GENSHEET rare and closed lines in use by passenger trains

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North Somerset Jn On 3 July 2023 a points failure closed Richmond NLL platforms, and trains were turned back at, among other places, Willesden jn using the low level bay. While inward trains were emptied out at Kensal Rise, the return workings were in service from Willesden low level to Kensal Rise
Photographs in Timetable number order
Tilbury Riverside A class 308 EMU at Tilbury Riverside station. This station closed in 1993 and was also associated with a piece of rare track in the curve east from the station. This had a limited service for many years prior to which most trains reversed at Riverside and the rare track was the north side of the triangle.
Stratford, Easter 1990 Stratford, Easter 1990. Liverpool St was totally closed, so both Shenfield and West Anglia lines were turned at Stratford. For Enfield Town & Cheshunt services this meant use of Tottenham South - South Tottenham - Seven Sisters curves, and trains ran both ways around Channelsea loop.
Norwich Trowse During work at Norwich station in 1986 the station was closed and a temporary station opened on the site of Trowse station closed in 1964. In addition London trains used the Wensum curve to run forward to Yarmouth to be serviced and run round.
31455 on Ely West curve in 1988 Ely West curve, in the last days of regular service use, 31455 on the 1027 Birmingham - Norwich 30 April 1988. While converting from hauled services to DMU removed the need to use the curve, the resignalling of the area resulted in use eastwards being deemed unacceptable until corrected in 2014. There remains one train a week westwards and eastwards saw diversions on 29 June 2014.
47522 with a Leeds train, diverted via Hertford in March 1987 The diversion of Kings Cross main line services around the Hertford loop features in the timetables at least once a year, this is from 1987. With one of the last booked hauled services and a rather mixed set of stock heading for Leeds behind 47522 crossing the flyover at Alexandra Palace
Pyewipe Junction, Lincoln A diverted ECML HST service leaving the Pyewipe avoiding curve west of Lincoln. Services were diverted between Newark and Doncaster on 4 May 1997. The teletext clue for this was "trains diverted not calling at Retford"
47475 at Doncaster with a train diverted via Lincoln On the same day a diverted ECML electric service arriving at Doncaster, dragged by 47475.
Ulceby A single car class 153 approaches Ulceby from Barnetby via the normally non passenger served chord. This was due to engineering work east of Haborough. As Ulceby has only got the one platform (the normal route from Grimsby comes in as a single line seen to the left) the train had to run past and reverse back in to the platform.
Don Valley Stadium station, Sheffield trams, with a train passing on the NR line On 20 February 2005 work blocked the normal routes through Meadowhall and Rotherham Masborough and services were diverted via Woodburn Jn - Broughton Lane Jn - Rotherham Ctl Jn - Aldewarke Jn, the access to Tinsley yard. This route is parallel to the Sheffield supertram allowing easy access for photography.

This photograph is taken at Don Valley Stadium station as a class 153 passes on a local train
Class 220 passing Broughton Lane Jn, Tinsley This is Broughton Lane Jn, taken from 'Valley Centertainment' tram stop, with the line to Tinsley climbing up beside the twin-220 of a Penzance - Edinburgh service.
Syston North of Leicester is the Syston curve. Use has declined recently as it sees a handful of Peterborough - Nottingham workings. Back in 1990 it was used even less, only being used for summer extra services, such as this with 47329 hauling the 1607 Yarmouth - Liverpool. Currently a limited service of table 49 trains use this route, most trains are via Grantham.
Syston Another use of Syston north curve was for diverted services when the ECML was blocked. At Easter 1993 this is the 1420 Doncaster - Kings Cross, having run via Swinton - Masborough Stn - Beighton - Tapton - Toton Jns and Loughborough. The train was also signalled over Trent High level goods line, but the driver did not know the route and it was reset.
Euston Diveunder A Euston - Birmingham service leaving Euston via the low level diveunder. This route is used by trains from the lower numbered platforms 4, 5 & 6. The Euston remodelling made this route more common.
Loco 47625 sits at Willesden Acton Branch Jn

Loco 87025 is added for the run north over the WCML
On 16 June 1990 the 14:10 Eastbourne - Manchester service is seen here having been diverted from Reading via Acton, Acton Wells and Acton Canal Wharf Jns. A locomotive change was made at Willesden Acton Branch Junction before departing direct to the fast lines and north to Coventry via the WCML. The train was 45 minutes early at Milton Keynes and caused some disruption, as it had been given a booked stop there.
221 units passing Northolt

221 units passing Greenford
A diverted Birmingham - Euston special service passing Northolt (upper) and a northbound train passing Greenford (lower). Both pictures 5 July 2008. An hourly service was run on Saturdays through the summer and uses several bits of rare track, and the Greenford LUL Bay - West Jn line which has no normal service.
West London Junction A Peterborough - Minehead charter crossed London via Finsbury Park, Kings Cross Incline, Primrose Hill and (seen here) leaving the WCML for Willesden SW sidings and Acton to join the GW main line.
Class 58 approaching Birmingham

A London - Birmingham train, diverted via Nuneaton instead of Coventry, approaches Birmingham New Street hauled by 58014. (Upper)

58040 deteches from a Wolverhampton - Euston service at Nuneaton (Lower) 

This diversion is often set in the timetable for Sundays although freight loco's are very unusual on it these days, VWC tending to use thier 'Thunderbird' class 57 locos or Voyager DEMU. This is now a 'rare track' route as well, being the only passenger use of Nuneaton N - Abbey Jns now that the regular Leicester - Birmingham service uses the flyover
Class 87 at St Pancras

On 12 October 1991 WCML Liverpool services were started from St Pancras. The upper picture shows 87002 is seen leaving St Pancras for Bedford, where the drag engines were attached. The normal route was attained at Nuneaton via the Wigston South curve. The lower picture is 47550 hauling the 1109 St Pancras - Liverpool.
Upperby Station

Upperby Station
At Easter 1994 the bridge south of Carlisle station was replaced. To cope with this a temporary station was built at Upperby on the Carlisle Goods Lines. This served the lines to Newcastle and Settle via London Road Jn and to Whitehaven via Bog Jn. A few services also ran to Penrith via Upperby Bridge Jn. Although most WCML services terminated at Penrith a few services ran through, as seen here with views taken from the 0724 Aberdeen - Plymouth. This was diverted from Edinburgh via Newcastle.

The lower picture also shows a Whitehaven service at the far platform for Bog Jn. This did however have to depart southwards a short distance and cross over to the correct line.
Heysham harbour station which sees two trains a day for the Manx ferry sailings
507026 at Ellesmere Port in 1995. Ellesmere Port, the right hand platform seen here is now used for the very few remaining trains to Helsby, Warrington or Liverpool. All DC Merseyrail trains use the platform as shown. The photograph is from May 1995 just before the frequent service towards Helsby ceased.
Neasden South Jn
Neasden South Jn
Neasden South curve
Neasden curve
Neasden Jn
Neasden Jn
Acton Canal Wharf Jn
Acton Canal Wharf Jn
67012 Berkhamstead
67012 Berkhamstead
A new diversion in 2010 was due to the determination of Wrexham & Shropshire to run through if at all possible. This saw their Marylebone - Wrexham trains run via South Ruislip (rev) - Ealing Broadway - Acton Canal Wharf - WCML on several occasions, a reverse of the West Coast blockbuster trains the previous year. Somewhat rarer has been the use of Neasden curve. This is very much a second choice, but on 7 August 2010 with a block Wembley - Northolt Jn it was the only route available.

The pictures show several locations on the diversion, the first reversal at Neasden South Jn, traversing Neasden curve and reversing again at Acton Wells Jn.
67012 Berkhamstead
67012 Berkhamstead
A diverted Wrexham & Shropshire service as noted above, passing Berkhamstead on 7 August 2010.
165029 at Aylesbury with a train for Quainton Road

165029 at Quainton

Claydon LNE Junction
A line at one time frequented by special trains and thought likely to reopen was Aylesbury - Claydon - Bletchley. Despite opening from Oxford to Bicester, the Claydon - Bletchley section is out of use. The top picture is of a train leaving Aylesbury for Quainton, Quainton itself is the middle image
Quainton still sees a few special service days in association with the museum.

The lower image is of Claydon LNE Junction where a special train from Aylesbury to Milton Keynes is seen receiving the single line token (17 Nov 1990). The section of line from here to near Bletchley is currently closed
165128+137+119 at Twyford The Henley branch connection at Twyford usually sees a couple of peak hour trans a day. However on the Saturday of Henley Regatta this needs a 6-car train and that has to use the relief line platform, not the bay.
47663 approaching High Wycombe With Didcot - Oxford blocked, a diverted Birmingham - Poole service approaches High Wycombe. The train will continue via South Ruislip and Hanwell curves. Not much used the centre road at High Wycombe either, and this was subsequently removed.
43190 heading north of Oxford with a diverted Bristol to Birmingham service in November 1984, it would have used Didcot Foxhall curve.
Filton Junctions A new track layout was installed at Filton, near Bristol, in June 2004. During this time trains from Wales or Birmingham to Bristol were diverted via Avonmouth. Here a VXC Voyager is seen leaving Bristol Parkway and running onto the Avonmouth line
North Somerset Jn

Depot buildings

Avon river bridge
In summer 2021 the junctions east of Bristol Temple Meads were rebuilt, causing a number of diversions as the work progressed. Most notable was the few days as the work changed over and the final week when very few trains could reach Bristol Temple Meads at all and this resulted in some trains via St Philips Marsh depot, including passing through the carriage washer. The images here were taken from the 1214 Bristol Parkway - Weston super Mare as it ran through the depot site.
East end of depot lines at North Somerset Jn
Depot buildings approaching carriage wash
Albert Road Viaduct over the river Avon

The other less unusual diversions included:
  • Cardiff - Portsmouth via Dr Days (Filton - Bath direct)
  • Bristol - Birmingham via East depot reverse and Dr Days
  • Bristol - Taunton via Bath and Westbury
Wapping Wharf line Bristol During the GWR 150 celebrations in 1985 special trains were run to Wapping Wharf (seen here) and also Portishead. This section of line is now out of use but part of the Bristol Harbour museum. The trains returned via the depot loop,
Upperby Station The summer-only Fishguard - Cardiff service at Whitland, September 2004. This train runs daily, using Carmarthen avoider and the Swansea District line. However it is not hauled after February.
Yeovil Pen Mill, a diverted London - Plymouth service in May 1986 An earlier view of the London Westbury - Exeter via Yeovil diversion, at Yeovil Pen Mill is 50033 with the 1335 London - Penzance of 10 May 1986
Yeovil Junction In May 1986 a cross-country HST climbs up from Yeovil Pen Mill to Yeovil Junction, diverted Bristol - Westbury - Yeovil - Exeter.
East Putney 2008 February 2008 saw two Sundays of diversions via East Putney (down only). Here a class 455 is seen passing East Putney LUL station having come up from the Richmond lines. More images here
Upperby Station During the winter of 2004 extensive engineering work was carried out near Waterloo. When certain lines were shut services via Wimbledon were diverted over the LUL District line and the curve at East Putney. Here a class 455 local train crosses over to the District at Wimbledon. Main line services were diverted from Woking via Virginia Water which used the West Byfleet - Addlestone curve
Bournemouth West During the open day at Bournemouth Depot in 1998 access was by a shuttle service from Bournemouth station. This used the normally non passenger line into the depot (to the right here seen from Branksome). This line used to be the end of the Somerset & Dorset running to Bournemouth West station. Another trip within the depot gave a brakevan trip down to the depot headshunt which is at the former station throat.
Victoria 219 points A Tonbridge - Victoria service crosses number 219 points to enter the ex SE division side of Victoria from the Central division side.
Folkestone Harbour The 1440 Folkestone Harbour to London leaves the Harbour station to climb the incline up to the main line. This line is now closed.
Folkestone Harbour Station

0823 Reading - Folkestone Harbour
Two trains in Folkestone Harbour Station on 8 June 1985, on the left one to London whilst on the right is the 'Day out in Kent or France' service, 1930 Folkestone Harbour - Reading.
Departing Reading at 0823 as a normal service to Waterloo this ran Clapham Junction - Factory - Longhedge - Ludgate Jns. - Herne Hill
Minster curve Although the curve from Minster towards Sandwich has a limited timetabled service it also sees use during engineering works. On 5 April 2003 the lines were closed from here to Ramsgate, as can be just seen in the distance, hence Charing Cross - Dover - Ramsgate trains such as this were diverted to terminate at Minster. Trains via Canterbury West also terminated here, using the rare crossover (behind me in this view) on arrival.
Whifflet This photograph is of the recently introduced Glasgow Central - Rutherglen - Whifflet service in Scotland using previously freight only & rare lines. Also visible on the left is the line from Coatbridge Sunnyside Jnc which has been used during blockages in Glasgow Central low level to divert Dalmuir - Lanark services.
Whifflet A Glasgow - Edinburgh service diverted via Shotts and the Edinburgh suburban line passing Cameron Toll, south of Edinburgh. this was in February 1997 but the same diversions and also variations on them, have run in 2006
Hyndland West curve A class 320 EMU departing Anniesland for Balloch via Yoker, using Hyndland west curve. This curve is more normally used for an isolated service during works through Partick, but on two Sundays in September 2017 was accessible from Queen St, with only the Glasgow Central route closed.

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GENSHEET Rare routes page 14 July 2023  All images © M.W.Wilson