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Unusual routes that can be found in the timetable

This page covers the scheduled trains in the timetable that use sections of line that either have a very low service level or are difficult to find.
Known current engineering diversions are highlighted in yellow. Note that these 'scheduled' works may be modified or even cancelled on a week-by-week basis especially the first or last week. Increasingly much work is not shown in the GBTT and this is despite being shown in ROTR. Work shown in ROTR usually but not always takes place.
The weekly diversions are posted out to members of the GENSHEET email list and the latest posting to the list can be downloaded here

All comments and corrections welcome to the list or alternatively
For lines noted as please send reports or confirmation of any trains using the line sections noted by email or to the list if you are a member of it.
Where platform use determines the route, both the NR 'planajourney' and advanced options on opendata websites give platforming information. The live departure boards for some stations also include platforms.
The two opendata websites of OpenTrainTimes (referred to as OTT below) or Realtimetrains (referred to as RTT below) will show the route taken by individual trains. These sites will also retain the data foir a short while. They also show any alterations from the planned route, indicated by a timing being VAR or STP not WTT and depending upon the 'clues' one site or the other will perform better. It is also possible to enter a train identifier in the advanced searches, these are given where useful.

Rare track used by regular trains

Table Line of interest Observation from timetable
1 Forest Gate - Barking line and Barking flyover.
See also table 62 entry below
LTS line trains to/from Liverpool Street to serve Stratford shopping centres
6, 11 Ilford up flyover avoider Look for main line trains being overtaken. Commonly a couple of morning end-of-peak trains and a couple of before peak evening ones
Most common lately has been 1706 M-F Southminster - London overtaken by the 1751 from Shenfield (1652 from Ipswich).
Also track inspections in the area, currently on Mondays, force a small area of two track running
Fairly common with two track working on Sundays
6, 11 Ilford down flyover avoider Look for main line trains being overtaken. Very unusual but track inspections in the area, currently on Wednesdays, force a small area of two track running.
10 Sudbury branch connection at Marks Tey Some first and last trains on the Sudbury branch are through to/from Colchester
11 & 14 Manningtree North Curve. Remnant 'legal' service dating from Harwich - north boat trains, direct from Harwich to the north
Recently From Harwich PQ round 0730 and 2200, from Ipswich around 0700 and 2100
17 & 49 Use Ely West Curve 1554 SUN Norwich - Peterborough (and beyond) not calling Ely.
18 M-S Direct between Gainsborough & Doncaster The 5 trains a day with a 30 minute journey time are not obvious among the trains that are via Sheffield. Often obvious due to being out of the hourly service pattern and with operator code EM
Also a common diversion
19 Allington W - N line. Holiday travel trains Nottingham - Skegness will often omit Grantham
Also used if East Coast main line is closed
18 Doncaster south approaches east slow and Black Carr - Bessacarr Lincoln trains to/from Doncaster platform 2 west slow is bidirectional now.
Also southbound East Coast trains diverting via Lincoln
18 Doncaster south approaches Flyover W Jn - Decoy North Jn Lincoln trains to/from Doncaster platform 5
Also northbound East Coast trains diverted via Lincoln
22 Route Stratford Centre Jn E to Stratford P11 & 12 for Tottenham Hale A small number of through trains complete the route Stratford Centre Jn E to/from Stansted/Hertford, usually at beginning or end of service
Relatively common Sunday diversion.
24 Use of down slow no.2 line Finsbury Park - Alexandra Palace. Trains from Moorgate not calling Harringey. Check OTT or RTT for trains at Finsbury Park in the evening peak for trains show as line SL2
24 Use of up slow no.2 line Alexandra Palace - Finsbury Park. Trains to Moorgate not calling Harringey. Check OTT or RTT for trains at Finsbury Park in the morning peak, trains show as line SL2
25 Hitchin flat crossing, not flyover A small number of fast down trains still use the flat crossing in the evening peaks, usually due to a slow Peterborough train coinciding with them.
Check RTT, trains not via the flyover do not have line DCF noted at Hitchin.
26 Doncaster south approaches, Loversall Carr line and flyover A small number of Leeds - London trains use Doncaster platform 4 or above, to avoid flat crossing north of Doncaster
Alternatively search RTT for location Doncaster Decoy South Jn
26 Doncaster south approaches spur line and Loversall Carr Noted as trains being overtaken, or with a fast train close behind. Liable to train timings on the day, as trains may be overtaken in platform at Retford or make it to Doncaster ahead of the fast train.
Search RTT for location Doncaster Decoy South Jn
26 Hambleton South - West Jns A few Leeds - London trains do not call Wakefield, and these will usually be via this route. Easier to work now that many East Coast trains have diesels
26 Askern - Knottingley - Wakefield Calder Bridge Jn - Altofts Some late evening Sheffield / Doncaster - Leeds trains show extended timings, and are timed for this route. However liable to variation depending on engineering work locations, often diverting onto the 'normal' route

26 Askern - Knottingley - Church Fenton Some late evening Doncaster - York trains show extended timings, and are timed for this route. However liable to variation depending on engineering work locations often diverting onto the 'normal' route

Usually also runs as a diversion few weekends a year
29, 51 Sheffield area Tinsley route Normally trains not calling Rotherham Central use the main line via Masborough station site, exceptions are a few XC for route knowledge purposes late at night (often the last train from Southampton)
Search RTT for location Broughton Lane Jn
29 Trains via Thrybergh Jn not Swinton No delay apparent in the public timetable, but a small number of trains are run via Thrybergh Jn for route knowledge purposes. Unusually they are not usually in the middle of the night
Search RTT for location Thrybergh Jn
26, 29 Old east coast main line Temple Hirst Jn - Selby London - Hull trains are now usually via Selby, while the local services are via Goole.
30 Gainsborough - Barnetby Trains to Cleethorpes via Kirton Lindsey, has been 3 a week on Saturdays for several years
30 M-S Connecting line to Retford HL station from Sheffield Slight extended timing, usually on first / last trains, and use of Retford platform 2
31, 32 Hare Park - Wakefield Kirkgate Used by a late night Sheffield - Leeds which unusually does not call Fitzwilliam
31, 32, 51 Used by a late night Sheffield - Leeds local train that unusually does not call between Moorthorpe & Leeds
32 Via Askern GC London - Bradford trains calling Pontefract Monkhill. Also the more common route MON-SAT, even if not calling Pontefract, although it is possible GC will change to run via Hare Park
32 Hare Park - Wakefield Kirkgate GC services not calling Pontefract Monkhill may increasingly use this route.
32 Knottingley - Goole Limited service, 3 trains total M-S
33 Moorthorpe - Pontefract Baghill - Sherburn S Jn Table 33 local trains, also used for planned work diverting XC services Sheffield - Leeds not calling Doncaster of Sheffield
Search RTT for locationMilford Jn
33 Sherburn Jn - Gascoigne Wood Jn or Hambleton North Selby - York trains calling Sherburn in Elmet must run via Sherburn Jn - Gascoigne Wood Jn
Any not calling Sherburn in Elmet are normally via Hambleton North and ECML
Check route points on RTT / OTT.
34 Altofts curve Fast services between Leeds and Wakefield Kirkgate use this route towards Leeds
Huddersfield - Wakefield Kirkgate - Altofts - Leeds Night Manchester - Leeds trains taking ~35 minutes Huddersfield - Leeds
. Also a likely weekend diversion Search RTT for trains at Manchester and Altofts Jn
40, 51 Castleford - Milford Jn Look for any Leeds - York trains taking ~40 minutes
Common with a few late/overnight/early services York - Manchester, also some XC
Search RTT for location Milford Jn, although this will also find the Table 33 services
(42, 94) 97
Services Hellifield - Clitheroe - Blackburn. A couple of 'day trip' trains usually run to the Hellifield or the Settle and Carlisle line from Preston area on Sundays. These may only show as footnoted trains in table 97, despite there being lines in table 42 for them.
44 Stockton Cut Jn - Hartburn Jn. Used by GC services London - Sunderland and also some local services Hartlepool - Darlington on SUN
39 Northallerton low level ines Northallerton East - Boroughbridge Road - Longlands Jns A small number of York - Middlesbrough trains do not call Northallerton.
Search RTT for location Boroughbridge Road
26, 48 Trains via Gateshead (HLB South Jn - Greensfield - KEB East - KEB south jns) Workings from the south/west into Newcastle via High level Bridge, most obvious being those into platform 1.
Also used to turn ECML trains.
Search RTT for location via Gateshead
44 Train via Gateshead (Park Lane - Greensfield - KEB East - KEB north jns) Working from Sunderland into Newcastle via King Edward Bridge, most obviousb being to the high numbered west bays.
Search RTT for location via Gateshead
Also weekend ECML diversions.
45 NYMR Grosmont connection Used by NYMR through Pickering - Whitby trains
49 Syston North curve. A small number of Nottingham - Peterborough trains call or are via Melton Mowbray not Grantham
Also weekend diversions if ECML is closed
53 Bedford - Wellingborough vis Wymington tunnel Trains overtaken near Wellingborough, or those that use Wellingborough P3 and show slow lines
Route also used for diversions and late at night.
53 Corby - Manton Jn Used by the two direct Corby - Derby trains, also used for diversions 'not calling Market Harborough' weekends and overnight.
53 Use of Syston N curve. Used by the two direct Corby - Derby trains, easily noticed in the printed table as not calling Leicester
53 Trains via Toton yard Several routes can be via Toton
  • Trains between Derby - Chesterfield, via Long Eaton and Toton. A small number are usually timetabled but also common for weekend engineering, and can be found due to the 20 minute additional time.
  • Trains between Derby - London, via Chesterfield and Toton. Also 20 minute additional time, for weekend engineering.
  • Trains between Chesterfield - London, not via Derby. There have been some timetabled expresses in the past, also a small number during weekend engineering.<
  • Trains between Nottingham and Alfreton taking ~35 minutes not 25 are via Attenborough and Toton. Once the normal route, now a small number of trains for route retention
51, 53 Chestefield - Barrow Hill - Beighton Trains between Sheffield and Chesterfield with delays. Usually a couple for route knowledge, but these can be diverted to the common route.
Search RTT for location Barrow Hill Jn
57 Kingsbury - Whitacre Jns. Trains between Birmingham and Derby with delays or overtaken are candidated to use this route, or may happen to correct out of course running.
Search RTT for location Whitacre for trains to Derby or beyond
Operation has been unreliable,
Has also been used for weekend engineering to run Derby - Coleshill trains, with buses then to Birmingham
57 Lichfield - Alrewas - Burton Trains between Birmingham and Derby with delays ~20 minutes, usually late night for route knowledge by XC. As such it is a common weekend diversion

Search RTT for location Alrewas
51, 57 Birmingham Camp Hill Line No time penalty occurs so these are not detectable in public times, but many XC services in the Manchester to Bristol pattern run via Camp Hill to leave New Street eastwards, plus a small number of other services.
See PSUL for a full list
Search RTT for location Lifford East Jn
59, 62 Kensal Rise chord Trains at Willesden Jn low level (P1 or P2) and easy to spot in the printed timetable now that the low level station is shown separately.
Usually at end or start of service
62 Barking Flyover (Tilbury Line W Jn - Barking Station Jn.) Start and end of service trains cna use P7/P8 not P1 for ease of depot access
See also table 1 trains to/from Liverpool St
62 Gospel Oak chord Any through train from Barking towards Willesden Jn, a morning peak hour train has been run in recent years
71, 116, 51 Small Heath Jn - Bordesley Jn - St Andrews Jn - Grand Jnc XC services that do not call at Coventry, at present xx33 from Birmingham, xx45 from Reading
51, 57 Galton - Smethwick Jns and via Kidderminster Trains taking 1 hour Cheltenham - Birmingham or not calling Bromsgrove are candidates, but not guaranteed. Usually a few trains at start or end of day.
Check for XC operated trains with passing times at Kidderminster on RTT
The same public timing may be for the few trains non-stop via Worcester and Bromsgrove. Both routes are unreliable due to late night engineering work. Check schedules near the intended date of travel on OTT/RTT
68, 116 Stechford - Aston - Soho A route retention train is usually scheduled for XC in each year and shows up with a long time Birmingham Int - New Street. Check out the last train of the day
68, 70, 75 Route taken Birmingham - Wolverhampton / Walsall.
Certain trains may be noted from timings to be delayed or overtaken, so implying the use of different routes. Birmingham - Wolverhampton times of 25 to 35 minutes as opposed to the normal 17 are indicitive of unusual routes, but may also arise from large recovery allowances.
Soho - Perry Barr - Bescot. Inward trains now via Aston T70 Most fast trains Birmingham New Street -> Tame Bridge (to Rugeley)
Wolverhampton - Bescot - Aston - New St Timed around 35 minutes. Check trains passing Darlaston Jn
Soho - Perry Barr - Bescot - Wolverhampton Timed around 25 minutes. Check trains passing Darlaston Jn or Perry Barr West Jn for long distance trains
Note that some trains are timed this route but then often diverted back to the normal route, for example late Euston - Wolverhampton trains
70 Pleck - Darlaston Jn Walsall - Wolverhampton direct, a one-a-week closure avoidance train. Again shows up RTT for on trains passing Darlaston Jn
71 Hatton North curve Became common in 2019, for Stratford on Avon via Dorridge and reverse services
See table 115 for Hatton south curve used by trains to Leamington / London
78A Stockport - Guide Bridge Stockport to Stalybridge, one-a-week closure avoidance trains. Currently on SAT
79 Dinting triangle avoiding Glossop Used by peak hour trains 'against peak' to give mornings Manchester -> Hadfield -> Glossop - Manchester and the reverse in evenings
Additionally in the autumn, the service is usually more extensive
81 Warrington Bank Quay - Acton Grange Jn low level line Some services Chester - Warrington run via the low level lines due to conflicting with Crewe - Warrington main line trains.
See PSUL for booked services or check RTT for Walton Old Jn.
As this often depends on the timekeeping of both services the use of this line is unpredictable, although at Warrington the set route can at least be discerned from the signalling.
65 Parkside curve Some TPX services from Manchester to Scotland / Windermere still use this route even if not calling Wigan NW. Also the more likely route for Crewe - Manchester - Preston diversions
65, 82 Connections to Wigan NW from Wallgate line Few trains run to Wigan NW from the Ince - Wallgate line
84 Heald Green direct line Manchester - Crewe trains not calling Stockport or Manchester Airport. Late evening trains are unreliable and are frequently diverted via Stockport.
Conversley, the 2200 Euston - Manchester is also often diverted via Styal. Individual trains can be checked for the date of travel at OTT
90 Golborne Jn - Lowton Jn - Newton le Willows Jn A small number of Wigan and Liverpool trains call at or are via Newton le Willows.
36, 98 Heysham branch As easily seen in printed timetable, also use Bare Lane - Morecambe Platform 2
36, 82, 98 Hest Bank curve. Look for direct Morecambe - Leeds trains (not calling Lancaster)or Lancaster - Windermere delayed by going via Morecambe
101 Wrexham connecting line First/last trains at Wrexham may use connecting line as stock travels to/from Chester, but empty shunts are timetabled.
109 Ellesmere Port - Helsby Ellesmere Port - Helsby is a rare route in its own right with 4 trains each way, but note that only the trains to Warrington or beyond run past Helsby through the junction
116 Didcot Foxhall Jn Usually one XC route knowledge train with noticeable delay Reading - Oxford and may be overtaken.
Sees some diversion use at weekends.
128 Leckwith connection west of Cardiff Some Cardiff - Bridgend delayed. Historically this has been unreliable in regard of the route knowledge services and trains may go main line unless calling Ninian Park (see footnotes), also worth checking for alterations.
Some trains showing delays may either just sit in Cardiff or use other loops depending on timekeeping.
Check RTT for location Leckwith N Jn
128 Margam OVE line The first Swansea - London has added time and on RTT / OTT shows line OVE at Margam, however may be diverted to standard route.
128 Trains not calling Swansea In practice trains may use either Swansea District or Landore curve particularly when the Cardiff - Fishguard were running. Still retains a couple of trains a day for legal and route knowledge purposes. Individual trains can be checked for the date of travel at OTT

UPDATE - Swansea District line out of use to April 2021
128 Carmarthen avoiding line Check printed timetables for trains not calling Carmarthen
132 Dr Days curve avoiding Bristol Usually one or two timetabled trains, but route also often used for weekend or weeknight diversions
140 Coombe Junction - platform Only the 4 trains calling Coombe, and probably only when passengers are present, run to Coombe platform. Otherwise reverse Coombe Jn
148 Reading Spur Junction Used by trains to/from Guildford using main line platforms (7-10) at Reading, so mainly the remaining XC services but can be locals. Use also may arise when XC services are diverted via Guildford when the line to Basingstoke is shut
Check the platforms for trains to/from Guildford or directly for location Reading New Junction
148 Reading Southern Junction Used by trains to/from Guildford using relief line platforms (11-15) at Reading, mainly local trains to/from carriage sidings. During the day most trains will use the 'Southern' platforms (4-6) also used by Waterloo trains. Use also may arise when XC services are diverted via Guildford when the line to Basingstoke is shut
Check the platforms for trains to/from Guildford or directly on RTT for location Reading Southern Junction
149, 155 Addlestone - Byfleet Daily on Sundays for Waterloo - Staines - Woking trains, which go to Weybridge MON - SAT. Also a common weekend diversion around line blockages between Waterloo and Woking.
Fulwell curve Strawberry Hill The small number of peak hour trains show up in the printed timetable as Shepperton - Richmond services
Also used for diversions when Kingston - Wimbledon is closed.
152, 155, 158 Point Pleasant Jn - East Putney LUL - Wimbledon main line Trains will have a delay but this is not conclusive. Several are likely to get revised and run main line. Equally to allow the short route without waiting time, the public times can be 'normal'
Other trains may have a delay but call at Wimbledon depot.
In some weeks a few other late/early services may be diverted, check on Journeyplanners for platform at Clapham Jn or on RTT for SW trains at East Putney
Weekend diversion are rare but known seen in this 2004 photo
156, 186 Portsmouth & Southsea low level platforms Services starting / terminating at Portsmouth & Southsea, approx 1 per hour each route.
176 Falcon Jn - Clapham Jn Pl 16/17 (Victoria side) - Latchmere Jn. Even if not through from East Croydon etc, Southern services use this route. Only Clapham Jn - Stratford via Willesden trains, operator [LO] run from the Staines lines side of Clapham Junction (Plat 1).
180 Streatham reversible (fast) spur A small number of Dorking - Victoria trains, most common in the up morning peak. Trains will show on journey planners as using Clapham Jn P12 (fast lines) not P14 (slow lines).
Use can also be forced by engineering work closing the slow lines, or diversions via Dorking from the Gatwick route
195, 196, 200 Victoria - Factory Jn via Stewarts Lane low level. This route forms an extra line due to there only being 3 tracks at high level into Victoria, and it is mostly used inbound. Search RTT for passenger services at location Stewarts Lane Jn
195, 196, 200, 212 Brixton Jn - Canterbury Road Jn - Cambria Jn (trains normally use Crofton Road J-South London line-Voltaire Road Jn). Main use is for trains that do not stop but are still routed via Catford
Details in PSUL or check trains to/from Victoria using platforms 3 or 4 at Denmark Hill
Check RTT for location Canterbury Road Jn
Also a common weekend diversion, which can be unnoticed unless the whole Herne Hill route is blocked as otherwise it has little effect on timings.
195, 212 Shortlands Junction Stopping trains are on the southernmost lines (P1/P2 at Shortlands and Bromley South) so using the newer diveunder line, although this is designated 'FL'.
The 'flat' route is only used by fast trains that are routed via Catford, although these are more common than in the past.
195, 204 Bickley - Petts Wood fast curve Trains to/from Orpington platform 1 via Bromley South and also the route knowledge trains via New Beckenham. Line is coded DFV and UFV on data sites OTT and RTT
200 Lewisham Vale Jn - Tanners Hill Jn. Now normal for Charing Cross services while only Cannon St services use slow lines and stop at New Cross or St Johns.
Search RTT for passenger services at locationLewisham Vale Jn
200 Slade Green - Barnehurst Trains calling at both Slade Green and Barnehurst are a circular service on Woolwich / Bexleyheath lines.
Half hourly MON - SAT, also used for diversions with closures towards Dartford
200 Crayford curve, Crayford A Jn - Crayford B Jn Trains calling at both Slade Green and Crayford are a circular service on Woolwich / Sidcup lines
Half hourly MON - SAT, no trains Sunday.
203 Ladywell spur (Ladywell Jn - Parks Bridge Jn) Now the normal route for Charing Cross - Hayes services as these do not not call Lewisham
Half hourly M-S
Routes show up on all data feed sites
204 New Beckenham - Beckenham Junction used by route knowledge trains late at night. Common weekend diversion, most often of Hastings services with closures through Lewisham & Grove Park
207 Minster south-west curve Several trains MON - FRI at school times call at both Sandwich and Minster, and obvious in printed timetables<
Also used for diversions of Dover trains to Minster when there are buses Minster - Ramsgate
212 Chislehurst curves MON-FRI rush hour services from Faversham/Gillingham to Cannon St via Swanley use the reversible spur (line code RVL) both ways. It is only the fairly common diversion of T207 Charing Cross - Kent services via Maidstone East that may guive use of the up fast curve
212 Sittingbourne west curve Direct services to/from Sheerness from the west for startup of service direct from Gillingham depot
224 Mossend S to E jns Single legal minimum service train, currently 0559 Motherwell - Shotts - Edinburgh.
65, 225 Holytown - Wishaw Another 'legal minimum' line, at least for local trains
Main line trains between Carlisle or Edinburgh and Glasgow may use this as an alternative route around Motherwell for either pathing or route knowledge reasons. These are most readily found by checking for 'not Scotrail' services at Wishaw using OTT or RTT and . More likely to be found with early morning or late night trains
65 Newton East Jn A small number of main line trains between Carlisle or Edinburgh and Glasgow use this route for route knowledge reasons.
26, 224 Cross Country train via Shotts A small number of trains between Edinburgh and Glasgow use this route for route knowledge reasons.
These are most readily found by checking for 'not Scotrail' services at Benhar Jn (code XLB) using OTT or RTT
227 Cowlairs N - E jns There is usually a Sunday Edinburgh - Oban service in the summer. The Fort William sleeper service runs via Queen St low level and Bathgate at present.
229 Stirling - Cumbernauld. Although an unusual route overall, all the track is used by other regular services. Any trains (none at present) can be noted by their delay between Stirling - Glasgow, or search RTT for trains with Cumbernauld and Stirling calls
239 Inverness Rose Street curve Any trains (none at present) can be noted as to/from Dingwall but using the 'south' platforms (1-4) at Inverness
229, 242 Thornton N to W jn There are a number of Perth / Dundee / Markinch - Dunfermline - Edinburgh trains, mainly for end of service stock positioning or route knowledge reasons.
Some do not show up well in printed timetables, but searches on trains calling at both Dunfermline and Markinch will find them.
LUL Use of Rickmansworth curve Several services at the start or end of the day.
Sheffield Tram Use of curve to avoid city centre Several services at the start or end of the day.

As can be seen a number trains cover standard diversionary routes as well as rare track for 'route knowledge' purposes, particularly cross country and Transpennine operators. These are often the 'first' or 'last' trains as these run outside the daytime clockface timetables. Trains shown as 'Planned via' can still be re-diverted due to weeknight engineering work. The table below shows some current examples
Services reducedServices reduced

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GENSHEET Timetable 2021 01 December 2020  All images © M.W.Wilson