Society Tours, Trips and Visits
The Society maintains an active programme of varied outdoor fixtures, and these are run primarily for members. In some cases, especially major train charters we are pleased to accommodate non-members. A summary of planned events can be found at the foot of this page.
Members receive 24 newsletters per year (UK and International versions area available,) priority information, booking preference, lower fares, a free annual copy of Passenger Services Over Unusual Lines and valuable discounts on sales. Some fixtures are 'members only' Join the Society today!
Our Next Railtours
A Tale of Two Ports
We finish August with a very special loco-hauled charter train operated by GBRf featuring two Class 66/7 locomotives operating in top 'n tail mode. The two main highlights are the significant branches to the Port of Sunderland where we expect to proceed beyond the Network Rail boundary and to the Port of Tyne where we also expect to proceed beyond the Network Rail boundary. A leg stretch and photographic break have been scheduled for Newcastle. Our coaching stock will be air-conditioned Mark Two vehicles supplied by Riviera Trains.
A donation for private owner infrastructure access will be made to Port of Sunderland's nominated charity, Seafarers UK www.seafarers.uk and similarly to a charity/charities nominated by the Port of Tyne. As usual, our fund raising activity will be supported by an on train raffle with a range of exciting prizes. A catering service will provide a range of cold drinks, snacks and light refreshments. There will be an opportunity to purchase souvenirs of the day, and at least three real ales will be provided. Participants will receive the usual souvenir ticket, a comprehensive tour brochure including a detailed route description, track map and timing sheet to aid their enjoyment.
Our ROUTE, validated by GBRf and now bid to Network Rail, is as follows:
Crewe (PU 06.15) – Stoke-on-Trent (PU 06.45) – Colwich – Lichfield Chord – Burton Up Goods – Derby (PU 08.00) – Beighton Jn – Ferrybridge North Jn – York (PU 09.30) – Darlington Down Bypass – Ferryhill (RM) – Norton-on-Tees East Jn* – Cliff House Down Goods Loop – PORT OF SUNDERLAND (RM beyond Network Rail boundary) – Ryhope Grange (RM) – Sunderland P1 – Boldon North Jn – PORT OF TYNE (RM beyond Network Rail boundary) – Boldon West Jn – Pelaw Down Goods Loop – King Edward Bridge North Jn – NEWCASTLE (break) – High Level Bridge – Pelaw Up Goods Loop – East Boldon Up Loop – Sunderland P4 – Hartlepool Up Main – Norton-on-Tees West Jn* – Ferryhill (RM) – Darlington Up Goods – York (SD 19.15) – Ferrybridge North Jn – Moorthorpe Up Goods Loop – Masborough Jn – Up Canklow Goods – Derby (SD 20.45) – Burton Down Goods – Lichfield Chord – Colwich – Stoke-on-Trent (SD 22.00) – Crewe (SD 22.30).
* Routing at Norton is subject to box opening. Route and timings are provisional and subject to validation by Network Rail.
A Tale of Two Ports booking form (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).
The Wensleydale Wilton Shunter Spectacular
With grateful thanks to Wilton International and the Wensleydale Railway, http://goo.gl/sUDGj0 in association with PLEG, we are delighted to invite bookings for a very special loco-hauled charter in scenic Wensleydale. Featuring a range of motive power, the highlight being a once only chance to ride behind both of Wilton International's Class 08 locomotives which are being transported to Wensleydale especially to haul our train. The main track highlights include running beyond Redmire station to the very end of the line and (at least) one of the two Redmire MOD ramps. A leg stretch and photographic breaks will be scheduled. Our coaching stock will be a load 5 rake of MKII coaches and a buffet/real ale bar will be included in the formation. A donation to Wilton International's nominated charity will be made for the use of their Class 08 shunters, which they are providing free of charge. Our fund raising activity will be supported by an on train raffle with a range of exciting prizes. Participants will receive the usual stock list, souvenir ticket and track map to aid their enjoyment.
*Route: Leeming Bar (PU) dep 11.00 - shunt east (RM) - Leeming Bar Through Road (RM) - Leeming Bar (RM,DAE,AAE) - Bedale – Finghall - Constable Burton Loop – Leyburn – Redmire end of line (RM) - Redmire MOD Ramp (RM) - Redmire EOL (RM) - Redmire - Leyburn - Constable Burton Loop (bang road) - Finghall - Leeming Bar (Break,DAE,AAE) - Redmire - Leeming Bar (SD) mid-afternoon.
*Subject to availability.
Fares: £45 for BLS/PLEG members, £50 for non-members. Please note that fares have to be set at this level to cover the road haulage costs of the Class 08s.
Bookings: Should be sent to Jill Everitt, Fixtures Team, Branch Line Society, 4 Barnside Way, Moulton, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 8PT. Please supply names of all applicants with cheques payee 'Branch line Society' or http://goo.gl/Oje70q CPA. If you do not have an email address, please provide a stamped self-addressed envelope with your booking and a second if an initial acknowledgement of receipt is required. All queries should be directed to Jill Everitt, preferably by email to email@example.com or by telephone (only if absolutely essential) to Kev Adlam on 01270 662396, Monday to Friday between 20.30 and 21.30 only please. Note that tickets are NOT transferable and smoking is not permitted aboard the train. The Society will not accept any liability arising from changes imposed by any third parties (either before or on the day) or any consequences of any late running that may occur. Please note that no refunds will be entertained for cancellations. Tickets will be sent out approximately seven days before the tour. Where possible this will be an e-ticket with a souvenir ticket being provided on the train.
The Cliffe Hopper
The Branch Line Society is delighted to announce an exciting loco-hauled reasonably timed short day charter in conjunction with West Coast Railway Company (WCRC) traversing two much sought after branch lines and other interesting track, all in daylight. The 10-coach train will be 'topped and tailed' by WCRC Class 37 and 47/57 locomotives. This is expected to be the FINAL CHANCE TO TRAVERSE THE 1½ MILE LONG RUGELEY POWER STATION BRANCH, with particular thanks to owner Engie, the power station manager, ABC Electrification and Network Rail. It will also visit the rare CLIFFE VALE BRANCH. Only one railtour has visited each branch before. Rugeley Power Station closed on 8 June and the line is temporarily in use only to stable 'Chase Line' electrification trains. This will also only be the second ever railtour to visit the DUDLEY REVERSING FACILITY at Walsall Pleck Junction; various loops and other rare moves are included. In recognition of the facilities kindly being provided at Rugeley Power Station a charity donation is being made to Millie Bea's Walking Wish which the power station staff support. £20,500 has been raised towards a target of £40,000 to fund a special 5-hour operation (Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, meticulous cutting of spinal nerve roots) to enable this unfortunate but very brave 2½-year old girl be able to walk. As usual, our fund raising activity will be supported by a raffle. There will be a buffet service of drinks and light refreshments, and real ales will be available for sale.
Our ROUTE, validated by WCRC and bid to Network Rail, is as follows:
Crewe P12 (PU 08.35) – Alsager – Kidsgrove – Grange Jn – Up Goods Line – Stoke-on Trent P2 PU 08.57/09.07 (Rev) – CLIFFE VALE IMERYS (Network Rail boundary at least) (Rev) – Stoke-on-Trent P2 – Stone – Yarnfield Junction – Little Bridgeford Junction – Stafford P4 – Rickerscote 'Loop' (Up Slow Birmingham) – Wolverhampton (P4) – Portobello Junction – Darlaston Junction – Pleck Junction – Walsall (P2) (Rev) – Pleck Junction – UP DUDLEY SIDING (Rev) – Pleck Junction – Walsall (P1) – Rugeley Power Station Junction – RUGELEY 'B' POWER STATION (Inlet Road, Weighbridge By-pass Line) – end of branch – Limestone Unloading and Gypsum Loading Line – Hopper House (coal unloading) – Outlet Road – Rugeley Town (P1) (Rev) – Rugeley Power Station Junction, trailing crossover – Rugeley Trent Valley P1 – Rugeley North Junction (no booked passenger service over this link) – Stafford Trent Valley Junction – Up & Down Goods (newly extended) – Stafford Royal Mail Terminal – Doxey Junction – Norton Bridge Junction – NORTON BRIDGE EAST CHORD (and crossovers each end) – Yarnfield Junction – Sideway Junction Down Passenger Loop – Stoke-on-Trent (P2) SD 16.06 – Crewe P12 (SD 16.34)
All timings are provisional. NOTE: Bookings can be submitted in person on our 13 August Chiltern tour.
The Cliffe Hopper booking form (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).
Jordan Hedjaz Railway Tour
The increasing variety and expanding range of our BLS fixtures reaches a new level… A chance to broaden your horizons and try something completely different along with some familiar faces in amazing landscape! 73,500 British Nationals safely visited this fascinating historic Kingdom in 2014. The 1,050mm (approx 3'5½"!) gauge Hejaz Railway, the target of several notorious demolition attempts by Lawrence of Arabia, ceased operations in 2011. Recently excursions (Saturdays only) for locals have become available from the capital, Amman to El-Jiza which are available to tourists but poorly advertised. Charters are operated north to Mafraq and south to Qatrana. South of Qatrana to Menzil the former line is reportedly OOU. With thanks to our member Iain Scotchman, expressions of interest are invited, from members and non-members as soon as possible, to assess the viability of a BLS diesel charter (BLS T&Cs apply) on a cost sharing basis. For an idea of distance, it is 95 miles by road between each end. The line would be covered over two days, based at Amman Airport Hotel, (British Airways & Royal Jordanian Airlines direct Heathrow flights). Iain is also investigating with his Jordanian contacts the possibility of travelling further south to the Aqaba Railway Corporation section, which transports phosphates to the port of Aqaba (over 150 miles from Qatrana by road; the railway is much longer). Note this is only an aspiration at present.
UPDATE 30 JULY 2016: Negotiations for this venture have proven to be a long, slow process but with confirmation from Jordan-Hijaz Railway (JHR) to run a tour over the whole line from Amman both to the north to Al Mafraq and, critically, to the south over the Aqaba Railway Corporation (ARC) route to Aqaba. Full details of the tour are yet to be confirmed but negotiations are sufficiently advanced to invite bookings.
The tour will be offered on a train-only basis, starting from Amman on 10 November 2016, ending in Aqaba Port on the Red Sea on 14 November. Cost of the tour will be £700. A minimum of 25 bookings are required and if this is not reached by the cut-off date of 30 September, the tour will be cancelled.
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Planned Future Events