The Branch Line Society


Coventry Electric Railway Museum
Saturday 27th June 2015

Situated slightly incongruously on the edge of Coventry Airport, this site has existed for many years but recently has opened more often to the public and developed its exhibits and activities. This was a special opening for the Society and the volunteers certainly understood our interests! Operating both the 7¼" miniature, including the turning circle recently completed at the entrance end, and the standard gauge demonstration line (no public running), to which end we all became members for the day. Our hosts explored every possible extremity. On the miniature a full traversal was made, finally depositing each group at the far end near the standard gauge operation; some even made a point of detraining at the tiny stop of Middway (yes, there really are two 'ds'!) and subsequently 'retraining' to claim the 1metre long station which has never actually had official passenger stops. It was built because, when the line reached this point, publicity claimed travel between stations and people complained there was no station there! [This also exempts the tickets from VAT.] On the demonstration line most of the party clambered aboard the 20 ton LNER Brakevan hauled by Spondon No.1 (1935) battery electric; this had previously operated Society tours at its eponymous power station in the 1980s (and perhaps more surprisingly all four Spondon electric locos have been preserved). It made a full trip down the demonstration line into the adjacent field and returned to a different yard road with much photographic activity and swapping cab rides. A second trip followed and then, after depositing the brakevan, the loco shuttled to a third road in between those already traversed (requiring the points to be unclipped and moved with a 'slewing bar' as there was no lever) with exceptionally tight clearance; another coat of paint and that might have been it! After enjoying the rides, complimentary teas and perusing the many and interesting exhibits at the Museum, participants left for the third venue (hence the name Three In(spire)ations Tour for the day after Coventry's three spires, not to mention Three Spires Jn for the Gosford Green loop.)

What is missing from this picture? Spondon No.1 at the end of the standard gauge line in the middle of a field. Perhaps it is the secret
NR testing line for the latest invisible overhead line catenary wire system designed to address the current electrification funding crisis.
[© Simon Mortimer 2015]