NEWS ARCHIVE 2015-2017

2017 AGM

The minutes of the 2017 Annual General Meeting, together with the minutes of Committee Meeting no 730 (November) can be found by clicking on Reports in the password protected section of the Members Page.

Mysteries from the Archives.

Among the vast collection of images in our archive are many that come without any information whatsoever and defy all our efforts to identify subject, place or date.  Here is a first taster.  Others are appearing in a dedicated article. []


I'm pleased to say that this location has now been identified as Oldham Central / Clegg St.  Many thanks for your contributions.


Anyone who is familiar with the erstwhile Millers Dale Station in the Peak District National Park will recognise this building from the numerous photographs taken when the line was open.

This is where the Station Master used to live.  From this elevated spot which overlooks the entire station site he could keep a close eye on all that was happening at this extremely important location.  A junction for Buxton on the Midland line from St Pancras to Manchester, this is a station that once boasted having its own Post Office!

Nowadays of course, Millers Dale is just a stage on the Monsal Trail and the only wheeled traffic which passes through here is of the bicycle variety.  The supervisor's abode is now in immaculate condition and the Secret Garden Cafe in the grounds is open daily for food and beverages.  A delightful place to stop and let the mind wander, as I discovered recently.

The Station Masters' house is the distinctive building overlooking the station complex.

by Andrew Macfarlane

Scheme to reopen the Skelton Junction to Glazebrook line
On 28th March a scheme was launched to reopen the Skelton Junction to Glazebrook line as a heritage line with steam traction. The £30 million scheme would include restoration of the Cadishead viaduct over the Manchester Ship Canal and is the brainchild of telecoms mogul Neil McArthur who was the founder of Talktalk. His trust funded the recent restoration of Irlam station building. The scheme would entail the reopening of West Timperley, Partington and Cadishead stations but further details remain to be confirmed. The section of line between Partington Junction and Glazebrook East Junction closed on 3rd August 1982 and traffic on the Skelton Junction to Partington Junction line ended on 10th October 1993.    

Changes to the Wayfarer ticket
There are to be changes to the popular Wayfarer ticket as from Sunday 21st May. The Concessionary version will increase in price from £6 to £8 and will now only be available to those with an English National Concessionary Travel pass (otherwise known as a bus pass). So this will exclude anyone under 63 and also anyone not from England (until 21st May anyone aged 60 or over could buy the Concessionary version). However holders of Disability ENCTS passes will now be able to buy the Concessionary version for the first time. The new prices for the other versions of the ticket are as follows: Adult £13, Group (4 persons no more than 2 of whom are adults) £26 and Child £6.50.        

Binliner traffic
In early May news broke that the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority is to terminate its 25-year PFI contract with Viridor Laing, which still has 17 years to run. It is as yet unclear what effect (if any) this will have on the “bin liner” traffic from the four Refuse Transfer Stations in Greater Manchester (Northenden, Bredbury, Brindle Heath and Dean Lane) to the Ineos Chlor Energy from Waste power station at Runcorn, which uses the Mid Cheshire line.    

Lifts at Altrincham Station
Good news is that the lifts at Altrincham station are now available until 2215 on Monday to Saturday (and later if you ask at the bus station office). They are available until 2000 on Sundays.

Points at Navigation Road
Some of the rail in the points on the “heavy rail” line at Navigation Road was replaced in the early hours of Sunday 30th April but single line working over the down (Chester-bound) line between Navigation Road and Altrincham continues at the time of writing (14th May)

Metrolink Second City Crossing is Open
Metrolink’s second city crossing (2CC in the jargon) between St Peter’s Square and Exchange Square did open on Sunday 26th February. The Metrolink service from Manchester Airport is to be extended to the centre platform at Manchester Victoria once this has been commissioned, probably sometime over the summer. Work has begun to provide a new substation at Brooklands to boost the power supply and so enable the operation of more double trams. 10 spaces have been lost in the station car park as a consequence of this. There was a line possession in connection with this work on Sunday 14th May. Work was also carried out at the same time to remove the speed restriction over the new crossover points at Sale in the inbound direction.

Ordsall Chord
The main arch of the bridge across the Irwell was lifted into place on 21st February.

Manchester Piccadilly
Northern and TransPennine Express plan to install ticket barriers across the end of platforms 1 to 3.
Industrial Action on Northern and Merseyrail
Three strikes by RMT members have so far taken place in a dispute over the introduction of driver controlled operation (DCO). These were on Monday 13th March, Saturday 8th April and Friday 28th April. The Department for Transport specified in the Northern franchise that 50% of trains had to be under DCO by 2020. Both sides in the dispute have adopted entrenched positions so it could be a long dispute.    

    Stockport Rail Day and Longsight Open Day
The Stockport Rail Day on Sunday 13th August has this year been cancelled, as has the proposed Longsight depot 175th anniversary Open Day, which was to have taken place this summer. 


Charlie Hulme has compiled a report of locomotives at work in Manchester on a day in March this year. Please follow the link to view this excellent article.

Manchester Locomotives 2017

Incredibly, it is over 53 years since the accident which ended the career of 'Jubilee' Class locomotive No 45695 Minotaur at Broadheath No 3 signalbox near Altrincham. There is a short article on the subject here

The Buxton Spa Express

A number of MLS members braved the elements on February 25th to photograph this steam hauled special which traversed Greater Manchester and the Peak District.  To appreciate their efforts, please go to Feature Articles > The Buxton Spa Express 2017.

AGM Reports

The 2016 Annual General Meeting Report is now available on the Members Only section of the website together with the 2015 report.

Headquarters Upgrading Progress

Photographs taken by Dave Nixon showing the work taking place at our Club HQ

by Andrew Macfarlane

We have seen steam through Altrincham this summer, but not on the dates originally planned. The Crewe-Piccadilly-Holyhead trains run by the Railway Touring Company on 21st August and 4th September were both diverted to run via Eccles and Warrington Bank Quay to Chester rather than via Altrincham. The reason for this is unclear. A train which did run via Altrincham at short notice was a Liverpool-Scarborough train hauled by 45690 Leander in bright sunshine on the early morning of Saturday 30th July. The train started at Liverpool Lime Street and came via Runcorn and the Hartford curve to Northwich, where the train called to pick up passengers. There was then a water stop at Plumley before the train called at Altrincham to pick up before continuing via Skelton Junction, Northenden Junction and Cheadle Heath to reach the Hope Valley route. The return leg was diesel-hauled through Altrincham. As many members will know, one of the best sources of information about short-notice changes to steam specials on the main line is the website           

Arriva Trains Wales have restarted their Club 55 offer for those aged 55 or over as from 1st September. Prices are the same as for the previous offer, £24 return from any station on their network to any other station on their network. Senior or Disabled Persons’ Railcard holders get £1 off this fare. A higher fare (£29) applies on a Friday. This is a walk-on offer and tickets can be bought on the day. A return to Swansea enables outward travel via the Central Wales line and return travel via Cardiff and Hereford. Break of journey is allowed. The ticket cannot be used before 0900 on Monday to Friday on most routes but this restriction does not apply on Saturdays or Sundays. The last day for outward travel is Thursday 27th October. More details can be found here: TransPennine Express is rumoured to be starting a Club 55 as from 19th September. Off-peak rail fares in the TfGM area increased by 50p as from Sunday 4th September. There is a very useful website at, which lists all rail fares including through fares to Metrolink stations. If you input a journey you have to scroll down to see the results. 
Ticket barriers became operational on platforms 4 to 7 at Manchester Piccadilly as from Tuesday 16th August. Rail replacement buses now depart from stand A in Altrincham bus station and not from the car park behind platform 4. The barrow crossing between platforms 3 and 4 at Altrincham was taken out by 19th May.  A bridge for cyclists is to be built across the Bridgewater Canal in Broadheath using the parapets of the former railway bridge which carried the Lymm line over the canal.       

On freight, coal trains are again running through Altrincham to Fiddler’s Ferry Power Station. Freightliner is operating the trains, which began on 27th June, from the now-closed Ferrybridge C Power Station in Yorkshire, which has a considerable stockpile of coal. The new Knowsley (Kirkby) to Wilton (Teesside) flow of containerised domestic refuse has now started after a test run on 3rd June and the train runs twice per day through Altrincham.                   

Turning to Metrolink, the 9-week engineering blockade at St Peter’s Square ended on time and the line and the station reopened as from Sunday 28th August. The Eccles line reopened fully as from the same date. The main all-day 7-days a week service from Altrincham now runs to Piccadilly station, operated by single trams. The additional service when the 6-minute frequency is in operation on Monday to Saturday runs from Altrincham to Bury, operated by double trams. The East Didsbury line now has a tram every 6 minutes during the day on Monday to Saturday with trams running either to Shaw & Crompton or Deansgate-Castlefield. However both services are operated by single trams so the overall capacity is still the same. The plan to run the Airport line through to Deansgate-Castlefield was dropped and the service continues to start and terminate at Cornbrook for the time being.  The Metrolink Passenger Information Displays (PIDs) at Timperley, Navigation Road and Altrincham are said to be going live in September. Seeing will be believing!                   

The View from the Car Park

Exploring the photographic possibilities of the upper levels of the new NCP Stockport Station Car Park.

Photos and text supplied by Charlie Hulme.

A Class 323 EMU departs from Platform 1.  A few gaps are present in the mesh cladding from which photography is possible. There are also large panoramic windows at each level in the lift towers which offer further scope provided they remain clean in the future.  The one impedence which will always be present though is the cats cradle of overhead wires and electrification masts.  

Looking across the carriage sidings to Edgeley: a view down Chatham Street which forms the spine of the area's grid layout of streets, which is unusual in Stockport.  Note the odd stepped down houses on King Street West.  The trees behind them mark the site of 'Daw Bank House' (demolished c. 1900), the residence of Henry Coppock, Stockport's first Town Clerk, his wife and 12 children.

A London-bound Pendolino crosses the viaduct amid a forest of overhead line gantries.  It is running on the Up Fast line, which was the original Down line prior to the widening of the viaduct.

Stockport No.1 Signalbox, with a backdrop of council flats.  Opposite the station approach road stands the former Blue Bell Hotel, its edifice typical of Daniel Clifton's Royal Oak Brewery establishments.  It is now in residential use but still proudly bears its name.

The station roofscape reveals what must surely be the original station building, with its fanlight window, dating from before 1889.  At this date the viaduct was just double-track width. At the bottom right of the photograph is Platform Zero, once dubbed a 'white elephant', which came into use in 2008.

All photos taken on June 29th 2016.

Librarian Vacancy

This is a reminder that the position of Society Librarian is still vacant.

The prime task of this post is the management and administration of the Library, which is open every Wednesday between 11.00am and 3.00pm. Regular back up cover is currently available.

There is no regular requirement for the Librarian to attend the bi-monthly meetings of the Committee.

For further information on this position please contact Nick Howell.

And A Vacancy Filled

At the last committee meeting, Ian Simpson was co-opted as the MLS Secretary.

We wish Ian well with his new duties.

Midsummer in the High Peak!

photo:HD Bowtell. MLS Collection

These are interesting looking photos from our archives. The date is the 22nd of June 1954 and the description for the first photograph simply states "Manchester Waterworks, the party at Torside". Note the plume of steam on the far side of the valley. The Woodhead Route became an electric railway in this year.

photo: Hd Bowtell. MLS Collection

The caption for this photo is even more succinct - "Train and buildings". Can anyone supply more details?

Buxton Diesel Depot.

The 1957-built DMU depot at Buxton, which was later used for freight locos, is being demolished, to be completed by the end of this week.  Not unexpected as it has been unused since privatisation, with locos now stabled at Peak Forest.  Todays 'Sprinters' have always been shedded at Newton Heath (recently some 156s allocated to Allerton).

The place will always be remembered along with the Class 104 DMUs in which many of us travelled so very many times, and later with the Class 37s and other locos to be seen there.

All things must pass, as they say.

Charlie Hulme

Photo JW Sutherland/MLS Collection.

Local Rail and Metrolink News.

by Andrew Macfarlane

A Customer Information System (CIS) screen was installed at Navigation Road rail platform in the autumn and was in use by 27th October. It is inside the shelter and also makes announcements. Whilst its installation is welcome, it can only be seen and heard by those passengers who are in the shelter (or walking past it). If it is not raining most passengers wait much further down the platform where the trains stop so they can neither see nor hear the information (the announcements are not loud enough to be heard along the whole platform). The footbridge at Hale station was back in use before Christmas after a lengthy refurbishment.
The Cycle Hub is now open at Altrincham station (behind platform 1). It is a large covered shed where passengers can leave their bikes. To be able to do this you need to join a club at a cost of £10 per year. Further details can be found at: The lifts at Altrincham station have been operational since 20th October although they have been out of order on several occasions since. They are available to be used 24 hours a day (a security man is currently on duty from 21.00 to 07.00 to oversee the use of the lifts when the Northern station staff are not present). We hope that the reliability problems can be overcome. TfGM has lifted its ban on overnight parking at some of its Metrolink car parks including Navigation Road (which can also be used by rail users), Brooklands and Stretford. A three-month trial started on 4th December whereby drivers can leave their cars overnight on Friday and Saturday only until noon the following day. Ticket barriers are to be installed across the ends of platforms 4 to 7 (the platforms used by Virgin Trains) at Manchester Piccadilly. A World War One Memorial is due to be constructed between platforms 10 and 11 at Piccadilly.
Following completion of the major work at Farnworth Tunnel, a normal train service resumed on the Manchester-Bolton line from Monday 14th December. Clifton, Kearsley, Farnworth and Moses Gate stations re-opened from that date. Northern had its full complement of 20 class 319 electric trains (transferred from Thameslink) as from the start of the December 2015 timetable and the Liverpool Lime Street to Warrington Bank Quay and the Manchester Piccadilly-Manchester Airport shuttle services went over to class 319 operation from that timetable change. Displaced diesel trains are being used to strengthen other Northern services such as the 07.17 Piccadilly to Chester via Altrincham service, which is now booked to be formed of two class 142 units. The go-ahead was given for the construction of the Ordsall Chord on 14th October following a failed legal challenge by Consulting Engineer Mark Whitby but we understand that Mr Whitby is now mounting a further legal challenge. It has been announced that High Speed 2 will reach Crewe in 2027 but the location of the station at Crewe remains undecided (a site at or near the present site or a site 2km south of the current station at Basford Hall appear to be the contenders). An announcement about the final route of Phase 2 of HS2 to Manchester and Leeds, which had been due in 2015, has been deferred to autumn 2016. Manchester United Football Ground Halt was closed temporarily for security reasons in the wake of the Stade de France bombings in Paris but re-opened as from the match on Saturday 23rd January.
Arriva will be taking over the Northern franchise as from 1st April 2016. Arriva Rail North will also be taking over a number of services from Trans-Pennine Express from that date including the Manchester Airport-Blackpool North service and all trains to Barrow-in-Furness from the Carnforth direction and all trains to Windermere. The new franchise, which will still be branded as “Northern”, includes a number of service improvements. On the mid-Cheshire line, there will be a second train each hour between Piccadilly and Greenbank on Monday to Saturday and also an hourly Sunday service between Piccadilly and Chester, both from December 2017. Hale and Altrincham will be served by the two trains an hour service but Navigation Road will still only have one train per hour in the off-peak. The class 323s are going to the West Midlands but Arriva Northern will be getting a further 12 class 319 Thameslink units to replace them. 281 new vehicles are on order from CAF of Spain for Arriva Rail North. The following unstaffed stations in Greater Manchester are due to be staffed under the new franchise: Blackrod, Bryn, Flowery Field, Irlam, Mills Hill and Westhoughton. A total of 45 stations on Northern, which are currently unstaffed, are due to be staffed and 54 other stations are to have their staffing hours increased. Alex Hynes (who is originally from Hale and went to Altrincham Boys’ Grammar School) is to remain as Managing Director of the new franchise.
On freight, biomass traffic between Liverpool Docks and Drax Power Station in Yorkshire is now running via Altrincham up to five times a day, hauled by GB Railfreight class 66s. The new wagons used on some of these trains have a distinctive blue livery. The train cannot run via Manchester Victoria (a more logical route) because a single class 66 would not be able to haul the heavy train up Miles Platting bank (east of Victoria). Also paths through Victoria are at a premium although one empty biomass train goes that way in the night. The biomass traffic may increase to as many as 10 trains each way per day later in 2016. The trains are routed from Liverpool via Earlestown and Warrington Bank Quay, then via the Hartford curve to join the Mid Cheshire line at Hartford CLC Junction, then via Northwich, Altrincham, Stockport, Denton Junction, Ashton Moss North Junction, the Brewery curve, Rochdale and the Calder Valley route to Yorkshire (the Calder Valley route has easier gradients for freight and there are few if any spare paths over the Diggle route during the day). Route learning has been taking place with DB Schenker locomotives for a new flow of domestic refuse from Knowsley (Kirkby) to Wilton in the North East. This traffic is due to start in April (two trains per day) and will be routed via Wigan, Warrington Bank Quay, Hartford curve, Northwich, Altrincham, Stockport, Denton, Ashton Moss North Junction, Brewery curve and the Calder valley route to Yorkshire.
There is a new local rate telephone number, 0161 244 1000, for enquiries about public transport in Greater Manchester. This can be used for enquiries about bus, rail and tram times and for bus and tram fares (not rail fares). The opening hours of this service are 0700-2000 Monday to Friday and 0800-2000 Saturday and Sunday. There is an error in the December 2015 pocket timetable guide 17 and on the Northern train departure posters at stations. The train shown as departing from Altrincham to Stockport at 08.35 in fact departs at 08.33. Also it departs from Navigation Road at 08.35 and not at 08.37 as shown.
On Metrolink, the new crossover at Sale was installed as planned over the weekend of 17/18 October but it is not yet in use. A new Cycle Hub recently opened at Sale in the former station building on the Altrincham-bound platform. The new Metrolink line between Manchester Victoria and Exchange Square, the first section of the Second City Crossing, opened on Sunday 6th December. It is served by a new service from Shaw operating every 12 minutes between 07.30 and 20.00 on Monday to Friday (09.00 to 18.00 on Saturdays) to provide a 6-minute frequency service on the Oldham line between Shaw and Victoria during those periods. On Sundays the Rochdale-Ashton service has been split between 09.00 and 17.00 so that there are separate Rochdale-Exchange Square and Victoria-Ashton services. The service from Altrincham now runs through to Etihad Campus on Sundays as well as on Monday to Saturday (previously the Sunday service terminated at Piccadilly station). A shortlist of four bidders has been announced for the new Metrolink operating concession beginning in 2017. These are Keolis Amey, National Express, Transdev and the current operators RATP Dev Ltd. The Passenger Information Displays (PIDs) on the Metrolink platforms at Timperley, Navigation Road and Altrincham are now due to be brought into use during the second quarter of 2016 (they were installed in August 2009!). The section of Metrolink between Deansgate Junction and Altrincham will retain its existing signalling controlled by Network Rail. The TMS (Tram Management System) signalling at Manchester Victoria is due to be fully commissioned in April 2016. All of the old Metrolink signalling equipment including signals and lineside cabinets is due to be removed by the first quarter of 2017. Metrolink timetables can still be viewed by going onto the TfGM website and accessing the Traveline North West Journey Planner here: You now need to put either “A”, “B” or “C” etc in the box marked “Bus Number” rather than “MET1”, “MET2” or “MET3” etc. The timetable names have been changed to co-incide with the letter codes used on the Metrolink route map. There will be another complete closure at St Peters Square in July and August 2016 to re-instate double track working and for the stop to be re-opened on its new site. The Second City Crossing (2CC in the jargon) between St Peter’s Square and Exchange Square is due to open in 2017. It is not yet clear what the future Metrolink service pattern will be.

Stockport Railway Station Masterplan

Stockport Council has launched a Masterplan for a new station layout which will include two modern station halls and a new glass bridge connecting all of the platforms.
This will enable the existing underpass to become a public thoroughfare.

Station Road Closure.

Stockport Council (@StockportMBC) tweeted at 8:01 AM on Sat, Jan 09, 2016:
From today Station Rd is closed in front of the rail station. Find out new arrangements in place for passengers

For reports of the 2015 AGM, follow this link. (MLS password needed)

Farewell Northern Rail.

From 1st April 2016 Northern Rail's role in providing services in the north west of England will be placed in the hands of Arriva Trains North. Trans Pennine Express retains its franchise subject to some adjustments to its service map, for example the Manchester Airport to Blackpool trains will now be transferred to the new Northern franchise.

A Membership Milestone.

The total number of members of the Manchester Locomotive Society has now reached 191.

This is the highest number in its entire 80 year history, just exceeding the previous record set in the 'halycon' year of 1955.

Land to be set aside for a new Middlewich Station.

Please use the link below for an interesting article on the proposal to re-open Middlewich Station.

An Opportunity to Buy a Work of Art.

Our member Martin Dobson (one of the regular volunteers on Wednesday) is also a member of the prestigious 'Guild of Railway Artists'. Amongst his works of art is this highly acclaimed airbrushed illustration of 6200 'The Princess Royal'. This was originally issued as a limited edition print and Martin, who still has a few to dispose of, is prepared to offer a copy for the much reduced price of £10 to MLS MEMBERS ONLY on a first come - first served basis.  

For those who wish to view first, a framed copy adorns the clubroom wall.

You can contact Martin direct by email to reserve your copy. His address is:

Photo Room is Dedicated to Alan Gilbert

The late Mr Alan Gilbert's sister Shirley cuts the commemorative cake after unveiling the new nameplate on the door of the photographic archive room named in his memory. This is a fitting tribute to Alan as he was an accomplished and prolific photographer throughout his life.

photos by Ken Millward

A Railway Puzzle.

This photograph is believed to be of a very early MMRS (Manchester Model Railway Society) outing. It has also been suggested that a couple of these people could also be Manchester Locomotive Society members.
Does anyone have any idea who any of these gentlemen are?

... and through Woodsmoor station after reversal at Heaton Norris, now led by 66 165

The return working ran via Chinley, Northenden and Middlewich. 66 165 was captured at 17:55 in sylvan surroundings alongside Mirrlees Fields between Hazel Grove and Cheadle Junction. Pictures by Charlie Hulme.

Working Timetable

For anyone interested in the freight movements along the Trafford Park to Crewe corridor, please click on the link below for the current Working Timetable. It is always a good idea to consult the Real Time Trains website beforehand (see link on the left) as freight workings can be notorious for running late/early/not at all!


Manchester area news and events Spring 2015

By Charlie Hulme

Manchester Victoria Metrolink station is now open again; I went to take a look on 26 February. The new roof certainly looks impressive, although contrast in light make photographs difficult. The new island platform is in use for all services, the other platform still being worked on.

An elevated view from the partly-completed stairway to the Arena shows the junction which will lead to the new 'second city crossing' via Corporation Street. Presumably the area will later be paved.

On the main station, an array of ticket barriers awaits commissioning. Holders of concession cards, Wayfarers, etc. will no doubt still have to be let through by a person, as at Oxford Road.

It had been publicised that the Class 319 EMUs transferred to Northern Rail would enter service on 2 March, but 'Paperwork issues' with the Office of Rail Regulation delayed their appearance until Thursday 2 March.  I went to have a look and take a ride. At 13:59 I was at Oxford Road station to photographed train 1H49, Liverpool Lime Street to Manchester Airport, worked by 319 363.

I hung around until 14:27 to see the GB Railfreight Trafford Park - Felixstowe train, 4L18, featuring loco 66 747, one of three locos originally intended for a Belgian operator, but never actually delivered. It seems they were stored in Canada, and then in Holland, for some years until 'rescued' by GBRf in 2012 and modified for UK service.

The train included some of the most recent wagons to enter service, the triple-sets of FWA 'Ecofret' container carriers built by Wabtec in Kilmarnock for hiring company VTG. The set seen in the picture, with 83 70 4520 158-4 nearest the camera, was delivered to GBRf on 14 January. Each wagon fits one 40' long , 9'6" high container and close-couplings within the set economise on train length.

I then departed at 14:59 from Oxford Road aboard train 1H40 to the Airport, where 319 363 kept company with a TransPennine 170, a type which will disappear from the North West later this year, to be transferred to Chiltern Railways.

The interiors of the 319 look very clean and tidy, but the narrow seats in 3+2 layout in facing pairs will not suit everyone. The general similarity with the slightly-older Class 150 DMU is obvious.  On this day, two 319s were in use, the third diagram being entrusted to a 156.

Seizing the opportunity for another freight picture, and keeping an eye on the Realtime Trains website, I boarded the 15:29 Manchester Airport to Blackpool train for the short ride to Heald Green where the 15:18 Trafford - Park - Southampton Freightliner train (4O29) was due to pass at 15:45, and in fact did pass at 15:48 with 66 572. There's always a slight chance of also getting an aircraft in the view from this point, but it was not to be on this occasion. It is interesting to watch the flights while waiting, though.

Immediately afterwards, the 15:46 Manchester Airport - Piccadilly local train called to take me back to Manchester and the 16:21 departure from Piccadilly to Hazel Grove, although I could, if time allowed, have waited there for the passage at 16:28 of the Freightliner Trafford Park - Felixstowe service.

More Loco-Hauled News

The new timetable from December 15th features a loco-hauled diagram on the Manchester to North Wales line on Monday to Fridays only, as follows:

1D51 07.11 Crewe - Chester arr. 07.30
1H82 07.38 Chester - Manchester Piccadilly arr. 08.51
1D34 09.50 Manchester Piccadilly - Holyhead arr. 12.36
1H89 13.01 Holyhead - Manchester Piccadilly arr. 15.51
1D31 16.50 Manchester Piccadilly - Llandudno arr. 19.03
1K96 19.34 Llandudno - Crewe arr. 21.06

The stock - Class 67 loco, four Mk3 coaches, and a Driving Van Trailer - spend the night at Arriva's LNWR works at Crewe. At Manchester, the train lies over in the 'excursion platform' line at Longsight.

The 09.50 from Manchester seems like a revival of the much-missed 'Irish Mancunian' of the 1990's.

On Friday 19th December 67001 arrives at Manchester Piccadilly with the 13.01 service from Holyhead.

MLS Scottish trip


During the cataloguing of the Harold Bowtell Collection this interesting photograph came to light. It was taken at Balornock, Glasgow, on the 29th of May 1953 just a few days before the Coronation. Balornock is where St. Rollox shed (65B) was situated which presumably explains their presence here.

No doubt members will be able to put names to many of these faces. People identified so far include:    Neville Fields on the far left with the camera, then Alan Brown who is sixth from the left. Standing next to him to the right is Jack Lord and in front of Jack is Alan Gilbert. The gentleman smoking the pipe on the extreme right is Harry Townley.

MLS Anniversary

This year is the 80th anniversary of the formation of the Manchester Locomotive Society. To help commemorate this significant milestone we are asking if anyone has any photographs of either the Manchester Central or Sale clubrooms that they would be kind enough to share with us. If you can help please contact Chris Tasker or Paul Shackcloth.

January News Item
by Andrew Macfarlane

A new Arriva Trains Wales Club 55 offer for those aged 55 or over began on Sunday 7th January and runs until Saturday 3rd March. The price is £27 return with £1 off for railcard holders. The add-on fare for Northern is £2.50. The usual conditions apply: no travel before 09.30 on Monday to Friday but there are no restrictions at weekends except travel is not permitted to or from Cardiff on Saturday 3rd February due to a major sporting event. Return travel must be within 8 days and all return travel must be completed by 10th March 2018. The ticket can be purchased on the day of travel and break of journey is allowed. More details are at:

The Ordsall Chord opened with the timetable change on Sunday 10th December. Initially it is only being used by six trains each way per day between Manchester Oxford Road and Leeds via Manchester Victoria and Bradford (hourly on Sundays). This service is due to be extended to run to and from Manchester Airport from May 2018. Also from May 2018 the hourly Manchester Airport to Newcastle and Middlesbrough TransPennine Express services will be diverted to run via Oxford Road, the Ordsall Chord and Manchester Victoria. This will reduce crossing moves across the Piccadilly “throat”. Also the Liverpool-Scarborough service is diverted to run via Manchester Victoria from May 2018 so will no longer cross the whole layout from one side to the other at Ardwick Junction. Both of these changes will release paths for the planned additional Northern trains from Piccadilly to Greenbank, Macclesfield and New Mills Newtown. However on 11th January it was announced that the completion of the Manchester-Bolton-Preston electrification had been delayed until December 2018 (it had been due to be completed by May 2018). Northern have said that this will have implications for the planned May 2018 timetable changes because of the need to continue using diesel trains on that line. They are now talking about a phased introduction of the changes, which also include much-improved Sunday services on many lines.   

On 24th December the Government said no to TfGM’s request to take over all rail stations in their area. In a surprise move, Arriva announced in October that they were pulling out of the bidding for the new Wales franchise. The service between Manchester Victoria and Blackburn via Bolton was increased to half-hourly from the December 2017 timetable change following the lengthening of the passing loop at Darwen. 

Members may have read about the new company Saphos Trains which has been set up by millionaire Jeremy Hosking to run steam-hauled charter trains out of Crewe. As an introductory offer, the company is offering half-price fares (typically £45) on its 2018 tours to destinations such as Holyhead, Cardiff via the Welsh Marches and Stratford upon Avon. Full details can be found on their website or by phoning 0800 038 5320. As of 28th January, six of the twelve trains were showing as being fully booked.

On Wednesday 1st August 60163 Tornado will travel through our area when it hauls its tenth anniversary train “The Mad Hatter” returning from Chester to Darlington via Northwich, Altrincham, Cheadle Heath, Hazel Grove and the Hope Valley line to Sheffield. The train will leave Chester at around 16.30. Final timings will be on nearer the time.        
A memorial planter in memory of Martyn Hett, one of the victims of the terrorist attack at Manchester Arena on 22nd May who was a regular commuter on the train between Stockport and Altrincham, was installed on platform 4 at Altrincham on 5th December and was visited by his family on 6th December.
A new Metrolink timetable started on Sunday 28th January. The Bury-Altrincham service was given a 10-minute layover at Altrincham to improve timekeeping. Since 29th January this service has used platform 2 at Altrincham and the Altrincham-Piccadilly service (as it became) uses platform 1. Sunday services now operate until 23.30 (an hour later than previously), a very welcome move. Also all trams now run back to the depot in service and the Metrolink service from Manchester Airport has been extended to Manchester Victoria. The new electrical substation at Brooklands was commissioned in November 2017 and there are now more double trams running on the Altrincham line. Two of the eight trams on the Altrincham-Piccadilly service are now doubles (as well as all of the Altrincham-Bury services). A shame it’s not more than two.

Members' contributions welcome at:

Last update December 2017