Contributions to this page, or the Gallery section, from MLS members
are very welcome by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Pictures should
be in jpg format as email attachments: text can be a simple email or an
attached Word document. All contributions will be fully credited.
Friday meetings start at 7.30 pm,
ending promptly at 9.15 pm.
Wednesday meetings start at 1.00
ending at 2.45 pm
Friday 5th May: Railway
- Part 2. Ken Widd returns to give a digital presentation
varied scenes in the 1950's and 1960's.
Friday 19th May: Diverted
- Wakefield to Leeds via Huddersfield, Barnsley and Castleford.
Another presentation by Phil Lockwood and Enid Vincent featuring mainly
freight lines during the period 1975-2016.
Wednesday 24th May:
Mystery Slides - Steam and Modern Traction. Ian Simpson,
Alf Storey and Nick Clemson ask you to identify slides from the MLS
Friday 2nd June: Lost
Railways of South Manchester. A digital presentation by Roy
Friday 16th June: Norfolk
and North East England. John Owen gives a talk on his
travels during July 2016.
Wednesday 28th June: A Pot
Pourri of films and slides - Ancient and Modern. Presented
by Peter Ward.
Friday 7th July: Chinese
Steam in the 21st Century. Geoff Coward returns to give an
audio-visual presentation featuring his visit to China in 2002.
UK Steam Info
Manchester Model Railway Society
North Wales Coast
SOCIETY NEWS ITEMS
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.
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
A Local Newsletter - Report by Andrew Mcfarlane
High Speed 2 in trouble
On 30th March American-based firm CH2M confirmed that it had withdrawn
its interest in the Phase 2B development contract for HS2 (covering the
lines from Crewe to Manchester and Birmingham to Leeds). The £170m
contract had been awarded to the engineering firm in February after an
11-month competitive bidding process, but the signing of the contract
was delayed after rival bidder Mace threatened legal action over HS2
Ltd’s handling of the procurement. Mace commented that it had “never
seen a procurement process like this”, and argued that conflict of
interest was only one element of why it had launched an enquiry into
HS2’s conduct. This latest development capped off a miserable few days
for HS2, as on Friday 24th March it was revealed that the award of
£8.6bn worth of civil engineering contracts for HS2 had been pushed
back to June.
Scheme to reopen 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.
Metrolink Second City Crossing is Open
Metrolink’s second city crossing (2CC in the jargon) between St Peter’s
Square and Exchange Square opened 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 in May. New substations are being provided at Whitefield and
Brooklands to boost the power supply and so enable the operation of
more double trams.
The main arch of the bridge across the Irwell was lifted into place on
21st February. Northern plans to extend one of its Leeds to Manchester
Victoria services each hour to run through to Manchester Oxford Road
via the Ordsall Chord from December 2017. This service will then be
extended through to Manchester Airport from May 2018.
Northern and TransPennine Express plan to install ticket barriers
across the end of platforms 1 to 3.
Industrial Action on Northern and Merseyrail
Two 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 and Saturday 8th 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.
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.
The 2016 Annual General Meeting Report is now available on the Members
Only section of the website together with the 2015 report.
Members enjoyed a luncheon to celebrate the Society's 80th anniversary
at the Cresta Court Hotel, Altrincham on Monday 24th October. To view a
larger version of this photo please click here.
Headquarters Upgrading Progress
Photographs taken by Dave Nixon
showing the work taking place at our Club HQ
LOCAL RAIL AND METROLINK
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: http://www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk/55/Buy/. 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 www.brfares.com, 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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
photo:HD Bowtell. MLS
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
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
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.
photo ©JW Sutherland/MLS Collection.
Local Rail and Metrolink
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: http://cycling.tfgm.com/Pages/join-a-hub.aspx.
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
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.
For reports of the 2015 AGM, follow this link.
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
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
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.
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
notorious for running late/early/not at all!
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
1D51 07.11 Crewe - Chester
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
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.
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.
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
Members' contributions welcome
Last update December 2016