PSUL

Passenger Train Services over Unusual Lines

listing regular passenger trains over obscure rail routes in the British Isles


This page was updated on 17 December 2016


PSUL - its origins and history

by Richard Maund

In the beginning...

On 20 March 1961, I took up a new post in the Western Region's Birmingham divisional trains office, which opened up for me contacts in that semi-secret world of working timetables and weekly Special Traffic Notices. This was an invaluable aid in my quest to ride not only obviously threatened branch lines (the Beeching era only accelerated a process that was already under way) but also to seek out opportunities to cover some of the more obscure routings that still offered themselves for passenger trains.

Encouraged by W Arthur ("Cam") Camwell, at that time editor of the Journal of the Stephenson Locomotive Society [SLS Journal], I sought to list those routings - in particular those which applied on summer Saturdays when the train was a (if not the) major player in the holiday plans of so many families, particularly from the industrialised regions. The early lists were not, therefore, quite so concerned with the esoterica of suburban curves and spurs.

Nor had the "Rules of the Route" (the process by which train planners and engineers agree how the Sunday engineering work shall be arranged) produced today's fashion for pre-planned diversions featuring in the working and public timetables.

The initial effort was compiled with the help of John Edgington (then with the LMR Public Relations & Publicity Office), Roy Hamilton, Joe House, R C Nelson, Roy Patterson and Stuart Sellar (later acknowledgements included Gerald Aston and Rodney Meadows); the late Jim Lloyd took my rough sketches and prepared his usual high standard of artwork for the accompanying maps. Under the title Branch Lines : Passenger Train Services over unusual sections it first appeared in the SLS Journal during the summer of 1963.

The question of what qualified for inclusion started with the winter 1963/4 issue, which was prefaced by a list of lines which had been deleted because "... although still having a service ... they may readily be ascertained from the public time tables...".

From June 1965, the listing appeared under a new title: List of Passenger Train Services over Unusual Lines, as a foolscap typescript stencilled "Supplement to" the SLS Journal. Amendments continued to appear in the SLS Journal itself. The price of extra copies was quoted as 9d. in stamps (that's just under 4p!). From 1967 a list of lines "... used by passenger trains in connection with regular events, but [which] do not appear in the Working time tables" was incorporated. After the tenth edition, in 1970/1, I relinquished the compiler's role.

The Branch Line Society takes over

From the following edition, 1971/2, Roy Hamilton took over and, for that year, the List was shown as published jointly by BLS and SLS. Also from this date, it appeared on A4 paper and the amendments were (usually) titled "Supplements". From the following year, it became solely a BLS publication, with the BLS title and logo appearing at the masthead. It has been issued free to members ever since. From the 1979/80 edition, compilation was by Roy Hamilton and Bryan Rayner (and also, for 1984/5 only, J D Hogie).

From the 1980/1 edition, the title was curtailed to Passenger Train Services over Unusual Lines. Note that, despite acquiring the abbreviation "PSUL", the word "train" has appeared in the title right from the beginning; the "abbreviation" in unkinder circles was "the kinky curve guide". From the same date, the reproduction method changed to litho, and the previous staple in the top left hand corner of A4 sheets gave way to sheets folded into an A5 booklet, with a staple at the spine. A cover price (for sales to non-members) was quoted in 1982/3: 1.50 - somewhat of an increase over 1966!

For the 1988, 1989 and 1990 editions (as they were entitled), Roy Hamilton took a well earned reduction in workload, and the compilation was put together by Trevor Cockram, with contributions (not necessarily to every edition) acknowledged from J N Faulkner, Roy Hamilton, Peter Todd, Don Kennedy, Paul Steane, Richard Huggins, Dave Monger, Andrew Proctor, Geoff Brockett, Peter Pay, D Woodward, Mike Addison, "46229", "321 Fan Club", Chris Wall, D W Bate and myself. The assistance of The Railway Club, in making available the working timetables which they were then receiving, was gratefully acknowledged. These editions have subsequently been completely re-checked and revised for their on-line versions.

For the period from May 1991 until September 1992, elements of a PSUL list made three sporadic appearances, as supplementary inserts with Branch Line News. The Summer 1992 details have subsequently been completely re-checked and revised for the on-line version.

Nearly full circle?

Rather than see the List wither and die, I resumed compiling a comprehensive booklet from winter 1992/3. Until 2005 it appeared in separate winter and summer editions (because of the changes between the two seasons - particularly with pre-planned Sunday engineering diversions) but thereafter an annual edition has appeared, at each December timetable change; the web site is up-dated as necessary throughout each year. Some of the material previously included in the List, of routes which might be used for diversions in the event of engineering work, was extracted to a separate Engineering Diversionary Routes supplement to Branch Line News, which was issued only once, in Spring 1993.

The website was launched in spring 2003, with the winter 2002/3 edition; all earlier (and subsequent) editions have since been added to the site for the benefit of those undertaking historical research. The Branch Line Society has approval to issue the text in printed form and have continued to do so as shown in the publishing history below. The work of various contributors - over the years - who have preferred to remain anonymous is very gratefully acknowledged. Access to working timetable data became immeasurably easier when Network Rail commenced up-loading their working timetable pages to their website, with the December 2012 edition, and fellow-enthusiasts were able to initiate the Open Train Times and Realtime Train Info websites to give on-line access to even short term variations in schedules.

Having long since travelled over the lines involved, my motivation in undertaking this biannual "labour of love" has been to keep track of the fortunes (and, often, the fates!) of the lines concerned; I shall be delighted if others, perhaps newer-comers to track gricing, also find it of benefit.

The sub-title "listing regular passenger trains over obscure rail routes in the British Isles" was added from the 2006 edition.

Why PSUL, not PTSUL? No-one's been able to explain.... but Branch Line News from 1968 did incorrectly advertise forthcoming issues as "List of Passenger Services over Unusual Lines". The first traced use of the abbreviation "PSUL" is in Branch Line News no. 157 of 1 July 1970 (alas, BLN's then-Editor is no longer with us to ask why).

PSUL has been used by the Strategic Rail Authority and the Department for Transport.

[This is a slightly modified and up-dated version of an article which originally appeared in Branch Line Society : Forty Years ..... 1955-1995, published by the Branch Line Society in 1995]

For information about the Branch Line Society visit their website.


PSUL publishing history


Printed version

Passenger Train Services over unusual sections

Compiled by Richard Maund; published by The Stephenson Locomotive Society

Summer 1963 : [1st edition] appeared in SLS Journal June, July and August 1963 issues

Winter 1963/4 : [2nd edition] appeared in SLS Journal October and November 1963, and January 1964 issues

Summer 1964 : [3rd edition] appeared in SLS Journal July and August 1964 issues

Winter 1964/5 : [4th edition] appeared in SLS Journal November and December 1964 issues; amendments in January, February and April 1965 issues

List of Passenger Train Services over Unusual Lines

Compiled by Richard Maund; published by The Stephenson Locomotive Society

June 1965 to April 1966: [5th edition] 1965. pp. 10 foolscap stencilled typescript; amendments in SLS Journal August, October, November and December 1965 and February 1966

April 1966 - March 1967: [6th edition] 1966. pp. 8 foolscap stencilled typescript; amendments in SLS Journal

March 1967 - May 1968 : [7th edition] 1967. pp. 9 foolscap stencilled typescript; eight typescript amendments

May 1968 - May 1969 : [8th edition] 1968. pp. 10 foolscap stencilled typescript; six typescript amendments

May 1969 - May 1970 : 9th edition 1969. pp. 10 foolscap stencilled typescript; six typescript amendments

May 1970 - May 1971 : 10th edition 1970. pp. 11 foolscap stencilled typescript; six amendment lists promulgated to the editors of SLS Journal and Branch Line News-sheet

Compiled by Roy Hamilton; published by Branch Line Society and The Stephenson Locomotive Society, Glasgow

note: BLN denotes Branch Line News-Sheet / Branch Line News

May 1971 - May 1972 : 11th edition 1971. pp. 14 foolscap stencilled typescript; supplements with BLN 182, 188 and 195

Compiled by Roy Hamilton; published by Branch Line Society, Glasgow

May 1972 - May 1973 : 12th edition 1972. pp. 13 foolscap stencilled typescript; supplements with BLN 207, 213 and 219

May 1973 - May 1974 : 13th edition 1973. pp. 12 foolscap stencilled typescript; supplements with BLN 230, 235 and 242

May 1974 - May 1975 : 14th edition 1974. pp. 15 foolscap stencilled typescript; supplements with BLN 254 and 261

Compiled by Roy Hamilton; published by Branch Line Society, Purley

May 1975 - May 1976 : 15th edition 1975. pp. 20 foolscap stencilled typescript; supplements with BLN 278, 284 and 290

Compiled by Roy Hamilton; published by Branch Line Society, Beckenham

May 1976 - May 1977 : 16th edition 1976. pp. 21 foolscap stencilled typescript; supplements with BLN 302 and 308 and in BLN 314

May 1977 - May 1978 : 17th edition 1977. pp. 21 foolscap stencilled typescript; supplements with BLN 328, 332 and 338

May 1978 - May 1979 : 18th edition 1978. pp. 22 foolscap stencilled typescript; supplements with BLN 349 and 355

Compiled by Roy Hamilton and B W Rayner; published by Branch Line Society, Beckenham

May 1979 - May 1980 : 19th edition 1979. pp. 22 foolscap stencilled typescript; supplement with BLN (?)375 and amendments in BLN 380 and 388

Passenger Train Services over Unusual Lines

Compiled by Roy Hamilton and B W Rayner; published by Branch Line Society, Huddersfield

From this date all editions are A5 litho typescript

1980 - 81 : 20th edition 1980. pp. 24; supplements in BLN 405 and 416

1981 - 82 : 21st edition 1981. pp. 24; supplement with BLN [issue number not recorded] and in BLN 435

1982 - 83 : 22nd edition 1982. pp. 24; supplement dated 24 January 1983

1983 - 84 : 23rd edition 1983. pp. 22; supplement with BLN [issue number not recorded]

Compiled by Roy Hamilton, B W Rayner and J D Hogie; published by Branch Line Society, Sheffield

1984 - 85 : 24th edition 1984. pp. 25; supplement with BLN [issue number not recorded - ca. February 1984]

Compiled by Roy Hamilton and B W Rayner; published by Branch Line Society, Sheffield

1985 - 86 : 25th edition 1985. pp. 34 + ii; supplement with BLN [issue number not recorded] and clarification thereto in BLN 527 (5 December 1985)

1986 - 87 : 26th edition 1986. pp. 34 + ii [no supplement seems to have been issued this year]

1987 - 88 :27th edition 1987. pp. 33 + ii; supplement with BLN [issue number not recorded]

Compiled by T J Cockram; published by Branch Line Society, Bristol

1988 : 28th edition 1988. pp. 34 + ii; supplement with BLN [issue number not recorded] in February 1989

1989 : 29th edition 1989. pp. 31 + i [no supplement seems to have been issued this year]

1990 : 30th edition 1990. pp. 36 + i [no supplement seems to have been issued this year]

For 1991, litho typescript lists of a few lines appeared with BLN (?)658 and 664, but no comprehensive compilation appeared until the on-line edition for 1991-2 listed below

For 1992, litho typescript lists of a few lines appeared with BLN 685 and 689 but no comprehensive compilation appeared until the on-line edition for that summer listed below

Compiled by Richard Maund; published by Branch Line Society, Bristol

Winter 1992-93 : [31st edition] 1992. pp 16 {1}

Summer 1993 : [32nd edition] 1993. pp 16 {1}

Compiled by Richard Maund; published by Branch Line Society, Sheffield

Winter 1993/4 : [33rd edition] 1993. pp 14 {1}

Summer 1994 : [34th edition] 1994. pp 15 {1}

Winter 1994/5 : [35th edition] 1994. pp 17 {2}

Compiled by Richard Maund; published by Branch Line Society, Wivenhoe

Summer 1995 : [36th edition] 1995. pp 18 {2}

Winter 1995/6 : [37th edition] 1995. pp 20 {2}

Summer 1996 : [38th edition] 1996. pp 19 {1}

Winter 1996/7 : [39th edition] 1996. pp 18 {1}

Summer 1997 : [40th edition] 1997. pp 19 {1}

Winter 1997/8 : [41st edition] 1997. pp 19 {1}

Compiled by Richard Maund; published by Branch Line Society, Sheffield

Summer 1998 : [42nd edition] 1998. pp. 16 {1}

Winter 1998/9 : 43rd edition 1998. pp.16 {1}

Summer 1999 : 44th edition 1999. pp. 16 {1}

Winter 1999 / 2000 : 45th edition 1999. pp. 17 {1}

Summer 2000 : 46th edition 1999. pp. 11 {1}

Winter 2000 / 2001 : 47th edition 2000. pp. 17 {1}

Summer 2001 : 48th edition 2000. pp. 16 {1}

Winter 2001 / 2002 : 49th edition 2001. pp. 16 {1}

Summer 2002 : 50th edition 2002. pp. 20 {1}

Winter 2002-3 : 51st edition 2003. pp. 21

Summer 2003 : 52nd edition 2003. pp. 16

Winter 2003-4 : pp. 20; supplement (dated January 2004) issued with BLN

Summer 2004 : pp. 20; supplements (dated July and September 2004) issued with BLN

Autumn 2004 : not issued as such - see instead September 2004 supplement to the Summer 2004 issue

Spring 2005 : pp. 20; "update" included in BLN 989

Summer/Autumn 2005 : pp. 17; "correction" in BLN 998 and "update" in BLN 1001 and 1004

{1} = consolidated corrections to this edition were published in succeeding edition

{2} = consolidated corrections to this edition were published contemporaneously with succeeding edition

Passenger Train Services over Unusual Lines - listing regular passenger trains over obscure rail routes in the British Isles

Compiled by Richard Maund; published by Branch Line Society, Sheffield

2006 : pp.17; "updates" in BLN 1010, 1011, 1013, 1014, 1025, 1027 and 1028; supplement dated June 2006 issued with BLN 1022

2007 : pp.17; "updates" in BLN 1035, 1038, 1041, 1046, 1052 and 1055; supplement dated June 2007 issued with BLN 1045

2008 : pp.17; "updates" in BLN 1058, 1060, 1067, 1071, 1072, 1074, 1075 and 1077; supplement dated May 2008 issued with BLN 1066

2009 : pp.17; "updates" in BLN 1085, 1087, 1089, 1093, 1097 and 1100

2010 : pp.17; "updates" in BLN 1108, 1118, 121 and 1126

2011 : pp.21; "updates" in BLN 1129, 1133, 1137, 1142, 1147 and 1150
Ignore the reference on the cover to "62nd edition" - this incorrect claim was not authorised by the compiler.

2012 : pp.19; "updates" in BLN 1153, 1166, 1167 and 1172

Compiled by Richard Maund; published by Branch Line Society, Crewe

2013 : pp.19; "updates" in BLN 1178, 1179 and 1181

2014 : pp.23; "updates" in BLN 1201, 1204, 1211, 1214 and 1220

Compiled by Richard Maund; published by Branch Line Society, Bristol

2015 : pp.23; "updates" in BLN 1229 and 1236

2016 : pp.23; "updates" in BLN 1248, supplement issued with BLN 1257, and in BLN 1266 and 1268

note: BLN denotes Branch Line News-Sheet / Branch Line News


PSUL publishing history


On-line version

Editions in respect of all earlier years - back to the origin in 1963 - have been added on-line as scanned copies of the original documents together with a listing of significant corrections and amendments that have subsequently come to light. For access to this historical research resource please see the list at the foot of the introduction page.

The editions listed below represent fully revised versions which completely supersede the original the printed booklets. Corrections to the current on-line version are incorporated immediately, and the other years listed below continue to be amended if, as and when the need arises to reflect later research.

Compiled by Richard Maund; published on-line at www.psul4all.free-online.co.uk

Passenger Train Services over Unusual Lines

1988-9 (May 1988 - May 1989)

1989-90 (May 1989 - May 1990)

1990-1 (May 1990 - July 1991)

1991-2 (July 1991 - May 1992)

Summer 1992

Winter 1992-3

Summer 1993

Winter 1993-4

Summer 1994

Winter 1994-5

Summer 1995

Winter 1995-6

Summer 1996

Winter 1996-7

Summer 1997

Winter 1997-8

Summer 1998

Winter 1998-9

Summer 1999

Winter 1999-2000

Summer 2000

Winter 2000-1

Summer 2001

Winter 2001-2

Summer 2002

Winter 2002-3 The first edition to have been published initially on the website

Summer 2003

Winter 2003-4

Summer 2004

Autumn 2004

Spring 2005

Summer/Autumn 2005

Passenger Train Services over Unusual Lines - listing regular passenger trains over obscure rail routes in the British Isles

Year (running from early December of prior year, for 12 months)

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017


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