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.
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Our Next Railtours
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).
The Rylstone Cowboy
The Branch Line Society in conjunction with the Penistone Line Partnership (PLP) is delighted to announce two short but exciting loco-hauled reasonably timed charters operated by West Coast Railways Company (WCRC) traversing a much sought after 7-mile long branch line, including the main line connection at Skipton. The 5-coach train will be powered by a WCRC Class 47/57 ETH locomotive. With particular thanks to Tarmac and GBRf, the charter will proceed beyond the Network Rail boundary on the picturesque Rylstone branch for the locomotive to run round via the third crossover. Any profits will be donated to the PLP to assist with their ongoing work on the Penistone Line. As usual, our fund raising activity will be supported by a raffle. There will be a service of seasonal drinks, light refreshments, and real ales will be available for sale. The first trip is expected to cover No1 Bunker Line whilst the second trip is expected to cover No2 Bunker Line. It is expected the train will be suitably decorated and there may even be a special visitor undertaking revenue protection!
Our ROUTE, validated by WCRC and bid to Network Rail, is as follows:
Skipton P4 (PU 11.50) – Dn Shipley (RM) – Rylstone via No 1 Bunker (RM) – Dn Shipley (RM) – Skipton P4 (SD 14.18)
Skipton P4 (PU 14.50) – Dn Shipley (RM) – Rylstone via No 2 Bunker (RM) – Dn Shipley (RM) – Skipton P4 (SD 17.18)
Additionally, BLS members have the special opportunity to advance purchase a ticket for the PLP Annual Christmas Train from Huddersfield to Skipton via Barnsley, Wakefield Kirkgate and Leeds (return). The Class 155 powered service operated by Northern Rail connects with the first trip to Rylstone (only). Departing Huddersfield P4 (PU 08.45) the service calls at all Penistone Line stations to Barnsley where it reverses before arriving at Skipton 10.45. The return departs Skipton 16.30 arriving back at Huddersfield P4 18.27. The observant will note the use of the main line connection at Huddersfield by the PLP train.
All timings are provisional.
The Rylstone Cowboy booking form (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).
All BOOKINGS using the form overleaf should be sent to Kev Adlam Fixtures Team, Branch Line Society, 53 Kemble Close, Wistaston, CREWE, CW2 6XN. If you do not have an email address please provide a stamped self-addressed envelope with your booking, and a second if an initial acknowledgment of receipt is required. All queries should be directed to Kev Adlam, by email firstname.lastname@example.org THERE IS NO NEED TO EMAIL TO BOOK A PLACE, JUST POST THE APPLICATION PLEASE. If you do not have email queries can be made by post (with an sae) or if necessary by telephone on 01270 662 396 Monday to Friday between 20.30 and 21.30 only please. Note that tickets are NOT transferable and smoking is not permitted on 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 be cautious about connections and buying advance train tickets. Please note no refunds will be entertained on cancellations within 48 hours of the tour. Tickets will be sent out seven days before the tour – where possible this will be an e-ticket with a souvenir ticket being provided on the train. Standard Branch Line Society Terms and Conditions apply to all participants (available to download on our website or by post with an SAE).
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.
Queries and notifications: email@example.com
Planned Future Events