The Branch Line Society


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#267 Posted on: 14 March 2019 at 22:01 by Mark HaggasType: Public

The Society is pleased to announce the opening of FOUR new fixtures:

Saturday 13th April. A visit to the former Rossington Colliery in Doncaster where we will use our mess van 'Molly' to cover as much track as possible.

Sunday 9th June. A a short formed loco-hauled set traversing unusual lines in the North West of England.

Thursday 13th June. Our annual 'Pre-Peaks' charter traversing unusual lines in the North Wales area.

Sunday 28th July. Traversing unusual track on the Sheffield Supertram network.

Many of these fixtures have limited capacity so early booking is advised.


#262 Posted on: 28 February 2019 at 00:44 by Mark HaggasType: Public

A couple of new fixtures are now open for booking:

On Saturday 30th March there is a visit to a private garden railway in Tenbury Wells.

From Thursday 16th to Saturday 18th May, the first 3 out of 4 days of this years long Irish weekend are now open for bookings.

Full details of these two new fixtures can be found on the Fixtures page.


#258 Posted on: 19 February 2019 at 18:48 by Mark HaggasType: Public

This rather special charter in partnership with Hanson & Hall Rail Services Solutions sees the much anticipated return of 50008 (D408) 'Thunderer' to mainline passenger operation, working over the beautiful Hadrian's Wall line AND the scenic Settle & Carlisle Line. The line which crosses the Yorkshire Dales, the North Pennines and Eden Valley and is one of the most impressive scenic railway journeys in the country. It runs between the market town of Settle in North Yorkshire and the City of Carlisle in Cumbria serving towns such as Appleby-in-Westmorland as well as small rural communities along its route. The historic line was constructed in the 1870s and has several notable tunnels and viaducts such as the imposing Ribblehead Viaduct.

An extended lunch break of around three hours has been requested for Carlisle. The great border City benefits from many eateries, pubs and bars just a short walk away from the station.

Built by English Electric at Vulcan Foundry Works, Newton-le-Willows in 1968, 50008 is last recorded as working a mainline passenger charter in November 1991, not long before it was withdrawn from traffic in June 1992.

There will be an onboard raffle raising money for Clapham Preschool (Bedford). A Buffet Car will serve a wide range of drinks, snacks and light refreshments. A DB Cargo Class 67 will be attached to the rear of the train for ETS purposes.

Timings and routing are provisional but validated and bid to Network Rail as follows:

Derby (PU 07.30) – Alfreton – Sheffield (PU 08.45) – Swinton – Leeds (PU 10.00) – York – Durham – Haltwhistle – Carlisle (break 13.30 to 16.30) – Garsdale (photo stop) – Ribblehead – Leeds (SD 19.15) – Hambleton South Jn – Doncaster – Sheffield (SD 20.30) – Derby (SD 21.20)

Bristol Area Minor Railways Sunday 10th March

#256 Posted on: 19 February 2019 at 06:34 by Paul StewartType: Public

With thanks to our (local) General Secretary, Tim Wallis, visits have been agreed, and are now open for booking, to the Ashton Park Miniature Railway, Bristol (which is on a short term temporary lease) and what is expected to be A FINAL VISIT to the private Woodfield Light Railway, near Temple Cloud WHICH IS EXPECTED TO CLOSE.

Non-BLS members are welcome at no extra charge, subject to BLS Ts&Cs.There is one fare option which includes both railways.

At Ashton Park, a non-public day has been selected to allow full coverage of both the 530 yard ground-level 5"/7¼" and the slightly longer elevated 3½"/5" lines, including the links between set-down and pick-up areas (normally ECS only) and other lines as available on the day.

The Woodfield Light Railway is a non-public 7¼" operation by Recreation Railways, and this is expected to be the last chance to visit due to changing personal circumstances.

When booking please indicate in the comments section if you can assist with lifts (and how many) of if you require these. Please give these visits maximum publicity.

BLN Pictorials

#253 Posted on: 09 February 2019 at 17:57 by Paul StewartType: Public

In case you had not noticed, there are a couple of fairly new BLN Pictorials in that section of our website for logged in members to see. Angus McDougall has kindly supplied 25 pictures and text about some of the British First Generation Tramways still running in the 1950s - see if your town or city is included. Secondly, Dave Cromarty has kindly produced a BLN Pictorial on the West Midlands Metro extension to Wolverhampton station which is due to open when rebuilding of the station is complete. Thanks to our member Phil Logie for preparing and loading these - a new one is due soon... Also thanks to Phil, there are 2018 Fixture reports up to the end of October on our website.

Blackpool Tram Tour Saturday 26th January 10.30-17.30

#237 Posted on: 11 January 2019 at 07:52 by Paul StewartType: Public

Saturday 26 January 'Blackpool Balloon' tram tour (in e-BLN and on our website) includes some significant sections not covered by our 'Fisherman's Friend' Blackpool tram tour of 19 November 2016 and even some which are not wired! It was not finalised in time for paper BLN so if you know anyone who might be interested do tell them and, preferably, book for them via our website please. Northern have managed to provide a regular train service at Blackpool on Saturdays and there are Virgin Train services as well with some very good value advance fares such as Birmingham New Street (07.25) to Blackpool North £6.25 with railcard (through train). For the return in the evening book from Preston, with a single from Blackpool (North or South).


#181 Posted on: 15 November 2018 at 22:07 by Mark HaggasType: Public

A couple of new fixtures are now open for booking.

On Sunday 3rd February 2019 our Class 47 top 'n tailed Looe Brush Railtour is now available to book. There are various track highlights and accommodation is limited by certain parts of the the route.

Additionally the previous day a one way trip 'The Positioning Move' is available to assist participants in joining the tour with a bargain fare of only £40 - again various track highlights are included.

Full details of these two new fixtures can be found on the Fixtures page.

Hatton - Tyseley SLW Sun 4 October

#172 Posted on: 30 October 2018 at 18:13 by Paul StewartType: Public

On Sunday there is unusual lengthy single line working between Hatton North Jn (112m 54ch) and 125m 50ch with an hourly Chiltern service all day, supplemented by buses for some stations and instead of the West Midlands services.

In the Down direction the facing crossover at Hatton North Jn will be used in the rare direction to the Up Dorridge, with trains returning to the Down Dorridge again at the 125m 50ch trailing crossover, north of Acocks Green in the rare direction.

RTT confirms use of the Up Platform 1 at Dorridge in the Down direction with unadvertised stops at Hatton P2 and Tyseley P2 to pick up and set down the pilotman (should that be pilotperson these days?)

Bidirectional people are expected to report for duty and the crossover at 125m 50ch is relatively rare.

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BLS Andover Visit Sunday 21 October

#163 Posted on: 09 October 2018 at 06:15 by Paul StewartType: Public

The group are making a great effort for us with 'all available locos' and 'all available track' we have 31 going on this leisurely timed visit but there is room for more (a very extensive railway with no public running)....

Andover Anchovy: Sunday 21 October 12.00: Andover & District Model Engineering Society, Winchester Road (B3420), SP11 7HT, (SU 379 418) about 3¼ miles south of Andover station. With thanks to our member Simon Mortimer. Andover MES was founded in 1945 and moved to their current site near Wherwell in 2009. Set in woodland in the Test Valley, it was an old WWII munitions site; original Nissen huts survive including the club house and workshop. The original ground level line see was a 430yd dual gauge 5"/7¼" loop (black on this plan); in 2012 a 820yd 7¼" extension opened (light blue); in 2016 a further 520yd (dark blue) of 7¼" with yet another extension (red) in 2018 - so new that the exact length is unknown! With passing loops, there are about 1½ miles of ground level track. Also the elevated 2½"/3½"/5" line (extended to 450yd in 2017) should be available.

The general public are not admitted to this site. Starts 12.00 to meet MES members and survey the site. At about 13.00 during the MES lunch break is a recommended pub a mile away before our visit resumes. It includes trips around all the circuits/loops and shorter offshoots as practicable. £15 non-members; £10 members; Under 18s (must be accompanied by adult) £5/£10 book on our website.

Southeastern Day Rover Saturday 6th October

#153 Posted on: 03 October 2018 at 10:17 by Paul StewartType: Public

£20 Adult, accompanying Child £1 up to 4 per adult (no further discounts) for unlimited travel on Southeastern services (INCLUDES HS1) all day Saturday There is a challenge to cover the entire network in the day (see link). Available on line and at Southeastern ticket offices plus London Victoria, Denmark Hill, Peckham Rye, Nunhead, St Pancras International and Abbey Wood only.

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