation nearer the event, (note 08567 is currently under repair), the roster is:
   14.00 trip : 08879 + Gmdr 4wDH (KOF);
   15.00 trip : 08879 + 07007;
   16.00 trip : 08879 + 08567;
   17.00 trip : 08879 + 08567.

Note NO car parking facilities at the site. Online booking is available or post to Jill Everitt with a cheque/CPA 'Branch line Society', email address/SAE.


Saturday
9th June 2018


Open for booking

Bentley Wildfowl Wanderer

Approximate times: 14.30-16.30. Bentley Wildfowl & Motor Museum, Halland, Uckfield, BN8 5AF, (TQ 484 159). Six miles from the Great Bush Railway the complex 7¼" gauge Bentley Miniature Railway has a public run of 1 mile. With thanks to our member Simon Mortimer, our special train(s) will cover unusual track; objectives include Ringmer Junction East-West which lost passenger trains after the extension to Glyndebourne Wood Junction where both the platform and bypass lines will be taken in and the most recent extension to Bentley East (with its newer inner platform loop). Lunch is available at the Café here between the events. £10 members; £15 non-members.

Online booking is much preferred please and involves us in far less work; if unavoidable, bookings by post can be made to Jill Everitt (details as per back page of BLN) but must include an email address or a SAE (two if an acknowledgement is required).


Saturday
9th June 2018


Open for booking

Great Bush Tinkerer

An ALL line and ALL traction event. Approximate times: 10.30 to 13.30. Tinkers Park, Hadlow Down, Heathfield, East Sussex, TN22 4HS, (TQ 538 241). Thanks to our member Simon Mortimer, a private Society visit to the 2ft gauge, 550yd, Great Bush Railway with all available tracks and sampling the entire steam and internal combustion loco fleet. The plan is steam on the mainline and short runs using the (thought to be) nine internal combustion locos with some 'drive yourself' options on the branches and loops. Their date of manufacture is from the 1930s to 1970s. Both new platform roads at Tinkers Lane are included. These are not used during the annual Gala as the field access there is too busy. Also the recently extended higher level loop over the site of Organ Halt (no longer used by passenger trains), the top two shed spurs, Bottom Field Shed spur, shed roads, run round loops and sidings. £15 members, £20 non-members including a trackplan, stocklist and souvenir ticket.

Using the comments box on the online booking form, please advise if you can give lifts (and how many) or would like a lift between Buxted station on the Uckfield branch and Tinkers Park (3 miles), and between Tinkers and Park Bentley Wildfowl & Motor Museum (6 miles).

Online booking is much preferred please and involves us in far less work; if unavoidable, bookings by post can be made to Jill Everitt (details as per back page of BLN) but must include an email address or a SAE (two if an acknowledgement is required).


Sunday
10th June 2018


Open for booking

The Sopwith Camel

With Chiltern Railways, in aid of The Royal British Legion. A different rare track excursion on a 3-car Class 165 DMU. Standard Class all day rover only £30 Members; £42 non-members; under 18s £15 discount (accompanied under 18s only). Join/leave at any station. The highlight is Calvert Waste Recycling facility, operated by FCC Environmental, to whom we are very grateful; each trip also uses Aylesbury North Goods Loop.

Aylesbury 10.10 to Quainton Road 10.35, for almost 3 hours at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre (BRC) event marking the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI. Standard gauge steam rides are expected with the miniature railway, café, shop and museum open. You will need tickets for this event from BRC when available or on the day. Our DMU picks up at Quainton Road 13.30 and runs to Calvert Waste Terminal; expecting to traverse the line nearer to the main line. Time and circumstances on the day permitting, it is hoped to cover the shunt neck. We return to Quainton Road and Aylesbury then run through to Claydon L&NE Jn, to reverse to Bicester Village (for both platforms and rare crossover) returning to Quainton Road and Aylesbury. This is expected to be the final chance to cover Claydon L&NE Junction to Gavray Jn in both directions before closure (1 Sep) for East West Rail work. A souvenir brochure, ticket, track plan also stocklist/map for BRC will be provided. An on train raffle will raise funds for Royal British Legion. As usual please book via our website (preferred) or by post to Jill Everitt with an SAE (details as per back page of BLN).


Wednesday
13th June 2018


Open for booking

Class 37 photography evening - Crewe

Branch Line Society, Direct Rail Services and Crewe Heritage Centre are delighted to announce a special Class 37 photography evening to be held at Crewe Heritage Centre on Wednesday 13 June 2018 between 18.00 and 21.00. The event will feature a total of four Class 37s posed together for photography purposes, with three Class 37s from the DRS stable and CHC's own 37108. All profits from the event will be shared equally between Railway Children and Crewe Heritage Centre. The DRS locos featured will be the booked traction for the following days "The Nosey Peaker" charity railtour to Great Rocks.

In addition to the photo line up, the miniature railway will be in operation and the team intend to use all operational locomotives. Subject to volunteer availability, the café will be open for the sale of drinks and light refreshments, and, weather permitting, a BBQ will be in operation for the purchase of hot food. It is hoped, in return for an additional on-the-day small donation, supervised cab visits can be arranged from platform height. Tickets £10.00 per person which must be booked in advance via this website.

We regret we are unable to accommodate unaccompanied under 18s.


Thursday
14th June 2018


Full

The Nosey Peaker (Full)

The Branch Line Society is delighted to announce an exciting loco hauled charter train in conjunction with Railway Children, operated by Direct Rail Services (DRS), traversing unusual lines in the North West, with a leg stretch break and photo stop at Reddish South!

The train will have five First Class open coaches available for passenger use and will be hauled by three DRS Class 37s operating (2+1) in top 'n tail formation, subject to availability. As usual, there will be an on train raffle with proceeds donated to Railway Children. There will be a buffet service of hot / cold drinks and light snacks, and the opportunity to purchase hot breakfast rolls . Note the service terminates at Crewe.

All bookings via www.branchline.uk The train is strictly limited to a maximum of 210 passengers.

Our ROUTE, validated and bid to Network Rail, is as follows:

Stafford P1 08.30 (PU) - Dn Slow - Basford Hall Dn Fast Independent - Sorting Sidings North Jn - South Yard Bypass - Crewe P12 09.00 (PU/RM) - Crewe PAD No.2 Road (RM) - Dn Manchester Independent - Stockport P4 - Dn Fast - Manchester Piccadilly - Ordsall Curve - Manchester Victoria 10.30 (PU) - Ashton Moss North Jn - Denton Jn - Reddish South (break) - Heaton Norris Up Goods Loop - Stockport - Hazel Grove - Buxton (RM) - Buxton XYZ Sidings (RM) - Peak Forest - New Mills South Jn - Dn Cheadle Loop - Northenden Jn - Altrincham - Northwich - Sandbach - Up Manchester Loop - Crewe P1 17.00( SD)

Timings and routing are provisional and subject to confirmation through the Network Rail planning process.



This fixture has now reached capacity and regrettably, no more bookings can be taken.


Sunday
1st July 2018


Open for booking

The Ketton Osprey Explorer

Ketton Works (SK 9849 0539), Ketco Ave, Stamford, PE9 3SX See http://goo.gl/44XoOq for the Cement Works location. With huge thanks to the Hanson Cement Ketton Works team (part of Heidelberg Cement): Identical 'all available lines' tours of the branch railway at 09.30, 11.30, 14.00 and 15:30 each limited to 50 participants in two brake vans and lasting about 90 minutes. These cover the entire railway system, exchange sidings to the NR boundary close to the Oakham to Stamford line and some track that it was not possible to cover on our June 2015 tours: Exchange Sidings 1 & 4, the left loop north of the silo, and the sought after Axiom Rail (now DB Cargo) stub.

Operated by volunteers from 'Rocks by Rail', Chasewater Railway and Hanson staff, the onsite locos (currently 08870 & 08375) will 'top & tail'. A mobile food vehicle will sell light refreshments, hot snacks and drinks. £45 per person; no junior discount. All profits will be shared equally among Hanson's nominated charities. A souvenir ticket and map will be provided. The Society is indebted to our member Gary Pullan for securing the original 2015 tour and this exciting sequel, which is expected to fill rapidly. Unusually, a portable steam miniature railway will be used to transport participants to the specially built platform. Booking online is much preferred, or by post with an email address or an SAE to Jill Everitt (details on back page of BLN).


Wednesday
11th July 2018
to Thursday
12th July 2018

Waiting List
Pay on the day

Two day Cornwall STP Service Tracker (Waiting List)

STP: Not a 'short term plan' but All the Stations! All the Track! and All the Platforms!

Thanks to our member Mark Haggas for all the work he has put into it, this fixture is now confirmed as definitely going ahead. It is based on sleeper arrival in the Penzance area (or being there already) - bookings open at 12 weeks for the best deals. The plan has various options and contingencies. Overnight accommodation is required, the eastern end of Cornwall or Plymouth area is recommended but using early and late services it is possible to stay as far away as Penzance or Exeter and not miss any track. It will be the peak summer timetable, in a lovely area with great company and hopefully great weather.

All track possible on a service train is included with a call at every platform at each station at least once (some are request stops). This is everything from Plymouth station west (with its six platform approaches from Cornwall). Participants can 'observe' most of the various sought after ECS shunts at Par, Liskeard and Penzance for added interest. For rare Penzance and Plymouth platforms more than one service is included to increase the chances of success. Includes: Lostwithiel P2 - Par P3; Par P3 - St Austell P1; Perranwell - Truro P3; Lelant Saltings - St Erth P2; St Erth P2 - Penzance; Liskeard P3 - Coombe Junction Halt; Penzance P4 - St Erth (return sleeper and can be in the 'seated' area); Plymouth P3 Bay to/from Devonport. Other highlights are rarer stations: St Budeaux Ferry Road, Menheniot & Lelant and HSTs calling at some short platform minor stations (mostly DMU served). One hour breaks are available in lovely St Ives and Looe (or repeat branch trip/s). A Bodmin & Wenford Railway alternative is possible. Stepping back a train on the unusual Penryn platform covers both Falmouth branch units. 'Ride Cornwall' Day Ranger (£13/£10.75 railcard) give many miles of travel, but tickets are needed for morning peaks, Mark will advise.

Please book via our website (preferred) or by post to Jill Everitt. It is important to know numbers for logistics and to notify the train companies involved. Route queries by email to Mark Haggas: mjhaggas@branchline.uk. A souvenir ticket and detailed track map will be provided; a great occasion with like-minded people.

THERE IS NO NEED TO EMAIL TO BOOK - JUST USE THE WEBSITE!

ALSO THOSE WHO HAVE ALREADY NOTIFIED INTEREST DO NOT NEED TO BOOK AGAIN


This fixture is now full. If you wish to be added to the waiting list please click on the tour name and click on the "Join waiting list" button - there is no need to send an email.


Saturday
21st July 2018


Open for booking

Middlesbrough Goods (Old Town Branch)

AV Dawson Ltd, a true multimodal logistics provider offering freight logistics services by road, rail, land and sea is delighted to announce that its second rail enthusiast diesel gala is now open for bookings via our website.

A further opportunity for members to visit the 100-acre Middlesbrough terminal, get up close to the company's locos and enjoy a journey around the site's rail connected facilities. The highlight will be 08774 (now away for repair) and, with huge thanks to Cobra Railfreight, 01567 'Elizabeth' (TH276v 4wDH of 1977), hauling our recently refurbished mess van 'Molly' for passenger rides.

The charter is expected to visit the purpose built Automotive Steel Terminal (approach road), Ayrton Dry Bulk Terminal (unloading facility road), North Sea Supply Base Wharf (inland road), Tees Riverside Intermodal Park (inner road) and the NR boundary (Metz Bridge outlet road). These are all different tracks to those covered last year. Visitors will enjoy a short presentation about the fascinating company, with the chance to purchase light refreshments before an important safety briefing.

Advance booking only, £55 per head, profits to AV Dawson nominated good causes. Subject to confirmation, five trips each lasting 90 minutes will operate, at 09.30, 11.00, 12.30, 14.00 & 15.30. Book online (preferred) or by post to Jill Everitt per back page of BLN.


Thursday
2nd August 2018


Open for booking

Spa Valley Railway Rare Track Excursion

Spa Valley Railway, Summer Diesel Gala, Rare Track Excursion, Thu 2 Aug: Queen Mary Brake Van with shunter locos. Tunbridge Wells West 12.45 (time to be confirmed) Tunbridge Wells West Yard/throat as possible, East/ West Sidings & Headshunt, Groombridge Up and Down Loop and to Eridge in the 'wrong' direction, Ashurst Up & Down Spur (No1 & 2 Carriage sidings) & Engineers Siding, Eridge P3 and the line south of station.

Initially 20 maximum, over 18s only, £16.


Sunday
5th August 2018


Full

Invergarry & Fort Augustus Railway

12.30 start https://goo.gl/dq7M9G Invergarry station, South Laggan, near Spean Bridge, PH34 4EA, (NN 3041 9841). One of the UK's most remote and interesting standard gauge railways (CP 1 Dec 1933; CA 1 Jan 1947), over ¼ mile of the North British Railway Fort Augustus branch at this former station, originally to be a double track main line to Inverness. Footplate rides on Ruston & Hornsby 4wDM 236364 (1946) https://goo.gl/6Q07SP and/or 4-seat LESMAC engineers trolley 99709 901002-4 (2006). The Gauge 1 model railway should be on view. The long island platform, nowhere near Invergarry of course, was built to take the royal train. There is no public running so this is a rare and unique chance. See https://goo.gl/T5r1Fv for some pictures (not endorsing the information). Coach travel 11.15 from and back to (due 16.05) Fort William or (only) to Inverness (arr 19.00) after is available on Sundays by Citylink Service 919 - a wonderfully scenic ride through the Great Glen. NB: At this time of year you are advised to book a seat; standing is not allowed.

Fixture cost: £22 members, only 25 places. Tea/coffee, sandwiches and filled rolls are included. Please book online if possible or by post to Jill Everitt.


This fixture is for members only.

This fixture has now reached capacity and regrettably, no more bookings can be taken.


Saturday
25th August 2018


Open for booking

Blenheim Park Railway

09.30-10.30: Blenheim Park Railway, Woodstock, OX20 1PP. A private comprehensive railtour of this 15" gauge 1,000yd railway in the magnificent Blenheim Palace grounds before public running. It complements our 12.00 Beeches Light Railway visit on the same day. £15 members only, limited to 20 places.

This fixture is for members only.


Saturday
25th August 2018


Waiting List

Beeches Light Railway, Oxfordshire

12.00-16.00. 15 mins walk from Heyford station. Thanks to Martyn Brailsford and the railway's owner, Adrian Shooter, we have been invited to visit his delightful 1' 11⅝" gauge line - based on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR). It only opens a few times each year to selected railway societies etc. and, although we will be sharing with others, Adrian is happy to allow some rare moves. The main motive power is an original DHR steam loco, but a Post Office Railway train should hopefully be running! A highly recommended barbeque is included, hot and cold soft drinks in pleasant surroundings and a chance to view the interesting collection close up.

BLS Members only, limited initially to 50 places, £33 per head, under 18s no reductions and must be accompanied. Online booking preferred (you must be logged in); you can also book online for others who do not have access to the website (you will need their full name and membership number). Postal bookings with cheque/CPA to Jill Everitt per back page of BLN with email address or SAE.

All queries to Martyn Brailsford by email

Please note: Booking will close at the end of July, or when full.


This fixture is for members only.

This fixture is now full. If you wish to be added to the waiting list please click on the tour name and click on the "Join waiting list" button - there is no need to send an email.


Monday
27th August 2018


Save the date

Summer Scunthorpe Steeler railtour No.16

Save the date - Bank Holiday Monday.

No further details are available at present.


Saturday
27th October 2018


Save the date

Provisional 2018 AGM long weekend with events in Yorkshire

No further details are available at present.

This fixture is for members only.


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