The Branch Line Society


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#282 Posted on: 16 April 2019 at 00:34 by Mark HaggasType: Public

The Cork Stopper - Sunday 19th May 2019

The Branch Line Society is delighted to announce its second unusual lines charter train in conjunction with Irish Rail. Traversing unusual lines in County Cork and County Kerry, there will be a leg stretch break in Tralee and a photo stop at Mallow.


#280 Posted on: 12 April 2019 at 22:17 by Mark HaggasType: Public

The Luca Pezzulo Express - Saturday 20th July 2019

This rather special and unusual Branch Line Society loco hauled charter, operated by West Coast Railways, will be visiting FOUR freight installations in the Network Rail London North East zone. From a traction perspective, we will feature a WCR Class 37 operating in top 'n tail formation with a Colas Rail Class 37.

The Return of Thunder Vac update

#277 Posted on: 02 April 2019 at 15:43 by Mark HaggasType: Public

Hanson & Hall have been able to identify operating efficiencies after bookings opened, which they are delighted to pass on to participants. The fares are reduced on this Class 50 hauled long all day scenic circular tour: Standard £112; First £175 and First at a table for two £195. Rebates are being arranged to those who have already booked.

Scottish weekend updates

#276 Posted on: 31 March 2019 at 12:47 by Mark HaggasType: Public

Revised timings are now available on the Fixtures page for our 3 day railtour from Friday 26th April 2019 to Sunday 28th April 2019.

We have also added a set down at Lancaster on the Gourock Growler.

Conwy Cat Update

#273 Posted on: 26 March 2019 at 15:06 by Mark HaggasType: Public

The Society and DRS are aware of the line closure of the Conwy Valley Line, and wish Network Rail's engineers every success in prompt restoration of the service. The latest update from Transport for Wales suggests the line is unlikely to open in time for our charter on 13 June. Therefore, we are removing the Llandudno and Blaenau Ffestiniog branches from the programme, and instead have proposed we proceed to Holyhead, where we have requested to access the Carriage Siding, and then platform 1 for a leg stretch and photo stop. All others parts of the programme remain as advertised, as does the requested traction. The Class 68 is expected to lead on departure from Liverpool Lime Street. Note there are just 25 seats remaining.


#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.

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