Passenger Services Over Unusual Lines (PSUL)

Use this page to add any details regarding how to get those rare curves!

Thornton Jn - Cardenden Easy to get these days with Fife Circle services, but in 1981 only one train per day used it, and you had to spend an overnight in Markinch (or get a bus/taxi from Kirkcaldy).

2G15 0658 SX Markinch - Edinburgh

For years, this train was timed to depart Markinch a few minutes before the first arrival from Dundee, and would have been a useful connection if it had been retimed to run a few minutes later. An acquaintance sent a letter to British Rail Scottish Region asking why this connection could not be made and apparently this was due to pathing conflicts with coal trains in the area.


Barassie Jn - Lochgreen Jn (Troon Avoider) Only one Saturdays-only service uses this line Northbound, hence its inclusion as a freight-only line, but the Southbound options are more readily available:

1M17 0120 SO Stranraer - Blackpool
1S84 2045 FO Euston - Stranraer
1S06 2055 SX /2100 SO Euston - Stranraer
1A27 1135 Glasgow - Stranraer
1S74 1015 Euston - Stranraer

Note that 1A80 (2125 Stranraer - Glasgow) went via the station, even though it was not booked to stop, because you could ask for an SSO for Prestwick, Troon, Irvine, Kilwinning or Johnstone on notice being given at Stranraer. In the game this train stops at Troon.

Ryecroft Jn to Castle Bromwich Jn (via Sutton Park) 1V76, 0840 (SO) Liverpool - Penzance and 1M89, 1018 (SO) Paignton - Manchester. These trains were booked for a crew change at Walsall, so a quick EMU trip to or from New Street will bag this route. These trains also go via Camp Hill, and if you opt for the Saturdays-only express service between Birmingham New St and Walsall, you will also get the route between Soho and Perry Barr - that's three rare routes for the price of one! Another service that went this way was 1V53, 2355 (FO) Liverpool - Penzance, but this was booked a Crewe Change at Landor Street, so was not accessible at Walsall. An alternative way of getting three rare bits of track with these trains was to travel to or from Crewe/Stafford etc so you could get Bushbury Jn - Pleck Jn.

Wolverhampton - Bescot Not many trains went this way in 1981, Most of the services that did enter New Street from the East after coming from Stafford tended to avoid Wolverhampton and go Bushbury Jn - Portobello Jn (See above). Notable exceptions were:

1V63 0803 Wolverhamton - Penzance (SO)
1O06 0847 Wolverhampton - Portsmouth (SO)
1M53 0925 Aberdeen - Birmingham (SX) - This train runs direct into New Street on Saturdays.
1D25 0924 Birmingham - Llandudno (SO)
1M39 0936 Penzance - Wolverhampton (SO)

Aston - Stetchford Used by WCML diversion on Sundays if the Trent Valley was closed for engineering work. These diversions also used Bushbury Jn - Pleck Jn (See above).

Tursdale Jn to Pelaw Jn Used by ECML diversion when there is engineering work between Northallerton and Newcastle. Many of these trains will also go via Stockton, therefore bagging the Ferryhill to Norton Jn line. As a further bonus, you may also get the curve between Gateshead Depot and King Edward Bridge as you enter or leave Newcastle. That's another three-for-one deal!

Daisyfield Jn (Blackburn) to Hellifield Used by WCML diversions when there is engineering work between Lancaster and Carlisle.

Bradley Wood Jn to Greetland Jn Used by 1M05 and 1E57 Sheffield - Blackpool (SO) and return. These services also use the curve between Horbury Station Jn and Crigglestone Jn to the East of Healey Mills yard. The above trains use the route between Mirfield and Sowerby Bridge, but if you want the other permutation, between Halifax and Huddersfield, try 1O11 or 1E28 Bradford - Weymouth (SO) and return.

Oakenshaw Jn (Wakefield) to Pontefract Monkhill Used by trains on Sundays between Leeds and Doncaster. These services also use the Knottingley to Shaftholme Jn line to gain access to the ECML North of Doncaster. For that really rare curve between Calder Bridge Jn and Turners Lane Jn, you need to be on 2L12, 0847 Chesterfield to Scarborough on a Sunday morning.

South Kirkby Jn - Moorthorpe and Crofton West Jn - Oakenshaw Jn Although the curve North of Moorthorpe onto the Doncaster - Wakefield line is much more common nowadays, back in 1981, when the route via Cudworth was still used by Inter-city services between Sheffield and Leeds, there was only one Summer Saturday train in each direction that went from Sheffield to Wakefield via Moorthorpe. As a bonus, these trains went via Wakefield Kirkgate to gain access to the Lancs and Yorks main line via Healey Mills.

1M89 0740 Chesterfield - Blackpool (SO)
1E45 1220 Blackpool - Sheffield (SO)

Anlaby Road Jn to West Parade North Jn (Hull Avoider) Used by the following services:

1L28 1920 Bridlington - Leeds (SuX)
1D22 0750 Hebden Bridge - Bridlington (SO)
1D15 0850 Sheffield - Bridlington (SO)
1D83 0930 Leeds - Bridlington (SO)
1L98 1130 Bridlington - Bradford (SO)+
1M48 1230 Scarborough - Leicester (SO)+
1J22 1330 Scarborough - Sheffield (SO)
1L11 1125 Kings Cross - Scarborough (SO)

+These trains also traverse the rare Gascoigne Wood Jn - Milford Jn curve.

Hadfield - Penistone (Woodhead Route) Used by Sunday diversions when there is engineering work in the Hope Valley.

Ordsall Lane Jn - Castlefield Jn and Parkside East Jn - Lowton Jn This pair of curves leading to and from the Liverpool - Manchester main line is used by Sunday diversions when there is engineering work between Preston and Crewe (this is a standard diversion programmed into the timetable for Summer 1981).

Bamfurlong Jn - Ince Moss Jn Look out for the Rocket-151 celebrations. This took place over a weekend and made use of the line between St Helens Jn and Huyton Jn. All Pennine services to and from Liverpool were diverted and used this curve, calling at St Helens Shaw Street instead of St Helens Junction.

Olive Mount Jn - Aintree Used on Grand National Day by excursion trains to Aintree. Trains often change locos at Warrington Bank Quay, and then traverse the rare Earlestown West Jn - Warrington Jn curve.

Halton Jn - Frodsham Jn Although even rarer nowadays, you still had to be in position to catch one of the following services in 1981:

2D71 0800 Liverpool - Rhyl (SO)
2D82 0916 Liverpool - Llandudno (SO)
2F71 1005 Rhyl - Liverpool (SO)
2F82 1215 Llandudno - Liverpool (SO)
2D82 0940 Liverpool - Llandudno (SUN)
2F82 1933 Llandudno - Liverpool (SUN)

Allington Jn - Barkston East Jn (Grantham Avoider) Pretty straightforward - just be on any of the loco-hauled services between Nottingham and Skegness - they run every day except Fridays (which is why this route is classed as 'Freight Only').

Basford Hall - Crewe North Jn (via the Crewe Avoider) One train uses the Crewe Avoiding Lines to gain access to the Chester Line. 1D81, 2115 Euston Holyhead (SX). Having the loco change in the yard saves time since the electric loco is required for freight duties.


Camp Hill Look out for those Friday night overnight services down to the South West that don't call at Birmingham New St.

1V52 2042 Newcastle - Newquay (FO)
1V55 2320 Bradford - Paignton (FO)
1V58 2212 Newcastle - Paignton (FO)
1V71 0651 Bradford - Penzance (SO)
1V78 0837 Leeds - Paignton (FO)
1V87 0908 Newcastle - Paignton (SO)
1E36 0902 Paignton - Newcastle (SO)
1E22 0950 Newquay - Newcastle (SO)

Last but not least for the Camp Hill Line - the rare curve at the South end, coming from Birmingham New Street via Five Ways, is done by two trains, in one direction only, and just a few minutes apart on a Saturday afternoon. The trains in question are:

1E14 1036 Portsmouth - Sheffield (SO)
1M81 0942 Poole - Nottingham (SO)

Newport East Curve Look out for those Friday night overnight services down to the South West from Liverpool or Manchester that go down the Marches. These trains come back up again on a Saturday afternoon.

Didcot West Curve One Summer Saturday train to and from Paignton does this curve. (Also look out for Franconia playing Leamington Spa for more services via this curve).

1B20 0715 Oxford - Paignton (SO)
1A45 1432 Paignton - Oxford (SO)

Nuneaton - Coventry When WCML services are diverted off the Trent Valley due to engineering work, there is a DMU shuttle along the line to connect with WCML services calling additionally at Coventry.

Tondu Services to and from West Wales reverse here when diverted off the main line due to engineering work.

Swansea Loop West Jn - Landore Jn (The Little Swansea Avoider) One train per day does this, 1A11, 0200 Fishguard Hbr - Paddington (Daily). All other trains avoiding Swansea go via the Swansea District Line (Court Sart Jn - Morlais Jn).

Hallen Marsh Jn - North Filton Join one of the 'Monkey Specials' from South Wales to Bristol Zoo to experience this route.

Motrorail Servies besides sometimes having outrageous power, they also cover some very rare track. Such examples are:

Newcastle Central Yard (not shown as a separate route on the Map)
Crewe Basford Hall Yard (via the Crewe Avoiding Lines to/from Crewe Coal Yard)+
Mitre Bridge Jn (between the WCML and Kensington Olympia)
Factory Jn - Latchmere Jn (between Olympia and the South East of London)

+Check the timetable to see which trains are booked to change crews at Basford Hall, rather than in the centre roads in Crewe Station.


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