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The Sheffield & Midland Joint Railway

 

Marple was a busy station on a line built by a joint committee formed by the Midland Railway and the Manchester Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway.

 

The co-operation came about as a result of the Midland’s push to reach Manchester in the face of opposition by the London & North Western Railway, and the MS&LR’s design to extend south of Manchester, a move opposed by the Great Northern Railway.

 

The route opened in 1867, and originally ran from Manchester via Ashburys, Guide Bridge and Hyde Junction.  A more direct route was taken from 1875, via Reddish.  All routes converged to the north of Romiley, and the section with which I am concerned – Romiley, Marple, Strines, New Mills – featured throughout.

 

The line was the mainline for the Midland, so consequently very busy, but the Midland obtained powers for its own direct route from Chinley, via Disley tunnel, Hazel Grove, Heaton Mersey, Didsbury etc to Manchester in 1897.  I believe that this route was not fully open until some point in 1902.

 

The section concerned had notable scenic features, the line on a rock shelf surrounded by industry at New Mills, a country station at Strines, a tunnel, Marple in its cutting and canal wharf and tunnel and viaduct and aqueduct beyond.

 

Marple itself, at the turn of the Century, as an operationally intense site within the physical constraints of a cutting, offers a great subject for a club exhibition layout (or someone with a large shed and lots of stock).

 

Notes on Marple Station

 

Marple was a key point on the Midland’s London to Manchester route at 1900, where down expresses were often split 3 ways (to Liverpool; Manchester Central and Manchester Victoria), and the same reassembled in the Up direction. This required some very smart working, with both the Up Loop and Down Bay being used extensively for re-marshalling purposes.

 

The signal diagram below is taken from: http://forum.signalbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=6558&start=45

 

Workings at Marple around 1900, in a quote taken from a book entitled ‘Railways of Marple and District From 1794,’ by M T Burton:

The busiest period was the 2 hours following 8.15 a.m., when no less than 23 trains were booked to call, terminate or start at Marple, in addition to those passing through without stopping.

The first of the torrent was a Midland Up local from Stockport, which terminated at the Up platform, and quickly shunted into the Down bay. This was followed at 8.27 by a Down G.C. New Mills-London Road train, the morning business express; at the same moment an Up Midland local for Millers Dale was calling at the opposite platform. 7 minutes later the same Up platform received the 8.35 arrival from Manchester Victoria, which terminated and shunted into the Up loop, before the train with which it connected, the Midland West of England Express from Central, drew in at 8.48, and soon departed again for Bristol. Meanwhile at the other platform, a Down G.C. Hayfield-London Road local departed at 8.47, followed 3 minutes later from the Down bay by a local for Stockport and Altrincham, formed by the loco and coaches of the 8.15 arrival from Stockport.

At 9.15 arrived another Up train, a Midland non-stop service from Victoria, to connect with the following St. Pancras express. The Victoria train had however to quickly shunt out of the way into the Up loop, as 4 minutes later at 9.19 an Up G.C. local for New Mills was due, while at the same time in the Down platform a Midland semi-fast from Rotherham and Sheffield halted for 3 minutes; it left for Manchester Central at 9.20, closely followed 3 minutes later by the return to Manchester Victoria of the train which had arrived at 8.35- this would leave from the Down bay, if there had been time to get the stock across between trains, or if not, from the Up loop.

Traffic was now reaching a crescendo, and at 9.25 an express from Liverpool Central arrived, terminated in the Up platform, and was quickly propelled into the Up loop, and the engine turned on the turntable.
Within a few minutes the Manchester-St. Pancras Dining Car express drew in at 9.31, with through coaches for Nottingham and Sheffield also attached: promptly the shunter detached the rear 3 or 4 coaches destined for Sheffield, and the main express departed at 9.36; the Sheffield coaches were quickly provided with an engine (probably off the 8.57 local arrival from Stockport) and left 4 minutes later.

At the same moment as this caravan like train was being dealt with at the Up main platform, a Derby-Manchester express was being divided at the Down main platform. Arriving at 9.30, the rear 2 or 3 coaches were shed for Manchester Victoria, and left in the Down platform; once the main train had left for Central at 9.35, the loco and coaches which had been waiting in the Down bay since arrival from Victoria at 9.15, drew out, backed onto the Derby coaches and left for Victoria at 9.38. Hard on its heels, the connecting 9.44 for Liverpool left from the Up loop, with the train that had arrived at 9.25.

It can thus be seen that at approximately 9.35, all four platforms were occupied with 7 trains or portions standing in them simultaneously destined for Liverpool, Manchester Victoria, Manchester Central, Sheffield, St. Pancras and Nottingham, and one from Stockport; two trains were dividing simultaneously, there were 4 departures within 5 minutes and three light engines shunting from line to line.

 

Marple was by-passed for express services on the opening of the ‘Cut Off’ line between New Mills and Heaton Mersey in 1902, followed by Chinley becoming the new re-marshalling point for expresses after rebuilding in 1905.  Signal boxes were reduced from three to one.

 

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I believe it has been done before, but it would make an interesting and very busy model. A lot of locos and stock would be needed.

 

As an aside, certainly in LNER days, large passenger engines were sometimes run in on the locals. I recall seeing, for example, a photo of a B17 on a local. I strongly suspect that this practice would also have applied earlier.

 

You could justify practically any MR locos. I suspect the only GC engines that would be unlikely to be seen would be the very largest goods locos. GC local passenger workings would be all four and six wheelers. They also ran the Hayfield pick-up goods and a thrice weekly train to Peak Forest, chiefly for stone/ballast traffic. The MR would see virtually all (if not all) the MR Manchester goods traffic, and a decent selection of express and local passenger trains. Some were divided at Marple with a portion going to or coming from Manchester Victoria. For a pre-group layout, the ideal owner(s) would be capable of building almost anything from scratch, although the wagons would be relatively easy to procure.

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I believe it has been done before, but it would make an interesting and very busy model. A lot of locos and stock would be needed.

 

As an aside, certainly in LNER days, large passenger engines were sometimes run in on the locals. I recall seeing, for example, a photo of a B17 on a local. I strongly suspect that this practice would also have applied earlier.

 

You could justify practically any MR locos. I suspect the only GC engines that would be unlikely to be seen would be the very largest goods locos. GC local passenger workings would be all four and six wheelers. They also ran the Hayfield pick-up goods and a thrice weekly train to Peak Forest, chiefly for stone/ballast traffic. The MR would see virtually all (if not all) the MR Manchester goods traffic, and a decent selection of express and local passenger trains. Some were divided at Marple with a portion going to or coming from Manchester Victoria. For a pre-group layout, the ideal owner(s) would be capable of building almost anything from scratch, although the wagons would be relatively easy to procure.

 

Marple is a temptation to which I keep returning.  I think the first time I mentioned it on RMWeb was in the pre-Grouping Layout topic (here - http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/74169-pre-grouping-layouts/?p=1971450), in August 2015.  Following that, a RMWeb member did contact me to say that he was building Marple in EM, but I was unable to supply him with the particular information he had sought.  

 

I've not seen a model of Marple, and I don't know of anyone to complete one.  It would make a very ambitious solo project. The stock needed pre-1902 in particular would be enormous in quantity.

 

I'd like to think that the GC contribution included various old MS&L types, some still in their MS&L livery..   

 

IIRC there was a 7mm scale layout of New Mills at the other end of the section, and there is also a small scale museum model of that area.

 

I think if you could extend the Marple scene to include the viaduct, that would give you a spectacular 'scenic section', with the lower level aqueduct and the canal turning under the railway viaduct.

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Burton's book is available on-line on the Marple website

 

James, you're familiar with my turntable size obsession. The turntable shown on the plans you've posted was of 45ft diameter and seems to have been added when the station was enlarged (1875?). That's not a standard Midland size, pointing to the 'joint' nature of the works. A turntable of this size was too small for the larger 19th-century Midland 4-4-0s and 4-2-2s - it could take only the 1312,1327, 1808, 2581, 25, 1853, and 179 Classes (plus of course any 2-4-0 or 0-6-0). According to Ahrons, the 1312 Class were at Liverpool at least until the end of the 19th century although the working he particularly mentions is between Liverpool Exchange and Blackburn, to connect with the Manchester Victoria portion of the Scotch expresses. Engines of the 1327 Class were at Manchester, working through to Leicester. The 1808 Class were also assigned new to Liverpool and Manchester, but chiefly for the Scotch expresses to Hellifield - they were pretty much Lancashire & Yorkshire engines, being given board and lodging* at Newton Heath and Sandhills. As regards the singles, Ahrons writes: 'As the Cheshire Lines were considered to be a road eminently suitable for "single" engines, Nos 1863 to 1866 were sent to Liverpool, to run the London expresses to Marple.' So to add to the brisk working, there was the problem of turning an engine quickly on a table where it would only just fit. A second turntable, of 50ft diameter, was installed on the south side of the Brabyns Brow bridge, at some time between 1896 and 1907, going by the OS 25" maps. This could take anything apart from Compounds, Belpaires, and 'Princess of Wales' singles. [Ref. C. Hawkins and G. Reeve, LMS Engine Sheds Vol. 2 (Wild Swan Publications, 1981).]

 

*Not actually Ahrons' phrase but in his style!

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Burton's book is available on-line on the Marple website

 

James, you're familiar with my turntable size obsession. The turntable shown on the plans you've posted was of 45ft diameter and seems to have been added when the station was enlarged (1875?). That's not a standard Midland size, pointing to the 'joint' nature of the works. A turntable of this size was too small for the larger 19th-century Midland 4-4-0s and 4-2-2s - it could take only the 1312,1327, 1808, 2581, 25, 1853, and 179 Classes (plus of course any 2-4-0 or 0-6-0). According to Ahrons, the 1312 Class were at Liverpool at least until the end of the 19th century although the working he particularly mentions is between Liverpool Exchange and Blackburn, to connect with the Manchester Victoria portion of the Scotch expresses. Engines of the 1327 Class were at Manchester, working through to Leicester. The 1808 Class were also assigned new to Liverpool and Manchester, but chiefly for the Scotch expresses to Hellifield - they were pretty much Lancashire & Yorkshire engines, being given board and lodging* at Newton Heath and Sandhills. As regards the singles, Ahrons writes: 'As the Cheshire Lines were considered to be a road eminently suitable for "single" engines, Nos 1863 to 1866 were sent to Liverpool, to run the London expresses to Marple.' So to add to the brisk working, there was the problem of turning an engine quickly on a table where it would only just fit. A second turntable, of 50ft diameter, was installed on the south side of the Brabyns Brow bridge, at some time between 1896 and 1907, going by the OS 25" maps. This could take anything apart from Compounds, Belpaires, and 'Princess of Wales' singles. [Ref. C. Hawkins and G. Reeve, LMS Engine Sheds Vol. 2 (Wild Swan Publications, 1981).]

 

*Not actually Ahrons' phrase but in his style!

 

That is all most interesting.

 

I do recall, I think apropos turning a Ratio 4-4-0 on CA, that you mentioned the Midland had only 3 45' turntables, one of which was at Marple.

 

The EM modeller I mentioned was planning to model the 'two-table period', and that seems sensible from a modeller's point of view. 

 

I assume that it would have made sense to install the second TT before the Chinley direct route opened, but you never know with railway companies! The map I posted was an 1896 revision of earlier surveys (1871 in the case of Cheshire), and published in 1898, but the OS were not always diligent in updating track plans!

 

If it had been an 1896 survey, I'd have more confidence in the track formation being accurate at that date.

Edited by Edwardian
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I thought I would post this RCH map to provide more food for thought.  Marple seems to have been very well connected indeed.

Peterfgf

 

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A layout based on Marple was originally built by members of Hazel Grove & District MRS back in the 1980s and it appeared in Railway Modeller. The track layout was adapted slightly to suit and made into a continuous run with a fiddle yard and IIRC based on BR steam era. I'm not just sure what happened to the layout but I think one of the members brought it.

HTH Paul

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Comments on the diagram.

 

It's Tiviot Dale.  There's a thread on RMweb about it too.  It is now a motorway.

 

There's a line missing from Romiley to Marple Rose Hill and on to Higher Poynton.  This doesn't affect the traffic through Marple station itself but it branched off close to where the line towards Manchester crossed the canal just before the aqueduct.  You may find this of interest: http://www.marple-uk.com/railways/c05_01.htm

 

 

The line running through Woodley via Hyde and on to Manchester also passed close to Gorton.  As a major centre of locomotive building and repair this might provide an excuse for some running in turns for recently overhauled locomotives and an explanation for having something out of the ordinary hauling a smaller train.  (There were also wagon and carriage works at Duckinfield though I'm not sure how this helps with a model of Marple.)

 

 

I'm glad you included the aqueduct photograph.  It is an interesting mix of structures: railway, canal and a narrow river below.  The canal has some fancy brickwork (on the Romiley side of the aqueduct) and stonework (on the Marple side) at several points along this stretch including one feature I've always liked where the towpath crosses from one side to another via one of those curved/spiral bridges that avoid the towrope getting tangled but allow the horse to remain hitched.

 

Heading towards New Mills, just after leaving Marple station the line is on the ridge above a series of small lakes which were, and still are, a leisure destination: http://www.mellorarchaeology.org.uk/mellor-mill-1792-1892/roman-lakes.html

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Ticks a lot of boxes for a model. Main snag (and often the case with suitably compact designs) is that it is in a narrow cutting, so not easy to view.

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Ticks a lot of boxes for a model. Main snag (and often the case with suitably compact designs) is that it is in a narrow cutting, so not easy to view.

 

Yes, but the near side of the cutting need not be modelled, if you don't mind having the railway well forward in the scene.

 

To me it seems natural that the viewing side would be the west side so that the main station building is to the front and the goods shed to the rear.

Edited by Compound2632
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Comments on the diagram.

 

It's Tiviot Dale.  There's a thread on RMweb about it too.  It is now a motorway.

 

There's a line missing from Romiley to Marple Rose Hill and on to Higher Poynton.  This doesn't affect the traffic through Marple station itself but it branched off close to where the line towards Manchester crossed the canal just before the aqueduct.  You may find this of interest: http://www.marple-uk.com/railways/c05_01.htm

 

 

The line running through Woodley via Hyde and on to Manchester also passed close to Gorton.  As a major centre of locomotive building and repair this might provide an excuse for some running in turns for recently overhauled locomotives and an explanation for having something out of the ordinary hauling a smaller train.  (There were also wagon and carriage works at Duckinfield though I'm not sure how this helps with a model of Marple.)

 

 

I'm glad you included the aqueduct photograph.  It is an interesting mix of structures: railway, canal and a narrow river below.  The canal has some fancy brickwork (on the Romiley side of the aqueduct) and stonework (on the Marple side) at several points along this stretch including one feature I've always liked where the towpath crosses from one side to another via one of those curved/spiral bridges that avoid the towrope getting tangled but allow the horse to remain hitched.

 

Heading towards New Mills, just after leaving Marple station the line is on the ridge above a series of small lakes which were, and still are, a leisure destination: http://www.mellorarchaeology.org.uk/mellor-mill-1792-1892/roman-lakes.html

 

Yes, it is Tiviot - not my diagram! - so thanks for the corrections!

 

It's really two scenes, or two layouts(!), because the viaduct/aqueduct adds so much length and is diveded from the station by one of the tunnels.  One option is to is to use the tunnel to flip the line via 90 or even 180 degrees, but the top of the tunnel is worth modelling, as you have the canal going over the top of the railway tunnel.  You don't see that often on a model railway!  (Gresley Beat has a raised canal in one corner, IIRC). 

 

I like the canal section for the drama and the landscape, and, of course, there is a rail-served wharf.

 

If we are playing 'fantasy layouts', I'll take both scenes, thank you.

 

There will be a point at which, on one or both sides of the station section, you'll probably need to leave the cutting side open for access, as has already been suggested.

Edited by Edwardian
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As an aside, certainly in LNER days, large passenger engines were sometimes run in on the locals. I recall seeing, for example, a photo of a B17 on a local. I strongly suspect that this practice would also have applied earlier.

It did indeed.  CR 903 'Cardean' class No 907 was on such a running-in turn on a local when she met her end in the Quintinshill disaster.

 

Jim

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Yes, but the near side of the cutting need not be modelled, if you don't mind having the railway well forward in the scene.

 

To me it seems natural that the viewing side would be the west side so that the main station building is to the front and the goods shed to the rear.

Although that seems logical, the station is on a hillside that rises (roughly) from east to west so it might be easier to leave off the 'lower' side of the cutting and have the rising hill as background.  If the model also includes the viaduct and aqueduct then it would be more interesting, I feel, to view the aqueduct through the viaduct (by that point the railway has become higher than the canal).

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There's also this lovely structure just across the road and up the hill from the station entrance on Brabyns Brow.  Nothing to do with the railway of course.

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Edited by teaky
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Although that seems logical, the station is on a hillside that rises (roughly) from east to west so it might be easier to leave off the 'lower' side of the cutting and have the rising hill as background.  If the model also includes the viaduct and aqueduct then it would be more interesting, I feel, to view the aqueduct through the viaduct (by that point the railway has become higher than the canal).

 

Invariably the photographers chose to view the aqueduct in the foreground of the viaduct, for good reason, as this is the best way to view it, though if modelled with the same viewpoint, you have to 'cross the tracks' to view the wharf.

 

It is a very, very long combined scene, even if bent double (or triple!) on a layout, and there needs to be room the other side of the road underbridge that gives access to the platforms at Marple station, because the second TT was accommodated there.

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Edited by Edwardian
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Although that seems logical, the station is on a hillside that rises (roughly) from east to west so it might be easier to leave off the 'lower' side of the cutting and have the rising hill as background.  If the model also includes the viaduct and aqueduct then it would be more interesting, I feel, to view the aqueduct through the viaduct (by that point the railway has become higher than the canal).

 

Pardon my ignorance of the topography; I was thinking in terms of what would make the most satisfying railway scene to operate - I'm afraid I'm not as good as some at thinking beyond the boundary fence.

 

Invariably the photographers chose to view the aqueduct in the foreground of the viaduct, if modelled with the same viewpoint, you have to 'cross the tracks' to view the wharf.

 

It is a very, very long combined scene, even if bent double (or triple!) on a layout, and there needs to be room the other side of the road underbridge that gives access to the platforms at Marple station, because the second TT was accommodated there.

 

I'd be happy to ditch the second turntable - it would be after my preferred date, anyway.

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Pardon my ignorance of the topography; I was thinking in terms of what would make the most satisfying railway scene to operate - I'm afraid I'm not as good as some at thinking beyond the boundary fence.

 

 

I'd be happy to ditch the second turntable - it would be after my preferred date, anyway.

 

When is your preferred date and when was the second TT installed?

 

I need to take a moment to read the article, I confess, I have not yet done so, and so I risk blathering on in a state of ignorance in the meantime.

 

I would have plumped for c.1900, at any rate, before the Chinley tunnel cut-off was opened, which I think was 1902.  That should suit your Midland lamp iron preferences as well as my wish to see a mix of MS&L and GC liveries.

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When is your preferred date and when was the second TT installed?

 

I need to take a moment to read the article, I confess, I have not yet done so, and so I risk blathering on in a state of ignorance in the meantime.

 

I would have plumped for c.1900, at any rate, before the Chinley tunnel cut-off was opened, which I think was 1902.  That should suit your Midland lamp iron preferences as well as my wish to see a mix of MS&L and GC liveries.

 

Circa 1900 sounds about right - just late enough to justify a Belpaire (the first five Compounds being confined to Leeds-Carlisle and London-Leicester-Leeds); the date of the second TT is unclear but I'd ditch it anyway for convenience. The mix of teak (M&SL?) and brown/grey does appeal, per the viaduct postcard - or does that date from after the move away from the brown/grey?

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Pardon my ignorance of the topography; I was thinking in terms of what would make the most satisfying railway scene to operate - I'm afraid I'm not as good as some at thinking beyond the boundary fence.

 

 

I'd be happy to ditch the second turntable - it would be after my preferred date, anyway.

In case you think I'm a map reading whizz, Compound, I'm not, I grew up near Marple.  If it wasn't for this inside knowledge, I'd agree with your suggestion.  Mind you, sometimes buildings at the front can provide interesting views of trains.

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Circa 1900 sounds about right - just late enough to justify a Belpaire (the first five Compounds being confined to Leeds-Carlisle and London-Leicester-Leeds); the date of the second TT is unclear but I'd ditch it anyway for convenience. The mix of teak (M&SL?) and brown/grey does appeal, per the viaduct postcard - or does that date from after the move away from the brown/grey?

 

Well, we have chaps here who could tell us precisely when the brown and grey came in.

 

Guessing 1899, year of the London Extension.

 

Further and better particulars are hereby requested ... 

Edited by Edwardian
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Invariably the photographers chose to view the aqueduct in the foreground of the viaduct, for good reason, as this is the best way to view it, though if modelled with the same viewpoint, you have to 'cross the tracks' to view the wharf.

 

It is a very, very long combined scene, even if bent double (or triple!) on a layout, and there needs to be room the other side of the road underbridge that gives access to the platforms at Marple station, because the second TT was accommodated there.

I agree with "for good reason".  If a photographer aimed for the aqueduct in the background of the viaduct then too much of the aqueduct detail would be lost and it doesn't make for as good a good composition when viewed from the paths near the river Goyt.  From our model-viewing helicopter position however we would have the advantage of being able to peer over the viaduct or through it which I think would be most attractive.

 

Perhaps this would make a good exhibition layout?  Taking your suggestion of a split at the tunnel one could have the station on one board, a hidden 90 or 180 degree bend, then the aqueduct scene.

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I have just looked at an 1898 OS map that shows no turntables at all! But as we know, OS maps can not be relied upon to be up to date.

 

But this thread piqued my interest and I "followed" the line down to New Mills. I had no idea that this was such a spectacular location. Cries out to be modelled, whatever the era.

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I have just looked at an 1898 OS map that shows no turntables at all! But as we know, OS maps can not be relied upon to be up to date.

 

But this thread piqued my interest and I "followed" the line down to New Mills. I had no idea that this was such a spectacular location. Cries out to be modelled, whatever the era.

 

Which scale/edition are you looking at? Some of the earlier ones are seriously disconcerting - they don't even show the next county! 

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Which scale/edition are you looking at? Some of the earlier ones are seriously disconcerting - they don't even show the next county! 

1:2500, 1898. It shows the line leading to the turntable (opposite the station building/up end of platform loop) but not the turntable itself.

Edited by Joseph_Pestell

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Barry Norman drew up a plan in MRJ 99 and made a very good case for it

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