A Trip on the Inaugural  Midland Pullman

by Arthur Chambers

This is the very last up Midland Pullman approaching the Cheadle Heath stop on Friday 15th April 1966, less than six years after the triumphant events described in the article below.

A fortunate business trip to London ended in the afternoon of Monday 4th of July 1960 and I thus had the opportunity to return to Manchester on the first public north bound trip of this prestigious train.

The authorities had staged quite an imposing ceremony on platform 2 at St Pancras and when I arrived there the Lord Mayor of London was just concluding his speech.  He was in the centre of quite a crowd of passengers and visitors but standing to attention at every doorway were the very smart Pullman car attendants, in white jackets with blue facings.  Upon the approach of a passenger they positively pounced upon his case and ushered him to his appointed seat.

The air-conditioned coaches, at 72 degrees Farenheit, seemed to me to be overhot at first - it was hot enough outside - but this feeling vanished within a few minutes and I do not remember thinking about it again during the rest of the journey.

Promptly at 6.10pm the train moved off.  An excellent dinner was served from 7.15pm onwards.  It was an excellent dinner and was, in my opinion, the best dinner I have ever had in a British restaurant car, being well cooked and properly served with every consideration and courtesy.

Admittedly this was an inaugural run and therefore everyone was on his toes but the Pullman car staff gave me the impression that they were genuinely trying to please their customers without the consideration of the future tip.

There have been complaints in some quarters of 'rocking and rolling'.  All I can say about this is that Car D was exceptionally steady and I was able to write with ease and the vibration was so damped out that I could not even count the rail beats in order to estimate the speed - I was on the wrong side to use the mileposts - and I had to rely upon the occasional announcements on the loud speakers, " Ladies and Gentlemen you are now travelling at 92mph".
Four times during the journey they announced speeds of 90mph or over.

Finally we drew into Manchester Central station at 9.12pm, nine minutes before schedule, after a memorable journey.  If this standard is kept up by British Railways they have certainly got a winner and I hope that the Midland Pullman will be a success in every way.


St Pancras
St Albans
Peak Forest
Cheadle Heath

Manchester Central

This article first appeared in the January 1961 edition of the Mancunian.

The up Midland Pullman calls at Cheadle Heath on Thursday 14th April 1966, the penultimate day of the service.

Across the island platform a train of empty hoppers will follow the Pullman as far as Peak Forest. Beyond that, a wisp of steam above the station canopy indicates the position of the tank engine at the head of the shuttle service to Manchester Central.

Cheadle Heath Station: A Footnote.

A study of the above photograph shows that by 1966 neglect had set in; the bay platform in the foreground has already been lifted and complete closure to passengers will follow less than a year later on March 6th 1967.
With the closure of Manchester Central in 1969 the line northwards from Cheadle Heath did not last long, closing in 1970, however the spur that connected to the Liverpool route remains - primarily for stone traffic.
By 1972 all of the station buildings had been demolished although the platforms remained together with four lines of track.
By the late 1980's this former important Midland Railway route had been reduced to a single line and if one peers over the wall on Edgeley Road it's practically impossible to imagine the station, goods warehouse and yard ever existed as a large supermarket now covers most of the site.

Last update April 2015. Comments welcome: