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SOCIETY NEWS ITEMS
Local News Items by Andrew Macfarlane
Rose Hill Marple line
Northern had planned to withdraw the service from Piccadilly
to Rose Hill via Hyde completely from Monday 14th September
to Sunday 13th December. Local councillors then arranged for
West Coast (Carnforth) to run the service (between Guide
Bridge and Rose Hill) for a week from 14th September. In the
event this didn't happen because Northern had a slight
change of heart and chose to run three trains each way per
day to Rose Hill for schoolchildren. Northern plan to
introduce a service every 90 minutes on the Rose Hill line
from 26th October and an hourly service from 14th December.
The episode is a worrying example of what could happen to
any service in the present circumstances.
Ian Allan bookshop to close
The last surviving Ian Allan bookshop, which is at 45/46
Lower Marsh near London Waterloo station, is sadly due to
close on 31st October. It's loss will be mourned by many who
like to browse before they buy.
Pacers return to the Mid Cheshire Line
As from Monday 14th September 9 of the 24 daily trains on
the Manchester-Northwich-Chester line are operated by a
class 142 coupled to a class 150. Class 142s no longer
operate to Sheffield. They have been retained by Northern
due to delays in bringing the class 769 bi-mode units
(conversions of class 319 units with a diesel engine) into
Failure of Manchester South signalling centre
There was a major failure of the Manchester South signalling
centre (located on the site of Edgeley steam shed) on the
evening of Wednesday 16th September. Disruption lasted until
normal working was resumed on Monday 21st September.
The plan for Transpennine Express to operate part of this
service between Liverpool and Nottingham from December 2021
has been dropped and the whole service will remain with East
Midlands Railway. The service may still be split at
The section of the Bury line between Whitefield and Bury was
converted to TMS operation (line of sight) from Monday 24th
August. Trams now have to stop at Hagside Crossing and
proceed at 10mph over the crossing. Such is progress?
Euston to Blackpool open access operation is off
It was announced on 10th September that plans by Grand
Central to start an open access service between Euston and
Blackpool North from May 2021 had been dropped due to the
virus. This cancellation came at a late stage after staff
had been recruited and class 90 locos and Mark IV stock had
First of new Metrolink trams due to arrive
The first of the new batch of 27 Metrolink trams is due to
arrive in Manchester in October 2020.
Stockport-Stalybridge service restarts
The famous Stockport-Stalybridge service restarted on
Saturday 19th September after a gap in the service due to
the virus. The train leaves Stockport at 09.45 and arrives
at Stalybridge at 10.05. It only operates in one direction.
Tornado Visits the North West
Pacific no 60163 'Tornado' was in charge of 1Z63NC, a West
Coast Railway charter from Darlington North Road to
Liverpool Lime Street on Saturday September 19th. As
expected, some of our members turned out to record the
occasion on film.
Photo: Andrew Macfarlane
The special passes through Manchester Victoria station.
Photo: John Tate
Approaching Rindle Lane Crossing, Astley at 12.34.
Photo: John Sloane
Passing through Earlstown.
Photo: John Sloane
Admirers gather on Lostock Hall platform. Is the
gentleman taking a low shot or is he on his knees in awe?
Photo: John Sloane
This fine photograph, taken at Standish, highlights the
locomotive's superb lines.
Bury Diesels - Green and Blue.
Photos by John Tate
First the green - Classes 40, 25, 47, 24, and a glimpse of
diesel-hydraulic Class 14
-and then the blue. English Electric Type 4 and
3. Photos taken by John Tate on September 20th 2020 at
an organised photographic day event.
A most unusual event on the evening of 27 July was the
appearance, for reasons unkown, of Freightliner
electric loco 86 607 reversing at Hazel Grove,
as part of an intinerary which began and ended at
Freightliner's depot at Basford Hall, Crewe. Is this a
genuine 'first'? Picture by Peter Cross.
Committee Meeting No 746 (July) Minutes
Because of the social distancing and travel restrictions
required in view of the current Covid 19 pandemic, it is not
possible to hold a Committee Meeting at present. In order to
ensure continuity of MLS Committee business, the minutes
report has been produced based on email submissions by
Society officers and on-line discussion by MLS Committee
The minutes can be found in the Members Only password
Note: Password Change
On the evening of Sunday 12 April the password for access to
the Members-only section of the website will change (the
username remains the same). Members of the MLS email group
have been notified of the new password; if you are an MLS
member not in the email group, or otherwise have not
received notification, email:
so we can confirm your membership and send you the password.
We recommend that members join the email group, which helps
to keep the Society together during these difficult times.
If you wish to join the email group, mention this in your
email and we will send you an invitation.
April News - from Andrew Macfarlane
The Trafford Centre Metrolink line opened as planned on
Sunday 22nd March (despite the virus). The initial service
is a 12-minute frequency shuttle from Cornbrook. Metrolink
services were reduced to a 12-minute frequency across the
system (with the Altrincham-Bury service withdrawn) as from
Monday 23 March due to reduced demand because of the virus
(and also because fewer staff were available). Where
possible services have been formed of double trams to enable
social distancing to take place. The service will be further
reduced to every 20 minutes from Monday 6th April.
The Northern franchise was taken into public ownership as
from 1st March. Nick Donovan is the new Managing Director of
Northern. He was previously MD of Transpennine Express.
Experienced railwayman Robin Gisby is Chairman of the new
company Northern Trains Limited.
Since February Freightliner have been using class 70
locomotives on the Greater Manchester binliner trains
The Dean Lane refuse transfer station at Newton Heath is
currently being rebuilt and rail traffic from there has
The last four Northern class 142 Pacers have been withdrawn
and are currently parked at Newton Heath depot. Plans for a
farewell tour to the Northern class 142s have been cancelled
due to the virus.
In March it was announced that a feasibility study is to be
carried out into the possible reopening of the Skelton
Junction to Glazebrook line.
Freight Variety - by Charlie Hulme
It's perhaps an interesting fact that in March 2020 the
three main types of freight loco - classes 60, 66 and 70 -
can be seen in action in the Stockport area. These three
views were taken at Stockport station before the current
On 11 March, the 09:54 from Cemex, Peak Forest to Hope
Street, Salford was powered by 66 780 'Cemex Express' in its
special livery, named by Peter Waterman in June 2019. The
wagons behind the locomotive are former coal hoppers
shortened for limestone usage by cutting out the centre
section. The company name 'Cemex' is a clue that Dove Holes
quarry is now owned by a multinational based in Mexico.
Freightliner hold the contract for Greater Manchester Waste
trains, which currently run to the Runcorn Folly Lane branch
where there is access to an 'energy for waste' plant.These
have been hauled by Class 66s in recent times, but in
February Class 70s took over.Seen at lunchtime on 11 March
was 70 010 with the 11:12 empty containers from Runcorn to
Brindle Heath waste terminal in Salford. Until February some
of the wagons would have been detached at Brindle Heath and
tripped to Dean Lane waste terminal in Newton Heath, but
this has ceased, as the Dean lane building is being
demolished for rebuilding in another form. The last train to
enter the sidings was a railtour on 7 March.
Another regular flow is of 'biomass' (wood pellets) from
Liverpool Docks to Drax power station. The loaded trains
take an indirect route via the Mid-Cheshire line and
Stockport to avoid the climb of Miles Platting bank. The
empties return via Rochdale, Manchester Victoria and Eccles.
The wagons are a special design to carry a maximum load of
the relatively light material. GB Railfreight is the hauler,
using Class 60 locos purchased from Colas, such as 60 096
'Impetus', seen on 14 March approaching Heaton Norris
Junction where it will take the route towards Guide Bridge.
The 'unofficial' names on these locos reference celebrity
marine tugboats, 'tug' being an enthusiasts' nickname for
the Class 60.
New Look Pendolino
Pendolino No 390 155 in the new Avanti West Coast livery
calls at Stockport on January 8th while forming a service to
Photograph by Charlie Hulme
Older items can be found on the 2019 Archive page
Members' contributions welcome
Page updated September 25th 2020